Two misfits in a very strict, unforgiving world make for a great story.
Where Your Treasure Is by M. C. Bunn will release Friday in the Historical romance, Victorian romance genre.
Feisty, independent heiress Winifred de la Coeur has never wanted to live according to someone else’s rules—but even she didn’t plan on falling in love with a bank robber. Winifred is a wealthy, nontraditional beauty who bridles against the strict rules and conventions of Victorian London society. When she gets caught up in the chaos of a bungled bank robbery, she is thrust unwillingly into an encounter with Court Furor, a reluctant getaway driver and prizefighter. In the bitter cold of a bleak London winter, sparks fly.
Winifred and Court are two misfits in their own circumscribed worlds—the fashionable beau monde with its rigorously upheld rules, and the gritty demimonde, where survival often means life-or-death choices.
Despite their conflicting backgrounds, they fall desperately in love while acknowledging the impossibility of remaining together. Returning to their own worlds, they try to make peace with their lives until a moment of unrestrained honesty and defiance threatens to topple the deceptions they have carefully constructed to protect each other.
A story of the overlapping entanglements of Victorian London’s social classes, the strength of family bonds and true friendship, and the power of love to heal a broken spirit.
To Virgins, to Make Much of Time
With a howl, the man flung the wash jug against the wall. Winifred stopped crying. A mess of cheap, broken china scattered the floor. Water dribbled down the wall. The man clutched the washstand, his head bowed. “I wanted to wear you out, so’s I could get some rest. You’re so pig-’eaded! I wasn’t goin’ to ’urt you. Couldn’t you see that?”
“No,” she answered in a small voice. “You’re too rough.”
The man nodded and offered a rag from the basin. She shook her head. “I don’t mean to be. I likes softness. I wants it, but it’s roughness I’m used to.”
Winifred considered what “softness” might mean to him. “Well, it’s not the way I’m used to being treated.”
Court heard the quiet defiance and liked her for it. She refused to be broken. He felt in his pocket for his neckerchief and dipped it in the basin. “Your face, let me see what I done.”
“No, don’t!” Her voice wavered.
Court knelt, holding out both his hands. He edged forward very slowly, coming at her from the side. She pressed as far back as possible into the corner and lifted her chin, grimacing and eyeing him with equal caution. Suddenly, he had her. “Let me see,” he said in his low, gruff voice.
“Oh, that stings!” Wincing, she tried to push away his hand. He ignored this. His touch was assured, his tone dry and matter-of-fact…Winifred drew the other blanket around her and huddled inside her cloak. Long minutes passed.
How strange that out of that human tide, this one soul and hers had been swept together. She took off her cloak and tapped his arm.
Court sat up. “What? ’Ere, don’t cry! Geoff won’t be back for ages.”
She wiped her cheeks and held out her cloak. “I’m not! It’s the cold. Here, take half.”
Court was surprised, not to mention grateful. He felt in his pocket for his neckerchief. “You’re not afraid o’ much, are you? Too spoiled or too stupid, I’ll be bound. Not many could’ve stood up to Geoff in that alley. And you gave me ’ell!” He smiled and touched the tip of her nose with the wet cloth, and she gave the smallest smile in return. “There now, that’s better.”
The woman raised her eyes. “You’re not going to let me go, are you?” she whispered.
Court dabbed gently at the bright welt. He almost wished he had never seen those eyes—almost, but not quite. “I can’t.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
M. C. Bunn is a writer of Victorian romance and historical romance novels, a singer (in the indie rock band Mister Felix), and a songwriter. She holds an English degree from UNC-Chapel Hill and a master’s in English from North Carolina State University.
“I’ve always loved writing. It’s a joy to do what makes me happy and to share it.
“My father was a great story-teller. He read to us at the dinner table and passed on his love of history. He’d haul me out of bed in the middle of the night if there was a great old movie on the late show, and family trips always included visits to historic sites. His father was born in 1888, and I have Granddaddy’s letters to his bride-to-be in my dresser. I’m working on the story of Daddy’s first ancestor in America. It’s set in Jamestown, 1690. My mother’s grandmother was placed in an orphanage after the Civil War because her father died on the way home, so I always felt that connection to and had a curiosity about the past. Both of my parents read to me before I could walk. Daddy gave me Dickens, Twain, and Stevenson. Mama put the dictionary in my hands and let me watch I, Claudius and Shoulder to Shoulder when they first aired on Masterpiece Theatre. She told me I’d be a writer one day.”
Acting was another girlhood passion. “I wanted to play all the characters in the books I’d read, or in the stories I made up, like Dickens and Louisa May Alcott did. I also wanted to be an archaeologist because we knew one who worked on digs in Israel. There was never a time when I wasn’t making up a story, and it was always set ‘a long time ago.’ What I really wished for was the car in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so I could fly back in time and see what it was actually like for women in Victorian and Edwardian England.”
When she’s not writing, she loves reading long old books. “I love Anthony Trollope’s series, and Anna Karenina. Of more recent vintage, I really enjoyed The Forsyte Saga and The Raj Quartet.”
Her idea of a well-appointed room includes multiple bookshelves, a full pot of coffee, and a place to lie down and read. To feed her soul, she takes a walk or makes music with friends. “I try to remember to look up at the sky and take some time each day to be thankful.”
She lives in North Carolina with her husband and their dog. Where Your Treasure Is is her first published novel.
What was the hardest part to write?
There were certain tough, knotty moments for characters and, of course, the handling of the love scenes; but the most difficult part of writing Where Your Treasure Is was its rewriting.
Though the plot and characters did not essentially change over five drafts, they did evolve. Scenes expanded, contracted, moved, disappeared. The first two drafts had male and female readers whose ages ranged from their twenties to their seventies and who had a wide variety of reading tastes. By the third draft I was trying to balance not only my answers to their questions about character motivation but also what I had learned about the characters from continuing the series through three more books.
What dumbfounded my younger readers was Winifred’s initial attraction and response to Court. One of my male readers was quite worried about it, as the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon was in full swing. I always knew that it was much more than good-girl-meets-bad-boy. So did my older readers. “‘War makes strange bedfellows,’” one gentleman chuckled, quoting the late journalist Helen Thomas. But in the second draft I worked to make both Winifred’s and Court’s interior needs and external plight explicit for the reader, and results of that found their way into the final manuscript.
Another issue with the rewrites was that as soon as I finished Treasure’s first draft, I realized it was the beginning of a series spanning several generations. Though the books can be read by themselves, as each generation in them is forgetful of—if not totally ignorant about—the intimate details of their ancestors’ lives, I knew the whole story arc and wanted readers to have those self-satisfied moments of omniscience but also the hair-pulling ones of not being able to help the characters with all that knowledge. It became a matter of when to tell the reader more details and when to withhold them.
Yet it was only after I’d finished The Desired, which is set primarily in the 1980s with flashbacks which span nearly a century and characters’ speculations about their forebearers, that I realized there was yet another theme which had been quietly blooming in all the books and which I finally brought to the fore in Treasure’s third manuscript, the one Bellastoria read and decided to publish.
Never mind all that, you say. What about writing the love scenes?
I meant for every one of them to be read out loud.
Ah, well. As noted, my younger readers were shocked but not my older ones.
This post is part of a tour. The tour dates can be found here: https://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2021/02/vbt-where-your-treasure-is-by-m-c-bunn.html
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