How to Handle a Scandal with Emily Greenwood
Eliza Tarryton, the heroine of HOW TO HANDLE A SCANDAL, still has a lot of growing up to do as the story starts. Emotionally abandoned as a teenager by the father she adored, Eliza discovered the thrill of gaining attention from men thanks to her beauty and her outrageous behavior. She was the most scandalous debutante of her Season, jumping into fountains, sneaking into forbidden places, and climbing out her bedroom window for midnight kisses in the garden. It was all such fun until she made a terrible mistake and hurt Tommy Halifax, the brother of Eliza's beloved guardian and the hero of the story.
Eliza vows to give up being a scandal, and dedicates herself to a life of virtue. That’s one way of handling a scandal, but does it work? For six years, yes, but fortunately for our story, some habits are hard to break. :) When she once again gets involved in scandalous doings, Tommy gets pulled into the trouble, and he comes up with his own methods for handling the possible scandal—methods that Eliza’s not happy with at all.
Though Eliza doesn’t do anything that would have been impossible for a woman to do in the early 1800s, some of the things she does—like pretending to be a high-class prostitute in order to investigate a brothel—would have been a really bad idea. Still, like the fictional Eliza, ladies of the Regency era sometimes did step outside the narrow lines defining acceptable behavior and find themselves needing to “handle” a scandal.
For classic trouble like an unplanned pregnancy or falling in love with a completely unsuitable man, ladies could head to Gretna Green in Scotland with their beaux. Unlike in England, couples who needed to marry quickly could do so there. Another way of handling a scandal was to simply disappear; in an age without telephones, an organized police force, photography, or any of the ways we keep track of people today, a lady in trouble could simply move away from looming disaster and hope it never found her.
For real-life inspiration, young women caught in the net of society’s strict rules could turn to the Ladies of Llangollen. Lady Eleanor Butler was on the verge of being forced into a convent by her family and her friend Sarah Ponsonby was being subjected to the unwanted attentions of her guardian when the two women decided to flee Ireland for England. Their scandalous attempt to run off together required more than one effort—their families caught them the first time and dragged them home—but eventually they succeeded. They settled in Wales, where the ladies meant to live together in bookish seclusion. However, visitors—sometimes as many as twenty a day and including people like the Duke of Wellington—flocked to their home, fascinated by the sensational story of two women refusing to accept the roles Society assigned them. They eventually became known as “the two most celebrated virgins in Europe.”
And then there was Lady Caroline Lamb. The daughter of an earl, she developed a grand passion for Lord Byron, with whom she had a months-long affair that shocked society with the lovers’ open displays of romantic obsession. When Byron broke off the affair, Lady Caroline’s family was so horrified by her histrionic reaction that they threatened to have her put in a straight jacket. But instead of falling completely apart, she wrote Glenarvon, a thinly veiled caricature of various members of Society, including Lady Caroline herself and Lord Byron. The book was immensely popular, and went into several editions.
Perhaps if Lady Caroline or the Ladies of Llangollen could have given the young ladies of their time advice, it would have been this: if you’re going to be a scandal, you might as well own it!
How to Handle a Scandal
The Scandalous Sisters, Book 2
by Emily Greenwood
About the Book
THEY THOUGHT THE DEBUTANTE WAS SCANDALOUS
Miss Elizabeth Tarryton was the toast of the London Season the year she was seventeen and spurned young Tommy Halifax. A careless flirt who didn't know what she wanted, she was startled into laughter by his public proposal of marriage. Furious and heartbroken, Tommy promptly left home for a life of adventure in India.
IF THEY ONLY KNEW ABOUT THE WIDOW
IF THEY ONLY KNEW ABOUT THE WIDOW
Seven years later, Elizabeth has much to make up for, but the methods she chooses for doing good are as shocking as her earlier wanton behavior--should the ton ever find out. Tommy returns to England a hero, with no intention of allowing himself to be hurt by a woman ever again, but he's fascinated nonetheless by Elizabeth, now widowed and more alluring than ever.
About the Author