“Desires of a Perfect Lady” — desires a dull man

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In a new historical romance, Desires of a Perfect Lady by Victoria Alexander available in stores March 30, Olivia, Lady Rathbourne, falls in love with a dull man, Sterling Harrington, the Earl of Wyldewood. Olivia eventually pries Sterling into a bit of adventure, but not by much. As the author writes to us (attached below), “While it might be argued that Sterling is no longer dull, he still has those great dull qualities that tell a woman he will always be there for her. And dull or not, that’s something every heroine, in fiction or real life, wants.”

A fine example of a dull man, Sterling frequently brought up his responsibilities of being an earl. Dull men are responsible — as well as reliable, predictable, safe.

When Olivia suggested traveling to Egypt, Sterling was taken aback. “There are snakes in Egypt,” Sterling said. His idea of travel was going to Scotland. He eventually agreed to go to Egypt with Olivia. But he booked the slow, less exciting way. By boat all the way instead of by train to Marseilles and then by boat. By train would have meant changing trains and probably staying a few days in Paris, a city much too exciting for Sterling.

Should we elect Sterling to be an honorary member (postmortem) of the Dull Men’s Club? And Olivia for the Decent Women’s Club?

From the author:

Dear DMC,

Appreciating the Dull Man

There is a belief among the female characters in historical romances that reformed rakes make the best husbands. I have no idea if that’s true since my books usually end at marriage but I do assume my characters are indeed living happily ever after. And while a reformed rake might make the best husband I don’t think reforming a rake is nearly as much of a challenge, and not quite as much fun, as luring a dull man into adventure.

Take Sterling Harrington, the Earl of Wyldewood and hero of Desires of a Perfect Lady. Olivia, the heroine, his brothers and even his mother do not hesitate to point out how very dull, as well as stiff and stodgy, he is. Why, when challenged to relate any adventure he has had, he can’t think of a single one, now matter how minor. He is not fond of travel—thinks it’s simply not worth the trouble. He is well aware of his responsibilities as earl and head of the family and takes them very seriously. While his first wife was not the love of his life, he was content in his marriage. He likes efficiency, matters to be accomplished in a timely manner and he does not like change. He likes his meals served promptly, his clothes to be of the finest quality but always conservative and his house to be kept in order just the way he likes his life. No surprises, nothing unexpected and absolutely no change.

Everything does change for Sterling however when Olivia’s father asks him to rescue his daughter. Knowing his own nature, Sterling points out the man must be thinking of his much more adventurous brothers. Sterling is not prone to rescue. But because he is aware of his responsibilities and feels he does owe Olivia, and dull men do live up to their obligations, he agrees to do what he can. Thus begins Sterling’s reluctant foray into adventure.

Dragging a dull man out of his comfort zone isn’t easy. Sterling has to leave his responsibilities behind and accompany Olivia to Egypt, a place he considers uncivilized and teeming with Egyptian snakes who are, no doubt, just lying in wait for a proper Englishman. From there it’s on to Italy then back to England. Along the way, Sterling discovers there is much to be said for seizing the moment, for seeing new places and trying things he’s never tried.

But some of the qualities that might make a man dull—like accepting responsibility for his actions—are the very things that make dull men so worthwhile. A dull man can be depended upon. A dull man is more than likely to have a good heart, wickedness is definitely not dull. And once you give a dull man a taste of adventure, while it might be argued that he is no longer dull, he still has those great dull qualities that tell a woman he will always be there for her. And dull or not, that’s something every heroine, in fiction or real life, wants.

So how do you pry a dull man out of a dull life and into a little bit of adventure? Offer him the one thing he doesn’t have and probably didn’t realize he wanted. Love, of course, with the woman of his dreams and the promise of happily ever after.

And not even the dullest of men can resist that.

Victoria

Victoria Alexander is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Desires of a Perfect Lady (in stores March 30th). She admits she might be much duller than her husband who is almost always willing to try something new and drags her along kicking and screaming. Much to her delight.

Click here to find out more about this book in our aStore, an Amazon store. And you can order the book there.

Click here for the Romance Blog from the publisher (Avon, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers).

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