Locus Focus: Take Forty-Two!
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I don't know about you, but I'll be relieved to say goodbye to "Romancelandia" next month. As magical as any place is where the right things always happen to the right people, at the right time, and in the right way (without actually interfering with any of the conflict in the plot!) . . . I find that it's not very satisfying as the bulk of my literary diet.
Remember that next Saturday is for our Battlegrounds Theme Challenge. Share a post on a place in literature that has something to do with war!
Scandal in Spring
by Lisa Kleypas
To Daisy's delight, she was installed in her favourite bedroom in the manor. The lovely, quaint room had once belonged to Lord Westcliff's sister Lady Aline, who now resided in America with her husband and son. The most charming feature of the bedroom was the tiny attached cabinet room that had been brought over from France and reassembled. It had originally come from a seventeenth-century chateau and had been fitted with a chaise that was perfect for napping or reading.
Curled with one of her books in a corner of the chaise, Daisy felt as if she were hidden from the rest of the world. Oh, if only she could stay here at Stony Cross and live with her sister forever! But even as the thought occurred to her, she knew she would never be completely happy that way. She wanted her own life . . . her own husband, her own children.
If I had wanted to focus on Hearts instead of Horror this month, I would have submitted this setting for the Romantic Rendezvous challenge. (Don't I seem to say that every week? =P)
The beautiful and rambling Hampshire estate of Stony Cross Park has been a backdrop in seven Lisa Kleypas novels, and has always obligingly adjusted its atmosphere to match whichever love story is being told. It is a very encouraging place for lovers, willing to arrange "accidental" meetings, keep their secrets, and make sure everyone is shown to best advantage, whether it takes the torchlight of its centuries-old May Day festival or a bright spring morning and a really angry goose. (I'm so happy that I got to write that line.)
We first see Stony Cross Park in a much earlier novel, the story of the old Lord Westcliff's daughter Lady Aline and the increasingly dear friend she has known since childhood. They met when his parents died and her family took him in . . . to be one of the boot blacks. Ah, aristocratic angst! It's a little early for Stony Cross Park to seem more than your generic, socially stratified Regency-era estate. In fact, the commoner hero and high-born heroine ultimately realise they can never live there and cross an entire ocean to make their own home together. But this setting is not selfish; it seems happy that they're happy and just continues playing matchmaker.
Four books later, when Daisy, the new Lord Westcliff's sister-in-law, finds herself installed in Lady Aline's old bedroom, it is clear that Stony Cross Park has a kind of magic that goes beyond the endless serendipity of "Romancelandia." Although a great romantic, Daisy has been a wallflower for three London seasons in a row; and after having tried the usual means of finding a husband and having failed at all of them, she is left with no better alternative than tossing a pin into Stony Cross Park's legendary wishing well and hoping that the Well-Spirit will be as generous to her as it has been to her friends.
Was there ever a doubt that any part of Stony Cross Park would come through for a young woman about to lose hope? Mere seconds after she tosses an entire rack of pins into the spring-fed well, crediting them all towards the same wish, she hears a twig snap behind her. The matchmaking estate has been several steps ahead of her all this time: the man she has just wished for is already there.
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I can't wait to read what everyone has to say! =D
This Week's Other Locus:
The Blue Scholars' Northwest @ What Kate's Reading
Image Source: Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas