Everyone loves a makeover. Whether it’s Cinderella, My Fair Lady, or The Biggest Loser, the idea of transforming into a new and better version of yourself is a fascinating possibility. Who doesn’t wonder if a a few changes here or there—from a new hair color to going back to college to finish a degree—could make a real difference in your life?
While most of us only daydream, the heroine of my new historical romance, A Reckless Desire, decides to take the plunge and change everything about herself. To achieve her dream of becoming a famous actress, Lucia di Rossi agrees to alter not only her clothing and appearance, but also her manners, how she speaks, even how she walks. She’s so desperate to escape her bleak life as a servant that when fate offers her the opportunity for such a change, she’s willing to overlook the questionable motives behind that opportunity.
And they are questionable. Fueled by too much brandy, Lord Rivers Fitzroy grandly wagers with a friend that he can turn the scrawny little serving-girl into a Shakespearean actress and the queen of the London stage. (These two paintings from my Pinterest board are a good idea of Lucia’s hopeful before-and-after.) It’s a wager Rivers forgets the morning after he’s made it—but when Lucia appears on his doorstep, eager to begin her lessons, he decides to honor the wager anyway. Rivers is a bookish gentleman (and we all agree that reading is sexy!) who believes that anything and everything can be learned with a little application and hard work. Why can’t he transform Lucia into the most glorious butterfly?
But what begins as a drunken bet and an intellectual challenge soon grows into something more—much more. Rivers isn’t prepared for Lucia’s raw talent and her determination to succeed, and Lucia is blindsided by just how inspiring her tutor turns out to be. And neither of them expects the fireworks that result when his intellectual reserve meets her impulsive emotions, or that the love and passion that result will change them both forever. That’s a real transformation!