I can’t seem to write a romance without pets in it.
Of course people have always had pets—the domesticated dog, for example, predates farming (think hunter-gatherer society). And we see evidences of those friendships in literature as well: in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the Prioress brings on her pilgrimage small dogs she feeds by hand. And across English art, we see animals alongside their humans (as in the portraits of Sir Joshua Reynolds), or just painted on their own, as in the works of George Stubbs, Sawrey Gilpin, or Edwin Henry Landseer.
In Jilting the Duke, Lady Wilmot has a traitorous cat—Artemesia—who is at least a good mouser.
In Chasing the Heiress, Lady Emmeline raises Newfoundland water dogs (a relation of the Labrador retriever, sort of). Em’s dog, Queen Bess and a young pup named Boatswain play an important part in the novel.
The idea of a Newfoundland dog (and his name) comes from George Gordon, Lord Byron, whose own dog Boatswain contracted and died of rabies in 1808, when he was only five years old. Even rabid, (the story goes), Boatswain remained so gentle that Byron nursed him himself.
Byron had a monument for Boatswain erected at Newstead Abbey, his family home in Nottinghamshire, and the inscription begins as follows:
Near this Spot
Are deposited the
Remains of one
Who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
And all the virtues of Man without his Vices.
Below the epitaph, Byron inscribes a poem on man’s vices and dog’s virtues. Byron ends the poem with this couplet:
“To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one—and here he lies.”
Boatswain’s crypt–and Byron’s poem–are a lovely monument to the friendship that can exist between us humans and our animal friends.
To see how dogs save the day (twice), check out Chasing the Heiress!
Heiress On The Run
Lady Arabella Lucia Fairborne has no need of a husband. She has a fine inheritance for the taking, a perfectly capable mind, and a resolve as tough as nails. But what she doesn’t have is the freedom to defy her cousin’s will–and his will is to see her married immediately to the husband of his choosing. So is it any wonder that she dresses herself as a scullery maid and bolts into the night?
Colin Somerville’s current mission for the home office is going poorly. Who would have expected otherwise for a rakish spy tasked with transporting a baby to the care of the royal palace. But when, injured and out of ideas, Colin stumbles upon a beautiful maid who knows her way around a sickroom, it seems salvation has arrived. Until he realizes that though Lucy may be able to help him survive his expedition, he may not escape this ordeal with his heart intact…
“Intrigue, romance, adventure—Chasing the Heiress has it all. I’m a Rachel Miles fan!” —Cathy Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author