from Emily Bryan . . .
Many Regency-set historicals feature brooding noblemen and fresh-faced debutants giddy over the fact that there 'are so many eligible dukes this Season!' Then there are the matrons in the corner bemoaning the fact that good help is so difficult to find.
For my novella in A CHRISTMAS BALL, I decided to focus on the help.
My heroine, Jane Tate, is a scullery maid in the home of the Earl of Somerville. She's also the bastard daughter of the great man and when her mother died birthing her, she was raised by the staff below stairs. Since she's restricted from the public and 'Family' areas of the house, the earl has all but forgotten she exists.
Just as there is a hierarchy in nobility, there is a ruthless ranking among servants in a great house. The 'lord below stairs' is the butler, because of his position of influence with the earl. Next comes the housekeeper and the upstairs maids. The closer to the Family, the higher the status of the servant. Which means as the scullery maid, who spends her time helping the cook and running up and down the back staircase with loads of laundry and used crockery, Jane is low on the totem pole indeed.
But don't feel sorry for Jane. She's won the love a good man--Ian Michael MacGregor, the head groom who has a devilishly handsome face and arms strong as English oak.
And Jane is also gifted with an uncanny resemblance to her well-born half-sister. When the sister runs off with an Italian painter, Jane is called upon to pose as Lady Sybil so she can accept the previously arranged and very lucrative proposal of marriage from Viscount Eddleton.
Cinderella is going to the ball, but will she meet a prince there? Click here for a sneak peek! (And while you're there, be sure to enter my CHRISTMAS IN AUGUST Contest for a chance at your pick from my backlist!)
Do you enjoy Christmas anthologies? What's your all-time fav?