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THE WISE VIRGIN AND THE FOOLISH VIRGIN
by Louisa Rawlings
You make them as different from each other as you can.
That’s the situation I encountered when I was writing my book about the Adirondacks in the 1870s. I had visited the mountains with my family, toured the beautiful museum at Blue Mountain Lake, and seen a fancy vintage railroad car with a velvet and gold braid-swagged bedroom. “Aha!” I thought. “I can write a great sex scene there!”
And so began the adventures of Marcy Tompkins, a country girl, smart and beautiful, knowledgeable in the ways of the woods, open to new experiences. She helps guide a group of “city slickers” and falls in love with Drew Bradford, a rich man’s son from New York City. Scorning his father’s vast wealth and businesses, Drew is an artist who yearns to go to Paris and paint. Their romance is filled with laughter and loving teasing, culminating in Marcy’s willing surrender to Drew’s lovemaking.
And then there is Willough Bradford, Drew’s sister, who yearns to be taken into the business by her father. Prim, constrained by Victorian conventions, clueless about most things sexual, she imagines her perfect hero as a proper gentleman. When she meets Nat, a foreman in her father’s iron forge business, she is attracted yet frightened at the same time. His raw sexuality is something she has been taught to fear.
Of course there is a villain, Arthur Gray, a slick New York politician, who manages to mess up both Marcy’s and Willough’s plans. WIllough particularly nearly destroys her life by favoring Arthur’s sly, but gentlemanly seductions over Nat’s more physical approach.
This complicated plot allowed me to explore the logging as well as the iron industries that flourished in the Wilderness at that time. I was also able to explore Paris, since Drew and Marcy go there. He even exhibits his work at the first Impressionist show. (What fun to bring in Renoir, Degas and the others!) And Arthur’s connections to the corrupt political world of New York at that time allowed me to expand on that theme as well. (Happily, my research revealed that the Impressionists exhibited in Paris in the same year that the notorious Boss Tweed was convicted of his crimes and went to jail.) And the overarching theme of the book is the destruction of the Wilderness, a theme that will resonate with many environmentalists today.
It was fun to bounce back and forth between these two women’s stories. Interestingly, when I had finished the book, I checked the pages and discovered that I had devoted exactly the same number of pages to each woman!
Incidentally, the title of this article comes from Roberta Gellis, who characterized the women in that fashion---very accurately, I might add.♥
Romantic Times. It will be released as an e-book in May by Samhain. Louisa Rawlings, a/k/a Sylvia Halliday, can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SylviaHallidayAuthor. Two more of her books, STOLEN SPRING and PROMISE OF SUMMER will be released later this year by Samhain. Seven of her books are available now on audio through Amazon. Link to FOREVER WILD in audio: http://www.amazon.com/Forever-Wild/dp/B00BQNZHUS/ref=sr_1_2_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1365440572&sr=1-2&keywords=forever+wild+audio.
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