Novel Reaction is excited to welcome Elizabeth Boyle as part of her blog tour for If Wishes Were Earls (you can read my review here) telling us a bit more about the necklace that plays such a key role in the novel. First though, a little bit more about Elizabeth:
Elizabeth Boyle is the author of 22 Regency set historical romances. Her love of the Georgian period is woven into her stories, setting lovers amongst the battlefields of Spain, the treachery of the French Revolution and the world of spies and con artists. Read more about her novels and various series at her website, ElizabethBoyle.com.
The real challenge of writing If Wishes Were Earls wasn’t the fact that the two characters were madly in love from page one (which believe me—is truly a challenge) but it turned out to be finding the right sub-plot to explain the villainy being perpetuated against the Earl of Roxley. It had to be something he’d had no hand in and no knowledge of so the discovery of it would take both time and leave him gobsmacked.
It was sort of one of those pace-the-floor and dig-around-in-my-research-books problems. I threw away over 100 pages of one idea. Another 50 of yet another. Nothing seemed to work. That is until I turned to Roxley’s gadabout parents and their penchant for gambling.
If they had been on the Continent when Roxley was young . . . I asked myself. Which led me to Paris, which led me to the scandal of that year: The Affair of the Diamond Necklace.
For those not familiar with the story, The Queen’s Necklace was originally a grand diamond necklace commissioned by the previous French king for his mistress—but before he could give it to his paramour, he died of smallpox and his mistress sent packing. For the jewelers this was a nightmare—because they hadn’t been paid—and no one other than royalty could afford such a costly piece. For years, they sought buyers to this necklace but to no avail. No queens wanted it because it had been designed for a courtesan. They even offered it to Marie Antoinette at a bargain, but she refused.
That was when the Comtessa de la Motte entered the picture. A con artist with very sketchy aristocratic connections she managed to convince the Cardinal Rohan—who had gained the Queen’s disfavor—that a necklace such as that might win back the Queen’s good graces. Further, the kindly comtessa graciously offered to act as the middleman for the cardinal. Of course, once she had the necklace, she and her husband broke it up, her husband taking the bulk of the stones to sell in London.
And that was where I saw my opportunity. What if the Comte de la Motte, like the earl’s parents was a gambler at heart, and what if while trying to lay low as he fled to London, he came upon what looked like an easy game of cards with an Englishman . . . and what if de la Motte lost?
Yes, I had my sub-plot—because a cache of diamonds could be easily hidden, lusted after, and most importantly, be of intense interest for some really deviously evil people who were willing to wait to get their hands on a treasure hoarde.
But it isn’t always easy weaving an actual historical event into a fictional novel. The timeline of events must be to the letter perfect. The fictional story must weave into the actual facts, filling up where there are openings in the historical accounts and allowing the real facts to remain untouched. And since there is no account how de la Motte got to London, there was one hole. What happened to the diamonds once they reached London is yet another. They were sold—but there were speculations and rumors about how many were sold and to whom.
Like my villains, I couldn’t resist the lure of such a literal story gem. And I had to wonder what the Earl of Roxley and his dear Harriet would do once they found these perfect diamonds. I know what I would do…..
Thanks Elizabeth for sharing with us a little more about the mysterious diamond necklace at the center of If Wishes Were Earls. It has always fascinated me that such a cold looking stone (diamonds) have the ability to inspire such passion and desire in the hearts of men (and women), not that I am one to speak because goodness knows I love me some bling. If Wishes Were Earls is the third book in the Rhymes With Love series.
Rhymes with Love Reading Order:
Harriet Hathaway has only ever wanted one man: the Earl of Roxley. After a passionate interlude at a house party, Harriet is convinced Roxley will do the right thing and propose. But when she returns to London, she finds the roguish earl on the verge of proposing to another.
Yet Harriet refuses to believe that her hopes of a happily ever after are completely lost—for she can see the desire still flickering in the earl’s eyes when he looks at her from across the dance floor. And when they are alone…there is one wish neither can deny.
The most extraordinary things can happen.
The Earl of Roxley is in a dangerous fix—and to keep Harriet safe, he must hold her at arm’s length. He won’t entangle her in the murderous mystery that is threatening to destroy his family and his future. But keeping Harriet Hathaway out of his troubles proves as impossible as it was to keep the determined beauty from stealing his heart.