Shannon here: Mary Davis shares her inspiration for her latest Historical Romance, The Daughter’s Predicament. All comments will into the drawing for mine and Tina Radcliffe’s title, Sweetheart Reunion. Deadline: May 11th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Mary:
Eenie Meenie Miney Mo
The simplest answer is because The Daughter’s Predicament is book 2 in the Quilting Circle series. But that’s a boring answer. So, why this story in particular?
I wanted to explore an arranged marriage situation. Some arranged marriage stories I’ve read went one of two ways. Either the heroine’s intended husband-to-be is a great guy and the heroine falls in love with him, or the heroine’s intended husband-to-be is a terrible guy and the real hero of the story is the person the heroine ends up with.
I wanted to create a situation where the readers would be rooting for each of the different suitors. I didn’t want it to be obvious who Isabelle would end up with. I wanted readers to be able to see Isabelle happily married to any one of these charming gentlemen.
I didn’t want Isabelle’s decision to be an easy one, so I made all her suitors endearing. And to complicate things and to not give her an easy out by just refusing the arranged marriage, I also needed to give her a reason to seriously contemplate the arrangement. To have a consequence that she cared about if she chose to refuse the arranged marriage. Enter her foolish, naïve younger half-sister who’s gotten herself in the family way out of wedlock, and whom Isabelle loves dearly.
Just when Isabelle has found some independence with her safety bicycle, enabling her to go where she wants, when she wants, she’s faced with a forced marriage and to raise her sister’s baby.
In chapter one, we first meet Isabelle’s best friend Grant, next her secret admirer by way of a love poem he left her, then Shane the handsome rancher she’s had her eye on, and lastly Oliver the kind banker her parents have arranged for her to marry. All excellent choices.
Who will Isabelle end up with?
Who will you root for her to marry?
Excerpt from the Daughter’s Predicament by Mary Davis:
[It’s 1893 in Central Washington State, Isabelle has had a positively wonderful day. She’s been out riding her bicycle, received a love poem from a secret admirer, and had a swoon-worthy encounter with a handsome rancher.]
Marguerite stalked in from the front hall. “Finally, you’re home. Where have you been?”
Even Isabelle’s stepmother couldn’t spoil her buoyant mood. “My bicycle got banged up. I had to take it to be repaired.”
“That thing is a menace. You’re a young lady, not a hooligan. Not to worry. You won’t be riding that anymore.”
“Why not? It’s mine.” Isabelle’s bicycle gave her freedom. That it irritated Marguerite was a bonus.
“Because it’s unladylike. Come into the parlor.” Her stepmother strode back the way she’d come. “Your father and I need to talk to you.”
Isabelle tagged along in her wake. She didn’t like the superior tone in Marguerite’s voice. It always meant trouble for Isabelle. “About what?” She stopped short over the parlor’s threshold.
Her father stood by the fireplace with a worried expression. Her eighteen-year-old half-sister sat on the settee, picking at a thread on her sleeve cuff.
Something menacing hung in the air. “What’s this all about?”
Her stepmother eased herself onto a wingback chair. “Your life is about to change. All our lives are about to change.”
“We’ve arranged a marriage for you.”
Isabelle sucked in a breath and choked on the air. She coughed several times before she could speak. “What? To whom? I don’t want to marry someone I’m not in love with.” Right now, she wasn’t in love with anyone.
“Mr. Oliver Mallory.”
“The banker? He’s so old.”
“Watch your tone,” Marguerite snapped. “He’s only thirty-six. That’s not so old.”
Isabelle shook her head. “Why would I agree to marry him?”
Her stepmother, sitting on the edge of her seat, didn’t blink. “It’s for the good of the family.”
Marry a banker? For the good of the family? Isabelle shifted her gaze to Father. “Are we in financial trouble?”
He gave a snort of dismissive laughter. “Don’t be silly.”
“Then why would you want me to marry a banker I don’t love ‘for the good of the family’?” When her father remained silent, Isabelle turned to Marguerite. This had to be her doing. “Why?”
“It seems our precious Adelaide has gotten herself into a little bit of trouble.” Her stepmother’s voice wavered slightly on the last word, and she fidgeted with her handkerchief, tugging at the corner. A sure sign something had unnerved her. She rarely ever got rattled.
“What kind of trouble?”
Marguerite’s jaw worked back and forth, and her lips parted as if to speak.
Isabelle shifted her gaze to her sister. “What kind of trouble are you in?”
Adelaide chewed furiously on her bottom lip as she spoke. “I… sort of… I’m kind of…”
Her father finally blurted out the words. “Your sister has gotten herself in the family way.”
“What?” Isabelle sat on the settee next to her sister. “How did this happen?”
Adelaide didn’t have a beau. Did she? She was barely eighteen, old enough to get married, but still young. “He said he loved me.”
An odd animal-like sound came from her sister.
Marguerite narrowed her eyes. “She won’t tell us, but that really doesn’t matter. The boy would never be suitable for her. You will marry Oliver Mallory and pretend to be expecting right away. When we can no longer conceal Adelaide’s condition, she will remain in seclusion for the duration of her time. After the child is born, you’ll say it’s yours, and my dear sweet Adelaide will be free of this burden.”
While saddling Isabelle with it. Unbelievable. “Has Mr. Mallory agreed to this?”
“He owes your father a favor.”
Probably not one this big that will last the rest of his life. “Why me? Why doesn’t Adelaide marry him?”
“You’re the oldest. You must marry first. Adelaide is too young.”
Isabelle turned an imploring gaze on her father. “Say I don’t have to do this.”
“I think your mother knows what’s best.” He looked resigned.
Isabelle wasn’t. This couldn’t be her fate.
First of all, Marguerite wasn’t Isabelle’s mother, but Isabelle wasn’t allowed to voice that fact. Hers had died when she was very young, and Marguerite never truly treated Isabelle as a daughter.
Second, her stepmother didn’t know what was best for Isabelle, and third, her father didn’t argue with his wife. Marguerite wouldn’t let him. He always gave in to her because it was easier.
“I won’t do it. You can’t make me.”
Marguerite raised one pale eyebrow. “Can’t we?”
That look sent a cold shiver down Isabelle’s back. “Why must I pay for Adelaide’s mistake?”
“Because she has a bright future. I’ve been in correspondence with Lord Blaine in Boston. He’s interested in meeting your sister and will make a wonderful match for her. You wouldn’t deny your sister the opportunity to marry a titled man, would you? Don’t be selfish. Think of her future.”
Her stepmother was attempting to arrange a marriage for Adelaide with a lord, so Isabelle was to be the sacrificial lamb to sweep Adelaide’s transgression under the rug?
Adelaide sat next to her on the settee with her shoulders hunched and arms crossed over her stomach.
“All things work together for the good. And this marriage is for the good of the whole family. Don’t be selfish by thinking only of yourself.”
Isabelle hated it when Marguerite spouted Scripture for her own benefit. She understood her stepmother’s need to protect her daughter, but to sacrifice Isabelle to do it wasn’t fair. She didn’t have much choice when Father sided with his wife. Was there any way for her to get out of this?
About Mary: Mary Davis is a bestselling, award-winning novelist of over two dozen titles in both historical and contemporary themes. Her 2018 titles include; “Holly and Ivy” in A Bouquet of Brides Collection (January), Courting Her Amish Heart (March), The Widow’s Plight (July), Courting Her Secret Heart (September), “Zola’s Cross-Country Adventure” in The MISSAdventure Brides Collection (December), and Courting Her Prodigal Heart (January 2019). Coming in 2019, The Daughter’s Predicament (May) and “Bygones” in Thimbles and Threads (July). She is a member of ACFW and active in critique groups.
Mary lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband of over thirty-four years and two cats. She has three adult children and two incredibly adorable grandchildren. Find her online at:
About the book – The Daughter’s Predicament (Book 2 in the Quilting Circle series)
Can a patient love win her heart?
As Isabelle Atwood’s romance prospects are turning in her favor, a family scandal derails her dreams. While making a quilt for her own hope chest, Isabelle’s half-sister becomes pregnant out of wedlock and Isabelle–always the unfavored daughter–becomes the family sacrifice to save face. Despite gaining the attention of a handsome rancher, her parents are pressuring her to marry a man of their choosing to rescue her sister’s reputation. A third suitor waits silently in the wings, hoping for his own chance at love. Isabelle ends up with three marriage proposals, but this only further confuses her decision.
A handsome rancher, a stranger, and an unseen suitor are all waiting for an answer. Isabelle loves her sister, but will she really allow herself to be manipulated into a marriage without love? Will Isabelle capitulate and marry the man her parents wish her to, or will she rebel and marry the man they don’t approve of? Or will the man leaving her secret love poems sweep her off her feet?
Get your copy now! The Daughter’s Predicament
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