Rory, or Gregory Scott, Earl of Bailey, is a fairly new character for me. Whereas, William, Robert, and Richard, have been with me since I first started working on the Reluctant Grooms series (almost 10 years ago), Rory came into being recently. (In book years, about two years ago.)
|Scott G.F. Bailey|
He's based on a composite of several different people I know, most notably, one Scott G. F. Bailey, a fantastic writer of literary genius. Scott allowed me to use his name for Rory's character (naturally I changed it around a little bit), and though never having met Scott in person, I do know that he puts his writing first and foremost above all else in his life. (Well, after his lovely Mighty Reader of course.) And that is what I took away from Scott to create Rory.
Almost from the very beginning, Rory declares he's not in want of a wife. In THE LADY'S FATE, where we initially meet Rory, he is duped into coming to London to rescue the fair Lady Violet from the vicious rumors circulating about her. She needs a husband because Haverlane is not forthcoming in his declaration of love for her. Lady Olivia has a plan and that plan is to make Haverlane jealous enough to come up to scratch. Naturally, it works, because I wrote the book. Haverlane denounces the rumors surrounding Violet and they finally marry and fade off quietly into the sunset.
But then, I had Rory's character I really enjoyed and wanted to do something with. I also had a secondary character named Rosamund (who's also been with me since the inception of THE LADY'S MASQUERADE from 10 years ago) and I thought, Hey, why not put those two together.
And so Rory had his story.
Rory, to me, is a lot like Darcy in his initial aspect. He looks down his nose at Rosamund because, even though she is a lady, she acts fairly common. What he doesn't understand is that she's trying to save her family from utter destitution. What he comes to realize, is that the poor girl had no choice. After a debilitating humiliation during her first Season, Rosamund gives up her life in Society to take care of her now, aging and infirm father. No one truly knows what Rosamund's life is like at Primrose, especially her extended family, and when Rory is thrust into the middle of it, his eyes are opened.
Rory comes across at the beginning of THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT as a pompous aristocrat. Which he is. I wanted him that way, otherwise, how could he change so dramatically as the story moved forward.
However, what I really liked about Rory is that underneath all his snobbery, is a good, kind, gentle-hearted man, who will do what's right for the people he loves. In the beginning, naturally, Rory has no idea he's doing all the things he's doing because he loves Rosamund. He declares he's doing them in his regard for Rosamund's father. Which he is.
Rosamund is a surly character (I mean, wouldn't you be too if your life was spent in drudgery), and thinks Rory is only at Primrose to out her for writing her father's last research paper for the Royal Historical Society. He's not, but she doesn't know that and treats him abominably. Even after he does all the things he does for her and her parents.
It was so much fun to make these two characters fall in love. I also like the way they changed their ideas about one another. Rory makes a declaration to Rosamund, that he thinks of her as "a most beloved sister." And Rosamund goes into a tailspin because her parents and old governess keep telling her he's doing all the the things he does for her. She has no clue what to believe.
And the more Rory spends time in her company, the more he realizes what a strong, independent woman she is, so unlike the ladies of Society, (who are mostly all cut from the same cloth). His idea of a most beloved sister was shaken to the core when he sees her at a dinner party, all dressed up and acting like the lady she is supposed to be.
I know that was kind of cliche, seeing the ogre turn into a Princess, but it's my story and I'm sticking to it. I mean, how else could Rory understand that Rosamund, would indeed be the perfect wife for him.
Sharing only one kiss in the entire book, I think the romantic aspect of the is story is genuine. Rosamund is clearly undone by the kiss, and her eyes are opened to the idea that she does love Rory. He is not the thorn in her side that she made him out to be.
And Rory, finally realizing he does love Rosamund, takes the hero's role to new heights and finds her father's missing fortune. Yes, another cliche, but isn't that what hero's are supposed to do -- rescue the damsel in distress?
It's funny how over the years, every story I write is my new favorite. From William and Penny, to Greenleigh and Illora, and Dorcas and Daniel, Davingdale and Ophelia, to Robert and Fiona, and Ellis and Violet. I love all my characters and their love stories, but I think I love Rory and Rosamund's love story the best.
(Okay, maybe second best. I still love Violet and Ellis more.)
Anne Gallagher (c) 2013