Fiona has always been one of my favorite heroines. Due to her father's machinations, she is forced into marriage with Robert. And believe me, Robert is not the easiest man to get along with.
Fiona lost her mother in a freak riding accident and Fiona's father, the Laird Stewart, has always blamed her. The guilt Fiona carries is overwhelming at times. Her lot in life is to take care of her father. She has no friends, no hope for marriage with a member of her own clan, nothing to look forward to.
When Robert shows up at Castle Cornann to discuss farm and sheep interests with her father, she admits she admires his mind, Robert is a brilliant businessman after all. But he's standoffish, pompous, callous, has no feelings. He also has a problem holding his liquor and when the Laird Stewart sets Robert and Fiona up to entrap them, the only outcome is marriage.
Fiona is not happy, Robert is irate, and there is nothing they can do to get out of it. Divorce was just not an option. (Well, it was, but it was expensive and highly scandalous.) Robert cannot do that to his family. Robert comes up with a plan for annulment, but that doesn't go the way he plans either. Fiona and Robert are stuck with each other for six months.
Robert places restrictions on Fiona when they arrive in London, and she's unsure what will become of her. He doesn't want her out in public. Even though she's an Earl's daughter and perfectly acceptable as a bride, Robert thinks she's too backward.
Fiona is welcomed to the family by Robert's mother, and when she's told they are to separate, Lady Joanna takes Fiona under her wing and prompts Fiona to fight for her husband. Unfortunately, Fiona finds herself mired in scandal after scandal. Naturally, it's not her fault, just the circumstances, and Fiona finds that Robert is not the man she thought him to be. He can be kind when he wants to be and Fiona begins to fall in love with him.
Fiona finds a friend in the Earl of Greenleigh, and Robert is jealous though, his jealousy is unfounded. However, that bit of emotion allows Robert to finally express his real feelings for Fiona.
Everyone is happy for a change, but that is short lived when Robert's ex-fiancé shows up out of the blue and wants Robert back.
Fiona does the only thing she can under the circumstances. She leaves him.
In writing this plot line, I took that saying "when you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it's yours, if it doesn't, then it wasn't". Or something like that. But you know what I mean. I wanted to show Fiona in charge of her own life because for most of it, she was under the thumb of her father, and then Robert. She needed to find her own independence, her own soul, if you will.
Although this book is not one of my best sellers, I received the highest compliment from a reviewer. She said it made her cry. And truthfully, that is how I rate my books. If they make me cry as I'm writing them, I know I've done a good job.
Tell me -- Have you read THE DUKE'S DIVORCE? Did it make you cry? How do you judge a good book?
Anne Gallagher (c) 2013