In an unforgettable debut, Lisa Berne introduces you to the
Penhallow Dynasty—men destined to marry, but hesitant to love.
Penhallow Dynasty—men destined to marry, but hesitant to love.
YOU MAY KISS THE BRIDE
The Penhallow Dynasty #1
Releasing March 28, 2017
In an unforgettable debut, Lisa Berne introduces you to the Penhallow Dynasty—men destined to marry, but hesitant to love.
Wealthy and arrogant, Gabriel Penhallow knows it’s time to fulfill his dynastic duty. All he must do is follow “The Penhallow way”—find a biddable bride, produce an heir and a spare, and then live separate lives. It’s worked so well for generations, certainly one kiss with the delectable Livia Stuart isn’t going to change things. Society dictates he marry her, and one chit is as good as another as long as she’s from a decent family.
But Livia’s transformation from an original to a mundane diamond of the first water makes Gabriel realize he desperately wants the woman who somehow provoked him into that kiss. And for all the ladies who’ve thrown themselves at him, it’s the one who wants to flee whom he now wants. But how will he keep this independent miss from flying away?
The Penhallow Dynasty is off to a solid start with YOU MAY KISS THE BRIDE by debut author Lisa Berne. Her first book in the series is well paced with a feisty heroine that I really enjoyed. Livia is an orphaned you woman that now lives in England with an uncle who treats her like a stray cat he would like to shake off. Think Cinderella. Her parents were a love match and lived in India where Livia lived happily with them until their death. She doesn't know what her future brings. I felt for her as she dealt with resentment since it was constantly brought up about her being an orfin and receiving the cast off gowns of a wealthy upstanding neighbor and her condescending manner. Cecily is trying to land the big catch of the season, Gabriel Penhallow, an arrogant man from a powerful and wealthy family line.
After spending an unbearable afternoon in the presence of Cecily and her mother, she escapes outdoors where she encounters the man in question. He asks directions in a snooty way after prejudging Livia by her clothes, so she sends him the longest way, as a joke. She encounters him at a ball days later, proking the arrogant man and they end up caught in an embrace that soon has them in an engagement to avoid scandal. Ah, the wonders of Brit high society. Livia finds herself engaged to a man who wants to just park her at one of his family estates in a marriage of convenience and go on with his life. She will also be schooled on becoming the lady wife of Gabriel by none other than his grandmother.
Livia is the star of the book. She has lived a lonely live since living with her uncle and a new way of live is coming her way. She is feisty and takes on the challenge of being a lady, but for a time loses herself and the woman that provoked some emotion in Gabriel. The two do share some passion and heat. Unfortunately, when faced with something that he should have done years ago, shame fills him and he withdraws from his fragile new relationship with Livia. I wish that we got to know more of Gabriel, but I did understand why he acted later on. The grandmother, and his cousin Hugo were good additions to the story as well. All in all, I enjoyed the blossoming of Livia and was glad that she and Gabriel were able to find their HEA. I enjoyed this debut story and look forward to Ms Berne's next addition to the series.
Q&A with Lisa Berne
Describe yourself in five words or less.
Curious, creative; reader, writer, dreamer.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
“Gonna Fly Now” from Rocky. Because perseverance is an important quality for a writer.
Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
Besides the necessary cellphone, wallet, and lip gloss? A little notebook and pen. (I know you said one thing, but this is plainly a writer’s indivisible unit of oneness.) Inspiration can strike at any time, and for me paper’s better than apps for jotting down notes about my writing.
Name three things on your desk right now.
A thesaurus. A couple of houseplants, which I’m sneakily categorizing as “greenery,” because I also want to mention my stack of Post-it Notes, without which I am considerably less productive.
What types of scenes are your most favorite to write?
I love writing scenes in which characters are talking and there are all kinds of things they can’t — or won’t — say embedded within their words, whether it’s because they’re wrestling with their emotions, unaware of their deep true feelings, constricted by the etiquette of the time, other people are around, and so on. Which means that in what seems like a simple conversation, the subtext can be deliciously complicated.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
I’m not the first to suggest that reading — widely and voraciously across multiple genres, both for pleasure and with an analytic eye — is a necessary component for someone wanting to become a writer. There are also a lot of great, insightful books and blogs on the subject; I particularly like Stephen King’s On Writing, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, Gwen Hayes’ Romancing the Beat, and Chuck Wendig’s bracing, blisteringly unsentimental approach to the writing life.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
With pleasure! Coming this summer is the second book in the Penhallow Dynasty series: The Laird Takes a Bride, featuring Scotsman Alasdair Penhallow, who’s forced by an arcane decree to marry and ends up with spirited Fiona Douglass. They’re both very resentful of the situation, and don’t find each other particularly attractive or appealing . . . which is, of course, a highly inauspicious way to begin a marriage. But it’s a very fun way to set a love story in motion.
She had been dismissed. Livia rose and after dipping the briefest of curtsies in Lady Glanville’s direction, went to the door with long strides, so angry that she felt she had to get out of there or explode. Behind her she heard Aunt Bella saying in a soft little bleat, “Livia! No word of gratitude! Pray come back!” Instead, she closed the door with exaggerated gentleness and leaned against it for a moment.
By the bannister stood a maidservant with an armful of gowns. With a muttered sentence of thanks Livia took them and hurried upstairs to her room where with savage satisfaction she flung the gowns against the wall, leaving them to lie in a crumpled heap on the floor. She paced back and forth, back and forth, until the red haze of rage subsided. Then she went to her bed and dropped fulllength upon it with unladylike abandon, causing the old wood frame to creak alarmingly.
It was stupid of her, she knew, to react like that to the Orrs. But it was hard, so hard, when Cecily had every thing and she had so very little. No parents, no brothers or sisters; no money, no education, no prospects.
Your future must be thought of, too.
It was strange, now that she considered it, how little time she had spent thinking about her future. Possibly because there was no point to it. In her existence here she was like a great hoary tree, deeply, immovably, rooted into the earth.
She couldn’t even hang on to the morbid hope of inheriting anything from Uncle Charles when he died. He’d run through most of Aunt Bella’s money ages ago, and year by year everything had slowly declined, dwindled, faded away. Now there wasn’t much left; the estate barely brought in enough for Aunt Bella to pay for her cordial, and for Uncle Charles to spend his days hunting, drinking, and eating. Speaking of romantic marriages.
Well, it could be worse. At least she didn’t have a mother like that revolting Lady Glanville. Imagine having her breathing down one’s neck all day.
Still, this was only a small consolation. A very small consolation.
Livia thought about Cecily’s beautiful white gown and those elegant kid slippers with the dainty pink rosettes.
It was those rosettes that did it.
Envy, like a nasty little knife slipping easily into soft flesh, seemed to pierce her very soul.
Abruptly Livia twisted onto her side and stared at nothing.
She would not cry.
Crying never helped anything.
There came to her, suddenly, the memory of the first time she had met Cecily, some twelve years ago; they’d both been around six. Cecily and her mother had come to call. Livia, recently arrived from faraway India, desperately lonely, was so anxious to be friends with the lovely, beautifully dressed girl with the long shining curls. Shyly she had approached, trying to smile, and Cecily had responded by saying in a clear, carrying voice:
“Oh, you’re the little orfin girl. Your papa was sent away from here and he died. And your grandpapa was a runaway and he drownded. And your mama drownded, too. Why is your skin so brown? Are you dirty?” And she had backed away, to hide behind the skirts of her mother Lady Glanville, who had said to her, with that same cold smile that never reached her eyes, “Poor little Livia isn’t a native, my dear, she’s every bit as English as you and I. The sun shines quite fiercely in India, and she had no mama or papa to make sure she stayed under her parasol. Do you see?”
Livia had never forgotten the burning sense of shame from that day. Nor had Cecily made it any easier, for from time to time she would laughingly recall the occasion of their first meeting and how she had thought Livia to be unwashed, as if it was the funniest anecdote in all the world.
Livia did not like to remember, even if only hazily, how when she was four, the monsoon season struck Kanpur with devastating onslaughts of rain. Both her widowed mother and her grandfather had died in a great flood, and it was with grudging reluctance that Uncle Charles had sent money for his niece’s passage to England.
Upon arriving in Wiltshire, Livia was not so much welcomed into the home—if such the ancient, ram bling domicile known as Ealdor Abbey could be so termed—of Uncle Charles and Aunt Bella, as absorbed. Aside from grumbling within earshot about the expense of feeding her, Uncle Charles barely noticed her. Aunt Bella, childless, somnolent, always unwell, with interest in neither Society nor useful occupation, accepted Livia’s presence without a blink but also without care or concern for the little girl for whom she was, ostensibly, responsible.
Oh, you’re the little orfin girl.
Livia smiled without humor.
Yes indeed, Cecily certainly had a knack for getting to the heart of things.
Lisa Berne read her first Georgette Heyer book at fourteen, and was instantly captivated. Later, she was a graduate student, a grantwriter, and an investment banker, but is thrilled to be returning to her roots and writing her own historical-romance novels! She lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest