The Official Essex Sisters Companion Guide
New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James delivers fascinating behind-the-scenes look in the Essex Sisters world, along with a brand-new short story in the series
This is a book no Eloisa James fan should miss! Eloisa revisits the scintillating world of the Essex Sisters with “A Midsummer Night’s Disgrace,” a new story featuring a young lady, Cece, who would rather ruin her own reputation than endure further speculation about whether her children will be “silly,” like her brother, Billy. Happily for fans of Pleasure for Pleasure, Cece’s best friend is Josie, Countess of Mayne!
Just as exciting, the Companion includes not only Eloisa’s original notes about each book and her “extra” chapters, but a 170-page alternate ending to Kiss Me, Annabel. Eloisa discarded this shockingly different plot after writing one draft, and the published novel went in an entirely new direction. Make up your own mind about which is better—Eloisa’s original, or the final book!
Super fan Jody Gayle’s engaging guide includes essays about fascinating historical details, including period fashion designs. Explore the world of horse racing and tour the London theater scene. Delve into the rich history and deep literary tradition that makes Eloisa one of the top writers of historical romance.
The Companion also gives you a sneak peek at Eloisa’s newest full-length novella, “A Gentleman Never Tells”—which springs from the world of the Essex Sisters! What will happen when one of the men who ruined an heiress’ debut by labeling her a “Wooly Breeder” (and Josie Essex a “Scottish Sausage”) decides that it’s time to make amends?
A two part review that focuses on facts and information then on the bonus content
A two part review that focuses on facts and information then on the bonus content (Alternate endings, bonus epilogue and a new short story). This mix of fiction, research notes, editing notes and perspective from the author is a wonderful insight and overview of creating a story.
With editorial notes, small pieces of referential information and inspirations and even a moment where the author and the editors struggle for common ground, this look back at a series shows the affection of an author for her characters and is full of bits for readers who know them well. With the addition of Gayle’s research notes referencing the facts of the day, and the various ways that authors use or ignore the information in the creation of their stories is intriguing. I’m always fascinated with the variation in adherence to societal ‘ways of doing things’ that authors use, and how they find the balance to make a story appealing to a modern reader. From a personal perspective, seeing the editorial notes and suggestions was particularly intriguing – and I may have found a few new ways to coax a desired end in my work.
Then there are the extra chapters, epilogue and new short story. The short story – set in the Essex world is delightfully fun and frothy – with a heroine, tired of the debutante balls and unspoken for as her second season comes to an end. A daring appointment with her modiste resulted in a dress and shoes that are just one step from utter scandal, as Cecilia is determined to cause that scandal, retire to her home in the country and focus on her music. A musical evening and a daring flirtation with the pianist sets up this ‘scandalous’ encounter, until it is determined he is the same boy, now grown up, who used to drop grasshoppers down her dress. Delightfully flirtatious and wonderfully paced, this is a perfect bite for a quick read.
While this is a short read in just 100 or so pages, the information, asides and new information will fuel reader’s interest in re-reading the Essex Sisters stories – something I intend to do this summer.