The other week it was the book launch of the fabulous Amita Murray's Unladylike Lessons in Love. As Rosa Temple (my pen name) I was asked by Amita to host the author Q&A. It was an absolute privilege and an honour to have been asked to do this.
It was a really good reason to take a rare trip into London. A bit of a traumatic rush to make it on time to the event, reminding me yet again why I left London for a rural life. Too much traffic, hold ups and so many crowds. It took a good 20 minutes to find the correct exit from Clapham Junction Station! That said I made it to Waterstones just as the regency dancers, all in costume, were in the middle of a dance routine. Picture Bridgerton in the middle of Waterstones and you'll get the idea. The audience was asked to join in but I was too hot and flustered and had to find the drinks table before I combusted.
During the evening I met some interesting authors and caught up with writer friends that I either hadn't seen in a while or have only been in contact with on social media. It made me realise that not being in London makes networking with writers a little more difficult and reminded me of the importance of staying in the 'writers' loop.
Unladylike Lessons in Love by Amita Murray - The blurb
As the daughter of an English earl and his Indian mistress, impulsive Lila Marleigh has already broken the rules of society into tiny pieces.
When a face she never thought she would see again appears and begs for help, Lila must court notoriety once more and pit her wits against the annoyingly handsome aristocrat, Ivor Tristram. But does she risk opening her heart to the one person who can break it…?
I am not exactly a fan of regency romance but I quickly became a fan of this book. Amita's storytelling is compelling and I was easily and quickly drawn into the world of Lila Marleigh and the society she moves in. Being the owner of a fashionable salon, this feisty and determined heroine is by no means the demure, wallflower that the times would dictate she be. She very much goes against the rules. Her ethnic origin makes for a more appealing and insightful read. Lila is very much aware of her sexuality and there are some very spicy scenes in the book which, for a heroine of South Asian decent, is most unusual in literature.
I love the references to colonial rule, the rules of society and then sinking into the seamier side of London life with visits to rat pits, meeting prostitutes and people having run ins with the police.
In this novel there is a love story, a crime story and there is an introduction to the rest of the Marleigh sisters which was very intriguing and a lovely. This being book 1 of a series, there are some lovely cliff hangers that can be explored in further books.
Themes covered in this book include race, colonialism and social injustice which sound heavy but are woven into a narrative that doesn't hold back but captivates your imagination and will definitely be an eye opener to some readers. I highly recommend this book!