Trudy Brasure is the author of A Heart for Milton: A Tale of North and South. Read on to find out more.
Where does your book begin in regards to Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel?
It begins shortly after Mr. Hale’s death, when Aunt Shaw has come to take Margaret back to London. I’ve given a twist to Gaskell’s plot which sends the story in a new direction.
It was my obsession with the heart-wrenching goodbye scene that impelled me to write this story. Actually, it was the miniseries that turned me into a writer, and I know several other authors who can attribute the start of their writing careers to North and South. That’s the power of the miniseries – and of Richard’s amazing acting.
Other than Richard Armitage, who are your top 3 favorite British actors?
Darcy, Darcy, and Rochester: Colin Firth, Matthew Macfayden, and Toby Stephens. Can you tell what I like to watch? I also adored The King’s Speech.
Of course the miniseries led me to the book, which is now my secular bible. I’ve read most of Cranford (I had to return the book to the library before I was finished!) and I’m very curious to read Mary Barton and Ruth but I haven’t done so yet. I’m so busy writing, my reading time has taken a huge plunge.
What are your thoughts on Henry Lennox? Love him? Hate him? Is he simply misunderstood?
That’s a somewhat complicated question because there are practically two versions of Henry. In Gaskell’s book, Henry Lennox is a nice enough fellow; he just isn’t the one for Margaret. He seems content to follow the rather self-consumed patterns of London society which Margaret doesn’t really enjoy. I give him credit for being attracted to Margaret. He likes her intelligence and her unique spirit, but he doesn’t really understand her.
Both the Henry of the book and the Henry of the adaptation have a tenacious hope that Margaret can be won over, given time. Wrong.
In the miniseries, we’re given a delightful dose of sparring between Thornton and Henry at the Exhibition. This Henry has a venomous bite and we’re given a good opportunity to ‘hate’ the arrogant and jealous competitor for Margaret’s heart. We know who we want to win.
I don’t hate Henry, but he can be a great character for emphasizing what it is that Margaret doesn’t want. I dislike Henry only when he’s being condescending, which seems to be a trait in both versions of the character.
My Henry is very displeased when he discovers Margaret is betrothed to Thornton. I use him to rile both John and Margaret at different places in the book.
Your bio says, “The author began her own personal romance story with a whirlwind courtship.” I must know, how did you meet your significant other?
Right after graduating from college, I went to visit my older brother in Boston to scope out the job scene there. I got along fabulously with his roommate that week. Four months later, I moved to Boston to start my first job. After several weeks, this roommate finally gathered the courage to ask me out to a movie – with six other friends!
The next weekend we dined alone at a cozy seaside restaurant. He knew then; I needed a bit more convincing. Ten weeks later we were engaged and seven months later we were married a few blocks away from that same seaside restaurant.
Our courtship may not have been that unusual or lightening-quick, but it sure seemed like a whirlwind to me at the tender age of 23! And yes, we were the kind of couple that made others gag with our doe-eyed looks and giddy smiles.
I think that we would see some of that star-struck adoration between John and Margaret when they finally realize their love for each other.