Kate Noble's The Game and the Governess is our August Top Pick in Romance! A tale of swapped identities with plenty of Jane Austen flair, the first novel in Noble's new Regency series gives a boastful Earl a much-needed reality check. Our reviewer, Christie Ridgway, calls this Romance "a delicious treat," and the insightful, strong-willed Phoebe is a heroine readers won't soon forget.
We caught up with Noble and chatted about her characters, the surprising feminism of Jane Eyre, writing for television and more in a 7 questions interview.
Describe your book in one sentence.
Trading Places comes to the Regency when Ned, the Earl of Ashby, decides to switch places with his secretary John Turner—wagering that he can get anyone to fall in love with him . . . but no one expects the governess, Phoebe Baker to turn everything on it’s head.
What do you love most about Ned, The Earl of Ashby?
I love his obliviousness. I know, it’s an odd thing to say, but it amuses me so much that he thinks he’s universally beloved because of his charm, when really, he takes a great deal for granted: his position as a peer, his friendship with Turner and how the world reacts to him. I loved watching him come down a peg or two as he learned what the world really thinks about him—and how he goes about adjusting his own opinion.
What do you love most about Phoebe Baker?
That she is subversively happy. Here is someone who has been dealt the worst kind of luck, but instead of letting it sour her attitude on life, she finds small things to be happy about. Happiness, for Phoebe, is a decision. One that she makes every single day.
Name one book you think everyone should read.
Jane Eyre. It’s the most crackingly feminist of the popular romantic era novels. To have someone who is in a subservient role, a woman, with nothing to recommend her, say to the man who she loves that she’s a human being too and she cannot be treated immorally? Hot damn, does Jane have a spine.
How do you balance your time between writing for television—most notably for "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries"—as Kate Rorick and your Romance alter-ego, Kate Noble?
I have no idea. I find that I rocket back and forth between them blindly, hoping no one notices that I’m usually one or two steps behind on my endless to-do list.
What about the Regency era inspires you most?
The rules of the era mean that women had very little choice—but one choice they did have, which would greatly affect every other aspect of their lives, was whom they married. Therefore, they had to be very, very careful choosing the person they fell in love with—because love could be the most daring, dangerous thing they could do.
What are you working on next?
I’m hard at work on the next book in the Winner Takes All series! This story will belong to John Turner—the secretary with whom Ned traded places. He’s fairly mixed up by his experiences playing the Earl, as well…