I think ours might be the only household in the country that hasn’t seen the television series Bridgerton so when I heard Gillian Hawser’s writing might transport me to a similar era, I simply had to invite her onto Linda’s Book Bag to stay in with me. My thanks to Sophie Morgan at Troubador for putting us in touch with one another.
Staying in with Gillian Hawser
Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Gillian. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me. Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?
The Rake. I have chosen this as one of two books which I have written recently which take place at the turn of the 19th C. I am particularly obsessed by this period – the Whig aristocracy, were unique, essentially a governing class –they ran the country for most of the 18th C. Economic power was concentrated in the landed interest and they owned most of the land. Having said that they were educated, they were political, they patronised the arts, they hunted and danced but women such as Lady Melbourne who is in The Rake (as the godmother to Grizelda) or the Duchess of Devonshire were as politically motivated as their husbands. They governed in every area … Foreign Office boxes littered their houses.
Behind every great man eh…?
What can we expect from an evening in with The Rake?
It is a love story, as Jane Austen’s stories are love stories but my main characters learn through their misadventures – they develop and change; Jaspar, the rake, recognises poverty and illness.
In my other book The Arranged Marriage Perpetua learns to stand up to the world. I am conscious that many girls are bullied – maybe bullied is too strong a word but forced to do as their mother’s wish … and I don’t think this is simply found in the 18th/19th C – it is still around today. It was hard for women then but it’s still problematical now.
It most definitely is Gillian. We are not good at learning lessons from history.
What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?
I have brought fruit and chocolates!
Thanks so much Gillian. What are you working on now?
I am currently completing a book about three girls who meet in a home for unmarried mothers in 1946. Different period but some of the problems for women are universal.
That sounds great. Thanks so much for staying in with me this evening. You share out the chocolates and I’ll tell readers more about The Rake.
A remarkable tale of redemption and transformation, The Rake is a love story set against the backdrop of a changing world.
It is the turn of the 19th Century and Lord Jaspar Heddington is a rich handsome rake, who womanises with impunity, indulged by the world he inhabits who turn a blind eye to his peccadilloes. However, when Jaspar seduces the beautiful, innocent Laura Ludgrove, the enusing scandal is different.
To escape the fallout, his beloved sister, Nillie, orders him out of London and back to Bardfield, his estate in the country. On the journey, he encounters a mysterious and beautiful girl who captivates him – and then unexpectedly shoots him. Wounded and bleeding, his life is ultimately saved by young Dr Horace Sugden, a trailblazer of the new scientific world.
Overwhelmed, Jaspar struggles to understand why he was shot. Still haunted by the strange encounter, Jaspar decides to search for the girl who invades his dreams – but will he emerge with more than he bargained for?
Published by Matador on 1st August 2021, The Rake is available for purchase through the links here.
About Gillian Hawser
Gillian Hawser is an internationally renowned casting director, BAFTA Film Committee and Council member and BIFA chair.