by Caren Crane
Oh, my, that was a tease of a title! This is actually an interview with a former courtesan. Many of you have had the great pleasure to read Claudia Dain's fabulous Courtesan Chronicles I am sure. If you are anything like I, you have developed a healthy - or perhaps unhealthy - admiration for the courtesan-turned-countess who controls the ton like the highly-skilled puppet master - mistress? - she is. I speak, of course, of Lady Sophia Dalby.
Lady Sophia has a penchant for helping young ladies of the ton marry well and happily. Her latest matchmaking endeavor is featured in How To Dazzle a Duke is, thankfully, on shelves now. Do run and buy one! We will wait patiently for your return. No, no, do not read it now. If you must have a taste, there is an excerpt on Claudia's website. There is also a snappy trailer for The Courtesan Chronicles. Surely that will tide you over and allow you to pay strict attention to Lady Sophia before plunging into the book?
Lady Sophia is with us today to speak of...well, many things about which she is quite knowledgeable. *ahem* Without further ado, I present to you Lady Sophia Dalby.
Sophia: It is a delight to meet such an attentive and studious group of women. Not everyone appreciates education in a woman, of course, certainly not many men of my acquaintance. I, however, adore a keen female mind.
Caren: Um...yes. Well, Sophia, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Sophia: A little bit? Certainly. What little bit would you like to know?
Caren: I was wondering why you’ve been helping the women of The Courtesan Chronicles get husbands. Not many women would do that sort of thing for another woman.
Sophia: But, darling, I am not like other women. Certainly that must be obvious. I’ve failed horribly if it’s not. As to why I helped them, they so desperately needed help, didn’t they? And, of course, I got a little something I wanted as well, which is always the best sort of arrangement. A woman of your age and experience must surely know that as well as I.
Caren: I’m in my absolute prime, Sophia.
Sophia: But of course. As am I. Isn’t it a lovely place to be, at one’s prime? I’m enjoying myself fully. Aren’t you?
Caren: Well, maybe not fully. I’m pretty busy, you know, what with my job and the kids, my hobbies and interests, my writing. Life is very full right now.
Sophia: Surely there is some man in your life to make everything more agreeable for you? A life lived hectically is not an ideal situation, and there is no reason to ever settle for anything less than ideal, is there?
Caren: My husband is also very busy, and besides, I’m not sure how anyone could arrange for him to make my life more agreeable.
Sophia: Not anyone? Darling, I’m insulted. I assure you that I can think of many ways to inspire him to do what you require of him. Perhaps it could be arranged for me to meet with him? I’m very good at persuading men to see things as they should. Shall I drop round tomorrow, then?
Caren: No! Thank you, but no. This interview isn’t going at all the way I’d planned.
Sophia: You had a plan? How utterly charming. Do all your plans go awry with such energy?
Caren: We are not here to talk about me. Now, back to my original question. Why did you help these women?
Sophia: I suppose the most obvious answer is that they asked for my help. Surely you remember that? Oh, dear, you are in a state. So agitated. I don’t really think you have a facility for this sort of work. Perhaps you should pursue something else entirely?
Caren: And the less obvious answer?
Sophia: Why, darling, I should think that would be obvious, even to you. A woman deserves to get what she wants, particularly from a man. If I can help arrange for men to serve their purpose on this earth, that of giving some delightful woman his heart, his name, and his money, which I certainly can, then I’m delighted to do so. In fact, I find the entire exercise completely delicious. Are you certain you don’t want me to speak with your charming husband? I’m nearly positive I could arrange things to your satisfaction.
Caren: You really think so?
Sophia: I certainly do. There is nothing so simple to manage as a man. What’s more, they seem to enjoy being managed to a nearly alarming degree.
Caren: I haven’t found that to be so.
Sophia: But, darling, I have. Simply put, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Caren: He’s not going to like it.
Sophia: On the contrary, Caren, he’s going to love every minute of it. Trust me.
Well, that was certainly...enlightening, to say the least. Is it warm in here? Now, a question for you, dear readers. Do you have anyone in your life you turn to for help? Anyone who arranges things for you, whether you want them to or not? If you've met Sophia, would you like her in your life? Claudia will be here answering questions and comments on Sophia's behalf, since that lady is otherwise occupied today. A lucky commenter will win a prized copy of How To Dazzle a Duke autographed by Claudia!
[note from Caren: Please pardon my absence today. After that rather tasking interview, I find myself in need of a respite...perhaps with my vinagrette for company...]