Walks Like a Duck? Probably a Swan
by Kiersten Hallie Krum
Several years ago, (we’re talking decades here), I read a book by Iris Johansen called The Ugly Duckling. In it, a mousey woman with a domineering husband and a daughter she adores and to whom she is fiercely devoted, winds up being murdered…or at least appears to be murdered when her husband’s nefarious deeds result in the kidnapping of her and her daughter. In fact, she winds up being rescued by some James Bondish good guys. Being very close to death from being very nearly murdered, her entire body undergoes serious transformation, not the least of which is her face. She goes from a mousey duck to an exquisite swan.
Through her long convalescence, the woman revives mentally and emotionally by focusing solely on revenging her daughter’s death. She turns her body into a sleek weapon: muscles honed, legs strengthened, body slimmed down. By the time she convinces the somewhat nefarious man whose become her mentor/lover along the way, to send her back into the world from which she nearly didn’t survive, she resembles nothing of her former self, not physically, mentally, or emotionally. From the ground up, she has been transformed.
In fiction, people transform themselves all the time, but it’s a theme particularly well-suited in Romancelandia. Romance novels focus on the journey of the female protagonist (the exception being the M/M romance, of course), and that journey often involves some form of transformation, often externally, but more commonly, an internal transformation as old fears and perspectives are transformed to allow the woman to find and empower her true self. Historical fiction especially loves the idea of people transforming themselves into something else: the shy debutante who transforms into a powerful society wife, the poor gutter lad who transforms into a powerful financial wunderkind. The once lady of the evening who transforms into a respectable society maven. The tropes abound and we gobble them up because we love stories of people who succeed against all odds, even if it means transforming themselves into something else, someone else, perhaps, even, into the true selves they never thought they could be.
I’ve been undergoing a physical transformation of my own over the past year. I’ve entitled this period in my life as #BringingMeBack (Yes, I hashtagged it, because I’m a bit of a moron where such things are concerned.) As my external shape transforms, my internal once is realigning as well. It feels like this process hasn’t been making me into someone new so much as allowing me to reclaim who I was before life events made me focus on things and people other than myself. Almost every day, I recognize something old that’s new again and that is quite transforming…and supremely empowering.
In our own Lady Smut blogger, Elizabeth Shore’s, new release, Desire Rising, Lucy Kirby finds her arranged marriage very much not what she was expecting. As a result of its horrible end, she transforms herself into someone new…and soon finds herself embroiled in all sorts of complications.
Look! A blurb!
An arranged marriage to a wealthy and titled landowner should have been a dream for Lucy Kirby but ends in a nightmare that could leave her falsely accused of murder. She flees to the safety of a family friend and like a phoenix rising from ashes, sheds her innocence. Emerging as savvy and sophisticated Catherine Sheffield, she is a woman who keeps her liaisons purely physical and her heart closely guarded.
Lord Miles Hawkins once knew love…and it nearly killed him. Yet he’s enthralled with the beautiful stranger he encounters at a ball, and a tour of the balcony turns into a heated promise to meet again. Passion ignites an affair with the sultry Catherine, one he’s confident will serve his physical needs while keeping his emotions at bay.
When an urgent summons threatens her identity, Catherine must choose between saving a life and sharing her secret with Miles, possibly losing him forever. It shouldn’t matter…except desire rising has resulted in matters of the heart.
Have you ever felt yourself at a transforming moment in your life, physically or otherwise? What spurred you into this transformation?
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Writer, singer editor, traveler, tequila drinker, and cat herder, Kiersten Hallie Krum avoids pen names since keeping her multiple personalities straight is hard enough work. She writes smart, sharp, and sexy romantic suspense. Her debut romantic suspense novel, Wild on the Rocks, is now available. Visit her website at www.kierstenkrum.com and find her regularly over sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr via @kierstenkrum.