Remember your dating days – or maybe just last week – when some guy you were sure looked like forever just faded his way out of your love life?  Didn’t matter what he’d blurted in the thrill of the moment or texted you when he was drunk w/his idiot friends. You thought he was commitment material and he thought you were –

Well, you never knew, did you?  Because he didn’t front you a measly clue when he 86d you with a cold “It’s not you, it’s me,” or a colder zilch returns of your calls and emails or perhaps even a frigid-in-the-extreme brutal BlackBerry brush-off.  

The “I’ll love you forever. Goodbye.” scenario wasn’t invented in the digital age. Imagine the mortification of a chick jilted for no reason in the 1800s, when women still pretty much were defined by – and quite often looked forward to – the prestige and security afforded solely by matrimony.

Now picture a woman of that society engaged and dumped by three fiancés, none of whom bothers with excuses before he hies himself from her side with embarrassing alacrity. That woman would be Lady Callista Taillefaire, refreshingly down-to-earth and fetchingly indomitable heroine of Laura Kinsale’s warm, humorous and perfectly charming “Lessons in French  .”

Even during engagement number three, 27-year-old Lady “Callie” still wouldn’t have minded being married.  Yet the aspirations of the intelligent and affable heiress always have run much closer to taking good care of everyone around her, and dreaming of the day her prize bull Hubert captures the silver cup at the local agricultural fair.

Nearly a decade earlier, Callie dreamed mostly of happily ever after – and was caught by her father in a shocking state of youthful, passionate intimacy – with Trevelyan d’Augustin, her marvelously handsome and clever best friend, the son of impoverished French émigrés. Callie’s heartbroken when Trev turns his back on her after the incident, giving no excuses for his subsequent flight to France.

Nine years later, Trev’s returned and is shocked to find Callie unmarried, his mother dying, and things on the home front in disarray. He realizes the years he spent in France living dangerously and participating in activities he’s not yet ready to speak of may not have been worth what he’s given up – or what his absence may have cost those he loves.

Yet even when Trev makes it known to Callie he’s hanging around awhile and he’s way hot into her, Callie’s not ready to toss aside everything for him simply because he’s still gorgeous and they remain wildly attracted to one another.

Trev knows even if Callie could spend all her time making mischief and having adventures with him, he can’t possibly do forever because of his murky past. And he's not sure Callie'll have him anyway; there’s one thing he can’t change about himself that Callie seems to hold against him no matter how he begs her to see past it.

”Lessons in French” has been eagerly anticipated by Kinsale fans for five years. But folks who are new to romance – or simply haven’t yet tried Kinsale – may find not just a classically romantic and elegant read, but also an author whose backlist is just waiting to be devoured and beloved.

Tell us about your favorite Kinsale books and why they rock. Do you have any break-up stories that would put Callie’s to shame? What do you like about a heroine who’s more down-to-earth? What do you like about her interacting with a totally hottie hero who’s totally into her?

Laura Kinsale begins her “Lessons in French” cybertour today. You can visit with her and swap comments at


by Moderator becke_davis on ‎01-06-2010 03:09 PM

I'm all about the romance, so I like the sound of the hero who's totally into her. Only ever had one break-up so no interesting stories to tell there. I'm eager to eavesdrop on others' stories, though!

by Author EmilyBryanRomance on ‎01-06-2010 03:32 PM

This is interesting. I'm not sure I've read a historical break up and make up story before. And it sounds like Callie is going to be a heroine who knows her own mind, a refreshing break from insipid debs. At 27, she doesn't have much to lose, so she may as well do as she pleases.



<a href="">Emily</a>

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-06-2010 03:58 PM

Hi, Emily!  So great to see you! Well, we're just crazy for the young-lovers-reunite stories around here! sigh.  You know from writing your marvy novels set in the historical world what an absolute pariah a jilt can make a chick, no?  So imagine poor Callie! Only, she's just not poor Callie, all pitiful. Yet Kinsale doesn't make her into an "I'll show Society my value by bucking its rules and standards," dynamo. Kinsale says in her post at RBTB that Callie's the non-kick-ass heroine. She's introspective and really works with what's around her to make herself content. But that doesn't mean she's completely happy...


And I agree w/you about the break from the debs.  Kinsale also offers an alternative to the contemporized, kick-ass historical heroine, by creating a kind of authentic, old school historical heroine who's resourceful written by a contemporary woman. Different beasts entirely.

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-06-2010 03:59 PM

Becke, it's always cool when a hero's into his woman. But there's a twist here that I adored, and one that only reading romance made me think about in real life. 's'all'z i'm sayin. : )

by Author Jessa_Slade on ‎01-06-2010 04:11 PM

Laura Kinsale's books are wonderful!  If you haven't read FLOWERS FROM THE STORM, you are missing out on a classic.  And MY SWEET FOLLY (I've said this elsewhere) has the most authentic and beautiful falling in love (and breaking your heart) scene in the opening letters exchanged between the hero and heroine.  Go go go and get them!


I've been so excited ever since I heard about the new book coming out.  And, I mean, a bull named Hubert?  Oh, the possibilities!


We missed you, Laura!


As for hottie heroes who are totally into me... I mean, the heroine, yeah, I could read that forever :smileyhappy:

by 1lovealways on ‎01-06-2010 04:44 PM

Hi Everyone!


Oh, my goodness Michelle!  I almost fell over when I saw her name on that cover.  She is one of my favorite Historical Romance authors!  I have several of her books, but haven't read anything by her for a long time.  I will definitely be adding this to my list.  The books of hers that stand out for me are The Prince of Midnight, The Shadow and the Star and Flowers from the Storm.  Back in the day these were eagerly awaited not just for the story, but for the book cover.  It was the first time that there was to be only a male on the cover.  In this case it was Fabio.  He posed for all three of her books in this series.


My favorite is The Prince of Midnight.  The story is about a legendary highwayman whose skills have  diminished because of his illness.  The heroine is in need of his help.  Along the way they both find the love of a lifetime.  Him being a broken man because of his illness has dimmed every aspect of his life, but she is the light that gives him back that which he thought he had lost.  I highly recommend this book and the other two mentioned earlier.  


I always liked her heroes and the situations they were put into, because they weren't perfect.  There was always something in their past.  A flaw that cast a shadow over who they were in the present.  The heroines that she created were strong and could take on whatever secrets the heroes were holding onto.  Their love was what made these heroes unburden themselves of this load they were carrying.  This vulnerability in the heroes didn't take anything away from their Alpha bearing.  It just made you love and cheer for them more.  And made you say in the end that you knew this woman wouldn't be daunted and put off by what needed to be done to free this man from whatever held him in it's grip and achieve this man's love.  That's why they rocked for me.


I'm down to earth, so I've always liked those kind of heroines.  The simpering and whimpering ones are not to my liking.  When they're like that you want them to grow a backbone and step up to the plate.  The down to earth heroine says what she means and doesn't hide her true personality.  She puts it out there.  With a hottie hero, I think she would have to.  Their already super Alpha, so she has to have the guts to deal with this and what he dishes out.  You know.  Go toe to toe with him.  I like that. 


I had one break-up story that involved deception.  Whether it would put Callie's to shame, I'm not sure.  It certainly was a blow to my love life at the time.  It affected me very deeply and caused trust issues that I had to deal with for a long time.  It was a learning lesson that I've never forgotten, but appreciated it more over time.  I've never regretted the break-up.  I was the one who called it quits and I've never regretted it.  The thing is, you learn from whatever happened to you, but you don't let it affect the rest of your life.


Welcome back Ms. Kinsale.  You were truly missed!  :smileyhappy: 



by Laura__Kinsale on ‎01-06-2010 05:08 PM

LOL Michelle that is without doubt the most entertaining description of what it's like to be jilted I've read yet.


There was one guy who broke up with me by letter, while he was visiting another country (new gf, doh).  I wrote back a long weepy letter, silly me, and then regretted mailing it.  Lucky for me, it came back as undeliverable because I'd had the address wrong.  So I got to have the dignity of (apparently) not responding at all.


Interestingly, I heard from that guy many years later, when it was quite easy to not reply.  But when Callie's old flame returns, she has a lot more trouble ignoring him.  I would too if he was Trev.

by MalePerspectiveGuy on ‎01-06-2010 05:11 PM

Laura, congrats and good luck on the book...


My break-up story... 


In 4th grade, I'm ga-ga over this girl Diane.  We're around all our friends on the street, and she yells out, "I'd go out with you, but I can't stand you." I haven't been the same since.



by Moderator becke_davis on ‎01-06-2010 07:21 PM

MPG, I'm ROFL. Is that mean of me?

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-06-2010 08:46 PM

Becke, re: MPG: Everyone in the family still laughs when somebody works that into conversation at a get-together! 


MPG: You know I never can hear that story enough times or say either, "Maybe Diane's still available.." or "I'll bet Diane wishes she wouldn't have been so hasty" depending on the day. : )

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-06-2010 08:55 PM

Jessa_Slade, coincidentally, I'm mad about Laura Kinsale's "My Sweet Folly" as well. LK's use of the epistolary, or letters sent between the h/hn, is simply a stunning depiction of the anatomy of attraction, as well as remarkable example of plain fine writing.  Now that I think of it, "MY Sweet Folly" is particularly suited to contemporary readers, because the opening attraction of the h/hn through letter writing is akin to the powr of folks making emotional connections online, whether in friendship or in building romantic and sexual attraction.


Wow, yeah, I highly recommend everyone who loves romance and digital to read "My Sweet Folly" and report back to me on whether you see the connection...

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-06-2010 09:15 PM

1la, I'm totally excited for you! You show so much enthusiasm, that it makes me even more excited to be getting to talk about this book.  Laura's publishers very kindly allowed me to write this feature for H2H/BN viewers ahead of the date they've scheduled to allow other features and reviews. 


It's so cool you kind of stumbled across finding out Laura's finally releasing the much-awaited book!  And I didn't realize hers were the first hero-only covers.  What you point out about her heroes being 'shadowed by the past' is a terrific description. Instead of being dark n broody, they've got real issues and they're going to face them w/the heroine's help, and continue to live life not 'cured' but healthier because they've met heroines who, as you describe, they can go toe-to-toe with. 


And all of the novels  you've mentioned have been reissued, and in May, Laura's "Uncertain Magic" will be reissued.  I haven't read that yet.  But it's cool to have spankin new copies of faves.

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎01-06-2010 09:29 PM

Thanks, Laura! It's so kind of you to stop in and, well, to have written "Lessons in French" for us! :smileyhappy:


We've all been there, but I think we all feel your angst -- and relief -- over that break up. How cool that you got to look wicked mature in the face of his poor decision.


And oh, it's so true about Callie!  So many of us meet an old flame and heave a sigh of relief that we didn't end up w/the guy.  "Poor" Callie finds Trev more appealing than ever. For starters, he's a man now...



by Author Eva_Gale on ‎01-07-2010 07:44 AM

I cannot WAIT to read this. Over and over. When I want to make someone into a lifelong historical romance reader I give them Flowers From the Storm. (Maddie was so not kick ass either, but she was amazingly strong. )


My one good break up story was when my boyfriend went off to college while I was a senior in HS. He broke up with me, and I did the weepy-sniffly-puppy-dog-eyes thing. A few years later he asked me to marry him. I had the smarts to decline. 


I adore reunited lover stories and Callie sounds like a wonderful heroine. 

by amyskf on ‎01-07-2010 10:28 AM

D'oh! I haven't read "My Sweet Folly," but, I will, I will.  Scenes from "The Shadow and The Star" will pop into my head -- I loved these people.


Laura, I do so love when "the universe" helps us out with undeliverable mail.

MPG...I just don't know what to say, but, I can't wait to be able to use that line...I think I've used something similar with my own husband...

1lovealways, I feel your enthusiasm too, and glad you have no regrets.


Michelle, Laura, I cannot wait to read this either.


I have too many break-up stories...sigh.

by Lisa_Kroener on ‎01-07-2010 12:57 PM

Sigh, did I maybe, just maybe mention my Facharbeit which has to be finished until 29th January? Sigh again. Did I further mention that I cannot afford reading until that date? Big Sigh. Did I, much more further (if that phrase exists...), mention that I so. Want. To. Read. That. Book???? No, I'm sure I haven't mentioned any of this lately (Amy, that's what you get from telling me I could never get on your nerves with my Facharbeit-stuff, hah!), siiiiiiiigh...


I'm actually not very much into the "reunited lovers"-theme in general but that I don't care about that when reading about LIF shows how VERY much I want to have it!


It's so bad that I'm actually not old enough to have read Laura Kinsale's (that's another LK besides Lisa Kleypas and me!) earlier books because I was really young when she apparently had her last release - I haven't even read German romances back then. There's so much reading to do come 30th January...


MPG, I'm sooooo sorry for your terrible experience (*grin*) but apparently Michelle can stand you and that's all that matters anyway, isn't it?


Since 1997, you’ve been coming to to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.