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Why Dance for a Dead Princess is a Different Kind of Romance Novel by Deborah Hawkins



Dance for a Dead Princess FinalABOUT DANCE FOR A DEAD PRINCESS

Wall Street Attorney Taylor Collins, has something Nicholas Carey, the 18th Duke of Burnham, has been searching for since the death of the Princess of Wales: the videotape Diana made in January 1997 before her death in August, naming her assassins.

Determined to avenge Diana’s death by exposing her killers, Nicholas lures Taylor to England with his promise to sell his ancestral home, Burnham Abbey,  to one of her clients, a boarding school for American girls.   But Nicholas, who has dated American actresses since the death of his beloved wife, ten years earlier and who has vowed never to fall in love again, is immediately overwhelmed with feelings for Taylor at their first meeting.

Taylor, unaware that Diana’s tape is in the estate of Mari, her long-time friend and client, and nursing her hurt over her broken engagement to a fellow attorney in her firm, brands Nicholas supremely spoiled and selfish and is in a hurry to finish the sale of the Abbey and return to New York.  But while working in the Abbey’s library, Taylor uncovers the Tudor-era love story of Thomas, the first duke and founder of the Carey family.  As she reads Thomas’s agonizing struggle to save the love of his life and the mother of his child, she begins to see Nicholas in a new light as he battles to save his sixteen-year-old ward Lucy, who is desperately unhappy and addicted to cocaine.  But just as Taylor’s own feelings for Nicholas become clear and at the moment she realizes she is in possession of Diana’s voice from the grave, she is confronted with evidence Nicholas may be responsible for a double murder.  When Nicholas is arrested and taken to Wandsworth Prison, Taylor sets out to learn the truth once and for all about Nicholas Carey and the death of the Princess of Wales.

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Why Dance For A Dead Princess is a Different Kind of Romance Novel

The stock romance novel has a single-focus  plot in which two people meet and are instantly and intensely attracted to each other, only to have some seemingly impossible circumstance placed between them and consummation of their relationship.  For example, in one very common plot line, the stock romantic hero is required to marry by a certain date in order to inherit the family wealth, but no suitable candidate is in sight.  Enter the stock romantic heroine, with her secret crush on the hero, who agrees to pose as his bride long enough for him to secure his inheritance.  The “plot” consists of sexually charged encounters between the primary characters that lead, eventually, to their dropping the pretense and becoming a couple.  The only real tension in the book is how soon the two will sleep together.   Besides the deceptive hero and heroine, this kind of novel often has a wise old woman figure who sees through the pretense at the outset of the story and encourages the couple to unite.

Dance For A Dead Princess does not follow a stock romance novel formula.  Nicholas Carey meets Taylor Collins as a result of a business deal he has concocted to sell his ancestral home, Burnham Abbey.  The purpose of selling the house is to lure Taylor to England, so he can find a way to persuade her to turn over  Princess Diana’s video tape naming Diana’s assassin.  Nicholas falls suddenly for Taylor; but unlike the typical romance heroine, she has no interest in him.  And, unlike the typical romance hero, Nicholas has a high profile girlfriend, Ami Hendria, an American actress and another reason Taylor keeps her distance.

Although Nicholas seems like the prototypical prince charming on the surface, Taylor isn’t looking for a prince.   Through extraordinary effort, she has risen to partnership in a major Wall Street law firm, and she has money and status of her own.  Taylor’s attitude and feelings about Nicholas only begin to change after she finds the sixteenth century diary of the first Duke of Burnham, Thomas Carey.  The words of the medieval knight and his capacity to love one woman with all the depths of his soul, lead Taylor to suspect Nicholas has inherited his ancestor’s faithful heart, but it still belongs to his dead wife, Deborah.

Even when Nicholas shows Taylor his softer side, comforting her when her ex-fiancé announces his engagement to another woman, she remains aloof, determined not be just another conquest.   Only the words of Thomas, the medieval knight, describing his overwhelming love for his Elizabeth, woo Taylor on behalf of Nicholas, the modern duke and persuade Taylor to see Nicholas, not as an aristocratic stereotype, but as the flawed and vulnerable man he truly is.

Nicholas, himself, is a much deeper and more complex character that the typical alpha male of the stock romance novel who moves from romantic conquest to romantic conquest until he is “tamed” by the heroine.   Nicholas has been profoundly affected by the loss of his beloved mother and Princess Diana, his beloved friend.  And he has experienced the misfortune of unrequited love for his adored wife Deborah.

Because the inner Tudor story and the outer contemporary story work together to develop the plot of each, they must have significant points in common to unify the entire novel.  Thus, both Thomas and Nicholas advance as powerful men because of their strong work ethic and personal integrity.  Both dukes fall powerfully in love with women made remote by significant circumstances.  In Thomas’ case, he is a married man; and Henry VIII desires Elizabeth Howell, the woman Thomas loves, as his mistress.   In the modern story,  Nicholas falls in love with Deborah Downing, who is hopelessly in love with Grayson Burns, even on the day of her wedding to Nicholas.  Both dukes are rumored to be wife murders, and Nicholas is eventually arrested for the murder of his mysterious ward, Lucy, who stands in the way of his plot to sell Burnham Abbey as revenge on his late father.

Thomas Carey’s story ends with his wish to join his wife Elizabeth in death.  The end of the modern story finds Nicholas awaiting trial for Lucy’s murder.  Faced with life in prison, Nicholas gives up his dream of persuading Taylor to remain with him at the Abbey and advises her to put him behind her and find love with her long-time friend, Jack Duncan.  Taylor, on the other hand, is determined save the Abbey and Nicholas and to defeat the threat to them both from Diana’s assassins.




Deborah grew up in the South, wrote her first novel at the of age thirteen, and has been writing ever since. In graduate school, she studied Irish Literature and came to believe all Irishmen and Southerners are born storytellers. In addition to writing, she loves music and plays the clarinet. Now that her children are grown, she devotes her time to law, music, writing, and her two Golden Retrievers, Melody and Rhythm.

Deborah taught college English and worked as a technical editor before going to law school. She worked for several large East Cost firms before coming to California in the mid-1980’s where she developed a solo practice as an appellate attorney while raising her three children as a single parent. She is admitted to the bar in two states and the District of Columbia, is a certified appellate specialist, and has a Master of Laws in addition to a Masters in English. She believes that even a legal case always begins with a story.

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Pump Up Your Book and Deborah Hawkins are teaming up to give you a chance to win a new Kindle Fire HD!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. If your blog isn’t set up to accept the form, we offer another way for you to participate by having people comment on your blog then directing them to where they can fill out the form to gain more entries.

This promotion will run from July 1 – September 27. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email and announced on September 28, 2013.

Each blogger who participates in the Dance for a Dead Princess virtual book tour is eligible to enter and win.

Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour.

If you would like to participate, email Tracee at tgleichner(at)  What a great way to not only win this fabulous prize, but to gain followers and comments too! Good luck everyone!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


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Dance for a Dead Princess Virtual Book Publicity Tour Schedule


Monday, July 1 – Book reviewed at The Phantom Paragrapher

Tuesday, July 2 – Book featured at Cindy’s Love of Books

Wednesday, July 3 – Book featured at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

Thursday, July 4 – Interviewed at Read 2 Review

Friday, July 5 – First chapter reveal and review at Mom in Love with Fiction

Monday, July 8 – Up Close and Personal at Between the Covers

Tuesday, July 9 – Guest blogging at The Story Behind the Book

Wednesday, July 10 – Interviewed at Review From Here

Friday, July 12 – Book trailer reveal at Pump Up Your Book

Tuesday, July 16 – Guest blogging at The Writer’s Life

Thursday, July 18 – Interviewed at Literal Exposure

Friday, July 19 – 5 Things post at Literarily Speaking

Tuesday, July 23 – Book reviewed at Miki’s Hope

Wednesday, July 24 – Interviewed at Beyond the Books

Thursday, July 25 – Interviewed at Broowaha

Monday, August 5 – Book featured at Naturally Kim B

Tuesday, August 6 – Book featured at Maureen’s Musings

Thursday, August 8 – Interviewed and Guest blogging at Janna Shay

Monday, August 12 – Book featured at Literary Winner

Tuesday, August 13 – Interviewed at Beyond the Books

Thursday, August 15 – Book reviewed at Naturally Kim B

Friday, August 16 – Book reviewed at Bless Their Heart Moms

Tuesday, August 20 – Guest blogging at Allvoices

Wednesday, August 21 – Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book

Friday, August 23 – Interviewed at Examiner

Monday, August 26 – 1st chapter reveal at Literary Winner

Wednesday, August 28 – Interviewed at The Writer’s Life

Thursday, August 29 – Book featured at Plug Your Book

Friday, August 30 – Book reviewed at A Room Without Books is Empty


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