The Hero’s Mother and Her Role in My Stories
by Ann Chaney
May 10, 2022
One of the surprising twists in my books is how the mothers of my heroes play a role in the resolution of whatever calamity their offspring has unearthed. With my Lords of Whitehall series, I included the mothers to accentuate the strength of women in a male centric world. Since the beginning of time there have been strong women. However, only in the last ten years have romance authors embraced strong female characters.
Each of my mother characters step into the fray without a worry of what may happen. Each has a defined sense of right and wrong. The ladies do not suffer fools gladly. They do not hesitate to demand honesty from their sons.
In Dangerous Pursuit, Muriel, Lady Weatherington, Richard’s mother joins forces with her friend, Lady Philomena Preston to throw Richard and Serena together. Sailing for Portugal dressed as a man, Serena found herself sharing a cabin with Richard. Not a romantic getaway with Serena seasick until Richard shared his seasickness cure with her. As for the HEA, happily ever after? Muriel’s fondest wish came true… grandchildren.
Dangerous Liaison introduces us to the Earl of Moreham’s mother, Sylvia Buckley, the Countess of Moreham. Lady Sylvia played a bigger role in the marrying of her only son. When Gillian offers to help Moreham search her uncle’s bookroom to prove her uncle is not a traitor, the couple is caught by her uncle. The couple are married the next day. Only at the conclusion of the wedding ceremony do we learn why the duke returned home earlier than expected. Lady Sylvia spilled the beans about her son’s interest in the duke’s niece, Lady Gillian. She may have hinted he should beware of her son’s intentions. Moreham was known to be a libertine.
Lady Sylvia continued through the rest of the book to contribute to Moreham’s investigation by crashing the duke’s house party with Lady Philly in tow. Gillian’s aunt Isadora, the Duchess of Whitney was most unhappy to have both women in residence. Needless to say, the ladies ignored the duchess’ unhappiness and proceeded to conduct their own investigation of the house party guests.
Perhaps, the most important character in all three Whitehall books is Lady Philomena. As spymaster, she takes on a maternal role in the lives of her subordinates, our heroes. Philly, a spinster, chose her life as a spy. The lady takes her work for the government seriously, but as we saw in the first two books, she always has time to nudge her agents toward their one true love.
While all three books are about the heroes and their journeys, I wanted to write strong female characters. The Regency stereotype is the shy, meek, English rosy-cheeks debutante, but Jane Austen’s Miss Elizabeth Bennet is an example of a lady who speaks her mind. I did have outspoken heroines, but I also wanted to spotlight older women who were seasoned and understood the complexity of their world. Women not afraid to speak out, especially for the happiness of their children.
After all, isn’t that what mothers do? Protect their children at all costs? Motherhood is an evolution of women growing and learning as their children lead them on a merry chase. I hope the one takeaway of the Lords of Whitehall series is the boundless love mothers have for their children regardless of how they are or what they decide to do with their lives. Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!
Ann Chaney writes historical romance novels set in Regency England in the early 19th century. A nomad, a volunteer, a dreamer and an obsessive organizer best describe Ann Chaney. In the last 36 years, she and her husband have moved eleven times. Her professional career included serving on active duty in the US Army for seven years and working 30 years in various administrative roles in primarily Human Resources and university administration. Her first book, Dangerous Pursuit won the 2016 Historical Unpublished category Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery & Suspense. In 2019 the book was designated as a finalist for RWA’s 2019 Golden Heart contest.