Plot bunny, free to a good home

Another case from Unquiet Lives:

In November 1788, Eleanor Smith confessed to her husband, William, a Northumberland clergyman, that she had been unfaithful and that their youngest child was in fact fathered by her lover. Eleanor and the little boy went to live with her mother and by November 1790 William had gained a separation. Yet he paid maintenance to Eleanor and 2s a week towards the child’s support. Interestingly, when William died in 1812, nearly twenty-two years later, he left no will and Eleanor, described as his widow, was appointed as administrator.

How would you like to see this show up in a book? I always love brought-together-by-a-will plotlines, even when they’re totally ridiculous from a legal standpoint. Some thoughts:

1. The hero is Eleanor’s son by her lover. When Eleanor must return to administer William’s will/estate, he falls in love with William’s poor orphaned niece, who has been serving as William’s hostess and now has nowhere to live.

2. Eleanor is the heroine, and the hero is William’s lawyer. (Is the lawyer also her lover from so many years ago?)

3. The heroine is William’s oldest daughter, whose family was torn apart when she was a little girl. Now she’s reunited with her mother and half-brother and must untangle her complex feelings about the past…I assume she has a long-term suitor she hasn’t been able to trust because of her conflicted feelings about marriage.

What do you think?

4 thoughts on “Plot bunny, free to a good home”

  1. I kind of like the William/Eleanor version, where they realize they can’t stand living with each other, but have lots of sex in later life. Maybe they travel and pretend to be unmarried people pretending to be married?

    1. lol! That isn’t a romance if there’s no HEA, but it could certainly be a prominent secondary romance in a son or daughter’s book…I can see them taking romantic getaway trips…the first five days are mind-blowing and then they remember VIVIDLY why they broke up. By the time the carriage arrives back home they’re shouting at each other. SO embarrassing for their kids!

  2. I like books with older protagonists, so I think the adulterous wife should get a love story. If it bugs people too much, she can be slandered and not really adulterous. Or she had some compelling reasons to save her youngest son from…. something.

    1. lol, I know what you mean, but I think a woman who committed adultery 22 years ago can still be heroine material, don’t you? I also like books with older protagonists and I don’t come across many, have you read any good ones recently? I just read Victoria Dahl’s short story Fanning the Flames where the h/h are in their forties, and Theresa Romain’s next release will have an older secondary couple, but it made me really want a longer, more in-depth story…

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