In Which There Is a Misunderstanding

misunderstoodImage from Brainless Tales.

We’re about halfway through The Lure of the Moonflower now (or finished and rereading for the sake of discussion), and Jack and Jane are still dealing with trust issues. The biggest obstacle to their working together companionably is Jane. She just can’t let go of her preconception that Jack is a dangerous defector – a double agent unworthy of her trust.

Lauren really loves this idea of a hero and heroine who start off their relationship under the wrong impression about each other. It probably harkens back to The Scarlet Pimpernel, the inspiration for the Pink series, when Marguerite does not realize that her husband Percy is the masked crusader who is bravely rescuing aristocrats from the guillotine.

Think about it. In Pink I, Amy thinks Richard is a pathetic hanger-on in Napoleon’s court rather than the Purple Gentian, the very man she has come to Paris to find. In Pink III, Letty thinks that Geoff has taken off for Ireland to get away from her. She has no idea that he is working for the War Office. In Pink VII, Laura doesn’t realize that Andre’s work for the French Ministry of Police is just a means to protect his children and his friends. And Emma was certainly surprised to find out that Augustus is an agent in Pink X. I guess that’s one of the hallmarks of writing about spies – if everyone knew they were spies, they could hardly get any work done, could they? But it frequently creates conflict for Lauren’s heroes and heroines when a character finds he or she can explain themselves properly without revealing too much of the truth.

Inspired by Lauren’s “If You Like” lists, I went poking around the internet for lists of historical romances where misunderstanding or mistaken identity is key to the plot. Here are the most popular suggestions I found:

  1. Julia Quinn’s An Offer from a Gentleman
  2. Judith McNaught’s Until You
  3. Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’ A Rose in Winter
  4. Jude Deveraux’s The Raider
  5. Lisa Kleypas’ Because You’re Mine

I haven’t read a single one of these, but I recognize all five names as authors who constantly pop up on Lauren’s If You Like lists and in comments from all of you about books you like.

So what are your favorite books about mistaken or hidden identities?

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5 thoughts on “In Which There Is a Misunderstanding

  1. These are not books about mistaken identities, but definitely ones where the hero and heroine have trust issues and seem unlikely to fit together:

    Lisa Kleypas’s Wallflower series – great books and so easy to read!
    Again the Magic – prequel to
    1. Secrets of a Summer Night
    2. It Happened One Autumn
    3. The Devil in Winter
    4. Scandal in Spring

    Mary Balogh does this all the time, but I will just mention the “Simply” series about three teachers and the headmistress at a girls’ school in Bath – sound familiar? But these are much more serious about their jobs, a bit like Arabella.
    1. Simply Unforgettable
    2. Simply Love – one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read
    3. Simply Magic
    4. Simply Perfect
    Many of her characters cross over between series, or families connect. I never started in the right place, but did catch up to be comfortable.

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