A Most Difficult Character to Write

In TUESDAY NIGHTS, Michael Cunningham, the second son of Viscount Cunningham of Horsham, Sussex, England, is rather adept at business and making money. His association with Harold Waterford on a variety of business deals, including smelting and coal gas, will mean the Cunningham viscountcy will survive despite his brother’s tendency to gamble beyond his means.

But a man’s ability at business dealings doesn’t mean he’s adept at everything else in life. In fact, Michael lacks the ability to communicate with the woman he has decided will be his wife once he’s reached the age of twenty-eight. He’s made arrangements with his business associate – Olivia Waterford’s father – to marry Olivia. However, as is the case with many men who are successful in business, he lacks the skills necessary to communicate with those who mean the most to him, including Olivia, as well as the ability to keep track of time. So he’s rather surprised when his sister informs him his twenty-eighty birthday is only three weeks away – and he hasn’t yet proposed to Olivia!

A Regency hero needs to be a likable protagonist, but making Michael Cunningham a sympathetic character was a tough job. One could only hope the reader was familiar with a man of his traits, perhaps because their father or husband or significant other suffers from the same character flaws. Otherwise, they would be of the opinion, as one of the book’s reviewers is, that Michael Cunningham is a ‘stinker’ and not worthy of Olivia’s affection. Women can be rather tolerant of a man’s shortcomings, however, and it’s this understanding that saves Michael from himself in Tuesday Nights.

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