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Author Interview: A Wife of Noble Character by Yvonne Georgina Puig

A WIFE OF NOBLE CHARACTER
by

Yvonne Georgina Puig

Genre: Women‘s Contemporary Fiction
Date of Publication: August 2, 2016
Number of Pages: 320

 

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Thirty-year-old Vivienne Cally is wealthy in name only. Orphaned as a child and raised by a cold but regal aunt, Vivienne was taught to rely on her beauty and Texas tradition, and is expected to marry a wealthy and respectable man who will honor the Cally name. Friends with Houston’s richest and most prominent families, she’s a beloved fixture at the social events big and small, and suffers no shortage of access to some of the city’s most eligible bachelors. Preston Duffin has known Vivienne and her set since childhood.  He’s never shared their social aspirations or their status but is liked and respected for his sharp wit and intelligence. About to graduate from a prestigious architecture program, he is both fascinated and repelled by this group of friends he sits on the cusp of. He’s long admired Vivienne’s beauty and grace, but isn’t sure he holds any place in such a traditional life. Intrigued by Preston’s ambitions and the extent to which he challenges the only way of life she’s ever known, Vivienne both courts Preston’s attention, and rebuffs his critiques of her predictable and antiquated priorities and values. 
Inspired by Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, Yvonne Georgina Puig’s A Wife of Noble Character shares the original novel’s astute social commentary at the same time that it illuminates the trappings and rewards of coming of age that are wholly unique to the twenty-first century. Charming and shrewd at once, this Texas love story takes readers from Houston to Paris and Switzerland and back again, and will speak to both fans of Wharton and anyone who has every struggled to find their way in life.


Praise for A Wife of Noble Character

“A fun take on Edith Wharton’s classic.”—Marie Claire
A Wife of Noble Character is equal parts wry social commentary and heart-fluttering romance — an insightful journey for both the head and the heart.” —Refinery29
“This sharply drawn novel about Houston’s oil-money elite strikes a beautiful balance—rollicking at times while deeply felt at others.”—Elle.com
“A compelling and complicated love story…The characters hearken back to Wharton’s while still not feeling like archetypes, and the interior narration matches the introspective style of Wharton’s writing.”—Book Riot
A Wife of Noble Character possesses something that is intrinsically Houstonian: a sense of humor. . . Apparently, no matter how far you move, Houston sticks with you; Puig has the local milieu down cold.”—Texas Monthly
“In this vivid, socially acute novel of manners set in oil-money Houston society, Yvonne Puig charms us with prose and braces us with insight—a masterful, sharp-eyed and eloquent debut.” —Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint it Black
“A fresh, funny look at what it means to be an adult in the 21st century and a juicy Texan comedy of manners, at its heart, A Wife of Noble Character is a good old fashioned love story.” —Sarah Bird, author of Above the East China Sea
A Wife of Noble Character is a wildly unique creation: A social novel that is simultaneously classic and utterly modern. I found it sharply insightful, lyrically written, and often laugh-out-loud funny; and could barely put it down until the last page. Puig is a talented satirist and a breathtakingly astute observer of character.”—Janelle Brown, author of All We Ever Wanted Was Everything

 

AuthorInterview

Author Interview 1 – Yvonne Georgina Puig

How has being a Texan influenced your writing?

I think growing up in Texas made me a writer. For better or worse, Texas really is outrageous, and I love that about it. You grow up hearing stories, and meeting larger-than-life people from all currents of life—I believe growing up in Texas attuned me to story. Also, my dad, who grew up in Houston, is a great storyteller.

Where did your love of all things bookish come from?

It seems to me it came from many places—from where I grew up certainly, but also from my parents and grandparents, who all love/loved to read. Books and stories were an escape for me. I didn’t much feel like I fit in at school, and so I learned to be an observer. And writing comes out of observation. I also feel I was born loving words – I can’t explain it, but even before I learned how to write, I was filling journals with pretend writing (I remember making little make-believe cursive lines from right to left in a spiral notebook).

How long have you been writing?

As long as I can remember—filling those spiral notebooks with pretend writing before I knew how to write. I didn’t think of it as writing back then. I don’t remember what I thought. I just loved to put pen to paper.

What kind(s) of writing do you do?

Poetry, essays, fiction, and more recently trying to see how I do with screenplays. We’ll see how it goes!

What do you think most characterizes your writing?

I’m curious to hear this question answered from a reader’s perspective. It seems to me writers are too close to their own writing to be able to see it clearly – I just hope that to readers my writing is somehow true or familiar to an experience of their own hearts.

What was the hardest part of writing this book?

It was hardest to make the love story feel true and real, and not too sappy. I hope I succeeded. It was also challenging to take the themes of The House of Mirth and apply them to modern-day Texas. I believe the questions that Wharton poses in The House of Mirth are still relevant today. But on the other hand, things really have changed for women since her time. It was difficult but wonderful to write over that tightrope and let both those things be true at once.

What did you find most useful and/or most destructive in learning to write?

Aiming for perfection is destructive. Comparison is destructive. I think comparison is hardest- when you read something so incredible you just think to yourself, I’ll never be able to do that. And maybe you won’t –but you will be able to something else! And it will be your own.

What is your intention in reimagining The House of Mirth?

I’d like to answer this question because I’ve noticed that people wonder if I thought I could somehow do the The House of Mirth better than or even equal to Wharton. That is not the case. No one can match Wharton. I wanted to write a story that jumped off the premise of House of Mirth and asked similar questions about women, and the extent to which women are free today. What does it mean to be a wife today?

 

 

 


Yvonne Georgina Puig’s fiction and essays have appeared in Salon, Variety, Los Angeles Magazine, and The Texas Observer, among others. She holds a Masters in Professional Writing from USC. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband. 

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CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
9/14
Video Guest Post 1
9/15
Review
9/16
Author Interview 1
9/17
Excerpt
9/18
Review
9/19
Guest Post 2
9/20
Video Guest Post 3
9/21
Review
9/22
Author Interview 2
9/23
Review

 

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Wyoming Rugged by Diana Palmer

 

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WYOMING RUGGED
 
by
 
Diana Palmer
 
 
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Diana Palmer is back in Wyoming with a tale of love born in Big Sky Country…
Billionaire oilman Blair Coleman has always taken care of his business. After having been used and cast aside by a woman he thought he loved, his personal life is far from his first priority. He knows only one has ever truly cared for him—but the irresistible blonde beauty is the daughter of his best friend.
Niki Ashton has seen her father’s friend wounded and she’s seen him fight. Blair is the strongest—and most stubborn—man she’s ever known. That very heart and passion makes him the man of her dreams, but whenever they’ve been in danger of getting close, Blair has always pushed her away.
It takes a possible tragedy to strip away all of Blair’s misgivings. Now it’s all or nothing: marriage, baby, family, forever. But will the choice be too much for Niki…or too late?
Praise for the author
 
“Palmer…is the queen of desperado quests for justice and true love.” –Publishers Weekly
 
“The popular Palmer has penned another winning novel, a perfect blend of romance and suspense.”–Booklist on Lawman
 
“Diana Palmer is a mesmerizing storyteller who captures the essence of what a romance should be.”–Affaire de Coeur
 
“…this is a fascinating story…It’s nice to have a hero wise enough to know when he can’t do things alone and willing to accept help when he needs it. There is pleasure to be found in the nice sense of family this tale imparts.” RT Book Reviews on Wyoming Bold
 
“…lots of passion, thrills, and plenty of suspense… Protector is a top notch read!”-Romance Reviews Today on Protector
 
“A delightful romance with interesting new characters and many familiar faces. It’s nice to have a hero who is not picture perfect in looks or instincts, and a heroine who accepts her privileged life yet is willing to work for the future she wants.” —RT Book Reviews on Wyoming Tough
BUY LINKS
 
She pulled into the garage at the ranch, parked her car and went slowly into the house. She was tired. The trip home had been uncomfortable enough, without going into work so early. And the pollen was already getting to her. It was so thick that the sidewalk leading to the front porch was yellow.
She started into the door and almost walked right into Blair Coleman.
A scarlet flush bloomed on her cheeks. She swallowed, clutching her purse. “Blair,” she began, nodding as she tried to go past him.
It didn’t work. His mouth made a thin line as he caught her arm and led her back outside to his rental car. He put her inside, got in himself and drove off.
Niki didn’t say a word. She couldn’t think of anything that wouldn’t make a bad situation even worse.
He pulled up at a roadside park, cut off the engine, helped her out and walked down to the wide, shallow river with her. A stand of lodgepole pines sheltered the cleared area from the road. He stuck his hands in his pockets and stared out over the river.
“Janet told us what happened to you at the beach,” he said, with his back to her. The eyes she couldn’t see were stormy. “Your father and I sent the authorities after the drug dealer. He’ll be caught and sent back to jail. No matter what it takes,” he added bitterly.
She wasn’t surprised that her father had wanted revenge on the man. But Blair’s attitude was curious. She crossed her arms tightly around her chest and stood quietly beside him, watching the river flow by.
She said, “I bought that new bathing suit because it was so beautiful. It looked sophisticated and I thought…” She ground her teeth together. “It’s a mistake I won’t make twice. I’m…sorry, about wearing it out on the beach…” She couldn’t go on.
He groaned, deep in his throat. His hands, in his pockets, were balled into fists. “No. It was my fault,” he said curtly. “I should never have touched you.”
So he regretted it. What had she expected, that he’d say he had no regrets? That was the stuff of romantic films, romantic books, not of life.
“I threw it away,” she said, hoping to placate him.
He closed his eyes on a wave of pain. She’d looked so beautiful in it. He’d carry the picture of her like that for the rest of his life, and he couldn’t, didn’t, dare tell her. He’d crossed the line with Niki. Now he had to control himself. It wasn’t going to be easy.
He drew in a long breath. “I’m not going to be around for a while,” he said, without looking at her. “I have divisions I need to visit in person, conferences I need to have with my managers. I’ve let things slide in the business since the divorce.”
“Janet is very nice,” she said, averting her eyes. “I liked her a lot. She was kind to me. She gave the drug dealer what-for and ran him off.”
“I know. She told us,” he said absently. “I’ve known her for a long time.”
“She said your mother liked her.”
“Yes. She was fond of Janet.”
She swallowed down bitterness. “She’s a brunette, too,” she said, trying to smile. “You’re fond of brunettes.”
“I always have been.” It wasn’t the complete truth. He had a passion for a beautiful young blonde woman who was an arm’s length away but might as well have been on Mars.
The sound of the river flowing by, watery and soothing, was all they heard for a few minutes. Then Niki spoke.
“Janet said the two of you were very close.”
“Is that why you invited her to dinner with us, then got on the first plane back home?” he asked with faint bitterness.
“I thought it would make you happy,” Niki replied. “After all, you took her to dinner the previous night.”
Yes, he had, trying to avoid Niki and what was going to be inevitable if he spent any time around her. Especially after the taste of her he’d had on that Mexican beach. Just the memory of it almost brought him to his knees.
Niki drew in a breath. “I’m really sorry…about what happened,” she said through her teeth.
“Not your fault,” he returned. “You can’t help it if idiots make stupid comments about your choice of bathing suits. He’ll be found, and dealt with, no matter what it takes!”
She turned, hesitant. Her cheeks colored. Eyes the color of an August fog looked up into his black ones. “I meant, what happened in the ocean…”
He looked down at her. His broad face hardened. His eyes glittered. She was wearing a beige suit with a pale yellow blouse. It wasn’t low-cut or even suggestive, but her breasts under it had hard little peaks. The sight of them hurt him. She was attracted to him, violently attracted. She couldn’t hide it
because she didn’t have the experience. It flattered him, maddened him, because there was no way she could fake her reaction. He was years too old for her. He was going to have to make her believe he felt nothing…
“Oh, God,” he groaned. He drew her against him, swallowing her up in his hard arms, her head in the crook of his elbow, his eyes stabbing down into hers. She was already having trouble breathing. He could feel her heart hammering against him. His eyes fell to her soft mouth. “I tried…” He whispered huskily as he bent his head to hers.
She felt the hunger in him even before his warm, hard mouth slowly covered hers.
Review
I was really excited to read this book because I liked Palmer’s “Wedding in White”, which I read by accident back in high school. This book follows the same formula: younger, virginal woman has known older, experienced man since she was on the cusp of womanhood and is in love with him despite his hangup on the age difference, but he doesn’t come around until she has a near death experience that lands her in the hospital. And even though the pair is pretty mismatched, the people who love them see right through all the pettiness and are just waiting for the two to finally get together. Now there is nothing wrong with formulaic writing (ahem, Nicholas Sparks), but I like to be kept guessing when I read romance. Because that’s what romance is like! You don’t know for sure what the other person is thinking or whether they want to kiss you. So by knowing what was already coming, I found myself focusing on the side characters. While Niki’s father is characterized as caring but not nurturing for some reason, all I saw was that he nurtured his grownup daughter. And I loved his character for it. It’s hard not to love a man who is so devoted to his late wife, no matter how short their marriage was, and is still so in love with her that he doesn’t ever want to remarry. He transfers that devotion to Niki, who sadly is also quite sickly, and is so fulfilled with his life that you forgive him for not having a romantic relationship with the housekeeper who helped raise Niki. Overall, this book will leave you with happy thoughts and dreamy feelings. A little steamy too. Pour the wine.
The author of more than one hundred books, Diana Palmer is a multi–New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author and one of the top ten romance writers in America. She has a gift for telling even the most sensual tales with charm and humor. Diana lives with her family in Cornelia, Georgia.
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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