Meredith Duran, author of Luck be a Lady and Lady be Good, is not only giving away free copies of her books, but introduces us to the (hot) gentlemen of the past!
“C’mon, they all had smallpox scars, right?”
So a friend once teased me, about my tendency to imagine nineteenth-century heroes who are gorgeous as well as brilliant and honorable.
Her remark floated through my mind a couple of weeks ago, at the Romance Writers of America conference in NYC. During the conference, many of us writers made our way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the John Singer Sargent exhibition. Sargent was a portraitist who moved in glamorous circles in the late nineteenth century. He vividly captured the faces—and personalities—of some of the most accomplished ladies and gentlemen in Belle Epoque Paris.
And as fellow historical romance novelist Rose Lerner pointed out to me, some of these gentlemen happened to be very, very hot.
Consider, for instance, Sargent’s portrait of Dr. Samuel-Jean Pozzi, which you can see here. Surely idealized, you might say. But a contemporary photograph of the doctor suggests that no rudimentary Photoshop was required.
Indeed, Dr. Pozzi’s charm was such that he apparently earned the nickname “The Love Doctor.” Ladies swooned when he passed.
Dr. Pozzi wasn’t just a pretty face, though. A surgeon who specialized in the study and advancement of gynecological health, he devoted his life to keeping women healthy. His end, however, was tragic: when he refused to undertake an operation that he knew would be futile, his enraged patient shot him in the chest.
Dying in defense of medical ethics seems perfectly heroic to me. Indeed, inspired by Dr. Pozzi, I hereby submit a reply to my friend who expressed skepticism about the hunks of yesteryear—a defense mounted in pictures:
Robert Cornelius (1809-1893) was an innovator of new photographic methods, who snapped the first selfie in human history (and really, how can we blame him?).
Allan Ramsey (1713-1784), Scottish portraitist, eloped with his drawing pupil, a girl of far better birth. The ensuing scandal—her family disowned her—did nothing to dim their happiness together over the next thirty years.
Horatio Nelson (1758-1805), later Viscount Nelson, was a self-made man, rising through the ranks of the navy to national fame before dying heroically at Trafalgar. You may know him from retellings of his dramatic courtship with Emma Hamilton—a scandal that kept gossip columnists very busy.
James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) was a Scottish physicist. As a schoolboy, he was bullied and mocked by his peers, who thought him a bumbling yokel. He showed them all, though—making profound and lasting contributions to our understanding of quantum mechanics that later earned the admiration of no less than Einstein.
Meredith has some hotties of her own in her lastest books Lady Be Good and Luck Be A Lady! To win a copy of both these titles, enter the sweeps below!