Sunday, June 28, 2009

In Memoriam: Edith Layton

Regency romance superstar Edith Layton died June 2, 2009 after a five year battle with cancer.

Mary Jo Putney (Loving a Lost Lord) announced the sad news on the Word Wenches blog, to which Ms. Layton belonged until recently. I blogged about her leaving the Word Wenches on April 25. Everyone thought she had left to spend more time writing. An illness was a well-kept secret. The news of her death came as a shock.

I adored her books. Her romances were historically accurate and full of love. The story I remember best is "Two Dancing Daughters" in the Signet Regency Romances Christmas anthology, Regency Christmas Magic. In this retelling of the fairy tale, "The Dancing Princesses", a father hires an out-of-work former army officer to find out why his daughters' dancing shoes are worn out every morning when they have supposedly spent the night in their bedroom.

The soldier and the older daughter are immediately attracted to each other, but they can't act on their desire: he, because he is wounded and has no money, she, because she can't reveal where she and her sister go every night.

The next morning, the heroine opens her bedroom door to find the soldier sleeping in the hall outside. Her urge to touch him is so great that she reaches out. At the last second, she stops, only to run her hand a hair's breath above his face. But knowing they can never be together, she pulls her hand back, and returns into her room.

As soon as the door shuts, the soldier opens his eyes. He was awake the whole time. He'd had to exert every ounce of his determination to pretend he was asleep and not touch her.

That scene remains in my mind. Ms. Layton packed more love and longing into those two paragraphs than many romances have in an entire book.

I want to write like that.

Edith, we'll miss you.

Thank you all,



Kaye Manro said...

Such a sad thing when someone so talented passes. She will be remembered. Thanks for this post, Linda.

Linda Banche said...

Hi Kaye, nice to have you back. So sad about Edith Layton. She has one more book, "To Love a Wicked Lord", coming out on Nov. 1.