I like to think my Montgomery Manor series is unique (it’s a not-so-secret fact that all authors like to pretend we’re breaking new ground with every release), but the idea behind IF I STAY has been around for quite some time. As a culture, we’ve long been obsessed with social status and relationships that cross class lines—I figure that’s why billionaires are such a hot-ticket item right now…who doesn’t want a chance a better, wealthier life?
More than money, though, I’m fascinated by the idea of people who live and work in close proximity. It’s one thing when the classes are separated by neighborhood or city or even the kind of car they drive. It’s another when the only thing keeping the staff members away from the wealthy family they serve is a few sets of stairs.
That’s why I love any romance that puts the upstairs cast in close proximity with the downstairs servants. Here are just a few of my favorites.
· Downton Abbey: Obviously, no upstairs/downstairs list would be complete without mentioning the BBC series that has us all talking. My obsession with this show is what got my own series kick-started (though to be fair, I love the clothes on that show almost more than I do the storyline).
· Sabrina: Both the original Audrey Hepburn movie and the Julia Ormond remake are fantastic. Bonus points since these movies also feature a chauffeur!
· Longbourne: This re-telling of Pride & Prejudice from the downstairs servants’ point of view is a deeply compelling read. I loved how differently we saw Elizabeth Bennet through the eyes of the woman who had to hand-wash all her clothes.
· Titanic: When this movie first came out, I watched it at least ten times in the theater (yes, I cried every time). Leonardo DiCaprio might not have been a servant, but there’s nothing to force proximity between the classes quite like a cruise ship.
Am I missing any big ones? I’m always on the lookout for a good servant/employer romance, so feel free to offer your suggestions!
Tamara Morgan is a contemporary romance author of humorous, heartfelt stories with flawed heroes and heroines designed to get your hackles up and make your heart melt. Her long-lived affinity for romance novels survived a B.A. degree in English Literature, after which time she discovered it was much more fun to create stories than analyze the life out of them.
Whether building Victorian dollhouses, consuming mass quantities of coffee and wine, or crying over cheesy 1950s musicals, Tamara commits to her flaws like every good heroine should. She lives in the Inland Northwest with her husband, daughter, and variety of household pets and only occasionally complains about the weather.
Ryan Lucas would rather be anywhere but Ransom Creek, Connecticut. After losing his high-adrenaline career as a Hollywood stunt driver, he's had to tuck his tail between his legs and take up employment as a chauffeur for the Montgomerys, a wealthy hotelier family.
Amy Sanders has returned home to Ransom Creek to take over her mother's former position as nanny to the Montgomerys—bringing her close to dashing Jake Montgomery once again. She grew up with a major crush on Jake, and it's not easy to leave those feelings behind, even though her friendship with the hard-edged family chauffeur, Ryan, has a sizzling undercurrent of undeniable attraction.
Amy's determined to prove to Ryan that life at Montgomery Manor isn't all bad, but each time they draw closer Jake swoops in. Amy is torn between two men—and two worlds. And Ryan is rapidly coming to learn that if he wants to make Amy his, he'll have to prove to her that life downstairs can be everything they both want.