Where the Heroines of the Veiled Seduction Series face-off in an episode of Regency-era Jeopardy...
I thought it might be fun to play around with my smarty-pants heroines from the Veiled Seduction series and pit them against each other in a Regency-era game of Jeopardy (Oh, the silly ideas we writers come up with). Since I am the writer, I get to choose the host and I’m going to choose Mr. Knightley, from Jane Austen’s Emma. And, of course, I’m going to choose the Jeremy Northam version of Mr. Knightley. Because I can. And because he’s SO swoon-worthy...
And now I shall let the delectable Mr. Knightley take it away…
MR. KNIGHTLEY: Welcome to another episode of Jeopardy. Today we have a rather unconventional program, as our competitors all happen to be women. Have no fear, however, gentle viewer. Just because they are members of the fairer sex, we shall cut them no slack. Our game shall be just as challenging as you’ve come to expect, I assure you.
Our categories today are Chemistry, Medicinal Herbs, Mathematics, Art, and Mental Philosophy.
EMMA: I hardly think that is a fair distribution of categories.
MR. KNIGHTLEY: Pardon me, but I haven’t even had a chance to introduce you yet.
EMMA: (Looks impatient) I am Emma Wallingford—now Lady Scarsdale— heroine of Ms. Snow’s second book, Sweet Deception. Now, as I was saying, your choice of categories is not fair.
MR. KNIGHTLEY: How do you figure?
EMMA: Well, statistically speaking, three contestants competing with five categories naturally lends itself to an imbalance. Six categories would have a chance of being a more even competition…but that is neither here nor there. The finer point is that I am clearly at a disadvantage here.
MR. KNIGHTLEY: A disadvantage?
EMMA: Well, Liliana, the heroine from Sweet Enemy, is a chemist who is working towards creating medicines from plants. She clearly has the advantage in two categories.
MR. KNIGHTLEY: You don’t say… (he says, as he eyes the chestnut haired beauty standing at the first podium with a new respect)
EMMA: (frowns). I do say…and I’m pretty certain I said it in English. Did you not hear me? (she shakes her head) Anyway, on the other hand we have Penelope, the heroine from Sweet Madness, who is not only is a brilliant artist, but who has spent the last two years studying maladies of the mind. Again, she has a clear advantage in two of the five categories. Whereas I only have the upper hand in mathematics. For fairness sake, I believe another category should be added.
MR. KNIGHTLEY: (looks to the blonde on the other side of Emma with interest before he turns back to the petite brunette who has challenged him.) I see you your point. What category would you have us add, then? To make the game more fair…
EMMA: (thinks for a moment) Crime statistics. I’ve immersed myself in them the past few years and daresay that would even the odds a bit.
MR. KNIGHTLEY: (coughs) Crime statistics? What’s a nice young lady like you doing studying such a subject? For that matter (he glances at the other two women), maladies of the mind? Chemistry? Aren’t those subjects traditionally men’s pursuits, better left to—
(All three women shoot him glares that would have lit his pants on fire if the sparks in their eyes could burn true.)
LILIANA: I can’t speak for Emma or Penelope, but I for one am sick and tired of being told to keep my nose out of men’s pursuits. As if men alone have a brain worth educating. As if only men are capable of understanding complex scientific theory or making any worthy contribution to the world besides babies.
(she snorts. Emma and Penelope nod their heads vigorously)
MR. KNIGHTLY: (clears his throat and raises his hands in surrender) Point taken. Let’s see… (he shuffles his cards nervously). Six categories then. Lady Stratford, by virtue of being the heroine of Heather Snow’s debut novel, Sweet Enemy, and therefore the first in the series, you go first.
LILIANA: (smiles) Chemistry for 100, please, Mr. Knightley…
(After a neck and neck battle, with questions flying fast and furious—some clearly above Mr. Knightley’s head, by the way—the game is tied going into the final round…)
MR. KNIGHTLEY: Now ladies, it has been a truly enlightening battle but it all comes down to this. The final question will decide our winner. But first, you must decide how many of your points you will wager…
(All three women write down a number and flip it over. As they flip over their boards a collective gasp greets them. All three have chosen to wager everything…true to themselves, it’s all or nothing.)
MR. KNIGHTLEY: (blinks). Well, ladies, here it is. Each of you are women of science. Can you explain…love?
(Three pairs of eyes widen, as if a bit shocked at the question. But then brows furrow in concentration and they start scribbling furiously on their boards. After two minutes, Mr. Knightley clears his throat.)
MR. KNIGHTLEY: Time’s up, ladies. We shall answer in order of the books. Lady Stratford, your answer please, followed by Lady Scarsdale’s and finally Lady Bromwich’s.
LILIANA: I believe love is a chemical reaction. The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances. If there is any reaction, both are transformed forever. You just have to be careful when combining two unknown substances, such as Geoffrey and I were…sometimes you can start a reaction you can’t control…
EMMA: I believe love is a mathematical equation. You just have to manipulate it to suit your suitor. For example, the equation I used to snag Derick was simple, really. A + B + C = D². A =Accepting the business partnership I proposed. That kept him close to me. B = Boyhood, or Derick rediscovering who he was before he’d become a spy—with my help, of course. I knew it was vital, in order for him to heal from the wounds I saw in his eyes. And he needed to heal properly before we could move into C = Courtship—me pursuing him or he pursuing me, whichever seemed the most natural when we got to that point. And finally D² = Derick, staying in Derbyshire. With me.
PENELOPE: (shaking her head) Love is passionate and courageous. It’s a willingness to look deep within your partner and more importantly, to strip yourself bare, to be able to expose what needs to be healed in both of you and to discover what is within each of you that can help make the other whole.
MR. KNIGHTLEY: (consults his answer cards, shuffling between them. After a few moments, he looks up) Ladies, it seems you are all correct. You see, each of you found the perfect true love for her, all by different methods and philosophies. That’s the beauty of love—it can be explained differently for each person. The important thing is that you’ve each found your happily-ever-after. And that makes you all winners.
I hope you enjoyed this fun taste of the science-savvy heroines of the Veiled Seduction series.