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Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal by Grace Burrowes

People ask me if my day job ever finds its way into my Regency Romances, and the answer is usually, “not directly.” Because I earn part of my living in a child welfare courtroom, I probably need happily ever afters more than more people, but I didn’t give the question much consideration beyond that.
Then I realized that in “Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal,” I’d written a heroine who’d been adopted by her ducal family, and from the age of five, raised under Their Graces’ roof. I represent a lot of children who are growing up in adoptive homes, and while I know the outcomes for them are overwhelmingly positive (according to statistics, anyway), I also know some of those children need a lot of time and help to come to terms with the turns their lives have taken.
They worry about their biological families, they worry that they’ve betrayed those families, they worry that if they were adopted away from their birth families, then their own children can be taken from them… Such a lot of worry, and in children who ought to be fretting over nothing more significant than grades, what to wear to school tomorrow, and whose turn it is to hog the remote.
And then I think about those posters we see of children who were raised in foster care, adoptive homes or other nontraditional homes. Those kids grow up to be… Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Jobs, Barack Obama… I realized that such people often develop inner resources that arguing about the remote doesn’t engender.
Maggie Windham is one of those children whose circumstances have made her very strong early in life. The difficulty she’s facing is one many of us face: Our dearest, most hard won coping mechanisms have far, far outlived the circumstances that gave rise to them. Maggie is self-reliant to a fault, unwilling to cause her adoptive ducal family any difficulties, and unwilling to confront the trouble lurking in her past… and she’s already past that non-negotiable indicator of permanent marital hopelessness, her thirtieth birthday.  
Fortunately for Maggie, investigator Benjamin Hazlit can smell trouble on a woman from across a crowded ballroom, though in Maggie’s case, her mille fleurs perfume also draws his notice… as does her loneliness. Whereas Maggie won’t risk hurting any of her loved ones to win free of her difficulties, there’s nobody and nothing Benjamin won’t confront to win Maggie’s heart and slay her dragons.
I enjoyed writing this story more and more as the book unfolded. Maggie and Benjamin both have to reach for their courage—and for each other—with both hands to win their happily ever after. 
Can you think of a time when you had to embrace change to solve a problem? To one commenter below, I’ll send a signed copy of “Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal.”

To read an excerpt from Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal or to order the book, go to


  1. well, when my grandmother died . I was 15 years old. she was my best friend and had to get use to life without her.

  2. Congratulations on the release and launch of what I'm sure is another best seller, Grace. I can think of many of those scary moments in my past when the worry and angst preceded and outlived the incident. I'm sure that Maggie brought such moments to life and touched every reader's emotions deep in their souls! That's just the way you write and it is awesome!

  3. Congrats on the release of Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal! It sounds like a truly wonderful story, Grace.

    Raising three children we've survived more scary moments that I'd have liked, and there are times when I wake up in a cold sweat, reliving those moments in dreams.

    Helping our kids get through those difficult times does change you...and them...makes us stronger.

    Can't wait to read Lady Maggie's story!

  4. Ebony, that is a tough change at tough time in life and you have no choice but to deal with it, because death is certainly not going to compromise with your grief. I hope things improved, and that your grandma continues to illuminate your heart.

  5. Carolyn, I expected you to say you'd always tried to manage the tight spots on your own, then you got your hands on the right cowboy, and realized double harness has a lot to recommend it... but maybe that's what your heroines would say? Thanks for the kind thoughts, and right back atchoo.

  6. Colleen, you smacked that nail on the head: There is no greater source of heartache and difficulty than a child in distress, and cripes do they EVER find ways to get into distress. And in those moments, our own parents' stature rises as if by magic.

  7. Sounds like a great story, Grace!
    I've had to make changes several times in my life, the most recent being cutting back on my hours at the hospital in order to retain my sanity!

  8. What an awesome blog and a difficult job. I think the hardest change I had to embrace was the change having a child brought to my marriage. I had to realize it was going to be different and embrace the changes instead of resisting them so much.

  9. Excellent post, Grace! Sounds like a wonderful story!

    I remember asking my mother if we were adopted, the first time I'd heard of children who had been adopted. :)

    My father and his sister had been in foster homes (which they ran away from) and an orphanage for a while, even though they had living parents.

    And yet he was the best father a child could ever want and I always wondered how he could have turned out so well when his own parents had left a lot to be desired. His mother and stepfather cop had tried to kill him twice for his insurance money. His father signed him up to join the Army at 16, saying he was 18 so he wouldn't kill him. (I'm thinking this is directly related to the alpha males issue.)

    I'm sure his mother was really upset when my dad came home after being a POW for 16 months and they had to give up control of his military pay. Which is when they tried to kill him. Twice. :) Some parents just aren't meant to be parents. Yet somehow the children survive and thrive and do a great job with their lives.

  10. Cheryl, I think keeping the day job in perspective is one of the hardest things we do. Hats off to you for making a shift that had to be hard and little scary.

    Shana, the arrival of a child is an enormous adjustment. I wasn't married when my daughter showed up, and in some ways, that made it easier. I wasn't having to manage a marital readjustment along with everything else. Baby Galen looks to be thriving though, suggesting you and Sports Fan have made the leap into parenting with style.

    Terry, your dad's story is why one of my judges says about the fact patterns in our cases, "You cannot make this stuff up. Real life is more convoluted and unexpected than any novel." I hope your dad has written his story... or that somebody has.

  11. What a beautiful, thoughtful post. Thank you for this, and thank you for Lady Maggie!

  12. Wishing you tons of success, Grace, and heaping praise on you for all the children you've helped. May you be blessed to help many more!

  13. I became the major caretaker for our granddaughter as life presented big challenges. As with most situations, it has been an enormous blessing.

  14. Grace I'm really looking forward to reading this, after I finish Lady Sophie's story of course. I've misplaced the latter book again, I'd lose my head if it wasn't attached quite well. I'm keep all of your books so I can reread them again when I need something really interesting.

    My sister and I were adopted by our stepfather in 1956 and had no contact with our birth father until something like 1972.

  15. Cat, thanks for dropping in, and thank you--Maggie is your book too!

    Amelia, greetings, and thanks for those kind wishes. I'm not sure what goes on on a courtroom helps much, but the kids say if you listen to them and don't judge them, if you're straight with them, that stays with them.

    Krazymama, there are more and more children being raised by their grandmamas. I hope this is a win win, though I know for the grandparents, it's an unbelievable sacrifice.

    Molly, send me your snail mail addy and I'll find an author copy or ARC for you. Your situation is another data point that suggests Wally and the Beave were the last kids raised in a perfect nuclear family home.

  16. Congrats on your book release!

    I was always the kind of parent who tried to pre-empt every difficulty for my kids, but found that this was not the best way when my daughter hit her teen years. Sure, she still needed structure and me to sometimes point out pitfalls, but sometimes she needed to talk to me without me pointing out all of the potential ways to solve the issue and instead listen so that she could work issues out herself.

  17. I think we all have plenty of those moments in our lives...both personally and professionally. Leaving home and quitting my jobs to attend college was one of the first major turning points in my life!

  18. Lil, your situation with your daughter is interesting, in that you figured out what a lot of men are accused of not getting: Often, when a female discusses a problem, she's not looking for somebody to solve it for her. She's looking for a sounding board and the reassurance that somebody cares about her.... maybe guys raise issues with the same intent?

    Elf--either one, leaving home or quitting the job--would be a major turning point. College is supposed to be one of those uniformly good investments, and I've even heard of people enjoying it (says the six-years-of-undergraduate double degree former student). Best of luck, but don't forget to occasionally read for fun, too.

  19. Grace, congrats on your newest release!

    My big change was moving from a small town in southern Illinois to the Chicago area to find a good job. No money, no education, no support system. Quite a leap for a shy nineteen year old, but I did it. Got my degree via night school, landed a great job and awesome husband, and now I'm writing about happy endings. :)

  20. Tracey, yikes, you bit off a lot of change at once...and landed on your feet. No doubt that experience informs your characters, and makes those HEA's ring true.

  21. The loss of my grandfather when I was 12 was very rough on me. He was a true friend to me and I still miss him to this day. He was buried on my birthday (with my okay). It has always made me still feel very close to him.

    Also raising 5 kids, 4 boys, have left me with some scary memories. LOL

    Congrats on this new release. I love, love, love this series!!

  22. Phyllis, I miss my grandmother, though I was twenty when she died. She was the grandparent who embodied unconditional acceptance of her grand children and what kid can get enough of that?

  23. Congratulations on the book! I embrace change all the time at work to solve problems.


  24. Grace,

    Every day in my hospice job I'm faced with change. I never know from day to day what will happen. It can be sad, but mostly the experience has made me realize how precious time is. I don't want to waste it being angry or bitter, and I don't want to have regrets. My goal is to laugh, love, and dance every time I get the opportunity. :)

    Congratulations on the new release. It sounds like a great story, and Maggie sounds like an amazing character.


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