Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of gardening . . . the idyllic afternoons spent bathed in warm sunshine, hands in soft soil (in my fantasy I’m wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat—you know the kind—with the scarf built in?) . . . but when push comes to shove, I’m terrible at keeping plants alive in my third-floor Brooklyn walk-up, and if I had a garden, I feel certain it would be only a matter of time before I committed involuntary botanic genocide.
My characters, however, have lovely gardens. Big, beautiful English gardens filled with rosebushes and peonies and hedgemazes, and even those who cannot afford a top-notch gardener have the wild English countryside rolling across their lands. But for the purpose of this post, I’m sticking to the impeccable gardens.
You know the ones I mean . . . they have perfectly trimmed grass and perfectly groomed topiaries in the shape of angels. Or rabbits. Or whatever you’d like. They boast rows of rosebushes and bowers of ivy and they definitely have a fountain. One in which the three fates are very likely frolicking nude.
There is something about those pristine English gardens that calls to me as a writer—unfailingly manicured, they just beg to be the backdrop for something entirely scandalous.
Midnight trysts . . .
Skulking criminals . . .
Long-awaited professions of love . . .
My gardens have provided dark, leafy cover for them all—along with glittering balls and, in my most recent book, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, a fateful meeting that a wallflower would never forget.
Poor Eve. If Eden was anything like these gardens, she never had a chance.
What is it about gardens that calls to our most primal desire for scandalous things? What is it that tempts us to try out our inner wood nymph? I mean . . . is it just me? Or are rakes that much sexier when under cover of rustling leaves?
Sarah MacLean’s New York Times Bestselling debut adult romance, Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake begins and ends in a perfect—and appropriately shadowed—English garden. You can find it in bookstores everywhere. Visit her at www.macleanspace.com or follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/sarahmaclean.