It's the beginning of August, 1815. The dishonourable John Sebastian Smirke, a heartless pretty narcissist, has had another genuine offer of marriage rejected by a sneering Papa. Offended and infuriated, he executes the perfect revenge; blackmailing the virgin concerned into his bed. His web is skilfully woven; success is assured until he's caught in his own web. Fate throws him a safety rope, but it looks too much like a noose. Fate shrugs its shoulders as Smirke insists on running the gauntlet.
Introducing Smirke is very much an introduction to a character. It’s taken from an unfinished novel entitled A Specialist in Unhappiness. This version is told from John Smirke’s perspective and takes place the month before his story begins.
I adore Smirke, even as I laugh at him. He’s taught me many things about myself and how to understand and love people like him. He was born longing to be verbally admired and adored. This is what pours love into his heart and makes him feel valued. His parents, never understanding their youngest son’s need to be admired, tried to wean him from it by never telling him he was beautiful. Desperate for love he turned as a child to his own reflection and tried to fill the need by admiring himself, but it crippled his ability to love other people. His innocent desire to be loved has warped into severe narcissism; other people are barely more than reflections in his emotional mirror. He can’t understand why people don’t admire him when his mirror tells him that they should.
His life long aversion to ugly people ties in with his need to be admired. Ugly people make him feel deeply uncomfortable because he can’t admire them. He can’t give them what he craves, so that makes him feel guilty and he hates feeling guilt. He solves the problem by avoiding all plain or ugly people. I like to think he’d find me acceptable, but I couldn’t say unless I came face to face with him. Thankfully that won’t ever happen unless I lose my mind and end up living in Regency Romance la la land.
I hope you enjoy reading the story as much as I enjoyed writing it!