An Earl In Time is a Dark Fairytale Romance (A Warning to Those Who Don’t Like Dark Fiction)

So as I writing today, a scene came up that took a very dark turn. This was not something I had anticipated when I started this book, and it wasn’t something I thought would happen when I got the cover. The man and woman still fit. The title still fits.

But the subtitle is not really an accurate portrayal of things. I mean, there is a time travel aspect. So technically, it’s okay there. The thing is that this book is far darker than I expected. Think of the original fairy tales (not the cute Disney ones). Think of fairy tales where Rumpelstiltskin wanted the woman’s firstborn child for helping her turn hay into gold, where the witch lured Hansel and Gretel with a house made of candy in hopes that she would get to eat them, or a wolf ate a girl’s grandmother and then tried to eat her, too. When I was a little kid, Little Red Riding Hood gave me nightmares. These are dark fairy tales. They have dark elements in them. In the end, however, good won out, and that’s how things will play out in this book as well.

When I wrote the Marriage by Fairytale Series, I got a few comments about how gruesome and violent The Wedding Pact and The Duke’s Secluded Bride were.


One beta reader was so shocked that she said she couldn’t believe I could write a villain as terrible as the one I had in The Duke’s Secluded Bride and write someone as wonderful as Dave Larson in Eye of the Beholder. (I actually took that as a compliment since I like knowing I can run the spectrum on heroes and villains.)

Mostly, though, I received comments from people who said that they never want to read anything like The Wedding Pact and The Duke’s Secluded Bride ever again. They asked me to let them know if I was going to write a book similar to those so that they could avoid them. Since I said I would, this post is the warning. If you didn’t like The Wedding Pact or The Duke’s Secluded Bride, skip An Earl In Time. It’s actually worse than those.

The dark elements involve a curse and a villain who was willing to sacrifice her own baby for eternal youth (so you can imagine what she’s willing to do to the hero and heroine). Though to be fair, the dark stuff comes in toward the last 1/4 of the book, which is what I’m working on right now. I don’t start out knee-deep in dark territory, though I do hint at it through the use of “a bloody legend” and the fact that the heroine gets isolated from the rest of the world.

The story starts out in our contemporary time where the heroine inherits an estate that she is unable to leave or sell. She comes upon our hero who is stuck in a parallel reality (due to magic), except he’s been living out the same day over and over (June 17, 1817) for two centuries. It’s only when the heroine steps into his time that the hero is able to move forward in time again. The heroine is now in 1817 with him and is unable to return to her time (nor does she really want to because the hero is handsome and pleasant to be around). Things evolve from there as they try to figure out why they can’t leave the property, and, of course, they fall in love, get married, and the book becomes a steamy romance.

As with quite a few fairy tales, I’ve brought in the element of fantasy where magic is at play. I’ve been advised by fantasy writes to make sure my magic comes with rules. I’ve been trying to watch these rules so I don’t break them, but I have learned the benefit of rules is to give the hero and heroine a high-stakes obstacle to overcome. But there is a flip side. Since this is a romance, I’ve gone the route of “true love” having its own magic, and this will be an obstacle to the villain. As a kid, I’ve always like the “true love” element of fairy tales, so I wanted to incorporate it into this book.

I don’t know how many people I just lost by writing this post, but I don’t want anyone reading this if it’s not your cup of tea. I’ll link back to this post in future as needed just in case someone missed it this time. That way, I don’t repeat myself like crazy for the rest of the year. I’m hoping to get this book out in November or December, though I guess it would make a good Halloween read for people who like romance and some gothic fiction. So maybe I’ll make it an October release.

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to other genres, but her first love is historical romance. She lives in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and a couple of children. To find out more about her books, go to
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14 Responses to An Earl In Time is a Dark Fairytale Romance (A Warning to Those Who Don’t Like Dark Fiction)

  1. Susan A Layton says:

    I think that several people have gotten so “Disneyized” that they forget (or never knew in the first place in some cases) just how dark the original versions of many fairy tales were. I mean the original versions of some fairy tales would care the bejesus out of many children.

    • That’s very true. The originals were dark, and they didn’t always have a happy ending. That story about Little Red Riding Hood gave me a few nightmares where I thought a wolf had eaten my family and wanted me to join it in its evil deeds. My grandma had given me a doll that was a grandmother on one side and you flipped over the shirt to see the wolf pretending to be her. My parents ended up throwing it out because it freaked me out.

      When I sit and think over what those fairy tales really are about, I realize they were stories meant for adults. I guess they might have been there to scare children into behaving, such as the story about the kid that cried wolf too many times. That one didn’t scare me as much, but it did make me think twice before making stuff up.

  2. Gail Palmere says:

    I look forward to this book. It sounds intriguing. I like time travel, magic, witches, and romance and putting them altogether in one book sounds exciting. I like all of your books and your sense of humor. You make books exciting. Thank you and please keep them coming.

    • Thank you, Gail! I appreciate that a lot.

      I’m a huge fan of fairy tales. I love how they bring out the creative aspects of storytelling. It’s fun to expand the boundaries of the “normal” world. I still love my other stuff, but I’m finding this experiment in another area to be way more interesting than I expected. Knowing someone out there wants to read it helps a lot in the enthusiasm factor. So thank you again! 😀

  3. Lynelle says:

    Good day Ruth,
    It has been a while since we talked but I want to send you a gift for my latest book, Love at War.
    Your husband, Toni, was kind enough to help me with beta reading from a military perspective and I promised him a copy. Please let me know which email address to use or write to me at and I will forward the code right away.

    So glad to see you are still going strong.
    Hope to speak sooN.


    • No need to send the code. I’d be thrilled to buy it. Can you give me the Smashwords link?

      I remember you, by the way. 😀 My husband was honored to get to help an author out.

      • Lynelle says:

        Hello Ruth, thank you so much.
        I was wondering if he would remember me. It has been a while.

        • Got my copy. Thank you! 😀

          It has been a while. I remembered your book since he worked on it, but I did have to think about how long it has been. My husband and I were still in Nebraska. I remember him reading your story on the computer in our bedroom. This summer, we’ll have been in Montana for six years. So it’s been at least six years. Where did the time go?

          • Lynelle says:

            Time has a tendency to surpass us. It can be easily six years and much has happened in my life. Love at War is close to my heart since it went through all the tribulations with me.
            Thanks for the purchase, you absolutely made my day. 🙂
            I really hope you both like it. Would love to know your thoughts once done.

            • Hi Lynelle,

              Just wanted you to know that I think your book is an excellent read for people who love military Christian romances. It’s not a fluff story, which is good for readers like me who aren’t a big fan of “light” stuff. It’s more of a real world approach to things. It was also fun to get a chance to see things from the angle of a story outside of England, Canada, or the US. 😀

  4. I can’t wait to read this! I’m really excited about this one.

    • I just finished it today! I’ll go through the first draft and then send you a copy so you can check it out. The sucker turned out to be 99,500 words. I don’t know what it’ll be when I get the second draft. Typically, I lose words. Oddly enough, it doesn’t feel like it’s almost 100K words. Writing it was actually fast.

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