A Certain Want of ReasonKate Dolan's not-so-traditional Regency romance A Certain Want of Reason

A farcical romp through London in 1816, from the drawing rooms to Bedlam — A young woman who has devoted her life to caring for her eccentric siblings meets a lord feigning insanity in a desperate attempt to avoid an unwanted marriage.

Lucia Wright needs a holiday. After years of caring for her “eccentric” younger brother and sister in the country, she accepts a friend’s invitation to spend a few weeks enjoying the season in London only to find that life among the city’s elite may be even crazier than at home.

Lord Edmund Rutherford needs an escape. Sworn since childhood to a woman he cannot abide, he finds himself trapped by the strictures of society and the expectations of those around him. The solution seems simple—feign madness and be sent away for a short period, encouraging his intended bride to end their long engagement, thereby securing his freedom.

Lucia and Edmund are thrown together by chance, and while he should be the last man on earth she would find appealing, Lucia becomes fascinated by the gentleman who seems rational to no one but her. Together they are forced to weather a madhouse, the vengeful scheming of a woman who wants Edmund’s title at all costs and a world that appears to have lost all reason.

Book One in the Love & Lunacy series

The Story Behind the Story:

Arsenic and Old Lace inspired Kate Dolan to write A Certain Want of ReasonI guess it’s a little cruel of me, but this story started with the idea of taking someone in a happy situation and ruining her life entirely. I envisioned a young lady on her first visit to London offered a full social array of activities and having to turn them down for some reason. And what was that reason? As it turns out, it was a want of reason.

Specifically, it was her dysfunctional family. Her deranged brother Geoffrey was inspired by the character of Teddy charging up the stairs in Joseph Kesselring’s play Arsenic and Old Lace (brought to mind one afternoon when I joined the crowd yelling “Charge” at an Orioles game.) And Helen the OCD scientist? I’m not sure where she came from but she’s my most popular character and I was thrilled to give her a story of her own some years later.

I wrote the majority of the initial draft of A Certain Want of Reason during my first NaNoWriMo experience and I think that gives the tale a sort of frenetic energy. For those unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month, it’s a program that encourages writers to produce a “book in a month” of at least 50,000 words in length. To reach that goal, it’s necessary to set daily word goals that don’t allow time to go back and edit anything written on previous days to, for example, see if it makes any sense whatsoever. The crazy push to write something–anything–to fill the day’s word count goal produces crazy stories, or at least it does for me. This book became the first in the “Love & Lunacy” series and the next two books in the series also saw their genesis during “Book in a Month” challenges.

Even though it’s a silly story with no pretense to truth, I did go back do some research after the writing challenge ended. I am a history nut, after all. In particular, I wanted to find out about the layout and operation of Bethlehem Hospital – better to known to most of us as BBedlamedlam. While it was by no means a fun place to be confined, I was relieved to find that by this point in it’s history, the hospital staff did strive to cure patients rather than just locking them away. Even so, it would not be my first choice for a vacation stay, especially since at the time of my story, they hadn’t yet gotten around to putting glass in the windows, if I recall correctly.



“Ms. Dolan’s regency romance is amazing. I found myself completely absorbed in the story. Lucia and Edmund are both terrific characters, full of depth and personality. The cast of secondary characters are very entertaining as well. The plot is unique and engaging, and the dialogue is fun and provocative. Storytelling that flows this effortlessly makes a pleasant and satisfying read. A Certain Want of Reason is truly exhilarating, one of the best regency romances I have ever read.”
–Bonnie-Lass, Coffee Time Romance

A Certain Want of Reason is a magnificent spin on a regency romance…. Ms. Dolan takes a bad situation among families and spins a most stirring read on redemption, romance, and understanding one’s self in this recommended read.
–Linda L., Fallen Angels Reviews

A groom-to-be who will go to any length to get out of an engagement may not sound like an ingenious premise, but Dolan’s version is fun.”
–Faith V. Smith, RT Book Reviews


Please note: The publisher has announced it is closing. Until I receive my rights back for this book, you can buy a copy from me directly or through Authors Den. The ebook will be re-released shortly with the new cover as shown on the left above.

Historical Information About the Story:

Bedlam on my mind

Hard Knocks

A Tourist in Regency London