Friday, February 12, 2010

LOVERS ROCK WEEK FINALE - Hosted by Leslie Kelly

UPDATE: The winner of MAKE ME OVER by Leslie Kelly, plus two suprise Harlequin titles, is Sunnymay. Congrats! Please email you physical addy to contests(AT)
Most people who know me are aware I am a big Broadway musical fan. Ever since I was a kid, I have chosen to listen to show tunes over just about any other kind of music, and I’ve seen dozens of lives shows. So when The Knight Agency asked me to be a guest during their Lovers Rock week, my mind immediately went to musicals.

Christine and the Phantom? Nah…overdone. The Baker and his wife from Into The Woods? Tempting…but then again, she cheats, and then she dies. Sigh. Camelot? Uh…there’s that cheating thing again. Newer stuff—my new fave show Next To Normal? Talk about dysfunctional! Rent, Spring Awakenings, Boy From Oz…yikes, not many happily-ever-afters there!

So, back to the classics. One couple immediately came to mind as my favorite—and it’s one some people don’t even think of as a romantic couple at all. I’m talking about Professor Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady. (Also, of course, from the book PYGMALION…but the book doesn’t end the same way as the musical and I like the musical better!) I should have thought of this one immediately, since I actually wrote an entire book (MAKE ME OVER) as an homage to it!

To quickly sum up the story for those who don’t know, a snooty linguistics professor accepts a bet from a friend that he can take a cockney girl from the streets and turn her into a lady who could even fool royalty. He succeeds…and falls in love with his own creation. Audrey Hepburn played Eliza
in the movie, Julie Andrews played her on Broadway. Rex Harrison starred in both versions. Not necessarily a “classical” romantic hero, Harrison nonetheless takes this arrogant, impatient, stuffy man and lets us see his icy heart thawing as Eliza gets under his skin. (Oh, quick side note, Harrison also starred in one of favorite old movies ever—The Ghost & Mrs. Muir—in which he was a gorgeous, ghostly ship’s captain and the happily-ever-after didn’t come until after she died!)

Back to My Fair Lady. There’s no blatant romance, not one kiss, not one embrace. No “I love you’s” are exchanged. Eliza and the Professor are antagonists through much of the story. Yet even as Eliza is drastically transformed from street-girl to lady, you see Higgins begin to realize how empty and lonely his own life has been. Until by the end, when she is ready to marry someone else, he acknowledges to himself just how much she has come to mean to him. He puts it best in one of my favorite songs:
I've grown accustomed to her face.
She almost makes the day begin.
I've grown accustomed to the tune that
She whistles night and noon.
Her smiles, her frowns,
Her ups, her downs
Are second nature to me now;
Like breathing out and breathing in.
I was serenely independent and content before we met;
Surely I could always be that way again-
And yet I've grown accustomed to her look;
Accustomed to her voice;
Accustomed to her face.

It’s not a passionate declaration to her, just a self-admission that he cares about this girl when he had never really cared about anyone. Simple and sweet and lovely.

When she returns to him, choosing an uncertain future with him over marriage to a handsome, charming young suitor, he doesn’t leap up and take her into his arms, their relationship is too tenuous. He instead leans back and puts his hat over his eyes, wondering aloud where he left his slippers. The viewer doesn’t see the happily ever after, it’s left to you to fill in the blanks of the story. In my mind, Eliza and Henry marry and have a wonderful life together.

I guess that’s why I write romance novels. I choose to see the happily-ever-after.

How about you?


Leave a comment to win a signed copy of MAKE ME OVER by Leslie Kelly. As a bonus, The Knight Agency will throw in two suprise titles published by Harlequin! So that's three books total! The winner will be announced tomorrow afternoon.
To learn more about Leslie, visit

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Blogger Kirsten said...

The HEA are definitely my biggest reason for reading romances. I also love the falling for part but it's the hea that gives me that kick.

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 10:25:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Tinky said...

I'm with you. I agree that "Pygmalion" is probably more realistic than "My Fair Lady" but we all want Eliza and the Professor to get together in the end.

I adore many fictional couples. I guess if I had to pick one it would be the older married couple played by Fredric March and Myrna Loy in "The Best Years of Our Lives." They're just right together....

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 10:36:00 AM EST  
Blogger Michele L. said...

Hi Leslie!

I enjoyed your blog and just love old movies! Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, are some of my favorite actors!

Definitely love a HEA. Romantic books are my secret love mojo. Just can't get enough of them! Harlequin rocks!

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 10:43:00 AM EST  
Blogger Rebecca Nazar said...

Movie studios rarely make stellar romantic comedies now it seems. I watched Breakfast at Tiffany's recently--so, so, lovely.

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 10:52:00 AM EST  
Blogger s7anna said...

I much prefer the suggestion of HEA in the musical vs the original play which is rather depressing. I'm a huge fan of romantic fiction and a HEA is essential to it. I want no loose ends in my stories.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Anna Shah Hoque

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 11:17:00 AM EST  
Blogger Monica Burns said...

At LAST! Someone else who sees My Fair Lady as a romance. I always believed the song was his way of admitting that he loved Eliza. I was always convinced their HEA definitely happened.

Great Post.

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 11:46:00 AM EST  
Blogger Minna said...

I love books with happy endings!

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 12:18:00 PM EST  
Blogger Sunnymay said...

Love the old romatic movie classics and know most of the words to the lyrics and can hum or sing the melodies. I like the seranading of Maurice Chevalier to Leslie Caron in Gigi. My Fair Lady is also a favorite with On The Street Where You Live. HEA is fine with me.

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 12:45:00 PM EST  
Blogger Elizabeth L said...

Of COURSE MFL's a romance...I can't believe anyone wouldn't think it is...

Bringing up Baby another great romantic comedy (Cary Grant). Pirates of Penzance, old but funny just the same with a nice lil' love story and all.

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 12:58:00 PM EST  
Blogger Erika said...

HEA are the reason I read romance novels. If I wanted to hear about a relationship gone bad, I'd stick to real life. If I know the book won't end well, I don't read it.

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 1:58:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Steph C said...

The HEA is definitely a huge part of the appeal of a romance. Otherwise it's like reading a mystery where the whodunnit isn't resolved. What's the point?

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 2:51:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

love Hea want it to happen to me lol
congrats on your books
would love to win
i loved make me over

Love phantom of the opera


Friday, February 12, 2010 at 3:59:00 PM EST  
Blogger Karin said...

I love your choice of Eliza and Henry. My Fair Lady is one of my favorite movies, and not just because Audrey Hepburn is my favorite actress. There is just something about that story that immediately drew me in the first time I saw it. I have to agree with your idea of how Eliza and Henry end up - married and happy.

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 5:20:00 PM EST  
Blogger Maureen said...

I do enjoy reading a story where I know the ending will be a happy one.

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 5:37:00 PM EST  
Blogger INCiDeNT said...

I love to read about HEA in a book (it's better than some realities anyway), but sometimes it gets a bit predictable, so I shoot for the paranormal/suspense/urban romances or fantasy genres more. I love the conflicts in relationships as well as endings that leave it up to the imagination of the person to fill in the gaps.

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 6:06:00 PM EST  
Blogger Linda Henderson said...

My Fair Lady is one of my daughter's favorites too. I've been a romance reader for years and I do enjoy the HEA.

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 6:07:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Sandra Lynne said...

Hi Leslie,
I've always loved "My Fair Lady" and I always saw a happy ending to it too!
I also really love "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir"! (I'm a Gene Tierney and Audrey Hepburn fan. I also like Rex too!)I'm getting in the mood to watch these movies again! I have them both on video! And they are perfect to celebrate Valentine's Day with!

I hope to win this contest because your book looks really good Leslie!
I hope everybody has a Happy Valentine's Day!!


Friday, February 12, 2010 at 8:04:00 PM EST  
Blogger Paula R said...

Hey Les, I love Eliza and Henry. Nice choice there, and I love your support for why they are the perfect example of a romantic couple. I loved the line about his slippers too. It was just such a great musical. I hope that you had a great day today. Sorry, I didn't get here sooner.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 9:49:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Chelsea B. said...

I'm the same way, and why I READ romance :-)

Friday, February 12, 2010 at 11:40:00 PM EST  
Blogger LSUReader said...

Yes, yes, yes, to the HEA. Although I must admit, I prefer "On the Street Where You Live," for a romantic MFL song!

Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 3:23:00 PM EST  

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