My Ultimate Crush: Sir Anthony Fanshawe

Make way, make way! Sir Anth- we mean… Carina Press author Josh Lanyon is here today to offer up his Ultimate Crush! Be warned, you may be swept off your feet before you’ve finished reading! 

“And I,” said Sir Anthony, “can finish my dinner!”

I think it’s interesting that these days my ultimate crush is a character I actively disliked when I was a much younger romance reader.

Sir Anthony Fanshawe of Georgette Heyer’s Regency romance The Masqueraders is described as “a very large and leisurely gentleman indeed…he had certainly a presence and a personality.” It wasn’t just my youthful preference for slight, quicksilver and sardonic men, Sir Anthony is described as deliberate, placid, indolent, imperturbable, humorous, sober, peaceable and, worst of all, respectable.  He is unquestionably a grown up. A mature and confident man who thinks before he speaks, let alone acts.

Now a grown up myself, I know how much that means!

Which is why when Sir Anthony falls for the cross-dressing adventuress Prudence Merriot, it’s pretty damned romantic. From the standpoint of a solid citizen like Sir Anthony, Prudence is initially very much a liability. She is penniless and her family lineage is inglorious, to say the least. Not only that, both her father and brother are escaped Jacobites. Did I mention the part about her running around London society dressed as a man?

In short, not the kind of woman Sir Anthony might be expected to offer for.

But Sir Anthony is shrewd and insightful and he quickly susses Prudence’s secret. Not only is he not shocked, he determines to protect her — and her family — at all costs. When she’s called out, he picks a fight and duels with her challenger — and then he elopes with her. Or as good as. In the end, he takes her to stay with his mother (he is, after all, a gentleman and a grown up).

As a younger reader, Sir Anthony’s capable certainty annoyed me. Prudence didn’t need or want rescuing, and Sir Anthony was putting an end to all her adventuring. But Prudence herself says early on she is tired of adventuring, tired of being on the run and living out of her trunk. While she doesn’t need or want rescuing, she does appreciate the strong shoulder and ready arm Sir Anthony offers. They share a sense of humor and a similar world view, despite their different situations.

“My dear, I have looked many times in your eyes,” he said. “They tell me all I have need to know.”

I find that awfully romantic, and all the more so because we readers know Sir Anthony doesn’t say that kind of thing lightly. He’s not given to flowery speeches. He means it. Every word.

And probably the most romantic thing about Sir Anthony is this grown up man, so thoughtful and experienced and yes, wise, suffers no particular conflict over his feelings for Prudence. He is a man who does not let society or politics dictate what he believes in — let alone who he shall love. He has complete respect and admiration for Prudence, and he’s got the courage and honesty to say so without dramatics.

“I have nothing but pride in you. In your courage, and in the quick wits of you. I have never known so wonderful a woman.”

One thing for sure, life with Sir Anthony might prove stable, but it would never be dull.

Tweet @JoshLanyon and let him know what you think. Is it yay or nay to to Sir Anthony Fanshawe?