Only You’s Jane Hollinger loves watching drama, especially television period drama. She loves them so much that she has a huge DVD collection to help her escape from the routine of every day life. She has almost every period drama the BBC has ever produced and is also a huge Johnny Depp fan!
Despite all the period dramas, Jane certainly isn’t a prude. She first notices actor, Robert Armstrong, in The Lady of the Woods – a sexy modern remake of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It doesn’t hold back on sex or nudity and, according to her sister Mags, Jane practically wears out her DVD by going through most of the series frame by frame!
Jane’s favourite novel is an historical called The Hunger set in Ireland at the time of the Great Famine of the 1840s. She knows the period of history inside out – having studied it at university – and she is of Irish descent through her mother, whose family emigrated from Connemara in the west of Ireland during the Famine.
Jane has always imagined Robert as The Hunger’s main character, a landlord called Edward Rowley, and can’t quite believe it when he lands the leading role in an epic TV adaptation. She helps him with all the background research for the role but can’t help but worry as she sits down to watch the preview DVD Robert sends her. What if the adaptation is awful? What if Robert as Edward Rowley isn’t how she pictured him to be? What if she can never read her favourite novel again? You’ll have to read Only You to find out what her reaction is!
“I had some good news today from Marie,” Robert said.
“When I finish The Will, my next part is in The Hunger.”
Jane almost dropped her knife and fork.
“The William Simpson novel about the Irish Potato Famine?”
He nodded. “You know it?”
“It’s my favourite novel. Will you be playing the landlord? Edward Rowley?”
“Yes, why? What’s the matter? You don’t think I’m right for the part?”
“No! I mean, yes.” She put her cutlery down before she did drop them. “Oh God. Ever since I read it for the first time, you were the only man I could see as Edward Rowley…” She tailed off and blushed furiously. She hadn’t meant to say that much.
“Thanks very much,” he replied dryly. “He’s not exactly a happy chappie, is he?”
“Do you think about me a lot, Ms Hollinger?” he asked. Jane met his eyes. They sparkled with mischief. “Because when I read the script, and no matter which actress plays the part, you are the only woman I will see as Edward Rowley’s wife.”
“But she doesn’t love him,” Jane whispered.
“No. But he loves her. Very much.”
“Have you ever worn a corset?”
Jane caught her breath and began to cough.
“No?” he continued. “Might have to remedy that sometime!”
“I look forward to it, Mr Armstrong,” she retaliated and he laughed. “Is it film or TV?”
“TV. A six-parter. The BBC and RTÉ, the Irish state broadcaster, are really going to town on it. It’ll be one of the most expensive dramas they’ve ever done.”
“I can’t wait to see it. I did nineteenth-century Irish history at university. Mum’s ancestors were from Ireland. They came to England to escape the Famine. I realised that I knew little or nothing about Ireland so I chose that module. I shouldn’t say that I loved it because it was such a terrible tragedy, but—” She stopped. She was rambling, but it was Robert gazing at her with a gorgeous smile on his face which really stopped her in her tracks.
“You’ll give me a hand with all the background, then?” he asked. “My maternal grandmother was Irish. I know a little bit of Irish history, but what I do know probably only scratches the surface. My great-grandfather’s brother fought in the Irish Civil War, but I know little or nothing about the Famine.”
“Won’t there be researchers or something?”
“Yes, but it’ll be much more interesting coming from you. I mean, if it weren’t for you, what would I know about genealogy?”
“You could have gone out and bought a book,” she teased.
“No, I needed to see why people get so addicted to it and, thanks to you, I have.”