It’s a surprisingly cool day as I walk to the restaurant, which was too perfect considering my guest and the setting. The place itself is the most adorable and quaint place I’ve ever seen, and I am shown in right away. Surprisingly, I’m taken through the entire restaurant to a small terrace at the back that overlooks the nature preserve.
And on that terrace, tea tray before him, sits Kit Gerrard.
He rises as I approached, smiling with a sort of gentle warmth. His pristine navy suit makes me feel a touch underdressed, but his lack of tie gives him an almost carefree air.
Almost because one look in his eyes tells you nothing about Kit Gerrard is carefree.
He shakes my hand, waits for me to sit, then sits himself and reaches for the teapot. “I wasn’t sure what your favorite tea is,” he says apologetically, “but I figured peppermint was safe enough.”
He pours the tea with grace and precision, adds a touch of sugar and a mint leaf, then hands the cup and saucer to me. “And the cakes should be here in a moment,” he informs me, pouring some tea for himself now.
“Tea and cakes?” I laugh, wondering how any woman on the planet was NOT in love with this man. “How very British.”
He grins. “Too much? I thought a private interview deserved appropriate refreshments.”
I’m not complaining. Not at all.
The cakes arrived, we each took two, and then Kit sits back in his chair, smiling invitingly. “Now, I believe you have some questions for me?”
Boy, did I ever.
After all this time, we are finally hearing the story of the elusive Mr. Kit Gerrard. What sets your story apart from that of everyone else?
K: Probably the fact that it’s gone on for so long, and I’ve done such a job of hiding it. I suppose Colin did that as well, in his own way, but this is different, I think. Because I faced mine in a more direct way than he could and the consequences are different. I think mine is much more exciting, actually.
In a similar contrast, how is it that you are your twin brother, Mr. Colin Gerrard, have such different personalities?
K: I am in possession of all the favorable Gerrard traits, and he is in possession of all the less favorable ones.
Tell us about Marianne, if you will.
K: Marianne is… complicated. I think that should have come across in the previous books, but she loves the public and being adored and craves attention. I despise all of that. And yet Marianne has a true and loyal heart, a trait which she shares with her brother. She can be quite generous when she makes up her mind to be.
What drew you to Marianne in the first place, and made you suspect you were in love with her?
K: Well, I first met Marianne as a child, and it was a very long time before I was in love with her, but she always had this vibrant energy about her. She was an imaginative, inquisitive child, though she was actually quite shy. No doubt due to her overbearing aunt we all love so much. She must have struggled to get a word in edgewise. But as I came to know Marianne more, I found that she could make me smile just by smiling herself. Her laughter could provoke my own laughter. And there was something very addicting about being around her, and feeling that energy she possesses. I had no idea it was love until I was much older. Not until I realized she wouldn’t always be there and someone else could have her, come to think of it.
What’s your fondest childhood memory?
K: Beating Colin in every footrace we ever had. He threw the most glorious tantrums when he lost right up until he was sixteen. That and getting Colin out of trouble. Happened quite regularly. He was reckless, I was clever, and we only received a third of the punishments we ought to have done. Thanks to me, naturally.
Did you ever imagine your life would turn out the way it did?
K: No, not at all. I was supposed to lead a very quiet, contained life, perhaps as a scholar or some such. I’ve never been particularly sociable, so I had no desire to be out in Society much. Which makes me vastly different from my brother, I know.
If there’s one thing about your story that you would change, what would it be?
K: Well, I’d like to be less of an idiot about the whole thing, that’s certain. And I would lessen Marianne’s sufferings. In a heartbeat.
How do you feel about having J.J. Feild representing you?
K: Rather flattered, actually. He’s a charming, attractive man with a great skill for playing characters with a bit more complication to them. I’ll admit to being complicated myself, and I think Mr. Feild would do a fine job. I’d like to see how he portrays me, and perhaps take some notes on how to better portray myself, actually.
How do you feel Emily Blunt does in representing Marianne?
K: Emily Blunt is a stunning woman, and an incomparable actress. She’ll never completely match Marianne in my eyes, but I think Marianne is quite pleased with her. She has the ability to portray the airs Marianne does so well, the mischievous glint I so adore in her, and matches her surprisingly well in looks. All told, quite pleased.
What would Kit Gerrard’s weakness be?
K: Pride. It’s a terrible failing, but I have it in spades, as they say.
What do you feel is your greatest strength?
K: I think strengths are for others to acknowledge, are they not? No, I suppose… I suppose I, too, am a loyal person. Loyal to my brother, my sisters, our friends… even Marianne, when we were less than friendly. Also I can be very chivalrous when I wish to be, if that sort of thing matters anymore.
You are a notoriously secretive man. Tell us something we would never expect about yourself.
K: I’m terribly competitive. Growing up with Colin, there really wasn’t another way to live. Is that too obvious?
Besides your brother, who do you consider to be your greatest ally and friend?
K: (pauses) For the sake of this interview, we’ll say my friend Lord Blackmoor. Off the record, there is another that is a great friend of us both.
What do you do to find peace and relaxation in such a proper world that never stops moving?
K: I think one can always find peace within one’s self if perspective is maintained, and one does not get so caught up in the busy aspects of the world surrounding them. To sound less philosophical about the whole thing, I find that long walks and music aid me sufficiently well. Not necessarily if my sister Bitty is playing, but she’ll learn. Hopefully.
Do you find you have found more peace after marrying Marianne, or has life’s disruptions lovingly increased through Marianne’s efforts?
K: (laughs) That would depend on your definition of peace, my dear. There is no peace with Marianne, but there is no peace with any Gerrards either. No, I supposed I do feel AT peace, and I am certainly quite content with it. More than I ever thought I would be. But it is really a rather loud sort of peace. Plenty of disruptions, and sometimes I have to ignore those. I just don’t want to know.
Well, I think that about wraps up our interview…
K: If I remember correctly, you asked Colin fifteen questions, didn’t you?
I believe I did.
K: I’m competitive, remember? And older. Let’s go with one more for good measure. Just because we can.
Very well, just for laughs, what’s your favorite musical?
K: Seussical. No, I jest. I’ve always loved The Sound of Music, actually. That Captain Von Trapp is a difficult man, but a heart of gold lay beneath. You do see what I did there, right? You see why I…? Right, of course you did. Now if you call up Colin, you’ll hear a delightful tantrum when he hears the question count…
Off the record, Kit Gerrard elaborated a little more on his life now, and on his story (including spoilers!) and especially on what comes next. Apparently we readers are in for a treat this year, though I am absolutely sworn to secrecy on it.
A man of pride, he says, though I didn’t see the negative side of that. Certainly loyal, as I could tell from the smile he wore even when teasing about his brother. Chivalrous? Absolutely, as evidenced by his continual tending of my tea and cakes, which we completely devoured between the two of us. Mark that down about Kit Gerrard, my friends: notorious cake fiend.
But gentlemanly so.
It was sad to leave him, as I had grown fond of this so-called stuffy Englishman, but he bowed with all the politeness we’ve ever wanted from a man of his period, and he kissed my hand, just in the right way to make my heart skip. And he promised I could interview him again, so long as he still got more questions than Colin.
I may have given him my word on that one.
So would you.