The Reluctant Wife is in the final stages of editing and on track for an April 26 release. It is set in 1835, and in the process of writing it I learned quite a bit about that era. Sometimes I think collecting odd bits of facts is the most fun part of my job.
- The India Mail initiated overland service from Bombay via Suez to Alexandria that year. Folks would disembark at Suez and caravan across the desert to Cairo, float up the Nile and then take steamship to England from Alexandria. The idea enchanted me, and felt compelled to fold it into the story. I wrote a short piece about travel via Egypt for History Imagined, too.
- Adolphe Quételet observed that meteors radiated from the constellation Perseus during the August meteor shower we now call the Perseid shower. What could be more romantic than having my hero and heroine watching the event while lying on a blanket in the desert?
- The era was neither Georgian nor Victorian, much less Regency. The time between, under William IV, Victoria’s uncle, was a time of great social change. After the Tories lost in January of that year, Lord Melbourne returned as Prime Minister. A variety of reform bills occupied the commons throughout this period. Fred and Clare, alas, were oblivious to most of this.
- Sir Charles Metcalfe became the Governor General of the Bengal Presidency. Since he had never married, he had no official hostess. To Clare’s disgust, the military wives of Calcutta worried much more about the impact of that on their own precedence than the impact of his tenure on the country.
- Darwin arrived in the Galapagos in September. I wasn’t able to work that one into the story, alas.
The Reluctant Wife is a great story about failure and redemption, struggle and love, against the background of the empire at its height. My challenge now is to make people aware it exists. I’m making lists of how to do that, but first? Coffee.