Highlighting Historical Romance with Bronwen Evans
Thank you for having me on your blog this week. I’ve just released DRAWN TO THE MARQUESS, book #2 in my Imperfect Lords series. Stephen Hornsby, the Marquess of Clevedon is going blind.
When Stephen popped into my head (as my characters usually do) and told me about the problem with his eyes, I raced off to do research. It’s one of the most fun parts about writing historical romance. I began to research hereditary eye conditions from the early 1800’s i.e. the Regency era.
Thanks must go to Professor Steven Vernon of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, England, who led me to base Stephen Hornsby’s affliction on retinitis pigmentosa, which is a name for a number of inherited conditions that cause a progressive loss of visual function starting with night blindness and continuing through tunnel vision to sometimes, but not always, blindness.
Eye surgery in the early 1800’s was practiced. They did a great deal of cataract surgery. Post-operative complications could include blindness (including a complete loss of light perception…in other words the patient is left worse off than before – this is the condition known as endophthalmitis…although I’ve been unable to establish when that word was first coined, probably much later), but failures only rarely went beyond a bit of inflammation and purulent discharge. In fact cataract surgery was one of the more common operations of any type.
There was no antisepsis at this time, but the risk of infection was mitigated to some extent by the speed of the procedure and by the eye’s ability to cleanse itself with the tear fluid. The picture shows the seated position they used when doing the surgery.
Unlike today, of course, the surgery either pushed aside or fragmented the clouded lens (the cataract) but did nothing to replace the said lens in the eye, so the patient might be left more reliant on powerful spectacles.
Unfortunately, as it is today Stephen’s condition of retinitis pigmentosa is incurable. Does he go blind? You’ll have to read the book…
About the Book
Stephen Hornsby, the Marquess of Clevedon, has one goal: to see every exquisite thing he can before he goes blind. His greatest joy, watching a woman shuddering in the throes of passion, will be gone. But before the darkness descends, he is determined to seduce a magnificent widow, Lady Penelope Fisherton. Unfortunately, his rakish reputation has preceded him; Lady Penelope spurns his advances. Being a man who relishes a challenge, however, her reluctance adds only luster to his desire for the last beautiful sight he’ll ever see.
Considered the belle of London society, Lady Penelope was married to a scoundrel who cared for no one but himself. Now that she’s free, she wants nothing to do with love, passion, or desire—emotions that abandoned her with a cruel husband. So why does her body react when Stephen smiles? As much as she’d like to avoid the rogue, her brother-in-law wants her fortune, and he’ll kill to get it. Stephen is willing to help, but he’ll take only one thing in return: Her. In his bed.
~Excerpt from Drawn To The Marquess~
Charlotte had shared the scandalous tales of Lord Clevedon’s life with Penelope when they were making a list of men Penelope could approach. Charlotte also knew he was one of only a handful of men who had the skills and affront to help her.
She picked up her teacup, her mind locked steady. “Then perhaps you could share the reason for your visit.”
He gave her a smile that would melt snow, and probably most women’s hearts. “I’m here to gift you the painting.”
Excitement burst deep within Penelope. This was her chance. “There are only two problems with your kind offer.” She put her teacup down again and tried to steady her shaking hands. “One, men bearing gifts to a woman such as me are looking for something in return, usually me in their beds, and that will never happen. Two”—and she sat back in her chair for this—“I don’t want the painting. I never did. Why would I need a painting of a sunrise when I see the most glorious sunrise from my bedchamber window every morning?”
The look of confusion that momentarily flashed across his handsome face was priceless. He sat up and uncrossed his long limbs. “Then why did you bid on it?”
She hesitated, her bravery vanishing like a fog as the sun rose. Finally, she gave herself a bit of a shake and uttered the words that would change everything. “Because I knew you wanted it.”
His mouth fell open before he quickly closed it. Eyes narrowing, he leaned forward, “And why was that important?”
She shrugged, trying to portray an air of nonchalance. “I needed something you wanted. Unfortunately, you seemed prepared to pay an exorbitant sum for the painting. I suspect you would have kept bidding regardless of the price. Why did you want the painting so badly?”
“It is beautiful, is it not? The way Wilson captured the sunrise.”
“I suppose, but it cannot compete with a real sunrise.”
“Can it not? Whoever owns the painting can view a spectacular sunrise every minute of the day. I can see it at night long after the real sunrise has died.”
How odd. “If one sees something on a continuous basis one often ends up taking it for granted. I love the idea that I have to take the time to admire the sunrise before it is gone.”
“Perhaps I’m greedy. I want to surround myself with beauty every minute of the day. Pulchritudo latet in omnibus.”
She had never learned Latin. “What does that mean?”
“Beauty lies in all things.”
She wanted to argue but understood it would be pointless. She suspected a young chimney sweep did not view the soot clinging to his clothes, hair, and skin as beauty. “Still, your pursuit of the painting means I have nothing I can use. I have nothing you want.”
He flopped back in his chair, the rakish smile back on his face. He gave a deep chuckle. “My lady, you most definitely have something I want.” His eyes indecently traveled over her as she sat in her chair pretending his presence did not fire up her body in ways she’d hoped would never be fired up again.
About the Author
USA Today bestselling author, Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. Evans is a three-time winner of the RomCon Readers’ Crown and has been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. She lives in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand with her dogs Brandy and Duke.
You can keep up with Bronwen’s news by visiting her website
L0002127 Operation for Cataract<br />
Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images<br />
Operation for Cataract<br />
Die Krankheiten und Messbildungen des menschichen Auges und deren Heilung<br />
Himly, K.<br />
Published: 1843<br />
Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons by-nc 2.0 UK, see http://images.wellcome.ac.uk/indexplus/page/Prices.html