Insane Asylums in the Regency Era

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Highlighting Historical Romance with Bronwen Evans who addresses insane asylums—and Alzheimer’s Disease— in the Regency Era.

I’ve just released INVITATION TO PLEASURE, book #3.5  a Christmas novella in my INVITATION TO series. The story revolves around my heroine’s epic battle to protect her mother who, unknown in the Regency era, has early onset Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease, particularly in its early onset version, was unknown during the Regency period. They simply thought you were going ‘insane’.  All mental illnesses were classified as ‘going insane’.

Georgiana has no idea what is happening to her mother, that in itself would be very frightening. But her greatest fear is what her father might do to her mother. Her father uses the threat of sending her mother to an insane asylum to keep Georgiana in line.

Those classified as ‘insane’ often lived terrible lives. If you were lucky, your family looked after you. If not, you were tossed on the streets or just as bad, sent to an insane asylum.

Insane Asylums in early 1800’s were not pleasant places, nor were they there to help the patient. Often a patient was physically restrained for long periods. The commonplace use of physical restraints on patients had its roots in the custodial nature of early asylums. The function of mental institutions was simply to keep ‘inmates’ in custody. The keepers were little more than guards and it was not uncommon for patients to be kept in chains or other restraints for most of the time. The extent to which restraints were used varied from one asylum to another, but they were accepted as a necessary part of mental healthcare. Inmates were at the mercy of the keepers and those other patients around them, with terrible treatment often metered out—being shackled, bled, purged, blistered, beaten.

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Unfortunately, her father, being a powerful Marquis, would have amble ammunition to send her mother away. Does Georgiana save her mother? Will my hero, Danial Kerrich come to her aid? You will have to read the book…

About the Book

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How do you make a lady who does not trust men, open her heart to love?

A few days before Christmas, Lady Georgiana Marsh has snuck onto the Earl of Hascombe’s estate to take back Apollo, the colt her father had no right to sell. Unfortunately, the devastatingly handsome Daniel Kerrich, Baron de Winter, would rather spend time in the stables than in his brother-in-law’s drawing room and catches her in the act.

It will take more than a sensual smile to win this lady’s heart…

Before Daniel can arrest the stunning beauty, she distracts him with a kiss under the mistletoe and… knocks him out cold. Now Daniel is determined to get his revenge. The only trouble is, the cunning vixen seems immune to his charms, that is, until Daniel takes ownership of the one thing she wants—Apollo. What is Georgiana prepared to give him for the colt? Suddenly he knows exactly what he wants in return—a beautiful hoyden with a stubborn streak to match his own. Can he convince the fiercely independent Georgiana that he is a man worthy of her love?

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An Excerpt

Daniel straightened from his crouch and moved with more assurance toward the end stall. It bloody well was a woman with the colt.  She might be disguised in men’s clothes, but he’d seen Rheda, his sister, wearing trousers enough times to recognize the enticingly feminine curves. The shapely behind sat atop legs almost as long as the colts. Hair as light as straw hung down the middle of her back, tied with a ribbon. She was holding Apollo’s nose, and whispering in his ear.

Was she touched in the head? Even if she was a thief, he felt the urgent need to protect her from her folly. Apollo could trample her to death.

“Don’t make any sudden movements, back slowly away from the colt so as not to frighten him,” Daniel spoke softly from the entrance to the stall. Instead of following his sensible advice, he watched her stiffen, her hand still on the colt’s nose and in utter disbelief Daniel saw her other hand move to grip Apollo’s mane as if she were about to… Goddamn her to Hades, she bolted onto the colt’s back.

“Step away unless you wish to be trampled.”

Her voice was breathy but held an air of command. He couldn’t see her features in the gloom, but he’d swear she was gentrified. She had an unmistakable air of arrogance, proving she was used to talking down to men. Instead of obeying her, he stepped into the middle of the stall doorway.

“Horse thieving is a hanging offence. I’d hate to see that pretty neck stretched.”

“I am not stealing, so you need not worry on my behalf.”

His hands fell from where they sat on his hips, and he moved a few steps forward. “I know you’re stealing, love. That is Lord Hascombe’s new colt, Apollo.” He wished he could see her face. “Now, get down before you hurt yourself. Young Apollo here is not known for his good behavior.”

“That’s because you simpletons don’t know how to handle him. He is obedient for those he respects. Besides, I’m not your love. Now, I shall ask nicely one final time. Get out of the way!”

Daniel stood undecided. He could not simply step aside and let her steal his brother-in-law’s valuable colt, but neither could he rush the horse. “We appear to be at an impasse as I have no intention of letting you take him.”

He heard the smile in her voice. “Let me?” With that she made Apollo rear up and his hooves came very near to Daniel’s face and body. Daniel held fast. Surely, she was testing him?

“I’m not moving so you may as well tell me why it’s not stealing.”

He heard a very unladylike curse issue from her lips, impressing him even more than her horsemanship.

“My grandfather gifted me Apollo, therefore, my father had no right to sell him to Lord Hascombe.”

Daniel moved forward and stroked Apollo’s nose. “If this is true, why not inform Lord Hascombe of the situation? I’m sure he would listen.”

She snorted. “Would you willingly give up an animal of this quality and value?”

“If he had been sold without the owner’s permission, yes. Can you prove it was a gift?” The silence spoke volumes. “I see. Well, get down from there and come into the house.  We shall see what Lord Hascombe has to say.”

He didn’t know her first name, but he knew who had given the horse to Rufus, the Marquis of Wentworth, Charles Marsh. Daniel had been right; she was gentry, yet way above an impoverished Baron. He waited, for he was not about to turn his back on Lady Marsh and the colt.

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.

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