Highlighting Historical Romance and the facts behind the fiction with Mirta Ines Trupp and Celestial Persuasion.
Although I was born in Argentina, I grew up—for the most part—in the United States of America. My knowledge of Argentine history was limited to bits and pieces of family lore and stories I had picked up throughout the years. It wasn’t until I began writing novels, that I started to take note of some interesting historical data. As an avid reader of historical fiction and a great fan of Regency and Victorian novels, I had grown accustomed to stories based in England or “the Continent.” But my research began showing me how England was quite engaged with the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata (the territory now known as Argentina) and heavily influenced the criollos’ (native Spanish Americans with European heritage)fight for independence from the Spanish crown.
While Napoleon was causing havoc and marching across the Continent, there were others concentrating on the New World. For example, my research led me to Lord Duff, the fourth Earl of Fife. After fighting together to liberate the Spanish monarch from the French, the earl and Sir Charles Stuart met and befriended José de San Martín (the man who would become Argentina’s famed liberator). They organized a secret society of Englishmen and Spanish Americans and called themselves: The Lodge of Rational Knights.
I discovered a trailblazing woman by the name of Mariquita Sanchez, and was inspired by a painting that depicts one of her famous salons where the Argentine national anthem was heard for the first time. In fact, this painting was the impetus for my novel, Celestial Persuasion! Her love affair with Captain Thompson reminded me somewhat of Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth; and with all the stories of naval officers, banished monarchs, and ladies in Regency dress, how could I resist?
About the Book
Abigail Isaacs fears ever again falling under the power of love and dedicates her life to studying the heavens. However, upon her father’s demise she finds herself in reduced circumstances and must write to her brother, who has long been away at sea. When instead Captain Wentworth of the HMS Laconia sends a tragic reply, Abigail is asked to set aside her own ambitions and fulfill her brother’s dreams in the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata.
In his relentless pursuit for justice, Lieutenant Raphael Gabay lends his sword to the Spanish American cause. But as he prepares to set sail with the others, he is entrusted with the care of a young woman. She is quite unlike anyone he has ever known, and Raphael wonders whether the brilliant astronomer will see beyond his frivolous façade and recognize his true nature.
Their destinies have been plotted beyond the celestial veil; their charts foretell of adventure. Can these two troubled souls be persuaded to heed the stars and find love—and their purpose—in this fledgling nation?
About the Author
Mirta Ines Trupp is a second generation Argentine; she was born in Buenos Aires in 1962 and immigrated to the United States that same year. Because of the unique fringe benefits provided by her father’s employer—Pan American Airlines—she returned to her native country frequently, growing up with un pie acá, y un pie allá (with one foot here and one foot there).
Mirta’s fascination with Jewish history and genealogy, coupled with an obsession for historical period drama, has inspired her to create unique and enlightening novels. She has been a guest speaker for book clubs, sisterhood events, genealogy societies and philanthropic organizations. Besides being an avid novel reader, she has had a lifelong love for choral music and is a devoted Beatles fan.
Follow Mirta here:
An excerpt ~
“Contained in this file are documents that belonged to your brother,” said he. “You will find property deeds, surveyor’s maps, and assessor’s reports. What you will not find is a royal seal or a British stamp, for these documents are for property located in what has been known as the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata, madam.”
“I–I do not understand your meaning, my lord.”
“Both your father and your brother invested a great deal of money in that fledgling nation. To be sure, it was I who brought the opportunity to their attention.”
“But why?” she asked. “I have never heard either of them mention anything about investing in foreign properties.”
“It is rather a long story, Miss Isaacs, but the truth of the matter is that Jonathan had every intention of emigrating.”
Mrs. Frankel gasped at this. “Nay, I cannot believe it!”
“Madam, if you would permit me, I will do my utmost to divulge the whole of it. There is one caveat, however, and I wish to be understood from the outset: Jonathan Isaacs wished his sister to carry on with his plan when he could not.”
“My lord, you will find that I am a most reasonable creature,” said Abigail. “I have no tendency toward fainting or crying spells. I beg you, sir, speak freely and without restraint. My presence here should speak to my resolve; but if I am expected to carry on with Jonathan’s aspirations, I must be made aware of all the particulars. You will find that my brother trained me well. Facts, my lord. I need the facts.”
Just then, the butler reappeared announced that dinner was ready to be served.
“Blast dinner, man!” exclaimed the earl, coming to his feet and nearly sending his servant to the devil. “Forgive my outburst,” he added with a bow to his guests, “but with your permission, I will have them hold our meal until I have had my say.”
Mrs. Frankel, dumbfounded as she was, could only prevail upon Abigail to reply. This she did with a simple nod, for Abigail, too, was at a loss for words.
“As any good tale must begin at the beginning, I will lay the foundation with a bit of history, of which you may or may not be aware.” With Pearson dismissed, Lord Fife poured himself another drink—the footman having been dismissed with the butler—and reclaimed his seat by the fire. “Buenos Aires, at the heart of the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata, has held the attention of the English for several years. In truth, though it is a Spanish colony, our involvement has been very much a part of the area’s growth. From whalers and farmers to engineers and bankers, English families have journeyed to that South American land to make their fortunes. In the recent past, the people there have declared their intention to claim independence from Spain. The revolution in May of last year was a defining moment for the founders of that crusade, and many Englishmen have supported the cause.”
“But my brother had no need to seek his fortune elsewhere. He would have taken over our father’s occupation upon his return from war. Jonathan would have led a comfortable life as a country doctor—”
“Be that as it may, Miss Isaacs, but a young man seeks adventure. A comfortable, steady life, especially one handed to him by his father, is not quite so palatable. I am certain you would agree that you brother had an adventurous tendency.”
“To be sure,” Abigail agreed and recalled when Jonathan first broke the news to their father of his enlistment.
“And there is another point to be made. Jonathan had expressed his frustration with what he perceived to be the cruel punishment against his people here in England. Jews, no matter their fortune, are not of the gentry, and therefore cannot purchase or inherit land. This, of course, bars the community from entry into the House of Commons and from numerous other opportunities afforded your countrymen. Amongst other grievances he held, I believe Jonathan was not accepted to Cambridge when he applied to continue his academic career.”
Abigail nodded and looked at Mrs. Frankel thinking of their conversation regarding Jonathan’s astral influences. “He refused to take part in their religious test.”
“My point exactly, madam. Although I understand many have chosen to convert to further their careers or, in some cases, to secure greater financial stability for their families, Jonathan could not be prevailed upon to do so.”
“But he was not deterred,” she cried. “He was accepted at Edinburgh, where it is not required to take an oath as a true Christian. And there were good men who quietly helped him on his way. Jonathan had many mentors and was inspired by the best of men—men such as Israel Lyons.”
“It was Jonathan’s hope that his work be accepted and acknowledged on its own merit, Miss Isaacs. Not to be judged by who or what he was, nor to be promoted or given false privilege. And as I stated earlier, when the people of the Viceroyalty proclaimed their independence from Spain, they proposed new policies that would promote respect toward all men. To that end, your brother had envisioned opening a school to prepare men—and women—to attend university. A place where students might concentrate on bettering their minds, and not be waylaid by societal restrictions. Much like what the colonists decreed in North America when they fought the Crown for their independence, these men in Buenos Aires are founding a new nation based on the principles of freedom of speech and religion.”
“But are there Jews in this place?” asked Mrs. Frankel, having finally found her voice.
The earl smiled. “Madam, it is my understanding that your people have lived in the New World since the time of Christopher Columbus. Jonathan, of course, researched the matter and found that, indeed, there is an organized Hebraic community developing in Buenos Aires—especially now, after the revolution, when there is talk of abolishing the courts of the Inquisition. There are many men committed to such principles, Spaniards, Englishmen…I have the honor of calling them my friends. Indeed, several of these gentlemen are lodged at my club, and if you would permit me, with all due deference for your state of mourning, I would have you meet one or two.”