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Greetings from London in the 19th century! At least it seems that’s where I’m spending a lot of time these days. I’m delighted to be hanging out here at Buckingham Palace with the princesses. Did they invite me to tea with the queen? Or to a ball in honor of their parents, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert? Not exactly.
It happened this way. I was looking for a new story–one that would include all of the elements I most love in the fiction I read: romance, a mystery, adventure, glamour, an exotic setting. Having adored Sherlock Holmes tales, but wanting more of a love story intertwined with the plot, I decided to set my novel in Victorian London–Holmes’ home turf. But then I searched for historical characters whose lives fit my needs. What is more romantic and glamorous than royalty? Or, even better…royals in love.
Queen Victoria had nine children, five of them girls. I picked Louise, the fourth daughter, because she fascinated me. Here was a young woman who wanted to be an artist at a time when girls and women weren’t allowed the same education as boys and men. And they weren’t supposed to work as artists; their place was in the home, managing their husbands’ households and children. Queen Victoria, although a supreme example of a working woman, agreed with society’s view of women. She refused to let Louise mix with commoners and take art professional lessons. Louise rebelled in a big way, eventually convincing her mother to let her attend the Kensington Art Training School and later becoming a respected sculptress.
But along the way to her beloved career, she had adventures. Some of these provoked gossip about her husband, and why they never had children while all of her brothers and sisters produced an abundance of heirs. And these rumors are what I started building upon to develop The Wild Princess: A Novel of Queen Victoria’s Defiant Daughter.
Louise’s real life was challenging and not always happy. So I wanted to give her a love story…and a strong, irresistible hero. I won’t tell you who he is here; that would give too much away. But he turned into one of my all-time favorites. She also has adventures in my story, inspired by real events. Numerous attempts were made on Queen Victoria’s life. Among the deadly threats of the day were those from Irish radicals, the Fenians, who wanted to gain independence for Ireland. They made their wishes known by setting off bombs all across London, and managing to blow up part of Parliament. Their role in Louise’s story adds a touch of danger and brings out her extraordinary bravery.
I hope you’ll have a chance to join Princess Louise as she discovers love in the least expected ways. I think you’ll find Victorian London a thrilling place to visit. And if you like, come visit me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Hugs, Mary Hart Perry
Here’s where I am:
Short link to FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mary-Hart-Perry/169651376460162