By Susana Ellis
Even as a child, I found history fascinating. My great-grandfather told stories about his own grandmother and her fascination with knives that could keep me awake at night. And the poignant stories about his romance with the great-grandmother who died when I was a baby…well, he was a storyteller, that’s for sure. No doubt some of that has passed down to me.
While I find pretty much all history irresistible, I realize not everyone feels the same way. Maybe it’s the way history is taught that turns many people off. Frankly, I never enjoyed memorizing dates and details of battles in American History class in high school, but when they are associated with real people, as in historical fiction, the dates become meaningful to me. [No offense to history teachers; I've been out of high school a long time and no doubt teaching methods have improved since then.]
Often, history takes a back seat to romance in historical romances, but the reader still picks up valuable information about historical events and the way people lived in that time period. That’s what I call history light. True historians may disparage this romance sub-genre as frivolous and shallow, especially when authors don’t do their homework and their work is riddled with errors, but it’s my belief that many readers can be enticed with smaller, bite-sized doses of history more easily than with the meatier stuff.
Frankly, I read all sorts of history, without discriminating. Sometimes I feel like reading a biography of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (like now) and sometimes I prefer to read something more in the line of a Georgette Heyer Regency. They’re all good! I learn something new in every book.
Treasuring Theresa is an example of history light. And when I contemplated a direction for Susana’s Parlour (my historical blog), it occurred to me that since most of my friends and family are not into historical fiction, perhaps Susana’s Parlour could be used to lure them into the historical realm. That’s when I thought of using Lady Pendleton (Lady P), a character in the epilogue of Treasuring Theresa (which is a free read on my web site) as a way of presenting small bits of history in an amusing manner to readers who may not be as devoted to history as I am.
In the blog, Lady P visits Susana in 21st century Toledo and proceeds to give her opinions on anything from pizza to Pride and Prejudice to fashion. She lets a few tidbits slip about Damian and Theresa and their family from Treasuring Theresa, and she loves to talk about life and events in the 19th century, to Susana’s delight. It’s fun to write, and I hope amusing for my readers also. Not only was I able to persuade my mother to pose as Lady P, I also got her to wear a Regency hat while she did it! (See Episode #5, when we visited the linen-draper’s, also known as JoAnne Fabrics.)
I’d like to invite all of you to check out some of Lady P’s adventures on Susana’s Parlour and let me know what you think. And if you have any questions you’d like to ask Lady P while she’s here, please feel free to mention them!
What would you do if you were a Regency lady, the daughter of an earl, raised primarily on the family country estate, whose father lost all his money—including your dowry—and then became mortally ill, leaving you destitute when the new heir takes over the reins? To make matters worse, the man you expected to marry proposes to someone else and you have to attend his betrothal ball and pretend not to see the pitying looks of the other guests who are aware of your humiliation.
Ah, but then you notice the arrival of a noted Corinthian, easily the most dashing gentleman in attendance, who also happens to be your father’s heir, and an idea occurs to you. If he were to pay you marked attention—single you out from the other young ladies—the expression on the other guests’ faces would turn to envy, and you could return home with some dignity intact.
It doesn’t matter that this particularly gentleman is the type of London fribble you’ve always despised, or that he might consider your behavior forward and dismiss you as a country bumpkin. It’s only for one evening…and you’ll more than likely never see him again.
Except that…fate might have something else in mind for the country lady and the haughty viscount, once they both realize that first impressions can be deceiving.
Free bonus reads, including a prequel and epilogue, are available at Susana Ellis Author.
Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!
To celebrate the release of Treasuring Theresa, I am hosting a giveaway for an Amazon Gift Card. The winner will be chosen on January 31. Susana Ellis Author.
A former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, but historical—Regency in particular—is her favorite. There’s just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination.
In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around England and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley and the Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.
Web site: http://www.susanaellis.com
Susana’s Parlour (blog): http://susanaellisauthor.wordpress.com/