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Teaser Tuesday: A Tale of Two Elizas

Fun fact: the heroine of Pink IX (yes, yes, there will be a title one of these days) was originally named Eliza. The reason for that? She was based off not one, but two historical Elizas: Eliza Monroe and Eliza Hancock de Feuillide.

Two very different Elizas with two very different stories came together in my heroine, Emma Morris Delagardie.

Emma was inspired by Eliza Monroe, who came over to France with her father, James Monroe, during his tenure as American Minister to France (1794-6). Enrolled by her parents in Mme Campan’s school for young ladies, Eliza became lifelong friends with Hortense de Beauharnais, daughter of Josephine Bonaparte by her first marriage. Portraits of Hortense and her brother Eugene still hang at the Monroe house, Ashlawn. Eliza was a bit younger than my Emma (born in 1787, Eliza was only seven when she came to France, as opposed to my Emma at thirteen), but if Eliza could come over to Paris with her father, why not a niece? Named Emma?

If Eliza Monroe provided the beginning of Emma’s story, Eliza de Feuillide gave me the next step: marriage to an older Frenchman obsessed with… proper methods of drainage. Jane Austen’s first cousin, Eliza Hancock, married a French “nobleman” (the title was dodgy), Jean Francois de Feuillide, whose primary passion turned out to be the drainage of his estate near Nerac. It was a worthy ambition, but not one to captivate a young bride. Eliza de Feuillide, fashionable and witty, was left in Paris while her husband focused his attention and her dowry on the drainage of Le Marais.

So here you have my Emma, product of two Elizas, niece of an American political figure, schoolmates with Bonaparte’s stepdaughter, a social fixture in Paris after an unhappy marriage to an older man with agrarian interests. At least, that’s the base of her story, the bit we know when we first meet her. The rest is entirely her own….

4 Comments

  1. Sheila on February 22, 2011 at 10:44 am

    Soooo intriguing…thanks

  2. Diana on February 22, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I love teaser Tuesday. I am glad that, however, that the whole Pink series is so good and I can reread it once or twice a year while I wait for the new one. It would be too much otherwise.

  3. Carole on February 23, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    I think I like Emma for her. So could change. I see Emmas as very strong-willed and very opinionated, so I think that fits her character better…at least for me.

  4. Di on February 23, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    This may sound a little strange… but I discovered your books at a time when I was feeling a little nervous and bereft at the fact of the Harry Potter series, movies and books, being done. I was a fan from the beginning, and let me tell you, that was a lot of years of intense and exciting anticipation for those books and movies. Suddenly it was over. Then my sister introduced me to your books and I practically inhaled all of them in about a month. Love them! Imagine my dismay when I discovered “The Orchid Affair” was just recently out! 🙂 Armed with the knowledge that a new book is in the works, I have a new anticipation to keep me going.

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