Teaser Tuesday: Interconnections

Sometimes, the eighteenth (and early nineteenth) century can feel like a very small place.

Right now, I’m doing a crash course of research for Pink XII, aka The Lure of the Moonflower. In 1807, the Portuguese royal family flees Lisbon for their colony of Brazil, just steps ahead of General Junot’s rag-tag army, the mad queen, Maria I, shouting all the way from her carriage that they should stay and put up a fight rather than running away.

But what if… just what if… that wasn’t really Queen Maria in the carriage? What if she had been spirited away by a loyalist group? And the Pink Carnation needs to find her before the French do….

So, of course, I was researching Queen Maria and her madness, and guess what I discovered? When she went around the bend in 1792, the same doctor who treated George III, Francis Willis, was also called in to treat her.

Because sometimes the eighteenth century only has about ten people in it.

I found this particularly thrilling because, as you know, Pink V, The Temptation of the Night Jasmine, revolved around King George and his madness, so having Francis Willis pop up was like rediscovering an old acquaintance.

My other favorite research overlap? When I was researching Jane Austen and her family for The Mischief of the Mistletoe, right after writing my India book, The Betrayal of the Blood Lily, I discovered that Jane’s cousin, Eliza de Feuillide, was commonly believed to be the love child of none other than Warren Hastings, the notorious Governor-General of Bengal.

Who would’ve thunk? One doesn’t generally associate Austen and Hastings. But there it was.

We’ll see what pops up next!


  1. Liz on September 9, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Love when history has that small world feel!

    Have you seen this infographic from The Guardian?
    It was in Shelf Awareness this week–like that it ranks Gothic heroines by the amount of times they swooned 🙂

    • Lauren on September 9, 2014 at 3:03 pm

      Liz, this is priceless!

  2. AngelB on September 9, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Okay, so this doesn’t really fall into this category, but I’m following the Scotland vote for independence. It makes me wonder if some Jacobite Pretender will fight for the throne again. 🙂

    • Betty S. on September 9, 2014 at 8:50 pm

      Exactly, Angel. After reading Susanna Kearsley, that has to be on the mind!

  3. Michelle in Texas on September 9, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    SO, it’s like British TV-There’s only 10 actors, and they’ve all been on Doctor Who?

  4. Sheila on September 9, 2014 at 8:29 pm

    Hmmmm…..Is any activity actually going to happen in Brazil? Andre and Laura are in the Western Hemisphere…….

  5. Betty S. on September 9, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    I am always amazed at the interesting things research turns up. That’s why I love historical fiction!

  6. Lynne on September 9, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    I’ve often thought the same, Lauren. I think Western Europe really was very small and close knit in those days. And your info about Jane Austen and her cousin Eliza (whom she was very close to) crops up in most Austen biographies as an accepted fact. These little tidbits are what make history so intriguing, don’t you think?

  7. Paige on September 10, 2014 at 12:00 am

    So interesting! I am glad that you can do the research, Lauren, and I get to enjoy the fruit of your efforts in your wonderful books. It is almost crazy to me how things and people are tied together and interconnected. I learn quite a bit from reading historical fiction.

    I often wonder how much information you discover in research but then end up leaving out of a book because it doesn’t fit the storyline or you aren’t trying to write a textbook filled with every historical fact.

  8. Elizabeth K. Mahon on September 10, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Ah, poor Maria. And she married her uncle of all people. So her children were also her cousins? I’ve never understood why the Catholic Church thought that was okay.

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