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!