Is he for real?

      
  Winter_barbiesnow_copysm_1 From Loretta:
 
  Once again I was torn between two reader questions, so I flipped a coin.  Nina wins a book with this one: 
      “To those who have put ‘real’ people in their historical romance novels, where do you draw the line on accuracy? If you need Wellington or Castlereagh in London, do you make sure he was actually there at the time? (other than the grossly obvious like June of 1815)”
      As indicated in my concern about the title for NOT QUITE A LADY (and I could totally relate, of course, to Jo’s wanting that comma in LADY, BEWARE)–I am nerdy to an extreme degree.  I try to stay close to the facts.  That doesn’t mean I always adhere strictly to them.
      The nerd reads really boring biographies of fairly obscure personages.  Henry Salt, British Consul-General in Egypt 1816-27, is a case in point.  Though he makes only two brief appearances in MR. IMPOSSIBLE, I felt compelled to order Elibron’s two-volume facsimile of the 1834 edition of THE LIFE AND CORRESPONDENCE OF HENRY SALT, ESQ. F.R.S. &c. by John J. Halls.  Henry_saltsm The excess verbiage and convoluted style is common in books of the period, and it paints a saintly picture of the man, but Salt’s letters are there, and they do give a sense of his personality.  The extent to which I took liberties is hard to pin down.  Several people might read the same book or the same memoirs and come away with a different image of the subject.  There’s evidence elsewhere for the character I created but my version is, I hope, a bit wittier than the letters suggested.
      Still, for most of us, this is a fairly obscure historical figure.  The average reader doesn’t come to my book with a preconceived idea of him.  It’s not like trying to put, say, Abraham Lincoln into a story.  In that case, I would tread very, very carefully.  This is how I feel about Wellington, too.  I would absolutely try to get all the historical data right.  He’s a gigantic figure, too well-known, too much written about.
      Because it maddens me to read books with historical figures (or even famous fictional characters) who do not ring true, I try to avoid the big names and bring in lesser-known personages, like Ali Pasha in THE LION’s DAUGHTER.  Yet I don’t simply use the name and make up the character from whole cloth.  I may put my words into his mouth but I try to get the character as the historical references paint him.
      With the understanding, of course, that the various references will not all paint the same picture of the same man or woman.
      Historical truth is an elusive thing.
      In fiction, the big question the author must ask herself/himself is, Will it destroy the suspension of disbelief?
      Belzonism Thus, even though the explorer Giovanni Belzoni does not come on stage in either MR. IMPOSSIBLE or LORD PERFECT, he is referred to often.  Because he’s well known to those familiar with the world of Egyptian archaeology, it was all the more important to get the details right.  And anyone who’s read either of those books since viewing last year’s BBC production, Egypt: Rediscovering a Lost World (which I highly recommend, by the way) will understand that I exaggerated nothing in my references to this larger-than-life figure or my descriptions of the dangerous world that was Egypt at the time.
      Salt’s secretary Beechey is also a real guy.  But here I took a liberty.  He had gone back to England by the time of my story.  However, since it was a question of months, rather than years–and no other substitute would do–I kept him in Egypt.
      No easy answers.  How far to stretch the truth is a judgment call, as is the case with historically accurate language…and, basically, everything.  Writing a novel is one judgment call after another.
      Thackeray’s Vanity Fair does not offer a strictly accurate picture of Waterloo.  Does this spoil the book in any way?
      An Infamous Army is regarded as a model of historical accuracy about the same battle.  Does this make Heyer’s book better than Thackeray’s?
      I think they are both marvelous works, and that’s all about the art of the storytelling.
      What do you think about historical figures in books?  What do you think works and doesn’t work when authors put real people in amongst their make-believe ones?

108 thoughts on “Is he for real?”

  1. I would guess that you have Bierbrier’s ‘Who was who in Egyptology’ on your shelves, too, Loretta! 😉
    I thought that in ‘Mr. Impossible’ the balance was perfect; where familiar historical characters were mentioned, they behaved in a believable and consistent way. They were clearly based on sound knowledge and research.
    Even the most detailed biography of an historical figure must make some assumptions and allow the author some leeway to speculate. But there is a great difference between building on a basis of true knowledge, as the writers here do, and casually inventing a character from scratch and then applying the name of a real person to him or her.
    Fiction is invented: history actually happened. Though there are myriads of different ways to *interpret* historical events and persons, there are still boundaries. I like to feel that when I read an historical novel, I can rely on the author’s basic knowledge and truthfulness when dealing with fact. If a writer does not wish to write within the parameters of historical fact, then why write this type of story at all? Total fantasy is, today, a perfectly viable form for adult fiction.
    I believe that good historical fiction is a very important genre, because when it is done properly, it can illuminate history and help make the past real for the reader, as well a providing the usual pleasure and entertainment of storytelling.

    Reply
  2. I would guess that you have Bierbrier’s ‘Who was who in Egyptology’ on your shelves, too, Loretta! 😉
    I thought that in ‘Mr. Impossible’ the balance was perfect; where familiar historical characters were mentioned, they behaved in a believable and consistent way. They were clearly based on sound knowledge and research.
    Even the most detailed biography of an historical figure must make some assumptions and allow the author some leeway to speculate. But there is a great difference between building on a basis of true knowledge, as the writers here do, and casually inventing a character from scratch and then applying the name of a real person to him or her.
    Fiction is invented: history actually happened. Though there are myriads of different ways to *interpret* historical events and persons, there are still boundaries. I like to feel that when I read an historical novel, I can rely on the author’s basic knowledge and truthfulness when dealing with fact. If a writer does not wish to write within the parameters of historical fact, then why write this type of story at all? Total fantasy is, today, a perfectly viable form for adult fiction.
    I believe that good historical fiction is a very important genre, because when it is done properly, it can illuminate history and help make the past real for the reader, as well a providing the usual pleasure and entertainment of storytelling.

    Reply
  3. I would guess that you have Bierbrier’s ‘Who was who in Egyptology’ on your shelves, too, Loretta! 😉
    I thought that in ‘Mr. Impossible’ the balance was perfect; where familiar historical characters were mentioned, they behaved in a believable and consistent way. They were clearly based on sound knowledge and research.
    Even the most detailed biography of an historical figure must make some assumptions and allow the author some leeway to speculate. But there is a great difference between building on a basis of true knowledge, as the writers here do, and casually inventing a character from scratch and then applying the name of a real person to him or her.
    Fiction is invented: history actually happened. Though there are myriads of different ways to *interpret* historical events and persons, there are still boundaries. I like to feel that when I read an historical novel, I can rely on the author’s basic knowledge and truthfulness when dealing with fact. If a writer does not wish to write within the parameters of historical fact, then why write this type of story at all? Total fantasy is, today, a perfectly viable form for adult fiction.
    I believe that good historical fiction is a very important genre, because when it is done properly, it can illuminate history and help make the past real for the reader, as well a providing the usual pleasure and entertainment of storytelling.

    Reply
  4. I would guess that you have Bierbrier’s ‘Who was who in Egyptology’ on your shelves, too, Loretta! 😉
    I thought that in ‘Mr. Impossible’ the balance was perfect; where familiar historical characters were mentioned, they behaved in a believable and consistent way. They were clearly based on sound knowledge and research.
    Even the most detailed biography of an historical figure must make some assumptions and allow the author some leeway to speculate. But there is a great difference between building on a basis of true knowledge, as the writers here do, and casually inventing a character from scratch and then applying the name of a real person to him or her.
    Fiction is invented: history actually happened. Though there are myriads of different ways to *interpret* historical events and persons, there are still boundaries. I like to feel that when I read an historical novel, I can rely on the author’s basic knowledge and truthfulness when dealing with fact. If a writer does not wish to write within the parameters of historical fact, then why write this type of story at all? Total fantasy is, today, a perfectly viable form for adult fiction.
    I believe that good historical fiction is a very important genre, because when it is done properly, it can illuminate history and help make the past real for the reader, as well a providing the usual pleasure and entertainment of storytelling.

    Reply
  5. Oh, AgTigress, I confess I do not own that book–but of course I am going to buy it now, since I hope to set other stories in Egypt. Your view of historical fiction sounds like mine. The boundaries are not so onerous: it only wants creativity to work within them. But if one’s artistic vision calls for moving outside the boundaries, fantasy is an excellent route to take.

    Reply
  6. Oh, AgTigress, I confess I do not own that book–but of course I am going to buy it now, since I hope to set other stories in Egypt. Your view of historical fiction sounds like mine. The boundaries are not so onerous: it only wants creativity to work within them. But if one’s artistic vision calls for moving outside the boundaries, fantasy is an excellent route to take.

    Reply
  7. Oh, AgTigress, I confess I do not own that book–but of course I am going to buy it now, since I hope to set other stories in Egypt. Your view of historical fiction sounds like mine. The boundaries are not so onerous: it only wants creativity to work within them. But if one’s artistic vision calls for moving outside the boundaries, fantasy is an excellent route to take.

    Reply
  8. Oh, AgTigress, I confess I do not own that book–but of course I am going to buy it now, since I hope to set other stories in Egypt. Your view of historical fiction sounds like mine. The boundaries are not so onerous: it only wants creativity to work within them. But if one’s artistic vision calls for moving outside the boundaries, fantasy is an excellent route to take.

    Reply
  9. I love little cameos of real people in novels, but like you I want their appearance to be realistic. For example, I looked up who the English ambassador to France was for my book. He never appears on stage, but his actions—which I make up as they are only in relation to my made up hero and heroine—are part of what sets the plot in motion. So I wanted the right name, but didn’t need any thing else. Would it have mattered if I made up a name? Probably not, but it would have bugged me.

    Reply
  10. I love little cameos of real people in novels, but like you I want their appearance to be realistic. For example, I looked up who the English ambassador to France was for my book. He never appears on stage, but his actions—which I make up as they are only in relation to my made up hero and heroine—are part of what sets the plot in motion. So I wanted the right name, but didn’t need any thing else. Would it have mattered if I made up a name? Probably not, but it would have bugged me.

    Reply
  11. I love little cameos of real people in novels, but like you I want their appearance to be realistic. For example, I looked up who the English ambassador to France was for my book. He never appears on stage, but his actions—which I make up as they are only in relation to my made up hero and heroine—are part of what sets the plot in motion. So I wanted the right name, but didn’t need any thing else. Would it have mattered if I made up a name? Probably not, but it would have bugged me.

    Reply
  12. I love little cameos of real people in novels, but like you I want their appearance to be realistic. For example, I looked up who the English ambassador to France was for my book. He never appears on stage, but his actions—which I make up as they are only in relation to my made up hero and heroine—are part of what sets the plot in motion. So I wanted the right name, but didn’t need any thing else. Would it have mattered if I made up a name? Probably not, but it would have bugged me.

    Reply
  13. At the Surrey writers’ conference last October, a panel of historical novelists from various subgenres addressed this very issue, with answers ranging from “I only use real people in innocuous cameos” to “the dead can’t sue.” Of course, even the writers on the latter end of the spectrum advised doing all the research you can and felt we have a responsibility to be true to what can be known about the past.
    I’m planning to try my hand at an alternate history next, which presents its own challenges in guessing how assorted famous real people would’ve reacted to a radically changed world. At least one real figure is going to be a major character–he keeps pulling focus off my supposed protagonist as I plan the story–and it’s downright weird to have so much of a central character determined before I set a single word on the page.

    Reply
  14. At the Surrey writers’ conference last October, a panel of historical novelists from various subgenres addressed this very issue, with answers ranging from “I only use real people in innocuous cameos” to “the dead can’t sue.” Of course, even the writers on the latter end of the spectrum advised doing all the research you can and felt we have a responsibility to be true to what can be known about the past.
    I’m planning to try my hand at an alternate history next, which presents its own challenges in guessing how assorted famous real people would’ve reacted to a radically changed world. At least one real figure is going to be a major character–he keeps pulling focus off my supposed protagonist as I plan the story–and it’s downright weird to have so much of a central character determined before I set a single word on the page.

    Reply
  15. At the Surrey writers’ conference last October, a panel of historical novelists from various subgenres addressed this very issue, with answers ranging from “I only use real people in innocuous cameos” to “the dead can’t sue.” Of course, even the writers on the latter end of the spectrum advised doing all the research you can and felt we have a responsibility to be true to what can be known about the past.
    I’m planning to try my hand at an alternate history next, which presents its own challenges in guessing how assorted famous real people would’ve reacted to a radically changed world. At least one real figure is going to be a major character–he keeps pulling focus off my supposed protagonist as I plan the story–and it’s downright weird to have so much of a central character determined before I set a single word on the page.

    Reply
  16. At the Surrey writers’ conference last October, a panel of historical novelists from various subgenres addressed this very issue, with answers ranging from “I only use real people in innocuous cameos” to “the dead can’t sue.” Of course, even the writers on the latter end of the spectrum advised doing all the research you can and felt we have a responsibility to be true to what can be known about the past.
    I’m planning to try my hand at an alternate history next, which presents its own challenges in guessing how assorted famous real people would’ve reacted to a radically changed world. At least one real figure is going to be a major character–he keeps pulling focus off my supposed protagonist as I plan the story–and it’s downright weird to have so much of a central character determined before I set a single word on the page.

    Reply
  17. Loretta:
    ‘Who was who in Egyptology’, by Dawson & Uphill, 3rd revised edition by Morris Bierbrier, London (Egypt Exploration Society), 1995.
    ISBN 0-85698-125-7
    Enjoy! It is a really reliable reference work.
    🙂

    Reply
  18. Loretta:
    ‘Who was who in Egyptology’, by Dawson & Uphill, 3rd revised edition by Morris Bierbrier, London (Egypt Exploration Society), 1995.
    ISBN 0-85698-125-7
    Enjoy! It is a really reliable reference work.
    🙂

    Reply
  19. Loretta:
    ‘Who was who in Egyptology’, by Dawson & Uphill, 3rd revised edition by Morris Bierbrier, London (Egypt Exploration Society), 1995.
    ISBN 0-85698-125-7
    Enjoy! It is a really reliable reference work.
    🙂

    Reply
  20. Loretta:
    ‘Who was who in Egyptology’, by Dawson & Uphill, 3rd revised edition by Morris Bierbrier, London (Egypt Exploration Society), 1995.
    ISBN 0-85698-125-7
    Enjoy! It is a really reliable reference work.
    🙂

    Reply
  21. Hi Loretta! Thank you for the book! I am so excited. Words can not express how much you’ve lifted my spirits today. How do you wish me to contact you with my information?
    And I do hope the wenchling on the other side of the tossed coin gets his/her book soon.
    And thank you for the excellent answer. You’ve made me feel a bit better about a small appearance I’m planning for His Grace, the Duke of Wellington at the end of my current WIP. It is germane to the story and the ‘thing’ that he did to my character is something I believe, based upon research, he would have done. In fact he did a similar thing to the very minor historical character upon which my work is loosely based. However, I’ve stretched it a bit, in the Duke’s favor of course. I hope it’s OK.
    I do like it when historical characters make an appearance. It seriously grounds the story, teasing me into belief that maybe, just maybe, this wonderful tale happened. And that maybe it could happen again. To me. I guess that’s the “Walt Disney—a dream is a wish your heart makes” in me.
    And I agree that “Historical truth is an elusive thing” especially if the ‘truth’ has been repeatedly tarnished by fiction. Then one must wonder which truth to write to… the one everyone thinks they know or the real truth. Case and point might be Regency dress. I took Kalen’s most excellent class on Regency clothing and part way through I asked her what style of stays a woman would wear with an off the shoulder dress. She informed me that there were no ‘off the shoulder’ dresses. And where did I get the idea that there were such things? Romance novel book covers. What can I say, I’m easily duped.
    Thanks, again Wench Loretta!
    Nina, loving WordWenches.

    Reply
  22. Hi Loretta! Thank you for the book! I am so excited. Words can not express how much you’ve lifted my spirits today. How do you wish me to contact you with my information?
    And I do hope the wenchling on the other side of the tossed coin gets his/her book soon.
    And thank you for the excellent answer. You’ve made me feel a bit better about a small appearance I’m planning for His Grace, the Duke of Wellington at the end of my current WIP. It is germane to the story and the ‘thing’ that he did to my character is something I believe, based upon research, he would have done. In fact he did a similar thing to the very minor historical character upon which my work is loosely based. However, I’ve stretched it a bit, in the Duke’s favor of course. I hope it’s OK.
    I do like it when historical characters make an appearance. It seriously grounds the story, teasing me into belief that maybe, just maybe, this wonderful tale happened. And that maybe it could happen again. To me. I guess that’s the “Walt Disney—a dream is a wish your heart makes” in me.
    And I agree that “Historical truth is an elusive thing” especially if the ‘truth’ has been repeatedly tarnished by fiction. Then one must wonder which truth to write to… the one everyone thinks they know or the real truth. Case and point might be Regency dress. I took Kalen’s most excellent class on Regency clothing and part way through I asked her what style of stays a woman would wear with an off the shoulder dress. She informed me that there were no ‘off the shoulder’ dresses. And where did I get the idea that there were such things? Romance novel book covers. What can I say, I’m easily duped.
    Thanks, again Wench Loretta!
    Nina, loving WordWenches.

    Reply
  23. Hi Loretta! Thank you for the book! I am so excited. Words can not express how much you’ve lifted my spirits today. How do you wish me to contact you with my information?
    And I do hope the wenchling on the other side of the tossed coin gets his/her book soon.
    And thank you for the excellent answer. You’ve made me feel a bit better about a small appearance I’m planning for His Grace, the Duke of Wellington at the end of my current WIP. It is germane to the story and the ‘thing’ that he did to my character is something I believe, based upon research, he would have done. In fact he did a similar thing to the very minor historical character upon which my work is loosely based. However, I’ve stretched it a bit, in the Duke’s favor of course. I hope it’s OK.
    I do like it when historical characters make an appearance. It seriously grounds the story, teasing me into belief that maybe, just maybe, this wonderful tale happened. And that maybe it could happen again. To me. I guess that’s the “Walt Disney—a dream is a wish your heart makes” in me.
    And I agree that “Historical truth is an elusive thing” especially if the ‘truth’ has been repeatedly tarnished by fiction. Then one must wonder which truth to write to… the one everyone thinks they know or the real truth. Case and point might be Regency dress. I took Kalen’s most excellent class on Regency clothing and part way through I asked her what style of stays a woman would wear with an off the shoulder dress. She informed me that there were no ‘off the shoulder’ dresses. And where did I get the idea that there were such things? Romance novel book covers. What can I say, I’m easily duped.
    Thanks, again Wench Loretta!
    Nina, loving WordWenches.

    Reply
  24. Hi Loretta! Thank you for the book! I am so excited. Words can not express how much you’ve lifted my spirits today. How do you wish me to contact you with my information?
    And I do hope the wenchling on the other side of the tossed coin gets his/her book soon.
    And thank you for the excellent answer. You’ve made me feel a bit better about a small appearance I’m planning for His Grace, the Duke of Wellington at the end of my current WIP. It is germane to the story and the ‘thing’ that he did to my character is something I believe, based upon research, he would have done. In fact he did a similar thing to the very minor historical character upon which my work is loosely based. However, I’ve stretched it a bit, in the Duke’s favor of course. I hope it’s OK.
    I do like it when historical characters make an appearance. It seriously grounds the story, teasing me into belief that maybe, just maybe, this wonderful tale happened. And that maybe it could happen again. To me. I guess that’s the “Walt Disney—a dream is a wish your heart makes” in me.
    And I agree that “Historical truth is an elusive thing” especially if the ‘truth’ has been repeatedly tarnished by fiction. Then one must wonder which truth to write to… the one everyone thinks they know or the real truth. Case and point might be Regency dress. I took Kalen’s most excellent class on Regency clothing and part way through I asked her what style of stays a woman would wear with an off the shoulder dress. She informed me that there were no ‘off the shoulder’ dresses. And where did I get the idea that there were such things? Romance novel book covers. What can I say, I’m easily duped.
    Thanks, again Wench Loretta!
    Nina, loving WordWenches.

    Reply
  25. I’m not a flat history buff, and so I probably wouldn’t notice this sort of thing with regards to historical figures. But I can relate on other matters.
    I’m a bit of a science buff, and also a bit of a legal history buff. It drives me bonkers when people write Regency without recognition of how much has changed in the two intervening decades. It’s not just a matter of deleting all references to electromagnetic theory and quantum mechanics; our whole understanding of how the universe works, and how we ask questions about it, has changed in tiny, subtle ways.
    This, of course, is why when I decided to write a Regency-era ornithologist, I had to read up on Lamarck, one of Darwin’s precursors. Which has been a truly fascinating endeavor.
    Likewise, I wince when I see modern concepts of contract and property law being tossed about as if they were widely accepted at the time.
    For those who want to see how the common law has evolved, and get an idea how our conceptions of the world around us worked, I can’t recommend A.W. Brian Simpson’s “Leading Cases in the Common Law” enough.

    Reply
  26. I’m not a flat history buff, and so I probably wouldn’t notice this sort of thing with regards to historical figures. But I can relate on other matters.
    I’m a bit of a science buff, and also a bit of a legal history buff. It drives me bonkers when people write Regency without recognition of how much has changed in the two intervening decades. It’s not just a matter of deleting all references to electromagnetic theory and quantum mechanics; our whole understanding of how the universe works, and how we ask questions about it, has changed in tiny, subtle ways.
    This, of course, is why when I decided to write a Regency-era ornithologist, I had to read up on Lamarck, one of Darwin’s precursors. Which has been a truly fascinating endeavor.
    Likewise, I wince when I see modern concepts of contract and property law being tossed about as if they were widely accepted at the time.
    For those who want to see how the common law has evolved, and get an idea how our conceptions of the world around us worked, I can’t recommend A.W. Brian Simpson’s “Leading Cases in the Common Law” enough.

    Reply
  27. I’m not a flat history buff, and so I probably wouldn’t notice this sort of thing with regards to historical figures. But I can relate on other matters.
    I’m a bit of a science buff, and also a bit of a legal history buff. It drives me bonkers when people write Regency without recognition of how much has changed in the two intervening decades. It’s not just a matter of deleting all references to electromagnetic theory and quantum mechanics; our whole understanding of how the universe works, and how we ask questions about it, has changed in tiny, subtle ways.
    This, of course, is why when I decided to write a Regency-era ornithologist, I had to read up on Lamarck, one of Darwin’s precursors. Which has been a truly fascinating endeavor.
    Likewise, I wince when I see modern concepts of contract and property law being tossed about as if they were widely accepted at the time.
    For those who want to see how the common law has evolved, and get an idea how our conceptions of the world around us worked, I can’t recommend A.W. Brian Simpson’s “Leading Cases in the Common Law” enough.

    Reply
  28. I’m not a flat history buff, and so I probably wouldn’t notice this sort of thing with regards to historical figures. But I can relate on other matters.
    I’m a bit of a science buff, and also a bit of a legal history buff. It drives me bonkers when people write Regency without recognition of how much has changed in the two intervening decades. It’s not just a matter of deleting all references to electromagnetic theory and quantum mechanics; our whole understanding of how the universe works, and how we ask questions about it, has changed in tiny, subtle ways.
    This, of course, is why when I decided to write a Regency-era ornithologist, I had to read up on Lamarck, one of Darwin’s precursors. Which has been a truly fascinating endeavor.
    Likewise, I wince when I see modern concepts of contract and property law being tossed about as if they were widely accepted at the time.
    For those who want to see how the common law has evolved, and get an idea how our conceptions of the world around us worked, I can’t recommend A.W. Brian Simpson’s “Leading Cases in the Common Law” enough.

    Reply
  29. I don’t read much biography, so I don’t always know if a character is accurate- but I have my own pet peeves. One is when paintings are stolen/sold/pawned and fabulous amounts mentioned. Very few paintings were valued in huge sums before the twentieth century- which is how American art museums were able to purchase so many old master works in their founding days, and so many private individuals were able to mass great collections. They could be expensive, like any fine antique,but they weren’t valued in the equivilant of today’s prices.
    Speaking of innacurracy- an author I occasionally read(not a wench) had a Regency out recently and the main character was upset because her maid put the shoes away without lining them up right,left,right left. But even I know that there were no right and left shoes in the Regency period. I was astounded that the author, who has written about this era before, was unaware of this fact.

    Reply
  30. I don’t read much biography, so I don’t always know if a character is accurate- but I have my own pet peeves. One is when paintings are stolen/sold/pawned and fabulous amounts mentioned. Very few paintings were valued in huge sums before the twentieth century- which is how American art museums were able to purchase so many old master works in their founding days, and so many private individuals were able to mass great collections. They could be expensive, like any fine antique,but they weren’t valued in the equivilant of today’s prices.
    Speaking of innacurracy- an author I occasionally read(not a wench) had a Regency out recently and the main character was upset because her maid put the shoes away without lining them up right,left,right left. But even I know that there were no right and left shoes in the Regency period. I was astounded that the author, who has written about this era before, was unaware of this fact.

    Reply
  31. I don’t read much biography, so I don’t always know if a character is accurate- but I have my own pet peeves. One is when paintings are stolen/sold/pawned and fabulous amounts mentioned. Very few paintings were valued in huge sums before the twentieth century- which is how American art museums were able to purchase so many old master works in their founding days, and so many private individuals were able to mass great collections. They could be expensive, like any fine antique,but they weren’t valued in the equivilant of today’s prices.
    Speaking of innacurracy- an author I occasionally read(not a wench) had a Regency out recently and the main character was upset because her maid put the shoes away without lining them up right,left,right left. But even I know that there were no right and left shoes in the Regency period. I was astounded that the author, who has written about this era before, was unaware of this fact.

    Reply
  32. I don’t read much biography, so I don’t always know if a character is accurate- but I have my own pet peeves. One is when paintings are stolen/sold/pawned and fabulous amounts mentioned. Very few paintings were valued in huge sums before the twentieth century- which is how American art museums were able to purchase so many old master works in their founding days, and so many private individuals were able to mass great collections. They could be expensive, like any fine antique,but they weren’t valued in the equivilant of today’s prices.
    Speaking of innacurracy- an author I occasionally read(not a wench) had a Regency out recently and the main character was upset because her maid put the shoes away without lining them up right,left,right left. But even I know that there were no right and left shoes in the Regency period. I was astounded that the author, who has written about this era before, was unaware of this fact.

    Reply
  33. The shoes wouldn’t have been made in right and left, but they would have become right and left after being worn a few times, so it’s not that bad . . . not nearly as bad as all the books I seem to stumble across lately where the heroine admires the hero’s butt. Does she have x-ray vision to see through the tails of the coat and the baggy seat of his breeches? Anyone else notice this gaff?

    Reply
  34. The shoes wouldn’t have been made in right and left, but they would have become right and left after being worn a few times, so it’s not that bad . . . not nearly as bad as all the books I seem to stumble across lately where the heroine admires the hero’s butt. Does she have x-ray vision to see through the tails of the coat and the baggy seat of his breeches? Anyone else notice this gaff?

    Reply
  35. The shoes wouldn’t have been made in right and left, but they would have become right and left after being worn a few times, so it’s not that bad . . . not nearly as bad as all the books I seem to stumble across lately where the heroine admires the hero’s butt. Does she have x-ray vision to see through the tails of the coat and the baggy seat of his breeches? Anyone else notice this gaff?

    Reply
  36. The shoes wouldn’t have been made in right and left, but they would have become right and left after being worn a few times, so it’s not that bad . . . not nearly as bad as all the books I seem to stumble across lately where the heroine admires the hero’s butt. Does she have x-ray vision to see through the tails of the coat and the baggy seat of his breeches? Anyone else notice this gaff?

    Reply
  37. I don’t mind historical figures at all. If it was some years from now and people were writing books about today with figures from today, I might mind if it doesn’t match up with the person I remember from the media. But to have Prinny in a book or two doing stuff I really don’t mind at all because it might be right, it might be wrong, but ultimately we’re not going to be sure because he wasn’t followed around by photographers and bloggers and news people every day of his life. So there is plenty of leeway. But most people know when it comes to historical fiction that it is fiction, and even if it’s based on some event or such that is real, we know there is a bigger purpose for using it. And if you want to know more about the real person or event, you can always look it up afterwards. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  38. I don’t mind historical figures at all. If it was some years from now and people were writing books about today with figures from today, I might mind if it doesn’t match up with the person I remember from the media. But to have Prinny in a book or two doing stuff I really don’t mind at all because it might be right, it might be wrong, but ultimately we’re not going to be sure because he wasn’t followed around by photographers and bloggers and news people every day of his life. So there is plenty of leeway. But most people know when it comes to historical fiction that it is fiction, and even if it’s based on some event or such that is real, we know there is a bigger purpose for using it. And if you want to know more about the real person or event, you can always look it up afterwards. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  39. I don’t mind historical figures at all. If it was some years from now and people were writing books about today with figures from today, I might mind if it doesn’t match up with the person I remember from the media. But to have Prinny in a book or two doing stuff I really don’t mind at all because it might be right, it might be wrong, but ultimately we’re not going to be sure because he wasn’t followed around by photographers and bloggers and news people every day of his life. So there is plenty of leeway. But most people know when it comes to historical fiction that it is fiction, and even if it’s based on some event or such that is real, we know there is a bigger purpose for using it. And if you want to know more about the real person or event, you can always look it up afterwards. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  40. I don’t mind historical figures at all. If it was some years from now and people were writing books about today with figures from today, I might mind if it doesn’t match up with the person I remember from the media. But to have Prinny in a book or two doing stuff I really don’t mind at all because it might be right, it might be wrong, but ultimately we’re not going to be sure because he wasn’t followed around by photographers and bloggers and news people every day of his life. So there is plenty of leeway. But most people know when it comes to historical fiction that it is fiction, and even if it’s based on some event or such that is real, we know there is a bigger purpose for using it. And if you want to know more about the real person or event, you can always look it up afterwards. 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  41. Good topic, Loretta. And you’re one of the ones who seems to always, always, always gets things — even the littlest things — right!
    As a reader, I like historical fiction that’s based on real history. Even if the main characters are fictional, those “cameo appearances” by real people add a depth and richness to the story. If it’s only a wave-by (they see the queen at distance, say), then the descriptions can be vague and it won’t matter. But if a real person actually has a speaking role, let alone helps set the plot into motion, then that writer better have done her/his homework, or the whole thing comes crashing down for me. I want my time-travel escape complete; I don’t want to be reminded of the “underpinings.”
    If the novel’s entirely peopled by historical figures, then I feel it’s part of the bargain between writer and reader that the facts be right. Not just the historical dates and descriptions, but as much of a sense of the past that the writer can muster. Nothing will ever be 100% “accurate”, (whatever that means!) but as a reader, I want to feel as if it is.
    Of course, as a writer, it’s a whole different can o’ worms. I’ve spent/squandered entire days trying to find out the name of a particular lady’s maid, then given up and invented one, only to finally stumble across the real name after I’d turned in the manuscript. Oh, well, all any of us can do is to try. *G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  42. Good topic, Loretta. And you’re one of the ones who seems to always, always, always gets things — even the littlest things — right!
    As a reader, I like historical fiction that’s based on real history. Even if the main characters are fictional, those “cameo appearances” by real people add a depth and richness to the story. If it’s only a wave-by (they see the queen at distance, say), then the descriptions can be vague and it won’t matter. But if a real person actually has a speaking role, let alone helps set the plot into motion, then that writer better have done her/his homework, or the whole thing comes crashing down for me. I want my time-travel escape complete; I don’t want to be reminded of the “underpinings.”
    If the novel’s entirely peopled by historical figures, then I feel it’s part of the bargain between writer and reader that the facts be right. Not just the historical dates and descriptions, but as much of a sense of the past that the writer can muster. Nothing will ever be 100% “accurate”, (whatever that means!) but as a reader, I want to feel as if it is.
    Of course, as a writer, it’s a whole different can o’ worms. I’ve spent/squandered entire days trying to find out the name of a particular lady’s maid, then given up and invented one, only to finally stumble across the real name after I’d turned in the manuscript. Oh, well, all any of us can do is to try. *G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  43. Good topic, Loretta. And you’re one of the ones who seems to always, always, always gets things — even the littlest things — right!
    As a reader, I like historical fiction that’s based on real history. Even if the main characters are fictional, those “cameo appearances” by real people add a depth and richness to the story. If it’s only a wave-by (they see the queen at distance, say), then the descriptions can be vague and it won’t matter. But if a real person actually has a speaking role, let alone helps set the plot into motion, then that writer better have done her/his homework, or the whole thing comes crashing down for me. I want my time-travel escape complete; I don’t want to be reminded of the “underpinings.”
    If the novel’s entirely peopled by historical figures, then I feel it’s part of the bargain between writer and reader that the facts be right. Not just the historical dates and descriptions, but as much of a sense of the past that the writer can muster. Nothing will ever be 100% “accurate”, (whatever that means!) but as a reader, I want to feel as if it is.
    Of course, as a writer, it’s a whole different can o’ worms. I’ve spent/squandered entire days trying to find out the name of a particular lady’s maid, then given up and invented one, only to finally stumble across the real name after I’d turned in the manuscript. Oh, well, all any of us can do is to try. *G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  44. Good topic, Loretta. And you’re one of the ones who seems to always, always, always gets things — even the littlest things — right!
    As a reader, I like historical fiction that’s based on real history. Even if the main characters are fictional, those “cameo appearances” by real people add a depth and richness to the story. If it’s only a wave-by (they see the queen at distance, say), then the descriptions can be vague and it won’t matter. But if a real person actually has a speaking role, let alone helps set the plot into motion, then that writer better have done her/his homework, or the whole thing comes crashing down for me. I want my time-travel escape complete; I don’t want to be reminded of the “underpinings.”
    If the novel’s entirely peopled by historical figures, then I feel it’s part of the bargain between writer and reader that the facts be right. Not just the historical dates and descriptions, but as much of a sense of the past that the writer can muster. Nothing will ever be 100% “accurate”, (whatever that means!) but as a reader, I want to feel as if it is.
    Of course, as a writer, it’s a whole different can o’ worms. I’ve spent/squandered entire days trying to find out the name of a particular lady’s maid, then given up and invented one, only to finally stumble across the real name after I’d turned in the manuscript. Oh, well, all any of us can do is to try. *G*
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  45. Kalen, I used Mr. Salt for the same reason you chose the actual ambassador. I think using the real people–when we can find out who they are–helps ground the book.
    “even the writers on the latter end of the spectrum advised doing all the research you can and felt we have a responsibility to be true to what can be known about the past.”
    Susan, I do agree. It is a responsibility.
    AgTigress, thank you. I’ll be happy to add it to my collection.
    Nina, as we’ve discussed (or do I mean complained) often on this blog, the cover art doesn’t always bear a connection to the book, let alone history. My heroine on an early cover of Isabella (the paperback) was wearing a modern evening dress in daytime in Hyde Park–complete with diamonds! In daytime! It was pretty but so wrong.

    Reply
  46. Kalen, I used Mr. Salt for the same reason you chose the actual ambassador. I think using the real people–when we can find out who they are–helps ground the book.
    “even the writers on the latter end of the spectrum advised doing all the research you can and felt we have a responsibility to be true to what can be known about the past.”
    Susan, I do agree. It is a responsibility.
    AgTigress, thank you. I’ll be happy to add it to my collection.
    Nina, as we’ve discussed (or do I mean complained) often on this blog, the cover art doesn’t always bear a connection to the book, let alone history. My heroine on an early cover of Isabella (the paperback) was wearing a modern evening dress in daytime in Hyde Park–complete with diamonds! In daytime! It was pretty but so wrong.

    Reply
  47. Kalen, I used Mr. Salt for the same reason you chose the actual ambassador. I think using the real people–when we can find out who they are–helps ground the book.
    “even the writers on the latter end of the spectrum advised doing all the research you can and felt we have a responsibility to be true to what can be known about the past.”
    Susan, I do agree. It is a responsibility.
    AgTigress, thank you. I’ll be happy to add it to my collection.
    Nina, as we’ve discussed (or do I mean complained) often on this blog, the cover art doesn’t always bear a connection to the book, let alone history. My heroine on an early cover of Isabella (the paperback) was wearing a modern evening dress in daytime in Hyde Park–complete with diamonds! In daytime! It was pretty but so wrong.

    Reply
  48. Kalen, I used Mr. Salt for the same reason you chose the actual ambassador. I think using the real people–when we can find out who they are–helps ground the book.
    “even the writers on the latter end of the spectrum advised doing all the research you can and felt we have a responsibility to be true to what can be known about the past.”
    Susan, I do agree. It is a responsibility.
    AgTigress, thank you. I’ll be happy to add it to my collection.
    Nina, as we’ve discussed (or do I mean complained) often on this blog, the cover art doesn’t always bear a connection to the book, let alone history. My heroine on an early cover of Isabella (the paperback) was wearing a modern evening dress in daytime in Hyde Park–complete with diamonds! In daytime! It was pretty but so wrong.

    Reply
  49. CM, the law is a very, very tricky area, as about anyone writing in the Regency era can attest. Especially the Americans. We are always tearing our hair out and posting questions on our various lists. Even with access to Blackstone, say, one still has to understand what he’s talking about.
    But I’m definitely going to look for the reference you suggested. I love this great exchange of information on this blog.
    Gretchen, art is another tricky area. Part of the problem, however, is the value of money. When we say 200 pounds, it doesn’t sound like all that much money to today’s reader. In her fascinating and funny biography of the courtesan Grace Dalrymple Elliot, LADY SCANDALOUS, Jo Manning tells us that Joshua Reynolds charged 200 pounds for a full length portrait in the 1780s, which she estimates at 12,000 pounds or 24,000 dollars. Still, you’re right: This is hardly the millions and multi-millions we’re used to seeing in today’s art market.

    Reply
  50. CM, the law is a very, very tricky area, as about anyone writing in the Regency era can attest. Especially the Americans. We are always tearing our hair out and posting questions on our various lists. Even with access to Blackstone, say, one still has to understand what he’s talking about.
    But I’m definitely going to look for the reference you suggested. I love this great exchange of information on this blog.
    Gretchen, art is another tricky area. Part of the problem, however, is the value of money. When we say 200 pounds, it doesn’t sound like all that much money to today’s reader. In her fascinating and funny biography of the courtesan Grace Dalrymple Elliot, LADY SCANDALOUS, Jo Manning tells us that Joshua Reynolds charged 200 pounds for a full length portrait in the 1780s, which she estimates at 12,000 pounds or 24,000 dollars. Still, you’re right: This is hardly the millions and multi-millions we’re used to seeing in today’s art market.

    Reply
  51. CM, the law is a very, very tricky area, as about anyone writing in the Regency era can attest. Especially the Americans. We are always tearing our hair out and posting questions on our various lists. Even with access to Blackstone, say, one still has to understand what he’s talking about.
    But I’m definitely going to look for the reference you suggested. I love this great exchange of information on this blog.
    Gretchen, art is another tricky area. Part of the problem, however, is the value of money. When we say 200 pounds, it doesn’t sound like all that much money to today’s reader. In her fascinating and funny biography of the courtesan Grace Dalrymple Elliot, LADY SCANDALOUS, Jo Manning tells us that Joshua Reynolds charged 200 pounds for a full length portrait in the 1780s, which she estimates at 12,000 pounds or 24,000 dollars. Still, you’re right: This is hardly the millions and multi-millions we’re used to seeing in today’s art market.

    Reply
  52. CM, the law is a very, very tricky area, as about anyone writing in the Regency era can attest. Especially the Americans. We are always tearing our hair out and posting questions on our various lists. Even with access to Blackstone, say, one still has to understand what he’s talking about.
    But I’m definitely going to look for the reference you suggested. I love this great exchange of information on this blog.
    Gretchen, art is another tricky area. Part of the problem, however, is the value of money. When we say 200 pounds, it doesn’t sound like all that much money to today’s reader. In her fascinating and funny biography of the courtesan Grace Dalrymple Elliot, LADY SCANDALOUS, Jo Manning tells us that Joshua Reynolds charged 200 pounds for a full length portrait in the 1780s, which she estimates at 12,000 pounds or 24,000 dollars. Still, you’re right: This is hardly the millions and multi-millions we’re used to seeing in today’s art market.

    Reply
  53. Speaking of cover issues, I can’t decide which bugs me more–covers where the heroine is evidently going commando, with no corset, petticoat, shift, or anything (you see this a lot when you get a back view of the heroine in a mostly-unfastened dress) or ones where the heroine is wearing just a corset, since thanks to Kalen I know that stays go OVER the shift.
    I’ll admit the covers dreaw the eye, which I suppose is the whole point, and I know better than to judge the content by the cover. And usually the just-a-corset covers are attractive, like this one:
    http://www.amazon.com/Rest-Falls-Away-Gardella-Chronicles/dp/0451220072/sr=1-1/qid=1169173651/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-3612134-8824831?ie=UTF8&s=books
    But every once in awhile they’re just odd:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765350467/ref=pd_kar_gw_1/002-3612134-8824831

    Reply
  54. Speaking of cover issues, I can’t decide which bugs me more–covers where the heroine is evidently going commando, with no corset, petticoat, shift, or anything (you see this a lot when you get a back view of the heroine in a mostly-unfastened dress) or ones where the heroine is wearing just a corset, since thanks to Kalen I know that stays go OVER the shift.
    I’ll admit the covers dreaw the eye, which I suppose is the whole point, and I know better than to judge the content by the cover. And usually the just-a-corset covers are attractive, like this one:
    http://www.amazon.com/Rest-Falls-Away-Gardella-Chronicles/dp/0451220072/sr=1-1/qid=1169173651/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-3612134-8824831?ie=UTF8&s=books
    But every once in awhile they’re just odd:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765350467/ref=pd_kar_gw_1/002-3612134-8824831

    Reply
  55. Speaking of cover issues, I can’t decide which bugs me more–covers where the heroine is evidently going commando, with no corset, petticoat, shift, or anything (you see this a lot when you get a back view of the heroine in a mostly-unfastened dress) or ones where the heroine is wearing just a corset, since thanks to Kalen I know that stays go OVER the shift.
    I’ll admit the covers dreaw the eye, which I suppose is the whole point, and I know better than to judge the content by the cover. And usually the just-a-corset covers are attractive, like this one:
    http://www.amazon.com/Rest-Falls-Away-Gardella-Chronicles/dp/0451220072/sr=1-1/qid=1169173651/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-3612134-8824831?ie=UTF8&s=books
    But every once in awhile they’re just odd:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765350467/ref=pd_kar_gw_1/002-3612134-8824831

    Reply
  56. Speaking of cover issues, I can’t decide which bugs me more–covers where the heroine is evidently going commando, with no corset, petticoat, shift, or anything (you see this a lot when you get a back view of the heroine in a mostly-unfastened dress) or ones where the heroine is wearing just a corset, since thanks to Kalen I know that stays go OVER the shift.
    I’ll admit the covers dreaw the eye, which I suppose is the whole point, and I know better than to judge the content by the cover. And usually the just-a-corset covers are attractive, like this one:
    http://www.amazon.com/Rest-Falls-Away-Gardella-Chronicles/dp/0451220072/sr=1-1/qid=1169173651/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-3612134-8824831?ie=UTF8&s=books
    But every once in awhile they’re just odd:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0765350467/ref=pd_kar_gw_1/002-3612134-8824831

    Reply
  57. “Does she have x-ray vision to see through the tails of the coat and the baggy seat of his breeches? Anyone else notice this gaff?”
    LOL, Kalen. Especially funny since the part that was advertised was in front, in plain view thanks to the short waistcoat.
    Susan, the second one is definitely odd, though the first one looks painful.

    Reply
  58. “Does she have x-ray vision to see through the tails of the coat and the baggy seat of his breeches? Anyone else notice this gaff?”
    LOL, Kalen. Especially funny since the part that was advertised was in front, in plain view thanks to the short waistcoat.
    Susan, the second one is definitely odd, though the first one looks painful.

    Reply
  59. “Does she have x-ray vision to see through the tails of the coat and the baggy seat of his breeches? Anyone else notice this gaff?”
    LOL, Kalen. Especially funny since the part that was advertised was in front, in plain view thanks to the short waistcoat.
    Susan, the second one is definitely odd, though the first one looks painful.

    Reply
  60. “Does she have x-ray vision to see through the tails of the coat and the baggy seat of his breeches? Anyone else notice this gaff?”
    LOL, Kalen. Especially funny since the part that was advertised was in front, in plain view thanks to the short waistcoat.
    Susan, the second one is definitely odd, though the first one looks painful.

    Reply
  61. Another fabulous topic–thank you Nina, for the question, and Loretta, for the great post! I must confess, though, that I have a question for wenchling CM who revealed a science background. A recent book I read (not by a wench), set in the 1840s, began with a scene in a perfume shop–and with the lovely young heroine making a declarative statement about “olfactory receptors in the nose.” CM, they didn’t know about receptors then, did they? It seemed weirdly nano-technologic and anachronistic to me. . .but then, I’m just a humble reader.
    O wenches, if only all historical authors were as attentive as you all!
    Melinda

    Reply
  62. Another fabulous topic–thank you Nina, for the question, and Loretta, for the great post! I must confess, though, that I have a question for wenchling CM who revealed a science background. A recent book I read (not by a wench), set in the 1840s, began with a scene in a perfume shop–and with the lovely young heroine making a declarative statement about “olfactory receptors in the nose.” CM, they didn’t know about receptors then, did they? It seemed weirdly nano-technologic and anachronistic to me. . .but then, I’m just a humble reader.
    O wenches, if only all historical authors were as attentive as you all!
    Melinda

    Reply
  63. Another fabulous topic–thank you Nina, for the question, and Loretta, for the great post! I must confess, though, that I have a question for wenchling CM who revealed a science background. A recent book I read (not by a wench), set in the 1840s, began with a scene in a perfume shop–and with the lovely young heroine making a declarative statement about “olfactory receptors in the nose.” CM, they didn’t know about receptors then, did they? It seemed weirdly nano-technologic and anachronistic to me. . .but then, I’m just a humble reader.
    O wenches, if only all historical authors were as attentive as you all!
    Melinda

    Reply
  64. Another fabulous topic–thank you Nina, for the question, and Loretta, for the great post! I must confess, though, that I have a question for wenchling CM who revealed a science background. A recent book I read (not by a wench), set in the 1840s, began with a scene in a perfume shop–and with the lovely young heroine making a declarative statement about “olfactory receptors in the nose.” CM, they didn’t know about receptors then, did they? It seemed weirdly nano-technologic and anachronistic to me. . .but then, I’m just a humble reader.
    O wenches, if only all historical authors were as attentive as you all!
    Melinda

    Reply
  65. Susan/Miranda, you and I see eye to eye on this subject. And your research definitely paid off in Duchess. I was planted firmly in the time and place from page one.
    RevMelinda, I’ll let CM provide the science for you. I can tell you that the OED has “olfactory nerves” for 1670, and “olfactory sensations” for 1799 but “receptor,” while used, was not used in this way. It’s like the word “sex.” Of course it was used. But people didn’t “have sex.” Lots of synonyms but, to my knowledge, not that phrase. Still, we all have slip-ups, and I know there are many in especially my earlier books. History is a minefield.

    Reply
  66. Susan/Miranda, you and I see eye to eye on this subject. And your research definitely paid off in Duchess. I was planted firmly in the time and place from page one.
    RevMelinda, I’ll let CM provide the science for you. I can tell you that the OED has “olfactory nerves” for 1670, and “olfactory sensations” for 1799 but “receptor,” while used, was not used in this way. It’s like the word “sex.” Of course it was used. But people didn’t “have sex.” Lots of synonyms but, to my knowledge, not that phrase. Still, we all have slip-ups, and I know there are many in especially my earlier books. History is a minefield.

    Reply
  67. Susan/Miranda, you and I see eye to eye on this subject. And your research definitely paid off in Duchess. I was planted firmly in the time and place from page one.
    RevMelinda, I’ll let CM provide the science for you. I can tell you that the OED has “olfactory nerves” for 1670, and “olfactory sensations” for 1799 but “receptor,” while used, was not used in this way. It’s like the word “sex.” Of course it was used. But people didn’t “have sex.” Lots of synonyms but, to my knowledge, not that phrase. Still, we all have slip-ups, and I know there are many in especially my earlier books. History is a minefield.

    Reply
  68. Susan/Miranda, you and I see eye to eye on this subject. And your research definitely paid off in Duchess. I was planted firmly in the time and place from page one.
    RevMelinda, I’ll let CM provide the science for you. I can tell you that the OED has “olfactory nerves” for 1670, and “olfactory sensations” for 1799 but “receptor,” while used, was not used in this way. It’s like the word “sex.” Of course it was used. But people didn’t “have sex.” Lots of synonyms but, to my knowledge, not that phrase. Still, we all have slip-ups, and I know there are many in especially my earlier books. History is a minefield.

    Reply
  69. Loretta, it is becoming plain to me that I need an OED of My Very Own because language questions like this come up all the time for me and make me Extremely Cranky. (Is there a CD version of it these days? I remember from college the compact one you had to read with a magnifying glass.)
    I love it when authors place historical figures into their novels. I think the use of real persons from history in the romance narrative is what got me hooked on historicals in the first place. Wellington, Brummell, Lady Jersey, et al. As with many folks from history and from our own time, too, some of those personalities are so outlandish you just couldn’t make them up!
    And Kalen, I’ll have to admit that with 18th century men’s clothing (little as I know about it) I really couldn’t care less about the, uh, behind. What I really LOVE is the legs–got to love a man in stockings, I could stare at them for hours. Sigh. (I was exposed to Colonial Williamsburg at an Impressionable Age.)

    Reply
  70. Loretta, it is becoming plain to me that I need an OED of My Very Own because language questions like this come up all the time for me and make me Extremely Cranky. (Is there a CD version of it these days? I remember from college the compact one you had to read with a magnifying glass.)
    I love it when authors place historical figures into their novels. I think the use of real persons from history in the romance narrative is what got me hooked on historicals in the first place. Wellington, Brummell, Lady Jersey, et al. As with many folks from history and from our own time, too, some of those personalities are so outlandish you just couldn’t make them up!
    And Kalen, I’ll have to admit that with 18th century men’s clothing (little as I know about it) I really couldn’t care less about the, uh, behind. What I really LOVE is the legs–got to love a man in stockings, I could stare at them for hours. Sigh. (I was exposed to Colonial Williamsburg at an Impressionable Age.)

    Reply
  71. Loretta, it is becoming plain to me that I need an OED of My Very Own because language questions like this come up all the time for me and make me Extremely Cranky. (Is there a CD version of it these days? I remember from college the compact one you had to read with a magnifying glass.)
    I love it when authors place historical figures into their novels. I think the use of real persons from history in the romance narrative is what got me hooked on historicals in the first place. Wellington, Brummell, Lady Jersey, et al. As with many folks from history and from our own time, too, some of those personalities are so outlandish you just couldn’t make them up!
    And Kalen, I’ll have to admit that with 18th century men’s clothing (little as I know about it) I really couldn’t care less about the, uh, behind. What I really LOVE is the legs–got to love a man in stockings, I could stare at them for hours. Sigh. (I was exposed to Colonial Williamsburg at an Impressionable Age.)

    Reply
  72. Loretta, it is becoming plain to me that I need an OED of My Very Own because language questions like this come up all the time for me and make me Extremely Cranky. (Is there a CD version of it these days? I remember from college the compact one you had to read with a magnifying glass.)
    I love it when authors place historical figures into their novels. I think the use of real persons from history in the romance narrative is what got me hooked on historicals in the first place. Wellington, Brummell, Lady Jersey, et al. As with many folks from history and from our own time, too, some of those personalities are so outlandish you just couldn’t make them up!
    And Kalen, I’ll have to admit that with 18th century men’s clothing (little as I know about it) I really couldn’t care less about the, uh, behind. What I really LOVE is the legs–got to love a man in stockings, I could stare at them for hours. Sigh. (I was exposed to Colonial Williamsburg at an Impressionable Age.)

    Reply
  73. Melinda,
    Honestly, I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think it’s right.
    In the 1840s, we didn’t have much idea about molecular structure, and couldn’t have had any real idea until we developed X-ray crystallography very, very late in the game.
    But I don’t know what the 1840 theory of smell was, and if that theory posited something that might reasonably be called a “receptor.” But as Loretta points out, according to the OED, “receptor” isn’t used in the biological sense until the early 1900s, so I think this is flat out.
    I started to explain what I meant by “legal anachronism” but then it got way too long and I posted it on my blog.

    Reply
  74. Melinda,
    Honestly, I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think it’s right.
    In the 1840s, we didn’t have much idea about molecular structure, and couldn’t have had any real idea until we developed X-ray crystallography very, very late in the game.
    But I don’t know what the 1840 theory of smell was, and if that theory posited something that might reasonably be called a “receptor.” But as Loretta points out, according to the OED, “receptor” isn’t used in the biological sense until the early 1900s, so I think this is flat out.
    I started to explain what I meant by “legal anachronism” but then it got way too long and I posted it on my blog.

    Reply
  75. Melinda,
    Honestly, I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think it’s right.
    In the 1840s, we didn’t have much idea about molecular structure, and couldn’t have had any real idea until we developed X-ray crystallography very, very late in the game.
    But I don’t know what the 1840 theory of smell was, and if that theory posited something that might reasonably be called a “receptor.” But as Loretta points out, according to the OED, “receptor” isn’t used in the biological sense until the early 1900s, so I think this is flat out.
    I started to explain what I meant by “legal anachronism” but then it got way too long and I posted it on my blog.

    Reply
  76. Melinda,
    Honestly, I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think it’s right.
    In the 1840s, we didn’t have much idea about molecular structure, and couldn’t have had any real idea until we developed X-ray crystallography very, very late in the game.
    But I don’t know what the 1840 theory of smell was, and if that theory posited something that might reasonably be called a “receptor.” But as Loretta points out, according to the OED, “receptor” isn’t used in the biological sense until the early 1900s, so I think this is flat out.
    I started to explain what I meant by “legal anachronism” but then it got way too long and I posted it on my blog.

    Reply
  77. Ok, both those book covers slay me. On both the women are wearing Victorian-era corsets, and on the second one she’s got it on backwards! I can just picture the cover shoot: “No, no, put it on the other way! It’s much sexier that way.” *gag* I just saw the “witch” book in the store yesterday (while unsuccessfully hunting for a copy for DUCHESS for my flight to Morocco tomorrow*) and I actually laughed out loud. I think the book seller thought I was nuts.
    *Yep, hit 3 bookstores in downtown San Francisco and not one copy (one place says they have it, but it’s not anywhere on the shelves to be found). Grrrrrrrr. WaldenBooks said “We don’t carry that author.” WTF?

    Reply
  78. Ok, both those book covers slay me. On both the women are wearing Victorian-era corsets, and on the second one she’s got it on backwards! I can just picture the cover shoot: “No, no, put it on the other way! It’s much sexier that way.” *gag* I just saw the “witch” book in the store yesterday (while unsuccessfully hunting for a copy for DUCHESS for my flight to Morocco tomorrow*) and I actually laughed out loud. I think the book seller thought I was nuts.
    *Yep, hit 3 bookstores in downtown San Francisco and not one copy (one place says they have it, but it’s not anywhere on the shelves to be found). Grrrrrrrr. WaldenBooks said “We don’t carry that author.” WTF?

    Reply
  79. Ok, both those book covers slay me. On both the women are wearing Victorian-era corsets, and on the second one she’s got it on backwards! I can just picture the cover shoot: “No, no, put it on the other way! It’s much sexier that way.” *gag* I just saw the “witch” book in the store yesterday (while unsuccessfully hunting for a copy for DUCHESS for my flight to Morocco tomorrow*) and I actually laughed out loud. I think the book seller thought I was nuts.
    *Yep, hit 3 bookstores in downtown San Francisco and not one copy (one place says they have it, but it’s not anywhere on the shelves to be found). Grrrrrrrr. WaldenBooks said “We don’t carry that author.” WTF?

    Reply
  80. Ok, both those book covers slay me. On both the women are wearing Victorian-era corsets, and on the second one she’s got it on backwards! I can just picture the cover shoot: “No, no, put it on the other way! It’s much sexier that way.” *gag* I just saw the “witch” book in the store yesterday (while unsuccessfully hunting for a copy for DUCHESS for my flight to Morocco tomorrow*) and I actually laughed out loud. I think the book seller thought I was nuts.
    *Yep, hit 3 bookstores in downtown San Francisco and not one copy (one place says they have it, but it’s not anywhere on the shelves to be found). Grrrrrrrr. WaldenBooks said “We don’t carry that author.” WTF?

    Reply
  81. I love reading about real people in books and use them in my own, BUT am very careful with the latter. Richard III is a character in one of my mss. I’ve read tons about him and used a printed copy of his Itinerary to ensure he was in the right spots at the right time.

    Reply
  82. I love reading about real people in books and use them in my own, BUT am very careful with the latter. Richard III is a character in one of my mss. I’ve read tons about him and used a printed copy of his Itinerary to ensure he was in the right spots at the right time.

    Reply
  83. I love reading about real people in books and use them in my own, BUT am very careful with the latter. Richard III is a character in one of my mss. I’ve read tons about him and used a printed copy of his Itinerary to ensure he was in the right spots at the right time.

    Reply
  84. I love reading about real people in books and use them in my own, BUT am very careful with the latter. Richard III is a character in one of my mss. I’ve read tons about him and used a printed copy of his Itinerary to ensure he was in the right spots at the right time.

    Reply
  85. love the comment on historical science. I used to use historical figures when I was writing American novels but for whatever reason have gradually moved out of that. But science is always a fascination for me, and it’s darned difficult communicating how a Georgian thought about scientific matters (especially since even the word “science” isn’t the same as today) to a contemporary audience. At some point, I simply had to make a note saying I cheated because there was simply no way of communicating what the character would have said and what the reader would have thought it meant!

    Reply
  86. love the comment on historical science. I used to use historical figures when I was writing American novels but for whatever reason have gradually moved out of that. But science is always a fascination for me, and it’s darned difficult communicating how a Georgian thought about scientific matters (especially since even the word “science” isn’t the same as today) to a contemporary audience. At some point, I simply had to make a note saying I cheated because there was simply no way of communicating what the character would have said and what the reader would have thought it meant!

    Reply
  87. love the comment on historical science. I used to use historical figures when I was writing American novels but for whatever reason have gradually moved out of that. But science is always a fascination for me, and it’s darned difficult communicating how a Georgian thought about scientific matters (especially since even the word “science” isn’t the same as today) to a contemporary audience. At some point, I simply had to make a note saying I cheated because there was simply no way of communicating what the character would have said and what the reader would have thought it meant!

    Reply
  88. love the comment on historical science. I used to use historical figures when I was writing American novels but for whatever reason have gradually moved out of that. But science is always a fascination for me, and it’s darned difficult communicating how a Georgian thought about scientific matters (especially since even the word “science” isn’t the same as today) to a contemporary audience. At some point, I simply had to make a note saying I cheated because there was simply no way of communicating what the character would have said and what the reader would have thought it meant!

    Reply
  89. Patricia, have you read any of the “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London”? The Royal Society website has them in pdf form from the 1600s on! They were on the web for free the last half of 2006 and I downloaded like a mad woman. Fascinating stuff in there. Everything from the temperature of London (for every day/month of every year!) to reports of earthquakes, dissections of newly discovered animals, studies of monstrous births, and all kinds of scientific experiments (everything from horticulture to electricity and chemistry).

    Reply
  90. Patricia, have you read any of the “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London”? The Royal Society website has them in pdf form from the 1600s on! They were on the web for free the last half of 2006 and I downloaded like a mad woman. Fascinating stuff in there. Everything from the temperature of London (for every day/month of every year!) to reports of earthquakes, dissections of newly discovered animals, studies of monstrous births, and all kinds of scientific experiments (everything from horticulture to electricity and chemistry).

    Reply
  91. Patricia, have you read any of the “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London”? The Royal Society website has them in pdf form from the 1600s on! They were on the web for free the last half of 2006 and I downloaded like a mad woman. Fascinating stuff in there. Everything from the temperature of London (for every day/month of every year!) to reports of earthquakes, dissections of newly discovered animals, studies of monstrous births, and all kinds of scientific experiments (everything from horticulture to electricity and chemistry).

    Reply
  92. Patricia, have you read any of the “Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London”? The Royal Society website has them in pdf form from the 1600s on! They were on the web for free the last half of 2006 and I downloaded like a mad woman. Fascinating stuff in there. Everything from the temperature of London (for every day/month of every year!) to reports of earthquakes, dissections of newly discovered animals, studies of monstrous births, and all kinds of scientific experiments (everything from horticulture to electricity and chemistry).

    Reply
  93. Kalen, I bang my head against the Royal Society wall periodically, but missed the free download period. Grrr. So I end up in the library with crumbly copies of the Philosophical Magazine in one hand and a pen in the aching other one, because the books are too fragile to photocopy.

    Reply
  94. Kalen, I bang my head against the Royal Society wall periodically, but missed the free download period. Grrr. So I end up in the library with crumbly copies of the Philosophical Magazine in one hand and a pen in the aching other one, because the books are too fragile to photocopy.

    Reply
  95. Kalen, I bang my head against the Royal Society wall periodically, but missed the free download period. Grrr. So I end up in the library with crumbly copies of the Philosophical Magazine in one hand and a pen in the aching other one, because the books are too fragile to photocopy.

    Reply
  96. Kalen, I bang my head against the Royal Society wall periodically, but missed the free download period. Grrr. So I end up in the library with crumbly copies of the Philosophical Magazine in one hand and a pen in the aching other one, because the books are too fragile to photocopy.

    Reply
  97. Historical truth is elusive, true. It all depends how well one writes finally. Reading again Dumas’s historical novels, one may see how it is more important a good dialog and caracterisation then exact dates or accurancy. I feel he does despicts the times he writes about and gives us a better view then historians do.
    And, recently I begin to read his Memoires, of course, he remembers word by word from childhood (impossible) and writes what and how he wants – but it is a wonderfull read of thousand pages and anecdotes and it does recreate for us his youth and literally beginings, as well that of V. Hugo his friend then.

    Reply
  98. Historical truth is elusive, true. It all depends how well one writes finally. Reading again Dumas’s historical novels, one may see how it is more important a good dialog and caracterisation then exact dates or accurancy. I feel he does despicts the times he writes about and gives us a better view then historians do.
    And, recently I begin to read his Memoires, of course, he remembers word by word from childhood (impossible) and writes what and how he wants – but it is a wonderfull read of thousand pages and anecdotes and it does recreate for us his youth and literally beginings, as well that of V. Hugo his friend then.

    Reply
  99. Historical truth is elusive, true. It all depends how well one writes finally. Reading again Dumas’s historical novels, one may see how it is more important a good dialog and caracterisation then exact dates or accurancy. I feel he does despicts the times he writes about and gives us a better view then historians do.
    And, recently I begin to read his Memoires, of course, he remembers word by word from childhood (impossible) and writes what and how he wants – but it is a wonderfull read of thousand pages and anecdotes and it does recreate for us his youth and literally beginings, as well that of V. Hugo his friend then.

    Reply
  100. Historical truth is elusive, true. It all depends how well one writes finally. Reading again Dumas’s historical novels, one may see how it is more important a good dialog and caracterisation then exact dates or accurancy. I feel he does despicts the times he writes about and gives us a better view then historians do.
    And, recently I begin to read his Memoires, of course, he remembers word by word from childhood (impossible) and writes what and how he wants – but it is a wonderfull read of thousand pages and anecdotes and it does recreate for us his youth and literally beginings, as well that of V. Hugo his friend then.

    Reply

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