by Sabrina Darby
As I mention in my bio, I learned my best vocabulary (dulcet, diaphanous, and turgid) from romance books. I learned history from those same books, whether they took place in Tudor England, Napoleonic Europe or Gilded Age America. Half the fun was separating the fiction from the real history and pulling down the relevant volumes of Encyclopedia Britannica. Historical romance actually gave me a leg up in European history class and instilled in me an early love for the study of history in general.
Which is a good thing, because as a historical romance author, I do a lot of research!
My Regency heroes and heroines are influenced by the world around them, and one of the puzzles I always need to figure out, is what makes this lady or gentleman tick? So, I like to look at books written around the time of when my story is set. I also look at books and periodicals from the twenty or so years before, so I get a sense of what was common sense knowledge when this guy and girl are growing up.
For Lady of Intrigue, which is partially set in what is now Germany, in Vienna, and in London, I needed to research the Congress of Vienna, the geography and boundaries in 1814 just before the Congress redrew the map of Europe, the political issues of the day, as well as economic innovations and business trends that might interest my characters. As Gerard Badeau, the hero of the book, is part spy part assassin, I also needed to explore the shadowy underworld that coexisted with the more visible conflicts.
Historical romance has always been a part of my education, and as a reader and a writer it continues to teach me about the past. How about all of you? What have you learned from romance?
Lady of Intrigue
Lady Jane Langley values logic and reason over passion and emotion. Her intellect has given her value in the eyes of both her father and society. Logic gives way to terrible, icy fear when Jane finds herself in a devastating carriage accident… an accident in which she is helpless to do anything but watch as her aristocratic companion is murdered.
But this was no mere accident. This was an assassination. Spy and grandson of Lord Landsdowne, Gerard Badeau is methodic in his dark, shadowy work, knowing that any display of emotion could get him killed. Something about the mysterious woman and her cool blue eyes stays Gerard’s lethal hand. Now he has both a witness and a hostage.
And if he doesn’t kill Lady Jane Langley, he risks a fate that is far, far worse…falling in love with her.