Gaelen Foley introduces her Knight Miscellany series available now on Piatkus Entice!!
Family Can Be Difficult, Even If (Especially If?) You’re a Regency Aristocrat
My typical, modern, middle-class family joined the 50% of those in America that go through divorce when my parents split in the late 80’s after twenty-plus years of marriage. From there, my sisters and I got to experience all the uncertainties of meeting and measuring the various people our parents started dating. Such situations are never easy.
But books were always my comfort in shaky times, and as a lifelong history buff, I thought I could console myself by looking back to a more settled, picturesque, bygone age. You know, back in that idyllic, fairytale time, when the world had toothbrushes and w.c.’s, but the Industrial Revolution had not yet spawned the dark, satanic mills; when the green land was still unpolluted; when everyone rode horses and had elegant
manners and all true love was happy ever after.
Naïve, I know.
Imagine my surprise when a perusal of my beloved history books revealed some seriously modern-sounding, messy, complicated family situations among even the glamorous, rich and powerful of the early 19th century. You mean love and family has always been this hard? I thought.
Well, born with a pen in my hand, what else could I do but write about it? I suppose it’s just my way of trying to make sense of things, processing the world around me.
The historical people who gave me this particular seed of inspiration were the fascinating Harley family, the fifth Lord and Lady Oxford. A vicar’s daughter, Jane Elizabeth Harley (née Scott), (1774–1824), married Edward Harley, 5th Earl of Oxford and Earl Mortimer. The earl donated his book collection, known as the Harleian Miscellany, to the Bodleian Library at Oxford. But the “Harliean Miscellany” was also the irreverent nickname given by Society to his large brood of children, because the rumor was, the tots had been variously sired by Her Ladyship’s many lovers, one of whom was even Lord Byron.
And I thought my family life was complicated! Once in a while, an idea comes along that knocks you right in the head and says, Write me!
So I did. I daydreamed for a good couple of years about what sort of “issues” the fictional children growing up in this environment might have in the area of relationships if I aged them to adulthood and cast them as heroes and heroines in historical romance novels.
The end result was my seven-book Knight Miscellany series that Piatkus has (hooray!) made available as e-books as well as paperbacks for your reading pleasure. You can find out more about the fascinating Countess of Oxford here. To learn more about my novels, please visit www.GaelenFoley.com. While you’re there, don’t miss my Regency Glossary if you’d like a cheat sheet for all those mysterious historical terms you find in Regency novels – from Almack’s to Zounds – brief nuggets of info and factoids encapsulated from over a decade of my research 19th c. social history.
Thanks for reading! Wishing you a very happy – indeed, an idyllic! – holiday season with your family, even if (especially if!) they are as dear and maddening and complicated . . . as mine! J
The Duke, Lord of Fire and Lord of Ice are available on Piatkus Entice now!