| Another nice story about Christmas / Cressmouth town and the characters we meet in it. We have met the French émigrés before – the 3 le Duc siblings. 2 brothers and a sister. And of course there is the town’s ‘smuggler’ / pirate / ex-privateer and supplier of good French brandy and wine from his partners. |
A Privateer was an authorised pirate – that is someone who the Crown licensed to raid other ships and carry away their bounty. With a percentage of the profits going to the Crown of course to pay for the wars and the lack of taxes from the imported silks and wines that didn’t occur due to the war…
And then there was typhus. In Ireland 1816 a major epidemic of the disease produced 700,000 cases out of a population of 6,000,000. More major epidemics followed in 1821 and 1836 and again in 1846 with the Potato Famine. It is a bacterial infection spread by parasites – and the most important form of typhus being epidemic typhus (borne by lice). Other forms are murine, or endemic, typhus (flea-borne); scrub typhus, or tsutsugamushi disease (mite-borne); and tick-borne typhus.
So another romance about a Duc rather than a Duke but pun or not it follows in the 12 stories about Dukes promised…
This was a well written, interesting story based around the early version of a pyramid scheme. You encourage someone to invest with you a small amount, give a great return, then you obtain bigger and bigger amounts as the returns peter out.
Meantime, these investments fund the next mug investor’s return.
In a time when there are no computers. Few detectives or police, scattered newspapers, and very little formal money management (but lots of gossip about the great amounts to be made in trade, furs, gold etc in the coffee shops of the era), this type of scheme is easy to concoct. Employ a 3rd party as the intermediary and you are well hidden. Until someone figures out your scheme and plays detective.
All layered on top of a Regency Romance.
Darcy Burke does this. She takes a social issue and weaves it into her story, from poverty, to female emancipation, to education. It gives the stories that bit extra.
Oh the ‘Ton’ and their ideas that women should be seen and not heard – unless they agree with men of course – in very simpering way.
A time it seems of true misogyny, at least in the ranks of the privileged few. Bearing in mind that very few women had any control over property, children or money. Let alone voting and politics. Not even the ability to pay bills it seems.
What therefore is a woman with a mind, a voice, and emotions going to do when her twin brother seems determined to fritter away their newly acquired fortune and she can’t control him or the money or…
Clearly she was not going to marry a Duke. Except that this is a love story and…
Nicely written and one feels for both the hero and heroine. The hero because he has been brought up in a world of expectations and the heroine because she has so little control over her life and yet is passionate and meddling..!
What if you really really don’t want to be married and are waiting out your Seasons until your parents are too bored to keep paying for them? But you would really like to keep every sad or hurt animal that you find. Especially kittens – lots of them. And will even go so far as to rescue a man!
But then your parents decide to do something about you? Send you away… because you are not really trying to get a husband are you? Or will you try?
I like this style of fiction – always have since Georgette Heyer times and these series of novels are only reminding me of her but with a small diversion towards modern times – the heroines are less missish and more feisty and not afraid to have sex with their suitors.
I am also, always a sucker for stories with cute animals and hedgehogs in pockets are the best yet.
This novel tackles yet another of the prejudices that were prevalent in Regency times – the fact that women were not permitted to become doctors.
It is good to see historical romance writers looking for more unusual, but politically and societally relevant, topics to cover within the trope. This novel was enjoyable and well written and looked at the Regency world and its constraints on how women were expected to employ themselves, especially the more gently born ones.
According to the Sicence Museum: “Women have always been central in providing medical care, whether offering remedies in the home, nursing or acting as herbalists. However, the medical profession has been male dominated for most of its history. In Europe this came about from the 1400s, when many cities and governments decided that only those trained in universities were allowed to formally practise medicine. As women were not allowed into the universities they could not gain a licence”.
Even though there was a woman doctor – Trotula – at the earliest European medical school in Salerno, Italy, in the 800s. And then there was Dr Laura Bassi, who was appointed Professor of Anatomy at the University of Bologna in 1732.
This novel however, is clearly based very loosely on Margaret Bulkley (1792 or 1795-1865) AKA James Barry who masqueraded as a male doctor for 46 years, and who was a successful British Army surgeon serving in India and Cape Town, South Africa,