Please help me welcome Rachel Brimble, who shares her thoughts on Historical research—something I know nothing about. But, I learned a great deal from her post. And be sure to check out her new release…is that a gorgeous cover or what?
I often get asked how much research goes into my Victorian romances and I find this really difficult to answer. As I write romance rather than historical fiction, I focus on the central relationship more than anything––which basically means the emotion. To my mind, the emotions of people during the 1800s would have been more or less the same as today…even if their problems and concerns were entirely different.
My research begins once I have decided on the theme of my book – for Her One True Love, my latest Victorian romance, the central theme is “Journey To Self-Discovery”. So what did this mean as far as research is concerned? Well, first and foremost, I had to decide what it is that will make my hero and heroine discover themselves! For the heroine, I stumbled across an article on England’s Foundling Hospitals and children immediately became her purpose in life.
I was hooked immediately and went on to learn about boarding houses that took in children, either temporarily until their parents could reclaimed them, or until the children were of a working age.
As for the hero, his discovery would come by accompanying the heroine on her journey!
Obviously we are all lucky enough to have access to the World Wide Web nowadays, but I still think it is imperative to read as well as visit places as much as possible. I read plenty of Victorian non-fiction while writing this book as well as visiting No 1 Royal Crescent in Bath (although this is set to the Georgian era, it gave me a nice sense of place), the Bath Fashion Museum and spoke to the Bath Archives Department too. My favorite Victorian research book (and the most helpful!) is The Victorian City by Judith Flanders.
For my next historical book, I am venturing into the Edwardian era for the very first time and I’m having a great time expanding my knowledge! The problem with research is often knowing when to stop. If you enjoy history, the temptation to keep researching rather than getting on with the writing is hard to resist.
Through my reading and visiting, I have become more and more interested in delving backwards as well as forwards. I wouldn’t be surprised if I write a Georgian or even a Tudor series in the future. Watch this space!
She Can’t Forget Him…
Jane Charlotte Danes has loved the squire of her idyllic country town for as long as she can remember. He is good, kind, and alluring beyond words… and he chose to marry another. Tired of dwelling on her futile longings, Jane plans a move to Bath, where she dreams of a new beginning. But the man who has so imprisoned her heart is only a few steps behind…
He Can’t Let Her Go…
Until now, Matthew Cleaves has endeavored to meet the responsibilities of his position with dignity and good spirits—including his dutiful marriage. But when his wife leaves him for another man, Matthew is at last free to pursue his one true love. Only one vital question remains: will the captivating, stubborn, beautiful Jane allow him the challenge, and the pleasure, of winning her back?
Matthew turned and faced Jane. “When are you leaving for the city?”
She took another step back, her gaze darting over his face. “The day after tomorrow. Why?”
“Because I will escort you. We can travel together in my carriage.”
“No, I do not need your––”
“I will be going anyway. I planned to visit some contacts in the city in the hope of securing guaranteed trade for Biddestone in the coming year. It seems unnecessary for us to make the trip separately when I have a carriage plenty big enough for us both.”
“There is absolutely no need. Jeannie will be coming with me.”
“My offer still stands.”
She glared. “It’s my intention to start on the path of independence, of finding out what the world has to offer me on my own merit. I will hardly be carving out my own path when at the first step from my home, I lean on you.”
“You are being stubborn.”
She pulled back her shoulders. “And you are not?”
The longer he looked at her, the more Matthew saw the quiet beauty he’d desperately tried to ignore. He took a steadying breath. “Please, Jane. Let me escort you to Bath.”
The seconds passed, but Matthew held his tongue. It was imperative she spoke next, that she understood he didn’t mean to bully her but wanted to ensure her safety to a city ravaged by danger, as much as opportunity.
She sighed. “Fine. On one condition.”
He held her gaze. “Which is?”
Her eyes softened, slowly lighting with mischief. “You smile. Now. You smile at me like you did before she left.”
Heat rose to his face. “You want me to smile?”
“Yes. Smile for me, Matthew.”
Empathy and passion swirled in her eyes, but they also bore a deep, painful awareness that scratched hard over his heart. The longer he stared, the more he wanted to make her happy.
He smiled, his gaze on hers…and was surprised to find the trade no effort at all.
Find it here:
Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had five books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and recently signed a contract for three more. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical including Her One True Love.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!
Facebook Street Team – Rachel’s Readers
17 responses to “Historical research…how much? How little? by Rachel Brimble – New Release: Her One True Love”
Enchanting interview! I do quite a lot of historical research for my contemporary Southern Gothic/cozy mystery books with a Civil War background and I agree–knowing when to stop is key! Best wishes both here and in the U.K.
Isn’t it hard knowing when to stop?? I could immerse myself in the reading/visiting all day, every day! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Hi Alicia! Thanks for having me here today – I’m looking forward to chatting with your visitors 😀
Love the cover and the excerpt. And the post was very interesting. Linda Nightingale
Hi Linda! I adore my cover too – I literally screamed with happiness when it dropped into my inbox 🙂
Saved to Writing Process board on Pinterest:
Good luck and God’s blessings.
That’s great! Thanks Pam – God’s blessings to you too 🙂
Lovely excerpt! Thanks for sharing!
So glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
Interesting! Do you ever find diaries from the eras you’re writing about? I read the diary of a young woman in Virginia during the American Civil War and it was an eye opener to read how passionate she was about the Southern cause.
I do! And they often frighten me with the overwhelming story ideas that come from reading them 🙂 I’d love to write about the American Civil War some day…
Great post. I hate doing research because it’s so hard to stop. 🙂 One link leads to another & then another. Lovely cover. Best wishes.
So true, Diane! Love my cover too – literally screamed when it dropped into my inbox 🙂
Very interesting post. I love reading stories where the history is made so easy to understand that I don’t feel ignorant.
Me too! I think Phillippa Gregory and Elizabeth Fremamtle excel at doing just that 🙂
Awesome excerpt, Rachel!
I got pulled in to your interview today because I am forced to do some research right now on probate law in Victorian England! Ug. I doubt there is a big demand for such knowledge and foresee spending an arduous few days. 🙂 Little bits of info can prove so illusive!!
I’m putting your book on my to-read list. Curious how you will handle the fact her love married another…
I’m glad you mentioned the marriage thing! The reviews so far have been interesting (and complimentary!) about the story and how I deal with the fact the hero is not yet divorced. I tend to write romance a little differently and veer away from the ‘perfection’ that you sometimes read. Life isn’t perfect…unfortunately!