The Three Most Interesting Historical Factoids I Discovered While Researching A Code of the Heart
by Jacki Delecki
One of the things I love most about being a Regency romantic mystery author is research. Just when I think there is nothing new to be learned, I discover some intriguing fact that I simply must use in a story. If it doesn’t fit the current plot, well, there’s always the next book waiting to be written.
While developing the story for my current release, A Code of the Heart, I encountered several fascinating facts related to Regency fashion, etiquette and maritime war strategies. I thought it would be fun to share my top three favorite facts.
- Smuggling of fabrics and the import of French fashion continued throughout the war, despite blockades. Fashion dolls, which were used to showcase designs and styles, were of such importance that even during times of hostility between England and France, concessions were made to allow the continued exchange of fashion dolls.
- Aristocrats (including spouses) never called each other by their first names. TheyJ used family names or titles. In my book, I took a literary liberty and had my hero ask the heroine to call him by his first name.
- During the French and British conflict, the French planned to win the war by sea. Napoleon accumulated battle ships in Boulogne. The secret weapon referenced in A Code of the Heart was an actual device and was part of the English attempt to attack French ships.
It is this rich historic detail that makes Regency romance so much fun to write and read. What fascinating facts have you discovered in your favorite Regency novels?
About A Code of the Heart
Miss Amelia Bonnington has been in love with her childhood hero since she was eleven years old… or so she thought until a not-so proper impassioned and unyielding kiss from the not-so honorable and equally disreputable Lord Derrick Brinsley, gave her reason to question the feelings of the heart.
Lord Brinsley, shunned from society for running off with his brother’s fiancée, hasn’t cared about or questioned his lack of acceptance until meeting the beguiling Amelia Bonnington. One passionate moment with the fiery Miss Bonnington has him more than willing to play by society’s rules to possess the breathtaking, red-haired woman.
Amelia unwittingly becomes embroiled in espionage when she stumbles upon a smuggling ring in the modiste shop of her good friend. To prove her French friend’s innocence, she dangerously jumps into the fray, jeopardizing more than her life.
On undercover assignment to prevent the French from stealing the Royal Navy’s deadly weapon, Derrick must fight to protect British secrets from falling into the hands of foreign agents, and the chance at love with the only woman capable of redeeming him.
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Edworth House Party
Christmas Eve, 1802
Amelia Bonnington braced herself as the crowd bumped and pushed, straining to get close to His Highness. The crème of society shoved and elbowed, politely-of-course, since one would never want to be accused of bad manners.
The Prince Regent stood on a small platform elaborately decorated with heavy boughs of greenery and red velvet, matching the Christmas décor of the massive ballroom. Hundreds of beeswax candles burned. No expense had been spared for the house party celebrating his royal visit.
Amelia had no desire to be part of the prince’s circle; they were a ghastly group who were only interested in themselves and their own pleasure.
She sucked in the little air left in the room and pushed, courteously-of-course, toward the door. The crowd and the heat were unbearable. She wasn’t one to swoon, but with the thick mix of perfume and the hot bodies, she felt tonight might be her first. She, one of the steadiest women, felt unsteady and unsafe. The last days of upheaval must have had a greater effect on her than she had wanted to believe.
Her whole world had been turned upside down and twisted sideways at this house party. In the last two days, her friends had been poisoned and kidnapped, and she had been ensnared in the French villain’s trap. But the deadly crisis had to be kept secret. Nothing must look out of the ordinary. No one outside the intelligence world ever know about the enemy’s threat to the Prince Regent’s life. The ball must go on.
Amelia looked over her shoulder for the closest exit, but the throng pushed her forward. She needed to escape from the packed room.
A gentleman used the chaos in the crowded room, to crash into her, to take liberties with her person. After spending the last four years in congested ballrooms, she fully recognized the scoundrel’s ploy. His heavy eyelids didn’t conceal his hungry eyes, focused down her décolletage. As his eyes remained fixated on her breasts, he grabbed her elbow, pretending to help her when in fact he intended to pull her close against his hefty, malodorous body.
His reek of stale alcohol and sour sweat constricted her stomach and burned her throat. She pulled her arm away from his grasp, repulsed by the wetness seeping through his gloves. “Sir, release me this instant.”
She was about to dig her heel into the supposed gentleman’s fat toe when suddenly a space opened around her and a smell of fresh lime soap surrounded her.
The perspiring man stared behind her. His slack mouth and his blood-shot eyes widened in fear.
She recognized Lord Brinsley’s scent without needing to turn; he was an impossibly difficult, yet irresistibly appealing man. His deep, velvety voice flitted down her skin like a caress. “Miss Amelia, may I escort you away from this mob?”
Relief and something much more potent buzzed all her nerve endings. She turned quickly and found herself pressed against the broad chest of the man she had been forced to conspire with to save her friends.
She hastily straightened herself. “I never thought I’d be happy to see you.” She refused to be like all the other women who fawned for his slightest glance.
He lifted an eyebrow and the corner of his mouth in that sardonic way she always found irritating. He was too big, too handsome, and too confident for her to find him irresistible. She’d never let him have the satisfaction of knowing she found him…almost irresistible.
About the Author
Descended from a long line of storytellers, Jacki spins adventures filled with mystery, healing and romance.
Jacki’s love affair with the arts began at a young age and inspired her to train as a jazz singer and dancer. She has performed many acting roles with Seattle Opera Company and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Her travels to London and Paris ignited a deep-seated passion to write the Regency Code Breaker Series. Jacki is certain she spent at least one lifetime dancing in the Moulin Rouge.
Jacki has set her Grayce Walters Mystery Series in Seattle, her long-time home. The city’s unique and colorful locations are a backdrop for her thrilling romantic suspense. Although writing now fills much of her day, she continues to volunteer for Seattle’s Ballet and Opera Companies and leads children’s tours of Pike Street Market. Her volunteer work with Seattle’s homeless shelters influenced one of her main characters in An Inner Fire and Women Under Fire.
Jacki’s two Golden Labs, Gus and Talley, were her constant companions. Their years of devotion and intuition inspired her to write dogs as main characters alongside her strong heroines. A geek at heart, Jacki loves superhero movies—a hero’s battle against insurmountable odds. But her heroines don’t have to wear a unitard to fight injustice and battle for the underdog.
Look for more heart-pounding adventure, intrigue, and romance in Jacki’s Code Breakers Series. A Code of Love is the first book in the series. A Christmas Code—A Regency Novella, is now available at all retail sites. A Code of the Heart will be released on Valentine’s Day 2015.
To learn more about Jacki and her books and to be the first to hear about contests and giveaways join her newsletter found on her website.
As a former French teacher, I can tell you that French couples only a couple of generations ago were calling each other by Mr. and Mrs. instead of first names. The French have these spoken and unspoken “rules.” I suppose we all do, but we assume ours make more sense!
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Actually, the Prince wasn’t the Prince Regent in 1802 in the excerpt above. He was just the Prince of Wales. He was not styled, or entitled to be called, ‘Prince Regent’ until several years later when Parliament passed the Regency Act of 1811.
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Thanks for hosting me on your fabulous blog. I don’t want to admit to my age, but as a child I was never were allowed to call adults by their first name. LOL
My pleasure entirely, Jackie! But did your parents call each other Mr. and Mrs. Delecki all their lives and never use first names?
No, Susana. And I do struggle in writing that kind of formality with romance. How about you?
I love the whole theme of Code Of The Heart. I just put it on my TRL. Ssso glad I found this post today. Thanks for sharing.
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