People often ask me where I get my ideas for my books. As an avid reader of history, I often take pieces of actual events and use them as either a starting point for my plot or to add depth and color to my stories. My first book, An Heiress at Heart (about a woman who impersonates someone else, basically stepping into her life) was partly inspired by a French movie called The Return of Martin Guerre—which was itself based on a real event.
Sometimes I’ll also pull a thread or two from a classic novel and develop it in a different direction. For example, An Heiress at Heart had a plot point which was inspired by a minor character in the Dickens novel David Copperfield. I changed her name and several of the circumstances, and then imagined what might have happened to this woman after the events of David Copperfield ended.
More bits of history that I’ve incorporated in my books include the Great Exhibition of 1851, the massive funeral procession for the Duke of Wellington in 1852, and a cameo appearance by Inspector Field, who was a real police detective of the time. I found out about Inspector Field from an article written by Dickens in his journal Household Words.
In my newest novel, A Bride for the Season, the heroine Lucinda Cardington is the patroness of a home to help “fallen women” by giving them a place to live and training to find honest work. This was based on a similar project developed by wealthy heiress and philanthropist Angela Burdett-Coutts and the author Charles Dickens. They called it Urania Cottage. Although Urania Cottage had its fair share of challenges and was closed down after about fifteen years, it enabled several dozen women to go on to better lives.
Another historical element in A Bride for the Season is photography. In 1853, photography had only been around for about a decade. The wet plate method was the state of the art. Taking just one photo involved the use of a glass plate negative, a large boxy camera, a portable “dark tent,” and an astonishing array of chemicals. Everything had to be on hand because the photo had to be taken while the chemicals were still wet on the glass plate. In order to be able to set a scene in Hyde Park, I gave the hero of the book a custom-built wagon for carrying all of his photographic supplies. This was inspired by Roger Fenton, who designed just such a wagon and took it to the Crimea in 1855, where he became one of the very first war photographers.
I love weaving these historical tidbits into my stories, and I hope my readers will enjoy this taste of life in mid-Victorian England as well.
A Bride for the Season
Publication date: November 25, 2014
Grand Central Publishing
BACK COVER BLURB:
London’s most amiable rogue has finally met his match.
Lucinda Cardington doesn’t care that she is close to being “on the shelf.” She has more serious pursuits in mind and is perfectly content to leave dreams of romance to silly young ladies like her sister. Yet when her sister places herself in a compromising situation with London’s most scandalous bachelor, the entire family’s reputation comes perilously close to ruin. Suddenly Lucinda is in the limelight…and in need of a husband.
James Simpson’s rakish ways have finally caught up with him. Snared in a scandal that for once is not his doing, he is forced to do the honorable thing and offer marriage to the lady. But her father won’t agree to a dowry unless James can also find a suitable husband for the lady’s elder sister—quiet, reserved Lucinda Cardington. As James gets to know the vibrant, charming, and passionate woman behind Lucinda’s shy exterior, he comes to the distressing realization that he doesn’t want her in anyone’s arms but his own…
A history fan, travel lover, and outdoor enthusiast, Jennifer Delamere writes sweet historical romance with plenty of joy and sizzle. Her debut novel An Heiress at Heart was a finalist for the Romance Writers of America RITA® award. Her follow-up novel, A Lady Most Lovely, earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Jennifer loves reading histories, biographies, and travelogues, which she mines for the vivid details to bring to life the people and places in her books. For more information about Jennifer’s books, blog, and mailing list, visit http://www.jenniferdelamere.com.