Last week I mentioned that my Christmas novella, Rosalyn’s Ring, has a sparkly new cover. Here it is again:
This week I’m sharing a bit about how Rosalyn’s Ring came to be, and I’m reprising in part a couple of blogs I wrote in 2013 when Rosalyn’s Ring was published.
In the summer of 2012, I saw a call for submissions from one of the Big Five:
Write an historical, Christmas novella, not to exceed 20,000 words, and include as an important part of the story, a ring, any kind of ring, even “a ring of fire”.
Since I love stories set in the Regency period, it made sense to turn my efforts from writing contemporary romance to writing a Regency novella. But what to write?
I love to read history, particularly the obscure little facts and stories of everyday life. One fascinating aspect of life in old England revolved around a method sometimes resorted to by commoners to get rid of an unwanted spouse–wife-selling!
The concept was as horrifying to many people then as it is to us now, but I find it fascinating. Regency literature, even the romanticized novels we love so well, illustrates the precarious situation of women in the period, unless they marry well. If love and fidelity were not part of the mix, only imagine how much misery could follow from incompatibility of spouses. Divorce, when it finally became legal in England, was an extremely costly, extremely difficult matter to pursue, unavailable for the common people.
One form of wife sale required a market-place sale, with the wife wearing a halter. The other involved a paper contract of sale, witnesses, and delivery of the “merchandise” in a public bar.
Sometimes–many times?–the wife’s sale was arranged ahead of time to her lover by her cuckolded husband.
In this obscure set of historical facts, I found the kernel for my novella’s beginning, and the story takes off from there. Rosalyn’s Ring begins at a wife sale that takes place on Christmas Eve, the heroine anxious to rescue her maid’s cousin from this horrible fate. The hero–who is not the purchaser–is anxious to see the sale successfully completed, and thus their conflict begins.
For the legend of the highest ranking wife purchaser, Henry Brydges, master of the Horse to Frederick, Prince of Wales, second Marquess of Carnarvon, tenth Baron Chandos, second Viscount Wilton, and the second Duke of Chandos, see my post, And the Duke Ran Away with the Maid.
Rosalyn’s Ring is much more than a story about wife-selling, it’s a tale of a young woman losing her childhood illusions and coming to grips with life as it is: the bad, the ugly, and, since this is a fairy tale romance, the very, very good!
What true stories do you find intriguing? I’d love to hear them!