Tea, Taxes, and War

History Imagined: For Readers, Writers, & Lovers of Historical Fiction

“Cia or Te Herbe” by Wenceslaus Hollar, from An embassy from the East-India Company of the United Provinces, to the Grand Tartar Cham, Emperour of China, 1669, by Johannes Nieuhof (1618-167

Historians suggest a variety of causes for the Opium Wars. Some declare the cause to be “extraterritoriality,” the refusal of one sovereign nation, in this case, the United Kingdom, to allow their citizens to be subject to the judiciary of another, in this case, China. Others emphasize free trade and the need to bring China into the world community. The Chinese, of course, saw the cause as opium and the efforts of Westerners to force it on them. The British, whether individuals thought about it or not, had another motivation in the conflict.

It was about tea.

It certainly was, at least in part. How can that be? A little history and some economics may help explain it.  The…

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June, the Month for Weddings


by Tessa Fairfax writing as Oberon Wonch


Ah, June. Graduations. Flag Day. The first day of summer. For the romantic at heart, June is the month for weddings. While according to some the cooler autumn month of October has surpassed the sixth month for the number of weddings scheduled in the United States, the late spring/early summer month of June is still very popular for tying the knot. But where did the tradition of a June wedding come from?

June is named for the Roman goddess Juno, consort of lead-god Jupiter and protectress of marriage, fertility, and childbirth. It is believed that Roman citizens sought good fortune by formalizing their marriages on or around June 1st, the festival marking Juno and Jupiter’s nuptials. Continue reading “June, the Month for Weddings”

First Kiss Friday with guest Caroline Warfield

An excerpt from Caroline Warfield’s July release, The Unexpected Wife.

Sherry Ewing

Today on First Kiss Friday I’d like to welcome back my dear friend, Caroline Warfield who will be sharing an excerpt from her upcoming release, The Unexpected Wife. Before this scene, Charles has gone missing inside the city of Canton, forbidden to foreigners, for three days. Happy reading and enjoy!


One other thing took shape and came into focus so sharply she couldn’t turn away. She loved Charles Wheatly, heart and soul. A desperate laugh, half sob, half hysteria escaped her at the thought. She finally fulfilled her mother’s fondest wish and found a man she could respect and love—one that offered little hope of a respectable future. She had no idea what to do with the thought. As it turned out she had little time to consider it.

“Who is here?” Charles demanded. He stood outlined in the light from oil lamps in the corridor behind him…

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The Prince of Fraud

From History Imagined

History Imagined: For Readers, Writers, & Lovers of Historical Fiction

by Samuel William Reynolds, after Simon Jacques Rochard, mezzotint, circa 1820-1835

In an era of British imperial expansion, with limited social mobility at home, men with ambition, energy, and imagination looked to the wide world for opportunities to make their fortune. It didn’t seem odd then, when General Gregor MacGregor, a soldier of fortune and former officer in His Majesty’s service, turned up in London in 1821 claiming he had come to attend the coronation of George IV on behalf of the recently revived British Protectorate of the Mosquito Coast and its king, George Frederic Augustus I.

On the contrary, people were impressed when he announced himself to be the Cazique (Chieftain, or as MacGregor implied, Prince) of Poyais, an autonomous colony within the protectorate.  Invitations flooded in and the upper classes embraced him. Given the chaotic situation in South American and the gold rush of people attempting to make their mark…

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A Brief History of Nursery Rhymes


Mother Goose bookcoverBy Susan Gee Heino

“To Amuse Children and Excite them to Sleep.” Apparently that’s what Nursery Rhymes were supposed to do, back in the day. I mean, waaaaay back in the mid 1700’s.  At least, that’s what is printed in the title page for Mother Goose’s Melody by John Newbery. (If that name sounds familiar, it’s no wonder. There’s a rather prestigious literary medal named after him!)

The history of Mother Goose (and English-language nursery rhymes as we know them today) is fascinating. Continue reading “A Brief History of Nursery Rhymes”

Take a Leap

Joanne Guidoccio

Welcome to my Second Acts Series!

Today, we have Soul Mate author Carol Roddy sharing insights and advice from her multi-act life.

Here’s Carol!

By my count, I am now in my third—or perhaps fourth act. Let me talk about the move from one to two.

Like many folks, college involved some changes. I was happily majoring in East Asian Studies and dreaming of possible graduate work at the Georgetown School of Foreign Service when I met Beloved. My priorities shifted quickly and I launched into my first act as a stay at home Mom. Initially it was all consuming. Children—bright, interesting, creative little people—came quickly and took all my attention. Parenthood may be a lifetime commitment, but little ones are temporary; they insist on growing up.

Several factors pushed me into the next act.

• As much as I liked having children, I craved intellectual stimulation. I also craved…

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Orkney and the Hudson’s Bay Company

History Imagined: For Readers, Writers, & Lovers of Historical Fiction

Folks from the Orkney Islands in Scotland impacted the exploration and settlement of Canada by Europeans heavily, particularly through their close connections to the Hudson’s Bay Company.

Hudson’s Bay’s Country, map by Peter Pond 1765

It isn’t difficult to understand why generations of Orkneymen lived and worked in Hudson Bay when you look at the globe.  Orkney and the bay both lie near 60°north latitude. The journey from Stromness or Kirkwall to the straights of Hudson Bay would follow roughly the route their Norse ancestors took to the tip of Greenland and the North American coast. The distance is a third shorter than the distance from London to Jamestown, Virginia. Ships from England to Hudson’s Bay regularly put in at Stromness, Orkney.

In 1670 Charles II gave a charter to a group of gentlemen including his cousin, Prince Rupert of the Rhine, to form a company in order to seek…

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First Kiss Friday with Caroline Warfield

From Sherry Ewing’s Blog. Everyone loves a kiss!

Sherry Ewing

Welcome to another First Kiss Friday! It’s always a pleasure when I have author Caroline Warfield on my blog. Today, Caroline is sharing the first kiss scene from The Reluctant Wife. Happy reading and enjoy!

In The Reluctant Wife, Clare and Fred come together slowly, but with an inevitability that pulls readers along with them. This is their first gentle kiss. It occurs while they are searching for his runaway children and he is truant from a disciplinary hearing. As Clare would later note, she would endure the remembrance of his tender embrace, his thumb rubbing the back of her neck, and the kiss to the side of her head for many months.


They searched down the middle of the park as one, but they had as little luck as before, and the first signs of night crept up with the sunset. Fred’s steps slowed until…

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Malacca and the World in 1511

Caroline Warfield’s latest on History Imagined.

History Imagined: For Readers, Writers, & Lovers of Historical Fiction

Malacca 1630

The wide reach of history weighs on me since my visit to Malacca last month when one date in particular sparked my curiosity: 1511. The ruins of a Portuguese fort in that UNESCO World Heritage site display a tablet indicating work on the fort began that year. Having endured a 20 hour-plus flight and a four-hour bus ride up from Singapore in 2018, the sheer audacity of travel to the other side of the world that early astounded me.

Henry VIII circa 1509-1513

I began to wonder what else went on that year, and, since English language romance authors, such as my humble self, tend to have an Anglo-centric view of the world, I thought about what happened in England that early. Henry VIII had become king at age 17 two years before. His first son, also named Henry, was born on January 1, 1511, but unfortunately died seven…

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