Shannon here: Linda Hoover shares her research for her latest Historical Romance, Heart’s Desire, plus a chance to win a Kindle copy. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing. Deadline: Oct 14th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Linda:
Writing historical fiction requires research, and lucky for me, I love digging into different time periods to find out how people lived. Before I start writing a book, I need to know everything from what kind of house my characters will live in, to what do they do for fun? There’s a lot of interesting information to be found. The downside is I have a tendency to follow rabbit trails.
The first book of my Heart’s Desire series is set in 1880 Boston. I was thrilled to visit the city and see many of places in the story. My heroine, Julia, is from the upper-class, so much of the story is told from the perspective of Boston’s elite. Because of that, I spent time checking out neighborhoods where many of the wealthy people lived, and settled on a townhouse on Beacon Hill.
Next, I researched the kind of activities people in 1880 Boston had available. Many things were enjoyed by people of all classes. The book begins in the winter, so my characters spend time ice skating on the lagoon in the Public Garden and going on sleigh rides. Julia first sees the hero, Jacob, while ice skating and later meets him where he’s a clerk in a jewelry store. With the help of a two of her close friends, she integrates him into her larger group of friends.
Besides knowing what they did for recreation, I imagined what activity could be seen as romantic. Ice skating as a couple and riding together in a two-seat sleigh gave them time to get to know each other. Concerts and lectures were open to everyone, which allowed Jacob access with the rest of the group. Unfortunately, a line was drawn when it came to who was invited to balls, dinners and games in the homes of the upper-class.
Even though Jacob couldn’t go to those events, I still needed to know how a ball room was decorated, how they would have dressed, what kind of music was played while they danced. Investigating what they would eat at those dinners, and how much they ate, was an eyeopener. I don’t know how they had room for it all.
As the weather got warmer, they were able to take walks in the park, go on a carriage ride and take a picnic in the country. Of course, a story needs a little more conflict than how can an upper-class girl be allowed to marry a middle-class boy. Julia has much more to deal with in the form of, Lucien, the man her father agreed could marry her. As Julia and Jacob grow to love each other, they pray God will intervene on their behalf.
Julia never stops trying to talk Lucien out of the marriage, then finds out he’s not only an unwanted suitor, but a villain who is blackmailing her father. Now I need to know what this person would have at his disposal, in 1880, to carry out his evil schemes. And where you have a villain, you have possibilities for a romantic rescue.
Question for Readers: Have you ever been to Boston? If so, what did you like best? If not, where’s the most interesting place you’ve been? What made it interesting?
About Linda: Linda lives in west central Ohio with her husband and grandson. She has always had a love of history with two of her favorite places being Boston and Williamsburg. She has been writing since childhood, but her publishing career started with writing columns and a middle grade serial for the South Charleston Spectator. A retired librarian, she now enjoys being a fulltime author in her home office.
You are invited to visit her website, Linda Hoover Books, to find out more about her and her books. You can stay in touch when you subscribe to her newsletter, and as a thank you, you’ll receive a novella, Joel & Ella. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Heart’s Desire:
In 1880 Boston, Julia Phillips’s father betroths her to wealthy Lucien Harris to cover up a tragic secret. She has no interest in Lucien, but Jacob Anderson, a kind jewelry store clerk has captured her attention. Can she put off Lucien long enough to convince her parents to accept a man who isn’t in the upper-class?
Jacob works with his uncle in Boston, but when he has enough money, he plans to buy land for a farm in Iowa. When Julia walks into their store his priorities change. Their mutual attraction grows into love, and he wants to be the man she marries. But how can he with so little money?
Julia feels increasing pressure from Lucien to pretend she’s happy about the upcoming wedding. Then, she discovers the arranged marriage is based on blackmail. Her family will be ruined if she doesn’t comply.
Will God make a way for Jacob and Julia to have their heart’s desire?
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Book two of Heart’s Desire, Heart’s Journey, is also available on Amazon.
Come back Oct 10th for Ruth Wuwong!