So much of history, as it is said, is written by the winners. In Victorian London, the winners were the upper classes and they were the same people who held the power to instigate change. Sadly, few admitted the plight and struggles of the lower classes, fewer cared, and even fewer acted.
When I decided to return to historical romance writing I remember telling my agent that "balls and the 'in colors' weren't my thing, and I so didn't want to do Regency for fear I'd get it all wrong in some little bitty place and someone would shun me eternally.
But I stumbled onto an idea. I'm not even sure where the root of it came from. Suddenly, I was exploring the middle and criminal (poor working) classes. Not so much the lavish parties, but the dirt, the grime, the hunger and the disease. I kept stumbling onto the plights of children--which again, is usually not my cup of tea. I'm not one of those "Look, it's a baby!" women. But man, oh man, was I sobbing over some real life accounts.
Like so many of London's poor, this man became my hero. Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper, the 7th Earl of Shaftesbury changed lives. He fought for the one sector of society that had absolutely no voice -- the children.
I'm not going to tell you how, or even the magnificent accomplishments he achieved. No, those are in my books, and I'll let you discover the unforgettable deeds yourselves.
But he inspired me. I began to wonder what it might be like to be standing on the sidelines, members of the upper class who must associate with these struggling humans, but unable (or unwilling) to truly see the troubles for what they were. And as I began to realize there were priveleged men and women who cried alongisde the poor, I couldn't escape the calling to bring these tales to life.
Books In Series
A Very Scandalous Holiday
An Eternity of You
Welcome to Shaftesbury's England.
May your heart be touched.