The Uncial Letter ~ February 2019

Lesley-Anne McLeod admits to enjoying research…

Research should never be visible. It should never slap the reader in the face, shouting about how much the author knows, or about what a strange world the characters live in. Research should set a stage, discreetly and yet completely. It should transport the reader, and convince her that the characters she is discovering do live in a different time and place.

I do a great deal of research for my Regency romance novels. I like the time period to be authentic, from costume and cooking to manners and speech. When I incorporated time travel into two of my Regency books I did even more research.

Time travel is not a common theme in Regency romance stories. It is done, but generally it involves someone from our current day traveling to the past, or someone from the Regency era arriving in our present world.

Those are always entertaining stories, but when I wrote my two Red Tower stories I did not want to involve the present day at all. So, in the first Red Tower story, The Earl’s Peculiar Burden, Ysmay of Scarsfield travels from medieval England to Regency England. She finds it a world of unimaginable progress and wonder.

In my newest Red Tower book, The Governess’s Peculiar Journey, Avice Palsham, a governess from 1865 England, believes the Regency to be an antiquated, dissolute, and unambitious era.

It was fascinating to imagine and create the protagonists’ views of the Regency era in which they find themselves. They had to be thoroughly believable people of their own times, which took extensive research. And they had to have their own authentic views of the Regency. Ysmay’s outlook was easier to generate. Everything about the Regency was a marvel to her, from the carriages, to the medical knowledge, to the peace and prosperity of the countryside.

Avice Palsham, on the other hand, came with preconceptions. The Victorians viewed the Regency with disdain and embarrassment. They felt it was a licentious and unenterprising era and, in 1865, they were loath to admit that their grandparents had been part of that society. Avice had a lot of baggage to deal with. It was all resolved with research.

Georgette Heyer, an author I much admire, was an expert researcher of the Regency era. In her day (the early to mid-1900’s) research was not as easy as it now is. I rely a great deal on the Internet. The British Newspaper Archive has been an invaluable addition to my research tools in the last five years. To be able to read actual newspapers from the Regency era lends extra authenticity to my writing. But mostly I rely on my own research library of around four hundred books. There is nothing I like better than getting lost in it.

Whatever fiction authors are writing, they rely on research. And I’ll wager most of them enjoy it!


One of the reasons we enjoy Lesley-Anne’s Regency romances so much is her ability to take us back to that fascinating time. While her research undoubtedly is an important part of that, her characters contribute greatly. They come alive as we read.

That’s true even when they travel through time. Lesley-Anne McLeod’s first Red Tower story (The Earl’s Peculiar Burden) saw the Red Tower at Kenning Old Manor through the eyes of a woman from medieval times. Now, in The Governess’s Peculiar Journey ($6.99, ISBN), we see it as Avice does, from a mid-Victorian perspective. And what a difference that is. Not only is the clothing looser, lighter, but to Avice decadent, but customs are not what she is used to, everyday life is a challenge and her host unsympathetic and disbelieving. Her only hope is that the time portal is open to both times, for if it is not, she and her your charge are doomed to remain in 1815. If that fails, both she and Kendall must admit to the attraction that blossoms between them. Don’t miss this new, unusual story from one of our favorite Regency authors.

Coming in March is Pinocchio Island, the cozy mystery/satire/ghost story we promised you. Now available for preorder. Check your favorite ebookseller.

It’s been a wretched winter in much of the Northern Hemisphere. Have you stayed warm and caught up on your reading? If you have and are looking for something new, check out our website.

Be well.

Star & Jude

This entry was posted on Saturday, February 16th, 2019 at 12:36 pm and is filed under Coming Soon, eBook Readers, New Releases, Our Authors, Uncial Letter. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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