I'm so excited to have fellow author and dear friend Donna Fletcher Crow as a guest blogger today. If you know her, you already love her--and her books! If not, let me introduce you. Take it away, Donna!
Those Valiant Victorians
I love history. Especially English history. All periods of it. But I have always had a special place in my heart for the Victorians. It’s easy to look back on just about any period of history as being a simpler time in which to live than our own. (I do love my rose-colored glasses!) At least it sometimes seems refreshing to think of dealing with different problems than our own and looking back on a period where morality and modesty and plain old goodness were popular concepts is, I fear, refreshingly different. It was even fashionable to overtly Christian!
The inestimable Wikipedia tells us that the Victorian Era comprised almost 64 years of “peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence.” The thing I find most endearing about the Victorians, however, was their energy and, in keeping with the aforementioned self-confidence, the belief that they could do anything and fix anything.
It wasn’t that their period was without problems. One need only point to urban poverty, child labour, conditions in mines, factories, prisons. . . Almost all a result of the practically overnight turn from being an agrarian culture to industrialization— certainly as major a turning point in human history, if not bigger, than our own technological revolution. Unprecedented economic and population growth, changes in farming, mining and manufacturing methods sent people flooding into the cities with all the accompanying social problems.
Problems for which many people blame the Victorians, but I rise to their defense and point out that, yes, these things did get out of hand, but as soon as the energetic, confident Victorians became aware of the problems, they set out to correct them, largely because they saw it as their Christian duty. Perhaps a supreme example would be Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the Earl Shaftesbury, that crusading Christian who worked unceasingly for improved conditions in mines and factories, to bring in child labour laws, to outlaw climbing boys and to promote model housing, as well as being president of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
This is the world of my Lord Danvers Mysteries. As a mystery writer, I have a special interest in crimes of the period and so in each book in the series my amateur sleuths Charles, Lord Danvers, and the lovely Lady Antonia, find themselves embroiled in two mysteries, one a true crime as well as one of my own devising which I have wrapped around the historical facts.
In A Most Inconvenient Death, the first in the series, Charles, Lord Danvers, still in mourning for his lost love, the delicately beautiful Lady Charlotte, hopes to find escape from his ghosts at the country estate of his oldest friend Sir John Boileau. The events surrounding the coming of age of Sir John’s son and heir have much of Norfolk astir— until the peace of an autumn evening is shattered by a brutal murder.
The police are quick to point to a quarrelsome farmer but Lord Danvers has his doubts. As the local magistrate, Sir John has an interest in the investigation. But is the real connection much closer to home? And does Danvers owe the greater loyalty to an old friend or to the truth?
Then Danvers is even more unsettled by the entrance of the alluring Lady Antonia Hoover.
The Stanfield Hall Murders were the sensation they are portrayed to be, the elaborate coming of age celebrations and the ensuing dramatic trial are all recorded history. Lady Antonia, Lord Danvers, his irrepressible man Hardy and their pioneering aeronautical adventures are my contribution.
Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 37 books, mostly novels dealing with British history.
The Lord Danvers Mysteries feature historical Victorian crimes within fictional stories. A MOST INCONVENIENT DEATH is set on a country estate in Norfolk, GRAVE MATTERS begins with the opening of the Crystal Palace in London before Charles and Antonia fly off to Scotland in his aerostat for their honeymoon. TO DUST YOU SHALL RETURN finds the couple in Canterbury where Antonia has complications enough battling with the dark secret she has kept from her husband even before she becomes embroiled in a grisly murder and an investigation that culminates with a chase scene over the roof of Canterbury Cathedral.
To see more about The Lord Danvers series and Donna’s other books as well as pictures from her garden and research trips go to: www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com.
Her blog is at: http://www.donnafletchercrow.com/articles.php
and you can follow her on Facebook at: http://ning.it/eLjgYp