It’s wonderful to be back on Fresh Fiction!! Last time I visited, I talked about my muse. Well, she was out while I was writing ENTICING MISS EUGENIE VILLARET, book 5 in The Marriage Game.
Although I live in St. Thomas, where the book is set, finding any information between the end of the Napoleonic war and the mid-19th century is difficult to say the least. The pirates had, for the most part ceased to be active and life had become a lot calmer. During the war, England had twice taken possession of the Danish West Indies, but gave it back in 1815. In 1816 St. Thomas had one of the few protected deep water harbors in the Caribbean. It was made a free-port and had attracted a number of different nationalities. It wasn’t until the middle of the century, when the island was hit with a triple whammy, hurricane, disease, and the advent of steamer ships, that it lost its position of power. Believe it or not, most people living here had no idea of that it had been a popular port.
As I was pouring over really old books with a friend, a refrain kept repeating it’s self in my head. “St. Thomas is a salubrious island.” Hmm.
So I asked my friend, “Katina, did St. Thomas ever have a reputation of being healthier than the other islands?”
“Of course not,” she responded, and went on to tell me about the triple whammy.
Several minutes later, I ran across a passage in one of the books stating that St. Thomas had been known for being the healthy island. My muse refrained from telling me I told you so, but she was very smug.
Because England had ended the slave trade, there was a great deal of tension between the Danish and British islands. The Danes would smuggle slaves into places like Tortola. There were also those that helped free slaves. Since I had some slaves I had to get to safety, I went searching for the best island to relocate them. Once again my muse started to speak: “The British West Indies.”
Well, after spending hours studying the manumissions laws for all the islands, sure enough she was right. Every other island required documents proving freeman status. In the British islands, all one had to do was get there.
I’ll leave you with a short excerpt and a question. Do you ever get feelings that turn out to be spot on?
Excerpt from ENTICING MISS EUGENIE VILLARET
An hour later, Will clasped the older man’s hand. “I hope I see you before you’re on your way again.”
“I’ll make a point of it.” Black gave Will a sly wink. “Sir. You’ll find a tailor on Main Street, what the Danes call Dronningens Gade, as well as most everything else you’ll need.”
“Is there a printer there as well?” Even if he only used his assumed identity for a short time, calling cards would be necessary.
“Yes”—the captain nodded—“just down from the tailor. Gentlemen, enjoy your stay. It was a pleasure having you onboard. Perhaps we’ll make the return trip in the spring.”
Will tipped his hat. “Thank you, Captain, for all your help.”
Captain Black indicated a woman garbed in a colorful skirt leaning against the door of a building. “A word to the wise. St. Thomas has a reputation for being the healthy island, but that doesn’t apply to the brothels.”
“Good of you to warn us.” After over four weeks a sea, Will was definitely in need of female companionship, but his tastes ran more to widows than members of the impure. He’d never had any trouble finding willing women, even when he’d used the name Munford.