Hypocrisy, double-standards, call it what you like, but I know the Victorians weren’t quite as straitlaced as history leads us to believe. I was brought up on the Isle of Wight—literally five minutes in distance but a thousand miles away in terms of luxury—from Osborne House, Queen Victoria’s island retreat. Prince Albert, that bastion of Victorian morals, had a private bathroom there with one wall completely dedicated to a…well, pornographic mural!
I thought it would be fun to start a Victorian series based on a band of well-heeled Vigilantes, righting wrongs that might otherwise slip through the cracks. Doing researched I discovered that the largest diamond in the world, the Koh-i-Noor, was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851. The exhibition was organised in part by Prince Albert, keen to show the world that Britain had the cutting edge when it came to modern technology.
Incidentally, the Great Exhibition, or Crystal Palace as it was more commonly known—a great feat of glass and steel engineering in its own right—was moved to South London, where I lived from many years. It burned down years later and I walked past the ruins every day with my dog, wondering what it must have been like—a building before its time in a rapidly changing world.
Anyway, the diamond in question was gifted to the Queen as Emperor of India, but ownership had always been hotly contested and the diamond is reputed to bring bad luck to any man who wore it. Needless to say, someone tried to steal it during the exhibition, as they do in my steamy novel, Saving Grace.
1851 The year of the Great Exhibition in England. The largest diamond in the world has been gifted to Queen Victoria. Plans are afoot to steal it and the Home Secretary calls in Jacob Morton, the Earl of Torbay, and his highly-trained band of vigilantes to prevent the theft causing a diplomatic incident.
Lady Eva Woodstock is trapped in a loveless marriage to the man behind the plot. Throwing in her lot with Jake and his compelling associate, Lord Isaac Arnold, her dormant passions are awoken beneath Isaac’s skilful hands. But she will never be free of her husband, nor will she gain custody of her daughter, Grace, unless she can find the courage to face up to William and beat him at his own game.
How far will a mother go to secure her child’s future and protect the man she loves…
Saving Grace by Wendy Soliman Just $1.99 http://amzn.to/144oNpa