Passionate Reads is delighted to welcome today’s special guest blogger– author, RUBY DUVAL!
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Real life can get weird (and gross and sad), and history is a treasure trove of supremely strange shenanigans. Having done my share (and then some) of research for my time-travel historical Stay With Me as well as my work-in-progress, I’ve come across some doozies.
An example: John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich was likely the one who started the trend of eating meat between two slices of bread–the eponymous sandwich! (This is debatable, but that’s not the weird part.) While his wife’s health suffered, he took on a mistress named Martha Ray with whom he fathered several children. She was a beautiful and very popular opera singer and he adored her, but she also had a crazy stalker named Ray Hackman. As she was leaving the Royal Opera House with a friend, Hackman shot her in the head and then tried to use a second pistol to off himself but failed.
Bet you’ll be thinking about that the next time you eat a sandwich! (Evil grin.)
Even natural disasters get weird in historical context. Do you remember the April 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull, that impossible-to-pronounce volcano in Iceland that shut down European airports with its ash clouds?
In the summer of 1783 a few years after poor Martha was killed, a volcanic fissure named Lakagígar in Iceland erupted, and the sulfur dioxide fallout spread over western Europe. It’s the deadliest volcanic eruption in historical times, resulting in the deaths of millions of Icelanders due to fallout and famine. The strange part is that many people outside of Iceland didn’t know what was up with that weird haze that suddenly showed up!
The fog was so thick that boats couldn’t navigate and the sun looked like a ball of glowing blood. Thousands of Europeans, typically those working outside, died from inhaling the sulfur dioxide gas because they didn’t know they shouldn’t! The event created one of the hottest summers on record and, as a result, one of the coldest, harshest winters, which killed even more people.
On that happy note! My WIP is tentatively titled Escape With Me and is set in the summer of 1783 in London (wink wink), so be sure to keep an eye out for its (hopefully soon) release in the upcoming months!