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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Charles II's illegitimate offspring

I like history a lot. I grew up reading novels about historical events and developed a strong liking to the 17th century. Louis XIV ('le roi soleil') of France, Charles II of England... Musketeers, civil war, ... so much happened in that century.

When reading through all of these books (the internet did not yet exist when I was young), I eagerly noted down facts (my own filing system, and one I still use nowadays) and so I found out that Charles Stuart already became a father when he was only 16. A son, James, who was later to become the Duke of Monmouth. So when thinking about a novel I wanted to write, I started from this fact. If Charles could have fathered a son, why not a daughter some months before???

For American readers: in those times, in Europe, you were already considered an adult when you were fourteen years of age. Girls often married when they were only sixteen. And you were old when you reached forty!


This became the key to the story line. The reader is aware of the fact, but our heroine isn't. For all she knows, she is Sarah Jennings, and her father is an innkeeper in Cherwell St. Mary (not far away from Oxford). Only when her mother dies, she learns she was fathered by a young nobleman during Civil War.

From then on, Sarah always feels a nagging yearning to meet that father, and this quest will take her away from her rural village to the big city of London, where she becomes one of the first actresses in the Theatre Royal.

When King Charles visits one of the performances, great is his surprise to see an actress on stage who
could be a younger version of his late sister Henriette - and also bears likeness to his sister Mary. He starts investigations of his own.


The Gold Crucifix is a romance novel, of course, so apart from the historical settings there is also a nice romance intertwined. Because Sarah falls in love with Richard, who is the brother and son of an Earl. How can she ever become his wife?

Another historical figure in this novel is Nell Gwynne, who is Sarah's friend in the story. She is to become the mother of one of Charles's sons, also mentioned in the story. Believe it or not, but Sarah's daughter and Nell's son could be brother and sister. So is she right to assume she has a Stuart as her sire?


If you want to find out, please read the novel. People tell me they like it and you don't often find novels like this anymore. You can find it on Amazon, or order it from the publisher, Rogue Phoenix Press.



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