Donna Lea Simpson | Historical Hotties: Love & Scandal & History
July 22, 2010
My Mom and I had a conversation once that still makes me laugh to think about
it. Concerning some movie set in historic times, my Mom commented that she
didn’t think it was very accurate because it had people behaving in a - ahem -
sexual manner. "People back then didn’t behave like that!" she stated, with some
emphasis. "They just didn’t jump into bed with each other."
Well, mother is not always right! With all the sexual scandals in the news
lately, it is easy to forget that ‘plus ça change, plus c'est la même
chose’. That’s my fancy French way of saying, the more things change, the
more things stay the same!
Here is a look at just a few of the sexy scandals of the last two hundred
Charles Dickens and Ellen Ternan - By 1858 Dickens was a well-loved and
well-respected author, adored by the public for his moral and piquant tales. But
in a well-chronicled ‘oops’ moment worthy of any Hollywood writer, a bracelet
intended for his mistress, Ellen Ternan, was delivered to his wife of 22 years,
Catherine. TMZ woulda loved that story, but with no tabloid press to capitalize
on the tale, Dickens quietly separated from his wife, and traveled with Ternan
from then on. No one said a word!
Mary Ann Evans (aka George Eliot) and George Lewes - Mary Ann Evans was a
well-educated, pious young woman, the kind of quiet, modest, proper girl that...
NOT! Evans, though well-educated and intelligent, was also forward-thinking. She
not only formed romantic attachments on a couple of occasions with married men,
she ultimately ended up living with George Lewes, the very married father of at
least three (his wife, Agnes, had other children, purportedly by other men, but
George supported the whole mélange) for over 20 years, until his death. At least
Brad Pitt divorced his wife to live with Angelina Jolie!!!
Prinny (aka the Prince Regent, aka King George IV) and... well, lots of
women? - Prinny had a wide-spanning scandal-ridden romantic career. He not
only contracted a marriage to his almost-first love, the Catholic Maria
Fitzherbert, but then went on to blithely ignore this marriage, conducting
affairs with other women, and eventually marrying Caroline of Brunswick, which
marriage he then proceeded to ignore in favor of a series of strong-willed
mistresses. Loyalty in sexual affairs was never his strong suit.
Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings - Jefferson, an intelligent and
complex man, if oddly dual-sided, is alleged to have had, for many years, a
‘scandalous’ affair with his slave, Sally Hemings, and the two purportedly had
children together. Though disputed by some, the story is widely believed, but
has never altered his reputation as one of the Founding Fathers of the United
States of America.
Oscar Wilde - Does anyone even need to be reminded of how notorious Wilde
was in his own time? What would be considered mildly salacious gossip nowadays -
that he had conducted homosexual liaisons - was ruinous and potentially
life-threatening in Victorian London of the 1890s. Still, he was ultimately
triumphant, in that what we remember best today is his brilliance as a
So... far from what my mother believes, there was indeed abandoned sexuality,
indiscreet affairs and wildly physical lovemaking in days gone by. In Love & Scandal, (Carina
Press - June 2010 - eBook) my historical romance set against the backdrop of the
literary world of mid-Victorian London, Collette, a naïve but deeply intelligent
young woman, not only explores her own sexuality with the devastatingly handsome
and charming rake, Charles Jameson, she also expresses a moral ambiguity in the
pages of her novel, The Last
Days of a Rake. ‘Last
Days’ scandalizes London society with its frank portrayal of a rake’s
behavior and death, and Carina Press, wonderful folks that they are, allowed me
to write - and are offering FREE of charge - The Last Days of a Rake. By
writing that novella, I got to explore Collette’s uncertainty about the true
meaning of sexual morality, and let the readers of Love & Scandal see what all
the fuss was about!.
But I was able to do something even more interesting, in the pages of my
romance. In Love &
Scandal I created a fictionalized version of Collette’s meeting and
friendship with the famous and infamous Mary Ann Evans, who was living out her
own scandal, dealing with the consequences in her stoic and yet so-human way.
Putting words in her mouth was a pleasure, though I tremble to know what devout
George Eliot fans will say.
I enjoyed thoroughly the process of writing these two books, and I hope readers
enjoy it just as much!
Lots of historical love,
Donna Lea Simpson
* Those who comment on this blog will be entered to win a copy of Love & Scandal in whatever
eBook format (among those offered) they prefer. Say something, and you’ll be
entered to win!!
Important note: If you’ve never tried an eBook, and aren’t sure you’ll enjoy it,
download The Last Days of a
Rake for a free example of Carina Press’s well executed digital formats.
eReading softwares like Kindle, etc., are available for free for your computer
on various websites, and there are a lot of free books online to explore in this
manner. You don’t need a dedicated eBook device to read Love & Scandal!
Find Donna Lea Simpson
online at her website.
(There is a click-thru there to order the book directly from Carina)
To read an excerpt click here.
34 comments posted.
Re: Donna Lea Simpson | Historical Hotties: Love & Scandal & History
My fav historical time period is the Regency time period. So much scandal during that time. That would be my first stop if I had a time machine:) The dresses the ladies wore back then... to die for!
(Yadira Alonzo 7:14pm July 20, 2010)
I love ebooks as much as I love historical romances, I enjoy the Kobo and the Sony ereaders they are a fantastic way to take my collection everywhere I go :)
(Darci Paice-Bailey 3:02am July 22, 2010)
I love the sound of your book, can't wait to read it.
(Barbara Hanson 9:00am July 22, 2010)
It seems that there is more scandal than love these days. Three cheers for LOVE!!
(Marjorie Carmony 9:58am July 22, 2010)
Gossip and scandals in real life are so hurtful--but in books they can be fun to read about.
(Sue Farrell 10:57am July 22, 2010)
Have not had the pleaseure of reading your work... adding your name to my list... love historicals!
(Colleen Conklin 12:08pm July 22, 2010)
I enjoy ebooks a lot and carry my ebookreader around with me all the time for train and bus rides...waiting times etc. I really enjoyed this post.
I think as long as sex has been around there has always been scandals...:))
(Valerie Bongards 12:58pm July 22, 2010)
My fav historical time is Regency also I agree with Yadira
(Vickie Hightower 12:59pm July 22, 2010)
i think this sounds like a big hit
(Debbi Shaw 1:00pm July 22, 2010)
I love historical romances, I think living during that time would have been very special. I have just received an ipad and would love to have this book in it. I very much agree with Valerie in Germany on sex and scandals.
(Joyce Bruner 1:43pm July 22, 2010)
(Cheryl Greenleaf 1:54pm July 22, 2010)
The book sounds fascinating. I haven't gotten into the whole ebooks yet, as I like holding a book.
(Pam Howell 2:05pm July 22, 2010)
Hello Donna, Please enter me in your fantastic contest and please let me know when I am a winner too! I Love entering and winning contests from freshfiction.com
God bless you always, Cecilia
(Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez 4:06pm July 22, 2010)
Historicals were my first loves after I graduated from Pippi, Nancy, Trixie etc...It's amazing what you can learn when the author researches the period well...
(Ivy Truitt 4:29pm July 22, 2010)
The book sounds yummy, and I have never tried and ebook..
(Vikki Parman 4:39pm July 22, 2010)
I hope everyone enjoys Love & Scandal!
Well, maybe not the actual thing, but my *novel*... LOL!
(Donna Simpson 4:40pm July 22, 2010)
I love a good historical romance. Thanks for the info on affairs of the heart.
(Alyson Widen 6:46pm July 22, 2010)
Sex is the same throughout the ages and cultures, that's for sure.
(S Tieh 7:01pm July 22, 2010)
Plus ca change....I still remember the utter humiliation when I was about 13 and the minister in church was asking parents what, if anything, they knew about drugs....and, you guessed it: Mom openly admitted to experiencing all kinds of drugs in the Air Force (WWII). So no, nothing new under the sun. Forty years later, I can laugh about it.
(Susan Driskill 8:29pm July 22, 2010)
I would love this. Thank you for the opportunity to win@
(Lisa Garrett 8:51pm July 22, 2010)
A scandal in the past was a way to outcast someone. It is more difficult for women to regain their reputations. A man gets more of a compliments name calling (stud, gigalow, rake, rogue) and woman get hurtful name calling (slut, whore). The way society dictates.
(Kai Wong 10:36pm July 22, 2010)
Love is a fickle thing
(Alice Xiao 11:48pm July 22, 2010)
I've recently started reading historial romances...your book sound wonderful, would love to read it!
(Linda Dowdy 12:14pm July 23, 2010)
Haha I think everyone loves reading about a good scandal!
(Sarah Dewbery 1:18am July 23, 2010)
Scandal still does sell, doesn't it? And in Love & Scandal that is exactly what happens; a 'tabloid press' kind of reporter uses a 'scandal' to sell newspapers and make a name for himself!
It did happen on occasion, even in Victorian London. Gossip columns were all the rage!
(Donna Simpson 6:21am July 23, 2010)
This would be great to win for my grandmother's birthday gift!
(Christian Hayes 6:21am July 23, 2010)
I love historical romance books and have read 100's during the last 55 yrs. Of course I do like HEA but they don't always end that way. lol I was in awe by the info you have on this post. Lots I did not know. Thanks for your great books and pls continue to write them.
(Brenda Hill 7:10am July 23, 2010)
I would loev to read this book, I love the idea of an author for a heroine.
(Chantel Williams 11:03am July 23, 2010)
sounds like a wonderful beach read
(Debbi Shaw 1:34pm July 23, 2010)
Should be lots of fun.
(Patricia Mellert 4:39pm July 23, 2010)
This sounds like such an interesting twist for a Historical Novel!! You have a gift to be able to put these facts to paper the way you have with such zeal!! It should make for a sizzling summer read!!
(Peggy Roberson 7:13pm July 23, 2010)
I love the sound of your book. Thanks for the opportunity.
(Brenda Rupp 9:18pm July 23, 2010)
Your mother was not totally wrong. The wild sexual antics of today were not around in the past before the pill and abortions.
(Gladys Paradowski 10:10pm July 23, 2010)
While compiling some family
tree information, I soon
realized that most 1st babies
tended to be "premature",
often arriving after only 5 or
6 months of marriage. While
the "known"(to family members)
wedding date might have been a
year earlier, upon
checking court records, the
real date was often a year
later. As you said, ‘plus ça
change, plus c'est la même
(Lisa Richards 11:04pm July 25, 2010)
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