Top 10 Facts I Learned While Writing the Midnight Meetings Series by Gina Conkle
1. There were thirty-four founding members of the Royal Academy of Arts in December 1768. Two of them were women—Mary Moser and Angelica Kauffman—talented artists of their day. Yet, when the founders met for a group portrait, the women weren’t allowed to join them! The men decided portraits of the women could be hung on the wall and their portraits painted into the group.
2. Coffee was introduced to England’s masses in 1652 by Pasqua de Rosee. He first sold the beverage from a coffee cart on a London street corner. Demand was so high that within a few months he opened a coffee house.
3. Continuing with the coffee theme, shops spread like wildfire. Patrons paid a coin to sit and drink coffee—all day if they wanted. Interestingly, women could work in coffee shops, but Society frowned on women patronizing them.
4. In the first 150 years of English coffee shops, only one was woman-owned. She inspired my second book, The Lady Meets Her Match.
5. The Royal Exchange (the stock market) was exclusive. In the 16th century, a merchant founded the exchange, but Queen Elizabeth gave the “royal” blessing in January 1571. Stockbrokers were not allowed in because they were considered rude. What did they do? Took over nearby coffee shops and paid “runners” (boys) to run “buy and sell” messages. The Exchange was the enclave of nobility though the crown extended the rare invitation to a few commoners.
6. Canals, not roads, opened-up England. The ironically named Duke of Bridgewater started “canal mania” when he got tired of paying exorbitant prices to transport coal from his northern mines. The 1760s saw massive canal infrastructure started in England (though the Romans built a few centuries earlier).
7. How to cook with the spindle-jack (also called a roasting jack) and a hastener. Georgian cooks hung a “jack” from the rafter above the kitchen hearth. A rope or long chain dangled from the jack with a hook, or multiple hooks, on which they hung a roast, ham, or chicken(s). The cook cranked the jack, which had a system of pulleys. The meat would slowly turn in front of the fire in a “hastener” (picture a small, upright and primitive BBQ opened to the fire with a pan to capture the grease). The cook periodically re-cranked the jack to keep the rotisserie going.
8. Coldstream Bridge was built in 1768 over the River Tweed, becoming a well-traveled route for the London to Edinburgh Stagecoach line.
9. Stagecoach transportation started with the Scots establishing the Edinburgh to Leith line in 1610. That mode of travel took off with other routes throughout Scotland and England.
10. Historical romance readers know Gretna Green as the “Vegas” of quickie weddings. Coldstream was the Georgian era’s “Reno.”
The Lord Meets His Lady - Midnight Meetings, #3
Lord Marcus Bowles has stained his family's reputation for the last time. Only after spending a scandal-free year restoring some far-flung property can this second son return in good graces. But Marcus isn't one to abandon a lone damsel on a dark country lane.
One stolen kiss and Genevieve Turner's handsome midnight savior disappears. Typical. No matter, Gen is finally on the way to her new post, and hopefully to finding her grandmother as well. Instead she finds her mischievous hero is her new employer. Surely a few more kisses won't hurt...
Gina Conkle writes sensual Georgian romance and lush Viking romance. Her books offer a fresh, addictive spin on the genre, with the witty banter and sexual tension that readers crave. She grew up in southern California and despite all that sunshine, Gina loves books over beaches and stone castles over sand castles. Now she lives in Michigan with her favorite alpha male, Brian, and their two sons where she’s known to occasionally garden and cook._ Find her at www.ginaconkle.com.