Stephanie Burgis
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Georgian House, good books
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Sorry for the long radio silence! Patrick rearranged his work schedule to have almost a week off the day job (working the first three days of last week and the last three days of this week), and for once, I spent very little time on the internet over the long, long weekend. Which was, of course, amazingly good for me! Especially because it means I now get to have lots of fun catching up, especially on high cute-factor sites like The Daily Puppy and Daily Grownup Puppies (Duncan in particular is SOOO cute! - maybe it's just because he reminds me of my first childhood dog, but I totally melted over the pictures). Now I'm lying on the couch with my own cute puppy trying very hard to insert her head on top of my keyboard to stop me typing...

By far the coolest thing I did over the long weekend was to visit The Georgian House. It's an 18th-century townhouse that's been turned into a city museum, free of charge, so people can just wander in and out, visit it at lunch, etc. I loved ogling the funky kitchen implements and laundry machines belowstairs, and the gorgeous bookshelves in the library abovestairs, and I took notes like crazy on everything I saw. Its date, 1791, is 11 years earlier than Kat by Moonlight is set, but that's close enough to work for me, and stepping into the house felt like stepping into Kat's world - as I looked around, I felt like I was seeing everything from a dual perspective, mine and hers, and it was wonderfullyl inspiring. I came away feeling really recharged and inspired.

But ohhh, there was some disturbing history there, too, because of course the money made by the original owners of the house all came from the slave trade, and the sheer hypocrisy of some of the statements recorded by John Pinney made my teeth grind together in rage that comes 200 years too late. And I've been trying to figure out, too - does anyone know when the sugar boycott in England ended? I know that in the late 1780s a lot of people in England, especially women, refused to take sugar in their tea as a protest against the slave trade. Would that boycott still have been going on in 1802? If so, I'd like to use it, or at least refer to it as an issue, in the second book...but of course I don't want to look silly by including it if it had already ended a decade earlier.

Clearly time for more historical research... I'm also trying to figure out two other historical points for revising the first book, so maybe I'll toss them out here in case anyone knows the answers! Firstly, I know there were little round mirrors that clasped shut in the late 18th century, but what were they called? Would they have been called 'compact mirrors', or is that term completely anachronistic? And secondly, would pistols in 1802 have had safety levers? If no one else knows either, don't worry - I just need more library trips! (What a shame.)

In the meantime, I'm about 50 pages from the end of Sarah Monette's The Virtu, which I'm absolutely loving - the writing is just as lush and beautiful as in her first book, Mélusine, the characters are even more intensely compelling this time 'round, and on a totally wimpy level, this book is much easier to read - I almost gave up in the first 2 chapters of Mélusine because the events in those chapters were so horrifically painful, and so vividly described. I'm so glad I didn't, because I ended up absolutely loving the book, and those events were in no way gratuitous - but it was a real struggle to get through them, whereas this book, so far, has been a sheer pleasure to read. And the best news of the past few days is that I've just received two fabulous new-to-me books in the mail - an ARC of Robin McKinley's newest book, Dragonhaven, to review for Interzone, and a wonderful-looking novel by Ludwig Bemelmans (of Madeline fame!) from the even-more-wonderful Madama Wilce. Hooray! I am feeling very luxuriant as I curl up in the couch with my hoard of good books, dragon-like. Now all I need is a steaming cup of tea. Hmmm.... :)

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