Now that the Katzenhaus Summer Promotion is officially over, we’ll be moving on to some major announcements about upcoming books. Let’s start with the answers to last week’s quiz questions.
Henrietta Ainesworth is a fictional character, which is why no one successfully “googled” her. She is the main character in my next book. She was born in 1832 in Oxford, England. Her father, Sir Ephraim Ainesworth, is the Keeper of Medieval Manuscripts at Oxford’s Bodleian Library. His office in Duke Humfrey’s Reading Room oversees scholarly access to such priceless holdings as the Digby 209—a twelfth-century manuscript containing the works of several prominent churchmen of the period. (Digby 209 is a little different in that the scribes who copied it did a lot of doodling in the margins—and some of the doodles are quite funny and more than a little pornographic.)
In 1832 Henrietta meets Julien Beauchene, an American from Charleston, South Carolina. His family has made a fortune by acting as cotton factors—which means they buy up cotton crops from plantation owners, store it in their warehouse, and then sell it for the highest possible price to textile manufacturers in England and France. When Henrietta and Julien fall in love, Henrietta faces several dilemmas. She is violently opposed to slavery; he is a slave-owner. She has led a sheltered, scholarly life in Oxford; he comes from the brash, energetic, and business-oriented new United States. Henrietta’s only role model as a wife is her mother, who is a take-charge, controlling woman who dominates her meek librarian husband. Julien’s mother died when her children were small, and Julien has grown up with the example of a strong and dominating father.
Is there any hope for the marriage of Henrietta and Julien? The answer lies in the up-coming book. We’ll do a title and cover reveal in the next couple of days. Stay tuned.