10 Interesting Historical Facts

I’m happy to welcome author Caroline Warfield. Today, Caroline shares ten interesting facts gleaned from her extensive historical research and her latest release, The Reluctant Wife.

Here’s Caroline!

Joanne, thank you for hosting me and for setting this interesting challenge. Everytime I write a book, I learn more than I bargained for. The Reluctant Wife was no exception. Here, in no particular order, are some of those things.

1. The word Khaki did not come into use until 1857, over twenty years after my story was set.

2. The East India Company instituted mail service overland through Egypt in 1835. It cut months off the previous service which involved sailing around Africa which took roughly six months. I couldn’t resist sending my characters that way: steamship to Suez, across the desert to Cairo, up river to Alexandria and steamshop to England.

3. Historically, various kingdoms in what is now India tended to be diverse. In some courts Moslem, Hindu, Protestant, and Catholic served side by side.

4. Honey was an excellent treatment for burns and other wounds.

5. By the 1830s the Company frowned on intermarraige and forms of fraternization tolerated earlier.

6. The Thugees’ favorite technique for assassination was to join a caravan and strangle victims in their sleep. They traveled in groups.

7. Richard Wellesley, 1st Marquess Wellesley, older brother to the Duke of Wellington, ordered Government House in Calcutta on a massive scale designed to reinforce a sense of British power (and not coincidentally, his own consequence).

8. William Withering published data about the use of foxglove to treat heart failure as early as 1785.

9. Adolphe Quetelet, noted that the August meteor shower emanated from the constellation Perseus in 1835. As a result we call the annual event The Perseids.

10. A duke might be the most powerful man in a shire, but the justice of the peace who had the power to turn someone over to the assizes for trial was likely someone else entirely.


When all else fails, love succeeds…

Captain Fred Wheatly’s comfortable life on the fringes of Bengal comes crashing down around him when his mistress dies, leaving him with two children he never expected to have to raise. When he chooses justice over army regulations, he’s forced to resign his position, leaving him with no way to support his unexpected family. He’s already had enough failures in his life. The last thing he needs is an attractive, interfering woman bedeviling his steps, reminding him of his duties.

All widowed Clare Armbruster needs is her brother’s signature on a legal document to be free of her past. After a failed marriage, and still mourning the loss of a child, she’s had it up to her ears with the assumptions she doesn’t know how to take care of herself, that what she needs is a husband. She certainly doesn’t need a great lout of a captain who can’t figure out what to do with his daughters. If only the frightened little girls didn’t need her help so badly.

Clare has made mistakes in the past. Can she trust Fred now? Can she trust herself? Captain Wheatly isn’t ashamed of his aristocratic heritage, but he doesn’t need his family and they’ve certainly never needed him. But with no more military career and two half-caste daughters to support, Fred must turn once more—as a failure—to the family he let down so often in the past. Can two hearts rise above past failures to forge a future together?



Thank you for joining the celebration. Tell us about your favorite story elements. Caroline will give a kindle copy of The Renegade Wife, Book 1 in the series, to one person who comments.

She is also sponsoring a grand prize in celebration of her release. Get it here

The prequel to this series, A Dangerous Nativity, is always **FREE**. You can get a copy here


The ballroom at Government House, Calcutta, 1835

Clare had stopped listening. A prickle of awareness drew her gaze to the entrance where another man entered. He stood well above average height, he radiated coiled strength, and her eyes found his auburn hair unerringly. Captain Wheatly had come. The rapid acceleration of her heart took her off guard. Why should I care that he’s here?

“Clare? The lieutenant asked you a question.”

Lieutenant? Clare blinked to clear her head, only to see Mrs. Davis’s icy glare turned on Captain Wheatly. “Is that your strange captain from the black neighborhood?” she demanded in a faux whisper.

The lieutenant’s avid curiosity added to Clare’s discomfort. “Is that Wheatly in a captain’s uniform? I thought they might demote him after the business with Cornell,” he volunteered.

Clare forced herself to turn to the lieutenant. “Cornell?” she asked to deflect Mrs. Davis’s questions.

“Collector at Dehrapur. Wheatly assaulted the man. Unprovoked, I heard,” the lieutenant answered.

She looked back, unable to stop herself. Merciful angels, he’s seen me. She watched the captain start toward them. At least Gleason could make introductions.

The lieutenant went on as though he had her full attention. “He was in line for promotion, the one that went to your brother instead. Philip posted over there right after it happened.”

Clare found it impossible to look away. The captain gave an ironic smile when he saw her watching. Mrs. Davis gave a sharp intake of breath when she realized Wheatly’s intent. “He’s coming here? Clare, I think I should warn you that a man who has been passed over as this one was—”

Before she could finish, Colonel Davis, who had been coming from the other direction, met the captain and greeted him with a smile. Clare couldn’t hear the words, but Captain Wheatly’s self-deprecating grin seemed to indicate at least a modicum of respect. The two men approached together.

“Captain Frederick Wheatly, may I present my wife, Mrs. Davis.” The captain bowed properly, and the colonel went on, “And our house guest, Miss Armbruster.”

This time the captain’s eyes held a distinct twinkle. “Miss Armbruster and I are acquainted. I met her when she visited her brother in Dehrapur.”

“Of course, of course! I should have remembered,” the colonel said jovially. He leaned toward Clare and winked. “He’s a catch, this one. Doesn’t like to boast of his connections, but earls and dukes lurk in his pedigree. His cousin stepped down from Under-Secretary for War and the Colonies just last year!”

Captain Wheatly looked discomfited by that revelation.

Gleason looked skeptical. “The Duke of Murnane?” he gasped.

Before anyone could answer, the small orchestra hired for the occasion began to play, and the captain cocked an eyebrow as if to ask a question.

“I think the captain wants a dance, Miss Armbruster. It’s your patriotic duty to see to the morale of the troops,” the colonel said coyly.

Captain Wheatly put out a gloved hand, and she put her equally gloved hand in his. Walking away from Gleason and the Davises, she admitted two things to herself. She was glad he came, and she planned to enjoy the dance.


Traveler, poet, librarian, technology manager—Caroline Warfield has been many things (even a nun), but above all she is a romantic. Having retired to the urban wilds of eastern Pennsylvania, she reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows while she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart.

Caroline is a RONE award winner with five star reviews from Readers’ Favorite, Night Owl Reviews, and InD’Tale and an Amazon best-seller. She is also a member of the writers’ co-operative, the Bluestocking Belles. With partners she manages and regularly writes for both The Teatime Tattler and History Imagined.

Where to find Caroline..

Website | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Email


4 responses to “10 Interesting Historical Facts

  1. Thanks, Joanne, for posting this. Caroline, as I am attempting to write historical fiction, one of my biggest fears is getting facts about the period right. I’m sure you’ve tried to make sure your book is 100% correct, but we’re only human, and there are always experts out there who know more about a period than we do. Your #1 item about khaki made me wonder: Have you ever received negative comments about accuracy?

    • Good question. A beta reader actually called me on “khaki” when she read an early copy. That’s why I like to have objective eyes on the document. I check words frequently in either the OED or online etymology dictionaries. If I miss one my editor usually catches it. It is necessary for historical fiction to be plausible, not necessarily detailed in its facts. In the unusual case where I know I’m stepping on the facts or stretching them, I always confess in the author’s note. An example is that overland route. The book takes place in 1835 and the Bombay service did start that year. I have my folks traveling from Calcutta, however, and that service didn’t start until 1841. It was a liberty and I said so. We try our best, but sometimes things get by us.

    • My degree is in East Asian history, but I’m no expert on any place or period, even my own. I’ve learned more U.S. and Canadian history working on genealogy than I did in the classroom.

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