new sherlock holmes by allegator deviantart

I’m excited today because I will very soon be able to reprise a favorite role: the sleuth on the trail of history!

Right at this moment, I am editing my third book, working title: Remnants, which is a historical fiction novel. Not a mystery. Not a romance. I’m leaving my cheaper thrills behind and really trying to dig down deep into this period of history: the 1820s in the western islands of Scotland.

That’s right, it means a really awful journey back to Scotland to tour museums, feel the light at dawn, hike over the machair beaches and bear witness to empty blackhouses from centuries past. A real hardship assignment, traveling through places like this…

outer hebrides machair beach

I picked up this one thread–the repeal of the barilla tax after the Napoleonic Wars–and it has led me to explore many intricate details of this bygone time, sandwiched between Jane Austen’s era and Charlotte Bronte’s space and time.

Some of the topics I am in the midst of researching:

  • seasonal peat-cutting practices in western Scottish isles
  • Presbyterian religious calendar
  • duties of a parish church vicar
  • New Year celebrations in 1820s in the Isles and in Glasgow
  • Scottish rural swear words of the 1820s
  • date of highland clearances in argyll
  • cost of foodstuffs and ship transport
  • home loom construction

…So whaddya think? Can you tell what the story’s going to be about??

Ooh, but that’s where yer wrong!

Images via Deviantart & Allwomenstalk