Welcome, Renée. The title of your book, To Charm a Bluestocking, speaks strongly to Regency Romance, but it isn’t set there. Why that title?
When I told my husband the title, he said “A what? No-one will know what a bluestocking is.” I said “Only every historical romance reader. Ever.”
Although we in romance associate bluestockings with unusual, clever women, who usually aren’t perfectly beautiful; the term has more interesting origins. It became popular in England in 1750 when Elizabeth Montagu started a society for clever women to discuss literature and other elegant notions. As with anything that benefits women, it quickly became seen as dangerous. Society (and by that, I mean wealthy male peers) painted them as frumpy harridans who no graces. Romance has reclaimed it to denote clever women.
To Charm a Bluestocking is the first in a series of three about three women who graduate from medical school in Amsterdam. Josephine, the main character in To Charm a Bluestocking, is loosely based on my great-grandmother who achieved this difficult task herself. In doing the research about my great-grandmother, I discovered that there had been only 20 female doctors graduate in Holland between 1875 and 1910. Of which, my relative was one. I started thinking about what problems she would have faced, and which of those problems would resonate with readers today. This book is set in 1887; and includes many of the fun features of the Victorian era, such as train travel.
From there, To Charm a Bluestocking was built. Her two friends, Marie and Claire, make strong appearances in this book. Their stories are coming soon. You can keep in touch with me at my facebook page, or on my website.
1887: Too tall, too shy and too bookish for England, Lady Josephine moves to Holland to become one of the world’s first female doctors. With only one semester left, she has all but completed her studies when a power-hungry professor, intent on marrying her for her political connections, threatens to prevent her graduation. Together with the other Bluestockings, female comrades-in-study, she comes up with a daring, if somewhat unorthodox plan: acquire a fake fiancé to provide the protection and serenity she needs to pass her final exams.
But when her father sends her Lord Nicholas St. George, he is too much of everything: too handsome, too charming, too tall and too broad and too distracting for Josephine’s peace of mind. She needed someone to keep her professor at bay, not keep her from her work with temptations of long walks, laughing, and languorous kisses.
Just as it seems that Josephine might be able to have it all: a career as a pioneering female doctor and a true love match, everything falls apart and Josephine will find herself in danger of becoming a casualty in the battle between ambition and love.