In A Minor Inconvenience, Hugh’s sister Sophia is rather taken with a gentleman whom Hugh scornfully dismisses as modelling himself after one of Lord Byron’s heroes. The gentleman in question bears all the hallmarks of being misunderstood, brooding and mysterious, with a disdain of social norms. To Sophia’s dismay, the whole concept of a darkly handsome romantic hero is quite lost on Hugh (at least, until Theo Lindsay turns up).
Although that reference to the Byronic hero is the sum total of Lord Byron’s connection to the book, I stumbled across some rather fun facts about him in the course of my more general research, which I thought others might find as interesting as I did.
As well as the whole tempestuous affair with Lady Caroline Lamb and suspected incestuous relationship with his half-sister, he had a more redeeming feature—his love for animals. Forbidden by college rules from keeping a pet dog in his rooms at Cambridge, Byron instead had a tame bear. When his favourite dog, Boatswain, was ill with rabies, Byron nursed him. Given that Boatswain was a Newfoundland—not exactly a small dog—and rabid dogs can become vicious, that seems to me to be taking affection to extremes. I suppose it might be accounted for by the ‘mad’ element of mad, bad, and dangerous to know. Byron intended that they be interred together. As it happened, they weren’t, and Boatswain’s tomb is larger than Byron’s.
Byron apparently travelled with a menagerie. Percy Shelley reported the following when visiting Byron in Venice:
Lord B.’s establishment consists, besides servants, of ten horses, eight enormous dogs, three monkeys, five cats, an eagle, a crow, and a falcon; and all these, except the horses, walk about the house, which every now and then resounds with their unarbitrated quarrels, as if they were the masters of it. . . . [P.S.] I find that my enumeration of the animals in this Circean Palace was defective . . . . I have just met on the grand staircase five peacocks, two guinea hens, and an Egyptian crane.
On a slightly less whimsical note, there’s the enduring tale that Byron used to drink from a human skull that was found in the grounds of his home, the half-ruined Newstead Abbey, and thought to be that of one of the monks who had lived there. He celebrated the idea in his poem, suitably titled “Lines upon a cup formed from a skull”.
Byron engaged his valet, William Fletcher, after seeing him ploughing a field. Which is always a good skill to have in a valet, of course. One never knows when it might be necessary to leave off blacking boots and starching neckcloths and engage in some agricultural activities. One of Mr. Fletcher’s duties was to rub Lord Byron down after exercise. What with this and the shenanigans of Byron’s muscular young gondolier, I’m quite surprised more of his exploits didn’t end up finding their way into the book. Another time, perhaps!
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About Minor Inconvenience
- Title: A Minor Inconvenience
- Author: Sarah Granger
- Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
- Release Date: 14th January, 2014
- Genre: M/M Historical Romance
Captain Hugh Fanshawe returned from the Peninsular War with a leg that no longer works properly, thanks to a French musket ball. Now his fight against Napoleon is reduced to quiet, lonely days compiling paperwork at Horse Guards headquarters.
His evenings are spent dutifully escorting his mother and sister to stifling social engagements, where his lameness renders him an object of pity and distaste. But his orderly, restricted life is thrown into sudden disarray with the arrival of Colonel Theo Lindsay.
Theo is everything Hugh is not-a man of physical perfection and easy yet distinguished address. Surprisingly to Hugh, Theo appears to be interested in making his acquaintance. Lindsay turns out to be a most convivial companion, and Hugh finds great pleasure in his company. Their friendship deepens when they become lovers.
In spite of himself, Hugh falls desperately in love. But when a French spy is suspected at Horse Guards, Hugh discovers nothing is as it seems.and the paper he shuffles from day to day could be the instrument of his lover’s death.
Warning: Contains gallant English officers in love, dastardly French spies, skintight pantaloons (sometimes on the floor) and gleaming tasselled Hessians.
Hugh was so turned about by the time the next set of dances ended that he had lost sight entirely of Lindsay. He retreated to the edge of the room, seeking a wall to stand against, only to find a hand placed in the small of his back and Lindsay’s voice close against his ear. “Escaping already, Fanshawe? I cannot permit that. We must present a united front if we are to prevail.”
Smiling, he turned his head. Lindsay looked even more handsome than Hugh had remembered, the silver buttons on his uniform coat sparkling in the light and his grey eyes filled with warmth along with the lazy amusement they so often showed.
“Does your united front permit a strategic regrouping?” Hugh asked.
“Music to my ears, Fanshawe. What have you in mind?”
“I was thinking a glass of punch and perhaps some cool air in the hall.”
“With a tactical brain like that, I can’t think how you have not yet been gazetted as general.”
Procuring a glass of cold punch each, they escaped to the hall that ran the length of the house. It proved to be a busy thoroughfare, used by those seeking to move to the card room or the dressing room, or simply to take some cooler air. In unspoken agreement, they moved to the far end and the large window onto Grosvenor Square, where they would not be disturbed. As Hugh turned to speak to Lindsay, he spied a familiar and extremely unwelcome figure reaching the top of the stairs. Stanton was here, and although Hugh thought he cut a most peculiar character in his striped waistcoat, he was fairly sure Sophia would be less discriminating in her taste.
“Damn it,” he said, momentarily forgetting he was in company.
Lindsay followed his line of sight. “Ah,” he said. “I had the impression the other night that Stanton was dangling after your sister.”
“In a manner of speaking,” Hugh concurred grimly.
“I suspected as much. Perhaps what gave me the first clue was when he likened her eyes to the beauty of stars sparkling like bright diamonds in a sky of black velvet and her smile to the sunrise that graced the dew of Eden’s first dawn.”
Hugh turned a revolted eye upon him. “No,” he begged. “No, for God’s sake, even he would not be so—so—”
“Lost in the poetical throes of passionate romance?” Lindsay suggested.
“I was about to say making a cake of himself,” Hugh said. “But Sophia—I am sure that no matter how handsome she might think him, she would never hear such nonsense without succumbing to giggles.”
“It’s possible I exaggerated his words a little,” Lindsay confessed. “Perhaps he merely mentioned how prettily her eyes shone and that her smile could light the room.”
“Well, that’s bad enough,” Hugh said indignantly. “What sort of a fellow spouts such claptrap?”
“I take it you have never courted a lady,” Lindsay said. “At least, not successfully.”
Hugh choked on his punch. And then something, whether honesty or some inner demon, prompted him to answer. “No, I never have.”
Lindsay fastened his eyes on Hugh’s suddenly, and the look in them was such that Hugh found it difficult to breathe.
Praise for A Minor Inconvenience
“…this romance is one of the best period pieces I’ve ever read.” Rainbow Reviews
“Sense and Sensibility meets A Minor Inconvenience ~ I just loved the way this book read; like reading a gay Jane Austen.In the best tradition of a sweeping historical background, Sarah sets the scene for a great romance with all the trimmings and style of the regency era…. The story is intricate and beautifully written.” Sinfully Sexy Book Reviews (A Minor Inconvenience was one of the site’s Hotpicks for January)
“The writing is beautiful, some of the wry, clever speeches laugh-out-loud funny, and throughout the whole there is such a sense of time and place that you forget that this mundane world of ours isn’t one of breeches and Almacks, Vauxhall gardens and opera dancers.” Anna Butler
“.the humor in this story is a treat!… I applaud the author for delivering a fresh, captivating plot and such wonderfully unique characters as Hugh and Theo. If you are fancying a highly entertaining historical story – you can’t go wrong here.” Live your life, buy the book
“I loved this book..I think anyone who loves historical romance written in the style of its setting and who likes a plot based story will love it too.” Mrs Condit & Friends Read Books
About Sarah Granger
Sarah Granger is a sucker for a happy ending. She believes, however, that characters will only fully appreciate their happy ending if they’ve suffered along the way.
Sarah lives in the Cotswolds, an idyllic part of the English countryside with gently rolling hills, dry stone walls of golden stone and fields dotted with sheep. She has shamefully broken with local tradition by not having a rose growing around her front door. When she isn’t writing, Sarah enjoys walking in the countryside with her elderly black Labrador.