Welcome to EUGENIA’S TRIVIAL TREASURY, the official blog of Romance Author EUGENIA RILEY!
Please read our Posting Rules, but first, just to restate our mission: The purpose of this blog is to discuss the romance novels of Eugenia Riley and the research Eugenia has done, especially as it pertains to certain unusual, unknown or even wacky elements of history. This is also a social site intended to create a fun atmosphere as Eugenia gets to know her readers. Personal information may be included as long as the comments are kept clean and respectful, do not invade another’s privacy, and don’t lead the discussion far afield of the intended theme. (Forums for in-depth discussion of personal or social issues, politics, religion, etc., can be found elsewhere.) Citing of historical sources is welcomed. References to other romance novels may be included, but please do not post any commercial plugs/blurbs of your own products or works, or those of others.
Okay, let’s begin! I’ve been a romance author for many moons now (perhaps too many!) and I’ve specialized in time-travel and historical romances. In researching dozens of these works, I’ve come across numerous fascinating, offbeat, and largely unknown tidbits of history. Some of these oddities are referenced in my novels, while others are not.
While considering content for this blog, I thought, “What fun it would be to discuss the unique historical trivia that I’ve uncovered while researching my books!” Thus “Eugenia’s Trivial Treasury” was born.
I’ll begin my discussion with reference to my latest tome, MISSISSIPPI MADNESS, now available in Eugenia Riley Classics editions at Kindle, NOOK and Kobo. MISSISSIPPI MADNESS is a lusty historical romance set in antebellum Natchez,Mississippi, a fascinating backdrop of the Old South. Yes, we’re talking about moonlight and magnolias, belles in hoop skirts and their dashing cavaliers.
One fascinating source ofNatchezlore is the nonfiction book, THE BARBER OF NATCHEZ, by Edwin Adams Davis and William Ransom Hogan (©1954, 1973 by Louisiana State University Press). The book details the real life of William Johnson, a free man of color and businessman who lived in antebellum Natchez, owned a barber shop in Natchez-Under-the-Hill, and kept a colorful diary of his experiences with the community.
Now, many of you are aware that southern gentlemen took their codes of honor quite seriously. We’ve all heard tales of affaires d’honneur being settled with pistols at dawn. (Indeed, witness my MISSISSIPPI MADNESS, where my gallant hero, Jared Hampton, defends the honor of my beautiful heroine, Jasmine Dubroc.) Duels between gentlemen were commonplace in the Old South; but were you aware that some of the esteemed gentlemen of Natchez, when insulted, would not wait for their seconds to arrange a reckoning on the dueling bar (across the river in Vidalia)? According to barber Johnson, with his keen ear for local gossip, many disagreements were settled impromptu style, with the revered Natchez gents engaging in bouts of screaming, spitting, kicking, choking, and hair-pulling, using any convenient weapon at hand, such as knives, clubs and sticks, and even having shooting matches in the streets! To quote the text, ”A surprising number of doctors, lawyers and government officials engaged in street fights.” (THE BARBER OF NATCHEZ, p.164).
Wow! So it seems the “genteel South” may have not been that far removed from the Wild West, after all!
Questions? Comments? Please join me in the fun! XOX Eugenia