“Things have never been more like the way they are today in history.” —Dwight D. Eisenhower
It’s been almost a decade since I decided to satisfy my curiosity about Emily Alden and Corey de Koningh. Emily was lost and alone, suffering from an overwhelming fever in a huge bed in a strange house not her own. Likewise I couldn’t shake the visits from Corey during her illness to rescue her from that loneliness and the grownups he thought were treating her poorly. And so, I had to write about these two children or be driven mad by them. Of course, the story grew from there, naturally, surprising me as much as anyone else. And the similarities and differences between their time of living and ours were impressed on me with ever increasing power whenever I made a new discovery in my research.
And oh, how that research threatened to take over the story and my sanity at times! As always with history, one thing leads to another, and knowing what to discard and what to keep became the biggest challenge of all. When it wasn’t the introduction of the bicycle as the primary advancement to women’s social lives, it was the development of a new era of professionalism for every endeavor in Victorian society. The momentum of change took over British life to a dizzying degree, even as the class stratification seemed unshakably in reverse. When I couldn’t find what I needed in the source material I had at hand, I turned to living classical musicians to verify and share their wisdom of the musical arts.
Most unexpected for me was that this adventure with these two children took me with them through to their old age. Between readers who wanted to know ‘what happened next’, to my editor, Walter Bode, who insisted that there was more to be told each time I ‘finished’ a book, it was impossible to avoid the inevitable. More of their lives needed fleshing out. And so now with this third book in the series, I feel I’ve gotten to know them as if I lived their lives side-by-side with people who had real historical presence, helping me to travel back and forth in time. They shared the crucial lessons of their day, and that’s all we can ask of the past.