In the Muses’ Salon, all of the women who become part of the salon have some skill or gift to contribute. In Book 1—Jilting the Duke—Sophia Gardiner, Lady Wilmot, is a garden designer, so she knows what plants are useful for their healing properties, but she’s not a healer. In Book 2—Chasing the Heiress—the heroine Lucy is an officer’s daughter who was raised in field hospitals during the Napoleonic Wars. As a result, Lucy knows how to use plants to heal.
When Colin Somerville shows up gun-shot at the inn where Lucy is hiding, she has the opportunity to use her medical knowledge to save him!
To make Lucy’s treatments appropriate to the period, I turned to E. Sibly’s 1811 edition of Nicolas Culpeper’s English Physician and Complete Herbal. But 19thC medicine is way scarier than just all that blood-letting—and it’s a wonder any of our ancestors lived long enough to propagate! The ingredients are frankly terrifying: mercury is a standard component of many treatments from helping to cure venereal disease to soothing the pain of teething.
But if you needed a nineteenth-century cough medicine, this one might not kill you:
Take a large tea-cup full of linseed [flax seeds], two-penny-worth of stick-licorice, and a quarter of a pound of sun-raisins.—Put these into two quarts of soft water, and let it simmer over a slow fire till it is reduced to one; then add to it a quarter of a pound of brown sugar-candy pounded, a table-spoonful of old rum, and a table-spoonful of the best white-wine vinegar or lemon-juice. The rum and vinegar are best to be added only to that quantity you are going immediately to take; for, it if is put into the whole, it is apt, in a little time, to grow flat. Drink half a pint at going to bed, and take a little when the cough is troublesome. (252)
For other of Lucy’s remedies, check out Chasing the Heiress!
Heiress On The Run
Lady Arabella Lucia Fairborne has no need of a husband. She has a fine inheritance for the taking, a perfectly capable mind, and a resolve as tough as nails. But what she doesn’t have is the freedom to defy her cousin’s will–and his will is to see her married immediately to the husband of his choosing. So is it any wonder that she dresses herself as a scullery maid and bolts into the night?
Colin Somerville’s current mission for the home office is going poorly. Who would have expected otherwise for a rakish spy tasked with transporting a baby to the care of the royal palace. But when, injured and out of ideas, Colin stumbles upon a beautiful maid who knows her way around a sickroom, it seems salvation has arrived. Until he realizes that though Lucy may be able to help him survive his expedition, he may not escape this ordeal with his heart intact…
“Intrigue, romance, adventure—Chasing the Heiress has it all. I’m a Rachel Miles fan!” —Cathy Maxwell, New York Timesbestselling author