You can find out about SLIGHTLY TARNISHED and all of Lilly's work at her website www.lillygayle.com
But come on back, grab a cup of coffee - and a clothespin for your nose - because Lilly is addressing a very stinky subject.
Thanks for being here, Lilly. Take it away.............
My first published historical, Slightly Tarnished, is set mostly in England during the time of The Great Stink, a time during the spring and summer of 1858 when the smell of untreated waste in London became so intolerable people fled the city in droves.Prior to the Great Stink, homeowners dumped chamber pots and slop jars directly into the streets where open drains carried the waste to the Thames. That was also around the same time flushing toilets became more prevalent in the home.
Thomas Crapper didn’t invent the flush toilet, but he did increase the popularity of the toilet and gave us a new slang word for poop. And poop was flowing freely by the summer of 1858. By that time, many Londoners had flushing toilets, which dramatically increased the volume of wastewater pouring into cesspits. In most cases, these cesspits were open pits dug out under the house and as they filled, sludge and mold often seeped into the walls on the lower floors.
If not properly maintained, the cesspits would overflow into the streets, clogging the already overused sewage drains. Even when the drains didn’t clog, all wastewater from homes, factories, and slaughter houses dumped into the River Thames.
By the summer of 1858 the river was overflowing with sewage. The stench was so bad Parliament ceased functioning. And quickly ordered an overhaul of London's sewerage system.
Prior to the completion of the new sewer system, some interesting occupations emerged, all of which were considered low-class and menial jobs and many of these jobs were held by children as young as ten.
Toshers, also called grubbers, scavenged through the sewers looking for valuables, such as an accidentally flushed ring or coins. A nasty job, but digging through the solid waste helped keep the sewers flowing by removing small obstructions. Whole families often dug through the poop together and one of the added benefits was some sort of odd immunity to sewage-related diseases.
Mudlarks scavenged along the muddy banks of the River Thames and its tributaries, searching for small items of value missed by the Toshers.
Nightsoil Harvesters removed waste from London’s sewers to farms outside the city for use as manure. Some enterprising homeowners even hired children as young as ten to remove the waste from the cesspits beneath their homes to keep them from overflowing. Of course, there was always the possibility a buildup of methane gas would cause an explosion, killing the child. Children often asphyxiated or drowned in the sewers as well. Then the homeowners had to pay extra to remove the corpses, but small bodies cost less to extract, hence, the hiring of children.
Flushermen flushed away waste and anything that might block the flow of water in the new sewer system after it was constructed.
And finally, there were the Rat-Catchers, hired by the city to catch rats and prevent the spread of disease.Makes you glad technology has come as far as it has. Doesn’t it?
Victorian romance laced with danger.
When a brooding English earl with a SLIGHTLY TARNISHED reputation marries his dead wife’s American cousin to save her from her uncle’s vengeful schemes, the sea captain’s daughter with a taste for adventure sparks desires he thought long dead.
Nicole Keller has always been headstrong and independent, but after a failed business venture and a sinking ship take her father, her home, and her childhood sweetheart, Nikki must support herself and her mother. But moving to England and marrying Chadwick Masters, Earl of Gilchrest isn’t what she has in mind. And falling in love with the mysterious earl could endanger both their lives.
“This will be your room.” He opened the door and stood to one side so she could enter. “I’m afraid you will have to continue to make do without a lady’s maid. The only household staff I employ are Mrs. Lomax, Dickens, Cook, and my groom. My driver lives in the village as do the few maids I hire on occasion to help Mrs. Lomax with the laundry and heavier cleaning.”
Nikki smiled. “That’s quite all right, Lord Masters. I’m used to doing for myself, and it’s only for a week.”
He returned her smile and leaned forward, his warm breath fanning her cheek. “What happened to Chad? Surely we’ve gone beyond such formalities now, Nicole.”
Gooseflesh rippled over her skin. Her body quivered. “I don’t think it would be proper for me to call you by your given name.” She risked a glance at his face and wished she hadn’t. His eyes no longer looked worried. They were hot—almost feverish. Her skin heated.
“It didn’t stop you before,” he said, his deep voice a husky rumble. Despite the heat, Nikki shivered.
“I don’t think this is proper either,” she stammered when he brushed his lips against her temple. A delicious tingle skittered down her spine.
“No, probably not,” he said, nibbling her neck.
A strange tension rippled through her muscles, tightening them with pleasure. She arched her neck, granting him access as he slid his lips along the column of her throat. Her hands bunched the skirt of her plain, serviceable dress. Her stomach quivered.
“What are you doing?” she asked, breathless and giddy.
He pulled his hands from his pockets and pulled her closer. “I’m seducing you, I think.”
“Seducing me?” Her heart hammered against her ribs.
“Hmm. You’re doing it again.” Then he lowered his mouth and kissed her.*******