Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace


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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Water of Life aka Whisky by Madeline Martin

Welcome to History Undressed my good friend and fellow author, Madeline Martin!

One of the fun things about writing historical romance is all the interesting things we learn in our research. While writing the Earl of Benton, I decided to have Alistair Johnstone be a former smuggler of whisky prior to accepting his English earldom.
Scotch whisky, commonly referred to as “uisge beatha” literally translates to “water of life”. Not being a whisky drinker myself, I’d have to disagree because it kind of tastes like straight rubbing alcohol to my ignorant palate.

But I digress. Whisky was distilled for centuries without issue until England and Scotland were crammed together under the same crown and a tax was placed upon malt (an integral ingredient in whisky). While some distilleries legally paid the fees associated with the malt tax to ensure their goods were operating on the right side of the law, many, many more operated illegally.
In fact, so many were in operation that at night, a trail of donkeys could be seen lugging barrels behind them to sell in other locations. Excise men were put to task by the English to catch these thieves and  see them brought to justice, though many of their run ins ended up in bloody shoot outs.

As time went on and the excise men became more abundant, the whisky smugglers got creative. Some built casks to look like a man sitting behind the cart driver with a head fashioned from leather – completely undetectable in the darkness. And still others had steel casks made that would fit over a woman’s shoulders, the round part of the barrel easily giving her the appearance of being with child. Ironically the immense weight of the 2 gallons it held gave the women a rather stiff/waddling gait that made the rouse  entirely believable.
In the Earl of Benton, I got a little creative with what one might do when being tasked with having to smuggle twenty gallons over the Scottish border and into England. It was fun figuring out how to make it work, especially when his lady companion couldn’t know!
In 1823, the distillation of whisky was fully legalized and only required the payment of a mere ten pounds. This was such a miniscule amount that whisky running became almost nothing and the excise men were no longer needed.


Alistair Johnstone’s days of running whisky come to an abrupt halt when he inherits an earldom. After years of living in Scotland and denying his English heritage, he now must return despite his mother’s bitter contempt and his own lack of desire. When his mother’s attempt to run whisky goes awry, Alistair is forced to step in and save her by doing one last whisky run – however, if he’s caught, he will face a traitor’s death.

Emma Thorne’s uncle is trying to kill her and so far has failed, thank goodness. But with only one month until she reaches her majority, inherits her fortune and is released from his guardianship, she knows she is not safe. Emma escapes to a nearby estate where she stumbles upon a house party being held by the Wicked Earls’ Club and finds herself at the mercy of the most extraordinary earl. One who could save her or see her condemned.

When innocent lies become reality and danger follows them every step of the way, could love be the answer to both their problems, or will their passions be their undoing?


Amazon: http://hyperurl.co/eobamz
Nook: http://hyperurl.co/eobnk
iBooks: http://hyperurl.co/eobib
Kobo: http://hyperurl.co/eobkobo
Print: http://hyperurl.co/eobprint


Madeline Martin is a USA TODAY Bestselling author of Scottish set historical romance novels. She lives a glitter-filled life in Jacksonville, Florida with her two daughters (known collectively as the minions) and a man so wonderful he's been dubbed Mr. Awesome. All shenanigans are detailed regularly on Twitter and on Facebook.

Madeline loves animals in sweaters, cat videos, and working out (to support her love of wine and Nutella). As she is unable to have pets herself due to allergies, she has acquired a plastic Halloween skeleton named Nick and a small robot named Meccano - both of whom are dressed up regularly by the minions.

She loves connecting with her readers, so feel free to follow her on any one of her social media platforms, or send her a message :) 


FB page: https://www.facebook.com/MadelineMartinAuthor/
Twitter: @MadelineMMartin
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Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Madeline-Martin/e/B00R8OGFN2/ 

1 comment:

Lori Dykes said...

Thanks for the history lesson!! How interesting and it seems through the ages there are always creative ways for smugglers! Of course loved your book Madeline. Congratulations again on your release!