For me, there is no reason to write historical romance if you don’t give serious attention to the history. I love history! It makes every story richer, deeper, and more colorful. When I was invited to write for A Bouquet of Brides collection, I was deep into learning about the antique spinning wheel I’d recently purchased and restored. During my research into my new wheel, I learned some interesting historical facts.
The Restraining Act of 1699—also called The Wool Act—was signed into law by King William III. England’s monopoly on textiles was in jeopardy from the upstarts in the American Colonies. Even though Britain had outlawed the importation of sheep from the beginning, the Dutch brought them into New Amsterdam (now New York).
The sheep soon multiplied and supplied the colonists with enough wool to not only clothe themselves but to export to other colonies. Britain was not amused. The Restraining Act outlawed the sale of wool or wool products between colonies. Massachusetts Colony could not sell to Virginia Colony, for instance.
This effectively shut down the budding textile industry in the colonies for a time and left colonists with the choice of buying fabric from England that most could not afford or relearning the art of making their own cloth. This is the background into which I drop my main characters, Yarrow Fenn and Peter Maltby, in In Sheep’s Clothing.
If you’re interested in how wool is made into fabric, here’s a nice video, narrated by Orson Wells, explaining the process including some historical information.
To celebrate the release of A Bouquet of Brides collection and my story, In Sheep’s Clothing, I’m giving away one of my signature shawls. To enter, subscribe to my newsletter. I’ll be drawing for The Meadowsweet Shawl at the end of January.