Finding Inspiration from Alice Roosevelt

In 1905, Alice Roosevelt accompanied William H. Taft on a visit to Asia. One of many newspapers referred to the journey as Alice in Wonderland: First Maiden of Land Will Journey to Orient. In response to the information, Alice Roosevelt, would “cross the pacific in a floating palace” and “have her personal suite of rooms.” On the time, William Taft was Teddy Roosevelt’s Secretary of Struggle and the journey concerned stops in Honolulu, the Philippines, Japan, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Korea. Apparently, Consultant Nicholas Longworth was additionally on the journey which precipitated hypothesis of a romance between Alice and this explicit politician.

The Smithsonian’s Nationwide Museum of Asian Artwork options Alice Roosevelt’s diary entries from that journey together with a group of images. This treasure trove sparked a number of concepts for The Admiral’s Spouse.

Of explicit curiosity was a photograph of Alice standing on board wearing a white jacket and skirt and a straw boater. I included the essence of her outfit into The Admiral’s Spouse“Isabel crouched down, taking care to not wrinkle the white muslin jacket and lengthy white skirt she’d placed on that morning in anticipation of lastly reaching their vacation spot. White was impractical nevertheless it suited her truthful pores and skin and auburn hair, and he or she was eager to make a superb impression.”

Supply: The Smithsonian’s Nationwide Museum of Asian Artwork

Whereas within the Philippines, Alice and the delegation visited a number of islands together with Jolo, the place the Sultan of Sulu, apparently dazzled by Alice, proposed to her. In response to the Marysville Each day, “The Sultan of Sulu, who has extra wives already than most males have cash, has laid his coronary heart on the toes of Miss Alice Roosevelt, supplied her his hand in marriage and declared himself keen to share his throne along with her.”

The part of Alice Roosevelt’s diary of most curiosity to me was that regarding Hong Kong. Right here she is speaking about going to the races at Glad Valley Racetrack: “We went to the homosexual little racetrack, the place the riders had been mounted on native ponies. Moreover the common races that they had a gymkhana, egg-and-spoon races, and the like, together with a riksha-race during which I took half seated in a riksha.”

Supply: The Alice Roosevelt Longworth Assortment of Images from the 1905 Taft Mission to Asia, 1905, Smithsonian Establishment

This notion of girls using in such a race impressed a quick scene the place Isabel Taylor, the primary character within the historic timeline, and the admiral’s spouse, is along with her pal Myrna Symington at Glad Valley Racetrack. Isabel has simply gained twenty kilos – a major sum – on the steeplechase.

Additional races adopted the steeplechase, however none held the identical pleasure. Later that afternoon, whereas Henry and Miles went off to the stables, Isabel and Myrna watched a gaggle of younger women and men assemble on the far finish of the sphere for a rickshaw race. The ladies sat within the automobiles; every man grasped the poles of his rickshaw able to race to the end line.

“There appears to be a lot hilarity amongst the racers,” Myrna mentioned.

Isabel nodded. “Henry would by no means take part in one thing like that. He has already deemed it nonsense.”

Myrna raised one arm to wave at a girl carrying a vibrant yellow hat. “After we had been youthful, Miles would have needed to be the winner of such a race.”

What at all times delights me is the surprising treasures I discover whereas researching. Such treasures might encourage scenes like those above, however additionally they contribute to the sense of time and place I’m attempting to create and hover within the background whereas I write.

In response to early critiques of The Admiral’s Spouse, such analysis gems are resonating with readers:

Goodreads member Claire: “For me the stand-out 5+ star characteristic of this e book is Hong Kong itself, previous and current. I didn’t know the creator had lived there till I completed the e book, however she describes it so nicely, I questioned if she had. I may see the height, the islands, the inexperienced. I felt the warmth, the humidity, the rain, the wind. The noise and smells and crowds of the streets and the harbor, and the quiet oases hidden away within the metropolis and the locations individuals stay surrounded me. I used to be there, and I beloved it.”

Goodreads member Terry: “I felt the creator whisked me away to Hong Kong and I felt as if I used to be strolling the streets with the characters – going up and down the hills – and having fun with the magnificent panaromas. The descriptions had been detailed, particularly throughout the storm. I may really feel the wind and rain on my face.”

The Admiral’s Spouse: The lives of two ladies residing in Hong Kong greater than a century aside are unexpectedly linked by forbidden love and monetary scandal.

You should purchase The Admiral’s Spouse at Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.


M.Ok. Tod writes historic fiction. Her newest novel is THE ADMIRAL’S WIFE, a dual timeline set in Hong Kong. Mary’s other novels, PARIS IN RUINS, TIME AND REGRET, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from AmazonNookKoboGoogle Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on FacebookTwitter and Goodreads or on her web site