Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Opium? A gift for your fiancee if you are a British merchant in Shanghai? No! Fu Dogs and...

From approximately 1820s until Mao Tse-tung and his communist friends took over in China in 1949, opium was a major influence on Chinese politics. British merchants—and Americans along with other foreigners—traded in the poppy and its products. Why? It was an unequal trade and financed what might have been a losing trade out of China. Complicated but true.

So in my next novel, SCANDALOUS HEIRESS, my hero is a British merchant who lives in the British canton of Shanghai. He does not deal in opium, and in fact, refuses to, understanding the disastrous effects on any human who uses it.

But he is about to get married. (Like you do in a good romance.) And he wants to give his fiancee gifts that are useful, decorative and evocative.

What does he give her?

A kimono from Japan. (Why Japan and not China? Because in the 1880s, kimonos are the rage from the newly opened and modernizing island country. He has many stocked in his factories in the East London docks.)

Fu dogs.  Why? Fu dogs are Guardians of home and hearth. You will also see them at entrances to palaces and temples. They bring good luck, peace, serenity and protection.

Chinese silk wallpaper. The Chinese were expert makers of beautiful yards of highly colored wallpaper. This picture is my own and I took it in Ham House south of London. The silk is faded and the curators of the house have darkened the room to protect the fragile fabric. Yet you can see that what once was red is now a different color.

He also gives her cultured pearls from China. These were developed since the Sung dynasty in China and are still popular today.

SCANDALOUS HEIRESS, Book 4 in popular THOSE NOTORIOUS AMERICANS series, debuts February 4! But it is on pre-order now for 99 cents. Regular prince will be $3.99!

My AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE for all in this series!