Too much History for Historical Fiction

What does a writer (unpublished) do when told by someone in the publishing industry that although she (the writer) has an impressive knowledge of history, there is far too much of it going on in her Historical Fiction novel?

And – that her Main Character is not famous enough for anyone to EVER be interested in reading her story?

My main character – Marie de Rohan – helped drive a fundamental change in 17th century European history. Her story can’t be told without this ‘history’ aspect. She was interesting enough for Alexandre Dumas to write about her and for Marcel Proust to mention her in his Remembrance of Things Past. Also – Queen Victoria was on the throne when the last major study of her life happened.

Both comments have utterly floored me for a while now. Are these industry wide thoughts?
Is there no room anymore for the new subject – a Scarlett O’Hara rather than sweetie-pie?
No room for the pure, un-PC historical without pages of velvet bodices and excruciating post- Freudian self-examination?

I don’t – I can’t – believe that this is true. Am I wrong? Do you have any thoughts about marquee names and watered down history? Help, please!

Picking myself off the floor now.
I’m stubborn enough to carry on regardless. Just not sure which way to turn!!

Marie de Rohan

17th Century Anagrams

I’ve been reading about Dame Eleanor Davies and her time in Bedlam. She was committed to the asylum on December 17th 1636.

She had been tried in 1633 for treason against King Charles 1. The charge levelled because of her self-proclaimed status as prophetess and, more damaging, her prophecies about the deaths of Buckingham and Charles.

Dame Eleanor played a popular 17th century game of anagrams but her’s was more dangerous. When she realised that John Davies (the name of her husband) was an anagram of JOVE’S HAND, she put on widow’s weeds and publicly declared that her husband would be dead within a year.

John’s response was – ‘I pray you weep not while I’m alive, and I will give you leave to laugh when I am dead.’

Eleanor laughed before the year was out.

At her trial, a chaplain played the Dame at her own game by demonstrating that Eleanor’s name made the anagram ‘NEVER SO MAD A LADIE’

This all got me thinking about my own characters names and anagrams and I tested a few.

My main character is called Marie de Rohan – DRAMA HEROINE

Louis de Bourbon – DUBIOUS NOBLE OR

Cardinal Richelieu – A CLINICAL RUED HEIR

Gaston d’Orléans – A GRANDNESS FOOL

Walter Montagu – NATURAL GEM – WOT.

I’ve decided to rename my novel. It’s now A SAVAGED MANY FLOWER VOW by QUEEN JIGGLY ARC.

Keep your eye out for it!

Come Dance a Sarabande

Sarabande

Sarabande

In 17th century France, the sarabande was a popular but frowned upon dance. Fiery and fast, in 1583 it was banned in Spain on account of its obscenity.

Anne of Austria and Marie de Rohan managed to trick Cardinal Richelieu into dressing up and dancing a sarabande in the Queen’s private apartments.

The mind boggles!