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You never know what you don't know until you start researching. I had no idea of how common the practice of indenturing servants was in Georgian America - or how vile a practice it was. Even slaves had a better time of it. The reason was simple economics. If a slave died, you lost money. If an indentured servant died - you lost nothing but a worker. And if the poor soul died just before the terms of servitude were up - you actually saved money. There was no settlement to be made and no new set of clothes to buy to help your former servant begin a new life.

Jared's story comes from real life. There actually was a bonded servant who gained his freedom and then spent most of his adult life trying to reclaim his title. He lost in court - but most people agree it was only because the wicked uncle who had seized his title (yes - this was real life!) had too much political power to fight. You can look it up, as Master Stengel used to say. He was James Annersley, an 18th century man who claimed to be Earl of Anglesey, kidnapped and sold into bondage in America.

I invented Jared St. Andrew Bellington, Earl of Alveston, and gave him a much better time of it. Not only did he get his title, but his beautiful, wise Della too. But what's Romantic fiction for, if not happiest endings?


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