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If you’re wondering how a man can inherit a dukedom from his distant cousin, take a look at the Duke of Somerset’s family tree (you’ll have to click “show”). The dukes of Somerset bounced all around that tree. The 8th duke was the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of the duke whose title was previously inherited by his distant cousin, the 7th duke. I think. My eyes started glazing over when I tried to figure out what cousin that would make them. Lots of removes. Look up primogeniture and you will understand why only certain males in the tree could inherit the dukedom. It’s fascinating stuff, but so complicated it makes me reluctant to tackle my own family tree, which isn’t nearly as illustrious. I’m pretty sure King Henry VIII is not one of my ancestors!


Geoffrey from A Duke for Diana is partly inspired by an actual duke who was responsible for countless canals in England: the Duke of Bridgewater (I kid you not—that was his name). He was dubbed the “Canal Duke” because he had so many of them built or expanded. Interestingly, he never married. He was engaged to the Dowager Duchess of Hamilton (the former Elizabeth Gunning, noted society beauty), but broke it off. The Dowager Duchess went on to become the wife of a marquess who became the Duke of Argyll (so she was married to two dukes and engaged to one), and she also gave birth to four dukes (only two dukedoms, though). Thus, SHE is the inspiration for Lydia, the mother of the three dukes in the Duke Dynasty series. Hey, I take my inspiration where I find it!

Business Ventures

A Duke for Diana’s Elegant Occasions isn’t as farfetched as you might think. Although it was frowned upon for aristocratic women to be “in trade,” certain types of business ventures were tolerated in such ladies. A well-known one was hiring oneself out to “sponsor” a young lady for her debut. Normally, a woman’s mother or other close relative presented her at the Queen’s drawing room for the first time. But what if the young lady is an orphan and all her female relations are dead or not interested? Then she could actually hire a respectable lady of rank to present her. I just chose to . . . expand the practice a bit. Of course, there were the usual impoverished ladies who became governesses or companions, but there were also ladies who supported themselves by designing for Wedgwood (Lady Templeton, Lady Diana Beauclerk), along with novelists (lots of those), artists (a surprising number of those), and even a sculptor or two. I stumble across them so often that I keep a list!

The Importance of Pencils

Today I’m going to talk about pencils, because the quill gets all the attention for Regency writing implements. But seriously, I had to do so much research to figure out why people lick the tips of pencils before they start writing (because I wanted my heroine to do it, naturally), that I figured I would fob some of my knowledge off on you. The answer to that question is complicated, but the fluid does make certain kinds of pencils write better. Anyway, you may already know that the writing part of pencils isn’t made of lead, but of graphite. The pencils in the Regency were probably from graphite sawn from a large deposit discovered in Cumbria, England, in the 1500’s. Pencils in England continued to be made from that deposit until the 1860’s. The pencils in Germany, however, were made from a mix of graphite powder and clay developed by a German at the end of the 1700’s. Fun fact: during the Napoleonic Wars, the French couldn’t get pencils from England or from Germany (both were their enemies), so a French officer in Napoleon’s army independently invented his own graphite powder and clay mixture to enable the French to have pencils. Who knew that pencils were so important?


In honor of Halloween, I thought I’d talk about something rather grisly: embalming. Although it wasn’t popular in the Regency, the rich did tend to do it, especially since it enabled them to have open caskets for public funerals. So Olivia has a legitimate concern when she worries that if Grey’s father was embalmed, she might not be able to tell if he was poisoned. Every undertaker had different embalming methods at this time. How do I know? Because I stumbled across a very interesting source—Civil War era undertakers who shared their “recipes” for embalming fluid in The Era formulary: 5000 Formulas for Druggists! Most of the embalming ones contain arsenic in the form of arsenious acid. Eventually, formaldehyde replaced arsenic in embalming fluid, but that happened after the Civil War. You can find the entire formulary here.

Sabrina in the News

You’ll find Sabrina popping up all over the literary world this summer. Check out these interesting reads!

1. Read more about Sabrina’s take on “historical accuracy” in female-centered historical romance novels in a Washington Post article by fellow author, Vanessa Riley.

2. See what happens when a historical romance-reading newbie tries out Undercover Duke and breaks down the “fake dating” trope in an article on Frolic.

3. Find out which Undercover Duke scene Sabrina would pitch to a producer if the book were optioned for a movie, plus other fascinating hot takes in this interview with Harlequin Junkie.

Undercover Duke is a bestseller!

Thanks to wonderful readers like you, Undercover Duke earned spots on several bestseller lists including:

#9 on the Publishers Weekly mass market paperback list

#42 on the USA Today list

Rave Reviews for Undercover Duke!

“Smart, sexy historical romance…a perfectly fashioned love story rich in smoldering sexual chemistry, sharp wit, and a dash of danger.” —Booklist

“Undercover Duke was a great finale. The whole family made appearances, and the epilogue was a wonderful ending to the series.”—Novels Alive

“UNDERCOVER DUKE is a brilliant conclusion to a fun and entertaining series. I hear the author plans to write a Christmas novella involving the playwright, Juncker. I cannot wait!”—Romance Junkies

“Fans will delight in revisiting Sheridan’s large family in this heated, twisty tale of love and deception.”—Publishers Weekly


If you love historical romance novels and the Regency era in particular, you’ll find tons of fascinating facts in the Regency Tidbits section of my website. Just click on “The Regency” on the navigation bar to have immediate access to a host of knowledge about the vibrant and decadent Regency period. Enjoy!


In the fourth Duke Dynasty novel, readers will delight in this enchanting Regency romance with a mystery at its core, as half siblings investigate the truth about their mother’s succession of beloved husbands. The May 25 release will include a new “mass max” book size which is slightly bigger than a traditional mass market paperback and with larger print. Be one of the first to check out this conveniently sized novel by preordering a copy of UNDERCOVER DUKE now to start reading on May 25.