Smart Podcast, Trashy Books Podcast

306. Historical Gossip and Useful Women: An Interview with Darcie Wilde

Today I’m chatting with Darcie Wilde, author of the Rosalind Thorne mystery series. Rosalind is the heroine of the series, and in the first book, A Useful Woman, she finds herself in reduced circumstances after her father ruins the family and runs off, taking Rosalind’s sister with her, and leaving Rosalind to care for her mother and figure out a way forward for herself. Rosalind’s story is heavily based in Regency history and in research, and – this is the fun part – a lot of gossip.

During our conversation, we discuss the role of genteel employment for women in society who couldn’t overtly be seen working for payment, and we talk about the ways in which Lord Byron was a complete and utter heel. We also cover the scandals that surrounded Almack’s, the court, and Regency society, and the ways in which court politics are immutable in every era. And we discuss the presence of people of color and marginalized groups in Regency London, and in the series.

The character and story of Rosalind Thorne presents a fascinating venue through which to examine and explore the history and experiences of people in precarious positions, especially because so little has changed in so many ways. If you’d like to hear gossip about people who are long dead, including the patronesses of Almack’s, this episode should be very dishy indeed.

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Here are the books we discuss in this podcast:

You can find Darcie Wilde at her website,


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This Episode's Music

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This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks.

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Add Your Comment →

  1. 1
    ashley says:

    can I just be nitpicky and correct the doctor’s name as poLidori? I keep hearing Darcie say pomidori, but it’s an L, not an M

  2. 2
    Rebecca says:

    The dedication of Marianne Spenser Stanhope Hudson’s novel is the best “bless your heart” I’ve ever heard.

  3. 3
    Sarah F says:

    This was a really fun interview, I can’t wait to dive into the series!
    I do want to clarify a few things that came up near the end of the conversation.
    First, the name of the doctor who was at Geneva with Byron and Shelley was Polidori, not Pomadori.
    Second, while I loved that Wilde mentioned Polidori’s novel as one of the precursors to Dracula, the line between the two novels is anything but straight. There was another vampire novel which pre-dates Dracula by 26 years;’Carmilla’ by J.S. Le Fanu. The novel is presented as the case notes of Dr. Hesselius, a probable precursor to Dr. Van Helsing. This was just as (if not more) likely to have influenced Stoker. There was also a Victorian penny dreadful series called ‘Varney The Vampire’.
    Other than these points, I found Wilde interesting to listen to- she spoke really well about the challenges women faced in navigating Regency Society, and I am really excited to see how this is explored in her novels!

  4. 4
    Hazel says:

    Thank you so much, Sarah. I love it when writers of historical fiction take history seriously. It shouldn’t be remarkable, but it is.

    Off to find Wilde’s books now.

  5. 5
    hng23 says:

    Somebody once said that gossip is the rumour of history. Some of my favourite books about 19th century bad behaviour include Fanfare of Strumpets -about famous whores of the Belle Epoque- Lives of the English Rakes, and The Hell-Fire Clubs. So deliciously salacious!

    Dad jokes! My dad was a terrible (read awesome) punster & your jokes bring back fond memories, so thanks.

  6. 6
    Darcie Wilde says:

    You are all of course correct. My bad. The doctor was Dr. Polodori, not Dr. Pomodori, which would be Dr. Tomato, which would be funny, but not accurate.

  7. 7
    Karin says:

    I loved Darcie Wilde’s HR “The Accidental Abduction”, but lost track of her, and did not realize she was writing mysteries now. I can’t wait to hear about it!

  8. 8
    Zyva says:

    Maybe worth noting the skilled offenders from How He Gets In Her Head are also dubbed ‘psychephiles’ for targeting the soul/heart. Reminded of that by Sarah’s lead-in:
    “Byron does seem like the type of person to recognize that someone has affection for him and then see what he can get out of it.”

    Plus I’ve seen narcissists referred to as ’emotional vampires’ in the acon community, so there’s some conceptual continuity in using Byron as a model. Not the first or the last, but sure one to jog the memory.

  9. 9
    Katie says:

    I absolutely LOVED this episode! All the historical gossip was fascinating. Does anyone have any nonfiction recommendations about Regency English history, gossip, and the roles of women in society where I could read more?

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