The Romance of History


What attracts me most to the historical romance genre is the magic of being transported to another era. If I could have one superpower, it would be the power of time travel. But until then, my time-machine is my imagination. It travels continuously when I am writing and it is nourished and stimulated when I read.

I don’t wish to travel forward in time; that would be as bad as taking a sneaky peak at the last page of a new novel - and how disappointing it would be if you didn’t like how the story ended. I dream of travelling back in time to experience the worlds of my ancestors; and perhaps to meet them. It is very easy to overlook that some of the very best stories and romances are our own. And, perhaps for some, that may also include stories of heroism, notoriety, intrigue and deceit. The perfect ingredients for a good read. But, beware the skeletons in the family closet.

My mother has been busy compiling her family’s genealogical history. Through her mother’s line, she has uncovered an illustrious, but long distant, past rich in treasonous nobles, rebellious Jacobites, and loyal ladies-in-waiting. A family past where Earls lost their titles and Dukes lost their heads. Encouraged by her findings, I decided to research the original Elizabeth Squire, my 4th Great Grandmother through my father’s line.

While it was already well known to our family that Elizabeth was the daughter of the 1st Fleet convict, James Squire – what wasn’t known was that she was the great-granddaughter of the infamous gypsy and reputed smuggler, Mary Squire.

Mary Squire was, in 1753, charged with the abduction of Elizabeth Canning. She was later exonerated when Elizabeth Canning was found guilty of having perjured herself and subsequently transported to Connecticut where she remained until her death. Complicated...

Meanwhile, Mary’s grandson James was transported to Australia in 1785 upon the 1st Fleet convict ship the Charlotte. So much for prestigious beginnings - Jacobites, gypsies and convicts!
by Elizabeth Squire


The ultimate irony of this story is that while the noble ancestors of my mother’s family tree have long since faded into obscurity, having been found lacking in foresight and judgment and thus longevity; the descendants of the infamous Mary Squire helped found a nation. Her grandson James established the brewing industry here in Australia, while his grandson James Squire Farnell became the first Australian Premier of New South Wales.

Whether I would actually like those long ago ancestors, is something that I will never know. The heroism of the Jacobites, the romance of the gypsies and the courage of those early convicts can now only ever be judged through the pages of history books. But, they come to life between the pages of a beautifully crafted novel, and it is there that our heroes and heroines can be as worthy as we choose.



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Mary Squire