The Merchant and the Rogue contains a story, written in the style of a 19th Century “Penny Dreadful”–a story, usually melodramatic and over-the-top, that was published in serial form for one penny per installment–as it would have been written by the hero of The Merchant and the Rogue, Brogan Donnelly.
I set this story, a mystery filled with creepy scenery and disconcerting characters, in the real-life Museum of Natural History in Dublin, Ireland. This museum was opened in 1856 in a stately Dublin building, and very little about it has changed since. It is often described as “a museum of a museum.” Walking through this piece of Dublin history is like stepping back in time. And it is one of the most wonderfully creepy places I have ever had the joy of visiting.
The large, four-story building is filled to the rafters with taxidermied animals, skeletons, pelts, preserved fauna. Many of the specimens have been on display for over 150 years. This museum, filled with once-living creatures, is known affectionately amongst the locals in Dublin as “The Dead Zoo.”
The museum offers an online virtual tour of the exhibits, the main hall, the wings and balconies, and it is fascinating! Go have a virtual look around, then go read “The Dead Zoo” woven through The Merchant and the Rogue. The creepiness of it is some of the most fun I’ve had creating a setting.
Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today best-selling author of witty and charming historical romances, including 2020’s Foreword Reviews INDIE Awards Gold Winner for Romance, Forget Me Not, and 2020 Holt Medallion finalist, Healing Hearts. She is a two-time “Best of State” Gold Medal winner for fiction and a three-time Whitney Award winner. Combining her obsession with history and her affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting deep characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library.
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