In my "Muskoka Novels" I have quite a few real people mingling with my characters or mentioned "off-stage". It gives even more of a sense of the time and the reality for which I strive. In Elusive Dawn we dine with Nancy Astor at her fabulous estate, Cliveden, spend a country house weekend with Lord Beaverbrook, meet Britain's top Ace pilot, Billy Bishop, and hear about lots of others.
One of those is Lady Diana Manners. The Lady Di of her day, Diana was considered to be the most beautiful young woman in England. Her parents, the Duke and Duchess of Rutland, hoped that she would marry the Prince of Wales. She worked as a VAD nurse during the war, which she wrote about in her memoir, The Rainbow Comes and Goes. Her mother in particular was very much against that, as Diana reported, "She explained in words suitable to my innocent ears that wounded soldiers, so long starved of women, inflamed with wine and battle, ravish and leave half-dead the young nurses who wish only to tend them." The Duchess gave in, but "knew, as I did, that my emancipation was at hand." Diana goes on to admit, "I seemed to have done nothing practical in all my twenty years." Nursing plunged her and other young women into a life-altering adventure.
Doesn't that stir the imagination!