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The truth behind the story: Mastered by the Highlanders

Every good story is filled with a peppering of historical tidbits and 'facts' - just enough to make it feel legitimate. Here are five of the facts behind my book: Mastered By The Highlanders:

1. The ceramic butt plugs that Andrew uses on Callie are based on two stories about eighteenth century (and older) sex toys. This one from Poland is enormous, but apparently, whilst it's rare for archaeologists to find them, this round-up of sex-toy related historical literature shows they weren't as rare in daily life as people might think - just rarely spoken about. There's also these flimsy-looking glass butt plugs, branded as "rectal dilators," and patented in the US in 1892. Since objects of this shape have been found by archaeologists throughout many time periods and locations, however, anal training was hardly invented so late as that in non-Puritan Europe, although it's doubtful that this was public knowledge, which is why most of our evidence relates to archaeological finds and antiquities. After all, when you're sitting in your country manor house and the help are standing within five feet of you, you're probably not going to declare, "Summon the dildoes, Jeeves!" Well, unless Jeeves is very, very cool and possibly actually Stephen Fry in disguise.

2. Polyandry (the practice of one woman having multiple male sex partners) was alive and well in the 18th century - albeit all the evidence comes from Asia. Here's the Wikipedia article "polyandry in India," while in China, a 3:2 men to women ratio between 1700 and 1900 made it common for women to take more than one man although the ruling classes found this state of affairs unacceptable. This article talks about polyandry in 18th century Malaysia, while this one shows that in Tibet, it was common for brothers to marry the same woman. Gotta love a good brotherly bromance.

3. The Highland Clearances were much less sexy than polyamorous relationships, but sadly a fact of life for those living in 18th Century Scotland. While Callie didn't know where the people were being moved to, I do - London, North America, and later, the Scottish coast and Australia. The land freed up by getting rid of as many Highlanders as possible was then used for sheep farming. Here's an informative article and another informative article about them, since a lot of the history on the subject is still being obfuscated by the English (because all the stuff about Bonnie Prince Charlie casts deep questions about the legitimacy of the current monarch).

4. The Glencoe tragedy that Callie refers to several times was actually the Glencoe Massacre, but it's often called a tragedy by those in the Highlands and feelings still run high on both sides amongst some people. Here's a good article on the Glencoe massacre.

5. Neeps and tatties feature quite heavily at dinner time in the castle. Here's an explanation of the debate about whether a neep is a turnip or a swede (aka a rutabaga), and here's a Jamie Oliver recipe if you would like to make your own neeps and tatties (and haggis, but you can skip that if you just want an easy Scottish side dish); he says you can use either turnips OR swede, and let's be fair, they're identical and taste similar when you cover them in gravy, which I prefer to do, but then, I'm one of those strange folk who eats fish and chips with gravy too!

Mastered by the Highlanders is out now, find it here on Amazon.

Lots of Love,

Katie xxxx

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