Word of the Month: Imbroglio

I love this word! Let me do a happy dance here for a minute. This word comes up so often in a Regency Romance! Totally not a word you can learn to pronounce without help unless you are Italian. But you can learn the meaning from context.

Strangely enough, this word has cropped up frequently in the news lately regarding a certain top rank politician. In romances, it’s used to talk about a scandal that has become public knowledge and involves two or more well-known public figures. Like if Kim Kardashian and Mel Gibson were found in Lady Gaga’s World Series box having wild monkey sex. Only more so, because people just didn’t do that!

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As before, I am going to attempt to use this word in my upcoming blogs. I’m 0 for 2 so far, and all bets are off. The short range memory needs a longer extension cord. That’s my story and I am sticking you with it.

Since I brought up politics, I want to reference an article I read recently saying that President Barack Obama is the first president since Nixon to not be embroiled in an investigation of some kind or other. That’s pretty impressive and amazing. For 8 years, this country had a calm, peaceful aura around the White House. But those 8 years have gone away and the scandal and imbroglio are back in force.

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My Regency Banquet series rather avoids imbroglio in the first two books, but in the last one, there is a very public scandal. One of the Curtis twins shows up at his own funeral. I don’t think I am giving anything away because it’s pretty obvious that’s what happens. Yes, he is actually late to his own funeral. Otherwise, he could have saved his family a lot of expense and trouble.

The best thing about this is that I got to research lots of funeral customs from 1806 England. Women were often considered too delicate to attend a funeral of a family member. They were also given a pretty strict custom of dressing for the next year. Depending on the closeness of the relative, the woman had to wear black for six months to a year, then purple and lavender for months more. For this reason, the scene in Gone with the Wind (the movie) where Scarlet dances with Rhet while dressed in her mourning gown caused such an imbroglio.

We can’t end this topic without a glimpse of Queen Victoria, who so loved her dear husband, Prince Albert, that she mourned him for the rest of her life. Well, she wore black for the rest of her life. Several movies suggest she had male “companions” to help pass the time. Mrs Brown and Victoria and Abdul are windows into a long life made lonely by the early death of her husband.

What an imbroglio there would have been if the public learned about those relationships at the time. Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.

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