Frequently Asked Questions - Lady in RedA warning of course - this FAQ will have spoilers in it! It's wise not to read this page until you've finished reading the novel.
Cockney Accents Didn't Exist in Medieval Days
Absolutely that's true :). I gave a lot of thought to this issue. Jessame, in her prostitute disguise, wanted to talk in a rough London accent when she initially met Berenger to throw him off. So I had to make her talk in a different way, one that was easy for readers to hear in their heads. A cockney accent is one of the best ways to do that. Now certainly there would have been "A London Accent" in medieval times, just as there would have been a "rural southeastern England accent". When I write the normal prose, it's assumed that is in the local accent that everyone is speaking. We know of course that what they spoke in that area in the 1200s was NOT the way I wrote it, though! If we had a time machine and went back to 1200 with a tape recorder, their pattern of speech and accent would be fairly different from what I wrote. I am by necessity doing a "modern translated version" of that speech in order for modern readers to be able to read it. So, in the same way, my Cockney accent is a modern translated version of whatever the time-appropriate London accent would have been. Both the "normal" speech and the "London" speech are representations of something fairly different. Both serve the purpose of conveying a mental image to the modern reader.
Leprosy in the Middle Ages
We have the thought in modern times that lepers were stoned to death by medieval folk for being so dangerous. However, many readings seem to indicate that lepers were treated kindly, and almost reverently. Sure, nobody wanted to become a leper. But lepers weren't as ostracized as we might think. They went around begging and people gave them money and food. If they were cared for in colonies often it was for the same reason we send people with cancer to cancer clinics - so they could get attentive care and specialized medicine. Unfortunately for lepers, one of the treatments was mercury, which as we now know can cause as many problems as it might cure.
Prostitution in the Middle Ages
Prostitutes are called the oldest profession. Undoubtedly it's true. There have been prostitutes in just about every society we research - and in many cases they made quite a lot of money for themselves. Often it was one of the only ways open to a woman to earn money. Yes, they were usually not considered "high society" - but they were not necessarily treated like lepers either (he he he). Not that lepers were even treated like lepers. The point being that there would often be a prostitute or two in a given area, and people just accepted them like they accepted other parts of society.
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