Over the past several years it’s taken me (yes, about two years in total) to write The King’s Consort-The Louise Rasmussen Story, I’ve had many people ask me why I decided to write a (bio) historical fiction novel. This is a small departure from the genre of my first two titles, which were paranormal romances (soon to be re-released). I say a small departure because the romantic lead male in those novels is the ghost of an English Lord, Sir Richard Abbottsford.
The truth is, I’ve wanted to write this story for a long time; ever since my mother told me her paternal family may be related to Louise Rasmussen, Countess Danner. Intrigued, I listened with avid interest as my mother told me about Louise—a woman who was born the illegitimate daughter of a seamstress and became a ballerina with the Royal Danish Ballet, then married King Frederik VII of Denmark in the mid-1800s.
I’ve always been fascinated by strong women who step beyond their “station” in life and live remarkable lives, thereby affecting the lives of others around them. Seldom do those in positions of power accept these women. Often, the opposite is true. They are vilified and called terrible names in an attempt to keep them in their so-called “place”. But if not for women like Louise, significant, lasting reforms and changes might not ever have been made. In my eyes, these women are heroes. They accept the unwanted challenges placed before them and forge ahead. I don’t believe these women have no fear. In fact, I imagine they experience a great deal of fear. To be denigrated for being born into a certain social caste must be a terrible burden that women all over the world still suffer today. To be seen as unworthy of high achievement is demoralizing and tremendously difficult to overcome. Yet these women choose to take up the battles anyway.
Why do they do it? I don’t know for sure, but I expect that some do it out of an inability to accept injustice. Perhaps some do it to right terrible social wrongs, and I imagine that some do it because they come to understand that they can. I doubt any of the strong women of history, or of today, rejoice in the negative light they are portrayed in, or who suffer strong consequences for their actions and their voicing of injustice. As with Countess Danner, who at the end of her life created a safe house for poor and abused women, unwed mothers and their children (that still exists today), the road that lead them to take such unprecedented action would have been extremely difficult.
The fact that Louise and many other women like her didn’t have to do what they did, speaks volumes to me about their character. For instance, by the time Countess Danner created what fondly became known as Danner House (Dannerhuset), in Copenhagen, Denmark, she had married King Frederik VII. She had money, land, and a respectable title. She could have chosen to live a very comfortable life and ignore the plight of the poor women of her country. Instead, having grown up poor and giving birth to her own illegitimate son, she took it upon herself to do something about a social plight that she understood all too well. Initially unable to find a suitable location for her women’s shelter, she opened a portion of her home at Jaegerspris Castle, to the women who so desperately needed such a facility. Today, Jaegerspris Castle is open to the public as a museum, with tributes to King Frederik VII and Countess Danner.
It seems to me that when women decide to take up a tremendous challenge, they don’t do it lightly. They seldom do it for fame, money, or social position. In fact, most of these women go into battle knowing they are alone and stand to lose a great deal. In some cases, they lose everything, including their lives or the lives of those they love. There can be no greater service, and the chances of success are negligible. They risk all for others.
No, I believe these women undertake such risks because they see a need and realize that no one is going to do anything to change it, if they don’t do it themselves. They have a vision for a different life for others. They do it for love of humanity. I believe they do it because they feel they must.
The legacy these women leave behind isn’t always felt on a huge or global scale. Sometimes it’s very small, affecting only those whose lives they immediately touch. Sometimes the cause is taken up by others, who continue it long after the woman who first sought to make significant change has died. They inspire others to follow suit, thereby ensuring the vision lives on long after their own years on this earth have passed. What an incredible gift.
So, the reason I wrote The King’s Consort is because I felt compelled to do so. I felt that Louise, whether it is ever proven that I and my maternal family are related to her or not (no, I haven’t gone down that road yet, but I will) deserves to be recognized for her contribution to the women of Denmark. Her story is a remarkable one that I wanted to share with others, not just because she rose from nothing to marry a king, but because she loved with all her heart, and was loved in return. She gave back to others with a generosity of heart that history seldom recognizes her for. Together she and King Frederik VII made significant contributions to the country and people they loved, and in my eyes, that deserves to be written about and held up as an example of what we are all capable of, if we choose.
Please share with us who some of the strong women of today or yesterday are that you admire, and why?
Note: The King’s Consort-The Louise Rasmussen Story is a work of fiction based on the life of Louise Rasmussen, Countess Danner of Denmark. Although many events and people in this story are real, the story has been fictionalized for entertainment purposes, and is not intended to replace historical facts.