The Characters of The Pickwick Murders

Joanna Baillie*73A famed poetess and playwright
Lady Byron*43A scandalous lady of good reputation

As my readers know, I’ve been including a cast of characters in the front of these books, so that readers can separate fact from fiction. I always offer up at least one interesting person of the times, in addition to the real life Dickens and Hogarth families.

This time, I had fun dipping into literary London, lady style! Joanna Baillie is one of those people highly famed in her time, though forgotten now. A poet and playwright, she was a friend of the Hogarth family, so I brought her into the story along with her sister and Lucy Aikin, another famed writer. And all of this led me to…Lady Byron, the widow of Lord Byron and the mother of Ada Lovelace. She’s a fascinating woman in her own right and I enjoyed researching her and her home.

Ada Lovelace is known as the first computer programmer. I was one for fourteen years myself, so learning about how the profession started is interesting to me. Ada shows up quite often in fiction and nonfiction, and she’s very close to Charles and Kate in age. Did Charles Dickens know her? Of course. He knew everyone! But for now, we’re only encountering her mother on the page. Someday, I’m going to have to write about Lord Byron as well…

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