So, yeah, Berlin was pretty decadent
One of the things I love about writing historical stories is the research I get to do — I always wind up learning some fascinating stuff about the time period and the location. As it turns out, apparently I’m pretty damned good at extrapolating events, as well — for BtIC, I bought Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin as source material, and much to my surprise some of the stuff that I’d made up for the purposes of the story (e.g. Friedrich’s nephew has weak lungs and their doctor recommends that he be removed from the “tainted air” of Berlin before he dies from it, hence Friedrich’s need to make money fast) have a basis in fact. Apparently Berlin was built on a swamp, and didn’t have the greatest air quality in Germany. That being said, Berlin air was also slightly alkaline and considered to possess an amphetamine-like effect, not something you necessarily want a frail 18-month-old breathing. Talk about serendipity.
Oh, and yeah, in case there was any doubt Berlin was a total and utter fleshpot — you could get absolutely anyone or anything you wanted for a few American dollars, flamboyant homosexuality was welcomed and celebrated (apparently being a lesbian was very fashionable), and the BDSM scene was very active and a big attraction for tourists and locals like. So now you know.
In any case, I’m wading through Chapter Three, and I’m having far, far too much fun writing about Weimar-era Berlin and my poor ex-army colonel, who just found out to his shock that, um, he kind of likes being spanked. What a fascinating time.