Bestselling author Josie Riviera writes historical, inspirational, and sweet romances. Learn more about Josie and her books at her website.
Exploring the Fascinating Culture of the Romany (Gypsies)
“Gadje Gadjensa, Rom Romensa.” This is a Romany (Gypsy) saying that means “Gadje with Gadje, Rom with Rom.”
So what is a gadje? A gadje in the Romany language means “not one of us.” Many Rom prefer to not allow outsiders (us) into their lives. It’s no coincidence that in my hours, days, and months of researching the Romany for Seeking Patience, little information was available. Odd, because the Rom have lived in many places throughout the world for centuries. They’re a widely traveled people. Yet there is little written history regarding their origins, although recent evidence points to an emigration from India 1500 years ago.
I believe the reason there is little information available is because the Rom simply prefer it that way. They are a proud people who keep to themselves. And they are nomads, forever on the move, traveling by horse and wagon in caravans.
It is no secret that the Rom have suffered persecution, prejudice, exclusion, and discrimination for centuries. The “Gypsy” stereotype includes a criminal, fortune-teller, blacksmith, thief, and musician, a dark-complexioned, shadowy figure. But why do so many of us harbor this unfair prejudice? Perhaps because of the Rom’s nomadic existence, lack of a solid religious belief, and exotic clothes and lifestyle. Their dialect is distinct and related to Sanskrit. Their tradition is oral, for they didn’t have the luxury of building libraries.
One belief shared by all Rom is cleanliness. Mahrime means unclean or polluted. To avoid mahrime, clothes covering the top half of their body are washed separately from clothes on the bottom. Certain parts of the female body are considered unclean, and doctors are sometimes avoided because they deal with illness. And, a Rom can become polluted by being too close to a gadje.
Do people prove their worth by strength, or by character?
Half-Romany, half-English lord, he lives a perilous Gypsy life … until a sweet English rose saves his life, and perhaps his soul. Widowed by a cruel husband, she's given up all hope of love. Brought together in peril, they dare to reach for a brighter future together.
Luca Boldor, Romany leader, lives a nomad’s life in Regency England with his Gypsy caravan. Believing his noble father abandoned him at birth, he refuses to acknowledge his English blood, or live a settled life. But when a vicious attack by a rival leaves him bleeding on an English lady's doorstep, he has no choice but to accept her help. Her gentle faith stirs his heart in a way he has long denied.
Lady Patience Blakwell, widowed countess, lives in near poverty. Her husband's heir uses threats to keep her from demanding her rightful inheritance. With a few faithful servants, she exists quietly in the country, only her faith keeping her strong … until the day a bold, handsome Gypsy collapses in her hall. He's unlike any man she's ever known, and she'll confront any subterfuge to keep him safe.
But when a secret from Lady Patience's past emerges, Luca must face his own past, or lose her and all hope of love. Will this strong man humble himself to open his heart for his lady?