I was born in the United States and grew up in Massachusetts, where I acquired a life-long interest in the American Revolution. After graduating from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, I gained my PhD in history at University College London in 1988. I was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1999. I now live in Scotland with my husband, who is British. I have lectured in American history at Dundee and Edinburgh Universities, where I specialized in the Revolutionary era.
A lifetime spent toggling between America and the UK has led me to ponder exactly when and how Britons and Americans began to think of themselves as separate peoples. When London Was Capital of America explores the period just before the American Revolution through the experiences of individual colonists in London, and shows that Americans still saw themselves as British – and were seen as such in their capital city – right up to the start of the American Revolution.
My book also reveals that America’s British heritage is not a simple story of Anglo-Saxon roots. Seen through London eyes, the colonists were a very diverse people who came from all parts of the Eighteenth century British empire, including Africa. The individuals whose stories are told in my book – an enterprising house slave from South Carolina, a plantation owner and his rebellious son, a pregnant and unwed southern belle, a Yankee merchant on the make, and the famous Ben Franklin and his fashionable son – all bring to life how Londoners related to their exotic fellow subjects from the New World just before American national independence.
I like the challenge of trying to see the world through other people’s eyes, and that influences all my writing. I love travel, books of all sorts, cycling and swimming, plants and animals, and family life.