I'm one of those readers who likes authors to get the facts straight in their novels. I was not happy when one of my favorite mystery authors had his hero fill the tank of an old Sentra with 20 gallons of gas, because I had driven a couple of Sentras and knew that their tanks only held about 11 gallons. The author's error undermined my trust that other details he described were right. By the same token, I hate it when writers of historical romances write dialogue where characters use recent slang that would never been spoken by someone in 1985, to say nothing of 1805.
So this motivates me to do a lot of research about the things I put into my own books. I check the words I use in an etymological dictionary to make sure they were in use at the time of my story or not long after--since it takes a while for new words to appear in print. I research material details. If something appears in a room my characters walk through, it is often because I found it pictured in a contemporaneous print.
But I'm learning that using historically accurate facts in a novel can backfire, because the actual historical fact can conflict with what readers think they "know" based on their much more recent experience.
Only to have a reviewer insist I had gotten it wrong because her father-in-law--who one assumes was not in active service in 1820--had worn a uniform of a different color when he was in an Irish cavalry regiment. This, discrepancy, apparently, convinced the reviewer that my book was riddled with inaccuracies, an opinion she passed on to countless readers who when they pick up my book--if they bother--will approach it with the "knowledge" that it's all wrong.
Of course it is possible, even with detailed research, that I will get some things wrong. I'm not writing for the Journal of Regency Studies, but for a reader who wants a deeply moving, passionate love story. At a certain point I have to let go of the research and follow my characters where they may lead me.
But I do want to assure those of you who do care about getting things right--and since my publisher has made a point of promoting my books as books that do get the historical details right I know you're out there--that I have done my research, quite a lot of it. So if something looks wrong, give me the benefit of the doubt, or if it really bothers you, shoot me an email and I'll be happy to explain my reasoning and listen to what you've found that might contradict it.