Interview and Giveaway with Author Jillian Kent

Hello all you Regency fans,

Naomi Rawlings here today, and I’ve got a special guest to introduce: Jillian Kent, author of the newly released novel Chameleon. Jillian has graciously agreed to giveaway one copy of her novel to someone who reads the interview and then leaves a comment below. The contest will end Saturday at midnight and is open only to U.S. residents. Here’s a bit about Jillian:

Jillian is employed full-time as a counselor for nursing students in a hospital based college. She and her husband are both social workers and met in West Virginia and they’ve been married for 31 years.

Jillian can’t believe Book Two of the Ravensmoore Chronicles, Chameleon, is on the shelves and in the cyberspace bookstores! It was just this time last year that her first book, Secrets of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book One hit the shelves. Jillian says, “It’s been a year of growth and change in the publishing world and the constant personal challenge of seeking balance while writing a new book, working as a counselor, and enjoying my family. This has taken the development of new time management skills.”

So without further ado, here’s a few Regency questions I asked of Jillian:

1.    What drew you to write during the Regency Time Period?

That’s the time period I like to read.

2. Tell us what year your book is set in and why you chose that particular time.

Chameleon, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book Two is set in 1819.

3.    What’s your favorite, unique Regency aspect of the novel, something you wouldn’t have been able to include in a novel set in another time or place?

I had many favorite aspects of this novel. This is just one of those novels that will be difficult for me to top as a personal best. I really believe that. I don’t know how others will judge it, but it’s everything I wanted it to be. Here’s a brief scene that includes Carlton House that I think adds that Regency-ish aspect you’re talking about.

Witt, with Ravensmoore at his side, walked through the Carlton House main entrance, which was graced with six Corinthian columns. Inside they were greeted by a grand staircase, chandeliers, marble floors, and ceilings painted with scenes of myths and legends. Though he’d seen the place many times, he was again struck by the grandeur, the paintings by Gainsborough and Reynolds, and portraits by Van Dyck and Rembrandt.

Grand indeed.

When he’d last entered only a few hours earlier, it had been through the rear entrance of the palace with Stone dripping blood onto the polished marble. This time, his attention was on Ravensmoore and the argument that had ensued in the carriage prior to their arrival.

4. What are the biggest challenges to writing in the Regency Period?

As much as I read about and study this era, I feel like there is so much yet to learn. I’m always terrified of making an error. I want to make the time period come alive and want readers to feel like they are there in London, in Parliament, seeing what was to be seen in those days and smelling the smells, some of which were not so lovely in town.

5. What initially drew you to be interested in writing  books set during the Regency Era?

I discovered England when I spent a semester living in Oxford for part of my senior year of college in 1976.

6. Who is your favorite Regency Author?

Oh, that’s hard. I’m not going to pick a CBA author because I love all of them. In the ABA I’d have to say Julia Quinn.

7. What is your favorite Regency Food?

Any kind of dessert but no fruit cake. I love custards. Here’s a nice page of desserts. http://www.janeausten.co.uk/online-magazine/regency-recipes/desserts/

8. What is your favorite Regency setting?

London and Yorkshire. I love the moors and the mist.

******

Jillian, thanks so much for being with us today, and what a lovely interview you gave. How lucky you were to spend a semester in England. You must have loved it. I’m afraid I’m not very well traveled, but I’m jealous of those who are! I’d have to agree with you that Julia Quinn is one of my favorite secular Regency authors. She can make the simplest situations so hilarious, and I love that about her. And I’m so not a fruitcake fan. So I agree with you about the desserts. Thanks for sharing the recipe website.

Here’s some more information about Jillian Kent, and Chameleon:

How much can you really know about someone?

Lady Victoria Grayson has always considered herself a keen observer of human behavior. After battling a chronic childhood illness that kept her homebound for years, she journeys to London determined to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Jaded by his wartime profession as a spy, Lord Witt understands, more than most, that everyone is not always who they pretend to be. He meets Victoria after the Regent requests an investigation into the activities of her physician brother, Lord Ravensmoore.

Witt and Victoria become increasingly entangled in a plot targeting the lords of Parliament. Victoria is forced to question how well she knows those close to her while challenging Witt’s cynical nature and doubts about God. Together they must confront their pasts in order to solve a mystery that could devastate their future.

Chameleon released May 15th  from Charisma Media/Realms

A final message from Jillian:

If you read book one you know I’m fascinated with human behavior and how our minds work. This will be even more clear to you if you read Chameleon.:) And if you do read this book PLEASE don’t give away the ending so that others can enjoy the journey the whole way through to its conclusion. Once again you will find yourself in Regency England. You will return to Bedlam. You will meet Devlin’s sister, Victoria, aka, Snoop. It won’t take long to find out why the family calls her Snoop. I hope you will escape into the past with me and you, just like some of my characters may find faith for the future. If you are a sleuth at heart you will love this story. If you want to read the first chapter of this novel to see if it’s your kind of read please visit my website at http://jilliankent.com/books.html You can also join in the conversation on my blog anytime.

Other than my personal blog I also blog with the other Realms writers at Just the Write Charisma. http://justthewritecharisma.blogspot.com/

I’m very proud of the Well Writer column that I organized with the encouragement of Bonnie Calhoun. You can find it here: http://www.christianfictiononlinemagazine.com/brilliant_well.html

If you’re interested in being entered in the giveaway for Chameleon, please leave a comment below, and thank you so very much for stopping by to meet Author Jillian Kent today.

Poets of the Regency: William Wordsworth

Welcome back to our continuing series on the poets of the Regency! This is where we find out what might have been in the slim volumes of verse a Regency heroine would reach for in her well-appointed library when she wanted a little literary distraction. Today’s Regency-era poet? The master of the English Romantic movement: William Wordsworth.

The glory of the hills

The Lake District was Wordsworth’s stomping ground and inspired much of his poetry. Part of the reason the area became a popular tourist destination during the Regency (if you’ll remember, Elizabeth Bennett made plans to visit the area with her aunt and uncle in “Pride and Prejudice”), was because of Wordsworth’s poetry (he also published a guide to the area in 1810).

In an era before National Geographic television specials, Wordsworth’s command of words took the natural glory of the Lake District and brought it to life in the minds of city-dwellers, firing their desire to visit the land full of fells and falls.

The religion of nature

But if his poetry had merely been a recitation of the beauties of nature, it would never have struck the deep chord that it did. Instead, Wordsworth took the sweetness of what he saw and heard in the hills and distilled it down into an essence of peace that comforted him when he was again “in lonely rooms, and mid the din/Of towns and cities“.

Indeed, he was almost a panentheist, sensing in the world around him

A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean, and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. 

This sub-Christian philosophy had the effect both of deepening the meaning of his work and of making his sentiments provocative and controversial. Personally, I always want to read him twice: once to drink in all the beauty of his verse, and once to argue my way through the philosophy of it.

But what I have learned from Wordsworth – what I will be forever grateful to have learned – is how to drink in God’s creation when I am in the midst of it. How to notice, really notice, the glory of my surroundings when I’m somewhere beautiful like the high Sierras or the Oregon coast, and then how to take those memories out and relive them when I’m again trapped in the concrete jungle of the city, or when my heart is discouraged or my feelings low. Wordsworth didn’t just “wander lonely as a cloud”, he taught us all how to keep our eyes and our hearts open during our wanderings, and to return home richer than we left, memories full and minds engaged in thoughts about everything we saw when we were out in the world.

Make like a lady of the Regency and read some Wordsworth

Two poems to start with? One, the famous “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”. It’s short, but much richer than you might expect from a poem ostensibly about little yellow flowers. Then, if that whets your appetite, go on to the slightly longer, immensely powerful “Tintern Abbey”. Remember, it’s always going to be better read aloud, so you can hear the rhythm and flow of the language.

If you do go and read some Wordsworth, come back and tell me what you thought of him in the comments! Or if you’ve a favorite Wordsworth poem already, let me know what it is!

Also, let me know if you have a beautiful place you bring to your mind when you need a little bit of beauty to life your heart. My favorite is King’s Canyon in the Sequoia National Forest, and I’d love to hear what yours is!

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell 

 

Abasing Oneself in Society

 “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 14:11 KJV

(Read Luke 14:7-11.)

This passage often comes to mind when writing about the Regency. The notion of sitting at the lowest place, of abasing oneself in society is an anathema to what we show amongst the peoples of the Regency. Getting the highest honors, marrying the highest ranked man or the richest heiress was what the world was all about, or at least what the world we portray was all about. And yet we write Christian Regencies, which means our characters must have a Christian world view while living in a society that insisted upon promoting one’s social standing and/or wealth—politely, of course. On the one hand, they are not supposed to raise themselves up if they are to be serious followers of Christ. On the other hand, they cannot move through the halls and balls of even the gentry without looking, acting, and simply being the best in an attempt to attract the best.

Rhubarb Restaurant in Edinburgh, Scotland allows you to dine regency style today. Seated here, even the lowest place at the table is grand.

As I write my characters, I struggle with this dichotomy for them. And then I think how apropos to today’s society are the struggles of my characters.

Nowadays, everything is about networking. To network, we need to promote and promote and then, for a change, promote some more. Get our names out there for the world to see, recognize, respond to, we’re told. Editors won’t buy books from authors who don’t already have a web presence, etc., etc., etc.

Networking Around the World

Hubris is the word that comes to mind. Extreme pride or arrogance. It’s practically de rigueur for a Regency hero to be that way. Yet how can we have an arrogant hero who is a Christian? How can we as Christians be prideful of our work enough to tell people they should select ours above all others?

I’d like to know the thoughts of others on this subject, as it is something with which I struggle for my characters of my books and within my own character. My conclusion is to put others first, uphold others, place them at the head of the table, and let God take care of the rest.

How to Have an American Duke

Ah, titles. They are one of the most fascinating things about the Regency period, I think. It’s no secret that people are enamored with the idea of royalty. (Have you seen the one year William and Kate Wedding Dollsanniversary dolls of William and Kate?) The fascination with titles and everything that comes with them is part of the draw of the Regency time period. Right before the industrial revolution and the rise of the middle class, the power and prestige that came from sheer luck of birth was still riding high at the beginning of the 19th century.

Kristi here, with a look at how all that power and prestige makes its way down the family tree. On the surface, inheritance is simple. But the intricacies can get very complex.

I read a completely made up statistic once that more fictional English dukes have been created than have ever actually existed. If you type “duke” into Barnes and Noble’s search bar you won’t find that hard to believe.

But, just for kicks, I’m going to make up another one to use in this example. Introducing the Duke of Handsomeshire (because, really, what good is a fictional duke if he doesn’t look good?)

The Creation of the Duke of Handsomeshire

Sometime back in history, the king thought someone deserved great honor and bestowed upon him the title of Duke of Handsomeshire. He was given some land and possibly some money and a whole bunch of other favors because the king liked him.

Now the First Duke of Handsomeshire  feels very responsible for this new title. He gets himself a wife and sets about having an heir and a spare or two. Or five or six because children died way too often back then. We’ll call his sons Adam, Benjamin, Charles, and Edward. (D was Deborah and she’s a girl, so sadly means nothing in this article.)

Fictional duke with four sons and a daughter.

The Progression of the Dukedom

Chatsworth House
Chatsworth House, seat of the Duke of Devonshire, via Wikimedia Commons

The title, property, money, and all of that other fun stuff pass down to son number one, Adam. He becomes the second Duke of Handsomeshire. All the other kids? Well, good luck to them. If Adam is feeling generous he might help the others, but really he doesn’t have to. All Adam has to do is manage the estate, find him a wife, and make lots of little heirs of his own.

This  continues down the line for several generations. As long as the Duke of Handsomeshire has sons, there’s little question of who inherits. However, years go by and the sixth Duke of Handsomeshire is blessed with lovely, talented, beautiful daughters. Who can’t inherit squat as far as the title is concerned.

By now the family tree of the original duke looks like this:

Fictional duke's family tree extending out six generations
Click the picture to see it in full detail

The Rerouting of the Direct Line

Once the sixth Duke of Handsomeshire dies, the powers that be start tracing the tree backward. Since women can’t inherit, they can immediately be ignored.

Hopefully the sixth duke had a younger brother. If that younger brother is dead, then hopefully the younger brother had little boys of his own. But, alas, it’s a generation of skirts, so up the tree we go.

If, as I have made the case here, there aren’t a whole lot of male progeny, they have to trace quite a good distance back to keep it in the direct male line of the original title holder. In this case we have to go all the way back to the 1st duke’s fourth son, Edward. Benjamin had lots of daughters and Charles sadly died without any offspring. You can make his death as tragic as you like. It really has no bearing on the inheritancy.

What you end up with is this:

Fictional duke's extended family, showing 7th and 8th dukes
Click to see the picture larger

The 8th duke isn’t going to inherit until his father dies, of course. He’s just labeled to show the continuation of the line.

The Ramifications of the New Line

Now over six generations, the family is going to spread out. With no tie to the title or the family money, descendents of younger sons have had to make their own way in life. It’s feasible that somewhere along the line these men moved. Possibly even out of the country. Not expecting to inherit, and indeed possibly not even knowing there was a duke back in  branches of the family tree, they’ve gone about their lives.

Suddenly a guy shows up with a complicated diagram and a whole lot of legal papers stating you’ve inherited something from your sixth cousin. And this is how you could end up with an American (or French or German) Duke of Handsomeshire that actually knows how to farm or run a business or some other such un-aristocratic skill.

The Case of No Male Descendants

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. When a peerage was made, there could be provisions set that allowed certain titles to descend through the female line. Probably the most famous exception was the Duke of Marlborough. His family looked like this:

The Family of the First Duke of Marlborough
By John Closterman (1660-1711) via. Wikimedia Commons

But neither of the lads in the picture survived, leaving him with only daughters. This meant that the brand new title had nowhere to go. So provision was made for the title to pass through the female line down to the next male heir.

Knowing this, it now makes a lot more sense why so many second and third cousins could be found hanging around and reminding everyone of their connection to the peerage. One never knew when one might inherit.

Learn More

If you’re looking for more information about the details of exceptions to this male-inheritance rule as well as pesky things such as entails and what happened to a title if there were no male sixth cousins hanging around, you can read this article from ChristianRegency.com.

Now just for fun, go trace your family tree and see how far you are away from a title. Unless you’re female.  Then you can see how many people would have to die for your brother or husband to inherit. Should only take you a couple dozen years or so.

Faith

I recently finished reading The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. In truth, I was given this book many, many years ago (but who’s counting?) by a dear sister in Christ, and it took me this long to read it. Maybe because it is an older work (published in 1961), so the language was just a little off-putting.

But perhaps, there is a time and a season for the devotionals we read. I’ve found that to be so in my life. I’ll have a book on a shelf for a long time, and suddenly will read it, and it will really minister to me at that point in time.

Such was this book. It’s all about the “attributes of God.” Tozer lived and worked at a time (mid-20th century) when he felt the church was in apostasy because it had lost the sense of awe in God. It had brought God down to its own petty, human level.

For today’s post, I just wanted to share a paragraph of Tozer’s in his chapter on the Wisdom of God, one of God’s attributes. Here he is discussing faith (I have emphasized certain parts with boldface):

It is vitally important that we hold the truth of God’s infinite widsom as a tenet of our creed; but this is not enough. We must by the exercise of faith and by prayer bring it into the practical world of our day-by-day experience.

To believe actively that our Heavenly Father constantly spreads around us providential circumstances that work for our present good and our everlasting well-being brings to the soul a veritable benediction. Most of us go through life praying a little, planning a little, jockeying for position, hoping but never being quite certain of anything, and always secretly afraid that we will miss the way. This is a tragic waste of truth and never gives rest to the heart.

There is a better way. It is to repudiate our own wisdom and take instead the infinite wisdom of God. Our insistence upon seeing ahead is natural enough, but it is a real hindrance to our spiritual progress. God has charged Himself with full responsibility for our eternal happiness and stands ready to take over the management of our lives the moment we turn in faith to Him. Here is His promise: “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.” (Isaiah 42:16)

I hope these words touch you as much as they did me on this beautiful Friday morning.

In Christ,

Ruth

Mourning in the Regency Period

Earlier this month, Susan shared with us some sobering statistics about death during England’s Regency period. According to her May 4th post, the average life expectancy in England in the early 1800s was about 40 years, and the infant mortality rate was around 15%.

The people of the Regency had very specific “rules” on how to deal with and display grief over losing a loved one. Though not as strict as the mourning customs that would later develop in the Victorian period, Regency mourning conventions were complex. Let’s take a look at  some of the key characteristics of mourning during the Regency.

Length of the Mourning Period
During the Regency, a person would “go into mourning” when they lost a loved one. The length of time they would mourn was determined by their relationship to the deceased. Typically, the more distant the relative, the shorter the mourning period, and eventually socially acceptable guidelines emerged. When you consider the number of relatives a person could have, it was not uncommon to be in mourning for years!

Below are some general guidelines for mourning durations in the Regency.
(NOTE: Mourning period lengths could vary slightly by social class or region. The lengths indicated below were guidelines, but ultimately, the length of time a person chose to mourn was a personal decision.)

Husband or wife:  1 year
Son or daughter:  6 months – 1 year  (the older the child, the longer the mourning period)
Parent or Parent-In-Law:  6 months–1 year
Grandparent:  6 months
Brother or Sister:  3-6 months
Aunt or Uncle:  3 months
First Cousin:  2 -6 weeks
Second Cousin:  1 week


Mourning Dresses

Individuals in mourning were expected to set themselves apart from society. In the “see-and-be-seen” society of the Regency, the most visible way to accomplish this was through one’s clothing. With the rise of popularity of fashion journals/magazines, mourning dresses became more elaborate and specific. These gowns could be very expensive, so it was not uncommon for women of modest means to dye or alter older dresses to use for mourning. Over time, the mass production of dark fabric made it more readily available and more affordable, and the rising middle class had the means to purchase it. As a result, mourning gowns became a “must” in a woman’s wardrobe.

During the Regency, there were two general stages of mourning:  full mourning and half mourning.

A Woman’s Full Mourning Attire:
Full mourning (or deep mourning) was the first stage.  During this stage, a woman would dress in all black – typically bombazine (heavier silk), crepe (lightweight silk treated to have no sheen), sarsnet, gossamer, and velvet – and she would accessorize with a mourning bonnet, black shawl, black gloves, widow’s cap, and/or a crepe veil. The only acceptable jewelry for full mourning was that of jet, black enamel, black glass, or amber. Embellishments, such as buckles or buttons, needed to be modest. While in full mourning, a woman was expected to abstain from social activities.

A Woman’s Half Mourning Attire:
About half-way through the mourning process, a mourner would shift to the next stage: half mourning. The mourner could now wear select somber hues, including violet, mauve, brown, gray, or lavender. Jewelry made of pearls, coral, and amethysts could also be worn. Wearing rings, brooches, or pendants made from the deceased hair was common during this stage.  While in half mourning, a woman could gradually resume her social activities.

 

A Man’s Mourning Attire
The expectations regarding a man’s mourning attire were much simpler. Since men wore black as part of their regular wardrobe, mourning clothes were not a dramatic transformation. While mourning, men would usually wear a black jacket.  Additionally, some men would wear a black crepe armband, black cravat and/or shirt, black gloves, or a black ornament or band on their hat.

Mourning a Spouse
The mourning period for a widow or widower was traditionally one year plus one day.

Rules for the Mourning Widow:
The strictest, most intense form of mourning during the Regency was that of a widow mourning her husband. Social custom forbade a widow to marry within the year following her husband’s death. The main reason for this was to ensure the woman was not with child, which would put the identity of the child’s father in question. During full mourning, it was unacceptable for a widow to attend social functions, and her social interactions were limited to receiving calls.

Rules for the Mourning Widower:
The expectations on a mourning widower were much different than those for a widow. While a widow was expected to go into seclusion for an extended period of time, widowers were not expected to go into seclusion for more than a couple of weeks because of his business responsibilities. Additionally, a widower was permitted to remarry right away, especially if he had young children to care for.

In parting, I leave you with a few more mourning facts:

If a young woman was in mourning and was about to get married, she would not wear black to her wedding. It was considered poor taste for a new bride to be in mourning, although it would be acceptable for her to wear darker, more somber colors.

It would not be uncommon for a wealthy family to insist that their servants wear mourning clothes to show respect for a departed member of the family.

This post merely scratches the surface of mourning during the Regency. The process was complex, but it was one that helped define the era and lay the groundwork for future customs.

Until next time,
Sarah

Special Announcement! Free Book!

Kristi here and I am very excited to announce that today and tomorrow only (May 15 and 16, 2012), you can get a FREE Inspirational Regency novel!

That’s right, you can own “A Necessary Deception” by our very own Laurie Alice Eakes for free! It’s available as a free eBook on Kindle and Nook. Don’t own a Kindle or Nook? You can get the Kindle app for your PC or smartphone for free! (I just love all this free stuff, don’t you?)

So CLICK HERE to go to Amazon and get your free book. It’s perfect for getting you ready for the next book in the series coming out in October.

CLICK HERE if you want the Nook version.

If you have friends that you want to introduce to the fabulous world of Regency England, this is a great way to do it! Who doesn’t love a free book?

Have you already read “A Necessary Deception”? Get in the comments below and tell everyone how great it is so they’ll go get their own copy. Gotta go now… I’m off to snuggle on my couch and read!

Murder in Parliament

Murder in Parliament sounds like the title of a mystery novel. Sadly, the title is the raw truth. On may 11, 1812, an assassin walked up to the prime minister and shot him. The Right Honorable Spencer Perceval died within minutes of the shooting, and the killer turned himself in moments after that.

The Right Honorable Spencer Perceval courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Spencer_Perceval.jpg

Murder is always tragic, and this one made more so for its seeming pointlessness. At first, before details were known, some thought the assassination a French plot. After all, the French seemed to be winning the war. The British weren’t doing well on the continent at any rate. Why not disrupt the government with an assassination? But, no, the killing shot was triggered from the hand of an individual, a subject of Great Britain, John Bellingham.

John Bellingham photo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:John_Bellingham_portrait.gif

So why did John Bellingham have special pockets sewn into his coat to hold his pistols concealed? Why did he wait in the lobby of Parliament, wait for Perceval to appear, then walk up and shoot him through the heart?

Many said he was insane, that he must be insane. Others denied this fact, one of those being John Bellingham himself. Another who said he was sane was Sir James Mansfield, the judge who presided over his brief trial and pronounced his immediate sentence.

Bellingham wanted justice. He may or may not have been the John Bellingham who went to sea as a midshipman in the 1780s. That ship went aground after the crew mutinied. He may have been the same John Bellingham who’s tin business in London failed a few years later. No one is quite sure. That he worked in a counting house is certain. He also went to Russia for  importers and exporters, and there is where the real troubles began.

A ship insured by Lloyds of London was lost in the White Sea. Before the merchants could collect on the insurance, Lloyds received an anonymous letter saying the ship had been sabotaged. Suspecting Bellingham was the author of said letter, the owners of the vessel claimed he owed a substantial debt, which landed Bellingham in a Russian prison. A year later, he managed his release, went to St. Petersburg, and dove into more trouble that landed him back into a Russian prison. He was released in 1808, received permission from the czar to leave Russia, and ended up back in England in 1809—to no happy homecoming.

Bellingham petitioned the British government for compensation for his imprisonment in Russia. But nothing was forthcoming. Due to Russia’s relationship with France at the time, the British had broken off diplomatic relations with Russia. At the persuasion of his wife, Bellingham gave up and went to work, but tried again in 1812.

Allegedly, a civil servant at the foreign office told Bellingham he could take whatever measures he thought proper. I expect this clerk thought Bellingham would write letters or even waylay someone like Lord Gower, the British ambassador to Russia at the time of Bellingham’s imprisonment in that country.

Bellingham, however, made other plans. He bought the pistols, had the pockets made, and executed his plan as Perceval strode through the lobby of Parliament.

Assassination photo courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Assassination_of_Spencer_Perceval.jpg

One can dismiss the incident as someone with a grievance taking it out on the highest person he could reach. One might think that people would be appalled by him and call out with joy at his hanging. On the contrary. Much sentiment lay with Bellingham. He had carried out justice and maybe in the future, those in high places would listen when petitioned by a wronged common man.

Indeed, though no one—or perhaps a few far-sighted thinkers of the time—realized that this assassination did change the course of history, that John Bellingham’s actions brought about justice. A different government came into power after Perceval leadership was gone, a government that reenacted much needed reforms that helped the poor.

As for Bellingham’s family. A collection was taken, and his family ended with far more money than they had before his dastardly deed and consequent execution.

Rise Up and Call Her Blessed

Portrait of Marie-Julie Clary Queen of Naples with her daughter Zenaide Bonaparte
Robert Lefèvre via Wiki Commons

Kristi here. Have you called your mother today? Probably not. But if your mother lives in the US, she’ll be expecting that phone call Sunday since it is, after all, Mother’s Day. (If she lives in England you should have called on March 18 – hope you did!)

Mother’s Day (or Mothering Sunday as the characters in our books would have referred to it) was a very important day. Celebrated at least since the 16th century, Mothering Day in England is part of Lent. It is the Sunday when Eating restrictions are relaxed in honor of the feeding of the five thousand. During the Regency (and surrounding periods) it was also when domestic servants were allowed to journey home, often with a gift of cake or flowers, to see their family.

The Importance of Motherhood

Portrait of Countess Shakhovskaya with Daughter
Dmitry Grigorievich Levitzky, via Wikimedia Commons

It doesn’t surprise me that mothers were considered important enough to allow one’s servants to make the sometimes long journeys to visit them. While traditionally and biblically the father is the head of the household, mothers have always been the backbone.

In Proverbs 31, the woman is a wife and mother who does the grocery and clothes shopping, manages investments, stays up at odd hours, does charity work, ensures her family’s comfort and safety, cares for the home, and teaches the children. And she does all of this with honor and wisdom. It is no wonder that “Her sons rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her.” Proverbs 31:28

 Blessings on Mothers

1818 portrait of women with children
François Gérard, via Wikimedia Commons

Mothers come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. There are adoptive mothers and foster moms, mothers with one child and mothers with nineteen. Women who don’t have any official claim to the title of mother, but act in that capacity with boundless love.

No matter what the pathway to motherhood, know that God considers it one of the highest callings a woman can receive. He is trusting you with His most precious gift, His very creation. He trusts mothers to protect, raise, and instruct them in how to be effective children of God.

If you are blessed enough to have your mother with you, take some time, holiday or not, to rise up and call her blessed. It’s what she’s done all that work for.

The Imperfection of  The Fallen World

Marie-Louise of Austria with her son „Napoleon II.
By Joseph Franque, via Wikimedia Commons

On the other hand, you may not be blessed with the existence of your mother. Whether by illness, age, neglect, or misunderstanding, you may not have a mother to pick up the phone and call. There is good news for you as well.

“As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you.”  Isaiah 66:13

Despite the practice of giving Him a male personification, God is capable of being everything you need, including a mother. We live in a fallen world where mothers make mistakes because they are human. Disease enters their bodies. The grief of losing or never having your mother is deep, but God’s love is deeper.

Rise Up and Call Her Blessed

Caroline Bonaparte, wife of Marshal Joachim Murat, with their kids, 1810
François Gérard, via Wikimedia Commons

Since I became a mother I understand my own so much better. I have days where I call her just to tell her I now realize what an awesome mother she is. It often makes her cry. The reason mothers love those handmade cards and popsicle stick ornaments is because they are reminders that our children think we’re special. There is no greater gift you can give your mother than to tell her thank you.

Maybe you don’t have a mother and God has already filled that void in your life or maybe you have some extra time on your hands. Bless another mother by keeping her kids while she does the grocery shopping or bringing her a meal. Call a new mother up and tell her she’s doing great. Call a broken hearted mother and offer her your shoulder.

Henry Bickersteth, First Baron of Langdale (1783 ~ 1851) is credited as saying, “If the whole world were put into one scale, and my mother in the other, the whole world would kick the beam.”

You are blessed, mothers of the womb and of the heart, for you have become the physical manifestation of God’s arms on earth. Love your children with the love of God and you cannot go wrong.

Happy Mother’s Day

Poets of the Regency: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Hi, Jessica here.

So, when you’re longing for a little taste of the Regency, you go to your shelves and pick up one of the romantic works by one of the authors here at Regency Reflections. But if you lived in the Regency and were looking for some good reading, who would be on your bookshelf?

Poets! Yes, the Regency library would have the classics, it would have some novels and some histories, it would have volumes of sermon collections. But the well-stocked Regency bookshelf would also have a good selection of contemporary poets. And in this blog series, I’m going to introduce you to them. Hopefully you’ll find a few new favorites of your own.

The Clear-Eyed Addict

If Samuel Taylor Coleridge had lived in our times, we would have said he was mentally ill. Actually, likely, if he had lived in our times he would have been diagnosed at a young age and found a successful medication schedule and no one but his intimates would have known he was ill at all.

But Coleridge’s life spanned the turn of the 18th century, and so he had to deal with his illness (scholars disagree on whether it was depression or bipolar or something else) on his own. He used opiates, as many in his day did, and struggled along. He was plagued with troubles in both marriage and career, and yet despite his difficulties, he produced some of the most brilliant poetry in the English language, including the famous “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner.”

Perhaps the most well-known line from that poem is the horribly ironic, “Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink!” but the quatrain that wins my heart is:

This seraph-band, each waved his hand,

No voice did they impart –

No voice; but oh! the silence sank

Like music on my heart.

Coleridge tended towards long poems, either narrative or lyrical, though his second-most-famous poem, “Kubla Khan” is short and accessible. If you’d like a taste of the lithe lyricism that made Coleridge famous, I encourage you to go read “Kubla Khan” – it won’t take you but five minutes.

But I admit that the moment I fell in love with Coleridge was when I discovered that he, all those decades ago, shared my admiration of an even older poet, John Donne. (I love it when I find out that one author I love loves the work of another author I love!) In about 1811, Coleridge wrote this short, pithy observation on Donne’s work – read it aloud to catch the full brilliance:

With Donne, whose muse on dromedary trots,

Wreathe iron pokers into true-love knots;

Rhyme’s sturdy cripple, fancy’s maze and clue,

Wit’s forge and fire-blast, meaning’s press and screw.

If Coleridge’s way with words catches your fancy, be happy to know he left plenty of work for you to explore. His career was scattered and inconsistent, but he scribbled his whole life through, and when you’ve finished the poetry, you’ll still have his vast reams of marginalia to go through – he kept notebooks full of comments on the works of other writers, and they’re fascinating reading, full of the wit and wisdom of a man whose intelligence and grace shown through the dark clouds of his disease.

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell