A Reluctant Courtship Grand Prize Winner

We are happy to announce that “Lis” is the winner of the Reluctant Courtship Grand Prize. Lis left a comment on Thursday, October 17, about how much she likes when authors share about their spiritual journeys and how authors then incorporate those journeys into their novels.

Congratulations, Lis!

Tea cup and saucer

Thanks to everyone who participated in our Reluctant Courtship Contest. Several of you also won gift cards:

Monday, Oct 14: Marianne

A Reluctant Courtship
A Reluctant Courtship

Thursday, Oct 17: Martha J Strum

Monday, Oct 21: Melody D.

Thursday, Oct 24: Camille

For all the participants who stopped by and showed interest in A Reluctant Courtship, we enjoyed chatting with you. Thank you so very much for your interest both in Regency Reflections and A Reluctant Courtship. If you’d like to learn more about the novel or Laurie Alice Eakes and her other books, please visit her website at www.LaurieAliceEakes.com.

Once Wicked, Always Wicked

Vanessa here,

“If you get… me out of this … Lord…” No, she was not supposed to bargain with God. “Please God?”

The shrub tore a little further. Only Honore’s arms and hands clung to the earth. Only two thread roots still clung to thin soil. So, apparently God did not please. -A Reluctant Courtship

We have all been there, begging God to get us out of some trouble, something horrid we wrought upon ourselves. Laurie Alice Eakes showcases a fallen woman, Honore Bainbridge, whose past mistakes make her shunned in society and threaten to steal her chance at true love.

This is the gripping tale, the concluding story of the Daughters of Bainbridge House Series, A Reluctant Courtship. The rich message that God’s forgiveness is real, even when we don’t feel it, is meshed with this suspenseful romance.

Hanging from a Cliff
Hanging from a Cliff

When we meet Honore this time, she’s literally hanging on to a cliff, trying to save her life. The memories of her past sins wash before her eyes. A part of her heart tires of the shame, causing her to wonder if it would be easier for everyone if she just let go.

Now, Honore’s crime was heavy for the 1800’s. She’s been caught kissing two bad men, a traitor and a murder. Everyone ostracizes her, yet God still gives her a caring chaperone as a friend. God never leaves or forsakes us, even when we think He has.

No one wanted to marry Honore, any longer. If her escapades with a handsome rake during her first Season hadn’t been bad enough, getting caught kissing another gentleman in her brother-in-law’s organgery—and then that man turning out to be a murder—sent Miss Honore Bainbridge flying beyond the bounds of acceptability. -A Reluctant Courtship

Everyone has those moments of discouragement when we know we aren’t good enough. The taunts are unforgettable.

You’re not good enough.
You are worthless.
No good, just like your father.

Even the hero, who has questions of his own character, judges poor Honore (Pot and kettle syndrome).

“Such beauty and courage shouldn’t be connected with a morally suspect character.” -A Reluctant Courtship

Neighbors and peers judge Honore.

Not a yard away, the Devenish ladies tittered behind fans or gloved fingers.
“Little more than she deserves,” was followed by “Worst misalliance yet.” -A Reluctant Courtship

Fans a Twitter
Fans a Twitter

So, she loved a few bad men. Who hasn’t? But in the 1800’s, connections in the war weary England meant everything. With her earthly protector (her father) gone, Honore has to withstand shunning and evil gossip, even at church. At one point, Honore internalizes the guilt.

I make so many mistakes I think God no longer listens to me. -A Reluctant Courtship

But Laurie Alice doesn’t leave Honore or the reader without hope.

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God -Romans 3:23

She allows the saving grace of Jesus Christ to touch Honore.

You are not alone. God promised to never forsake us, and His promises are true.
Your willfulness does not stop God from loving you. -A Reluctant Courtship

Finally, Honore allows God’s hope to shine through her.

“I do not deserve Your help, but I am asking for it anyway. This time I am simply going to believe You are here with me.” -A Reluctant Courtship

When Honore surrenders to the fact she is forgiven by the One Person that matters, she is able to focus on doing what she does best, throwing her whole heart into saving the hero. Hopefully, she’ll live long enough to know the love of a good man.

I asked Laurie Alice, what she wants the reader to take away. Her message is clear:

No matter what you have done, no matter how many mistakes you have made, God’s love reigns supreme and He loves you regardless. Nothing is beyond redemption.

May everyone be blessed with this understanding.

For a chance to win a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card today, answer the question below in the comment section. If you answer the question, your name will also be entered into our Regency Grand Prize giveaway in honor of the release of A Reluctant Courtship. The giveaway includes a tea cup, a package of tea, a box of chocolates and a $10 gift card (to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble).

A Reluctant Courtship
A Reluctant Courtship

Today’s question: Have you ever made mistakes you think are beyond God’s redemption? If you can, we would be blessed to learn how the Lord worked in your life.

Camy interviews Laurie Alice on A RELUCTANT COURTSHIP

Laurie Alice EakesCamy here! Today I get to interview Laurie Alice Eakes on her newest release, A RELUCTANT COURTSHIP.

1. What inspired you to write  A Reluctant Courtship?

Since I like to go in other directions than the norm, I kept thinking opposite other books I read. One question I asked myself was: What if a heroine decides to go along with her father’s wishes for an arranged marriage instead of fighting against it, as usual. She’s a heroine who wants to marry and is so disillusioned with love that a mariage de convenable sounds great to her. So, in other words, a desire to deliver a story outside the norm inspired me.

2. Tell us what makes your heroine and hero special to you.

Honore is a truly loving person who wants everyone happy. I have lived with her for two other books and have maternal feelings toward her, so writing her story was like spending time with an old friend I loved, but also shook my head at and wanted to force to take good advice.

As for the hero, I like to put people into a wholly foreign—to them—element. Here he is, a man raised in the wilds of upstate New York, suddenly inheriting an English title. He doesn’t like to ride horses. He doesn’t like being idle. He thinks nothing of walking five miles to get to his destination instead of taking a carriage. Lots of fun to work with.

A Reluctant Courtship
3. If your hero and heroine had a contemporary theme love song, what would it be and why?

This question sent me running to the pop station on my satellite radio, since I don’t listen to pop all that much. Two songs kind of work:  “Just Give Me a Reason” by Pink and “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum. The first one because Honore needs lots of reason to love again. Unlucky in love is putting her situation mildly. “Need You Now” because they both try to resist their lure to one another despite good reasons for staying away, and yet they need one another.

Not to be a prude, because I am certainly not one, and I don’t recommend or advise some of the other sentiments in these songs.

4. What is your favorite dessert and why?

Something I haven’t eaten in a long time, not because I haven’t wanted to, and because I haven’t been anywhere that serves it and am certainly not making for myself:  chocolate mousse cake with chocolate ganache icing. Key words in the answer as to why: chocolate, cake, mousse, ganache. Need I say more?

5. Is there another Regency-set book that you would compare A Reluctant Courtship to?

I haven’t run across one, and, believe me, I’ve read dozens. But then, I set out to write one that was different. In tone, though, probably Patricia Veryan meets Amanda Quick.

I’d love input from readers on whether or not they can compare it to another book. Please write me at laewriter@gmail.com, or find me on Twitter @LaurieAEakes

Camy: Thanks for the interview, Laurie Alice!

For a chance to win a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card today, answer the question below in the comment section. I’ll pick the winner for the $10 gift card tonight at 11:59 pm PST. If you answer the question, your name will also be entered into our Regency Grand Prize giveaway in honor of the release of A Reluctant Courtship. The giveaway includes a tea cup, a package of tea, a box of chocolates and a $10 gift card (to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble). (Click here for more information on the Regency Grand Prize giveaway.) Be sure to come back on Thursday, for another chance to win.

Today’s question: If you have read Regency romances before, why did you pick one up? What keeps you reading them?

From Acceptance to Exile: A Reluctant Courtship and Give-Away

In writing classes, we are taught to make things as bad for our characters as we can. Honore should have been easy. In A Necessary Deception, in which she made her debut into society, and in A Flight of Fancy, where she rusticates in the country with her injured sister, Honore managed to make things terrible enough for herself.

But I wanted to make her situation even worse!

A Reluctant CourtshipLord Bainbridge, the father of the three sisters, is an autocratic man, a political animal who wants things the way he wants them. He manipulates his children to his will as much as he can, and he can do a great deal. But Honore is the baby and pretty and lively and a daddy’s girl. She got away with too much. Daddy cleaned up her messes for her.

So I had to take her daddy away from her.

And then we introduce Americus Poole (Meric to his friends) now Lord Ashmoor. Most men fall at Honore’s feet. Ashmoor looks at her like most of us view rattle snakes—the further away the better. He has his own issues, and Honore’s presence in his life will only make them worse. After all, a man under suspicion of treason cannot be involved with a young lady with a questionable reputation.

Beyond the romance and adventure that springs from Honore and Ashmoor’s stories is the theme of exile. Honore has been exiled from her family and from society because of her past mistakes. In turn, this physical exile makes her feel exiled from God. Everything that happens to her seems to indicate that God has rejected her, and this rejection of the heart and spirit drives her decisions and actions until her very life hangs on the edge.

Cliffs_Clovelly_Coast_West
Cliffs in North Devon (Wikipedia image)

As with Cassandra in A Flight of Fancy, I related to Honore’s spiritual struggle. I attended a Christian college and my friends were going off to be doctors and pastors, and the wives of doctors and pastors. I, however, had no calling that I saw. I interpreted this as God rejecting me. The decisions I made over the next several years—most of them terrible—stemmed from this sense of exile from God.

The simple response is that God doesn’t reject us; we reject him. Romans 8:38-39 assures us that nothing separates us from the love of God. Yet what I had to learn, what Honore has to learn, is that we often have to be taken out of our comfort zone of the life we think we want or should have, to circumstances we can’t control, for the Lord to shape us into the people we are intended to be to thus serve him better.

I hope you enjoy Honore’s journey back from exile.

For a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card today, answer the question below in the comment section. Your name will also be entered into our Regency Gift Package Giveaway in honor of the release of A Reluctant Courtship. The giveaway includes another gift card, a tea cup, and chocolate.

What types of things do you like to learn from authors? For example: How they work, their non writing life, their spiritual life…

A Reluctant Courtship Contest and Giveaway

A Reluctant CourtshipI’m excited to introduce a new Regency novel today. It’s entitled A Reluctant Courtship and is written by Regency Reflection’s own Laurie Alice Eakes.

To celebrate the release of A Reluctant Courtship, we’re running a special two week long contest. Starting today through Monday, October 28, we’ll feature thought-provoking questions at the end of each post and giving away a $10 gift card to either Amazon or Barnes and Noble (winner’s choice) to one person who answers that day’s question. Your name will also be entered into our Regency Grand Prize giveaway.

The Grand Prize will include:Tea cup and saucer

  • A tea cup
  • A box of tea
  • A box of chocolates
  • A $10.00 Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Before we get to today’s question, let me tell you more about A Reluctant Courtship, and why I enjoyed reading it so much.

Honore Bainbridge has been courted by two men, one of whom turned out to be a traitor, the other a murderer. Banished to her family’s country estate, where she will hopefully stay out of trouble, she finally meets the man she is sure is exactly right for her: Lord Ashmoor. Tall, dark, and handsome–what more could a girl ask for? But he too is under suspicion because of his American upbringing and accusations that he has helped French and American prisoners escape from Dartmoor Prison. For his part, Lord Ashmoor needs a wife beyond reproach, which Honore certainly is not. Amid a political climate that is far from friendly, Honore determines to help Ashmoor prove his innocence–if she can do so and stay alive.

From the rocky cliffs of Devonshire, England, comes the exciting conclusion to the lush Daughters of Bainbridge House series. Award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes thrusts her readers into high drama from the very first sentence and keeps them on their toes until the final page.

Laurie Alice EakesA Flight of Fancy has generated recommendations from places such as Booklist, which said: “Eakes seamlessly blends romance and intrigue, faith and history.”

I’d have to agree with Booklist about how wonderfully Eakes blended romance, suspense, history, and faith in A Reluctant Courtship. I also loved how Honore struggled as a woman who had made past mistakes and ruined her reputation, but with God’s help, she was able to overcome those mistakes and restore her good name by the end of the novel.

Today’s question: When you hear the words “Regency romance” what comes into your head?

Remember to leave your answer in the comment section below to be eligible for both today’s gift card as well as a chance to win the grand prize. Then come back Thursday for Laurie Alice Eakes’s post on what it’s like to write a Regency novel plus another chance to win.

Going out for Ice Cream in Regency London ~ by Susan Karsten

Gunter’s

If you’ve done a fair amount of reading in the regency genre, you’ll have come across a reference to Gunter’s. I’ve seen it mentioned as a place for a chaperoned daytime outing, and as a purveyor of catering for balls and banquets.

Studying up on the place, one learns it was founded way back in 1757 as “The Pot and Pineapple”. By the time the regency was in full swing, it was owned by James Gunter. The name was synonymous with the finest in treats., such as ice cream, sweets, and pastries.

So Pretty

Being inventive with ice cream flavors tempted more customers. Some extraordinary flavors from those days were jasmine, elderflower, and parmesan, among others. Gunter’s establishment lived on into the twentieth century, but is no longer in existence.

It touches me to know that today’s confectioners’ obsession with wild flavors is not unique to our lavish times. Researching some of our latest flavors in 2013 brought to my attention: ale & bacon, salted caramel, pear with blue cheese, lemon basil, and Marsala date flavors.

200 years from the heyday of the regency and we still crave our unusually-flavored ice cream.

What’s your favorite flavor? Most unusual you’ve had?

What Are You Reading?

At Regency Reflections, we love stories as much as you do. We asked our authors what books they were currently reading.

Vanessa Riley

I read in spurts. So the most recent was Reluctant Courtship. An Heiress at Heart, and 128 Bible stories.

Naomi Rawlings

A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears and A Reluctant Courtship by Laurie Alice Eakes. 🙂

Susan Karsten

I just read “The Aftermath”, and am now reading “The Outcasts” — both ABA. The first was about post WWII Hamburg, Germany, the latter is a western which feels a lot like the movie remake of True Grit. Both are good reads, but as usual, gratuitous, unnecessary sexual references are sprinkled amidst great characterization and plot. So un-needed.

Camy Tang

Trouble in Store by Carol Cox. It’s the book of the month reading at Christian Fiction Devourers on Goodreads. Super cute story so far!

Laurie Alice Eakes

I just finished reading Poetic Justice, a traditional Regency by Alicia Rasley. Well-written and clever.Now I’m reading a cozy mystery I just started and honestly don’t recall the name of.

Kristi Ann Hunter

I’m in the middle of Laurie Alice’s Reluctant Courtship. (Yea! Can’t wait to share more about that in a the coming weeks.) I recently finished Rich In Love by Lindi Peterson, a fun contemporary Christian romance.

 

What are you reading right now?

Fainting in the Regency, by Susan Karsten

Of great benefit to women during the Regency was the great relative comfort of the clothing of the day. Compared to the preceding Georgian period, the Regency provided a measure of relief from physical constraints. Gone were the painfully heavy panniers and voluminous skirts, but most ladies still wore stays. We don’t experience many swoons these days, but the wearing of stays and corsets assured the occurrence of many a fainting spell.

            Fainting was a likely event in the lives of Regency ladies. The sensitive Regency lady would carry her own smelling-salts. These were usually an infusion of ammonium carbonate and alcohol, scented with lavender or lemon oil. The container in which the salts were carried was called a vinaigrette; a small box or bottle with a perforated top.  Sal volatile is another term for this mixture, and both it and spirit of hartshorn (water and ammonia) could be drunk as well as sniffed. Hungary water was another popular perfumed herbal restorative and could be dabbed on the temples or wiped on the hands and face of someone suffering from nerves or headache.

The preparations mentioned were kept handy for fainting, attacks of nerves, and whenever an unpleasant odor came one’s way.  Today, we throw a wallet, comb, sunscreen, and lipstick into our purses and head out to face the world. The reticules (purses) of Regency ladies carried a bit of money, a handkerchief, and their vinaigrette of smelling salts.What about you? Do you prefer a large or small purse? Floppy or stiff? Long or short strap?