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

Sex Trafficking in Victorian London

Sex Trafficking in Victorian London

                Victorian London can be a wonderful place to visit, if you enter into the realm where balls and routs are common place. There is another setting not often disclosed. In the poorer element of the city, life was quite different. Young women from the country came to London to better themselves by taking jobs in the homes of the rich. Unscrupulous people enticed them with such offers and when they arrived in the teeming bustle of the strange city instead of positions as scullery maids or chambermaids, they were sold into sexual slavery.

               Virgins were in high demand during this era because it was a common belief that having intercourse with them would cure venereal diseases. Once the young girls were sold to the highest bidder for anywhere from 5 to 25 Lire they would then be turned out to work as common doxies. The shame of their experiences deterred them from returning home. Likely they would have been turned away as outcasts. Newly arrived in a busy city without the presence of family protection left them with nowhere to turn. They were trapped in the miserable circumstances wherein they landed.

Many of the young women turned to alcohol to deaden the hopelessness surrounding them. I would venture to guess they needed the anesthetic effect of the strong spirits to be able to bear the atrocities expected of them.  It is said in one of the brothels the Madame kept a room set aside with torture instruments for those inclined to S & M. The expected life span of these young women was four to seven years. Venereal disease was rampant. In 1850 half of the outpatients in the main hospital in London suffered from syphilis. Parliament passed the Contagious Disease Act in 1864 in an attempt to regulate prostitution in six garrison towns and ports. Their assumption was soldiers and sailors needed prostitutes. The female population of that day had to exercise caution in their daily treks, for any woman found within a certain area around the garrisons could be arrested and physically examined for sexually transmitted diseases.

William Gladstone                William Gladstone, a liberal politician and Prime Minister was an angel of mercy for some of these young women. He would walk the streets of London at night and encourage the prostitutes he found to come home with him where he and his wife would provide them a meal and shelter with the offer of help to change their lives. He assisted the sisters at the House of Mercy at Clewer near Windsor. The women were housed there until respectable employment could be arranged for them.

Today sex trafficking remains a growing problem in the United States. Horror stories of young girls being sold to slavers who use them as prostitutes are rampant. One young woman told her story of being molested by her father at the age of five and sold to a stranger by him when she became too old. She was twelve. There are Christian facilities today who, like William Gladstone are trying to help these women recover from their painful past. It is not a quick fix. They must be deprogrammed and taught how important they are and how much Jesus loves them. Sometimes this can take years.

Mothers: Count Your Days & Your Blessings

Teach Us, Lord, to Count Our Days

by Susan Karsten

As those interested in bygone societies, particularly Regency-era England, we can profit by comparing the circumstances of mothers.  Are we appropriately thankful for the full cup of days most of us enjoy from our Lord in the 21stcentury?

Life Expectancy:  In the early 1800s, the life expectancy was around 40 years. Today, we can expect, Lord willing, 81 years (women), 77 years (men). One reason among several for this disparity is the high rate of infant mortality in the Regency.

Infant Mortality:  As best as can be figured (since un-baptized babies weren’t counted in the parish registers which are the source for most data of this nature), an estimated 15% of infants died before the age of one during the Regency era. The United States has a rate of .68% (early 2000s).

Sorrowing Couple

Being Thankful: The crushing blow of losing a child soon after carrying it for nine months is a sorrow for the ages. It is much easier to quantify the statistics than the grief. We mothers who are blessed with living children must give praise and thanks for God’s mercy on us. We do not have the fearsome specter of early death hanging over us. Praise Him!

 Psalm 90, a versification*

O teach Thou us to count our days

And set our hearts on wisdom’s ways;

Turn, Lord, to us in our distress,

In pity now Thy servants bless;

 Let mercy’s dawn dispel our night,

And all our day with joy be bright.

O send the day of joy and light,

For long haas been our sorrow’s night;

Afflicted through the weary years,

We wait until Thy help appears;

With us and with our sons abide,

In us let God be glorified,

In us let God be glorified.

So let there be on us bestowed

The beauty of the Lord our God;

The work accomplished by our hand

Establish Thou, and make it stand;

Yea, let our hopeful labor be

Established evermore by Thee.

*Blue Psalter Hymnal #174

Mr. Darcy, An Alpha Male in Love

Vanessa here, exposing some of my pert opinions.

A man losing the battle of the heart is a thing of beauty.  When the male in question is an Alpha man, the dominant, powerful man of the group and protector of those dearest, his torment and ultimate victory is sheer poetry.

I love the classics, but I must say Dicken’s Pip (Great Expectations) languished too much without any measure of success with Estelle.  Pip doesn’t scream Alpha to me. An Alpha would have moved on or found away to convince Estelle to marry him.

Side note: To truly be a successful Alpha hero, you not only have to get the girl, but you have to live to tell about it. The whole dying thing, ruined Romeo and Juliet for me. I guess, I am a sucker for a happy ending, that is a happy ending with a breathing Alpha male.

So what is a good portrait of an Alpha male?

Mr. Darcy

.  He’s Jane Austen’s careful balance of natural male pride, protector, and fear. To surrender to love is a struggle that Darcy fights until he knows the battle is lost.

In Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth asks Darcy when he did he know he loved her. Darcy replies:

“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”

A collective sigh should leach from this blog screen.  Oh, if Laurence Olivier (1940) , Collin Firth (1995), or Matthew Macfadyen (2005) could have said those words, I’d have their version of Pride and Prejudice DVD on perpetual rewind.


Back to Darcy’s Struggle

Austen showed us glimpses of Darcy’s Alpha journey much more than the movies give credit.

At Netherfield during Jane’s convalescence:

Elizabeth could not help observing, as she turned over some music-books that lay on the instrument, how frequently Mr. Darcy’s eyes were fixed on her. She hardly knew how to suppose that she could be an object of admiration to so great a man; and yet that he should look at her because he disliked her, was still more strange.

 

After an exchange of teasing between Darcy and Elizabeth at Netherfield:

Darcy had never been so bewitched by any woman as he was by her. He really believed, that were it not for the inferiority of her connections, he should be in some danger.

The growth of his feelings are displayed in a private exchange with Miss Bingley at Netherfield:

Miss Bingley says: “As for your Elizabeth’s picture, you must not have it taken, for what painter could do justice to those beautiful eyes?”

Darcy replies: “It would not be easy, indeed, to catch their expression, but their colour and shape, and the eyelashes, so remarkably fine, might be copied.”

A Display of His Protective Nature for Elizabeth:

The path just admitted three. Mr. Darcy felt their (Bingley’s sisters) rudeness, and immediately said “This walk is not wide enough for our party. We had better go into the avenue.”

But Elizabeth, who had not the least inclination to remain with them, laughingly answered: “No, no; stay where you are. You are charmingly grouped, and appear to uncommon advantage. The picturesque would be spoilt by admitting a fourth. Good-bye.”

After a heated exchange with Elizabeth at Netherfield where Darcy’s messaging for sympathy before emotionally retreating:

Elizabeth said, “And your defect is to hate everybody.”

“And yours,” he replied with a smile, “is willfully to misunderstand them.”

“Do let us have a little music,” cried Miss Bingley, tired of a conversation in which she had no share. “Louisa, you will not mind my waking Mr. Hurst?”

Her sister had not the smallest objection, and the pianoforte was opened; and Darcy, after a few moments’ recollection, was not sorry for it. He began to feel the danger of paying Elizabeth too much attention.

Upon learning that Jane and Elizabeth would soon leave Netherfield, Darcy believes ignoring Elizabeth will solve his problem:

To Mr. Darcy it was welcome intelligence—Elizabeth had been at Netherfield long enough. She attracted him more than he liked—and Miss Bingley was uncivil to her, and more teasing than usual to himself. He wisely resolved to be particularly careful that no sign of admiration should now escape him, nothing that could elevate her with the hope of influencing his felicity; sensible that if such an idea had been suggested, his behaviour during the last day must have material weight in confirming or crushing it.

At the end of their famous dance at the ball of Netherfield:

“I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours,” he coldly replied.

She said no more, and they went down the other dance and parted in silence; and on each side dissatisfied, though not to an equal degree, for in Darcy’s breast there was a tolerable powerful feeling towards her, which soon procured her pardon, and directed all his anger against another.

 

Side Note: I love when an author uses the phrasing of a man’s breast. It sounds as if the emotions have penetrated his chest armor and gotten very deep inside.

Back to Darcy

The famous first proposal, his bold admission of losing his heart is classic Alpha trying to be in control when love has sent him spinning:

He sat down for a few moments, and then getting up, walked about the room. Elizabeth was surprised, but said not a word. After a silence of several minutes, he came towards her in an agitated manner, and thus began:

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Elizabeth’s astonishment was beyond expression. She stared, coloured, doubted, and was silent. This he considered sufficient encouragement; and the avowal of all that he felt, and had long felt for her, immediately followed. He spoke well; but there were feelings besides those of the heart to be detailed; and he was not more eloquent on the subject of tenderness than of pride. His sense of her inferiority—of its being a degradation—of the family obstacles which had always opposed to inclination, were dwelt on with a warmth which seemed due to the consequence he was wounding, but was very unlikely to recommend his suit.

He concluded with representing to her the strength of that attachment which, in spite of all his endeavours, he had found impossible to conquer; and with expressing his hope that it would now be rewarded by her acceptance of his hand. As he said this, she could easily see that he had no doubt of a favourable answer. He spoke of apprehension and anxiety, but his countenance expressed real security. Such a circumstance could only exasperate farther, and, when he ceased, the colour rose into her cheeks, and she said:

“…I have never desired your good opinion, and you have certainly bestowed it most unwillingly. I am sorry to have occasioned pain to anyone. It has been most unconsciously done, however, and I hope will be of short duration. The feelings which, you tell me, have long prevented the acknowledgment of your regard, can have little difficulty in overcoming it after this explanation.”

Mr. Darcy, who was leaning against the mantelpiece with his eyes fixed on her face, seemed to catch her words with no less resentment than surprise. His complexion became pale with anger, and the disturbance of his mind was visible in every feature. He was struggling for the appearance of composure, and would not open his lips till he believed himself to have attained it.

To attain peace cost Darcy two sheets of paper written in close hand, days of searching London;s underbelly, 10,000 pounds of bribe money, countless hours of recalling Elizabeth’s reproof. Priceless.

What I love the most is the sheer masculinity of Darcy’s regard. In a single breath, he tries to ram through the proposal and collect his acceptance. He’s all man as he tries to keep his feelings close to his waistcoat. Even as he exposes a bit of his heart to Elizabeth, he keeps his pride of his accomplishment and stature between them, a wall too high. Only the most ardent love will climb it.

And as he passes his black moment, he asserts to prove his worthiness with compassion and strength. He overcomes all of his own objections to save Elizabeth’s family and prove himself worthy. All alpha male, all the time.

Do you share my Alpha love? If you do leave a comment. Any one leaving a comment on this post or Fridays will receive on Saturday a link for a:

Free copy of Pride & Prejudice for the Kindle, Nook, or IPad.

I’ve formatted the Guttenberg Project’s version into ePub (Nook and IPad) and Mobi (Kindle) formats. I’m looking forward to sharing with you.

References:

The Guttenberg Project

Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice

Pride & Prejudice, 1940 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Production

Pride &Prejudice the Miniseries, 1995 BBC

Pride & Prejudice, 2005 StudioCanal/Focus Features

 

 

Historical Fashion Spring Fling!

by Linore Rose Burkard

Let’s take a look at some fabulous fashion plates from that most-regency of publications, Ackermann’s Repository.(Most of the following comes directly from my latest newsletter. If you’re not yet subscribed, sign up in seconds on my website. It’s free!)

Rudolph Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, Literature, Fashions, Manufactures, &c. was a much-enjoyed magazine for people of the regency, second only in importance to women of fashion after “La Belle Assemblee.”

With no electronic media, the fashion “plates” in these periodicals were the main source of information regarding current fashion, which spread from Paris to London and then the rest of the world, including America.

1819 Walking Dress

Above:  Walking Dress 1819. Note that each of the illustrations here are from SPRING publications of Ackermann’s for the year designated. Seems that England (or France, in some cases) must have been rather chilly, even up to June.

Walking Dress, Jaconet Muslin 1819

      Walking Dress, Jaconet Muslin (“Round Dress”) 1819

                                  Morning Dress, 1819

French 1819

                  French Dress, 1819

               1819 Evening Dress

Evening with fan

                   1819 Evening Dress

                  1829 Evening Dress

Strictly speaking, 1829 is post-Regency (George, Prince of
Wales, became Regent in 1811 and then King in 1820. Since he reigned until 1830, I include his reign in my definition of the “regency”. Society was distinct beneath his regency and reign.)

           Walking or Carriage Dress, 1829.

Muffs were popular since Georgian days. I had a fluffy white muff when I was in first grade and still remember it with fond affection. (sigh)

            English Dinner Dress 1829

The bonnets during this period were amazing concoctions, weren’t they? I saw a spoof about bonnets in an old periodical recently. I’ll have to try and dig it up. (Editorials of the day often included commentary about current fashions, and more often than not, they were critical.)

      May 1829, English Morning Dress

In some cases, morning dress seems to have referred to something a lady would wear only in her home, such as the earlier pics (above) of 1819 morning gowns. In this case, the designation of “morning” appears to mean a day-dress (walking dress) which is obviously meant for outdoors, while emphasizing that it isn’t dinner or promenade or evening attire. The head-dress is much simpler in style also.

                    1829 Dinner Dress

Notice how the 1829 fashions are almost Victorian in appearance? Think about this: Victoria didn’t take the throne until 1837–not for another 8 years! In this and the next illustration, you can clearly see that the lower waist had  returned to women’s clothing long before the young Victoria was crowned.Nevertheless, most people would look at the above and think “Victorian.” (But now you know better.) : )

                 March 1829 Opera Dress 

Hasn’t this been fun? The contrast between 1819 and 1829 fashions is very evident. It’s not always so easy to tell different decades apart!

Linore Rose Burkard.com
Inspirational Romance to Warm the Soul
Coach and Four: Allisandra’s Tale
Inspirational Regency Romance
Woman of Faith Blog

Angst: Confessions of a Regency Writer

Regency writers and readers are some of the most persnickety lovers of any genre. On fan lists, I have seen people complain about a book for everything from the hero wearing trousers in 1800, to a boxing match that took place six months after the book’s setting. It’s enough to give writers in the genre heart palpitations.

I think about this as I await the final page proofs on A Flight of Fancy, my next Regency.

What errors did I make and who will find them and what will they say to me or others? Will it stop them from enjoying the book so much they’ll say bad things about it? Angst. Angst. Angst.

The problem is that the Regency is such a specific genre. The time period is brief, even when we stretch it from the true nine-year period, to the thirty year time publishing allows in many cases.

British Union Jack

The Regency is location specific. Having a Regency take place outside of the British Isles isn’t impossible if one has mainly British characters (which can include Scottish, Welsh, and Irish), and those characters must act, speak, and think like a Regency era person. In other words, the priorities in life are: Family, Country, God. Hmm. More problems when adding the inspirational element to the genre.

In short, the Regency novel must sound, smell, taste, look, and, above all, feel like early nineteenth century Britain. If you could change titles to mister and missus, or exchange a location in England for one in America, the novel might not be true Regency novel.

Or is it? Do readers really know that much or care?

Yes, writing a Regency novel does not require a great deal of knowledge of the time and place; it requires the ability to withstand the angst of knowing one made some flaw and whether or not it will it be fatal.

Laurie Alice Eakes

Praying the Psalms

The best times and the worst times of our lives have one thing in common: it’s hard to find words for them. Our hearts cry out to the Lord, but so often those cries are wordless. Our thoughts and emotions whirl, formless, and what we long for are the words to express what we’re feeling and thinking.

The Psalms have long been the prayer book of the church, and praying them regularly, so that our hearts and minds are soaked in their rhythms and phrases, gives us the words that we desire when our hearts are full. When we pray the words of the psalms, we don’t have to doubt whether our words are good and true and right. They are. They’re the words the faithful have used for centuries to pour out their hearts to the Lord.

Getting Started

A few things to consider, if you’re new to the practice of praying the Psalms:

1) Revisit the familiar ones and go deeper with them. There’s a reason Psalm 23 is so beloved. The ones you’ve memorized are the ones that are already deep in your bones, and the more you pray them, the more meaningful they’ll become. There’s always further to go in prayer, because the Lord’s goodness is infinite.

2) Read new ones regularly. Some of the best are the Psalms of Ascent, from Psalm 120 through Psalm 134. These were sung on the way up to Jerusalem, and they’re possibly the most beautiful and joyful and accessible psalms in the book, with many reminders of God’s great faithfulness. Perfect for the Easter season.

3) Try them set to music. There are many great hymns that are paraphrases of the Psalms (Isaac Watts wrote a vast number) or you can try singing them to plainsong (use the Book of Common Prayer and the 1984 Hymnal to get started). They were written to be sung, and though we don’t have the original tunes, singing them to the ones we have is a great joy.

4) Remember that they’re both poetry and prophecy. Most Psalms can be read in several ways: as the words of the man who composed them, as prophecy about Christ, and as prophecy about Christ’s church. And probably more that I’m missing because I’m still only a beginner myself! But it’s clear there are layers of meaning in each psalm. You don’t have to focus on each meaning every time you read a given psalm, but it’s good to be aware, for example that the “beatus vir” – “blessed is the man” – in psalm 1, is probably first about Jesus, the perfect man, and then about those who, by his grace, are sanctified by his Spirit, and then . . . well, like I said, I’m a beginner and need to study them even more myself. (Patrick Reardon’s excellent book, Christ in the Psalms, is a great place to start.)

5)      Mostly, just read them a lot. It was traditional to read the Psalms in the morning and the evening – more often than that if you happened to be a monk or a nun! In this case, familiarity doesn’t breed contempt; it breeds love. 

Prayers for All Seasons

In the hard times of my life, I find myself returning to the Psalms again and again. Frustration or fear or sorrow rises, and I find myself saying, “Hope, oh my soul, in the Lord, for I will yet praise him, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.” Triumph and joy ride shouting in my soul, and I find myself declaring, “Had it not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us, had it not been the Lord who was on our side, then they would have swallowed us alive . . . Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us to be torn by their teeth!”

The words of the Psalms are words that God gave to his people, so that we would know how to pray, so that when our hearts were full, with joy or with sorrow, we would have the words to express ourselves to him. I am so grateful for this great gift.

Peace of Christ to you,

Jessica Snell

Hear Ye, Hear Ye, Shameless Plugs

Vanessa here,

The ladies of Regency Reflections have a lot to celebrate. Below are Awards, Upcoming Books, Current Releases, Contracted, Contest Wins, and Anything Else.

Awards

At The Romantic Time Conference, Reviewers Choice 2011 we celebrate these Inspirational Regency wins:

Category Series: Love Inspired Historical Reviewers Choice:

THE ARISTOCRAT'S LADY

Genre: Series, Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical, Current Series Imprints

2011 Steeple Hill Love Inspired Historical Award Winner

RT Rating

THE ARISTOCRAT’S LADY (4.5) by Mary Moore: Regency England: Nicole Beaumont has a secret she protects with every fiber of her being. She catches the eye of Lord Devlin, who thinks she’s incredible — witty and charming, with a good head on her shoulders. But he also suspects that she’s holding something back. When he discovers Nicole’s secret, he is hurt she did not trust him with it. Can Nicole regain his trust, or did her last chance at love slip through her fingers? This story is so good and the heroine so compelling that even readers who don’t normally like Regency-set stories will find it well worth their time.

Category: Inspirational Romance

THE GIRL IN THE GATEHOUSE

THE GIRL IN THE GATEHOUSE
by Julie Klassen

2011 Inspirational Romance Award Winner

RT Rating

This book has scandal, mystery, secrets and a budding romance. The characters are written in such detail the reader will forget they are fictional! Klassen has outdone herself with this latest novel. Her writing is comparable to Jane Austen’s. She writes with passion and readers will not be able to put this book down.

In 1813, Mariah Aubrey has been banished to a distant relative’s estate after stirring up a scandal her family wanted to quietly bury. She is assigned to live in the gatehouse, which is on the very tip of the grounds, away from everyone and everything. She supports herself and her servant the only way she knows how: she writes novels in secret, under a false name.

Captain Matthew Bryant has leased the estate to show the woman he loves that he is worthy of her, despite the fact that her father believes Matthew is not high society enough for his daughter. When Matthew meets Mariah, he is intrigued by her but at the same time, he realizes he must keep his distance in order for his plans to come to fruition. When a mystery comes to light, Mariah and Matthew work together to discover the truth, and they start to have feelings for each other. Will the mystery be solved before the heir to the estate can put his evil plan into motion?

Reviewed By: Patsy Glans

Cheers Mary & Julie

Upcoming Books

A Flight of Fancy by Laurie Alice Eakes

(October 2012)

Cassandra Bainbridge has twice set aside her scholarly pursuits–once for the London Season and once for her wedding preparations. Love seems a wonderful alternative to study, until disaster strikes. When an accident brings an end to her betrothal, she heads for the country to recover from both her injuries and her broken heart. There she pursues her love for ballooning and envisions a future for herself as a daring aeronaut. But when her former fiancé slips back into her life, what course will she choose?

This book is currently available for pre-order.

Current Releases

Heart’s Safe Passage by Laurie Alice Eakes

(February 2012)

It’s 1813 and all Phoebe Lee wants out of life is to practice midwifery in Loudon County, Virginia. When Belinda, her pregnant sister-in-law, presses Phoebe to accompany her onto a British privateer in order to cross the Atlantic and save her husband from an English prison, Phoebe tries to refuse, then finds herself kidnapped.

Captain Rafe Docherty is a man in search of revenge. His ship is no place for women, but he needs Belinda in order to obtain information about the man who destroyed his family and his life. Between Belinda’s whining and Phoebe’s hostility, Rafe can’t help but wonder if he made the right choice.
When it becomes apparent there is an enemy among them on the ship, the stakes are raised. Will they reach the English shore in time? Can love and forgiveness overcome vengeance?

Hometown Cinderella  by Ruth Axtell

(February 2012)

It’s not Regency but it’s by Ruth Axtell so it’s got to be good.

After years traveling in Europe with her musician husband, all that widow Mara Keller wants is security for her son. A half-share in her father’s Maine farmhouse is the only refuge she has left, even if her resentful stepmother treats Mara as little more than a servant. But there is one bright spot: the unexpected kindness of neighbor Gideon Jakeman.

A widowed farmer with a teenage daughter, Gideon hardly pictures himself as anyone’s Prince Charming. Especially a woman of Mara’s refinement. Yet his quiet, rugged strength makes her feel as though she’s found her rightful place by his side, if they can find faith enough to forge their own happy ending.

Sanctuary for a Lady – by Naomi Rawlings

(April 2012)

It’s almost Regency, and it’s a great Debut Novel. Buy It. 🙂

Running to freedom, she found love . . .

The injured young woman that Michel Belanger finds in the woods is certainly an aristocrat, and in the midst of France’s bloody revolution, sheltering nobility merits a trip to the guillotine. Yet despite the risk, Michel knows he must bring the wounded girl to his cottage to heal.

Attacked by soldiers and left for dead, Isabelle de La Rouchecauld has lost everything. A duke’s daughter cannot hope for mercy in France, so escaping to England is her best chance of survival. The only thing more dangerous than staying would be falling in love with this gruff yet tender man of the land. Even if she sees, for the first time, how truly noble a heart can be . . .

Don’t forget to enter the contest to win Naomi’s book! Name will be drawn on Friday!

Contracted

Sarah Ladd signed a 3 book deal with Thomas Nelson for her debut series, Whispers on the Moors.  The first book, Heiress of Winterwood, will release next spring.  You go girl!!!!!!!!!

Vanessa Riley (moi) contracted Madeline’s Protector with White Rose Publishing/ Pelican Books. It will release this next spring. Here’s the blurb:

If all the young men of the world leapt off a cliff, Madeline St. James wouldn’t care because the nightmares would end, and she’d cozy up to a Psalm in her aunt’s sculpture garden. Yet, a chance meeting and a bullet wound changes everything, and Madeline must trust that the Good Shepherd has led her to the altar to marry a dashing stranger, Lord Devonshire. Can she forge a bond with the stubborn earl before the next disaster strikes?

Justain Delveaux, Lord Devonshire, vows to keep Madeline safe and in her place as a dutiful silent wife, but with her lips parted in prayer, his wife in-name-only and her faith are alluring. Maybe when he thwarts the danger, Justain can tempt the unpredictable miss with the comfort of his arms.

Contest Wins

Nothing to update here, but the year is still young.

Anything Else

Well, we really want to thank the readers of Regency Reflections. Thank you for your comments and suggestions, for sharing part of your day with us. We love it. Please keep coming back and help spread the Inspirational-Regency-Love.

Be Blessed.

 

Sources: Amazon.com, Romantic Times