A Suitable Match, Serial Story Section 5

MatchCoverTo kick off the second year of celebrating Inspirational Regency fiction, we presented a serial story, A Suitable Match. At the end of the month we’ll be giving away a fabulous prize package filled with items tied to the story. 

Missed an earlier section? Read it here: 1 2 3 4

The George and Pelican Inn, somewhere between Somerset and London
April 1818

“Gone? She can’t be gone!” Chard glanced at Twiford who uttered the same words, the  panic and disbelief in his voice mirroring Chard’s.

“I’m sorry, my lord, but I checked her room myself. It’s empty.” The servant shuffled his feet, probably in anticipation of fleeing the company of two angry peers.

Lord Twiford stomped from the room with Chard on his heels. If she had left, she couldn’t have gone far.

***

Cressida pressed her ear to the doorjamb, careful not to scrape it against the rough wood. A little ache and discomfort was one thing. Some things had to be suffered through in order to achieve the desired result, after all. A mass of splinters in the side of her face was another thing entirely, and something to be avoided if at all possible.

Her nose flattened as she pressed into the door, peering through the knothole. If she angled her head just right, she could see the counter at the bottom of the stairs where the innkeeper did business.

Moments earlier the innkeeper had informed the servant that she had vacated her rooms, implying that she had departed from the inn entirely. The man had been hesitant to give her a new room late last night so she could fool the men into thinking she was gone, but an old silver locket had been enough to purchase the new room and his cooperation.

She hated to part with any of her inherited jewels, but this trinket was by far the least valuable. Besides, it was worth it if it allowed her to escape the company of the men from her past.

“What is the meaning of this nonsense?” Lord Twiford’s voice shot up the stairs followed by the reverberation of his pounding on the innkeeper’s counter.

It was too bad that such a contrary disposition wore such a pleasing appearance.

Lord Chard joined the party, adding his own demands that the innkeeper tell him how she had left the premises. Cressida’s heartbeat rushed a little louder through her abused ear. Recollections of stolen kisses and quiet talks flooded her mind. The years had not done enough to dampen the memories of her engagement. How could she possibly find another man to wed in London where frolicking dances and intimate rides in the park would forever make her think of him?

“This is just like her,” Twiford ranted. “Thoughtless. Frivolous.”

It appeared his opinion of her had not improved over the years. Spoiled, careless, and vain were going to be his next insults if memory served correctly.

“Cease, Twiford. She doesn’t deserve your disdain now any more than she did then.” Chard beat his hat against his leg, looking past the innkeeper into the common room beyond. Was he hoping she would be sitting amongst the locals enjoying a cup of tea?

“I will never understand why you jump to her defense so quickly. Are you saying you approve of this reckless behavior?”

A smile crept across Cressida’s lips. Chard had defended her back then? She’d always wondered.

“Of course I don’t approve. It shows she’s never outgrown that blasted impulsiveness that had her breaking our engagement. She may be a bit self-absorbed but that’s no reason to malign her.”

Cressida’s smile fell into a frown. Breaking their engagement had not been a fit of selfish impulsiveness. How dare he discount her sacrifice on his behalf?

“I always thought her desertion of you was rather noble, myself.” Twiford strode out of her line of vision. “You needed money, she didn’t have any. She probably thought she was doing you a favor.”

She pressed a hand to her forehead and abandoned her knot hole to rest her head on the solidity of the wall, feeling dizzy despite her prone position stretched along the floor of her new room, just two doors down from her old one. Men! If they could just decide on whether or not they disliked her, they could go on to London and leave her to figure out her own transportation. The locket she’d given the innkeeper might be enough to rent her a post chaise to continue the journey.

“Pardon me, gentlemen, but could you direct me to Miss Cressida Blackstone?”

Cressida’s eyes flew open. She jammed her face against the door and felt a prick as a prong of wood stabbed her in the ear. Ross Ainsworth had recovered sufficiently from his head wound and decided to join the drama at the innkeeper’s desk.

“Who are you?” Chard demanded.

“Her driver,” Twiford mumbled at the same time that Ross declared, “Her cousin.”

“How distant?” The menace in Twiford’s voice crawled up the stairs and wrapped around her throat. She could feel his displeasure, it was so thick.

Ross’s eyebrows lowered. “Distant enough. Who are you?”

Chard jerked his gaze from one man to the other. “What is going on here?”

Twiford jutted his chin toward Ross. “He nearly killed Miss Blackstone with his reckless driving.”

“I was merely trying to get her to London as soon as possible.”

“You landed her in a river instead. I brought her here to recover.”

Ross took a slow step forward, his scraped hands balling into fists at his sides. “So help me, my lord, if you have dishonored her-“

“Me? I wasn’t the one traveling to London without a proper chaperone.”

Chard stepped between the two men before they could exchange blows. “Gentlemen, calm yourselves. We all know that Cressy – Miss Blackstone would never do anything untoward, despite how the situation might appear.”

An odd warmth filled Cressida’s midsection. It took a moment to recognize it as pleased surprise that he would defend her honor. But which “he” had caused the pleasure?

Twiford grunted. “We may not know Miss Cressida Blackstone as well as we thought. The woman has run off alone in the middle of the night after all.”

The three men leaned over the counter, addressing the nervous innkeeper. “How did she leave?” Chard asked.

“Er, well, I’m not certain, my lord. She mentioned taking a post chaise to London.”

“Then she hasn’t left,” Ross declared.

“Why not?” Twiford asked.

“I spent the night in the stable, as you so comfortably situated me. No conveyances have left the inn in the last several hours.”

“She might have walked.” Chard rubbed the back of his neck, shifting his weight back and forth as if he wanted to do something, anything, other than stand around discussing the situation.

“We could set out in different directions on horseback. It wouldn’t take long to catch up with her.” Ross grimaced, probably thinking of the agony putting his battered body on a galloping horse would cause.

“It certainly speaks ill of a man that he would allow a gentlewoman to stride into the night unescorted,” Twiford added

The men exchanged glances and then glared at the innkeeper. The man coughed and ran a finger between his neck and cravat.

A young servant girl slipped around them, carrying a loaded tray of tea, toast, and Cressida’s favorite orange marmalade.

Twiford held out a hand, stopping her progress. “If I may be so bold as to inquire, where are you taking that?”

“To the young lady upstairs, my lord. Her maid, Knighting, said to bring it up this morning, as her mistress would be indisposed and unable to come down.” The maid bit her lip as she looked from the three men to the innkeeper.

Cressida’s heart stopped. Her breath turned to stone in her lungs. This couldn’t be happening. She’d been so close.

“Where is this ‘indisposed’ young lady?” Chard asked.

Lie! she screamed in her head, willing the servant girl to tell them she was staying in a room at the back, or that she’d been wrong and it was actually an old woman, or, better yet, a child. Anything to buy her just a little more time, though Cressida had no idea what she would do with those precious seconds.

“In the room at the top of the stairs, my lord.”

So much for that wish.

The three men turned and looked up the stairs, right at her little knothole.

* Section 5 was written by Kristi Ann Hunter, blog.KristiAnnHunter.com *

Did you find the hidden item? Note it in the comments below for a chance to win. 

Don’t forget that the readers will ultimately choose who truly loves Cressida, and whom she loves in return. Already have a favorite? Go vote for him! Want everyone else to vote for him too? Grab a voting badge from the Suitable Match Extras page

What do you think the gentlemen are going to do next? Read the next installment!

Originally posted in 2013.

The Regency Spy ~ Sorting Fact from Fiction

The Regency Spy. He is such a popular figure in fiction that it can be difficult to know where the story ends and the truth begins.

Accounts of actual spies are vague and difficult to find. Not surprising, as they were spies. Undercover work wasn’t exactly respected at the time and was usually done by people acting as double agents: mistresses, traveling poets, scholars, diplomats, etc.

By most accounts, the French were a little better at it than the English, though it’s possible the English were simply a bit better at keeping their activities secret.

In my recent book, A Noble Masquerade, a Napoleonic spy had infiltrated England and our heroic English spy has to stop him. The spies in A Noble Masquerade are considerably more organized than the real Regency spies were, all being connected by a centralized War Office.

There was no organized spy office in England at the time, particularly not a government recognized one. Instead of having a centralized organization, if someone such as the prime minister, foreign minister, or even General Wellington needed information, they built their own slipshod network. Most spy work at the time was actually happening in France, which is where the spy in A Noble Masquerade got his start.

A Noble Masquerade is now available in eBook, paperback, and audio book formats. Find out more at Kristi’s website.

More about A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter:

NobleCoverLady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Entering her fourth Season and approaching spinsterhood in the eyes of society, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in letters to her brother’s old school friend, a duke–with no intention of ever sending these private thoughts to a man she’s heard stories about but never met. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother’s new valet, and although she may wish to break free of the strictures that bind her, falling in love with a servant is more of a rebellion than she planned.

When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men–one she’s never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. When it becomes apparent state secrets are at risk and Marlow is right in the thick of the conflict, one thing is certain: Miranda’s heart is far from all that’s at risk for the Hawthornes and those they love.

 

Regency Wards and Guardians – the care of a well-to-do orphan

Kristi here. As long as people have been having children, there has been the question of what to do with them if the parents die before the child can care for themselves. In Regency England that care depended greatly on who your parents had been.

Orphanages were frequently reserved for the poor or poorly connected. Those with higher connections and particularly those with money and property became wards, but the assignment of the guardian was not always simple.

Early 19th Century painting of the Court of Chancery, via wikimedia commons
Early 19th Century painting of the Court of Chancery, via wikimedia commons

The father was the only person able to assign a guardian for his children should he die too early. If his will didn’t state who it was to be, the choice fell to the Court of Chancery. The court could also in extreme cases overrule the father’s choice of guardian.

If the child had property and money the court cared a great deal more than if the child didn’t. If there was no material wealth, then the court didn’t get very involved unless someone made a ruckus. If no one sued over the child, then the court was likely to leave them with whoever wanted to care for the child, such as a stepfather who had no legal right to his deceased wife’s children from a previous marriage.

The appointed guardian was usually the most closely related person that could not inherit from the child. The court was very concerned about the child being coerced out of his inheritance by a guardian or through marriage. If the child was a minor and the court did not approve of the marriage, it was considered non-existent, particularly if the child were male.

Adoption as we know it today did not exist during the Regency time period, though it was not unheard of for a ward to be treated as a son or daughter and even inherit certain things from their guardian, unless of course there was a title involved. Titles had to move along bloodlines.

After the age of 14 the child could have a say in who their guardian was,  but many children didn’t know this and felt they had to go along with whoever the court appointed. There were also instances where someone might have been appointed the guardian but someone else actually cared for the child (such as a brother or sister). This wasn’t an issue unless legal things such as permission to marry were involved.

Since the Court of Chancery was exceptionally bogged down and notoriously slow about things, they tended to ignore whatever didn’t involve titles, property, or angry people. As long as nothing untoward was happening and no one objected, guardianship of well-to-do but penniless people could be decided by society.

A working or middle class family might take in a neighbor’s child out of love or a wish for another pair of hands. There was no legal ramifications for this unless someone sued.

This lack of oversight comes into play my novella coming out in July. A Lady of Esteem is a complete story – no cliffhangers! – offered free as a preview to the upcoming Hawthorne House series. If you’re on Goodreads, hop over here and add the book to your to-read shelf. If 250 people add it, I’ll do an early release of Chapter One on my webpage.

*The assignment of wards and guardians and trustees could get very complicated. This is a very high level look at how guardianship was handled. For more information on the Court of Chancery, there are several books available through Google books that go into the formation and responsibilities of this particular court. Here are some other websites that go into greater detail about the types of guardians: Regency Researcher and Word Wenches

 

When Is a Dress Not Just a Dress ~ Regency Fashion Explained

If you’ve ever read a Regency-set novel, you’ve no doubt run across a description of the heroine’s clothing. It’s one of those things we do. But have you ever stopped to wonder what makes an afternoon dress different from a carriage dress? Or a ball gown different from a dinner gown?

Here is a rundown of a few of the qualities that make a Regency dress fit for the proper occasion.

MorningGownRuffleMorning Dress

Morning dresses were used for just that. Morning. They weren’t meant for company or for going out. They were the yoga pants of Regency England. They were plain, unadorned, and frequently made of thinner, cheaper materials than a woman’s other clothes. Silhouette-wise, morning dresses were the same as any other day dress, though they were replaced less frequently given that no one cared whether or not their morning dress was fashionable.

Often times, an old afternoon dress might have the trim salvaged off of it before being used as a morning dress.

Afternoon Dress

Which then does beg the question of what makes an Afternoon Dress.

rdAfternoon dresses were meant to be seen. Afternoons were for going visiting or walking in the park. As these were still day dresses, they had high necklines and full length sleeves. They would, however, been trimmed and fitted to the best of a lady’s fashion ability.

There were several types of afternoon dresses as there were several types of activities one could participate in during the afternoon.

Walking or Promenade Dress

Often the most decorative of the afternoon dresses, a walking dress was for strolling among the masses. Because they were meant to be noticed, care was taken to make sure they were flattering and impressive.

They weren’t, however, always practical since they followed the fashion of the day like everything else, including when it came to the length of the train.

ridinghabitCarriage or Traveling Dress

Carriage dresses were made of heavier fabrics, intended to put up with the stress of traveling by coach for long periods of time. The cotton muslin frequently used in walking dresses was prone to wrinkle. Carriage dresses were also less trimmed, since those could get crushed while traveling, particularly if your coach was full of companions.

Riding Habits

Riding habits were very sturdy, very simple, and very modest. They would have very full skirts to drape over the lady’s legs while riding side saddle.

Evening Dress

GauzyEveningDressEvening dresses were the finest dresses in a lady’s wardrobe. The fabrics were thinner than the afternoon dress but were also much finer. Silks, satins, light taffetas, and very fine muslins were the fabrics of choice. Sleeves were frequently shorter and bodices were cut lower.

The different types of evening dress were indicated more by the level of embellishment than by the style. A lady’s ball gowns would be trimmed and embroidered to the utmost fashion, with the intention of catching the light as well as the gentleman. Many ball gowns were actually two gowns, with a sheerer gown worn over another. The bottom gown was sometimes colored and the top layer might only fall 3/4 of the way down the skirt, allowing the embellished hem of the underdress to show.

Opera gowns and dinner dresses were, by comparison, a bit simpler. They were still made of fine fabrics, still cut to show off more than a day dress, but were not intended to be quite as impressive as the ball gown.

Court Gowns

courtdressCourt gowns were worn for the very special and rare occasion that a young lady went to the royal court. These gowns were a throwback to a bygone era, forgetting fashion entirely in the name of tradition. Wide, hooped skirts, long trains, and overly elaborate hair decorations ruled the court.

When people tried to mix these traditions with modern fashions you ended up with some very silly looking high-waisted gowns with elaborate bell-like skirts.

 

With all these dresses, it’s a wonder that Regency ladies ever got anything done besides changing their clothes.

Miniature Portraits: The Instagram of Regency England

While the first known photograph was taken not long after the Regency period closed, the idea of capturing someone’s likeness was hardly new. Portraits, sketches, and tapestries have existed for many years, giving us glimpses of the history before there were cameras.

Amadeus Mozart and his sister, 1765
Amadeus Mozart and his sister, 1765

But a portrait was time consuming and expensive. Only the very wealthy and important sat for multiple portraits in their lifetimes. It wasn’t uncommon for someone, even of the middle class, to have only one portrait done in a lifetime.

At least, it wasn’t uncommon until the miniature portrait rose to popularity.

Miniature portraits had been around for a long time, but in the late 1700s a new technique was developed that made then sturdier, easier, and even smaller. They were stippled onto ivory backings using tiny dots.

'Portrait_of_a_Boy',_watercolor_on_ivory_portrait_miniature_by_James_Nixon,_c._1810-1820,_Museum_of_Fine_Arts,_HoustonWhen King George III’s wife wore a miniature portrait of him on her wrist while sitting for a full size portrait of her own, the craze began. Even the middle class got into the game, since smaller portraits required less time and supplies and were therefore considerably less expensive.

Unknown_boy_by_StroehlingPeople could even afford to commission portraits of their children and significant events.

Royals had several made to give out as tokens to dignitaries and honored friends.

Through the Regency period, multiple painters switched to making their entire livings off of miniature portraits. Ranging from 1 to 7 inches tall, these portraits were used to remember a loved one, whether distant or deceased, commemorate milestones, and as secret tokens of love.

Princess Charlotte's eye
Princess Charlotte’s eye

Close-up miniatures of eyes or even mouths were given as intimate tokens of love, sometimes rather inappropriately. Because a single eye couldn’t be identified as any particular person, the painting could be given in secret, with only the recipient knowing who was really in the picture.

Mrs_Jonathan_Leavitt_(Emilia_Stiles).jpegOnce painted, the smaller miniatures were set into jewelry, including brooches, necklaces, and bracelets. Larger ones were framed, possibly kept on bedside tables or in other living areas, providing easy access to the beloved images without restraining them to a gallery or significant wall space.

While there aren’t any examples of someone immortalizing their favorite chocolate cake on a brooch, beloved pets or homes were occasionally painted as well.

All pictures obtained from Wikimedia Commons. Click on picture to go to original posting. 

Happy Birthday, Regency Reflections! Enjoy these free short stories.

Regency Reflections is entering it’s fourth year! We’ve had such an incredible time blogging about history, new books, our favorite classics, and the blessings God has given us. We couldn’t be happier to have you along for the journey.

If you’re new to Regency Reflections (or just want to revisit some great reads) here are the links to some free short stories we’ve published in the last three years.

A Suitable Match – a serial story written by 7 Regency romance authors. The contests are no longer open, but the story is still great!

Saving Miss Caulfield by Kristi Ann Hunter

Love Everlasting by Laurie Alice Eakes

A Pressing Engagement by Vanessa Riley

A Proper Prodigal by Susan Karsten

Matchmaking Pudding by Laurie Alice Eakes

We hope you’re looking forward to another year of celebrating inspirational Regencies as much as we are!

Happy reading!

When the Men go Clubbing ~ Regency Gentlemen’s Clubs

The club.

Many a fictional aristocratic hero had spent a great deal of time at “his club”.  While many clubs of various affiliations and interests were started in the late  Georgian era and throughout the Victorian period, the Regency was dominated by the gentlemen’s clubs marching down St. James Street.

The three oldest and most established clubs set the example. And while many have come and gone since the 1820s, the three powerhouses remain today, still sitting in the same locations our heroes visited.

White’s

The granddaddy of the the London gentlemen’s clubs, White’s was first established in 1693, at the site of what would later become Boodle’s.

Whites London
White’s London via Paul Farmer / WikiCommons

It started life innocently enough as a hot chocolate emporium, but shifted to an exclusive club and gambling den in 1736. In the late 1700s it moved down St. James street to its current location. Soon after that it became known as the club of those affiliated with the Tory political party.  (A more extensive history of the movement can be found here.)

Though not the only club sporting a bay window, it was the most famous bay window. Being seen sitting in White’s window was a sign of popularity and prestige.

White’s was and is still a men only club. Queen Elizabeth II is the only woman known to have been entertained at the club. Entrance into the club has always been difficult, with an exceedingly long wait list and a discerning membership policy. Today a potential member must be vouched for by at least 35 existing members.

That exclusivity is probably why only one man has been recorded as leaving the club voluntarily. While others have left through death or shameful forced resignation, Prime Minister David Cameron is said to have resigned White’s over there men-only rule.

If the club has a website, I couldn’t find it. Though there are several other London establishments trying to cash in on the popularity and prestige of the White’s name.

Brook’s

Brook’s has been a private club from its inception. In 1762 it started as a private society formed by two men blackballed from White’s. The society then split into two groups, each of which established their own club.

Brooks, via WikiCommons
Brooks, via WikiCommons

One of these groups consisted of nearly thirty prominent members of the Whig political party. They established the group that would later become Brook’s, though the club was originally named Almack’s because they met at William Almack’s coffee house, very near the prestigious Almack’s Assembly Rooms.

The group moved to its current home on St. James Street in 1778 into a building built by William Brooks, a wine merchant who acted as manager of Almack’s.

While all gentlemen’s clubs were known for gambling, Brook’s gaming rooms were notoriously going day and night.

While Brook’s does not allow women to become full members, they do allow female guests. And while their website is certainly easier to find, unless you’re a member you don’t get more than a pretty picture of the building’s facade.

Boodle’s

If you’re wondering what happened to the group on the other side of the split that formed Brook’s, you have only to look down St. James Street to Boodle’s.

Boodles, Via WikiCommons
Boodles, Via WikiCommons, by Debonairchap

While the other group met at Almack’s coffee house, this group, friends of Lord Shelburne, future Marquess of Lansdowne and Prime Minister, met at the tavern. The tavern was taken over by Edward Boodle, from whom the club takes it’s name.

It moved to it’s current location on St. James Street in 1782. It almost closed in 1896, but the members gathered enough funds to purchase the club from the heirs.

Probably the reason Boodle’s is mentioned less in Regency novels is that the club became the meeting place of the gentry while White’s maintained it’s claim to the more senior members of the nobility. While a few titles can be found on Boodle’s membership list, there are considerably more gentlemen than aristocrats.

Boodle’s is the only one of the three clubs that allows female members, though they have their own entrance.

 

How do you feel about Regency heroes being members of these clubs? Which one would you want to belong to?

 

 

 

 

Where did that word come from?

Kristi here. If you’ve ever hung around young children, you’ve heard the word “why”. Kids love to know why you’re doing whatever you’re doing (usually at times when you really don’t want to explain it). They want to know why they have to go to bed, why they have to eat their vegetables, and why you never give Caillou as an option to watch on TV even though the whiny little guy is right there on the screen.

Okay, maybe that last one is just me.

But I have one kid who is constantly asking about words. Why do we call that an elephant, where did the word elastic come from, who decided to call it ice cream.

It all means I’ve started looking up the eymology of words and it’s really interesting. So today I’m looking up some words frequently seen in Regency romances to see where and when those words became the words we know today.

The Titles

Dukedoms appeared in England in the mid-1300s, ousting earl as the highest rank of nobility. The word Duke traces all the way back to latin origination from dux or ducis which means leader or commander.

The ousted earl had been hanging around England for 300 years before the dukes came along. While there is an old English word, eorl, that means brave man, warrior, chief, the origination of that word is uncertain. It is possibly of Germanic descent.

Marquess or Marquis was blatantly lifted from the French, though its usage was quite spotty from the late 1300s until the 1500s. In French the word means ruler of a border area, taken from the Old French word marche meaning frontier.

Society

Social gatherings and interactions are significant in Regency novels. The word society itself traces back to the Latin word societatem. It has always meant fellowship, association, and community.

More specific meanings for the word, such as a group or club, began in the 16th century. Often in Regency books the word is used to mean “the more cultivated part of a community”. This usage was first recorded in 1823, making it a very “modern” usage of the word for our characters.

The Parties

Looking up the etymology of the word ball will send you in a lot of directions. Using the word to refer to a “dancing party” began in the early 1600s. It traces back to Old French, Latin, and Greek words that mean “to dance”.

Soiree, or “evening party” was another English word lifted directly from the French. It, too, goes back to the Latin word. Sero meant “at a late hour”.

The word party has long meant to divide or separate. Usages of the word in this way date back to the 12th century, particularly in reference to politics. It’s usage as a term meaning “a gathering for social pleasure” isn’t until the early 18th century.

Debutante

Probably the happiest discovery I made while writing this article was the origination of the word debutante. I had heard that the word debutante was not used in the Regency, but was instead a more Victorian term, making its appearance in the 1830s.

According to several sources, the word debutante was actually early 1800s. Some place it as early as 1801, though several place it in 1817.

Look up your own

Head on over to etymonline.com and look up your favorite Regency word. Describe it’s origination in the comments below.

And if anyone has any idea how they came up with the words for Latin, let me know, because all the etymology seems to stop there.

Tales from St. Louis ~ A Report on the ACFW Conference

View of over half the arch from Kristi's hotel room. Kristi here. I had the great pleasure of attending the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference in St. Louis this weekend.

This was the view from my hotel window. Pretty cool.

Unfortunately, despite being spitting distance from the arch, I never actually made it over there. Oh well. It’s still pretty.

Meeting Some Familiar People

Kristi Hunter and Kristy Cameron at ACFW galaOne of the best thing about conference is meeting up with people you normally only “see” in cyberspace.

If you’ve been reading this blog long, you know “friend of the blog” Kristy Cameron. Something you might not have known is… the girl is tall. But I love that hair. That’s how I found her from across the room of 600 people.

I also ran into some of our favorite Regency authors.

Kristi Ann Hunter and Sarah LaddSarah Ladd was a finalist for the Carol in the debut novel category with her Regency The Heiress of Winterwood. 

The category was won by a contemporary book with Regency ties, Katherine Reay’s Dear Mr. Knightley, in which a young lady channels Jane Austen’s characters to help her get through life. (Amazing book, I highly recommend it.)

Kristi Ann Hunter and Julie Klassen in Regency garbI also met up with Julie Klassen, looking amazing in her pink Regency ball gown. Julie was honored with the Mentor of the Year award at the gala.

As you can see, she’s another blonde that towers over me. If you ever have the honor of meeting her, think of something more witty to say than, “Wow, you’re tall.” I already took that one.

Kristi's Regency DressYes, I am also dressed in Regency era garb. My amazing and wonderful mother made me a dress for the genre dinner (where we got to dress up in time periods and characters). Now I’ll also have it for things like book signings or other events.

She even made me a matching shawl and reticule.

Mothers are awesome.

Upcoming Book News

Other than Sarah and Julie I didn’t see any of our other Regency authors this weekend. Julie has a new release in December, so keep watching for that.

I know many of our readers are expanding into the Edwardian era, in part because of Downton Abbey. This is a growing area in Christian fiction, so if that interests you be sure to check that out. I know I saw some titles set in Edwardian England from Carrie Turansky and heard of a series by Roseanna White coming out next year.

My Own Happy News

Kristi's Genesis award and ArchI also brought home my own special souvenir. Here is the Genesis award I was blessed to win with the beautiful arch as a background.

In case you’ve missed me making the announcement elsewhere, I’m happy to say you can pick up this award winning story for yourself next Fall when it comes out from Bethany House.

 

 

 

All in all it was a pretty amazing weekend. Were you an author able to go to the conference? Got a question about the weekend that I might could answer? Leave it in the comments.

To See and Be Seen ~ Regency’s Rotten Row

When I was a teenager, I spent hours strolling the wide halls of the mall, perusing the CD stores and the Hello Kitty paraphernalia in Hallmark. Then I got a job there and got to watch parades of teens do the nightly mating dance around the three layered fountain.

Regency England didn’t have a three story monolith of retail opportunities, but they did have a wide lane where the elite of London’s society went to see and be seen.

Rotten Row today via Wikimedia Commons
Rotten Row today via Wikimedia Commons

Running for one and quarter miles across the lower edge of Hyde Park, Rotten Row gave the Beau Monde a parade ground of epic proportions. The bridal path was covered in a mixture of gravel to support carriage wheels and a soft bark mixture called tan to protect a horse’s legs. It was wide enough for three carriages to ride abreast of each other down the path.

In the mornings, the path was one of the few places in London where horses could be exercised or ridden at a fast pace. It was the domain of grooms and ladies and gentlemen who wished to let the horses go for a good run.

The entrance to Rotten Row from an 1804 drawing, via Wikimedia Commons
The entrance to Rotten Row from an 1804 drawing, via Wikimedia Commons

But come evening, from around 4 in the afternoon until 7 or 8, riders and drivers were expected to maintain a sedate pace so that people could admire each other’s horseflesh, finery, or their latest romantic attachment.

All the riders and carriages in the park were owned by the well-to-do since hired hacks were not allowed within the walls of Hyde Park. Some people took this to extreme, buying and personalizing fancy carriages, which they then paired with horses that coordinated or even matched their rigs.

Should someone wish to participate in the parade without a horse or carriage, walking paths lined each side of the bridal path. More common folk could often be found along here as well, though, treating the parade of ton member as a form of entertainment or celebrity watching.

With the decline of the local mall in most areas, where have you found people go to see and be seen these days?