The Chimney Sweep ~ Guest Post by Louise M. Gouge

Louise M. GougeRegency Reflection is happy to welcome Louise M. Gouge to the blog today. Be sure to check out Louise’s new book, A Suitable Wife after reading the article below. 

Thanks for stopping by, Louise!

Christmas Tree and Fireplace

Nothing can cheer up a wintery night more than a fire in an old-fashioned fireplace, especially at Christmas time. Although today most of us have other methods of heating our homes, we enjoy the nostalgia generated by a cozy blaze so much that we put up with all the work that goes into maintaining our hearth.

In Regency times, of course, people had no choice but to warm their homes with a wood or coal fire. Wealthy people had the advantage of having servants to keep the home fires burning. But when it came time to clean the chimney, a specialist was called in: the chimney sweep.

Chimney Sweep Boy With Tools

 

Armed with their circular brushes and metal scrapers, these men removed all of the caked on soot and ash that could cause a larger fire and perhaps even burn down the entire house. In order to remove the flammable matter from the smaller upper reaches of the chimney, the master sweeps would buy small boys (from desperately impoverished parents) and force them up inside the cold flue to scrape away the dangerous substances. No child labor laws protected these little “climbing boys,” and countless numbers of them suffered stunted growth, lung disease, sterility as adults, and early death from breathing in the soot.

A Chimney Sweep and his climbing boyToday we are shocked and saddened to hear of any form of child abuse, and efforts are made to save children in similar dangers. Even during the Regency era, many godly reformers sought to make changes in social inequities. But it was not until 1864 that Lord Shaftesbury succeeded in eliminating the use of “climbing-boys” through the Act for the Regulation of Chimney Sweepers, which established a penalty of £10.00 for offenders. That was a hefty sum in those days.

When I learn such an interesting historical fact, I like to incorporate it into my stories so that my readers can get a realistic picture of the past along with the romance. Although I didn’t plan this particular scenario to link the first two books in my Ladies in Waiting series, it turned out that in the first book, A Proper Companion, my hero’s titled brother had a severe bout of pneumonia and almost died. Then Lord Greystone became the hero of A Suitable Wife, so it was natural for him to have great empathy for anyone with breathing problems. When he encounters two little brothers. . .but that would give away too much of the story. Let’s just say that Lord Greystone’s efforts would have made Lord Shaftsbury proud.

A Suitable Wife Book CoverHere’s the story: It’s an impossible attraction. Lady Beatrice Gregory has beauty, brains—and a wastrel brother. With her family fortune squandered, her only chance of a Season is as a lowly companion. London’s glittering balls and parties are bittersweet when Beatrice has no hope of a match. Still, helping Lord Greystone with his charitable work brings her genuine pleasure…perhaps more that she dares to admit. Even when every marriageable miss in London is paraded before him, the only woman to capture Lord Greystone’s attention is the one he shouldn’t pursue. Attaching himself to a ruined family would jeopardize his ambitions. Yet Lady Beatrice may be the only wife to suit his lord’s heart.

Interview with Cheryl Bolen

Laurie Allice Eakes (LA) invites you into an Interview with Cheryl Bolen (CB), author of Marriage of Inconvenience from Love Inspired Historical.

Cheryl Bolen, author of Marriage of Inconvenience

LA: What drew you to write about the Regency Time Period?

CB: My World War II book—the fourth complete book I’d written but not found a publishing home for—won a lot of contests, but publishers kept saying it didn’t fit into a genre. The final editor judge in one contest told me if I wrote a historical romance that took place before 1900 she would like to look at it. The only period I liked was the Regency England Georgette Heyer had introduced me to. I hadn’t read many of the contemporary writers of Regency because I found some of them not understanding the era as well as I thought I did. That’s when I had a light bulb moment. I can write that! I began A DUKE DECEIVED, and months later that senior editor at Harlequin Historical bought it.

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

CB: My newest release is set sometime after Waterloo but before 1820. I actually picked that time because it was a continuation of a series that began earlier and which locked me into a particular time. (The first books in the series, however, were written for a secular publisher, but readers had been clamoring for me to tell this proper miss’s tale.)

LA: What’s your favorite, unique Regency aspect of the novel, something you wouldn’t be able to include in a novel set in another place or time?

CB: Definitely the clothes—both men’s and women’s. Love the elegant, feminine lines of women’s but especially love that the men wore knee breeches, neckcloths—and unlike men later in the century, they were clean shaven!

LA: What are the biggest challenges to writing in the Regency Period?

CB: Some vocabulary is peculiar to the Regency, and you want to use it in a context that won’t confuse readers.

LA: Why did you choose to write Regencies for Love Inspired?

CB: I was honored that the senior editor of Love Inspired Historical came to me and asked me to write for her. I was thrilled because I’d developed a love of inspirational romances. Deeanne Gist is a friend of mine, and I love her award-winning books.
LA: What is your favorite Regency Food, aspect of dress, and/or expression?

CB: I don’t get into food a lot in my books because I don’t think modern readers would like to read about the excessive gluttony of the period! I love the wonderful formality and manners of the upper classes in their speech of the period. I really don’t like it when I read a book where an earl says, “Call me John.” This simply wasn’t done. Ladies were always Miss Lastname even to their closest friends.
LA: What is your favorite Regency setting; e.g., London, country house, small village?

CB: For my own books, I like a mix of the two. I’ve been to London many times and like to describe it as I believe it looked in the Regency, but there’s nothing like those grand country estates, and I like my readers to get a taste for that, too.
LA: What makes your hero and heroine uniquely Regency?

CB: In my newest book, the hero is in Parliament, and it plays a particular role in my book. They both favored reforms to benefit the lower classes.

LA: Tell us about your book.

CB: It’s actually sort of funny that in the same month I’ve got two new releases, and both of them are G-rated. As an ebook only, I’ve got CHRISTMAS BRIDES: 3 REGENCY NOVELLAS.

Marriage of Inconvenience, Love Inspired Historical: Proposing to the Earl of Aynsley seems a sensible—if unconventional—solution to Miss Rebecca Peabody’s predicament. As a married woman, she will be free to keep writing her essays on civil reform. Meanwhile, the distinguished widower will gain a stepmother for his seven children and a caretaker for his vast estate.

But the earl wants more than a convenient bride. He craves a true partner, a woman he can cherish. To his surprise, the bookish Miss Peabody appears to have every quality he desires…except the willingness to trust her new husband. Yet despite his family’s interference, and her steadfast independence, time and faith could make theirs a true marriage of hearts.

Cheryl Bolen’s Bio: A former journalist who admits to a fascination with dead Englishwomen, Cheryl is a regular contributor to The Regency Plume, The Regency Reader, and The Quizzing Glass. Many of her articles can found on her website, www.CherylBolen.com, and more recent ones on her blog, www.CherylsRegencyRamblings.wordpress.com. Readers are welcomed at both places.

Cheryl holds a dual degree in English and journalism from the University of Texas, and she earned a master’s degree from the University of Houston. She and her professor husband are the parents of two sons, one who is an attorney, and the other a journalist. Her favorite things to do are watching the Longhorns, reading letters and diaries of Georgian Englishmen, and traveling to England.

Get to Know Our Own Laurie Alice Eakes (And win that gift basket!)

If you’ve been reading Regency Reflections for a while then you already know a lot about Laurie Alice Eakes. Today I’m chatting with Laurie Alice to learn a little bit more about what she thinks about Regency England and her new book, Flight of Fancy.

Be sure to check out the trivia question at the end of the post for another chance to win that amazing gift basket!

Laurie Alice EakesIf you were to travel back in time to Regency England, what do you think would be your favorite part?

Hmm. About a dozen flitted through my mind here, from hot chocolate brought to my bedroom before I got up in the morning, to gentlemen being gentlemen, which sounds sexist to our contemporary views, and still seems appealing.

What would you miss the most?

Cleanliness. No question about that. We gloss over it in our books, and, in truth, things weren’t terribly clean back then, not by our standards.

Ballooning is a large part of your new book, Flight of Fancy. Did you have the opportunity to go up in a balloon while you were researching it?

Unfortunately no, and I interviewed many people who have. It’s still something I intend to do.

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

The Luddites are so uniquely Regency. They symbolize the stirrings of the consequences of mechanization and the burgeoning Industrial Revolution. The Luddite rebellion signifies how the world was beginning to change, one of the things about the Regency that endlessly holds my fascination. Although other riots occurred over other industrial innovations, the Luddite rebellion is unique, as men and women struggled against losing their way of life to a massive degree, to the extent soldiers had to be called in, and both rebels and soldiers died.

Flight Of FancyYou include a lot of historic events in your novels. Do you enjoy the research? How much time do you spend researching versus writing?

I’d say the time is equal. I knew little about ballooning or the Luddites before starting this book, so had to read a lot of books and original documents to get a true sense of both aspects.

Do you share any personality traits with your heroine in Flight of Fancy?

I’m not as nerdy—or as smart—as she is, and I can be a bit nerdy, esp. over history. And then there are the aspects of forgiveness, self-forgiveness that is, and inner healing with which she has to cope, that I related to sometimes so much it was painful to write.

What makes your hero different from other great gentlemen you’ve written before?

He has a few aspects that are different such as his closeness to his mother, and his own interests and skills with mechanical devices. I’ve also never written a story where the hero and heroine have had a long-standing relationship before the book begins, one that makes things worse between them than better.

What was your favorite aspect of writing Flight of Fancy?

Getting these two to grow up not only in maturity about relationships, but also in their relationship with the Lord. They were particularly aged walnuts with shells terribly difficult to crack, so I had to torture them both a great deal, break them so I could show them healing. Like a limb that was broken before and wrongly set, the Lord has to break some of us to get us to healing.

 

Now it’s your turn! Answer the following question in the comments for a chance to win a Flight of Fancy gift basket. See details here. And don’t forget to check out Monday’s post to learn more about balloons and two additional chances to win the basket.

Trivia Question #4:

In A Flight of Fancy, Cassandra Bainbridge is the oldest unmarried daughter of a baron. How should she be addressed?

A: Lady Cassandra
B: Lady Bainbridge
C: Miss Cassandra
D: Miss Bainbridge

 

This contest is now closed. Please see the final post for answers to the trivia questions. 

Taking to the Sky

To celebrate A Flight of Fancy, we’re running a special week-long contest. Starting October 5, 2012, through next Friday, October 12, we’ll feature Regency quiz questions at the end of each post. To enter the contest, you’ll need to correctly answer the questions in the comment section below. For every correct answer, your name will be added into the drawing for a Regency Food and Frolic gift basket. There will be five questions in all, which means your name can be entered up to five times (if you get all five questions right). The deadline to answer ALL CONTEST QUESTIONS will be Saturday, October 13 at midnight.

Photo on Scenic Reflections

A Flight of Fancy has a heroine who would be considered a nerd nowadays. For fun, she reads Greek and Hebrew, translates ancient documents into English, and executes mathematics. She regrets not being able to go to university, but since she cannot, she determines to make her mark on the world through creating a balloon one can steer.

Balloons could not be steered except per the caprices of the wind currents. These change at various heights of the atmosphere, so a balloonist had to raise and lower the gas—hydrogen—level in the balloon to affect their direction. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it did not. Usually it did not. Sails and paddles were employed in an attempt to create steerage to greater or lesser success—mostly lesser.

Considering one had to go aloft with live fire to create the hydrogen, and the car or basket was not all that large, limiting the quantity of fuel, long journeys in a balloon without touching down were simply not possible. Decades later, Jules Verne’s book, Around the World in 80 Days, was considered fantasy. It was the science fiction of its day. (He is, of course, the founder of steam punk, a steam punk author told me.) But I digress.

How grand getting from London to Lisbon, sailing over the heads of the French enemy, sailing high enough to be out of range of their guns, would be! Much safer from the enemy than taking a ship.

Unfortunately, steering was the first problem with long-range travel, and having enough fuel to keep gas in the balloon was another problem.

It doesn’t mean people did not attempt, and come close, to sailing long distances. Sophie Blanchard, a famous French balloonist, sailed across the Alps. No problem. Balloons could go extremely high; therefore, getting over the mountains was not a problem for her. She was also not sailing over enemy territory, being French.

During the Regency, Mr. Sattler decided to fly from Ireland, across the Irish Sea, and to England. He did so with great success. Several times, he had to raise and lower his level to catch favorable currents, but the coast of Cumberland drew into his sites.

So he decided to go down to Liverpool, and that’s when he ran into trouble. He caught a strong current. The waxed canvas tubing that carried the hydrogen from the beaker of acid and iron shavings, to the balloon, began to tear away from the balloon, causing him to lose altitude at an alarming rate.

Mind you, he reports that he was around three miles in the sky. Plunging from that height would have been rather frightening, not to say deadly.

With great risk to life and limb, he managed to affect repairs while poised above a live fire and that beaker of acid and iron shavings to make the hydrogen. I won’t say how because I use this incident for the basis of an important scene in A Flight of Fancy.

Mr. Sattler ended up in the sea near Liverpool. A flock of sea birds attacked him for the food he had carried with him, and several ships sailed past him. Eventually, as night fell, a naval vessel stopped and picked him up.

That Lord Whittaker is against Cassandra going aloft in a balloon makes a great deal of sense. Men and women, including Sophie Blanchard, died because of their fascination with taking to the sky in a balloon. Cassandra, however, is like thousands of men and women throughout history, who risked their fortunes and their lives to bring us new inventions and scientific discoveries—she will not let the danger stop her from trying to improve balloon flight and make it a practical form of transportation.

For more details on how balloonists made hydrogen and why they went aloft with a live fire, read my article at: http://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com/

Today’s questions:

1: How did aeronauts steer a balloon?

A: They used sails.

B: They used paddles.

C: They used wind currents.

D: They used the balloon itself.

 2: Which of the following was not used to make hydrogen for the balloon.

A: Fire

B: Acid

C: Wax

D: Iron

This contest is now closed. Please see the final post for answers to the trivia questions. 

Interview and Give-A-Way ~ Regina Scott

Interview with Regency author Regina Scott.

 

Veteran Regency writer Regency Regina Scott stopped by to tell us a little about her writing journey, as well as her love for regencies.

Regina’s first published book was The Unflappable Miss Fairchild in 1998, a regency with Zebra Regency Romance. Since then she has published continuously with 18 novels to her credit and four novellas.

In the last couple of years, she has turned to writing regencies with a Christian tone. These have found a home with Love Inspired Historicals. She has four LIH regencies to date. Her latest, The Captain’s Courtship, is out this month. Regina has graciously donated a copy for a lucky reader. For a chance to win it, please leave a comment today.

 

What drew you to write during the Regency Time Period?

I loved to read growing up, but by the time I reached college, it had been awhile since I’d found a book to truly engage me.  Then I stumbled upon Elizabeth Mansfield’s The Phantom Lover at my library.  I couldn’t put it down!  I’d always wanted to be a writer, but I knew then I wanted to write a book in this wonderful time period called the Regency.  I loved that the era had its own language, with an interplay between men and women that was so elegant and witty!  Twenty-two stories later, and I still love that period!
 

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

The Captain’s Courtship is actually set before the strict definition of the Regency, in 1805.  But that time definitely has the same flavor, whether in clothes or social sensibilities.  I chose the year for the Everard Legacy series, of which this is the second book, because the series needed a time that would give rise to a true villain, someone who threatened my characters’ happiness, their faith, and their freedom.  Who better than Napoleon and his henchmen?  In 1805, England was certain “the Corsican Monster” meant to invade at any moment, and he was certainly trying to comply!
 

3.      Who is your favorite Regency Author?

I couldn’t possibly list just one!  Elizabeth Mansfield is probably my all-time favorite, as I mentioned.  Love Inspired is publishing a number of wonderful authors such as Louise M. Gouge (whom I see you had on recently!), Deborah Hale, Mary Moore, and Abby Gaines.  I’m really excited that Cheryl Bolen will have a new book out in October.  And this blog is blessed with so many talented authors!  Those of us who love Regency romances have a lot to look forward to!

 

4. What is your favorite Regency expression?

I have several:  having a nice coze for sitting down and chatting with a good friend, piffle as a sign of disappointment, and here-and-therian, a fellow who won’t commit to anything, who traveled about with no set home or preferred to chase women rather than catch them.  See what I mean about a language all its own?

 

5. What is your favorite Regency setting; e.g., London, country house, small village?

Definitely a small village.  I love developing the various characters and the relationships among them.  So far, my more recent stories keep getting set in the wildness, though—places like the Lake District and the Peak District.  I think perhaps the isolation of a single manor, far from others, allows me to focus on the hero and heroine and how they come to find love.  That was certainly the case with The Captain’s Courtship.  Though it starts and ends in London, most of the action takes place in the Lake District, when my hero Captain Richard Everard brings the heroine to meet his cousin, who she’s agreed to sponsor for a Season.

Tell us about your book.

The dashing Captain Richard Everard has faced untold dangers at sea. Steering his young cousin through a London season, however, is a truly formidable prospect. The girl needs a sponsor, like lovely widow Lady Claire Winthrop-the woman who jilted Richard years ago. Claire believed herself sensible in marrying a well-to-do viscount rather than a penniless second son. How deeply she regretted it! Now their fortunes are reversed, and Richard’s plan will help settle her debts and secure his inheritance. Yet it may yield something even more precious: a chance to be courted by the captain once more.

When did your novel release and with what publisher?

The Captain’s Courtship will be out in July from Love Inspired Historical.

Tell us about yourself:

 I always wanted to be a writer, but it took a while to convince myself that that was what I was meant to do.  I tried being a day care provider, a nanny, a technical writer, and a risk communication consultant before I heeded God’s call on my life.  Now, I feel so blessed to sit down at my computer and write!  The Captain’s Courtship marks my 22nd published story (18 novels and 4 novellas), all set in the Regency period.  The Rake’s Redemption, the next book in the Everard Legacy series, will be out in November.  You can learn more at my website at www.reginascott.com, where I also have articles about the Regency period.  You can also find me online at Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/reginascott), and the blog I share with author Marissa Doyle at www.nineteenteen.blogspot.com.   

For a chance to win A Captain’s Courtship by Regina Scott, leave a comment. We will draw a winner on July 31, 2012. Be sure to check back on this comment thread on that date to find out who won.

A Dream Is Born

Once upon a time, I was about fourteen and had decided that I liked reading romances, historical ones in particular. Looking back, I can see the school librarian going back to her office and tearing out her hair trying to figure out what to give me to read next since I read about two books a week. The library was a nice one, but not overflowing with novels appropriate for an innocent early teen.

But one day inspiration must have struck her and she handed me a copy of Charity Girl by Georgette Heyer. Glory, glory halleluiah! I had found my niche.


Lords and ladies, a breakneck mission through the English countryside, a maiden in distress, and, best of all, romance between the dashing hero and what was
previously his best female friend whom he suddenly decided he loved. Nothing better.Except I did find better. Georgina by Clare Darcy, then Frederica by Heyer, more Darcys, more Heyers, more authors writing in this fascinating time period until I was dreaming of writing my own beleaguered lady in need of a hero.I started reading nonfiction books about the Regency era. I even plowed my way through the Jane Austen library. I absorbed language and costume and the politics of the day like a velvet pelisse soaking up water from the rain while the wearer walks in Hyde Park.

What draws me to this time? I was asked in a recent radio interview. All of the above. The Regency was a time of amazing transition in the world from the excesses of the Georgian era aristocracy, to the rise of the middle class due to industrialization. The lines between classes, though still sharply defined, are beginning to blur around the edges. Social reforms are being at least talked about and steps taken to implement them. And the war with France and then a second war with America are always fodder for a fun read. Never a dull moment in the Regency.

After college, grad school, and a couple of jobs, I started to write my own Regency romance. Those first novels I completed are from my BC days, and I’m mortified that copies of them may be floating around the Internet. 

What is more important to me is the birth of my first two published Regencies and others coming out in the future. My first published novel Family Guardian is a Regency and won the National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency. A Necessary Deception is my first Regency for the Christian market out October of 2011. These books symbolize dreams born in the heart of a fourteen-year-old girl coming true.