Trust. It’s not something people give easily anymore. Between media snafus, misleading internet articles, and photoshop, it’s hard to know what to believe in, so we choose to trust in nothing and no one but ourselves.
I saw a lot of elements of trust play out in Michelle Griep’s Brentwood’s Ward. Trust of ourselves, of others, and of God.
Without giving away too much of the book, I can tell you that at the beginning of the book Nicholas Brentwood doesn’t put much trust in anyone but himself. Even when he knows he should be trusting God, he struggles with shouldering the entire pressure of finding a solution to his sister’s problem. Interestingly, this situation requires him to trust people he barely knows to help him.
Throughout the book, Emily and Nicholas have to learn to trust each other as well as God. When they don’t learn this lesson quickly enough, bad things start to happen. While Nicholas wants Emily to trust him and be honest with him, he isn’t very forthcoming with her. Only when the trust becomes a two-way street do they start to see their relationship blossom.
I loved Nicholas’ sister in this book. For me, she stole every page she was on with a shining light of one who trusts in God completely.
Do you struggle with deciding who to trust and who not to? When tough situations arise, do you keep your trust in God or do you try to control your own future? Perhaps taking a little journey with Emily and Nicholas will help you sort things out.
Leave a comment below to be entered into a drawing for your own copy of Brentwood’s Ward. Everyone who comments on the book’s posts over the last two weeks will be entered. Drawing will take place Sunday, March 1.
“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy coffee . . . and that’s pretty close.”
Hipsters may think they’re trendy by hanging out at the local coffee house, but nursing a cup of java while discussing the politics of the day has been around a long, long time. In England, this dates back to the seventeenth century. Surprise! Who’d have thought those proper tea-drinking Brits even knew what coffee was?
Here are a few fun facts:
First coffee house opened in Oxford, 1650.
In the 17th and 18th century, there were more coffee houses in London than today.
A mug o’ joe cost a penny, which was a great price because you also gained an education. It was said that a man could “pick up more useful knowledge than by applying himself to his books for a whole month.” Hence the nickname: Penny Universities.
English coffee houses started the custom of tipping servers. Patrons who wanted good service and better seating would put some money into a tin labeled “To Insure Prompt Service (TIPS).
In my Regency era historical, BRENTWOOD’S WARD, I highlight the coffee house phenomenon by setting a scene at The Chapter Coffee House. Women of the times didn’t usually frequent such establishments, but this historical venue is a little different. It was a known haunt of booksellers, writers, and literature hounds. Even Charlotte Brontë visited on occasion.
And just in case you’re wondering if historical coffee would taste the same as today’s brews, here’s a recipe so you can try it yourself:
Coffee ~ A Regency Recipe
Put 2 oz. of fresh-ground quality coffee into a coffeepot. If you must take your coffee extremely strong, use 3 oz. Then pour 8 coffee-cups worth of boiling water atop. Let it rest for 6 minutes. Then add in 2 or 3 isinglass-chips and pour one large spoonful of boiling water on top. Set the pot by the fire to keep it hot for 10 more minutes, and you will have coffee of a supreme transparency.
Serve with fine cream and either fine sugar as well, or pounded sugar-candy.
Whether you love coffee, or love to hate coffee, there’s no denying its deeply imbedded in societies all around the world, present and past. And if you’re looking for a great read to go along with your mug o’ joe, here’s a blurb for BRENTWOOD’S WARD . . .
Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones.
For me, the month of February is a time to reflect on history and progress, as well as love. So, it is my pleasure to spend a little time with Michelle Griep on my southern porch. She’s a woman that writes both historical fiction and nonfiction. I thought you would like to get to know another side of one our Regency authors.
As I gussied up things, I decided to offer ripe strawberries dipped in a healthy dose of chocolate. I hadn’t had quite enough on Valentine’s Day, (thank you, Dear Hubby).
But my friend Michelle won’t have any. Not one bite.
“I hate fruit,” she said, “No, really. Not even strawberries.”
Ok, as I put the tray away for munching later, I begged Michelle to tell me more about herself, something far from London and the 1800’s.
“I am a Trekkie at heart, though I am not fluent in Klingon. Yet. I love to garden, specifically flowers and herbs. Reading is a huge passion of mine, as is eating chocolate, rollerblading, or walking my dog, Ada Clare, Princess of the Universe.”
Seriously, Michelle is a writer’s writer and has carefully studied the craft of writing for years, and as we celebrate her latest release, Brentwood’s Ward, she has also released a book on craft. How did you find the time between rollerblading and the Princess?
“I needed to get this book out. Writers of Regencies and other genres need to know, how do you go about composing and selling the next Great American Novel? WRITER OFF THE LEASH answers these questions and more–all in an easy to understand, tongue-in-cheek style. This is more than a how-to book. It’s my attempt to blow the lid off stodgy old-school rulebooks and make it clear that writing can–and should–be fun.”
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
There’s none better than NICHOLAS BRENTWOOD at catching the felons who ravage London’s streets, and there’s nothing he loves more than seeing justice carried out—but this time he’s met his match.
Beautiful and beguiling EMILY PAYNE is more treacherous than a city full of miscreants and thugs, for she’s a thief of the highest order . . . she’s stolen his heart.
Intrigued? You should be!
That’s the description for the latest novel from our very own Michelle Griep.
Emily Payne doesn’t make a very flattering first impression on her temporary guardian, Nicholas Brentwood. Her second one isn’t much better.
He thinks she’s a spoiled excuse for a gentle lady and she thinks he’s a stuffy killjoy. What they both thought would a be a few weeks of escorting her to and from the stores quickly turns into a fight for their lives.
Before long their relationship is thrown into a territory neither is prepared to handle. Tragedy and danger have a way of doing that, after all.
So much more than a love story, Brentwood’s Ward will take you on a nail-biting adventure as justice and love try to prevail.
You have the opportunity to win a copy of Michelle’s latest tale by leaving a comment below. You can enter again on each post now through the end of next week. The winner will be chosen on February 28 and have their choice of print book or audiobook.
At the dawn of the Regency era (the period between 1811 and 1820, when George, the Prince of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent), many in London’s aristocracy enjoyed the pleasures afforded them. But in America, a brilliant young man named Adoniram Judson was preparing for a very different life.
In 1811, at the age of 23, Judson decided to become a missionary—at a time when America had yet to send anyone to the foreign mission field—and he set his eyes on India.
“It was during a solitary walk in the woods,” wrote Judson of his call to be a missionary, “while meditating and praying upon the subject, and feeling half inclined to give it up, that the command of Christ, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’ was presented to my mind with such clearness and power, that I came to a full decision, and, though great difficulties appeared in my way, resolved to obey the command at all events.”
And Judson would soon take a wife.
Judson had met the beautiful Ann Hasseltine (who most people called “Nancy”) in 1810 at a dinner in her parents’ Massachusetts home. At 21, Ann was the youngest of four children (three girls and a boy) and the pet of the family. Judson was so taken by the beautiful vivacious girl he was struck speechless and spent most of the dinner staring at his plate.
Ann was not impressed. Where was the brilliant young man she had heard so much about?
By this time, Ann was already a Christian. At sixteen, she had picked up a book by Hannah Moore (one of the famed Clapham Sect in London to which William Wilberforce belonged), and read the words, “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.”
Of these words, Ann was later to say, “They struck me to the heart. I stood for a few moments amazed at the incident, and half inclined to think that some invisible agency had directed my eye to those words.” They were to change her life forever—from one of reckless gaiety to one of service for God.
A month after Judson met Ann, he declared his desire to be her suitor in a letter. She did not immediately reply but eventually told him he would have to obtain her father’s permission. So, Judson promptly wrote her father, John Hasseltine of Bradford, to ask for his daughter’s hand:
“I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death.
Can you consent to all this, for the sake of Him who left His heavenly home and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God?
Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?”
The letter must have shocked Ann’s father, but Mr. Hasseltine was unusual and so was his daughter. Though he had misgivings, amazingly, he left the decision to Ann, as did her mother. A courtship followed as Ann considered the costs of giving her life to foreign missions at a time when no American woman had gone to the foreign mission field.
Their courtship lasted a year while Judson solicited support for his mission to India.
On January 1, 1811, he wrote to Ann:
“It is with the utmost sincerity, and with my whole heart, that I wish you, my love, a happy new year.
May it be a year in which your walk will be close with God; your frame calm and serene; and the road that leads you to the Lamb marked with purer light. May it be a year in which you will have more largely the spirit of Christ, be raised above sublunary things, and be willing to be disposed of in this world just as God shall please.
As every moment of the year will bring you nearer the end of your pilgrimage, may it bring you nearer to God, and find you more prepared to hail the messenger of death as a deliverer and a friend.
And now, since I have begun to wish, I will go on.
May this be the year in which you will change your name; in which you will take a final leave of your relatives and native land; in which you will cross the wide ocean, and dwell on the other side of the world, among a heathen people.”
Can you imagine such a courtship? In the time of the Regency era when so many in London were pursuing pleasure, can you conceive of such an unselfish, sacrificial view of life? Ann must have been an amazing woman that she would proceed in the face of so many unknowns and so much danger. But she did proceed.
As the year wore on, Ann and Adoniram, now betrothed, became increasingly conscious of the fact they would soon be saying good-bye to all their friends and family and to all they had known. And as war with England seemed a certainty, Judson was eager to sail. God opened doors. Money and gifts rolled in and their needs were met.
On February 5, 1812, Adoniram and Ann were married in the very room in which they had first met. Seven days later, they set sail from Salem, Massachusetts for India. However, God had another destination in mind.
The East India Company had concluded that the recent mutiny among Indian troops had its origin in religious antagonism to the presence and teaching of foreign missionaries.
So they denied the Judsons permission to remain in India. Instead, they were advised by the American Missionary Society to head toward Burma, which they did.
In July 1813, they landed in the city of Rangoon and were welcomed into the home of English missionaries.
When Adoniram and Ann arrived in Burma, there was not one known Christian in that land of millions. It was to be six, long heart-breaking years before they would see the first convert to Christ. Judson noted in his journal: “Oh, may it prove to be the beginning of a series of baptisms in the Burman empire which shall continue in uninterrupted success to the end of the age.”
Converts were added slowly but they came. And much was achieved. But there was also much opposition. These lines from Judson’s letter to Ann in 1811 proved prophetic:
“We shall no more see our kind friends around us, or enjoy the conveniences of civilized life, or go to the house of God with those that keep holy day; but swarthy countenances will everywhere meet our eye, the jargon of an unknown tongue will assail our ears, and we shall witness the assembling of the heathen to celebrate the worship of idol gods.
We shall be weary of the world, and wish for wings like a dove, that we may fly away and be at rest. We shall probably experience seasons when we shall be exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.
We shall see many dreary, disconsolate hours, and feel a sinking of spirits, anguish of mind, of which now we can form little conception. O, we shall wish to lie down and die. And that time may soon come.”
In 1818, one disaster after another swept over the little mission in Burma.
Cholera raged in the city; the government persecuted the missionaries; it was said the foreigners were to be banished; and war’s alarm floated in the air.
One by one English ships weighed anchor and hastily left the harbor. In 1824, Judson was imprisoned in irons, accused of being a British spy. He spent 21 months in prison, condemned to die.
But in answer to prayers and Ann’s incessant pleadings to officials, Judson’s life was spared and British intervention freed him from imprisonment.
Ann, who had so faithfully ministered to him while he was in prison, died in 1826 at 37 after a long period of ill health. She had two children, a son, Roger Williams (born in 1815) and a daughter, Maria (born in 1825). Both died in infancy.
In 1850, at age 62, after a lifetime given to Burma and out-living two more wives, broken in health, Judson began his journey home to the United States, but he never reached its shores. He died on board ship on April 12, 1850.
Ann and Adoniram gave their lives for God and Burma, and their legacy was a great one.
Adoniram mastered the Burmese language (possibly the most difficult language to acquire, excepting Chinese), writing and speaking it with the familiarity of a native and the elegance of a cultured scholar, and by 1834, translated the entire Bible into Burmese. His biographers believe that his translation was “undoubtedly his greatest contribution to the people among whom he chose…to spend and be spent for Christ’s sake.”
Ann, too, learned Burmese (and Siamese), did translation work, taught Burmese girls, managed her household and cared for her husband. In 1822, when she was home in the United States briefly because of ill health, she wrote a history of the Burmese work titled American Baptist Mission to the Burman Empire. It was published in 1823.
Sometime after Adoniram’s death a government survey recorded 210,000 Christians in Burma, one out of every fifty-eight! Such an amazing impact their lives had.
If you would like to read more of Adoniram Judson’s life, I recommend To the Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson, a work of nonfiction and very good.
After years of practicing law in both the private sector and government, and traveling to over 40 countries, Regan has returned to her love of telling stories. She writes mainline Regency romances. To learn more about her stories, see her website: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com.
Camy here! Sally Lunn buns or cakes are a famous delicacy in Bath, England, and mentions of it are in documents from the 18th century. Jane Austen may have had Sally Lunns with her tea when she and her family resided in Bath.
I scoured Google Books for any Sally Lunn bun recipes from the 18th and 19th centuries. I found several but refined it to the following recipe, which I also adjusted to be used in my bread machine. it’s a bit like brioche bread, and can be eaten with savory foods (I cut it in half and put turkey inside) or spread with jam or honey for a sweet breakfast bun.
Camy Tang’s Bread Machine Sally Lunn buns
3/4 cup warm milk
6 T melted butter
3 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2.25 tsp (1 package) yeast
Put the ingredients in the bread machine in the order listed. If after mixing it is too wet, add more flour until it is a light, sticky dough.
This recipe can be made in the bread machine on the regular white bread cycle, set for a 2 pound loaf.
Alternately, you can put the ingredients in the bread machine and set it on the dough cycle. When it has finished the last rising cycle, scoop the dough into well-buttered muffin tins (approx 14-16), filling each well about halfway. Let it rise until doubled, about an hour depending on the temperature in your kitchen, then bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Check after 10 minutes to make sure it doesn’t become too brown.
What do you think? If you try this out, please let me know!
The first Christian Regency romance I read is A Light Among Shadows by Tamela Hancock Murray. She is an agent now, but started out as an author and a good one at that.
At first read of this novel, I couldn’t figure out why the author chose the title A Light among Shadows. A few minutes’ reflection on the theme of the story was all I needed to realize that the title is thoroughly appropriate.
The obvious reference to light in this love story is the spiritual light of the heroine and hero’s faith in God. Even more so, however, Abigail, the classic Regency heroine with a head full of romantic dreams that conflict with her parents’ wishes for her, carries several torches that do not all relate to one another.
First, Abigail carries a romantic torch for Henry Hanover, a neighbor. He is her knight in shining armor who, in her dreams, will carry her away from a father besotted with his young wife, and that young wife, who, if not exactly a wicked stepmother, is certainly an annoying one. Despite seeming to agree to an elopement with Abigail, Henry doesn’t show up at the rendezvous, nearly dowsing Abigail’s life torch, when she waits in vain in the rain and becomes deathly ill.
Abigail, waiting cold and frightened in the darkness for a man the reader can guess isn’t going to show up, feels the shadows gathering around her. How can she continue to shine in her social and spiritual life if she is forced to marry the man her parents have arranged for her to wed, a dissolute gamester with a good name and fortune?
But Tedric, the erstwhile fiancée’s brother, rescues Abigail from the shadows, and her light emerges brighter than ever, so bright it spills over onto all with whom this heroine comes in contact. Maids, her self-seeking stepmother and, above all, Tedric find shadows banished from their lives under Abigail’s delightful blend of uppity gentry with charming innocence. Experiencing Abigail from her girlish entries in her diary to the final romantic revelations with the hero, gives a whole new meaning to “light” reading.
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!
Last fall, I wrote about researching my latest regency romance. Well, this month it is available and I thought I’d give readers an update. My title and cover have been changed. It is now title She Shall Be Praised and the new cover is below.
She Shall Be Praised (from Proverbs 31) is a sequel to my London-set Regency, The Rogue’s Redemption. In Book 2 of The Leighton Sisters series, Katie Leighton, younger sister of Hester Leighton from The Rogue’s Redemption, travels to Paris with Hester and her husband, Gerrit Hawkes.
Paris has been liberated from Napoleon by the British and other allied countries, so tourists are once again traveling from England to the Continent. Katie, who travels from America (Maine), meets a young French veteran who fought at Waterloo against the British. Among the narrow medieval street of Paris and the monuments like Notre Dame, Katie finds herself more interested in visiting the blind, cripple veteran at Les Invalides, a hospital and old-age home for veterans.
I love France and all things French, from the food to the art. It was interesting to research this period, when the horrors of the French Revolution and the years of wars under Napoleon have brought about the restored monarchy. But along with the new king, comes a wave of reactionary politics as the aristocrats come back from their emigration during the Reign of Terror, wanting to have their place in society restored. They want things back the way they used to be. But too many people have tasted the freedom under the civil government of Napoleon, so there is a clash of old school vs. new.
The land has been devastated by years of war, so France has missed out on the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution and the prosperity it has brought to Britain. And yet, during this time of the Restoration, people continue to live their lives.
Katie Leighton, my “beauty” in this beauty and the beast tale, doesn’t consider herself a beauty, but a plain Jane. Etienne Santerre, my “beast” hides under both an assumed name and behind the thick walls of Les Invalides, a virtual prisoner of his evil valet, Pierre. There is a mystery surrounding Etienne’s background, which Katie senses, but which Etienne is silent on. In the meantime, she is more concerned with his soul. Little by little, her light begins to shine into Etienne’s darkness.
The story takes Etienne from the walls of Les Invalides to the Loire Valley to his ancestral home. There he faces what he has tried to blot out since he landed at Les Invalides, a wounded, crippled soldier. When his life is most at risk, he begins to turn to the God Katie has witnessed to him.
Etienne is a dark hero, sorely in need of Beauty’s touch. She shares her faith with him in her gentle, loving way, until he lets down his defenses and allows the healing power of love to restore all he has lost.
Tender-hearted Katie Leighton can’t resist a stray mutt or mangy cat, much less the outcasts of society. When she accompanies her sister Hester and brother-in-law Gerrit (from The Rogue’s Redemption) to Paris after the fall of Napoleon, she prefers visiting the wounded and maimed veterans living out their days at the military old age residence of Les Invalides than seeing the sights. But when one young French soldier begins to steal her heart, she resists telling her family. Will they think it’s only pity that draws her to the embittered, wounded man?
As a grieving young widow, Morwenna only wants a quiet life for herself and her son. Until a man washes ashore, entangling her in a web of mystery that could threaten all she holds dear.
Lady Morwenna Trelawny Penvenan indulged in her fair share of dalliances in her youth, but now that she’s the widowed mother to the heir of the Penvenan title, she’s desperate to polish her reputation. When she’s accused of deliberately luring ships to crash on the rocks to steal the cargo, Morwenna begins an investigation to uncover the real culprits and stumbles across an unconscious man lying in the sea’s foam – a man wearing a medallion with the Trelawny crest around his neck.
The medallion is a mystery to David Chastain, a boat builder from Somerset. On a quest to discover the mystery surrounding his father, all David knows is that his father was found dead in Cornwall with the medallion in his possession after lying and stealing his family’s money. And he knows the widow who rescued him is impossibly beautiful – and likely the siren who caused the shipwreck in the first place—as well as the hand behind whoever is trying to murder David.
As Morwenna nurses David back to health and tries to learn how he landed on her beach, suspicion and pride keep their growing attraction at bay. But can they join together to save Morwenna’s name and estate and David’s life – and acknowledge the love they are both trying to deny?
Lady Grace Endicott never would have dreamed she’d be ruined by a rake. But after an innocent encounter with notorious scoundrel Lord Weston is misconstrued, her beloved sister’s introduction to Society-and her own reputation-are put at risk. The only way to avoid a scandal is a betrothal.
Brandon Roth-Lord Weston-doesn’t quite know what to think of his independent fiancée…or their growing friendship. Yet their engagement ruse is quickly becoming more than a temporary fix. If he can convince Grace that his wicked ways are now far behind him, he’ll be able to prove that he wants nothing more than to care for the lovely lady …