It’s our very own Camy Tang, writing as the fabulous Camille Elliot! We’re very excited to announce her new Regency novel, Prelude for a Lord.
About the book:
An awkward young woman. A haunted young man. A forbidden instrument. Can the love of music bring them together . . . or will it tear them apart?
At twenty-eight, Alethea Sutherton is past her prime for courtship; but social mores have never been her forté. She might be a lady, but she is first and foremost a musician.
In Regency England, however, the violin is considered an inappropriate instrument for a lady. Ostracized by society for her passion, Alethea practices in secret and waits for her chance to flee to the Continent, where she can play without scandal.
But when a thief’s interest in her violin endangers her and her family, Alethea is determined to discover the enigmatic origins of her instrument . . . with the help of the dark, brooding Lord Dommick.
Scarred by war, Dommick finds solace only in playing his violin. He is persuaded to help Alethea, and discovers an entirely new yearning in his soul.
Alethea finds her reluctant heart drawn to Dommick in the sweetest of duets . . . just as the thief’s desperation builds to a tragic crescendo . . .
Find out more about Camy’s alter ego and links to purchase the book at camilleelliot.com. She’s also giving away three copies of her new book to people who join her email list!
What do you “hear” when a book mentions music? Do you ever look up the songs mentioned?
My mom taught me basic knitting when I was young, but then I forgot it all as an adult. I wanted to knit again, so I learned from online videos (so awesome! I can hit repeat over and over).
One thing that has fascinated me since I started knitting has been historical knitting patterns. One book I love is Victorian Lace Today by Jane Sowerby. There are tons of lacy shawl patterns to knit and they’re all gorgeous. They range from easy to difficult.
I love knitting these patterns because they make me feel like a woman in those times, knitting delicate shawls for an evening by the fire or for a day out in London.
This shawl is called “Large Rectangle with Center Diamond Pattern” in the book. It’s actually a combination of two knitting patterns:
I’ve included links above to the digitized versions of these books, which you can download for free! The books themselves are fascinating, because the patterns and the items women could make represented the industrious needlework of women in the early 1800s. In addition to shawls, women could make mittens, caps, purses, stockings, ruffs, counterpanes, even garters!
For you crocheters, Jane Gaugin’s book also includes crochet patterns, although they’re not very detailed. The book also includes netting patterns.
The shawl I made looks like a complicated pattern, but it’s actually very easy. The center portion repeats the same diamond motif over and over again, and the edging is knitted on, also in a repeating pattern that’s easy to memorize.
I used a lace weight yarn, which is a wool yarn that is very thin, almost like crochet cotton, but it’s very light and lofty. I also used a pretty large needle size for the yarn, so the holes are larger and the lace pattern shows up better.
After knitting, I blocked it, which is basically just dampening it and then pinning it out on my bed to dry, stretching it a little so the lace pattern opens up. Once dry, it stays opened up.
Can you imagine a young Victorian lady throwing this shawl about her shoulders as she heads out for a carriage ride at the park? Or perhaps tucking it about her bodice for modesty as she receives morning callers?
In Victorian Lace Today, Sowerby writes: “Not only did a shawl provide warmth, it was a modest cover-up for décolleté dresses. Mrs. Gaugain (the author of the first knitting pattern I linked to above) suggested that a shawl should be ‘for throwing over the shoulders indoors, or for very young ladies wearing out-of-doors.’”
If any of you are knitters and you haven’t tried lace knitting yet, I encourage you to try it! The first several patterns in this book are super easy, and you can feel you’re a Victorian lady knitting a shawl for an evening out. 🙂 If you’re on Ravelry, here’s the link to my knitting notes.
To celebrate the release of my first Regency romance in August, I’m busy knitting away so that I can offer some Victorian lace shawls in a few giveaways I’ve planned! I’ll be giving away several gift baskets with shawls, a violin ornament, and some Jane Austen tea. 🙂 I hope you all will preorder Prelude for a Lord!
A Lady’s Honor by Laurie Alice Eakes deals with a person’s inability to receive love because they have never really known love. From growing up with her grandparents who love her but demand a certain standard of behavior to having parents who are living off in London society, Elizabeth Trelawny has come to feel she is only as good as the size of her dowry.
The story opens with her fleeing from an unwanted suitor–a much older man who wants her for her money, but whose suit has been sanctioned by her parents. She escapes to her ancestral home in Cornwall, hoping for the protection of her grandparents. They give it, but no sooner is she safely behind the walls of the Cornish estate on a cliff than they are foisting another older man on her.
When the hero Rowan Curnow begins to show his attraction, she doesn’t trust his love. Her grandparents try to point her toward the Savior, but she feels their love is conditional–if she behaves properly, they will love her and give her their blessing. If she acts the way she wants to act, which is an unconventional way for a gently-bred young lady of the regency period, they will be shocked, displeased, or, worse, disappointed.
It’s not until her life and those of the ones she loves are threatened by an outside danger that Elizabeth begins to understand why she has been running from God’s love all these years and why she has put her trust and love in her ancestral home.
A Lady’s Honor takes the heroine on a spiritual journey without which she is not able to give and receive the kind of love the hero both demands and deserves.
This was a wonderful story, reminiscent of the gothic novels of Victoria Holt and Daphne Du Marier. I could just imagine being in Cornwall, smelling the sea spray, hearing the tide come up, tasting the pasties at the fair, and shivering at the mysterious threats around every corner.
Like many of the wonderful writers on this blog, I work hard to make sure my stories are true to the historical period, but there are some areas of the Regency that frankly scare me. I am in awe of the writers who can name every battle Wellington fought in or the color of the braid on the 95th Rifle’s uniform. I admire authors who manage to study period medical books without growing queasy. And if you can figure out how to do more than describe the colors of horses as they pull the appropriate carriage to whisk a heroine away to a ball, well, you have my respect.
And then along came John, Lord Hascot, the hero of my April Regency-set romance from Love Inspired Historical, The Husband Campaign. John who raises hunters, those powerful horses that carried gentlemen into the hunting field and, occasionally, into battle. I was fairly certain I would never be able to think about horses the way John, Lord Hascot, does. Horses are John’s life. But they would need to become the life of any lady he wed. How could I possibly describe Lady Amelia’s response to John’s horses or her own?
Luckily, research led me to an exceptional little book, lovingly recreated online, called The Young Lady’s Equestrian Manual. Though its original publication date of 1838 (taken from material dating from 1829) post-dates the Regency, it is close enough that I felt comfortable relying on it. The manual describes such things as how to choose a proper ladies mount, the various parts of the horse and its accoutrements, and how to mount, manage the reins, and find your seat. It confirms that the way a lady sat upon her horse was very important to many Regency era gentlemen, as this passage indicates:
“A lady seldom appears to greater advantage than when mounted on a fine horse, if her deportment be graceful, and her positions correspond with his paces and attitudes; but the reverse is the case, if, instead of acting with, and influencing the movements of the horse, she appear to be tossed to and fro, and overcome by them. She should rise, descend, advance, and stop with, and not after the animal. From this harmony of motion result ease, elegance, and the most brilliant effect.”
And how, you might ask, can a lady have the best deportment on horseback? The manual explains that as well. A lady must
• Keep her shoulders even but back
• Put no weight on the stirrup
• Incline partially backward
• Keep her head in an even, natural position looking straight ahead
• Hold her elbows steady and near her side, with the lower part of the arm at a right angle to the upper
• Above all, never carry the whip in a way that might tickle the horse.
Got all that? Good, because according to the manual, “Nothing can be more detrimental to the grace of a lady’s appearance on horseback, than a bad position: a recent author says, it is a sight that would spoil the finest landscape in the world.”
All I can say is that I’m glad Amelia gets to ride the horses and I only have to read about them. What about you? Do you ride? Were you given any rules of the road for how to sit on horseback? Are you glad women are no longer constrained to riding sidesaddle?
After 27 sweet historical romances set in the Regency period, Regina Scott knows there is still much to learn. You can learn more about her at her website at www.reginascott.com, her blog she shares with author Marissa Doyle at www.nineteenteen.com, and her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/authorreginacott.
The moment John, Lord Hascot, encounters a young woman sheltering in his abandoned stable, his future is sealed. To prevent scandal, and protect Lady Amelia Jacoby from her parents’ ire, he must propose. John’s ability to trust vanished when his former love married his twin brother. Yet he offers Amelia everything she could want, except affection.
Amelia sees John’s true nature shine through when he cares for his horses. But the brooding aristocrat seems determined to keep her at arm’s length. Little by little Amelia will turn Hollyoak Farm into a home, but can she turn a marriage of convenience into a joyful union?
Hi, all! Susan Karsten here…I’m bringing insights on the spiritual themes found in “The Soldier’s Secrets” thelatest release by our own dear Naomi Rawlings.
Not only does author Naomi Rawlings deliver a compelling read with this historical romance set during the early days of the French Republic, she gently brings home some serious spiritual truths.
The importance of honesty and truthfulness is drawn out in an unusual way. Both the hero, Jean Paul, and the heroine, Brigitte, are brought low by dishonesty. The unusual aspect of this is that some of their troubles are of their own doing. So often, we find idealistic, too-perfect heroines and heroes–this is not the case in this gripping novel.
Brigitte and Jean Paul should have abided by the following verses:
Proverbs 12:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight….Proverbs 19:1 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool…2 Corinthians 8:21 For we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man….Proverbs 6:16-20There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.
Forgiveness is another strong theme in “The Soldier’s Secrets“. To receive God’s forgiveness, to forgive other people who sin against you, and to forgive one’s self are all treated in the midst of this historically accurate gripping story.
Here are some pertinent verses on the facets of forgiveness–we can all keep in mind:
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you….Mark 11:25And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” 1 John 1:9If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Matthew 6:15But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Leave a comment to be entered in a giveaway of a copy of The Soldier’s Secrets and a History Channel documentary: The French Revolution.
As part of our Spring New Release Extravaganza, we’re happy to highlight The Soldier’s Secrets by our own Naomi Rawlings.
While Jane Austen was writing her first novel in the 1790s, events across the English Channel were taking shape to form one of the most crucial aspects of the Regency era–a longer than twenty-year war with France. To write about the Regency, which was literally from 1811-1820, but has, for literary purposes, been extended from an event that didn’t even happen in England–1789 and the beginning of the French Revolution, until the end of the reign of George IV, formerly known as Prinny, the Prince Regent.
Every one of our Regency England characters was influenced by what was going on in France. At first, the aristocracy grew leery of too much excess in their lifestyle. Though they were still lavish in food and drink and parties, they began to dress more simply in the classical Greek-influenced styles…brought over from France. They began to enact reforms to make life easier for the poor and laboring classes. Why? Because they feared a revolution taking place in England as happened in France with aristocrats and royals getting their heads lopped of.
Therefore, including a book set in France in this era fits into our Regency world.
Brigitte Dubois will do anything to keep her family safe. When she is blackmailed by her father-in-law, his quest for revenge leaves her no choice. To protect her children, she must spy on the man who may have killed her husband. But Jean Paul Belanger is nothing like she expected. The dark, imposing farmer offers food to all who need it, and insists on helping Brigitte and her children.
Everything Jean Paul did was in the name of liberty. Even so, he can never forgive himself for his actions during France’s revolution. Now a proud auburn-haired woman has come to his home seeking work and has found her way into his reclusive heart. But when she uncovers the truth, his past could drive them apart.
The first time I had the privilege of reading Naomi’s writing, I new I had found a new writer outside the box. She was not only writing in Revolutionary France, a time period everyone said no one could sell, but writing with a sensitivity, artistry, and edge we don’t expect in a category romance, we rarely receive in mainstream books in the Christian market.
And yet, despite the alien setting in a time period about which few people have much knowledge, we can all relate to Brigitte and Jean-Luc. She is a woman of honor who will sacrifice everything she must to protect her children. He will do whatever he must to protect his secrets. Their struggles and anguish, yearnings and triumphs fairly leap off the page under Naomi’s skillful words.
Since most of us in cold climates are thinking spring, I thought I’d take you on a tour of a botanical garden near London, just as my heroine, Jessamine Barry, does about two-thirds of the way through the story.
The hero, Lancelot Marfleet is an avid botanist and he wants nothing better than to invite the woman of his dreams, Jessamine, to view the exotic specimens in the botanical gardens. He knows her father is an amateur botanist, so he hopes Jessamine shares a love of plants and flowers.
The botanical gardens in London during the regency period were the largest in the world at the time. Plants had been brought back from all corners of the globe by renowned explorers and botanists such as Sir Joseph Banks on his exploration with Captain Cook. One of the plants introduced to Europe by Banks was the peony, a native bush of China. Lancelot shows Jessamine a specimen, because he knows her father is an avid peony enthusiast.
Next, Lancelot leads her to an ornamental bush brought over from Japan by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in the late 1780s, the common bush we know as the hydrangea, or in Lancelot’s terminology, Hydrangea hortensis.
He then shows her an exotic flower brought back by Banks’ trip to the Pacific with Captain Cook. It looks like a waterbird ready to take flight, Jessamine tells him. Appropriately names Bird of Paradise, or Strelitzia reginae, she is properly impressed.
But it’s when they walk through the hothouses that things heat up (pun intended). Lancelot leads Jessamine toward a very special flower to him, the jasmine, for which her father named her. It’s a vine with a small, white star-like flower with a heady scent. Being so near it causes him to lose his head.
But you’ll have to read the book to find out what he does and how she reacts!
To celebrate the release of A Heart’s Rebellion, I’m giving away two copies of my book. The second giveaway will end Monday, March 31 at midnight. To enter this week’s giveaway, answer this question in the comments below:
What is a famous botanical garden in London, which existed in regency times (which is where Lancelot takes Jessamine)?
Thanks for stopping by Regency Reflections for our Spring Release Extravaganza! Make sure to visit throughout the month of April to read about the other regency books coming out and have a chance at some great prizes.
Hi! Naomi here today, telling you about our first new release of the spring season. It’s entitled A Heart’s Rebellion and is written by our very own Ruth Axtell.
Dutiful Jessamine Barry is tired of waiting patiently for a man to decide her future. So even though Lancelot Marfleet, second son of an aristocrat, is taking an interest in her during the London season, she refuses to consider him as a suitor. Instead, she’s ready to take fashionable society by storm–and finds a rakish young man all too willing to help her do it. When things go too far, Jessamine will learn that the man who is faithful through thick and thin is more worthy than the one who speaks pretty words. But will her disgrace keep Lance from reconsidering her as a wife? And when tragedy strikes and Lance becomes his father’s heir and a titled gentleman, will he think she only wants him now because of his title?
A Heart’s Rebellion had garnered positive reviews from places like Publisher’s Weekly, which said: “The novel’s message blooms beautifully with nuanced storytelling and subtle, yet honest, characterization that chronicles the timeless journey through love and faith. The message of faith is woven through the narrative, interconnecting with love in a rich, relatable manner.”
And “relatable characters and good use of period details (including some fascinating snippets about botany) come together nicely, making Axtell’s novel an excellent choice for both inspirational romance fans and traditional Regency romance devotees.” John Charles, Booklist review.
To celebrate the release of A Heart’s Rebellion, Ruth will be giving away two copies of her book. The first giveaway will end Monday, March 24 at midnight, and the second will end Monday, March 31 at midnight. To enter this week’s giveaway, answer this question in the comments below:
In regency times, being the firstborn male was everything in terms of inheritance. What career avenues were open for younger sons?
Thanks for stopping by Regency Reflections for our Spring Release Extravaganza! Be sure to come back on Monday for a history post by Ruth as well as another chance to win a copy of A Heart’s Rebellion.
Fans of Inspirational Regencies, rejoice! It’s time to welcome the new crop of romances, ready to whisk you away to the early 19th century.
Over the next six weeks we will be celebrating four new titles. That’s right, four! I hope you are as excited about that as we are. Prepare for giveaways, trivia questions, author interviews, and more.
Thursday, we’ll kick things off with a look at Ruth Axtell’s new book, A Heart’s Rebellion.
In April, take a closer look at The Soldier’s Secrets by Naomi Rawlings, The Husband Campaign by our good friend Regina Scott, and Laurie Alice Eakes’ newest, A Lady’s Honor.
Mark your calendars, subscribe to the blog, and tell your friends because you do NOT want to miss this amazing celebration!
How to win the prizes:
1. Come to the blog.
2. Answer the trivia question. (Or comment if no trivia is available that day.)
It’s just that easy! The promotion and open contest dates will run as follows:
March 20 – 31 ~ A Heart’s Rebellion by Ruth Axtell. Contest closes April 2.
April 3 – 14 ~ The Soldier’s Secrets by Naomi Rawlings. Contest closes April 16.
April 17 ~ The Husband Campaign by Regina Scott. Contest closes April 20.
April 21 – May 1 ~ A Lady’s Honor by Laurie Alice Eakes. Contest closes May 4.
Are you excited about these amazing books? All are currently available for preorder. Check individual author websites for more details.
When Highlander’s Hope heroine, Yvette Stapleton finds herself married to the hero, Laird Ewan McTavish, without benefit of a marriage ceremony, she’s more than a bit put out. In fact, it nearly destroys her trust in him.
My quandary was how to get Yvette married to Ewan without her knowing it. Was it possible to simply say you were married in 1817 Scotland and, poof, you were indeed legally married? Would the marriage be recognized by the Church of Scotland?
Those are the thoughts that sprang into my mind one day while contemplating the dilemma. I wasn’t considering handfasting either, which by the 18th century, was no longer recognized by the Kirk (Church) of Scotland.
No, I needed something recognized by the Scot’s Church. I starting digging into Scot’s marriage laws of the 1800s and was pleased-as-punch to come across Scot’s Canon Code and irregular marriages. In essence, anyone could perform a marriage ceremony as long as the parties involved expressed consent to the union, either in person or in writing. Most romance readers are familiar with Gretna Green, and the romantic notion of couples trotting off to Scotland to get married—quite literally over a blacksmith’s anvil. Well, that was part of the Canon Code.
Irregular and clandestine marriages—those not performed by a cleric of the church—included simply agreeing to take one another as husband and wife before two witnesses (Gretna Green), cohabitating in Scotland under the ruse of being wed, and finally, by merely declaring you were married—even if no ceremony had taken place. You could also agree to marriage in writing with express consent. There was no particular form, either verbally or written, required for the marriage to be valid and binding.
I arranged for Yvette and Ewan to claim they were married in the midst of a very dangerous situation in order to prevent Yvette from being ravished. I reinforced it by having Ewan declare to several kin and clans members that he and Yvette were married, and then I had them cohabitate at Craiglocky Keep under the guise of marriage. Yvette was unconscious for the first four days she was at Craiglocky, so she wasn’t in a position to protest the implied marriage.
I did take a bit of liberty with the code, but then, isn’t that what we authors do? I’ve got another story fermenting in my mind, and I do believe I’m going to use the written agreement as an segue to an irregular marriage.
Just an aside, Gretna Green is still a wildly popular marriage venue in Scotland. I have an unmarried daughter. She wants to get married in Scotland. . .
Excerpt from the Great Hall scene when Yvette discovers she’s legally married to Ewan.
Yvette stood on unsteady legs, grasping the table’s edge for balance. She strove for poised composure, despite feeling like a powerless pawn in a despicable game of human chess, played for the amusement of those who enjoyed tragic endings at the expense of someone else’s happiness-no-their very existence.
The Great Hall radiated silent tension. All eyes were on her. She looked at the strangers staring at her, their eyes reflecting a myriad of emotions. Embarrassment, horror, dismay, pity, outrage, compassion, and yes—even a few smugly satisfied.
“You knew?” She looked to Hugh and Duncan, before swinging her gaze to Alasdair and Gregor. They bowed their heads in chagrin. Her turbid gaze swept the rest of Ewan’s family.
“You all knew?” Yvette searched Giselle’s sorrowful eyes, then Adaira’s tear-filled ones. “You must think me such a fool.” Her agonized whisper exposed her vulnerability. Her shame. Her absolute humiliation.
Ewan touched her arm. “Evvy—”
She whirled around. “Don’t you touch me,” she hissed between stiff lips.
Yvette knew her gaze was a mirror of desolation when she finally met his eyes. “How could you?” she whispered. “I trusted you.” She’d never make that mistake again.
He reached for her again. “Please . . .”
She slapped away his hand. “Don’t.”
She clenched her teeth to still her quivering mouth and chin. Closing her eyes against the torrent of tears cascading down her face, she drew in a bracing breath.
Lord, give me the strength to walk from this room with my head held high.
On wooden legs, she stepped away from her chair.
Ewan grasped her elbow, restraining her. “Evvy, I don’t know what she told you, but . . .”
Collette Cameron, a Pacific Northwest native, was born and raised in a small town along the northern Oregon coast, which to this day, continues to remain one of her favorite retreats. An enthusiast of times gone by, Collette currently writes Regency historical romance.
You can find out more about Collette by visiting her author page, www.collettecameron.com. If you found this article and excerpt interesting, you might also want to learn more about her most recent book, Highlander’s Hope.