Austen’s World Wrap Up. January 21, 2016

Looks What’s Brewing in the Regency

  • What Do You Think of Downton Abbey Season 6 So Far?
    Curious readers. I present to you a poll. Please vote. Please be honest. Curious minds want to know what American audiences think about this last season! Click on the choices below to take the poll. You may vote for 3 categories: Season 1 plus Season 2 plus Vic.  Filed under: Downton Abbey, Jane Austen’s World
  • Happy New Year! Guess What I DID!!!?!
    OK, you’ll never guess. I began Operation New (to me) Desk! This project entailed cleaning, discarding, and organizing. Three things I’m not good at. Phase One is complete. The old desk is out. The new desk is in. The new … Continue reading

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Originally posted 2016-01-21 06:21:11.

Austen’s World Wrap Up. January 14, 2016

Looks What’s Brewing in the Regency

  • Twelfth Night Customs: Wassailing the Apple Trees
    Today is Epiphany, the day when Christians celebrate the arrival of the Three Magi (or Three Wise Men or Three Kings) with (not particularly useful) presents for Baby Jesus. In some countries, like Spain, this is still the day when … Continue reading
  • Austen vs Brontë
    How better to start 2016 at Risky Regencies than with a cat fight? Not a real one, of course, but a literary one pitting Jane Austen against Charlotte Brontë. I just read Why Charlotte Brontë Hated Jane Austen by Susan Ostrov Weisser … Continue reading

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Originally posted 2016-01-14 06:20:11.

Austen’s World Wrap Up. January 7, 2016

Looks What’s Brewing in the Regency

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Originally posted 2016-01-07 06:21:18.

Swept Away Again

Vanessa here,

Next week, I will begin a series on mental illness and the Regency. Yes, a very exciting subject. So I thought I’d post something not so gloomy today. Many of you about 15,000 were able to get a copy of Swept Away this weekend. (It’s still free Jan. 4 2016.) It’s my Regency Cinderella story. Swept Away just released on audio.  Here’s a little snippet after Swept Away with Edwin and Charlotte:


Before Edwin Cinder could excuse himself from the drawing room of his wife’s Grosvenor Square town home, his stepbrother’s snide voice repeated another stinging comment above his dear sister’s pianoforte.

“The gossip papers got you pegged, you elevated shoe peddler.” Shelby laughed and snorted his claret. “Someone caught you in Cheapside. Next, we’ll see a sketch of you yet in an apron, hugging a shoe lasting station. The duchess will love that, won’t you, madame.”

Charlotte winced, her creamy temple wrinkling. “Surely, Lord Rundle, it will not come to that.”

Shelby rocked his large head up and down. “Maybe you married too quickly, my dear duchess?”

Everything in the room halted, even Lillian’s wondrous notes.

Edwin took a long breath. If not for the vow to his late stepfather to take care of the foolish Shelby, and a general principal of not smashing in the face of one of God’s creatures in his wife’s home, he’d take great pleasure in permanently wiping the smile from the troll’s face. He leaned forward but kept his hands smooth against his dark pantaloons. “Be careful, Shelby. Christian peace can only go so far.”

With the fool taking a loud swallow, Edwin believed his threat was understood. Good. Nodding to Charlotte, he turned and pounded up the carpeted mahogany steps to his bedchamber.

Anger roiled within his stomach. The need for fresh air squeezed at his lungs. Maybe a good wind would douse the flames of his doubts. His marriage to Charlotte had been quick and wonderful, but he should’ve known that everyone would be scrutinizing his whereabouts. Had working a few minutes in Ella’s shoe store shamed Charlotte?

The wind rattled the glass pane, but this night possessed a black velvet sky, no hint of storm like the day he had met the duchess. Looking a little further, he could see the reflection of torch lights at Dalrymple House, the Duke and Duchess of Wellstone’s residence. A Wellstone party was famous. How many of the ladies attending were wearing Ella’s slippers?

He rubbed at his temples and focused on the true problem. Charlotte’s neighbors were having a party, to which the Duchess of Charming was not invited. That feeling of being distant, separated from the rest, settled upon him again. So much for love making all the ills right.

The door to the room creaked open. The sound of dull heels slapping against the floorboards neared. A soft palm gripped his shoulder, the thin fingers working away the tension bound up within his muscles. “Edwin? What were you making at Ella’s?”

Turning, he placed a smile upon his lips. This truly was no burden, for Charlotte was the loveliest woman in the world. He leant forward, kissing her nose. “Nothing, special.”

She squinted at him and looped her arms about his neck, slipping against his heavily starched shirt collar. “I think I know you well, sir. You don’t have to hide checking on Ella’s. We’ve been gone three months. You’re bound to miss that store.”

He tugged her hands free and held her palms. “Are you happy, dear Charlotte?”

“What kind of question is that?”

He bit his lip and tried to think of hundred different ways to respond, but there was no easy way to ask the headstrong woman to second-guess her decisions. After a moment of breathing her perfume, counting the blinks of her blonde lashes, he just said it. “Have you no regrets? You were not presented at court. You’ll never be, married to me.”

Charlotte’s wide blue eyes lifted. The silk taffeta of her slippers crunching as she turned to window. “Tell me why you ask now? This wasn’t mentioned at Gretna Green with the blacksmith who married us. Nor any day of our wedding trip.” Rotating, she stood on tiptoes and pressed her lips to his Adam’s apple. “Nor any night in our bedchamber?”

“That was different. We weren’t in London, but now we’ve returned.” He stroked her cheek, her skin flushing at his touch. “When was the last time I created anything except gossip?”

“I thought you were happy?” Her soft voice rose, taking a sharper tone. “That’s what this is about. You have regrets.” Pulling away, she whipped her head again toward the window. Her shoulders leveled, and she crossed her arms as if she held a shield to her bosom.

Pushing her away was not what Edwin wanted. “A thousand times no. I love you, but do you ever think of what you gave up for me? Aren’t I an impediment? I am sure you wouldn’t want your husband to be seen in Cheapside with lasting tools, even if it was to fix you a new set of slippers?”

“I love shoes. I love your shoes. So that was what Rundle’s comments were about?”

Edwin tugged open the window and pointed to Dalrymple House. “More than shoes. Your cobbler husband is surely why long-time neighbors excluded you from their ball.”

Charlotte sighed. “You, silly, dear man. We were invited. The invitation was in the pile of correspondence awaiting us upon our return.

What? He blinked. “Then why would the Duchess of Charming not want to go to a party that will be the talk of the town?”

“The last grand ball I attended, a roof fell on me. I wasn’t up to fighting through rubble tonight. I had other plans.”

“I thought they had excluded you because of the gossip’s whispers. That rubbish hold much sway.”

“No, the Wellstones are fine people, and I hear they are used to having lively entertainment. We can still go, if you don’t believe me, but I thought we’d find something else to do this evening.”

The subjective notes in her voice made his pulse race. He pushed at his hair then loosened the knot of his cravat. “Am I ever going to get this right?”

“Depends upon how much practice you have in making amends. I’m sure those new slippers you’ve styled for me are great way to appease.”

“Yes, my dear. Just a new pair, soft ones meant to caress your feet. Those you have on now… Well, I’m sure these will be perfect.”

“We don’t need to strive for perfection, Edwin. Let’s just get to happy. ”Showcover4a_vanessa riley 300dpiRGB

“No time like the present.” He scooped her up into his arms and out of her horrible shoes. The party, his family downstairs, even the new lacy present he’d made at Ella’s, all would have to wait. He needed to taste happy, for the divine gift of Charlotte’s love was perfection.

 

Learn more of Edwin and Charlotte’s romance in Swept Away.

Originally posted 2016-01-03 22:02:43.

2015 My Year in Numbers – 2016 My Year in Expectation

Vanessa here,

2015 has now given away to a new year. I just wanted to take a moment to reflect.  Here is what 2015 has meant:

27,000 visits to this blog.

68,000 unique visitors to ChristianRegency.com

181,000 visits to ChristianRegency.com

1.9 Million hits to ChristianRegency.com

This is exciting. It means the content that has been built up over the years has meaning to a great many.

For me personally 2015 was a year of freedom. I embraced being a hybrid author fully, releasing books that traditional publishing felt were too much of a niche, being diverse in foils, faces, and faith. It has been a great learning experience and very fulfilling reaching readers, giving them something delightfully different. So here are my numbers.

1 full novel, Unmasked Heart

1 serialized novel (4 episodes) The Bargain

Released 2 audio books: Unmasked Heart and Swept Away

36,000 copies of my books are now parked on folks Kindles and iPads around the world.

 

So what is on tap for 2016? Expectation.

1 Chronicles 4:10

And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that Thou wouldest bless me indeed and enlarge my borders, and that Thine hand might be with me and that Thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!” And God granted him that which he requested.

More novels. More audiobooks. More research. More connecting with peers and readers. More fun.

Multicultural Historical Regency Romance
Multicultural Historical Regency Romance

I leave with you two nuggets. If you have never tried one of my Novels, Swept Away will be free 1/2/2016 at Amazon.  And if you are looking for something different, my latest serialized novel which launched today: married hero and heroine steeped in suspense in Regency London, Unveiling Love.

 

So I wish you all a happy and blessed New Year.

 

 

Originally posted 2016-01-01 07:55:59.

Austen’s World Wrap Up. December 31, 2015

Looks What’s Brewing in the Regency

  • Reading about Emma
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  • Holidays Happy and Merry
    Holidays of the season are right behind us — Happy Hanukah — and just ahead — Merry Christmas. Please lets share with each other a gift of the season. Tell us your favorite holiday romance, historical, contemporary and/or Paranormal. I’ll … Continue reading

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Originally posted 2015-12-31 06:20:04.

Gossip about the Duke – 2015 Reflections

Vanessa here,

As I reflect on 2015, I am thankful. This has been a year of building an audience for multi-cultural Regency Romances, ones where faith and passion for life and love are central. Today, I am showcasing one of the stories, the award winning, Unmasked Heart. Meet the duke and his problems.

Colonel Brandon from Sense & Sensibility - What I think Cheshire would look like.
Colonel Brandon from Sense & Sensibility – What I think Cheshire would look like.

William St. Landon, the Duke of Cheshire, leaned against the mantle of his study, resisting the urge to bash his skull against the fretwork trim. He looped his finger into the carved maple and pushed himself upright, allowing the rag of a society paper to slip to the ground.

That hateful gossip would stop at nothing. The woman or her army of wenches would even invent whale-tales to quell his investigation. With a side kick from his boot, he pushed the awful page onto the braid rug, one of the many items of his late wife’s choosing littering the London townhouse. The only good thing produced by Elizabeth was their precious daughter asleep in the nursery.

He craned his ear, but no shrieks sounded. His little Mary had no nightmares, tonight. Maybe she’d dream peacefully until the morn. If only God would allow it.

With a shake of his head, he smacked his skull. If prayers had true answers, not just a means to express contrition or condemnation, then maybe he’d drop to his knees, dust his breeches, and give it ago, again. But that wasn’t his lot any more. A backslidden fool his father would call William.

Well, that didn’t matter. He’d stopped listening to the man years ago. And now William just savored the music of calm, the absence of noise. The little hiss from the hickory in the firebox metered an occasional refrain.

His chest filled fully, maybe for the first time since arriving at Mayfair. What a horrid day, one filled with no answers or true name or names of the blackmailer discovered. And this…warning.

1778 James Gilroy caricature.
1798 James Gillray caricature of Prince William Harry and Mulatto Woman

“Wowski’s song

White man, never go away;
Tell me why need you?
Stay with your Wowski, stay;
Wowski will feed you.
Cold moons are now coming in;
Ah don’t go grieve me!
I’ll wrap you in leopard’s skin;
White man, don’t leave me.”

 

A groan welled inside as his gaze focussed on the reprint of the 1778 James Gilroy caricature. The scandalous drawing of Prince William Henry, the Regent’s brother, caught in an affair with an enslaved Jamaican woman. At least the poor woman wasn’t made grotesque like others had done when characterizing dark-skinned females.  But Gilroy still mocked her, calling her Wowski.

“Wowski,” William said with a groan. It was the name of a black servant in the play Inkle and Yarico, in which Inkle falls in love with an Indian maiden who saves his life but then sells her into slavery for profit.

Rubbing the stiffness from his jaw, he headed for the sideboard. The housekeeper had left him a sweet biscuit and mug of coffee. The coffee had to be cold with his hours of pacing the length of the room, but the fragrant bits of fresh crusty pastry still clung to the air. Suddenly hungry, he popped a flaky morsel into his mouth and let the buttery goodness melt upon his tongue. With his thumb, he traced the edge of the silver tray. Slow, steady circles, he made and listened to the small squeaks formed betwixt his flesh and the shiny surface. The chirps would make his beloved daughter clap her hands and smile. Would she try to imitate the sounds as she once did? Why couldn’t her rose-petal lips push out a syllable?

Nothing but hellish cries. A child of four should be able to speak.

His throat dried. His gut ached as if he’d been stabbed by a dull knife. He dusted off his hands and returned to the paper’s garbage and her parting thrust.

“Seems there’s a cheshire cat who grins like the Prince, but which Wowski will he choose?”

He scanned it again and crumbled the page, throwing it into the fire. The flames blazed and spit for a moment, then quieted. Truth had that affect too, coming from nowhere, torching the land, then settling into place. He had to be honest with himself. William did fancy anything that was the opposite of the lithe blonde deceiver formerly called his wife. That included honest eyes, a non-lying tongue, and silky skin that didn’t shun his touch.

Mary’s cry pierced his fogged mind and his heart. He trudged out of the study toward the stairs. London, this house, everything that screamed Elizabeth, he needed to be away from it. If he couldn’t stop the rumormongers, maybe it was time to leave. Retreat wasn’t an option that set easily on a military man’s shoulders, but this time it might be for the best. The gossips wasn’t above lies or innuendo. And if his clumsy attempts at finding the gossips set the dogs chasing Mary’s paternity, he’d never forgive himself.


William’s story released June 15th, Unmasked Heart.

unmasked_bookpicShy, nearsighted caregiver, Gaia Telfair always wondered why her father treated her a little differently from her siblings, but she never guessed she couldn’t claim his love because of a family secret, her illicit birth. With everything she knows to be true evaporating before her spectacles, can the mulatto passing for white survive being exposed and shunned by a powerful duke who has taken an interest in her?

Ex-warrior, William St. Landon, the Duke of Cheshire, will do anything to protect his mute daughter from his late wife’s scandals. With a blackmailer at large, hiding in a small village near the cliffs of Devonshire seems the best option, particularly since he can gain help from the talented Miss Telfair, who has the ability to help children speak. If only he could do a better job at shielding his heart from the young lady, whose honest hazel eyes see through his jests as her tender lips challenge his desire to remain a single man.

 

 

Get your copy of Unmasked Heart now at Amazon. It is available in Print, ebook, and audiobook.

 


References:

http://www.greatcaricatures.com/articles_galleries/nypl_gillray.html

Peter Pindar‘s Pair of Lyric Epistles (1792): “Lo, like a Cheshire cat our court will grin.”

http://www.spanglefish.com/slavesandhighlanders/index.asp?pageid=222459

Caricature: (1788) by James Gillray from La Rochelle Museum of Slavery showing a young European with his ‘wousky’ – a term also used by George Pinckard in his Notes on the West Indies (1796), p317. The man is, in fact, Prince William Henry, the younger brother of George III.

 

Originally posted 2015-12-30 08:02:36.

Saving Miss Caulfield, Part 2 ~ A Regency Short Story by Kristi Ann Hunter

To celebrate our third year of sharing inspirational Regency fiction with our readers, we are giving them brand new short stories. Today we present the conclusion of Saving Miss Caulfield.

Part 1 can be read here

Saving Miss Caulfield, Part 2

Bianca stomped through the main hall, wishing she had on something more substantial than satin slippers. Their soft slapping against the marble floor was decidedly unsatisfactory.

She heard Landon exit the drawing room behind her, his boots thudding against the floor with confident solidity. One more grievance for her to lay at his feet. The urge to run up the stairs was strong, but she forced herself to take the steps at a sedate pace.

“Are you going to answer me?” Landon stood in the hall with his hands on his hips and his head dropped back to look up at her.

Arrogant man. Did he expect her to be delighted about his willingness to sacrifice himself because he couldn’t imagine foisting her off on some other poor bloke?

Bianca did her best to arrange her features into a mirror of his frustrated countenance “Are you going to ask me a question?”

She gripped the banister until her fingers turned white and her arm started to shake. Of all the times she had imagined Landon speaking of marriage between the two of them, not once had he suggested it in the guise of a martyr, with a resigned sigh punctuating the moment instead of a passionate kiss.

He shook his head. “Is that what has your dander up? Come back down then, and I’ll ask properly. Would you like me on one knee perhaps?”

A noise gurgled in the back of her throat, begging, threatening to escape. A growl? A scream? A cry? Some terrifying combination of the three? She swallowed it down and continued her trek up the stairs, pounding each step with enough force to jar her knees and echo through the house.

Quick, light taps indicated Landon was running up the stairs behind her. She would have to abandon pique to obtain speed if she wished to attain privacy before he reached her.

Her brother, Giles, stood in the hall at the top of the stairs, blocking the way to the private salon.

“Step aside, please.” She made to step around him, but he dodged, placing himself in her path once more. Bianca’s eyes narrowed. “Step. Aside. Please.”

“No.”

Had he truly just denied her retreat? His eyes left her face to look over her shoulder. No doubt Landon had reached them.

Giles cleared his throat and looked between the two of them. “May I ask what brings you visiting so early in the day?”

“I asked your sister to marry me,” Landon growled. “Then she left the room.”

Bianca’s laugh was short and rude. “You did not ask.”

He stepped forward, a ruddy splash along his cheekbones matching the angry heat in his gaze. “Will you marry me?”

“No!” Bianca shoved past the two men, fighting the tears. She didn’t want a miserable marriage with Theodore, but she didn’t want to be pitied either.

How could she possibly have a real marriage with Landon when he saw her as a little sister? Would there even be children? How could she be expected to move past her adoration and love for him if she saw his name every time she signed her own?

If her marriage was doomed to be an arrangement for survival, then she would make it one she had a hope of surviving. Marriage to Landon when he didn’t love her back would destroy her.

A strong hand wrapped around her arm and pulled her to a stop. Her momentum swung her around until she faced her captor.

Landon’s face was set, the lines around his mouth deepening as his lips flattened. “Earlier you were resigned to a fate with that cad, Theodore. Give me one good reason why you’d choose him over me.”

Bianca stared at Landon, blinking slowly. Landon sucked his breath in through his teeth, breathing unaccountably fast.

Giles waved a hand at the door next to him. “I’ll be in my study. With the door open.”

Landon didn’t even glance back as Giles departed. Bianca frowned.

“One reason, Bianca.”

What could she say? She could hardly tell him it was because he didn’t love her because she was under no illusion that Mr. Theodore loved her either. Telling Landon that she was in love with him would only make him pity her more.  She opened her mouth, praying inspiration would strike if she started speaking. “You’re… That is to say…”

He leaned back, crossing his arms over his chest with a look of confidence. Was he convinced she couldn’t come up with a reason?

“You’re too tall.” She wanted to crawl under a table. Too tall? That’s what she came up with? She deserved his pity for that lack of creativity.

He blinked. “Too tall?”

Her eyes fell to the left. His boot made a fascinating contrast with the polished wood floor.

Then he advanced and her gaze shot back to his face in apprehension. “Too tall? You’ll have to come up with something better than that, Bianca. You’re too smart to throw away your future on something so meaningless.”

Bianca felt her nails cut into her palms as she curled her fingers into fists of determination. He would not pressure her. “Why would I want to marry a man I have to break my neck to look at?”

“Better than a man you’d have to break your soul to live with.”

“My soul is stronger than you think, and it’s much easier to protect than my heart.”

He scoffed. “You think Theodore will have a care for your heart?”

It was Bianca’s turn to look superior. “Of course not. But he’ll get nowhere near it so it’s hardly in danger.”

He leaned forward until his breath bounced off her face. “Why would you marry a man who at best will ignore you?”

“Why would I marry a man who pities me?” Bianca’s eyes widened and she resisted the urge to clap her hands over her mouth. She hadn’t meant to reveal that insecurity, but now that it was out she felt better. There had always been honesty between them.

“I don’t pity you.” His voice was quiet, barely above a whisper.

“Are you saying you want to marry me because you love me?”

His mouth opened, but nothing came out. The heat in his eyes seemed banked by fear, giving credence to her assumption that his proposal was prompted by something other than romantic notions. The victory felt hollow.

“You know I love you, Bianca.”

Her eyebrows shot up even as her heart plummeted. He loved her like a sister, had mentioned that often when he teased about needing to soak his feet in chilled water after helping her learn to dance. That he use such a phrase when he knew she meant something different hurt.

“Then kiss me.” It was hard to tell who was more stunned by her challenge. It felt right, though. There was no better way to call him on his manipulation.

Landon looked awkward as he reached a shaky hand toward her cheek. He gently brushed the curls back, laying his hand along the side of her neck.

Her heartbeat increased. Was he going to take her challenge? Was it possible he felt more than she realized?

Ever so slowly, he leaned forward, bending his head toward hers. Their breath mingled, his spicy scent filling Bianca’s senses until air backed up in her lungs. Her eyes drifted shut of their own volition, despite her desire to see every emotion in Landon’s eyes.

His lips connected with hers in the softest caress imaginable, like a butterfly floating by. She waited for more, for him to sweep by again with a firmer pressure, to send her heart fluttering again, but it never came.

Then his hand was gone, leaving her neck cold. By the time she forced her eyes open, there was nothing to see but Landon’s back as he fled down the stairs.

###

Landon paced his study from door to bookcase, seven long strides eating up the floor before he turned and did it again.

His staff was beginning to gather outside the door, occasionally sending someone to peek in on him and ask if he needed anything. They were beginning to look worried. Not that he blamed them. He’d been pacing since he fled here from Bianca’s house hours ago.

This morning it had seemed so simple. He had gone to Bianca’s house, determined to help her work out a plan for escaping Theodore. He’d had no intention of proposing she marry him. Had he?

As soon as he’d made the suggestion, he knew it was the right solution, the only solution. He was a viscount, outranking Theodore’s potential barony. Not to mention he was a friend of the family and more of a gentleman than Theodore ever pretended to be. If she was looking for a practical match, he was a much better choice.

So why had she turned him down?

He changed direction and strode to the window, bracing his hands on either side. His reflection wavered in the glass as evening crept in. The face was one he’d seen every day of his life, but he didn’t know the man anymore.

Since the first inklings of manhood he’d prided himself on keeping his eyes on God instead of the women that distracted so many of his friends. He’d called them fools, knowing that God would provide the right woman in time. Had he been too focused? Like a horse with blinders, so set on moving forward that he missed his destination?

Because he never expected the thought of kissing little Bianca Caulfield to shake him to his very core.

The kiss had been fleeting. He wasn’t positive his lips had even touched hers, but from the first mention of marriage to the moment he’d rested his hand on her cheek, everything he knew about his life had crumbled in on itself. He’d never felt so out of control.

So why did the thought of putting everything back the way it had been tie his stomach in knots?

Even considering what he would need to do to put their relationship back on a friendly level sent panic to his toes.

He looked past his reflection to a couple walking down the street below his window. Their heads tilted towards each other in a sign of intimacy despite the proper amount of space between their strolling bodies. They were obviously in love.

Love.

The panic flowed from him like water. He loved Bianca. And not in the family way he’d always teased her about. Somewhere along the line as she’d grown into womanhood she’d made her way into his heart while she lowered her hemlines and put up her hair.

“George!” he bellowed.

The butler was instantly at the door. How many people were lingering out there? Why did he even care?

“My horse. Now.”

Fifteen minutes later, he found himself in front of Bianca’s house again, determination of a new kind driving him to knock with more force than necessary.

The door unlatched and Landon pushed his way in even as the butler opened it. “Where is she?”

“My lord!”

“Bianca – Miss Caulfield – where is she?”

“The drawing room, my lord, but I must protest –”

Whatever else the man said was lost as Landon’s long legs ate up the floor to the drawing room he’d earlier made a fool of himself in.

There she was. Pretty as a painting with her blonde hair in a simple braid wrapped around her head, still in a plain afternoon dress.  His heart threatened to beat its way out of his chest, but a sense of rightness that filled his soul made everything right. Brought peace to his soul.

Her bright blue eyes widened as she rose to her feet. “Landon?”

He didn’t know how he crossed the room. He could have walked, run, or flew for all he knew and he truly didn’t care, because whatever he’d done had brought her within reach. He leaned in even as he wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into his chest, his heart, where she belonged.

There was nothing hesitant about his kiss this time. The press of his lips to hers felt like coming home. Her fingers dove into his hair and she sighed into his kiss, relaxing into his arms.

He pulled back, but only far enough to see into her eyes. He rested his forehead against hers, fighting to steady his breath enough to speak. This precious girl, no, this precious woman had always been there for him. He couldn’t imagine his life without her in it.

“I love you, Bianca.”

She bit her lip. “Why now? You didn’t this morning.”

He smoother the curls back from her face with a smile. “I think I did. I was just too thick to know it. You’ve always been part of my life, Bianca. I couldn’t imagine building a life, having children, growing old with anyone else by my side. You are my beloved, my darling. Please tell me you’ll be my bride.”

Her eyes glistened with tears as a wide smile stretched across her face. She nodded, her hair rubbing against his forehead like silk. A light laugh escaped her lips even as a tear ran down her cheek. “Yes, my love. I’ll be your bride.”

Landon picked her up and spun her around, spying Giles leaning in the doorway.

With a bit of heat in his cheeks, Landon placed Bianca back on the floor but kept her close to his side.

“Finally,” Giles said with a smile. “Welcome to the family.”

Surprise caused Landon to go a bit slack-jawed. Giles had known? How could the man know something Landon hadn’t even realized about himself? He looked down at Bianca with her bright smile and loving eyes, and decided he didn’t care.

Originally posted 2015-12-27 18:28:49.

Austen’s World Wrap Up. December 24, 2015

Looks What’s Brewing in the Regency

  • Happy (belated) National Tea Day
    Yesterday was National Tea Day, and it of course got me looking at period tea resources. One of the things I found was a small pamphlet from 1785 called The Tea Purchaser’s Guide; or the Lady and Gentleman’s Tea Table … Continue reading
  • Celebrating Jane Austen’s Birthday
    Jane Austen was born on a bitterly cold night on December 16, 1775. Little is known about birthday celebrations on one’s natal day during the Regency era. Jane makes no mention of them, as far as I know, in her letters and novels. Please correct me if I am wrong. Common sense tells us that […]

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Originally posted 2015-12-24 06:20:56.

Today in 1820 – Discovery of a Statue

Greece_location_map.svgImagine a clear day on the Aegean Sea, the sea an indigo blue, the sky azure. You are a twenty-three year old French officer aboard the naval schooner Estafette. The vessel drops anchor at Melos one of the Greek isles littering the sea.

This young ensign, Olivier Voutier, who knows a bit about antiquities, as a well-educated gentleman of the regency era would, takes a pick and shovel and hikes up a hillside with a couple of sailors toward the remains of an ancient theater, hoping to find antique statuary near the ruin. Already, Thomas Bruce, seventh Earl of Elgin had brought back sculpted friezes and statues from the Parthenon, known as the “Elgin Marbles” to display at the British Museum.

220px-MilosNapoleon, another lover of antiquity, had purchased many Roman sculptures when he conquered Italy and brought them to the Louvre in Paris.

All things Greek, Roman and Egyptian were highly valued in Europe at the time of the regency.

On this 8th of April, 1820, young Voutier noticed a peasant farmer in a nearby field. He was digging around an ancient wall to use its stones in a structure he was building.  Voutier noticed he stopped and was staring at something in a niche in the wall. Voutier drew near and saw the partially buried statue of a female torso.

Despite her broken arms, chipped nose and other imperfections, Voutier was enthralled by the statue of the nude. Along with the farmer, he was the first person to gaze upon the Venus de Milo since it had graced an ancient Greek wall.

The farmer, who had no use for such statuary, was ready to shovel earth back over it, when Voutier recognized the beauty of this classical sculpture and persuaded him to dig it out.

Eventually Voutier was able to bring other French officials to see the statue. Another naval officer, Jules Dumont d’Urvilles, went to Constantinople, the head of the Ottoman Empire, which controlled Greece and the Greek Isles at that time, and persuaded the French Ambassador to purchase the statue for France.

It was brought to France in 1821 and presented to King Louis XVIII, who donated it to the Louvre220px-Paris_Louvre_Venus_de_Milo_Debay_drawing. The statue was not found in one piece and was broken in parts. The torso was carved from one block of marble, the draped legs from another, smaller blocks for each arm and the left foot. Fragments of the right arm were unearthed as well as the left hand holding an apple, but they were later discarded as not being part of the original statue because the carving was rougher.

The original plinth or pedestal it rested on was also found nearby but because the inscription carved in it with the artist’s name dated it to the Hellenistic period, rather than the earlier Greek Classical, it devalued the statue in the eyes of scholars at the time, so they discarded the plinth and continued to claim it as a statue from the Classical Greek period.

Today, millions of people visit the Louvre to view the Venus de Milo, along with the Mona Lisa and the Winged Victory of Samothrace, another Greek statue.

Aphrodite_of_Milos
Aphrodite (Venus) of Milo

 

Originally posted 2015-12-20 18:19:34.