Laurie Alice ~ Louise Gouge Interview

LaurieAlice: I’ve known Louise for many years and know she is her own worst critic. She is hard on herself in describing her own work. Let me assure you, this is truly a Regency romance.

Meet Louise M. Gouge

Interview Questions with Louise Gouge:

LAE: What drew you to write during the Regency Time Period?

Louise: I know it’s an old answer, but I just love Jane Austen’s classic books, so I wanted to try my hand at a Regency story. The strict social and moral codes seem to make happiness for a hero and heroine next to impossible. Can my couple who come from different social classes find true love in spite of all the social restrictions they face? Well, of course. It’s a romance. But can I make it an interesting journey along the way? That’s the challenge that Jane Austen met with success every time, in my opinion. I can only hope to do the same.

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

Louise: My book begins in late 1813 and ends in early 1814. My hero, a British major, has been wounded in the American War, which England was fighting at the same time they were fighting Napoleon (as was the rest of Europe). But the battle my hero fights to find his place in English society is every bit as difficult as the struggle he found in America. I chose this particular time period because I think wartimes always make interesting backdrops for romances.

A Proper Companion by Louise M. Gouge

LAE: 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?

Louise: Actually, I can’t think of a single thing. I’m too new at writing in this period to know all of the clever little stuff. (This is my first full-length Regency.) I must have some nerve, right? But I hope readers will find my hero and heroine compelling and will enjoy their pathway to happily ever after.

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

Louise: Regency readers are very particular and knowledgeable about the era. I try very hard not to make a mistake, but I’m sure something has slipped through that I wasn’t aware of. Still, no one has slammed me so far. If I do make an error, I hope readers will gently inform me!

LAE: Who is your favorite Regency Author?

Louise: Much to my shame, I haven’t read any of the old Regency authors who really established the genre, which may be the reason I don’t know those unique things about the era. I do enjoy the stories by my fellow Love Inspired Historical authors: Regina Scott, Mary Moore, and Deborah Hale. From other publishers, I love Laurie Alice Eakes, MaryLu Tyndall, and Linore Rose Burkard.

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

Louise: I like both the country manor house (with its village) and the London townhouse. The lavish homes in either place just stagger me, especially when one considers the poverty that existed barely a stone’s throw from either home.

LAE: What makes your hero and heroine uniquely Regency?

Louise: Other than the historical events taking place in the background, I actually think my hero and heroine’s story could be set in a rather wide span of English history from mid-Eighteenth Century to well into the Victorian age, perhaps even touching the Edwardian age. The main conflicts separating my would-be sweethearts are the societal structure and hero’s lack of career options. In England, these were basically unchanged for centuries, as we can see in the recent BBC television series, Downton Abbey.

LAE: Tell us about your book.

Louise: A Proper Companion, With her father’s death, Anna Newfield loses everything—her home, her inheritance, and her future. Her only piece of good fortune is a job offer from wounded major Edmond Grenville, whose mother requires a companion. The Dowager Lady Greystone is controlling and unwelcoming, but Anna can enjoy Edmond’s company, even if she knows the aristocratic war hero can never return her love. Even amid the glittering ballrooms of London, nothing glows brighter for Edmond than Anna’s gentle courage. Loving her means going against his family’s rigid command. Yet how can he walk away when his heart may have found its true companion?

LAE: When did your novel release and with what publisher?

Louise: A Proper Companion, from Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historicals, released in June 2012.

About Louise:  Award-winning Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical fiction, calling her stories “threads of grace woven through time.” In addition to numerous other awards, Louise is the recipient of the prestigious Inspirational Readers’ Choice Award for her 2005 novel, Hannah Rose. With her great love of history and research, Louise has traveled to several of her locations to ensure the accuracy of her stories’ settings. When she isn’t writing, she and her husband love to visit historical sites and museums. Her favorite Bible verse is “He shall choose our inheritance for us” (Psalm 47:4), a testimony to her belief that God has chosen a path for each believer. To seek that path and to trust His wisdom is to find the greatest happiness in life. Read about Louise’s books at her Web site

For a chance to win A Proper Companion by Louise M. Gouge, leave a comment. We will draw a winner on June 20, 2012. Be sure to check back on this comment thread on that date to find out who won.


Illustrating Jane Austen

Do you remember the first Jane Austen novel you ever read?

My first Jane Austen novel was an illustrated edition of Sense and Sensibility. I was hooked after only one chapter!  And it was not only the colorful descriptions and witty dialogue that drew me in—I remember being fascinated but the accompanying illustrations. I know longer own my first copy of Sense and Sensibility, but to this day, I recall the illustrations in vivid detail.

One of the most celebrated illustrators of Jane Austen novels was Charles Edmund Brock.  Brock lived from 1870-1938 and is widely recognized for his illustrations and line drawings of novels by Bronte, Elliot, Thackery, and many more. Even though Brock did not live during the regency period, he had a unique ability to capture the essence of the period in his illustrations.  Here are a few well-known illustrations for you to enjoy:

Sense & Sensibility:













Pride and Prejudice:












Northanger Abbey:












Mansfield Park:
























Secrets of How to Love Your Husband, part 1, by Susan Karsten

Don’t you just love that phrase, “How to …”? How-to books, advice columns, lists of do’s and don’ts abound. God’s word has much great advice, and “secrets” abound, especially about loving. For example, Ephesians 4:32:

     Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. 

Since this one passage is so rich with gems for loving our husbands, let’s go no further.

Be kind to him. Choose kindness, even when he doesn’t earn or deserve it. Think back to how you both showed each other your best during courtship and engagement, were you ever sour, moody, or impatient then?

Be tenderhearted toward him and his failings. Love covers a multitude of sins (failings), so “put on the love cover”(1Peter 4:8) when your husband’s weaknesses affect you. An unexpected smile can go a long way toward softening hearts.

A forgiving attitude will bring peace of mind and peace in your marriage. Try forgiving in advance and not even entering into a dispute or criticism though you are in the right. He will be so relieved that you “let him off the hook”. You will be amazed at the peace that will dwell in your relationship. This forgiving in advance is sometimes called forbearance. God’s forbearing love chose us to be his children, and we should not aspire to anything less.

This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. Romans 3: 25b

Just touching on scripture’s rich words on forbearing love can inspire us to imitate Christ’s love toward our God-given husbands. Forgiving in advance is a mighty tool from God to improve our marriages.

Praising God for all His Blessings, Susan

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Altar

Everyone screws up occasionally. The epicness of your less than perfect moment can often be tied to the significance and size of the event at which it occurs. Stepping on your hairbrush and wiping out in your bathroom can be excessively painful, but the embarrassment factor is rather low. Tumbling down the ramp at your high school graduation can haunt you for the rest of your life, leading the highlight reel at every class reunion.

Engraving of the wedding of Albert and Victoria
Photo via Wiki Commons

Kristi here and there is perhaps no grander stage to mess up on than a wedding. Emotions are high, stress abounds, and months (sometimes years) of careful planning is being set in motion. While everyone is praying for four perfect hours of ceremony and reception, that is rarely the case.

Check around on YouTube or watch a few episodes of America’s Funniest Videos and you’ll be able to start a list of common wedding maladies:

The Fainter

Fainting in the middle of the church, 1811
Photo via Wiki Commons

Sometimes it’s the groom, often it’s a groomsman. Every now and then it’s the bride. Funniest one I’ve ever seen? The priest.

If you go to a lot of weddings, you’ve probably seen a fainter. They start to blink and then sway just a bit and then next thing you know, their knees give way and everyone does their best impression of dominos. (By the way, if you’re in a wedding make sure you eat breakfast that morning and don’t lock your knees. That lessens your chances of becoming the fainter!)

You can see some great faints in this video. Most of them are from weddings.

The Wayward Kid

I have considerable experience with this one. I was one.

As the flower girl for my cousin’s wedding, I thought I was hot stuff. Unfortunately, I almost became really hot stuff when I became curious about what would happen if I stepped on the base of an enormous candelabra. No, I didn’t burn the church down, but I think I caused a moment or two of horror.

Flames from two candles
Photo via Wiki Commons

Kids  are adorable and make for some really cute pictures, but they are also unpredictable. You never know when they’ll decide to eat the flower petals or obtain a massive case of stage fright.

The Guests

Wedding at St GeorgesThere are many other opportunities to embarrass yourself at a wedding (and given the propensity of brides to hire photographers and videographers, these moments are captured for posterity). Even if you are only a guest, you aren’t immune to being caught up in the wedding disaster hall of fame. Dance floor escapades, bouquet toss brawls, and unplanned toasts are all fodder for the awkward situation generator.

Got a few guests who’ve indulged too much at the open bar? The chances of chagrin inducing capers increase exponentially.

My Altar Moment

Kristi and Husband at Wedding
Me and My Hubby, nine years ago

I have to say, though, that I’ve never heard of someone else having the same experience as I did. I’ve heard of flubbed up vows, tongue-tied grooms, and ministers forgetting their notes, but I think I’m fairly unique in my story.

Fortunately, it wasn’t me, although I nearly caught the giggles, which would have made the rest of the ceremony very difficult.

What happened? Well, the minister called my husband a woman. He said, “Do you, Kristi, take this woman…” I very nearly lost it. In his defense, the poor man was very nervous. As a dear friend of the family, he was worried about making a mistake in the middle of the wedding. And then he did.

His own daughter is getting married this weekend. I don’t think he’s officiating the ceremony.

What about you?

Have you been to a wedding where things didn’t quite go as planned? What hilarity ensued at your own wedding?

Reader, I Married Him

Welcome to the month of June, that most favored time of year for weddings. With that in mind, we at Regency Reflections thought it would be fitting to run a few posts regarding marriage during the Regency.

Marriage is a big thing, of course, but today we are brought up with the idea that it is only one big thing out of many. If you make a mistake, people know they can always get a divorce. Statistics show that even in the church, divorce, unfortunately, is a well-used option. If you can try to imagine the lives of women in the early 19th century, for them marriage wasn’t “a” big thing–it was THE biggest thing that could happen, setting the course for their lives and futures in ways we only have an inkling of, today.

Marriage Among the Ton

During the regency, fashionable couples often got married at St. George’s Church in Mayfair. Located right at the edge of Hanover Square and only steps from Bond Street, St. George’s was an icon of the fashionable West End.  In my book, The House in Grosvenor Square, Ariana Forsythe’s wedding to the Paragon, the handsome but temperamental Mr. Mornay, is planned for St. George’s.
st george's church
St. George’s Hanover Square, Parish Church

In 1816 (a banner year) there were 1,063 weddings, including nine on Christmas Day! Yet the aristocracy often chose to forego St. George’s in favor of the chapel on their own estates; or sometimes they married in their home in a small, private affair with just a few witnesses. Even Lord Byron was married in such a way.

A few infamous weddings are detailed on this page of St. George’s website, where, by the way, you can find contact info. to schedule your own wedding if you happen to live in London and wish to be married! (You’d also have to be Anglican, I suppose.)


There seems to have been little protocol regarding how to celebrate a wedding during the regency, at least in the fashionable world. People might hold a breakfast, lunch or supper for their friends and family, or they might not. Church weddings were “open to the public” but unless the individuals getting married were celebrities (though never called such in that day) most people wouldn’t dream of bothering to attend the ceremony. Likewise, wedding invitations were hardly thought of. Getting married was most often a simpler, more private affair than it is today, and reading that Miss so-and-so had married Lord X in the Morning Post was deemed sufficient.

Princess Charlotte's Wedding Dress. Not white, as you can see.

The poorer classes, on the other hand, were likely to celebrate with parties before, during, and after the nuptials took place. In Scotland, the “penny wedding” could include the whole town, and at least two days of revelry.

A White Gown?

The white dress for women was not in vogue specifically for weddings, likely because white gowns had long been popular evening-wear for any formal occasion.  According to English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century, “The  symbolic significance of white is well known and of great antiquity; we may note, however, that while a girl’s first ball gown was generally white, the bridal dress was by no means invariably so.”

For the year 1816 it states,”Note: Wedding dresses appear indistinguishable from evening dresses.”

Women of means would wear the fanciest fabric they could afford for their weddings, and not only in white. The custom of putting away the gown after the ceremony didn’t exist, and so wedding gowns were chosen with future use in mind. For regency men, by 1820 a proper “wedding suit” would be “a blue dress coat with gilt buttons, white waistcoat, and black or dark gray breeches.”* Again, it was a costume one could use over and over.

(Strange that today we put so much emphasis on a special gown and suit for the wedding, when the marriages themselves are so often treated as less sanctified?)

To Veil or Not to Veil?

There was no custom of veiling the face for a wedding, although veils were popular. A short lace veil might be part of a bonnet for walking dress, for example. Likewise, trains were used for evening dress, assuredly not the domain of weddings. Perhaps the most telling feature of historical costume concerning weddings during this period is that while you can find multitudinous examples of morning, walking, evening, full, promenade, half-dress, riding, carriage and even opera, etc., one never comes across a category for wedding dress. It simply did not exist. (In English Women’s Clothing it is found as a category by 1851.)

This ought to be good news for authors of regency romance, like me: instead we yearn to find the “right” way to portray a bride, when in fact there was no truly “right” way.

To show how many of the ball gowns of the day look suspiciously like wedding dresses to our modern eyes, take a look at some of the illustrations  below, for example.


left– Comptesse–1810

woman in white

marguerite gerard in whitedolley madison


evedress1816 (2)

Above, and right, 1816

french eve dressfrench riesener

The first bridal dress portrayed in English Women’s Clothing is dated 1848 and is of white satin, very ornamental, and with a veil that falls down the back, not over the face.

Are you interested in more details on wedding costume during the regency? On actual weddings that took place, or exactly how the marriage banns were worded? If you think you might purchase my upcoming ebook,  The Making of A Match: A Regency Wedding Compendium, please take this short survey and let me know! It will help me gauge interest, and know exactly what to include in the ebook.  Thank you!

Linore    Linore (at) LinoreBurkard (dot) com


My Grateful Heart, Well Mostly Grateful

Vanessa here,

My phone rings every hour on the hour, in spite of the pile of work on my desk. Grumbling, I still find gratitude in my spirit.

At least, I have a good cellular connection. At least, someone seeks and values my opinion.

The deadlines, I thought sufficiently spaced, all collide. Worrying, I search for gratitude in my spirit.

I’ll sleep next week knowing I’ve accomplished much. It shall be sweet sleep.

In addition to my many jobs, now I shall be a chauffeur carrying my child to her summer camps.  Frustrated, I sing a worship song to stir up gratitude in my spirit. I’m off-key but free in Jesus.

Moreover, gas prices have come down by fifty cents. The look of joy on my daughter’s face as she learns something new is priceless.

My husband deployed Sunday, his 4th deployment in 18 months. Lonely, I hope to find gratitude and understanding in my spirit.

He loves his job, fighting for America. Pride for him swells in my heart.

I need a referral for a referral to see my doctor. Pacing, I’m chanting to saturate my spirit with gratitude.

At least, my family has health care.  At least, they don’t need a lot of blood for a cholesterol check. Well, I hope they don’t.

My shade of lipstick has been discontinued. My shade.  I’m done. All is lost.

Nothing but Miss D’s New Orleans Style Caramel Popcorn

After binging, I seek true nonfattening spiritual comfort food.

Colossians 3:10-11,15-17, King James Version

10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.

15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

May you find your heart thankful today for your many blessings. Let your spirit sing that the valleys of despair are not too deep. Be emboldened to climb every mountain.

May a smidgeon of gratitude, for everything, find its home in you.

Interview and Giveaway with Author Jillian Kent

Hello all you Regency fans,

Naomi Rawlings here today, and I’ve got a special guest to introduce: Jillian Kent, author of the newly released novel Chameleon. Jillian has graciously agreed to giveaway one copy of her novel to someone who reads the interview and then leaves a comment below. The contest will end Saturday at midnight and is open only to U.S. residents. Here’s a bit about Jillian:

Jillian is employed full-time as a counselor for nursing students in a hospital based college. She and her husband are both social workers and met in West Virginia and they’ve been married for 31 years.

Jillian can’t believe Book Two of the Ravensmoore Chronicles, Chameleon, is on the shelves and in the cyberspace bookstores! It was just this time last year that her first book, Secrets of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book One hit the shelves. Jillian says, “It’s been a year of growth and change in the publishing world and the constant personal challenge of seeking balance while writing a new book, working as a counselor, and enjoying my family. This has taken the development of new time management skills.”

So without further ado, here’s a few Regency questions I asked of Jillian:

1.    What drew you to write during the Regency Time Period?

That’s the time period I like to read.

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

Chameleon, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book Two is set in 1819.

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

I had many favorite aspects of this novel. This is just one of those novels that will be difficult for me to top as a personal best. I really believe that. I don’t know how others will judge it, but it’s everything I wanted it to be. Here’s a brief scene that includes Carlton House that I think adds that Regency-ish aspect you’re talking about.

Witt, with Ravensmoore at his side, walked through the Carlton House main entrance, which was graced with six Corinthian columns. Inside they were greeted by a grand staircase, chandeliers, marble floors, and ceilings painted with scenes of myths and legends. Though he’d seen the place many times, he was again struck by the grandeur, the paintings by Gainsborough and Reynolds, and portraits by Van Dyck and Rembrandt.

Grand indeed.

When he’d last entered only a few hours earlier, it had been through the rear entrance of the palace with Stone dripping blood onto the polished marble. This time, his attention was on Ravensmoore and the argument that had ensued in the carriage prior to their arrival.

4. What are the biggest challenges to writing in the Regency Period?

As much as I read about and study this era, I feel like there is so much yet to learn. I’m always terrified of making an error. I want to make the time period come alive and want readers to feel like they are there in London, in Parliament, seeing what was to be seen in those days and smelling the smells, some of which were not so lovely in town.

5. What initially drew you to be interested in writing  books set during the Regency Era?

I discovered England when I spent a semester living in Oxford for part of my senior year of college in 1976.

6. Who is your favorite Regency Author?

Oh, that’s hard. I’m not going to pick a CBA author because I love all of them. In the ABA I’d have to say Julia Quinn.

7. What is your favorite Regency Food?

Any kind of dessert but no fruit cake. I love custards. Here’s a nice page of desserts.

8. What is your favorite Regency setting?

London and Yorkshire. I love the moors and the mist.


Jillian, thanks so much for being with us today, and what a lovely interview you gave. How lucky you were to spend a semester in England. You must have loved it. I’m afraid I’m not very well traveled, but I’m jealous of those who are! I’d have to agree with you that Julia Quinn is one of my favorite secular Regency authors. She can make the simplest situations so hilarious, and I love that about her. And I’m so not a fruitcake fan. So I agree with you about the desserts. Thanks for sharing the recipe website.

Here’s some more information about Jillian Kent, and Chameleon:

How much can you really know about someone?

Lady Victoria Grayson has always considered herself a keen observer of human behavior. After battling a chronic childhood illness that kept her homebound for years, she journeys to London determined to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Jaded by his wartime profession as a spy, Lord Witt understands, more than most, that everyone is not always who they pretend to be. He meets Victoria after the Regent requests an investigation into the activities of her physician brother, Lord Ravensmoore.

Witt and Victoria become increasingly entangled in a plot targeting the lords of Parliament. Victoria is forced to question how well she knows those close to her while challenging Witt’s cynical nature and doubts about God. Together they must confront their pasts in order to solve a mystery that could devastate their future.

Chameleon released May 15th  from Charisma Media/Realms

A final message from Jillian:

If you read book one you know I’m fascinated with human behavior and how our minds work. This will be even more clear to you if you read Chameleon.:) And if you do read this book PLEASE don’t give away the ending so that others can enjoy the journey the whole way through to its conclusion. Once again you will find yourself in Regency England. You will return to Bedlam. You will meet Devlin’s sister, Victoria, aka, Snoop. It won’t take long to find out why the family calls her Snoop. I hope you will escape into the past with me and you, just like some of my characters may find faith for the future. If you are a sleuth at heart you will love this story. If you want to read the first chapter of this novel to see if it’s your kind of read please visit my website at You can also join in the conversation on my blog anytime.

Other than my personal blog I also blog with the other Realms writers at Just the Write Charisma.

I’m very proud of the Well Writer column that I organized with the encouragement of Bonnie Calhoun. You can find it here:

If you’re interested in being entered in the giveaway for Chameleon, please leave a comment below, and thank you so very much for stopping by to meet Author Jillian Kent today.