Related Source: The Peerage: A Primer on Understanding Lords, Ladies, Dukes, Earls and More All right all you duke, earl, and lady lovers . . . All the historical romance books set in England are pretty much focused around titled dudes – I mean dukes or whoever.  It’s not like authors write about falling in love with the local farmer or bricklayer in the city, right? Where’s the fun in that? Well, here is a great article to understand how all the peerage stuff works in real life. Enjoy!  Continue Reading

Way back in September, our very own Esther Inglis-Arkell found a recipe for condoms from 1844. It was only two paragraphs long, so we thought, how hard can it be? Really hard, it turns out. Also gross and potentially dangerous. Source: We Made Victorian Condoms and It Was Much Grosser Than We Expected   NOTE: After researching my own family history and looking at census records, I dare say most Victorians never used condoms, aka French Letters.  One of my second great uncles had thirteen children.Continue Reading

Historical romance insults from the best – Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. “You are mistaken, Mr. Darcy, if you suppose that the mode of your declaration affected me in any other way, than as it spared me the concern which I might have felt in refusing you, had you behaved in a more gentlemanlike manner.”   Source: Jane Austen Insults: Pride and Prejudice One-Liners | FlavorwireContinue Reading

An exhibition I would like to see coming to North Carolina! Brides-to-be in need of a little inspiration (and other lovers of the mingling of fantasy and fashion) might consider a visit to Asheville, North Carolina early next year. A new exhibition dedicated to the artistry and style of the wedding dress and attire as seen in feature films is scheduled to open at the Biltmore House, a 250-room French Renaissance style chateau built in the late 1800s.“Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film” will feature wedding fashion from 19 classic movies set in the years 1645 to 1935, including three films based on the popular Jane Austen novels: Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Pride and Prejudice. Source: Wedding Gowns from Jane Austen Films to BeContinue Reading

Another article.  What do you think?  The debate continues.  Frankly, I think it’s come to a point that it needs a bit of rejuvenation on many levels.  For me, it’s more than a love story – it’s a life story.  I love historical romance because I love reading about lives in the Regency and Victorian eras. Are you bored with HR?  What do you think is needed to spice it up? Here is the article below. Source: Topic Tuesday: Is Historical Romance Dead? | Modern Belles of History    Continue Reading

I would love to see these! Brides-to-be in need of a little inspiration (and other lovers of the mingling of fantasy and fashion) might consider a visit to Asheville, North Carolina early next year. A new exhibition dedicated to the artistry and style of the wedding dress and attire as seen in feature films is scheduled to open at the Biltmore House, a 250-room French Renaissance style chateau built in the late 1800s.“Fashionable Romance: Wedding Gowns in Film” will feature wedding fashion from 19 classic movies set in the years 1645 to 1935, including three films based on the popular Jane Austen novels: Sense and Sensibility, Emma and Pride and Prejudice. Source: Wedding Gowns from Jane Austen Films to Be Featured in New Exhibit –Continue Reading

My copy from Amazon arrived yesterday.  It’s a classic reprint, originally published in 1872.  What a hoot.  It’s a goldmine of comments that might have you rolling on the floor with laughter. The book appears not to be just a set of rules, but contains a vast amount of thoughts on society, social intercourse (not the kind of intercourse you think I’m talking about), private habits, and social behavior, along with proper dress for a variety of occasions for men and women. (Ladies, only white gloves please. The new rage of lavender is scandalous. And for goodness sake, they better not be dirty!) I thought that I would post interesting tidbits regarding English thoughts and ways of life as I make my way through theContinue Reading

One of my hobbies is researching my British ancestry on my mother’s side of the family. Part of that process includes reading British newspapers in search of articles on my ancestors. My second great uncle was a Justice of the Peace, Alderman, and successful businessman, so I’m always looking for articles regarding his life and have found quite a few (over thirty thus far). While doing so, I stumbled across another fascinating area in the lives of men and women from 1800-1850 in regards to lawsuits for the “breach of promise of marriage.” My search has uncovered over 6,000 links to articles in newspapers across England regarding such cases. I thought I would share with you what I noted but must do so in genericContinue Reading

How do you commit murder? Well, in the Victorian era arsenic was a good way to do in your rivals, spouses, and enemies. My latest release, Blythe Court, contains arsenic, and you may wonder if my use is accurate. Hopefully, you know by now I do my research, even if it really does sound extremely odd when you read the story. Arsenic, in case you need a quick education, is a chemical element. It occurs in many minerals. During the Victorian era, it was widely used in commercial products. It was also available to purchase in bottle form from a druggist—half an ounce cost a penny, enough to kill 50 people. Unbeknownst to the Victorians, they were slowly poisoning themselves from wallpaper to clothes. TheContinue Reading

Okay, so I’ve been watching on Facebook and hearing everyone else talk about the “highly anticipated” Outlander television series on Starz. On the other side of the camp, all the Poldark lovers are going crazy over that series being redone by Masterpiece Theater. Because, I knew very little about Outlander, written by Diana Gabaldon, except for what I’ve read in multiple blog posts and reader comments, I finally downloaded the first book. From what I’ve gathered in searching the net and reading reviews, there is a lot of polarization regarding the story. The disagreeable readers say this — they liked the beginning and the premise, but as the story continued were appalled by scenes that turned them off (mainly, the supposed marital rape of Claire,Continue Reading

Stars:Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Sam Reid, Emily Watson,  Sarah Gadon, and Penelope Wilton Yes, this is not a book review, but a movie review that is worth sharing.  Since I actually touched on the subject of an aristocratic family, in my book The Price of Deception, making their fortune in slave trading, I found this movie both moving and inspirational on many levels. I took the commuter train to downtown Portland to see Belle at the one theater in which it is playing. It is a shame, because the movie needs to be released in many more theaters across the country. It is, frankly, the best film I have seen in a long time. The story pulls at the heartstrings of the audience and challengesContinue Reading

Hogmanay, the Scots name for New Year’s Eve, is pagan in origin, and probably came from the Vikings. Because Christmas was banned during the Reformation—and in Scotland for much longer* due to the very strict views of the Scottish Presbyterian Church, who believed it unbiblical—workers were required to work through Christmastide. For that reason, the winter solstice (New Year’s Eve) became the time that families celebrated the holidays with parties and gifts for the children. Traditions of Hogmanay The essential notion of Hogmanay (and New Year’s) is to clear out the old year and celebrate the clean slate offered by the coming year with family and friends. Not so different from most modern New Year’s celebrations, actually. But rather than making lists of resolutions, HogmanayContinue Reading