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11th Century England Anna Markland Book Promo Blog Conquering Passion Historical Romance Long Ago Love Blog

Book Promo: "Conquering Passion" by Anna Markland

SYNOPSIS

CONQUERING PASSION covers a span of over ten years and is rich in details of 11th century England. Book One of the Montbryce Legacy introduces the three Montbryce brothers, Rambaud (Ram), Antoine and Hugh, and follows Ram’s journey with Mabelle de Valtesse through the labyrinth of dangers that existed in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest.

Mabelle, a strong heroine, is more than a match for her warrior hero, Ram. The passion quickly flares between them, but both are reluctant to admit their love. Can a man like Ram, who demands obedience in a wife, find love with the wilful refugee brought to his bed in an arranged marriage? Mabelle is an independent woman who has learned to live by her wits during a six-year exile with her psychotic father.

Only through trials and tragedy do they finally realize that they can no longer deny what their hearts have always known—love conquers all.

Lovers of medieval romance and English history during the time of King William the Conqueror will enjoy this intimate story of passion, betrayal, ambition, vengeance, and of course love.

Amazon

Ellora's Cave Historical Romance Kate Hill

Book Promo: "Northman’s Pleasure" by Kate Hill

Ellora’s Cave
Released 7-17-13

Synopsis:

Legend is Grim Hammerhand is half wolf. Vowing never to marry, the muscular, red-haired warrior saves his passion for the battlefield and the forge. That is, until the woman he secretly lusts after is abducted.

Asgerd has loved Grim for years, only to be ignored by the object of her desire. She has eluded the bonds of marriage, hoping that someday Grim will notice her, but her dreams are shattered when she is captured and defiled by the brutal warrior Stein.

After the king sends Grim to rescue his daughter and claim Stein’s land, the passion between the couple finally ignites. In the end, Grim’s mistrust of all women could destroy their one true chance for happiness.

Articles Eulogy's Secret Grace Elliot Historical Romance Hope's Betrayal King's Bedroom

Historical Tidbit: A Kerfuffle in the King’s Bedroom by Grace Elliot

The Tudor court was rife with politics and power-play – and never more so than in the bedroom. Being a gentleman of the King’s bedchamber, meant intimate contact with the monarch – and so only the most privileged and trusted were admitted to the position. This was a reflection of the closeness to the monarch’s ear and possible influence on government policy.
Keys to the bedchamber became a symbol of power. That most intimate of servants, The Groom of the Stool (the stool referred to is the Tudor equivalent of the toilet) wore as a badge of office ‘a gold key on a blue ribbon’ – and had to authority to demand that ‘no other keys for the bed-chamber be made or allowed.’ Even so the king had little privacy.
See his sheets be clean, then fold down his bed, and warm his night kerchief and see his house of office be clean, help off his clothes, and draw the curtains, make sure the fire and candles, avoid [throw out] the dogs, and shut the doors.
Henry VIII didn’t sleep with his wife unless he wanted intercourse, when he visited her chambers. However, there were always attendants in the room, either sleeping on a small wheeled bed pulled out from beneath the royal bed, or even favoured servants such as Thomas Culpepper ‘ordinarily shared [the King’s] bed’.
Henry VIII had a set of household rules about how to make up his bed. He slept on a pile of eight mattresses and each night he had a servant roll on the bed, to check for hidden enemies with daggers. After this the servant would kiss the places he had touched, sprinkle the sheets with holy water and make the sign of the cross over the bed.
But over time, even Henry became tired of this invasion of privacy. At Hampton Court he built so-called ‘secret lodgings’ with a new policy for bedchamber staff. Of his six Gentlemen of the Bedchamber, only one now had the automatic right to enter – the rest had to be invited. “The King’s express commandment is, that none other of the said six gentlemen, presume to enter of follow his Grace into the said bed chamber, or any other secret place, unless he shall be called.”
Henry I employed a ‘porter of the King’s bed’ – a man with a packhorse whose job it was to convey the king’s bed from castle to castle. A royal progress was a means by which the monarch exerted his authority over his nobles. Any aristocrat seeking to impress maintained a special bedroom for visiting sovereigns. This meant having a state-bed; a colossal constructions with a canopy fifteen foot high, hung with gorgeous and expensive tapestries. One example was the state bed at Woburn Abbey, commissioned appropriately enough by the Duke of Bedford – at a cost equivalent to today of half a million pounds.
Sumptuous as a state bed sounds, sometimes there is no substitute for comfort rather than show. Elizabeth I spent her last nights of life on a pile of cushions on the floor, rather than in her 11 foot ostrich-feather bed – proving size isn’t everything.
Grace Elliot
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and an author of historical romance by night. Grace is an avid reader and believes intelligent people need to read romance – as an antidote to the modern world. She works in a companion animal practice near London and is housekeeping staff to five demanding felines, two sons and a bearded dragon.

Learn more about Grace at her blog: Fall in Love with History

Articles Fashions Historical Romance

Romancing the Hat

Fashion in France 1908
I’m in love with outrageously large hats from long ago.  I’ve been watching Mr. Selfridge on Masterpiece Theater recently.  I’m enthralled with Lady Mae wearing her fashionable dresses and hats of early 1900’s.  

In my book The Price of Deception, I had a few passages about hats.

“Robert curiously viewed his wife as she donned her latest flashy, Parisian monstrosity on her head.” 

I also mentioned that his mother became overly excited when her daughter-in-law brought a gift back from Paris.

Jacquelyn hugged her mother-in-law tightly and immediately brought her attention to the newest purchase perched upon her head. She twirled around and flashed a smile. “What do you think? Isn’t it gorgeous?” 
Mary gave the purple silk, netting, lace, feathers, and flowers resting on top of her golden locks a keen inspection. “Gorgeous,” she complimented, with jealousy. 
I often ponder about how large hats must have messed up women’s hair when they took them off, or how in the world a man ever ducked underneath a large brimmed hat to steal a kiss without getting popped in the nose. Perhaps hats were a tactic of propriety to keep men away from the lips of women during certain eras. A hat like the one to the right reminds me of blinders on a horse so a woman’s eyes wouldn’t wander where they shouldn’t.  
There is a wonderful website on Tumblr entitled, “Hats From History” that you might want to visit.  It’s filled with a variety of hats from various eras if you’d like to check out the fashions.

My mother was born in 1912, so she grew up in an era of hats.  I remember even in the 50’s the little pill-box hats she would wear with netting over her eyes. In fact, I still have two of her old square hat boxes.  I frankly cannot remember the last time I saw a woman where I live wear a hat, unless it was a brave one on Easter Sunday morning in church.

Credit: Mark Cuthbert/UK Press/Abaca

In contrast to our practice in the United States, I’m very happy that the British monarchy and women of the realm have kept the hat alive and well.  Half the fun for me during some important British occasion, is to check out the variety of hats worn by the aristocracy. Kate Middleton was named “Hat Person of the Year” in 2012 by The Headwear Association.  You must admit, she wears hats very well. Kate even works with her milliner to help design the hats she wears.

As authors of historical romance, we probably write more about the love affairs of rogues, knights, or men in kilts than we do about the love of fashionable hats.  Even though I see a lot of romance covers with men in britches, boots, and naked chests, along with women in low necklines and dresses with low backs, I rarely see one on the cover of a book donning a hat. Why is that? I think all of period clothing, including what has perched upon the head of a woman, is part of the wonder of long ago love and the stories we tell. After all, fashion makes the woman, doesn’t it? (As I look at my jeans and tee-shirt, I realize I need help.)

Fondly,
Vicki

Tidbit:  Do you know where the term “mad as a hatter” came from?  The process of making felt involved toxic mercury that drove hat makers to madness. (From The Hat Museum – Portland, Oregon)