Recently while researching for my next novel, I did a little searching about the use of handkerchiefs.  Apparently, they had a language of their own just like fans.  This is definitely another interesting tidbit to add to your reality shelves while reading historical romance.  Have you found any books referencing the handkerchief flirt?  Enjoy. Flirting or coquetry remained an art form throughout the Georgian, Regency, and Victorian Eras, and handkerchiefs and flirting language became all the rage. Source: Handkerchiefs and Flirting Language – Geri WaltonContinue Reading

Years ago, I stumbled across the book Victorian Women by Joan Perkin during a Google search and realized that it was a treasure chest of information about the Victorian era and the challenges Victorian women faced. Studying the contents has been an eye-opening experience. I highly recommend it if you’re interested in moving beyond the romance of the era and into reality. What is unique about the book, is that it contains text from women who lived during that time period, expressing what it was like to be a woman in a man’s world. Joan Perkins includes the lives of all women, in the upper class, middle class, and working-class, to give the reader a complete picture. To be a woman in the Victorian era wasContinue Reading

“Suppose then that this first and vital standing order for the toilet be stringent, and that refreshed, and therefore energetic, buoyant, and conscious of one duty being at least performed, the lady leaves her bed and prepares to dress.”  The Habits of Good Society What duty? A good night’s sleep, of course. I suppose you could call it the need for beauty sleep in a rested young lady. I am continuing to read through “The Habits of Good Society,” yawning here in there but also dropping my mouth open at some of the recommendations. Hang onto your Victorian hat, because here comes the next installment of life in 1872 England. The second order of business, after getting out of bed, is the bath, which once againContinue Reading

“In the beginning of the present century (19th), it was thought proper for a gentleman to change his undergarment three times a day, and the washing bill of a beau comprised seventy shirts, thirty cravats, and pocket handkerchiefs à discretion.” (The Habits of Good Society 1872) “The Habits of Good Society: A Handbook for Ladies and Gentlemen,” continues on the subject of particular interest mostly because of the stories I’ve read about the poor hygiene in centuries past. However, when it came to the Regency and Victorian era, the upper class deemed it important as a sign of good character. Not only cleanliness was a duty for the sake of health and being agreeable to one’s neighbor, but it also went hand-in-hand with obeying the scripturesContinue Reading

“An English lady without her piano, or her pencil, or her fancy work, or her favorite French authors and German poets, is an object of wonder, and perhaps of pity.” (The Habits of Good Society: By Unknown Author, originally published 1872. Copyright 2012 Forgotten Books).  Chapter VI is another fascinating look into life in 1872 as penned by someone who lived during the time period. In order to be a member of good society, young ladies should possess a skill besides dancing. Women are discouraged from being talkers.  “We are not, we English, a nation of talkers; naturally, our talent is for silence.” (Perhaps that is where the stiff upper lip mentality comes in because one never talks of their misfortunes or petty irritations.) Since the female populationContinue Reading

“A lady – beautiful word! — is a delicate creature, one who should be reverenced and delicately treated. It is therefore unpardonable to rush about in a quadrille, to catch hold of the lady’s hand as if she were a door-handle, or to drag her furiously across the room, as if you were Bluebeard…”  (The Habits of Good Society: By Unknown Author, originally published 1872. Copyright 2012 Forgotten Books). Recently on my author Facebook page, I’ve been posting videos of period dramas with romantic scenes of waltzes. Some of my favorites are from The Young Victoria, War & Peace (2016), Cinderella, and Crimson Peak. They look so romantic with women in gorgeous gowns being swung around the room by handsome men. According to The HabitsContinue Reading

“The advantage of the ball in the upper classes is, that it brings young people together for a sensible and innocent recreation, and takes them away from the silly, if not bad ones; that it gives them exercise, and that the general effect of the beauty, elegance, and brilliance of a ball is to elevate rather than deprave the mind.” The quote above comes from my favorite discovery, which is a book entitled, “The Habits of Good Society: A Handbook for Ladies and Gentlemen” by an unknown author, originally published 1872. Frankly, it’s a hoot to read, filled with, “thoughts, hints, and anecdotes concerning social observances, nice points of taste and good manners, and the art of making one’s self-agreeable.“ Because of the information aboutContinue 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

While writing my award-winning novel, Dark Persuasion, I spent a fair amount of time researching Victorian courting, wedding preparations, weddings, and honeymoons.  The entire process felt so romantic to me that I focused quite a bit on the wedding between my heroine and hero. Below are a few excerpts from previous blogs that I’ve written regarding that research.  I hope you enjoy! The Wedding Trousseau The French word trousseau refers, of course, to a bride’s bundle of personal possessions amassed prior to the wedding that include undergarments and clothing. Late in the 19th and early 20th century, a collection of household wares (tablecloths, towels, linens, etc.) were also included. Below is an excerpt from Vintage Connection describing a typical trousseau around 1884. It would includeContinue Reading

As readers of historical romance, we probably all have our favorite eras that we love to read about.  For me, it is the late Victorian era up through the Edwardian era (1870 to 1910).  I’m fascinated mostly because of the fashions, etiquette, and way of life of the upper class.  Though I’ve written about the struggles of the poor and some of the unseemly points of existence during those years, I guess like most other readers I’d rather bask in the class of privilege. However, one era that draws readers of historical romance is the Middle Ages, where we are surrounded by knights in shining armor.  When I think of that time, I instantly think of Lancelot, that cute Frenchman that stole the heart ofContinue Reading