Tag: Georgette Heyer
Cheryl Bolen reviews the Victoria and Albert Museum’s book on Fans in today’s article. She shares some of the history of the origin of the fan and its use in Georgian England. Fans have had a place in many Georgian and Regency novels since the origin of the genre. Do you remember that scene in Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades, when Justin, Duke of Avon, used his new fan of chicken skin to annoy his friend, Hugh Davenant? How many romance heroines have employed a fan to great effect in a dalliance with the hero?
Fans are one of those lovely accouterments of a bygone age which few of us use today. But they are still fascinating to many of us, nonetheless. Delicate and beautiful, they can become a weapon in the hands of a woman who knows how to wield it. Fair warning, if you read this review, you may find yourself with a strong desire to own a copy of this book yourself.
Many devotees of the work of Georgette Heyer may have first encountered the word "cicisbeo" in the pages of one of her novels. But how, precisely, did these gentlemen fit into the life of the lady they regularly escorted? In the article she shares with us today, author of Notorious Match, Angelyn Schmid, explains the origins of the term and the role which such a gentleman played in the life of a Regency lady. Do you have a place for a cicisbeo in an upcoming novel?
A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
One of my favorite signs of Spring is the arrival in my email box of the Dandy Chargers annual schedule of appearances. For those of you who may not know, the Dandy Chargers are a group of gentlemen, and ladies, in Britain, who are aficionados of that particularly Regency vehicle, the velocipede. Readers of the works of Georgette Heyer may also know this vehicle as the pedestrian curricle which wreaked such havoc in her novel Frederica. These two-wheeled, pedal-less vehicles were also known as hobby-horses, draisiennes, or dandy-horses, and were very popular for a short period during the Regency.
Each year, the Dandy Chargers make appearances through the spring and summer at various venues across Britain, in full Regency costume, riding their hobby-horses. For those of you who live in Britain, or will be spending time there during the next few months, I offer the 2013 schedule of the Dandy Chargers appearances for your perusal and edification.
Today you can find Berry Bros. & Rudd wine merchants at No. 3 St. James Street in London—just as you could during the Regency period from 1811 to 1820, though the name over the door then was “George Berry.” This historic establishment has been in business since 1698 at the same location. The current owner, Simon Berry tells me the shop has changed little since it opened. Though the fireplace has been abandoned for central heating, and the cellar is now a place for elegant wine dinners, it still has the original oak plank floors, and it still honors its roots as a merchant selling provisions, exotic spices, tea and coffee—as well as wines from around the world.
Berry’s was first established in 1698 by the Widow Bourne as a grocer’s shop, the “Coffee Mill,” and remained in the hands of the good widow until her daughter, Elizabeth, was successfully wooed by William Pickering. In 1731, Sir Thomas Hanmer, Speaker of the House of Commons, leased the shop to Pickering to be rebuilt along with the houses in the court behind, now known as Pickering Place.
In 1734, William Pickering died and his widow Elizabeth took over the running of the business until 1737, when she handed over both the grocery and the “arms painting and heraldic furnishing” side of the business to her sons William and John. John Pickering died in 1754. With no suitable heir, his brother William took as his partner John Clarke who was distantly related.
By 1765, at the sign of the “Coffee Mill,” (which still hangs from the storefront but cannot be clearly seen in the picture as it’s at a right angle), Berry’s not only supplied the fashionable “Coffee Houses” (later to become Clubs such as Boodles and Whites), but also began weighing customers on giant coffee scales. Records of customers’ weights, including those of the Royal Dukes, Lord Byron, former Prime Minister William Pitt and the Aga Khan, span three centuries and are still added to, to this day.
Berry’s first supplied wine to the British Royal Family during King George III’s reign, and today holds two Royal Warrants for H.M. The Queen and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.
John Clarke died in 1788, and while he had no son, his daughter, Mary had married John Berry, a wine merchant in Exeter. Their son, George, although only one year old, had already been designated by his grandfather as heir to the Coffee Mill. Before he died, John Clarke found as a suitable “caretaker” to manage affairs, the Browne’s of Westerham, a rich and prospering family of lawyers and yeomen into which John Berry’s sister had married, and they agreed to look after the business until George was old enough to take over.
George was only sixteen in 1803 when he made the two-day journey from Exeter. For seven years he must have played the part of apprentice, for it was not until he was 23, in 1810 that his name was stretched across the double-fronted fascia of No. 3 St James’s Street. And this is how it looked in Regency England.
In 1815, St James’s Street was a very masculine domain (Georgette Heyer describes her heroine in The Grand Sophy as risking her reputation just by driving her phaeton down St James’s Street); however, the Dighton etching of the shop front, which dates from that same year, shows women amongst the male passers-by, and they do not seem to be causing too much scandal. They are either walking with a male companion or as a pair, so perhaps some form of protection was still the norm.
The paving of Westminster’s streets began in the mid 18th century, but wasn’t completed until the mid 19th. Still, the main roads, such as St James’s Street, would have been paved by 1815 as suggested in the etching.
In 1838 the Chartist riots raged through provincial England and spread panic in London. Accompanied by his friend Prince Louis Napoleon, George Berry was sworn in as a special constable. Prince Louis Napoleon, who as Napoleon III founded the Deuxième Empire in 1851, had a close association with Berry’s. During his two-year stay in London he used the cellars for sundry secret meetings with Sherer the (reputed) editor of the “Standard.”
My new Regency Christmas story, The Holly & The Thistle, begins in Berry’s wine shop where the heroine, a young English widow (“the holly”) and the hero, a Scot (“the thistle”) meet just before Christmastide, each believing the other is someone else. It will put you in the mood for Christmas, I promise!
How We Got to Where We Are Today
Modern Historical Romance Over the Last Several Decades.
Or, A Recommended Reading List for the Uninitiated
It occurred to me that as lovers of a genre it might be helpful to read some of the classics to see where we’ve come from and to enjoy the greats who have contributed so much to the craft.
I’m not going as far back as Ivanhoe, Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre.
I’m not even reaching back to the seminal novels of Georgette Heyer in the early 20th century.
No, I’m starting in the 1970s when the bedroom door was flung open never to close again. And while I may not have included your favorite author, by reading the romances on this list, you’ll have a good idea of our beginnings and what so many wonderful authors have done for the genre.
Think of it as an education in modern historical romance. Where an author has written many novels (some early ones are still writing best sellers today), I tried to use their earliest work that influenced the genre.
So, here’s the list of the historical romances I recommend you read. Each has something to show you. Some may require you to shop online for a used book, though many are available as eBooks. I’m not saying they will all be your favorites, or that they are all mine. And I realize some readers will think I left off one I should have included.
This is a sampling meant to give you a picture of how the genre has developed over time. Most are novels I’ve rated 5 stars, so I promise you won’t be bored.
Included because of its significance…
• Bond of Blood by Roberta Gellis (1965)
The 1970s: The Pioneering Years
• The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss (1972)
• Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers (1974)
• Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain (1975)
• Love’s Tender Fury by Jennifer Wilde (aka Tom Huff) (1976)
• Captive Bride by Johanna Lindsey (1977)
• Caroline by Cynthia Wright (1977)
• This Loving Torment by Valerie Sherwood (1977)
• The Rainbow Season by Lisa Gregory (1979)
The 1980s: The Explosive Years
• Lady Vixen by Shirlee Busbee (1980)
• Skye O’Malley by Bertrice Small (1981)
• Devil’s Embrace by Catherine Coulter (1982)
• Rose of Rapture by Rebecca Brandewyne (1984)
• Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught (1985)
• The Wind and the Sea by Marsha Canham (1986)
• The Hawk and the Dove by Virginia Henley (1988)
• Capture the Sun by Shirl Henke (1988)
• Edin’s Embrace by Nadine Crenshaw (1989)
• Sweet Savage Eden by Heather Graham (1989)
• Heartstorm by Elizabeth Stuart (1989)
The 1990s: The Developing Years
• Dark Fires by Brenda Joyce (1991)
• Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale (1992)
• Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (1992)
• Enchanted by Elizabeth Lowell (1994)
• The Passions of Emma by Penelope Williamson (1997)
• Kilgannon by Kathleen Givens (1999)
The 2000s: The “Standing On The Shoulders of Giants” Years
• By Possession by Madeline Hunter (2000)
• Beyond the Cliffs of Kerry by Amanda Hughes (2002)
• The Captain of All Pleasures by Kresley Cole (2003)
• Laird of the Mist by Paula Quinn (2007)
• Broken Wing by Judith James (2008)
• My Lord and Spymaster by Joanna Bourne (2008)
• The Duke of Shadows by Meredith Duran (2008)
• Raeliksen by Renee Vincent (2008)
Reposted on The Beau Monde with the kind permission of member and author, Regan Walker, from Regan’s Romance Reviews.
A blog for lovers of romance novels, particularly historical romance–a forum where we can share great novels and our views about those we have read.
In addition to authors guest blogging, I will share my reviews, my favorite authors and my “best” lists. Come join us!
Elena Greene grew up reading her mother’s Georgette Heyer novels, but it wasn’t until she went on an international assignment to the United Kingdom that she was inspired to start writing her own.
Her first Regency romance was published in 2000 and was followed by five more Regencies and a novella.
Her books have won the Desert Rose Golden Quill and Colorado Romance Writers’ Award of Excellence.
Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING’S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club’s award for Best Regency Romance of 2005.
Elena lives in upstate New York with her stroke survivor husband and two daughters.
Website: Elena Greene
A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
I first learned of the existence of that small lady’s handbag, the reticule, from the novels of Georgette Heyer. Later, as a museum curator, I had the opportunity to see a number of actual Regency-era reticules, both in person and in museum photographs. As I continued to research these often exquisite little bags, I discovered they had their origins in the late eighteenth century. Prior to that time, ladies carried their personal essentials in pockets under their skirts. Not in their skirts, under their skirts.
So, when and how did the lady’s pocket come out from under her skirt and make its debut as the reticule?
Alicia Rasley is today’s Featured Beau Monde Author.
Alicia grew up as the oldest girl in a family of ten. She had a lot of responsibility early, but she is a self-admitted daydreamer. Books provided an escape from her routine life, and some of the books she read were the Regency novels of Georgette Heyer. "Suddenly there was a new world for me, far from the noise and chaos of a big family and school, a place of elegance and wit," she tells us. She was inspired to write Regencies, and after beginning a dozen, she finished her first when she was twenty-five. She wrote a half dozen Regencies, winning a Rita Award along the way.
But Alicia did not stay entirely faithful to Regency novels. She wrote a couple of women’s fiction novels and two non-fiction writing how-tos. But she has returned to the writing of Regencies once again, admitting that she has been seduced back into that elegant, exciting time and place. She likes rakish heroes, reckless heroines and elegant stories.
Regardless of all the romance she has read and written, Alicia says she has always been practical and is the most unromantic romance writer one would ever meet. She pours all her romantic notions into her writing. "Just ask my husband!" she says. "He’ll tell you he really gets off easy when it comes to anniversary and birthday gifts!"
Her most recent novel is The Year She Fell.
A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven? — Is he in hell?
That demmed, elusive Pimpernel.
Recited by Sir Percy Blakeney
in Chapter 12 of The Scarlet Pimpernel
by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
The stories of The Scarlet Pimpernel take place during the French Revolution, more than a score of years before the beginning of the English Regency. And yet, without the work of Baroness Orczy, we might not have all those delightful Regency novels written by Georgette Heyer.
One of our recently featured authors, Cheryl Bolen, has graciously given us permission to publish some of her articles here at the Beau Monde. We begin with an article she wrote in which she explains how she got started writing Regencies. She also provides a clear and concise explanation of the difference between traditional Regencies and romance novels set in the period of the English Regency. This article was originally published in 2002, and sadly, since its original publication, her predictions on the fate of traditional Regency romances have come to pass. Nevertheless, this article will give those writing in the Regency genre a rare look at the development of romance novels set in our favorite period of history, from the perspective of an author successfully published in that genre.
We hope you will enjoy reading Cheryl’s candid look at the business of Regency romance writing . . .
The UK Telegraph’s Travel section gives this wonderful suggestion for a Regency walk through parts of London.
– Sue Attwood goes in search of Regency London and finds much of it still just as described in Georgette Heyer’s historical novels.