A couple of years ago, author Jane Lark and her husband travelled to Warwickshire to visit Stoneleigh Abbey. This lovely country manor was the home of the Leigh family from the 1560s through 1990. The Leigh family were cousins of the Austen family and during Jane Austen’s lifetime, she spent time at this lovely estate. In today’s article, Jane Lark shares her perceptions of the house and the various ways in which it is connected to the works of Jane Austen.
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.
Do you struggle with the first draft of your manuscript, your writing schedule and unending revisions, to the point that it makes you physically ill? That did happen to Gaelen Foley, best-selling romance author, once upon a time, until she found a better way. In this month’s article on writing, she shares her early pain and the secret to how she overcame those obstacles so that writing is once again a joy and she can meet her deadlines without endangering her health. Read on to learn how you can write an ugly duckling, then turn it into a swan, without turning yourself inside out.
New Releases from Authors of The Beau Monde Chapter (Regency Historical) of Romance Writers of America
In Milady’s Chamber by Sheri Cobb South
CreateSpace, ISBN: 978-1483915739
When beautiful young Lady Fieldhurst discovers her faithless husband dead in her boudoir with her nail scissors protruding from his neck, it is up to John Pickett, twenty-four years old and new to the Bow Street force, to prove her innocence.
“This charming and lively historical cozy is the author’s first venture into the mystery genre, and she has created a definite winner. Pickett is a clever and amusing fella who well warrants a follow-up series.” –I Love a Mystery
Trade paperback re-issue of the 2006 Five Star hardcover edition.
The Passions of Dr. Darcy by Sharon Lathan
George Darcy is the second son of a wealthy landowner in Georgian Era England and, at 22, is considered to be a brilliant, rising star in England’s field of medicine. However, Dr. Darcy refuses the easy, comfortable pathway and enlists as a physician with the British East India Company, embarking on a personal quest where he strives to change the face of medicine while yearning to fill the void left within his soul at the death of his twin. His search for family, enduring love, and lost companionship is a quest not wholly realized until his return to England and Pemberley after thirty years of amazing adventures. It is then that a new generation of family and friends that will heal the physician, and to his greatest surprise, where the true love of his life awaits.
The Magic of His Touch (May Day Mischief, Book One) by Barbara Monajem
Harlequin Historical Undone, 978-1-460-31096-0
Regency Historical Novella (with a touch of the paranormal)
Tired of being paraded before every eligible bachelor, Peony Whistleby decides it’s time to find her true love-through the ancient custom of rolling naked in the dew on May Day morning. But the magic goes awry when she is caught in the act-and by an entirely unsuitable man. And yet, the way his eyes linger upon her flesh ignites a sensual craving that can only be satisfied by his touch…
Her Husband’s Lover by Madelynne Ellis
Mischief, HarperCollins, ASIN: B00AAU7AEE
Regency Erotic Romance, Menage
Emma Langley abhors physical contact, consequential she´s shocked to her toes when she realises she attracted to one of her father´s guests. Robert, Lord Darleston is like no other man she´s ever met. He´s flamboyant, charming and terrifies her as much as he arouses her.
Nor is Emma the only person caught under his spell…
Forced into an arranged marriage to avoid exposure as a sodomite, Robert Darleston has a reputation as a rakehell and a voluptuary. His wife is a bitter, scheming harpy, whose
rumor-mongering has already driven him from London into the heart of the English
countryside. Here, fate unexpectedly reunites Darleston with his former lover, Lyle Langley.
Torn apart by the intervention of their families, the primary barrier to their reunion is now Emma, Lyle´s wife, a woman Darleston is fascinated by and has no wish to disrespect. All seems hopeless, that is, until Lyle admits that Emma is frigid and their marriage unconsummated.
Darleston proposes a plan… If he can just win Emma over, then maybe they can find happiness as a threesome. Old ghosts, a jealous wife, and an outraged father stand in his way.
The Love List by Deb Marlowe
Miss Brynne Wilmott escaped her monstrous betrothed once, with the inadvertent help of the Duke of Aldmere. Now Lord Marstoke has revived the old Harris List–that wickedly witty annual register of London’s light skirts–and is using it to destroy her future. Aldmere has no wish to involve himself in Miss Wilmott’s affairs, but his brother is mixed up in the nasty business and has gone missing. Reluctantly, the two agree to work together. Their search leads them through some of London’s most dangerous haunts and it quickly becomes clear that Marstoke’s plans are more twisted and treasonous than anyone has suspected. Yet the danger and intrigue are as nothing compared to the effect that Nathan and Brynne have on each other . . .
Available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, iBooks and Smashwords
A Rogue in Sheep’s Clothing by Elf Ahearn
Regency romance with a Gothic twist.
In Lord Hugh Davenport’s opinion, women of the ton perpetually hide behind a mask of deception. That’s hard for Ellie Albright, the daughter of an earl, to swallow – especially since she’s disguised herself as a stable hand to get back the prized stallion her father sold to Hugh to pay a debt. If Hugh learns her true identity she’ll lose the horse and her family will go bankrupt. Somehow, though, losing Hugh’s affection is beginning to seem even worse.
Already only a step away from being snagged in her own web of lies, Ellie’s deceit threatens to spin out of control when Hugh’s mother invites Ellie and her sisters to a house party. Now Ellie has to scramble to keep Hugh from knowing she’s the stable girl he wants to marry, while simultaneously trying to win his trust as herself. Can she keep her costumes straight long enough to save her family? And even if she does, will it be worth losing his love?
A Regency Bicentennial cross-post from The Regency Redingote, originally published in April 2011:
For Henry Bone, 15 April 1811 was a red letter day. But for the bank of Marsh, Sibbald, Stracey & Fauntleroy, it was a black day indeed. Over £2,000 shifted from one end of Berners Street to the other that day, and very nearly shuttered the bank forever. It is possible the events of this day also led one of the bank’s officers into a life of clandestine crime which, when it was exposed, would ultimately end with his execution.
How an artist from Cornwall rocked the foundations of a London bank, two hundred years ago, today.
Regina Scott, Regency romance author, spent some time in Washington, D. C. during a cold snap. The sudden appearance of a plethora of hats in the city prompted her to think about the hats and bonnets worn by so many of those who lived during the Regency. In today’s article, Regina shares her thoughts about Regency hats.
A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
Or not? Mostly, not.
This past weekend, I read the fourth or fifth Regency novel in the last few years in which a scratching or rustling noise intrudes upon a clandestine meeting or stealthy activity in which the hero and heroine are engaged. The sounds come from the ground, in the dark of night, and in each case this disturbance is ascribed to squirrels. Impossible!
The facts about squirrels in Regency England …
A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
Readerware has nothing to do with the Regency, but it has a great deal to do with books. So, if you have a lot of books, especially if you sometimes buy second or even third copies of books you already have, you might find you will love Readerware, too.
I have more than a thousand historical romance novels in my library, and more than twice as many research books. Not to mention my large collection of needlework books. So many that I simply cannot keep track of them in my head. And then, last spring I found Readerware. I have never been more pleased with a software purchase.
On June 9, 1817, a group of village men from Pentrich in Derbyshire rose up in rebellion against the Crown. It was dubbed “the Last Revolution in England,” though it might have more accurately been called a government-inspired provocation to action, designed to justify repression. Why did the villages engage in such a futile action and what happened to them?
After the war with France ended in 1814, England suffered from great social, economic and political problems. Many of the major issues were the direct result of the war, but others were the necessary product of the changes occurring throughout society, some of which had begun earlier. Some had occurred in the few years before with the imposition of the Corn Laws that kept food prices high and the very bad weather that destroyed crops. And machines were replacing workers. The discontent that these occurrences brought, and the distress in the lives of the working people, culminated in the series of events that occurred between 1811-1819, including the Pentrich Rebellion in 1817.
The uprising of the common people in the Midlands in 1817 was just what the leaders of the British government needed to justify sending a strong signal to the masses that no rebellion, such as occurred in France, would be tolerated in England. The hundreds of villagers who rose up with the pikes and crude weapons (though a few had pistols) to march to Nottingham (with view toward reaching London) were ignorant of the true facts—that the government itself had stirred their rebellion. In truth, they fought “against the wind,” wherefrom I took the title for my Regency romance that features this little known event in England’s history.
The year 1817 began with a rally held in London in January, perhaps inspired by the Hampden Clubs, political clubs that advocated the vote for all men. The mood of the masses was rebellious and ended with stones thrown at the Prince Regent’s carriage as he left Parliament. While the Prince wasn’t harmed, with memories of the French Revolution still vivid in their minds, and the political clubs becoming more and more popular, especially in the Midlands and the North, the House of Lords adopted a spate of laws designed to control the stirrings of rebellion. The government suspended Habeas Corpus, and passed the infamous Gagging Acts. All public meetings were forbidden, except under license from local magistrates. Pubs and coffee houses, as especially notorious places for radical gatherings, were covered by the Acts, as were all public places. Sedition, that is to say opposition to the government, whether by speech or written word, was severely punished.
Of special concern to the authorities were the political writings of William Cobbett and his journal the Political Register. Cobbett wrote in a conversational style, and as most workers could not read, crowds would gather in meeting places to hear public readings of the radical newspapers.
In March, there was a protest by thousands of depressed Manchester workers. With a view to descending on London to petition the Prince Regent to do something to relieve their economic depression, they marched peacefully carrying blankets to sleep in. Thus, it became known as the March of the Blanketeers. It rained violently on the day the march began. As five hundred of the men marched towards Derby, they found the Hanging Bridge over the River Dove at Ashbourne occupied by masses of troops who were expecting an army of 30,000 rebels. Most of the Blanketeers were turned away, but twenty-five were arrested. Only a few got to Derby and only one marcher reached London to present his petition. However, the Manchester expression of discontent served to keep alive the government’s fear of revolution.
Concerned about the growing unrest, Lord Sidmouth, the Home Secretary sent spies throughout England, including the Midlands, to keep watch on the centers of discontent. Since these spies were informers paid by results, they quickly became agents provocateur, stirring rebellion where there was none so they would be paid. Among the spies was one William Richards, better known as William Oliver, or “Oliver the spy,” who incited open rebellion in the Midlands.
Oliver traveled to Pentrich in Derbyshire, disguised as a depressed worker (he had previously been in Fleet Prison), and encouraged the villagers to armed rebellion. He assured them there were thousands in London ready to join them in rising against the Crown. The villagers, in their ignorance, believed him. They were simple men who thought they were joining a great cause for democracy where every man would have a vote. They would soon learn they were wrong. At the same time that Oliver was making arrangements with the villagers for an armed march to air their discontent, he informed the local militia of the planned uprising, even giving them the date. Because of Oliver’s lies, the hundreds who marched on that rainy night in June had no idea they stood not a chance of accomplishing their objective. When the dawn came, the men faced a regiment of the King’s Own Dragoons and were soon scattered or captured.
Years after the events, in a letter written in 1831, Lord Melbourne, a former Home Secretary, recalled that there was “much reason to suspect that the rising in Derbyshire…was stimulated, if not produced, by the artifices of Oliver, a spy employed by the Government of that day.”
Notwithstanding the circumstances of the uprising and the involvement of the British government, the powers in London decided to make an example of the rebels. Forty-five men were tried for high treason by Special Commission. Three were hanged, including Jeremiah Brandreth, Isaac Ludlam and William Turner, the “ringleaders”—all characters in my novel. Fourteen were sentenced to transportation to Australia.
In examining the causes for the uprising in the Midlands, one cannot discount that the people had been through much hardship, and by 1817, were hungry and tired of laws and taxes imposed by a nobility that had little understanding of their needs. We, who enjoy democracy, might say their desire to rise against such hardship was not unreasonable. The motive of the government, of course, was to crush the yearnings for democracy and the vote that were so strong among the common people, and to prevent a revolution like the one that occurred in France.
Article contributed by Regan Walker, http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com.
When Jane Austen wrote her novels, she used a quill pen and a bottle of ink to make a fair copy of her manuscript on hand-made paper. She sent it off to her publisher, who had it type-set by hand, printed and distributed to book-sellers and circulating libraries. Her publisher might have taken out an ad in some of the more widely circulated newspapers. That was the extent of book promotion during the Regency. But for those who write Regency novels today, technology has made it possible to promote those books in a number of different ways. In today’s article, Cheryl Bolen shares some tips from a web mistress who has designed web sites for a number of prominent authors. Whether you have had a web site for years or have just published your first novel and are ready to set up your web site, you will find sage advice from a professional in Cheryl’s article.
Today, Cara King, author of My Lady Gamester, which has been named Best Regency of the Year in the Booksellers’ Best Contest, shares her knowledge of the gentlemanly practice of duelling. Though it was beginning to die out in the early nineteenth century, duels were still fought during the Regency. It is possible, however, that there have been more duels fought in Regency novels than were actually fought during the Regency itself. If you are planning a duel in one of your upcoming books, you will certainly find Cara’s article a wealth of information on the practice.
On a recent trip to the British Isles, Susanna Ives, Regency romance author, had the good fortune to travel to Wales. While there, she took her landlord’s recommendation to visit Llangollen, the home of a pair of quite eccentric ladies during the Regency. Today’s article is the post she filed from Wales after her tour.
Today, in the follow-up post to her article on Royal Tunbridge Wells, Regency romance author, Michele Ann Young, aka Ann Lethbridge, shares her knowledge of Pantiles, a unique feature of that spa town. If you have never been to Royal Tunbridge Wells, you may be quite unaware of the existence of this historic item with multiple royal connections. Here is your chance to learn all about them.
Today’s article is by Michele Ann Young, aka Ann Lethbridge, Regency romance author and one-time resident of the famous spa town of Royal Tunbridge Wells. More recently, she spent some time there on a research trip and provides us with a series of questions and answers regarding the history of this charming town in western Kent. She also explains why the town should never be called "Royal" in any stories set there during the Regency.
And so, the answers to your questions about Tunbridge Wells …
While researching the Theatres-Royal during the Regency period (1811-1820) for my new Valentine’s short story, The Shamrock & The Rose, I found a wealth of information on the choices available to theatergoers in London at that time. More than one theatre had Letters Patent, and could, therefore, claim the name “Theatre-Royal,” and in addition to those, there were more specialized theatres and smaller playhouses as well.
From the variety of choices, it would seem that Londoners often enjoyed an evening at the theatre with as many as 20,000 attending the theatre on any given evening. One could see a drama, perhaps one of Shakespeare’s plays, a light comedy, or an opera, as well as ballet, pantomimes and skits—even a clown! And some of these might be combined into the entertainment for a single evening.
The theatres were lit mostly by candlelight reflected from many chandeliers. Of course, these were not dimmed as the entertainment began, so you could well see everyone in the audience as well as the actors on stage. And they could see you! So what activities you engaged in while in your box had to be discreet. The use of candlelight (until replaced with gaslights) also posed a fire hazard, as evidenced by several of the theatres burning down.
The Theatre-Royal, Covent Garden (now the Royal Opera House) was rebuilt in 1809 after a fire destroyed it the year before. Holding crowds exceeding 3,000, it became, perhaps, the leading theatre of the time. The principal performers at Covent Garden between 1809 and 1822 demonstrate the talent assembled there: In tragedy, Messrs. Kemble, Cooke, Macready, Young, Mrs. Siddons and Miss O’Neill. In comedy, Messrs. Liston, Munden, Charles Mathews, W. Farren, Mesdames Jordan, Brunton, Foote, C. Kemble. In opera, Messrs. Incledon, Braham, Pyne, and Mesdames Catalani, Bolton, Stephens, and Tree. “Kitty” Stephens made her first appearance here in 1812; Miss O’Neill, in 1814; Macready, in 1816; and Farren, in 1818. Several of these actresses and singers moved from the stage to the peerage when they married men in the nobility.
The Theatre-Royal, Drury Lane (mentioned in my Christmas short story, The Holly & The Thistle as providing seasonal entertainment), was redesigned in 1812 after a fire destroyed it in 1809. That was the fourth theatre to be on the site, the first having been constructed in 1663, pursuant to Letters Patent from Charles II. The Drury Lane Theatre was the first theatre to be entirely lit by gaslight in 1817.
The Theatre-Royal, Hay-Market (also known as Haymarket Theatre or the Little Theatre) is in the West End and dates to 1720. (My Valentine’s Day short story, The Shamrock & The Rose opens with a scene set in this theatre.) It was originally constructed in the late 18th century and relocated and redesigned by John Nash in 1820. The new theatre was in many ways the same as the one that preceded it with flat sidewalls, tiers of boxes, a back gallery and the pit. However, the new theatre was much more opulent with colors of pink, crimson and gold and a circular vestibule “almost lined” with mirrors. It was the last theatre to be lit by gaslight (in 1843).
The Sadler’s Wells Theatre in the London Borough of Islington during the Regency featured famous actors, including Edmund Kean and Joseph Grimaldi. Grimaldi, though a dramatic actor, is best remembered for his character “Joey the Clown” with white face and rouge half-moons on each cheek. Because the period was characterized by public drunkenness, the rural location led the management to provide escorts for patrons so they could safely return to central London.
Sadler’s Wells (also known as “The Aquatic Theatre“) was used to stage sensational naval melodramas, including a recreation of Nelson’s victory at the Nile called Naval Pillars, and a recreation of the Franco-Spanish siege of Gibraltar, which included replicas of the fleet of ships, using a one inch to one foot scale, and working miniature cannon.
The Theatres-Royal in Drury Lane and Covent Garden confined their season to the autumn and winter. Sadler’s Wells filled the gap with their shows during the spring and summer. From the playbills I reviewed, the Theatre-Royal at Haymarket seems to have operated nearly year round.
In addition to the major theatres holding thousands, there were many other options for the theatergoer in the Regency:
The Haymarket (King’s Theatre) Opera House was originally built by the architect and playwright Sir John Vanbrugh in 1705. It was destroyed by fire in 1789, and re-built and used extensively for opera.
The Lyceum Theatre first became a “licensed” house in 1809 and was rebuilt in 1816, and renamed The English Opera House. It was famous for being the first theatre in London to feature some gas lighting (1817), and for hosting the London première of Mozart’s Italian opera Così fan tutte.
The Pantheon, constructed on Oxford Street in 1772, was originally designed for balls and masquerades before becoming an opera house in 1791. It was converted to a theatre 1811-12, but its role in the theatres of London was short lived. Damaged by fire and troubled financially owing to irregularities in its license, it was replaced in 1814 by the Pantheon Bazaar.
The Adelphi Theatre was constructed in 1806 by merchant John Scott to showcase his daughter’s theatrical talents, and was given a new facade and redecorated in 1814. It reopened in 1819 as the Adelphi, named after the area of West London built by the brothers Adam from 1768. (The name “Adelphoi” in Greek means “the brothers.”) Among the actors who appeared on its stage was the comedian Charles Matthews, whose work was so admired by young Charles Dickens. Most of its patrons were the salaried clerks of barristers and solicitors.
The Olympic Theatre was a playhouse built from the timbers of the French warship “Ville de Paris” (the former deck serving as the stage). It opened as the “Olympic Pavilion” in 1806. After financial losses, in 1813, it was sold to Robert William Elliston, who refurbished the interior and renamed it the “Little Drury Lane” by virtue of its proximity to the more established patent theatre. It was rebuilt in 1818.
The Royalty Theatre was opened in 1787 by the actor John Palmer in defiance of the 1737 patent monopoly act and featured as its first production As You Like It. Without a proper license it was forced to close–and Palmer was arrested. Under the management of William Macready, the Royalty struggled with pantomimes and burlettas (comic opera). In 1816, it was renamed the “East End Theatre,” and continued to offer entertainment until it was burned down ten years later.
Article by Regan Walker. Visit Regan at www.ReganWalkerAuthor.com
Today, Angelyn Schmid, author of Notorious Match, discusses garden rotundas similar to the Temple of Diana, which is situated on the grounds of the fictional estate in her story. Regency gardens are always such wonderful settings for romantic encounters between the hero and heroine. Angelyn explains how these gardens were laid out and enjoyed by those lucky enough to have access to such "natural" beauty.
In today’s article, Regency romance author, and Beau Monde past President, Regina Scott, muses on the importance of music to the young ladies of the Regency. As a musician herself, she can easily empathize with the musical trials and tribulations which might have been experienced by these young women who were expected to be accomplished musicians, among the other skills society required of them once they went on the marriage mart.
Regina also shares information on some of the instruments which were available to these young musicians during the Regency. Which one of them would you choose to play?
A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:
Coursing was a field sport popular with many gentlemen during the Regency, though it is not often mentioned in novels set during that time. And when it is part of the story, the details noted are often incorrect. The practices and rules of coursing have changed over the years, such that those which obtained during the Regency were not the same as those observed at other times in the history of the sport.
A bit of coursing history, with details on how it was practised in England during the years of the Regency …
It turns out that Cheryl Bolen is the founder of Society for the Prevention of the Writer’s Block Myth. Today, this best-selling romance author explodes that myth and shares a number of tips on how to entice your muse to perch on your shoulder and help you to write that next chapter of your WIP. She also reveals the secret known to all successfully published authors on how to finish that next book