Tuesday, May 21, 2019

On Fire!

Oh my goodness, what a cloak! It looks more like a prop from Game of Thrones than a Walking Dress from the April 1811 fashions in La Belle Assemblée...but a Regency miss and not a mother of dragons got to wear this beauty.

Let’s have a closer look: the text reads Round dress of cambric muslin, with a ruff collar, trimmed round the bottom with narrow purple ribband; cassimere crimson mantle, confined close to the back, lined with purple silk, embroidered round the neck, cape, and sides with purple fancy border; a deep cape falling from the shoulders, sloping to a narrow point, with tassels. A crimson velvet bonnet, turban front, and trimmed with purple to correspond. York tan gloves. Yellow kid boots.

Wow. It’s quite a garment, isn’t it? It reminds me a little of the Jubilee cloak we saw from 1810 with the purple-lined red, but this takes things a step further: the deep V detail on the back, the tassels, the purple embroidery—very striking! The fabric is cassimere, or kerseymere, a very fine, soft fabric woven of merino wool.

The accompanying hat is also striking: part turban, part Phrygian cap, and of crimson velvet to match the cloak. It rather reminds me of a very gorgeous seashell!

I do confess to being a tad disappointed that the boots are not also scarlet, but one can’t have everything. ☺

What do you think? Would you like a cloak like this?

Friday, May 17, 2019

Never Say Never, to a Marquess

So, this author sets out to write a Regency series about a matchmaking cat…

I can’t believe we are at the final book (for now, at least) in the Fortune’s Brides series. A huge thank you to those who have followed along as Miss Thorn and her beloved cat Fortune attempt to find positions for gentlewomen down on their luck, all of whom somehow end up married!

Never Marry a Marquess is now available for preorder. Shy Ivy Bateman has always felt more comfortable behind the scenes than front and center. She is happiest caring for her family and baking sweet treats. She certainly never expected the wealthy Marquess of Kendall to propose marriage, especially a marriage of convenience. It seems his baby daughter needs a mother, and Ivy cannot deny the attraction of the role, or the attraction she feels for the handsome marquess.

Kendall had asked Miss Thorn of the Fortune Employment Agency to find him a particular sort of lady. His heart went to the grave with his first wife. Now, all he cares about is ensuring his frail daughter doesn’t follow it. Installing Ivy Bateman as his next marchioness will not disrupt his life or make him question his love for his dead wife. But as he comes to appreciate Ivy’s sweet nature, he begins to wonder about their future. When an old enemy strikes at Miss Thorn and all her ladies, a grieving lord and a shy lady must work together to save the day. In doing so, they might just discover that love, and a good cinnamon bun, can heal all wounds.

You can preorder the book at fine online retailers and purchase soon in print:


I’ll share more when the book launches in June. Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

She Doesn’t Look a Day Over 180, Does She?

Cake? Check.
Party hats? Of course.
Two hundred candles? Umm...maybe we ought to call the fire department, just in case...

This coming Saturday is the 200th birthday of my favorite British monarch, one who should bewell known by now to NineteenTeen readers.

We’ve learned about theextraordinary circumstances surrounding her birth, her rather lonely upbringing, the challenges she faced as she grew ever closer to the throne during her uncle’s(King William IV) decline, and her triumphal ascension as Queen Regnant shortlyafter her eighteenth birthday...as well as some of her early missteps. Sometimes controversial, often admirable, always fascinating (how often has a woman come to embody a historical era?)...let’s wish Queen Victoria a very happy 200th birthday!

And in case you want your piece of birthday cake home-baked...try this recipe for a Victoria Sponge, which was evidently one of her favorites for afternoon tea, courtesy of the New York Times:

Enjoy! And eat a slice for Her Majesty!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Four Things on a Friday

Hello, my dears! Several things related to the nineteenth century have come across my desk or screen recently, and I thought I would share them with you.

This post by Susanna Ives details information on nursing your nineteenth-century infant. Loved the pictures of the baby bottles! 

I have a board on Regency pets on Pinterest now. The 90 pictures are portraits and other paintings from the late eighteenth century/early nineteenth century, showing pets of some kind, including dogs, cats, birds, and--yes Marissa--bunnies. 

A very talented group of authors has created a wonderful resource to find romance novels written by writers of color. You can sort by theme or time period. Here’s the historical romance section. You might just find your next great read!

Eight authors of sweet but sizzling Regency romance have banded together to host Regency Kisses: Lady Catherine’s Salon, a Facebook group for readers. Join Gail Eastwood, Charlotte Henry, Mary Kingswood, Martine Roberts, Anna St. Claire, Catherine Tinley, Lynn Winchester, and yours truly. In fact, I’ll be the featured author Monday, May 13, through Friday, May 17, 2019.

And speaking of Friday, I am heading off today to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands to the north of me. I hope to come back with many more historical insights to share.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Such Language! Part 23

Oh, the Rabelaisian banquet that is the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue! Here’s a sampling of some of the less salty words that might amuse you:

Clanker:  A great lie. (Don’t try to tell a clanker like that to Mama; she can sniff out the tiniest lie at fifty paces.)

Tears of the tankard: The drippings of liquor on a man’s waistcoat. (My younger brother Robert came home from his club insisting that he hadn’t had a drop to drink, but he was sporting quite a display of tankard tears.)

Juniper lecture: A round scolding bout. (Mama gave him quite the juniper lecture for his clumsy clanker.)

Looby:  A awkward, ignorant fellow. (Robert is a good boy at heart, but he can be the veriest looby at times.)

Trap sticks: Thin legs, gambs; from the sticks with which boys play at trap-ball. (Old Sir Matthew always wears padded stockings to cover up his trap sticks and make the ladies think he still sports a fine calf.)

Jessamy: A smart jimmy fellow, a fopling. (Of course, he’s been wearing them for the last sixty years, ever since he was a young jessamy just out on the town.)

Bienly: Excellently. (Our governess is teaching us to speak French most bienly; I am quite fluent already, don’t you think?)

What’s your favorite word or phrase this time?  I'm rather taken with tears of the tankard myself. ☺

Friday, May 3, 2019

Just Roman About

The British Museum has hundreds of examples of Roman artifacts, and many of them weren’t gathered on foreign shores. Romans occupied England, Wales, and a portion of Scotland from 43 to 410 AD. And some of the early archaeological evidence was uncovered in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Make no mistake. Roman forts had been incorporated into cities and towns by the Regency period. The city walls of Chichester in southwest England were largely Roman. Other forts had been dismantled, the stones being used to build more modern edifices. For example, the Maglona Fort in Cumbria was stripped to rebuild the town of Wigton. 

From 1731 to 1796, however, farmers, workers, and antiquaries (the closest Regency equivalent to an archaeologist) stumbled across a number of “hoards”—caches of Roman goods left buried. In 1796, a boy discovered one of the most significant hoards of the day while digging in a hollow near a river north of Manchester. Among the finds were a decorative helmet (see above), several shallow ceramic or metal bowls, a broken vase, and a bust of Minerva. The boy took the treasure to his father, who fortunately recognized its potential worth. Or rather, who might care about them. He took them to Charles Townley at nearby Towneley Park.

Charles Townley was a member of the Society of Antiquaries, that collection of gentlemen devoted to the “encouragement, advancement, and furtherance of the study and knowledge of the antiquities” of England and other countries. Antiquaries differed from historians in that antiquaries tended to study things while historians preferred texts. Distinguished lords held the presidency from 1810 to 1846, among them the Marquess of Townshend, Sir Henry Englefield, and the Earl of Aberdeen. I made my hero in Never Marry a Marquess (June 2019) such a devoted antiquarian.

Townley was definitely devoted. He was so enamored of these particular artifacts that he penned an article for the society’s journal, describing each find in detail. He also had legendary artist Johan Zoffany paint him with his entire collection. When he passed away in 1805, the cousin who inherited eventually sold that collection to the British Museum.

1811 saw another notable discovery, near the coal mining town of Backworth on the northeast coast near Newcastle, not far from Hadrian’s Wall. This hoard included two silver skillets, silver spoons, brooches, silver and gold rings, a bracelet, gold chains, and hundreds of Roman coins. Little is known about the one who discovered it, but it came into the possession of J. Brumell through a Newcastle silversmith. J. Brumell was also a known collector of antiquities. When he died in 1850, his collection was given to the British Museum.

The trend didn’t stop in the nineteenth century, however. Roman hoards were discovered as recently as 2017 in Cornwall and Gloucestershire.

Seems it pays to rome about. 😊