Tuesday, December 6, 2022

All For In One

December. I am so not ready for December. Are you?


But there’s one thing I am ready for: the second Ladies of Almack’s omnibus! Marquis of Secrets: The Ladies of Almack’s Omnibus No. 2 releases today from Book View Café. It includes the fourth, fifth, and sixth novellas in the series: The Cursed Canvases (who is magically vandalizing the pictures at the Royal Exhibition? When art becomes artillery, the Ladies take notice); Turmoil on the Thames (when the King’s birthday celebration at Eton is crashed by uninvited guests who threaten to eat the students, it’s a good thing that the Ladies of Almack’s are at hand...); and An Event at Epsom (a horse is a horse, of course—or is it? Annabel and the Ladies must attend the races at Epsom to investigate a very unusual steed) together with all the accompanying author’s notes.

Marquis of Secrets will be widely available at the end of the month from all the usual online bookstores…but if you want a copy now, you can purchase it directly from the publisher, Book View Café, in both EPUB and MOBI formats. And (ahem) subscribers to my newsletter will be receiving a coupon at the Book View Café bookstore…so if you want this set of the stories in one tidy package, now is a great time to do so. Happy reading!

 Now if you will excuse me, I must go find out where the second half of November went...

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Guest Post: Concerts on the Rock by Alissa Baxter

I had the delight of reading an advance copy of Alissa Baxter's February 2023 book, so I happily invited her to share some of her research for her series on intrepid ladies with us at Nineteen Teen. Enjoy! Regina

I set the second book in my Linfield Ladies series, The Viscount’s Lady Novelist, partly on an estate near Bristol. It was fascinating to research the area as it is not a popular setting in Regency romances. During the course of my research, I found out about the concerts which once were held at St Vincent’s Rock. Here is an excerpt from Chilcott’s Descriptive History of Bristol, Ancient and Modern, Or, A Guide to Bristol, Clifton and the Hotwells by John Chilcott:

“To an observer on the Clifton side of the river, the opposite woods in summer present a most charming appearance: they contain almost every forest tree indigenous to this country; among which the broad-leaved sycamore, the majestic oak, the sombre ewe, the lofty elm, the graceful mountain ash, with many others, are seen blending their hues together, and forming a scene of foliage that for variety and exuberance is scarcely to be equalled. Here it is not uncommon, during fine summer evenings, for a band of musicians to assemble, at which time the opposite side is covered with an attentive crowd. The soft sounds wafted across the water are truly enchanting!”


And here's how it played out in The Viscount’s Lady Novelist:


As Oliver made his way across to her, strains of music began to waft across the river, indicating the musicians had begun their rehearsal. “Have you attended such a concert before, Miss Linfield?”

“Yes, indeed, my lord. You will find it quite remarkable.” She pointed in the direction of the trees. “Inside the recesses of that wood is a cave. On fine summer evenings, a band of musicians assembles within to play by torchlight. The music reverberates over the river in the most delightful way.”

The crowd hushed as the band performed their first piece. The notes carried across the water, multiplied by the endless echoes of the rocks.

“It’s truly enchanting!” Harriet’s glanced up at him, her expression rapt. “Do you not think so, my lord?”

He inclined his head. The venue and the talented musicians provided a unique experience for any music lover. An attentive crowd of men and women stood quietly amongst the rocks while the musicians played a range of melodies, from popular folk songs to more formally arranged pieces by Handel and Vivaldi.

As the concert drew to a close, Oliver murmured, “We are like so many Thracians, but Orpheus never performed so beautifully.”

Harriet smiled. “Indeed. Orpheus may have been able to charm all living things and even stones with his music, but our musicians must surpass even him in the sweetness of their playing.”

You can find The Viscount's Lady Novelist at fine online retailers such as

Amazon US 

Barnes and Noble 

Alissa Baxter wrote her first Regency romance during her long university holidays. After travelling the world, she settled down to write her second Regency novel, which was inspired by her time living on a country estate in England. Alissa then published two chick lit novels, The Truth About Clicking Send and Receive (previously published as Send and Receive) and The Truth About Cats and Bees (previously published as The Blog Affair). Many years later, Alissa returned to her favourite period with her Linfield Ladies Series, a trio of Regency romances that feature women in trend-setting roles who fall in love with men who embrace their trailblazing ways... at least eventually. Alissa currently lives in Johannesburg with her husband and two sons. She is a member of Regency Fiction Writers. Her website is https://www.alissabaxter.com/.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Ride a Cock Horse to Banbury Cross…

I don’t know if her horse is white or what she might be wearing on her fingers and toes, but this is one fine lady in a Riding Dress from La Belle Assemblée, June 1816.


The original description reads

No. 2.—RIDING DRESS. Of fine blue Merino cloth, embroidered and ornamented round the bust and cuffs in a novel and unique style. This new equestrian costume, by fastening on the back of the shoulder, preserves all the contour of the form, which habits, in general, are apt to destroy. A full double ruff of fine Vandyke lace is separated from the shirt collar by a Chinese silk handkerchief of blue and white. Small round hat of fine beaver or of moss silk. Half boots of blue kid; with Limerick gloves worked and seamed with blue.”

A few points to discuss here…

  • While the embroidery and ornamentation around the bust and cuffs are described as “novel and unique”, that doesn’t actually say much. So did the engraver decide what that meant? I mean, “novel and unique” could also mean bright orange ostrich tips sewn down with gold thread, or rows of black bugle-bead fringe, or…well, take your pick!

  • Why is it that almost every riding habit I’ve seen in both La Belle Assemblée and Ackermann’s Repository is light blue?

  • I would like to know precisely how the habit fastens on the back of the shoulder. Does the front of the bodice come up like a bib and get pinned somewhere near the shoulder blades? Inquiring minds need to know.

  • The text refers to a “shirt collar” around which a silk kerchief is tied. I wonder if she is wearing a full shirt under the woolen habit, or just a collar? Seems a bit warm for June…but then again, this was 1816, the infamous Year without a Summer, so maybe a shirt was a good idea.

  • The hat. It’s adorable. That’s all.

Overall, though, this habit doesn’t do it for me; I think it’s the floral embroidery and kinda goofy frill around the neck. Give me this deliciously over-the-top military-inspired habit from Ackermann's Repository any day... 

 

And though most Victorian fashions are off-putting, I have to admit that later Victorian ladies’ riding habits are about as elegant as they come.

Any thoughts?