Friday, November 30, 2012

Looking Like Samantha Everard, and Looking for Some Likes

We’ve had several posts now authored by the intrepid Lady Samantha Everard, the young lady at the heart of the Everard Legacy series. Those of you who have been following the series also know she can be irrepressible. But what does she really look like?

She supposed to have golden blond hair, somewhat long and curly, and the deep brown eyes of the Everard miscellany. She’s athletic, fencing and riding with equal joy. In the books out now, she’s sixteen going on seventeen (hm, isn’t there a song about that?). But she’ll be just short of her twenty-fifth birthday when she stars in her own love story next March. How would a cover artist capture her delight at life, her mischievous grin, all grown up?

Like this:

What do you think? Does she look the way you’d imagined? I must admit I was rather pleased. She looks like someone I would like to know.

And speaking of likes, I finally took the plunge and added Regina Scott’s page to the scores of authors on Facebook. I hope to post something of interest daily, be it a nineteenth century fashion plate with a fun twentieth century caption, research tidbits too small for a blog post, and the latest news as it happens. I’d love for you to “like” me. Click here to go to the page.

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fashion Forecast 1827, Part 1

What was the well-dressed young woman wearing in the first half of 1827?

January 5 saw the death of Frederick Duke of York, Prinny’s younger brother—which meant mourning at court for the fashionable population. But no one ever said that black had to be boring…and it certainly isn’t in this stunning Opera Costume (Ackermann’s Repository). Though I must say that if I were at the opera, I would not want to be sitting behind anyone wearing a hat like that!

I find the sleeves on this Evening Dress from March’s Ackermann’s Repository fascinating, shaped as they are on wire or bone. Note the plaid shawl: the mania for things Scottish was still in full swing:

Here’s a Carriage Dress in sunny yellow for April, with some ornate applique decoration down the front of the skirt, a deep, lace-edged collar that presages the enormous pelerines to come into fashion in just a couple of years, and gauze oversleeves. Note that her hat is half blue, half yellow—and that its long ribbon ties are also blue on one side, yellow on the other! (Ackermann’s Repository):

Also from April Ackermann’s is a pink Ball Dress with an appliqued overskirt—perhaps muslin over pink satin?—and puff sleeves decorated with free-standing petals. Her gloves are ruffle-edged (I love these!) and her dancing slippers lace up the ankles, a la ballet shoe. Note the heavily curled hairstyle—common this year and into next:

Here’s a total confection of an Evening Dress from May’s Ackermann’s: lace flounces at the pouffed hem and making up the puffed sleeves, geometric applique topped the lace flounce, reminiscent of the angular sleeves back in March’s dress, more ruffled gloves (yay!), and a hat of truly heroic proportions, featuring a lot of ostrich plumes: I can’t tell if the jeweled band in front is a separate tiara, or part of the millinery. And then that flame-colored fan setting it all off—very attention-getting!

Big hats were definitely the thing this year, as we can see from this Morning Dress from May’s Lady’s Magazine, complete with original description: A high gown of lavender-colored gros de Naples, with two flounces, elegantly scaloped at the edges, and headed with a corkscrew trimming of the same; a marked distance between the flounces; these flounces are rather narrow, and are set on in festoons, while the body is made plain, and a narrow triple frill encircles the throat. Hat of pink satin, trimmed with scrolls and ornaments of the same, and a few summer flowers; pink strings floating loose. An amber-colored shawl of Chinese crape is generally worn with this dress. However, the fashion editor goes on to decry the enormous size of hats this season: “…we do not altogether admire their shape, and they are in general too large.”

And of course, as if in answer to that charge, here is an Evening Dress from June’s Ackermann’s with a most minimal headdress. The skirt and sleeves have elegant gold edged appliques, and even the gloves are threaded with gold ribbon to match. Very elegant!

This is Ball Dress is a complete delight! I love the pink of the underskirt shining through the gauzy overskirt, and the magenta ribbon decorations on the lower part of the skirt, looking rather like the lacing on a pair of shoes, is original. Loops of matching ribbon adorn the neck and sleeves; they must have fluttered fetchingly in the midst of dancing…and again, the ribbon lacing at the tops of the gloves is adorable (Ackermann’s, June):

What do you think of 1827’s fashions so far?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanks and Thanksgiving

Thanks to those who took the Everard dating quiz! The winner of the free copy of a book from the trilogy is Lane Hill House. Congratulations! You left your e-mail in your comment, so I will be in touch shortly.

Next Thursday is Thanksgiving here in the States. Marissa and I will be taking the week off to spend time with family and friends. But should you find yourself surfeited with turkey and not sure what to do with it, here’s a recipe from the nineteenth century, updated to today, courtesy of Mrs. Beeton.

Hashed Turkey

Leftover turkey
1 onion, sliced
Salt and pepper to taste
A little more than a pint of water
1 carrot, sliced
1 turnip, sliced
Herbs to taste
1 dozen mushrooms, cut up
Butter and flour or corn starch to thicken

Cut the turkey into pieces and set aside. Put the remaining ingredients except the thickener in a stew pan and simmer for an hour. Strain the gravy and thicken it, then return it to the pan and lay the pieces of turkey into it to warm them. Bring it all to a boil. Serve over toasted bread.

You can find more of Mrs. Beeton's recipes online, especially at Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Jane Austen Cornucopia

For our latest look at Jane Austen-related books in celebration of the upcoming 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, I’ve chosen a selection of three “little” Janeian titles, some of the many small, novelty-type books on Jane Austen out there (and which would make great stocking stuffer gifts for your literary-leaning friends, by the way…)

101 Things You Didn’t Know about Jane Austen by Patrice Hannon is just that: a compendium of short (2-5 pages) essays about different aspects of the author’s life and works—from “What was Jane’s mother like?” to “Who were Jane Austen’s favorite novelists?” to “Why didn’t Pride and Prejudice keep its first title?” (Spot quiz—what was Pride and Prejudice’s original title?)*. It’s great to dip into and read at random in a spare moment, or munch straight through when you’re in the mood for a full meal of Jane.

Jane Austen’s Guide to Good Manners: Compliments, Charades, and Horrible Blunders by Josephine Ross (illustrated by Henrietta Webb) is a little gem of a book—small in size, but beautifully designed with numerous (and amusing) watercolor illustrations, printed on lusciously thick ivory paper, with a ribbon bookmark bound in. Part playful advice for social interaction, part look at Jane Austen’s own outlook on personal conduct, it’s perhaps most interesting as a general introduction to the manners and mores of 19th century society, a great aid in enhancing understanding and enjoyment of the Austen oeuvre.

The Jane Austen Handbook: A Sensible Yet Elegant Guide to Her World by Margaret C. Sullivan leans a little more to the tongue-in-cheek end of the spectrum (there’s a section on “How to Elope to Scotland", for example!); this book purports to be a guide for young ladies to life in early 19th century England, via Jane Austen’s novels. Alas, some of the history is not entirely accurate (I caught a reference to dining while wearing elbow length gloves which instructed wearers to slip their hands through the buttoned placket at the wrist...a useful feature which Regency-era gloves did not possess) so a grain or two of salt may be required…but it’s still good fun. One note of caution for those with middle-aged eyes: it is printed in aqua ink, and while pretty, it does not aid in readability.

Happy reading!

*Oh--and the answer to the spot quiz? Pride and Prejudice's original title was First Impressions; Jane Austen changed it before publication in 1813 because another novel had been published with that name in 1800.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Win a Date with an Everard

The three books in the Everard legacy miniseries thus far feature three very different gentlemen, and some of you have indicated preferences on the heroes. But do you know which gentleman really aligns with you, which one would make your heart go pitter patter, which one you’d be tempted to join in a walk down the aisle?

Take our Win a Date with an Everard quiz below and find out! Just tally how many of each letter you choose, then look in the comments section to see which Everard is your match. Let us know how you did in your own comment by midnight next Thursday, November 8, and your name will be entered to win an autographed copy of any one of the three books, even this week’s release The Rake’s Redemption. Your choice. Good luck!

1. When it comes to a gentleman’s physique, you prefer them:
a. Tall, dark, and handsome
b. Mustachioed and manly
c. Athletic and wiry

2. A pleasant activity to share with a gentleman on a sunny afternoon would be:
a. Riding in Hyde Park
b. Sailing on the Thames
c. Taking in a pugilistic match

3. When discussing literature, you’d prefer your stories:
a. Nonfiction, true-to-life
b. A good adventure or romantic yarn
c. Stirring poetry

4. When attending the theatre, you lean toward:
a. A Shakespearean drama
b. A witty satire
c. A compelling opera

5. As for partnering a gentleman in a dance, you gravitate toward:
a. A stately minuet
b. A lively country dance
c. The waltz

6. You believe that an intimate conversation with a gentleman should be:
a. Clever and engaging
b. Quiet and heart-felt
c. Intense and personal

7. When it comes to courting, you prefer a gentleman who will:
a. Follow all the traditions of society, from showering you with flowers to taking you driving
b. Become your closest friend before confiding his secret love
c. Sweep you off your feet and into his arms.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Introducing Vaughn Everard from The Rake's Redemption

[We are pleased to once again welcome Samantha Everard to Nineteenteen. The sixteen-year-old Lady Everard, a baroness in her own right, has proven rather adept at interviewing her recently discovered cousins and their roles in the Everard Legacy miniseries. The third book of the series, The Rake’s Redemption, is out this week from Love Inspired Historical. Be sure to come back on Friday for a special quiz and a chance to win an autographed copy.]

Samantha: Delighted to be back. I have with me today my most dashing cousin Vaughn Everard. Or at least he was here with me. He has a bit of an obsession with trying to discovery who murdered my father. Excuse me. (Hops off chair, peers around corner, beckons to someone, returns with a tall, striking platinum-haired man.) Yes, well, Vaughn, introduce yourself to our delightful readers.

Vaughn, sweeping a dramatic bow that reveals the sword at his side: Dear ladies, your servant, Vaughn Everard.

Samantha: I see you couldn’t leave your blade at home. Did you bring the book of poetry I asked?

Vaughn, flicking a speck of dust off the lapel of his crimson coat as he straightens: Alas, I fear not. But if you need a recitation, you have only to ask.

Samantha, brightening: Oh, yes, please. Say something poetic.

Vaughn, raising his head and gazing off into the distance:

Faith finds what mind and will deny
And lights the heart that wanders lost.
Love fills each void and heals the cry
Of one who could not count the cost;
Who spent a lifetime wondering why
And squandered time as so much dross.

Now hope flies close on gilded wing
And love can blossom in a kiss;
The dark dethroned like aged kings
That now will nevermore be missed.
And I who scoffed at many things
Believe again, and rise to bliss.

Samantha, fanning herself: Oh, my. Was I the inspiration for that?

Vaughn, lowering his gaze and chucking her under the chin: Not precisely, infant.

Samantha, dropping her hand with a frown: Oh? Who was? You’ve fallen in love, that’s clear as day! What lady has finally touched your heart?

Vaughn, turning away: Don’t ask questions to which you won’t like the answers.

Samantha, with a gasp: You mean? Oh, Vaughn, not her. She’ll break your heart. And if she doesn’t, her father certainly will see to it she’ll never wed you. After all, you think he murdered my father!

Vaughn: Enough! It matters not. I set out to find a killer and traitor to England and bring him to justice, and I won’t be swayed, for anyone. Now, if you’ll excuse me.

Samantha, watching him go: All right, but I’ll be here if you need me.

You can learn more about the poet and duelist Vaughn Everard, his quest for vengeance, and the lady who has stolen his heart, in The Rake’s Redemption, available from fine retailers like these:

Barnes and Noble
Powell’s Books
Independent Bookstores Near You
The Book Depository (free shipping worldwide)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Items Deserving Notice, November: Museum Macabre

Ah, a dreary month is November. Good society is largely at home in the country. Those in town must find things to occupy their days and evenings. I have heard that Mr. Sheldon’s lectures on anatomy commence the first Monday in November in the evening at the Royal Academy’s rooms at Somerset House. Tickets can be had for free from any of the esteemed artists and architects that serve as Academicians. Unfortunately, many of us who frequent Nineteenteen would not be allowed to attend. We’re women, you see. Learning about anatomy wasn’t deemed appropriate for our tender sensibilities.

[Grumble, grumble, kick the wall, grumble some more.]

But there are other ways to learn about anatomy, be it of an animal nature or the human body. We could, with permission of the curators, visit Dr. John Hunter’s museum under the care of the Company of Surgeons.

Dr. Hunter was considered one of the premiere anatomists in Europe during his lifetime, which ended in 1793. He collected and preserved hundreds of specimens of animals and human tissue, some of it deformed or diseased. He also developed models in wax and had artists such as George Stubbs paint detailed pieces of the various subjects of interest to him, including North American Indians, Inuit, and a yak.

In glass bottles and cases, he presented almost 14,000 preparations, from the simplest forms of life like a shrimp up to man himself, embalmed or preserved in spirits. Hunter arranged them by parts: those used for motion, for bodily function, for reproduction of the species, and for maintenance and protection of the young. Specimens from the animal kingdom included a rhinoceros from Egypt, a giant beaked squid brought back from Captain Cook’s voyages in the Pacific, and ostriches from Australia. He had some of the only skeletons of whales in Europe. Not content with the animals still living, he also collected fossils of extinct animals.

Perhaps most interesting, or disturbing as the case might be, were the specimens of the human form. Anatomists required human cadavers to perfect their art, yet procuring such specimens often involved unsavory pursuits like grave robbing. Thankfully, Mr. Hunter’s fame was such that he was often provided with cadavers to experiment upon. His collection included everything from dwarfs to giants, all standing appropriately for study.

The Hunterian Collection is still available for tour at the Royal College of Surgeons in London. And women are welcome.