Tuesday, April 13, 2021

More Hints...a look back at May 1917’s Fashions

I’m back to be a dreadful tease with another Blast from the Past about 1917 and what was going on then...with a promise that in my next post, I’ll stop being mysterious and explain why. Till then...enjoy these wonderful fashions!

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So I got hold of a beautiful copy of the May 1917 edition of The Delineator, a magazine published by Butterick, now best known for their sewing patterns. Well, you know that their magazine would have to have gorgeous fashion pages—over twenty of them!--and you’re right. So I thought it was time to have some slightly more recent Fashion Forecasts, which will continue through the summer months.

 
The fashion section begins with a look at the latest Paris fashions, with the headline, “Fleet-Footed are the Fashions that Defy the U-Boats”. Designers mentioned include Georgette, Marthe Wingrove, Magraine-Lacroix, Laferriere, and Parry.


 
One thing you’ll notice that differs from the 19th century prints that I post is that dresses are usually not labeled “Morning Dress” or “Walking Dress” or what have you. What started with this issue of The Delineator was individual breakdowns of the cost of making each pattern, including estimated cost of fabric, trim, findings and patterns, as a result of expected belt-tightening with the newly entered war. The dress at left has a total cost of $4.94, and the dress at right costs a mere $3.37.


 
Silhouettes are interesting in this year: though many of the dresses shown still have waists, the general lines are hinting at the coming “vertical”, straight look of the twenties. Busts are still low, an echo of the previous decade.


Parasols and creative millinery were definitely in. The pink hat at right very definitely resembles a type of military hat known as a “shako”; hardly surprising to see, the month after the US had entered the war.


 
Separates—blouses and skirts, or two piece suits—were also in vogue.
 
What I found especially interesting is that there was a separate section of clothes intended especially for teens, though that exact term is not used. Still, the pattern descriptions are for 16- and 17- and 18-year-olds--a definite change from 19th century fashion.


The biggest difference I can see between these teen clothes and the more grown-up patterns is that the hemlines seem to be a trifle shorter.

More “teen” fashions, along with some younger girl outfits.

 
Children’s clothing is also included, both for girls...


And for boys. Note the ringlets!


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What do you think of May 1917’s fashions?


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Hearing Grace-by-the-Sea

It’s not surprising that authors hear their characters in their heads. Sometimes they start talking before a story is plotted. Sometimes they start talking during the plotting. Sometimes they’re particularly stubborn and don’t make themselves truly known until the book is fairly far along. What’s really surprising, at least to me, is when someone else hears those voices too.

Such is the case with my new audiobook, The Matchmaker’s Rogue. My wonderful narrator, Jannie Meisberger, had done such a good job with the Fortune’s Brides set that I asked her to try her hand at making the characters in Grace-by-the-Sea come alive. She did a fantastic job, as always, with my hero and heroine, and even managed to sing in Lord Featherstone and Mr. Crabapple’s voices when called for.

But Maudie, ah Maudie. She was difficult.

That shouldn’t surprise me. Those of you who have read the series know that Maudlyn “Maudie” Tully, the elderly aunt of my heroine, Jesslyn Chance, is her own person. Having been widowed young, she retreated into a fantasy world and never came out. Maudie has tea with fairies, picnics with mermaids, and an ongoing battle of civility with trolls. I hear her dear, droll, prophetic voice so clearly.

Funny that others don’t.

“Close,” I said to Jannie. “But a bit more mysterious.”

“Closer, but perhaps a little higher?”

“Nice, but too slow. Try it faster.”

I’m so glad Jannie has the patience of a saint.

In the end, she did Maudie and the others justice. Here’s a little listen:

The Matchmaker’s Rogue is now available at Audible and Amazon, and soon iTunes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Rural Regency: Life in a Small Village, by Guest Blogger, Gail Eastwood

[Nineteen Teen is thrilled to welcome back traditional Regency author, Gail Eastwood, to the blog. Thank you, Gail, for sharing about your delightful village.]

We do love the grand London ballrooms, beautiful gowns and elegant lords and ladies of Regency romances, don’t we? But far more people in England during the early nineteenth century lived in the countryside than in the few major cities, most often in small villages. (The Industrial Revolution was only just starting to create the big changes that were yet to come.)

Romance can happen in a small village just as well as in an elegant ballroom, can’t it? What about all those popular “small town” contemporary romances? I wanted some of those rural Regency folks to find love, too. Welcome to Little Macclow!

My new Regency series, “Tales of Little Macclow,” is set in a tiny Derbyshire village well off the main roads and quite backward, especially by fashionable standards. The warm-hearted characters who live there, or pass through, have become quite real to me as I work on Book Three and prepare for the other books to come. I hadn’t intended to start a series when I invented the village. I just wanted to write a story set during the twelve days of Christmas and to strand a fashionable lord in this adorable small place still practicing ancient customs! I wanted a place with plenty of snow, but still not too far to the north, so I chose Derbyshire in the Midlands and fell in love with that setting.

The resulting tale, Lord of Misrule, is Book Two in the series, even though I wrote it first. Readers wanted more of Little Macclow, so for Book One, Lord of Her Heart, I went back eight months earlier and told the story of how the village seamstress, Sally Hepston, found her soul-mate (who isn’t an actual “lord”, by the way).

Little Macclow is full of features you would find in most typical small villages. The people aren’t wealthy. There’s a communal village well where the folks with no other source for water go to fetch it (and exchange gossip, of course). Many don’t even have an oven in their little cottages, so they depend on the village baker for bread or even cooking a roast for them! They are very dependent on the goodwill and care provided by the local squire and his wife who own the whole village. Little Macclow is very lucky, for Squire Hammon and his wife Lady Anne (who everyone knows was an earl’s daughter, so she is much revered) are benevolent, good-hearted people with a genuine fondness for all of the villagers.

Who are some of these other people? The heroine of Book Two is the vicar’s daughter, and her father is a crusty widower, so will he ever find love again? Sally Hepston’s sister Ellen works at the local inn, as does the innkeeper’s oldest daughter, Becky. Everyone thinks Ellen will marry her childhood sweetheart, Peter, the innkeeper’s oldest son, who works across the street at the livery stable. But will she? And who will Becky find, when a few more years have passed? There are plenty of tales to be told in a small village, and interesting people to meet!

Would you like to visit Little Macclow? Dip into Books One and Two in my Tales of Little Macclow series. To know when new books in the series come out (and get a free short story), please sign up for my newsletter! (or visit my website). Thanks, Regina and Marissa, for inviting me to visit the blog!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Retro Blast (and a Future Hint): Doing Their Bit

Life has been very busy these last few weeks for me on several fronts...one of them being related to this post, originally made in 2014. I’ll be telling you more about it soon; accept this as a touch of foreshadowing (mwahaha!)

 * * * * * * * *

Writing a story set in 1917 has been a fascinating experience for me. It’s not a time I knew a great deal about, so there’s definitely been a learning curve...but I’ve been having tons of fun with it (as you might have noticed!)

One thing that has struck me as I do my research to write this story is how much World War I was truly the first BIG media-covered war (though the Spanish-American War in 1898 was in many ways a rehearsal for it). By 1917 the cinema had become an important part of people’s everyday lives; in the newsreels shown in theatres, moving picture footage of actual battlegrounds and armies could be seen. Also, photography was now more easily reproducible in newspapers and magazine, and both of these served to bring the war “home” in ways that just hadn’t been possible before. And let’s face it, war is big news. It sells a lot of newspapers and magazines, so there was plenty of coverage of it in popular media.

That coverage extended to media intended for a female audience. World War I was probably the first war that called strongly on all American citizens, male and female, to help in whatever way possible. For men, it was enlisting, obviously. But women, too, were encouraged—heck, exhorted, as in the editorial above from the June 1917 issue of Ladies' Home Journal—to “do their bit.” The countries at war with the Kaiser not only needed soldiers, but support personnel, war materiél, and food to feed their civilian populations. Belgium in particular was experiencing famine conditions as no one could grow food when large swathes of the country formed the battlegrounds of the war, and cross-Atlantic trade had been severely hampered by German u-boat activity.

So in a very real sense, women did have to “do their bit” for the war effort. Since they were the homemakers, they were the ones in charge of purchasing and preparing food...and they were the ones who could cut down on the use of wheat, beef, and other food that could be shipped overseas to feed troops and hungry European civilians, and learn to make do with other food sources.

But food wasn’t the only place women helped. Since so many young men were being shipped overseas to fight, young women began to replace them on farms and in factories. And let’s not forget medical personnel and other support people, from clerks and secretaries in Washington to ambulance drivers on the western front.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Revealing A View Most Glorious

Those of you who have been following the blog know I have loved the covers for my American Wonders Collection. In case you missed them, here’s the first, A Distance Too Grand, set in the Grand Canyon of 1871:

And the second, Nothing Short of Wondrous, set in Yellowstone, 1886:

As my publisher, Revell, began working on the cover for the third, I told them my most fervent wish that the cover could look a little like this postcard of the first woman to climb Mt. Rainier, Fay Fuller. Miss Fuller reached the summit 3 years before my heroine, Coraline Baxter, in 1893. And she reached it in bloomers, a fashion nearly as shocking as a woman mountain climber.

But mimicking the picture wasn’t easy. Revell prides itself on period-correct clothing, going so far as to borrow historical clothing from museums or purchasing outfits from reputable antique dealers. Finding a blue flannel bloomer suit (long coat and bloomers) was a long shot.

But they did it.

I am delighted to give you the cover for my third book, A View Most Glorious:

That is my beloved Mt. Rainier in the background and the alpine meadows of Paradise around her. Here’s a little about the story: 

Headstrong Coraline Baxter has worked all her life to be more than the spoiled socialite others expect. When her beloved stepfather's bank is threatened by the Panic of 1893, she makes a deal with arrogant entrepreneur Cash Kincaid, who has been pressuring her to marry him. If she can climb Mount Rainier, he will bail out the bank. All Cora needs is a guide to get her to the top.

Nathan Hardee may look like a mountain man, but he once ruled the halls of high society. He left all that behind after his father broke under financial pressure from Kincaid. To best Kincaid now, Nathan agrees to guide Cora up the mountain.

Climbing Rainier will require all of Cora's strength and will lead her and Nathan to rediscover their faith in God and humanity. These two loners make unlikely partners in righting a wrong and may just discover that only together is the view most glorious.

You can preorder the book now at

Baker Book House (40% off and free U.S. shipping on all Revell preorders

Amazon 

Barnes and Noble 

Christian Book 

Books-a-Million 

The Book Depository (free shipping worldwide) 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Show and Tell!

I’ve written before about my delight in dance cards, those useful little notebooks that enabled fashionable young ladies to keep track of all the young men clamoring for the honor of a dance (that would so not have been me, by the way--just call me Miss Wallflower!), and have a new and exquisite one to share with you.

First, this one is in its original leather box (measuring 6 3/8 inches by 1 3/4 inches), which is just a dozen flavors of wow. See the teeny tiny hooks and loops that keep it closed?

On opening the velvet lined box, we find a fan-shaped carnet measuring 3 1/4 inches long (6 inches overall, including the chain and ring) made of what appears to be gold and silver vermeil over brass in an elegant, etched Rococo pattern. It is complete with double chain fastening it to a ring so that it could dangle from a young woman’s hand as she danced (because not all ball gowns have pockets!) Notice that the ring is a little outsized, to fit over a gloved finger.

When the “fan” is opened, there are five leaves of bone or ivory on which to write the names of dance partners…and the dainty pencil (all of 1 3/4 inches long!) with which to write them is still secure in its little loops.

I wonder what sparkling events this delightful little dance card was carried at, or what joys or heartaches it might have played a role in? There are plenty of signs that it was written on and erased…and then perhaps tucked away in a bureau drawer, based on the faint sachet scent still clinging to it. I do hope that whoever owned it kept it so well because of happy memories attached to it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The Writer Who Hooked Me: Elizabeth Mansfield

For many writers, there is that moment when they *know* they are going to be an author. I’ve wanted to be an author since I realized about third grade that someone wrote the marvelous stories I was reading. But as I developed my skills, I found myself perplexed on what to write. I loved epic fantasy, science fiction, historical novels, and Westerns. Where should I dip my toes into the water?

And that’s when I first read Elizabeth Mansfield.

Elizabeth Mansfield (Paula Schwartz) was an author and playwright. She wrote more than two dozen Regency romances. My mother loved Georgette Heyer, so she was always bringing home Regencies of various sorts from the library. I picked up The Phantom Lover and couldn’t put it down.

I wanted to live in the world Mansfield had created, a world with noble heroes in dashing greatcoats and complicated cravats, with spunky heroines who were unafraid to take on Society, by either conquering it or taking different paths. Where love always triumphed in the end.

I devoured the rest of her catalog at the time, eagerly awaited each new book. When my mother discovered one I hadn’t known about, years after Elizabeth Mansfield had died, I nearly cried.

Besides her Regency novels, she wrote other romances under additional pen names, as well as plays. The one that most intrigues me is titled “An Accident at Lyme” and is based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion. A musical, it was staged in Baltimore. Oh, how I wish I could have seen it!

She passed away in December 2003 after fighting valiantly against ovarian cancer. In recent years, her daughter has brought out many of her books as ebooks, thrilling a new generation of readers and inspiring Regency authors today.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Treasures from the Past

Used bookstores. Is there anything better than an afternoon spent hunting through the shelves and stacks in one? As delightful as a new bookstore is, visiting a used bookstore is a trip into unknown, mysterious waters: who knows what treasures might be found on the shelves?

One treasure I found in a used bookstore (and I can’t even remember which one, now) several years ago is Maud, edited by Richard Lee Strout and published in 1938. It’s the diary of a Miss Isabella Maud Rittenhouse (who generally used her middle name), a comfortably middle-class young lady from Cairo, Illinois, down at the very bottom of the state where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers meet (which made for a very watery city—it did, and still does, flood regularly.) She kept it between 1881, when she was sixteen and a junior in high school, to just before her marriage in 1895 at age thirty. And oh, what a diary!

Maud paints herself as small and ugly, but she was evidently extraordinarily charming, based on the number of friends and admirers she had. She was also quite energetic, and not only went to art school in St. Louis, but also maintained an art studio, acted and sang in local amateur theater, and became a frequent contributor of stories and articles to national magazines.

Her writing talent is clear in her amazing diary. Some entries run thousands of words long and describe outings to New Orleans and the Chicago Worlds’ Fair, or boating on the spring floods, or the dresses she makes and the china she paints, or the people who come to life from her pen. The prose has a remarkably fresh, modern, alive feel to it, even as the people and events it describes are very 19th century. What's most remarkable, though, is that the story of her younger years actually has a plot: she has many beaus and suitors and falls in love several times, but keeps coming back to one young man to whom she doesn't feel much connection but respects enormously for his integrity and honesty...until mere weeks before their wedding, it's revealed that he has embezzled thousands of dollars from his former employer. Poor Maud is devastated but meets a new sweetheart and becomes engaged...until her new fiancé breaks the engagement. Five year later, he proposes again...and this time Maud and her handsome doctor get to live happily ever after.

I see that used copies are available online (check Abebooks, for one, and eBay.) If you should ever run across a copy at your favorite used bookstore, I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

What a Circus!

Many Regency romances, my own included, mention Astley’s Amphitheatre as a place where equestrian feats could be enjoyed. But there was another theatre that rivaled it for a time, a theatre that could not quite make up its mind what it wanted to be.

South of London's Blackfriar’s Bridge, on Great Surry Street stood the Royal Circus and Equestrian Philharmonic Academy. Opened in 1782, burned down in 1806 and rebuilt, the Royal Circus was initially a collaboration between Charles Didbin, who wrote plays, songs, and pantomimes, and Charles Hughes, a trick rider who had trained under Philip Astley and became his chief rival. Besides a variety of animal acts, they hired children to perform in various plays and musical numbers Didbin created. Didbin dreamed of the place being a training ground for young actors.

Unfortunately, the theatre didn’t do as well as he’d hoped. In 1809, new management converted it to a theatre proper, the Surrey Theatre. In the picture you can see that the arena for the horses has been opened to a form of standing pit for patrons, though the ground still appears to be dirt to me. Good thing, too, for  another change in management saw the theatre converted back to a circus in 1814, a format it kept until 1827.

But just south of the Royal Circus on Great Surry Street was another. St. George’s Circus was one of London’s first traffic circles or roundabouts as they call them in my neck of the woods. Built in 1771, the center featured an obelisk with four oil lamps. It was inscribed to King George and marked the distances to key landmarks such as Palace Yard, London Bridge, and Fleet Street. Though it was removed at one point late in the 19th century, it has now been returned (without its lamps).

So, you can still go to the circus south of Blackfriar's Bride, if you like.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Such Language, Part 29


Our next installment of 19th century slanguage from that veritable bible of colorful cant, the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue. Have fun!

Gallows bird: A thief, or pickpocket; also one that associates with them. My brother’s new friends that he met at the prize-fight last week are quite the collection of gallows-birds.

Ralph Spooner: A fool. Papa told him not to be such a Ralph Spooner and stop going about with them, but when has my brother ever listened?

Dished up: To be totally ruined. I fear that if he persists in seeking their company, he’ll be dished up in no time.

All the kick: in fashion. Apricot-colored neck ruffs may be all the kick right now, but they make me look alarmingly liverish.

Cannister: The head.  I haven’t the faintest idea how Lord Creepey got it into his cannister that I’ll dance with him at Almack’s tonight.

Sherry off: to run away. In fact, I’ll cheerfully sherry off first.

Thornback: An old maid. Indeed, I’d much prefer to be a thornback to encouraging his suit.

 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Celebrating The Governess’s Earl and Timeless Love Giveaway

A new book is always reason to celebrate at my house, and particularly because The Governess’s Earl, the fourth book in my Grace-by-the-Sea series, was nominated for a Swoony Award on Goodreads within days of release. The Swoonies are a Reader’s Choice Award recognizing excellence in sweet, secular romance. I may swoon!

Rejected by the man she loved, quick-witted bluestocking Rosemary Denby is determined to win the position of governess to the temperamental Lady Miranda, daughter of the Earl of Howland. Surely helping another young lady find the joy in learning is just what she needs to regain her confidence.

Drake, Earl of Howland, is struggling to find his footing as a widowed father, new earl, and suddenly penniless owner of the castle near the cozy spa village of Grace-by-the-Sea. But the new governess has him even more off balance. He loved once and saw his wife die in childbirth. The more he learns about Rosemary, the more he begins to wonder whether he can open his heart again. As danger once more draws closer to the castle on the headland, he and Rosemary must work together to keep the village and his daughter safe. Could his bluestocking governess be the one to teach him a lesson, in love?

You can find the book in print and e-book at fine online retailers like

Smashwords

Amazon 

Barnes and Noble 

Apple Books 

Kobo


Another reason to celebrate is a giveaway taking place between February 1 and 15—multiple winners will win a print copy of 18 romance novels crossing the ages, including The Governess’s Earl, and books by Karen Witemeyer, Laura Franz, Rachel Fordham, and Jen Turano. Enter here and join the celebration.


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Regency Fabrics, Part 31

Here’s another post in our ongoing series on Regency fabrics.

As I have in previous posts, I’ll be examining actual fabric samples glued into several earlier editions of Ackermann’s Repository, samples supplied by the manufacturers and published by Ackermann in order to boost the British cloth-making industry at a time when exporting British goods to Europe was almost impossible because of the Napoleonic war. I'll give you a close-up scan of each sample, the published description if available, and my own observations of the color, weight, condition, and similarity to present-day materials, to give you as close a picture as possible of what these fabrics are like.


Today’s three samples are from the June 1813 issue of Ackermann’s Repository. The overall condition of my copy is excellent; the page itself is free of foxing and is only slightly toned. The samples have not fared quite as well: the chintz seems to have suffered some toning (I think), and the patterned one has frayed.

No. 1 and 2. A neat and useful article, from Allen’s celebrated furniture warehouse, Pall-Mall, where may be seen the most extensive and elegant assortment of chintz, and other articles of furniture in this line. Mr. Allen has recently built and opened a most spacious and elegant saloon, where, by a very ingenious invention, the printed and cotton furniture is displayed at one view, to the greatest advantage, and so as to afford an easy decision as to effect. The present specimen, though very neat, is by no means on a par with those displayed at this celebrated warehouse. Light blue, bright yellow, and full pink, or rose-colour, with corresponding fringes, are the linings best calculated to exhibit this print to advantage.

My comments: This is a very heavily glazed chintz, to the point that it feels almost like vinyl shelf paper. I’m not quite able to decide whether the somewhat mottled background behind the printed designs is intentional or not: all the other versions I’ve seen of this page are similar, so it is either intentional or they all have faded or toned in the same fashion. The fabric itself is finely and tightly woven, with evenly spun threads. And I would like to know exactly what the “ingenious invention” was for the display of their fabrics!

No. 3 A specimen of British King Cobb; a new article with which we have been favoured by Mr. Milland, of the East India warehouse, Cheapside. It is an exact imitation of that splendid article worn by the Great Mogul. It is calculated for evening robes, producing a most pleasing effect by candle-light. Pelisses, à la Persian, lined with sarsnet, of a tastefully contrasted shade, and ornamented with feather-trimming, and worn with Asiatic turbans of the same, produce a very unique and becoming effect.

My comments:  I’ve not been able to discover what “King Cobb” is, but this is a lovely piece of fabric—a very handsome twill woven silk with a raised diagonal stripe, printed with a floral pattern (unfortunately, the stripes arent showing up well in this scan.) It is light in weight but reasonably opaque due to the fine, tight weave.

No. 4 is a sample of the new Imperial cotton twine shirting. Many of our readers having wished to obtain specimens, together with the price of this very useful article, we have procured one from the proprietor, just as it comes from the bleach-field. It is sold, stamped, at Millard’s East India warehouse, Cheapside, and at no other house. The present quality is 2s. 6d. per yard; and, in due proportion, at 3s. 6d., 3s.,2s., and 1s. 6d., being not more than half the price of Irish linens, &c. and of equal fineness of texture. It is wove in 7-8th widths for ladies, and 4-4ths for gentlemen’s wear, and is particularly well adapted for slips.—At this warehouse may also be purchased, muslins of the lowest value, for draperies only, up to the Indian shawl of 100 guineas. The most curious Indian muslins, up to the exquisitely fine Saccarallie, are regularly selling at this extensive establishment, where the ingenious manufactures of Valenciennes, Brussels, Germany, Russia, China, the Indies, and the sister kingdoms (both for use and ornament), are to be met with.

My comments: This is, to me, the most interesting of the fabric samples this month, just because it was used for such basic garments as men’s shirts and ladies’ slips and underdresses. In close-up it greatly resembles linen as the threads are just slightly unevenly spun, giving it more of a texture. It feels quite sturdy, which only makes sense considering its use.

What do you think of this month’s fabrics?

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Catching Living Manners, and a Free Book

As I was researching last week (lovely, lovely research), I happened upon the following caricature by James Gillray, who loved poking fun at everyone and anyone in the late 18th century and early nineteenth century. I simply had to share it with you. The title is “And catch the living Manners as they rise” (a quote from a poem by Alexander Pope).


Several things intrigued me about this. Various museums and art sellers have copies of this print, but whoever hand-tinted the colors had a jolly time of it. I always thought tinters were advised to stick with a specific color scheme for all prints, but not this one. Depending on the print, those massive ostrich plumes might be magenta, emerald, buttercup, or turquoise, and some had tips of either gray or slate blue. Likewise, her turban and the ribbon under her breast ranged from cream to rose. One of the prints had the bodice of her dress a peachy color, causing the owner to claim she was nude from the waist up!

Another interesting thing about this print was the names of those who created it and sold it. While it is widely credited to Gillray, at least one of the prints mentioned that it was from a design by “Miss Aynscombe.” This was likely Charlotte Aynscombe, a talented artist in her own right. The piece was sold by Hannah Humphrey, a publisher and printseller, from her establishment at No. 18 Old Bond Street. I can imagine the fine ladies and gentlemen strolling that shopping mecca and stopping to stare at the print in the window. More than one lady likely refrained from touching the ostrich plumes in her cap.

Finally, I’m intrigued the gentleman’s outfit. I have not seen styles showing a gentleman whose waistcoat is so long that it actually connects with his pantaloons, but we can certainly recognize the style of a far-too-wide cravat and the rosettes on both his pantaloons and his shoes. Interesting to read the item described in his hand as a “bludgeon.” Hitting people over the head with his fashion style, perhaps?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this picture.

In the meantime, if you haven’t read the Spy Matchmaker series or know a friend who might enjoy it, you should know that the first book in the series, The Husband Mission, is free through January 27, 2021.

Katherine Collins is on a mission. The spirited spinster is financially beholden to her stepsister, who will inherit a fortune--if she marries in the next six weeks. Katherine even mounted an espionage campaign to locate the perfect husband, Alexander Wescott, Viscount Borin. Alex cannot understand why he’s under surveillance, but it seems to have something to do with the intriguing Katherine. Rejected for service by England’s spymaster, he ought to be searching for a wife. But what wife can compare to the excitement of international espionage? Unless, of course, she’s up for a little espionage herself.

Smashwords
Amazon
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Kobo
iBooks