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!


Regina Scott said...

Your village sounds delightful, Gail! Thanks for joining us!

Author Gail Eastwood said...

Regina, my pleasure! Thanks so much for inviting me. Like the folks in my village, I always enjoy visiting!