Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Regency Fabrics, Part 33

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 September 1813 issue of Ackermann’s Repository. The overall condition of my copy is excellent, though a little closely trimmed on the outside edge; the page itself is free of foxing and is only slightly toned. The samples themselves are in very good condition, with a bit of toning in the top sample.

Here we go!

No. 1 and 2 is a Chinese chintz, for drawing-room, boudoir, and sleeping-room furniture. This lively and cheerful article admits a lining and fringe of any colour; but those of pea-green, pink, and blue exhibit it to most advantage. It is from the house of Mr. Allen, Pall-Mall, whose superb and extensive ware-rooms stand unrivalled in point of variety, taste, and cheapness.

My comments: This chintz is of the usual weight but heavily glazed, and honestly not very well printed. I do wonder if the bits showing as a slightly purplish taupe were originally green, because otherwise the recommendation to trim anything made with it in pea-green seem a tad jarring.

No. 3. A unique and elegant article for ladies’ robes, pelisses, mantles, and scarfs, styled the Vittoria striped gauze. Trimmings for this article may be of silver, white beads, or lace, with fancy gimps and fringe of the same shade. It is sold by Wm. King, 44, Pall-Mall. 

My comments: A very pretty primrose-yellow silk, in a striped pattern featuring dots, chevrons, and open-weave. It seems a bit too lightweight for pelisses or mantles, even with a lining, but as an evening dress, would be a winner. Very dainty and elegant indeed.



No.4. A figured Manchester muslin, calculated for domestic wear. Robes of this article are frequently formed high in the neck, with full long sleeves; cuffs and collar of fine needle-work, or lace, a correspondent belt and clasp confining it at the bottom of the waist; and is sometimes trimmed at the feet with a full silk fringe, of the same shades. This article is sold by Waithman and Son, corner of Bridge-street, Blackfriars.


My comments: The scan is not doing this sample justice, because this is gorgeous stuff! A fine silk muslin, but with enough body that it would hang gracefully. The sheen is lovely (again, the scan is disappointing), and in daylight this fabric almost looks shot (woven with contrasting threads.) This fabric seems wasted on “domestic wear”—it’s definitely attractive enough to appear in any occasion outside the house. What do you think of this month’s fabrics? Fancy a dress in one?

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Nineteenth Century Heroines: Reaching for the Top

When I was researching for A View Most Glorious (lovely, lovely research), one of the first people that popped up was the first woman to reach the top of Mt. Rainier. That in itself is an amazing feat! But it was only one of many for Evelyn Fay Fuller.

Fay was born in 1869 in New Jersey, though her family later moved to Chicago. Her family moved again in 1882 to settle near Tacoma, Washington Territory. Her father edited a number of newspapers there, starting with the Evening News and going on to the Tacoma Ledger, Every Sunday, and The Tacomian. Fay fell in love with the grandeur of the area. She made her first visit to Paradise Park, at the 5,000-foot level on the mountain, when she was 17 and managed to make it to nearly the 9,000-foot level. She vowed then and there to reach the summit.

Fay graduated from high school at age 15 and began a career as a teacher. She and a group of young women also banded together for exercise, including calisthenics and rifle drills. But still the mountain called her. In August 1890, a couple of months shy of her twenty-first birthday, she was once again at Paradise Park at the invitation of Philemon Van Trump, who, with Hazard Stevens, had been the first white men to reach the summit. They were intent on making another trip, and they invited her to join them. They didn’t have to ask twice.

Accompanied by three other men (one a minister), but refusing their aid, she reached the summit at 4pm on August 10, having overnighted at Camp Muir. Bad weather forced the party to spend a second night on the mountain, this time on the summit in ice caves near steam vents to keep warm.

Fay returned to fame. The report of her climb crossed the nation, and a local photographer took a picture that would become iconic (see above), careful to disguise the fact that she had been wearing bloomers at the time. Scandalous! She quit teaching and joined her father as a reporter. Her “Mountain Murmurs” column would inspire countless others to attempt the climb or at least dream of doing so.

Fay was a founding member of the Washington Alpine Club in 1891, the Tacoma Alpine Club (now gone) in 1893, and the Mazamas (Portland, Oregon) in 1894. She made her second ascent of Rainier in 1897, having reached Paradise with more than 200 members of the Mazamas and taken 57 of them with her to the summit. Besides climbing, she advanced to city reporter for her father, walking all over Tacoma to cover the waterfront, equity courts, and the markets. She was sent to report on the World’s Fair in Chicago and St. Louis. She also served as the first female harbormaster.

In 1900, she left to explore beyond Washington, taking up reporting jobs in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City. She was in her thirties when she married an attorney named Fritz von Briesen, who appears to have been fairly well off. They had three children, one which didn’t live to see her first birthday. The von Briesens later moved to California.

Fay died at age 88 in Santa Monica, California, having reached heights few still have ever attained.

You can catch a glimpse of the view of Paradise that so inspired her below.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

New Release Announcement: Murmurs in the Dark is Here!

Okay, so you’re probably thinking, “Hey, Marissa—didn’t you just release a new book a few weeks ago?” Well, yes, I did. Still, here we are: I am delighted to announce the release of Murmurs in the Dark: Thirteen Ghostly Tales from Book View Café, edited by me and my fellow Book View Café author, Shannon Page.

Book View Café is a small publishing cooperative founded in 2008 by a group of science fiction and fantasy authors, including the late Ursula K. LeGuin. BVC’s focus is mainly genre fiction—fantasy, mystery, romance, science fiction—though we’ve also brought out other works, including children’s books and non-fiction. We’ve published several anthologies of our authors’ short pieces in science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, romance, and more…but we had never ventured into horror. It was time we did, and here is the result.

Not that Murmurs in the Dark is particularly horror-ible. Shannon and I asked our members to contribute ghost stories of any persuasion, and what came in covers just about every flavor of that sub-genre. There are spooky stories, indeed…but there are also  humorous stories, melancholy stories, stories told from the ghost’s point of view, historical stories (yes, my contribution would be in that category--how did you guess?)—in short, a marvelous spectrum of tales:

“The Summer House: a Fable” by Chaz Brenchley

“With Stars in her Eyes” by Alma Alexander

“Love in the Company of Ghosts” by Steven Popkes

“House is Where the Heart Is” by Marissa Doyle

 “La Dame Blanche” by Brenda W. Clough

“Given to the Sunrise” by Dave Smeds

“Lideric” by Jennifer Stevenson

“Violence Begets…” by Paul Piper

“The Nature of Things” by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

“Golden Spider Beetles” by Shannon Page

“Borrowed Places” by K.E. Kimbriel

“The Waking of Angantyr” by Marie Brennan

“It All Ends With a Game of Croquet” by Jill Zeller

Murmurs in the Dark is available directly from Book View Cafe in both EPUB and MOBI formats, as well as from Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Apple Books) as well as in print from Amazon. I hope you'll give it a try in this spooky season.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Taking in the View

Today, Coraline Baxter begins her historic climb! Yes, A View Most Glorious, the third book in my American Wonders Collection, launches in ebook, trade paperback, hardcover, and audiobook, from Revell.

Reluctant socialite Coraline Baxter longs to live a life of significance and leave her mark on the world. When her local suffragette group asks her to climb Mount Rainier to raise awareness of their cause, she jumps at the chance, even though she has absolutely no climbing experience. If she can do it, any woman can do it. And after her mother issues an ultimatum—that Cora marry the man of her mother’s choosing if she is not successful—Cora must do it. But she can’t do it alone.

Noted mountain guide Nathan Hardee initially refuses to help Cora but has a change of heart when he sees what is at stake. He knows enough about the man Cora’s mother has chosen to know that the headstrong young woman should have nothing to do with him, much less marry him.

Climbing Rainier will require all of Cora’s fortitude 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.

“Unputdownable! A View Most Glorious is historical romance at its best.” Amanda Cabot, bestselling author 

A View Most Glorious is, indeed, glorious! This adventure-filled tale with its wonderful characters will have you holding your breath as Coraline faces more opposition than what the mountain can throw at her.” Kit Morgan, USA Today bestselling author

You can find the book at fine online retailers and physical bookstores nationwide:

Baker Book House (30% off release and free shipping) 

Baker Publishing Group 

Amazon (affiliate link)

Apple Books 

Barnes and Noble 


Christian Book 

Indie Bound (an independent bookstore near you) 


The Book Depository, free shipping worldwide