Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Nineteenth Century Christmas Wish List, 2023 Edition

I hope those of you in the states had a lovely Thanksgiving. The day after, my thoughts always turn to Christmas. So, as I have in years past, I thought I’d share some goodies you might want to put on the gift list for yourself or anyone else who loves the nineteenth century!

An Etsy shop with the intriguing name of Neurons Not Included has a delightful beveled glass ornament showing the spines of Jane Austen’s beloved books.

And if you want to be certain your books are returned to you, you might turn to Pickled Stamps on Etsy for embosser stamps declaring the book’s ownership.

Perhaps you intend to do some entertaining over the holidays. Café Press has some lovely notecards designed to look like an invitation to the Pemberly ball. Who wouldn’t want to attend that! 

And if you need coffee while penning those invites, you might find this mug just the thing to keep you warm. As the temperature of the mug changes with its contents, so does the finery of the ladies on it. 


Then again, what lady would despise reproduction jewelry pieces? Lady Detalle on Etsy has a number of Victorian and Regency reproduction jewelry pieces.  As does Dames Alamode on eBay, although those tend more to the Georgian

And I simply have to mention our own Marissa’s Ladies of Almacks magnets and 2024 calendar. I ordered several sets of the magnets this year, as I keep thinking of friends who would love her unique blend of history, fashion sense, and snark.

Remember, if you want to keep up with what Marissa and I are doing, be sure to sign up for our newsletters, which give you access to all kinds of lovely free stories. You can find mine here and hers here.

May all your shopping be hassle-free, and your thoughtful gifts greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Retro Blast: Happy Thanksgiving!!

I can’t say it any better than I did back in 2011—Regina and I wish our American readers the very happiest of Thanksgivings. I’m still making that cranberry ginger sauce as posted below (which I’ll have to go do as soon as I post this—it does best if it has a day or two in the fridge before serving) as well as another family favorite Thanksgiving side dish—garlic and rosemary marinated mushrooms.

And speaking of recipes, Book View Café’s BVC Eats: Recipes from the Authors of Book View Café is now available in print as well as in e-book form from all the usual suspects, as well as directly from Book View Cafe.

* * * * *

Although Thanksgiving was not a holiday that would have been celebrated by the 19th century British young ladies of our books, Regina and I certainly celebrate it…and one of the things we’re most thankful for is you, our readers. You’re truly what keeps us blogging every week…so thank you!

Now, just because Thanksgiving isn’t a 19th century British holiday doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate it in our own way…so Regina and I would like to offer you some recipes with a 19th century flavor that might do well at your own Thanksgiving feast.

This first one is from Beeton’s Book of Household Management, first published in England in 1861 by Mrs. Isabella Beeton. Remember that name…you’ll be hearing more about her in the coming weeks. This sounds like a terrific way to use up leftover Thanksgiving mashed potatoes:

Potato Rissoles

Mashed potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
Minced parsley
Egg (number depends on how much mashed potatoes is available)
Bread crumbs (likewise)

Beat the egg in a shallow dish. Set bread crumbs aside in another shallowdish or plate. Add a seasoning of pepper and salt and a little minced parsley to the mashed potatoes. Roll the potatoes into small balls, dip them into the egg and then cover them in bread crumbs. Fry in hot oil or butter for about 10 minutes. Drain and dish them on a napkin, then serve. Note.-The flavour of these rissoles may be very much increased by adding finely-minced tongue or ham, or even chopped onions, when these are liked.

And here’s a recipe from Queen Victoria’s chief chef, Charles Francatelli:

French Beans with fine herbs

Pick over, trim, and wash string beans, and boil in lightly salted water until tender. Put two pats of butter into a stewpan with a tablespoonful of chopped parsley and also two shallots finely chopped, a little nutmeg, mignionette pepper [a mix of black and white pepper and coriander] and salt, and the juice of a lemon; simmer this over a stove-fire until melted, and then add the beans, tossing the whole together, and serve.

This last recipe isn’t 19th century, but it makes its appearance every year on my Thanksgiving table:

Pickled Ginger Cranberry Sauce (from Cooks Country Magazine, October/November 2008)

Pulse one 16 ounce can cranberry sauce (I prefer whole berry myself—gives a better texture), 2 tablespoons drained pickled ginger, and 1 teaspoon wasabi powder or dry mustard in foor processor until combined. Refrigerate, covered, for 30 minutes. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Have a pleasant Thanksgiving, full of good food and good company!

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Return to the Frontier with The Schoolmarm’s Convenient Marriage

I’m delighted to report that the fourth book in my Frontier Matches series, The Schoolmarm’s Convenient Marriage, is out in the world!

Once the darling of her Boston-area community, Alice Dennison has travelled across the entire country to start life over as a schoolteacher in the tiny settlement of Wallin Landing, north of frontier Seattle. No one there knows the humiliation and hurt hidden in her heart. Perhaps she can finally be herself. Then a storm forces her to seek shelter with a handsome logger for the night, and suddenly she’s facing marriage or scandal! Again!

One look, and shy Jesse Willets knew the pretty, proper schoolmarm wasn’t the woman for him. He saw the love between his mother and father, a love built on common values, shared experiences. He has nothing in common with Alice, except maybe a desire to make the world a little better.

The community comes together to help this unlikely couple find their way in a marriage of convenience, and Jesse and Alice begin to discover that they have more in common than they thought. When Alice’s past intrudes, revealing secrets, they must work together for their chance at happiness. In doing so, they may discover that true love is not so distant after all.

“This is a wonderful, sweet love story that I highly recommend for those who enjoy marriages of convenience or with an interest in the history of Washington state. There are many details that help ground the reader in the time and place, and I really love how this town has become almost a character in itself. This one should not be missed!” Lynda’s Reviews

Available at fine online retailers including

Directly from me 



Barnes and Noble 

Apple Books 


Looking for print? Try Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Now We're Cookin'!

We certainly are! I’m delighted to announce that Book View Café’s first cookbook, BVC Eats: Recipes from the Authors of Book View Café, which I co-edited with fellow BVC author Shannon Page, is out today.

So why did a bunch of fantasy and science fiction and mystery and romance writers decide to publish a cookbook? Several reason, actually...the main one being that most of us love to cook. After all, cooking is as much a creative endeavor as writing is, and writers tend to have an itch to create more than just stories: we knit, sew, quilt, carve, paint, draw…and cook. Over the years we’ve published dozens of recipes on our blog, and as a way to commemorate our fifteenth year in business, a cookbook seemed like a fun way to celebrate.

The fun part is that this isn’t just a collection of recipes. Each contributor has prefaced their recipes by an origin story, the inspiration for the recipe, or a memorable occasion at which they served it. It’s as enjoyable to read as it is to cook from, whether you wish to make cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a Sunday brunch, an elegant dinner, a pig roast, or what's being served on Mars at a well-known girls’ school.

BVC Eats is releasing exclusively from Book View Café until November 20, when it will be available from all the usual online bookstores and in print. We hope you’ll check it out, because in this case, good eating is also good eating.