Love and Courtship in Regency England

I admit I’ve been out of the dating scene for (ahem) a few years now. However, from what my single friends tell me, not much has changed since I was dated. In today’s world a man asks out a woman, (or if she’s braver than I ever was, she asks him out). They might meet online, or be introduced by a friend, but eventually they end up on that first date. It might be dinner or drinks or just coffee (in my case, hot cocoa). It might involve a movie or miniature golf or a museum. It might even occasionally include another couple but it never involves parents or chaperones, and no one thinks anything of an adult man and a woman being alone together in a car or a house.

Dating in Regency England was very different. For one thing, it was called courting or wooing. But most importantly, a young lady of good breeding who wished to keep her reputation pristine so she would be a candidate for marriage never, ever put herself alone with a man. (The double standard is, of course, that the man was expected to have “sown his wild oats” and could have a very sullied reputation and still be considered a good match if he were wealthy and well-connected enough.) Therefore, courting was a very public affair.

First, they needed an introduction by a mutual friend before conversing. They often met at balls which were THE places to meet those of similar social backgrounds, but they might also meet at a dinner party, soiree, musicale, or even the opera or the theater.

If the man wished to get better acquainted with the lady he’d met, he might send her flowers the next day (but never gifts or letters), and later pay a visit upon the family during their “at home” hours where her mother or aunt or other chaperone would be present. He might take her for a stroll in one of the walking parks, with a chaperone close at hand. He might even take her riding on horseback or in an open carriage—open being the operative word since riding in a closed carriage could ruin her reputation as quickly as being alone in a house with a man.

Courting could be short or take place over a long period of time. At a ball, if she refused to dance with any other man but him, she basically announced to the world that they were engaged. If she danced with him more than twice in one night, everyone assumed she was either engaged to him or was “fast,” a terrible label for a proper young lady. If he spent a lot of time with her to the point where people began to notice how much they were together, public opinion placed them as engaged. If he failed to make an offer of marriage for her, people said he had failed to come up to scratch and shook their heads and wondered if she were unsuitable or if he were. Either way, the couple’s reputations suffered. At that point, their only option would be to marry or live with tainted reputations. Depending on his status, his reputation would probably recover but hers would likely remain tainted.

Such courting practices may sound rigid and even sterile to the modern-day woman, but I think it leaves so much open. For one thing, they relied on witty conversation rather than getting physical to get to know each other. And since the courting practices were pretty predictable, a man had to use creativity to impress a lady.

Once he felt secure she returned his affections, the gentleman would make an appointment with the girl’s father and formally ask for her hand in marriage. His income would be scrutinized and they would draw up a prenuptial agreement called a marriage settlement which included her pin money, dress allowance, jointure, and other ways he’d provide for her, as well as what dowry would go to the man. With all that settled, the father would break the news to the girl and the wedding preparations would commence.

My goal as Regency romance author is to keep in mind these social customs known as ‘manners and mores’ and yet find unique ways for my hero and heroine to meet and fall in love. I enjoy creating a unique twist on acceptable courting, throwing lots of obstacles in the way of their happily ever after, and revealing the final, happy, triumphant ending.  That doesn’t make me a hopeless romantic, it makes me a hopeful romantic.

My tagline is ‘Believe in happily ever after’ because I do believe in it. Do you believe in happily ever after?

Vote for Courting the Countess in the 2016 Best Book of the Year Award

Thanks so much for being part of my writing journey! Usually on this blog, I share fun trivia and tidbits about the amazing world of the Regency Era. However, today I need your help. My newest Regency Romance, Courting the Countess, has been nominated in the Best Book for 2016 in the non-erotic category against several big name authors on the Long & Short Reviews. ​Voters are encouraged to read the reviews, then vote for their favorite book based on the review or on their own opinion of the book if they’ve read it. Today is the last day to vote so please follow the link and vote for  Courting the Countess, if you feel it deserves this prestigious award.
Thanks again for your support and encouragement. I hope 2017 is a wonderful and prosperous, and above all, happy year for us all.

Gifts for the Regency Geek

This year, I put together a wish list of totally impractical items I’d love to have for Christmas–you know the kind–not a KitchenAid mixer or a new pair of shoes, although I’d love to have those, too. Sometimes it’s fun to get personal, frivolous items that I don’t “need.” Here are some geeky gifts I’d love to have.

This first selection is of hatpins. Ladies wore these to keep their hats from blowing away. Many bonnets tied under the chin, but some of the more decorative hats required pins such as these to keep them in place. You thread these hat pins through the hat and your hair. I have a couple of hats that would look lovely with any of these. I’m partial to the pearl-style hat pins shown here.

The cameo was a popular piece of jewellry for many years in Britain and saw an increase in popularity during King George III’s reign. It was still a preferred adornment during the Regency. I could wear any of these with most of my outfits but the blue is my favorite.

This charm is reminiscent of the quills and inkwells used during the Regency before the invention of the fountain pen. This one has a silhouette of Jane Austen on the inkwell. People had to carefully sharpen the ends of the quills to use them, which required patience and skill. And however did they learn not to dribble ink all over their parchment? After writing, the ink had to be sanded — sand was sprinkled all over the paper then carefully blown or poured off. Sand could be reused.

Here is a pattern of Regency underthings. In my quest to put together a completely authentic Regency ensemble, I’m in need of a pattern for a slip-like garment which they called a chemise, or shift, or chemisette during the Regency. This pattern looks as authentic as any I’ve seen, although the sleeves don’t need to be that long. Shifts were generally made out of a linen or cotton and were also often worn as sleepwear. Since the washing procedures were so harsh, undergarments had to be replaced often. Also shown are “short stays.” Normally only the poorer classes wore these because they didn’t give quite as nice of a silhouette but they are practical because they easily tie in front, unlike long stays which were tied in back.

Lastly, hat wardrobe would not be complete without a parasol such as this one? Parasols were a vital part of a lady’s ensemble when she went out of doors to keep her complexion creamy and un-freckled. Even a hat or bonnet was not always perfect protection from the elements. Besides, being lovely and functional, they could also be a great way to hide one’s face when the occasion calls for it.

Gloves are essential to a Regency lady’s ensemble as well–probably more so than the parasol. However, I have a pair of gloves (not authentic but they work) so they aren’t on my wish list.  Although, I saw some pretty lace gloves I’d love to have. And I’ve always wanted to try a pair of “kid” gloves. Sigh. A costume geek’s work is never done.

What did you see that you’d love to receive as a gift?

 

 

I found these fun gifts at the Jane Austen Centre Gift Shop

Book Giveaway for US Military Personnel

EXTENDED: THE CONTEST WILL REMAIN OPEN UNTIL DECEMBER 10TH.

WINNERS ANNOUNCED DECEMBER 11TH.

christmas-military-book-giveaway-bannerIn honor of my son serving in the Air Force and deployed to the Middle East, I am having a giveaway to thank those brave, unselfish men and women who serve in the US Military. As any reader knows, reading can be a great escape to help ease homesickness which strikes harder during the holidays.

Do you have a family member or close friend serving in the US military who will be on deployment over the Christmas holidays? If so, I’d like to thank you and them by giving him or her a free book. Several other authors have generously donated a book (some donated several) to this loving cause, so you have many genres from which to choose. If your serviceman or woman is chosen in the random drawing, he or she will receive the author-signed book of your choice.

Pretend you are in a bookstore shopping for your serviceman or woman. What would he or she like? Simply browse through the novels listed here–we have everything from sweet historical romance to adventure, fantasy to speculative fiction, and even military-themed action stories! Once you’ve chosen a book, go to the Rafflecopter below, and scroll through the books listed in the Rafflecopter until you find the book you’d like to give. Follow the directions to enter. It’s easy!

BTW, if you find a book you want to read, most titles are a live link to Amazon so you can order your own copy today.

Remember, this is a drawing so there are no guarantees.

Winners must be active duty in US military serving away from home during the 2016 holiday season.

Winners will be announced December 2, 2016 ***EXTENDED: THE CONTEST WILL REMAIN OPEN UNTIL DECEMBER 10TH. WINNERS ANNOUNCED DECEMBER 11TH.***

Here are your book choices:

heartstrings2_fullHeartstrings by Donna Hatch (3 copies)

Gently bred young ladies don’t run away from home to find employment, but when forced to choose between marrying a brutish oaf or becoming another man’s mistress, Susanna makes an unconventional decision. Following her passion for music, she flees to London with dreams of securing a position as a harpist. Becoming entangled with a handsome violinist who calls himself Kit, but who seems too aristocratic for a working-class musician, may be more problematic than sleeping in the streets.

Kit’s attention is captured by Susanna’s breath-taking talent, admirable grace, and winsome smiles…until a lawman exposes the new harpist as a runaway bride and a thief. With peril lurking in the shadows, Susanna’s imminent danger not only forces Kit to choose between his better judgment and his heart, but he must also embrace the life to which he swore he would never return.

Undercover Target by Frank Holdaway (2 copies)undercover-target2

When Matt Knight left his career as a spy to marry the woman of his dreams, he thought he was in for a life of domestic bliss. But after adopting a baby girl and her teenage brother from China, he finds that being a father comes with its own set of challenges— problems for which his work as an antiterrorism agent did nothing to prepare him. Or so he thought. When a Scout campout with his teenage son takes a terrifying turn, Matt realizes his past and present have just collided, with devastating consequences.

Deep in the rugged mountains of Utah, a band of mercenaries lies in wait. The target: Matt Knight. Their orders come from a dangerous enemy from the former agent’s past, one who is bent on destroying everything Matt holds dear. While struggling to protect his son and the other Scouts, Matt is horrified to learn the full extent of the plan: his wife and baby have been taken too. Now the agent-turned-family-man must draw on his years of combat training in an explosive battle to save those he loves— or die trying.

uncommon_blueAn Uncommon Blue by R. C. Hancock

In Télesphore, the glowing color of a person’s palm determines their place in society, and touching hands with another mixes the colors permanently. When sixteen-year-old Bruno accidentally kills a royal soldier, he goes from favored to fugitive. Now Bruno’s only chance at survival is to become someone else. That means a haircut, a change of wardrobe, and most important, getting rid of his once cherished Blue. Now he’s visiting parts of town he never knew existed, and making friends with people he would’ve crossed the street to avoid only weeks ago. At the last minute, Bruno’s parents arrange a deal to clear his name and get his life back. All Bruno has to do is abandon those in the Red slums that look to him as a leader and let an innocent Green boy die in his place.

thumbprint-cover-pic-1000-pixelsThe Dragons of Alsace Farm by Laurie Lewis (2 copies)

The granting of a favor lands loner Noah Carter on ramshackle Alsace Farm, owned by Agnes Deveraux Keller, a French WWII survivor with dementia. The unique friendship that develops between the unlikely pair is threatened when Agnes’s estranged granddaughter, Tayte, arrives save her grandmother, even if it requires her to betray the secret Agnes has guarded for seventy years.

The issue strains the fragile trust between Tayte and Noah, who now realizes Tayte is hiding her own secrets. Her own dragons. Ill-equipped to help either woman, he remembers Agnes’s example of courage and love. In order to save Agnes, the student must now become the teacher, helping Tayte heal—for Agnes’s sake, and for his.

Emerald Bound by Teresa Richards (1 copy)

emeraldboundevernightpublishing-jayaheer2015-finalcover
A princess, a pea, and a tower of mattresses. This is the sliver that survives of a story more nightmare than fairy tale.

Maggie Rhodes, high school junior and semi-reformed stalker, learns the tale’s true roots after a spying attempt goes awry and her best friend Kate ends up as the victim of an ancient curse. At the center of the curse lies an enchanted emerald that has been residing quietly in a museum for the past fifty years. Admirers of the gem have no idea that it feeds on life. Or that it’s found its next victim in Kate.

Enter Lindy, a school acquaintance who knows more than she’s letting on, and Garon, a handsome stranger claiming he knows how to help, and Maggie is left wondering who to trust and how to save her best friend before it’s too late.

If only Maggie knew her connection to the fairy tale was rooted far deeper than an endangered best friend.

detrimentDetriment by Christoff Orr (5 copies)

All it takes is one moment, one event for evil to take hold and change a nation.  When America’s power grid was knocked out, all was lost. No longer the land of the free, but the land of the oppressed and ruled.  Follow the brave men and women who fought back, who risked everything in order to reclaim what mattered most, Freedom.  The Lost Nation Series is a compelling story of survival and sacrifice.  A story, though fiction, that is based on a very real possibility. What would you do, if your own country turned against you? How would you survive? Are you prepared? Are you willing to fight, to save a Nation lost in itself?

nopeacewiththedawncoverNo Peace with the Dawn by EB Wheeler (2 copies)

 In 1917, the Great War seems far from Logan, Utah, but soon it will transform the lives of Marine Corps volunteer Reed, suffragette Clara, Swiss-German immigrant Trudi, and Shoshone seeking U.S. citizenship Joseph. This novel weaves real events with compelling fictional characters into a sweeping tale of war, romance, self-discovery, and sacrifice.

wilds_wanda_luceIn the Wilds of Devon by Wanda Luce (1 copy)

Lord Rupert Carrington, former captain in finds Majesty’s Royal Navy, finds diversion and adventure by helping the London detectives of Bow Street take down criminals. When Rupert ferrets out a ring of smugglers and is marked for death, the prince regent banishes him to a remote corner of England, where he is only to be known by his title of captain, until the villains are arrested and brought to court. On the first day of Rupert’s exile to the “wilds of Devon,” he meets Alexandra Dancy, a beautiful, but impoverished, country miss whose complex character and extraordinary courage stir in him a degree of affection and admiration he has not yet felt.

Alexandra and her family hide their aristocratic origins to protect a dark secret known to only one man, Cecil Bedford, who wields a cruel power over them. Can Rupert save her from Bedford’s clutches and topple the seemingly insurmountable barriers to winning her love and her hand?

soul_wand_luceThe Soul of a Lady by Wanda Luce (1 copy)

At six and twenty, Lydia Hathaway has endured years of heartbreak, longing for a love that never came. Her deceased fathers foolhardiness has left her family bankrupt, and she is eventually left no alternative but to take a position as a companion to Susan Ashcroft of Danbury Park in Surrey. Early one morning, Lydia rambles across the muddy wilds of the Ashcroft estate, where she has a most unimaginable encounter with Connor Parkhurst, the notorious Viscount Denton. As their paths continue to cross, Lydia falls ever deeper in love with the charming rogue while battling against his growing assault on her heart. In spite of his forward attentions, she considers his behavior toward her as nothing more than idle flirtation. And why should she think otherwise? As the wealthy son of an earl, Lord Denton may choose from among the most beautiful women of England’s first circles. Tormented in a relentless battle to suppress a love she cannot overcome, Lydia resolves to leave the Ashcrofts and Danbury Park forever. After all, she is nothing to Lord Denton isn’t she?

Finding Sheba by HB Moore (1 copy)

51nip-2rebl-_sx332_bo1204203200_For centuries, historians have speculated that the Queen of Sheba is nothing more than a seductive legend; but when undercover agent Omar Zagouri finds a tomb in a tunnel beneath Jerusalem, he unearths cryptic clues that may lead to the queen’s final resting place.

This discovery, if authentic, could throw into question the governmental claim to the Holy Land—and prove the Bible false. Wealthy collectors, ruthless archaeologists, and officials from Egypt, Ethiopia, Israel, and Yemen scramble to find and lay claim to the secret site.

Dr. Richard Lyon of Brown University, the world’s leading expert on the queen, is found murdered in his office, setting off a chain of deadly events. Omar desperately works to piece together the puzzle to locate the queen’s burial ground, fearing another assassination will take place. He teams up with one of Lyon’s protégées as well as with his ex-girlfriend, agent Mia Golding, in order to unravel the truth about the queen, expose a murderer, and reveal a timeless story of love, revenge, and sacrifice.

existenceExistence, (book 1 in the Quantum Faith Effect series) by Carolyn Twede Frank (1copy)

Genre: YA speculative fiction with inspirational and historical twists
 
What if a book really could take you into another world?

A strange girl …
A creepy teacher …
A cool invention …
And the hardest question anyone has ever been asked. 

Josh Sawyer’s big mouth usually gets him in trouble, but when his high school debate coach challenges him to prove the existence of God, Josh uses the things he learns at the feet of such amazing people as Joan of Arc, William Tyndale, and George Washington while traveling through books to prove his point . . . and ultimately to solve a murder. 

jpeg-coverElemental by Tiffany Dominguez (1 ebook copy)

Hidden within the Blue Ridge Mountains, an elite private school trains students born with the Elemental powers of Earth, Air, Fire and Water. Luke Huntington, Earth Elemental, is tired of incompetent teachers, easy classes and most of all, competing with Eva Sarantos. Soon-to-be valedictorian Eva, Air Elemental, has trained for years for the chance to prove herself to her advisor, to the Council and to the infuriating Luke. In spite of their tricky past, these two high school seniors are paired together on a covert mission for the ruling body of the Elemental world. After destroying an airplane hangar and watching one of their closest teachers die in their defense, the two students fly to Italy, pursued by an army of black-cloaked elitists. In Italy, they discover Luke’s ancient legacy, the secrets of two of the most powerful men in history and whether they can overcome their own tricky past to team up against a secret society gathering forces in the highest ranks of world leadership.

Big unnamedin Japan by Jennifer Griffith (1 copy)

Buck Cooper can’t remember when he became socially invisible-probably when he hit 300 pounds. Now he’s working a dead end job, getting no notice from his boss and no love from the cute secretary he pines for. But when he gets shanghaied to Tokyo, all of that changes for the mild-mannered Buck-because this blond Texan is about to go sumo! Peek inside the secret world of sumo, and cheer for Buck as he fights his way through the ranks- against bullies of incredible size-to win the heart of the girl he loves.

 the-seerThe Seer by Jared Garrett (1 copy)

Nathan gains insight into people’s souls from the ancient cloak of Joseph and has to dodge assassins and stop a murderous, cursed traitor.

lakhoniLakhoni by Jared Garrett(1 copy)

Lakhoni faces assassins, terrifying conditions, family betrayal, and a harrowing journey to find and kill the king who murdered his family. 

healing-stoneHealing Stone by Brock Boohe (1 copy)

Abandoned in a graveyard and a mother who was never found — that’s all Stone Molony knows about his birth. But now he needs to know more. A tragic accident has awakened a powerful gift inside him that changes everything. As the town stirs up around him, Stone journeys through corruption, racism, and violence to uncover the truth about his past.

unnamedThe Charity Chip by Brock Booher(1 copy)

 Life on the streets of Lima is already difficult for Julio, but now that digital money has replaced hard currency, survival is virtually impossible. Isak comes to his rescue and offers him a chance at a better life through a hi-tech humanitarian program. The only catch is a microchip implanted between the thumb and forefinger of the hand. At first life improves dramatically, but when another participant dies mysteriously, Julio suspects that the chip does more than just dispense charity. Now he must uncover the truth behind the charity chip before someone else suffers the same fate.
dangerous-obsession

Dangerous Obsession by M.M. Roethig

A dancer and a Marine—two worlds collide.

Chloe Johnson is no stranger to the spotlight. A prestigious member of the LA Laker Girls, she’s in the public eye regularly. Her world is perfect.Eric Taylor, on the other hand, is damaged, both body and spirit. Injured overseas, he returns home with fresh physical wounds, invisible emotional scars, and a bad attitude.

When Chloe becomes the object of affection to an unknown stalker, she must leave her life behind and rely on a total stranger, and the only man she’s ever met who’s never happy to see her—Eric. Can she trust this hardened soldier with her life?

Slayers by C.J. Hill (aka Janette Rallison)

slayersDragons exist. They’re ferocious. And, in this novel from C. J. Hill, they’re smart: before they were killed off by slayer-knights, they rendered a select group of eggs dormant so their offspring would survive. Only a handful of people know about this, let alone believe it―these “Slayers” are descended from the original knights and are now a diverse group of teens that includes Tori, a smart but spoiled senator’s daughter who didn’t sign up to save the world.

The dragon eggs have fallen into the wrong hands. The Slayers must work together to stop the eggs from hatching. They will fight; they will fall in love. But will they survive?

Drawing out the Dragons: a Meditation on Art, 15045754_10211563460226982_539114594_nDestiny, and the Power of Choice, the original paperback edition by James A. Owen (10 copies)

I believe in you. You have a great destiny. You are meant for great things. And it s possible to live a wonderful, extraordinary life.” That is the promise offered by bestselling author and illustrator James A. Owen in this remarkable and inspirational meditation. In Drawing Out the Dragons, James shares personal stories and the deep truths he learned while navigating past obstacles and adversity toward a life of lasting belief and joy. We all have a grand destiny, but sometimes we feel we lack the power to achieve it. But we always have the power to choose. Every drawing, every life, is nothing but a series of choices and actions. Make your lines. Make your choices. . . . What you create from there is entirely up to you. Drawing Out the Dragons has the power to uplift, inspire, and change your life.
Did you find a book your US military loved one would enjoy? Go to the Rafflecopter below, scroll through the books listed until you find the book you’d like to give. Follow the directions to enter. It’s easy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway