Monday, November 23, 2015

Brighton Revisited

The Royal Pavilion at Brighton stands out as an icon in the world of Regency fiction. Brighton became the place for the haute ton  in the summer with its libraries, Assembly Rooms, sea bathing and promenading all under the eye of the Prince of Wales. If you were in with the in crowd, then you would also be invited to a ball a the Pavilion.

It was here that Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold spent time together before Prinny gave his assent to their engagement. Some of that story, you can find in my short story, Princess Charlotte's Choice.

But that is not the only reason Brighton means a great deal to me. My very dear mother-in-law, while not born here, grew up here. Later my husband spent many happy childhood holidays on Brighton Beach while staying at his grandmother's boarding house.

So this particular visit to Brighton was not only a visit to one of the hearts of Regency England, it was also a walk down memory lane.  And typical of memory lane, the weather was also typically wet all day. It drizzled on and off for the first part of our day, and as you can see the minarets of the Pavilion barely stood out against the grey of the sky.

 By the way, not everyone holds George IV as he later became, in contempt.

This is a statue of him erected by public subscription in 1828.  He was, of course, instrumental in changing Brighton from a small fishing village known as Brighthelmstone.  The town itself adored our Prinny for the wealth he brought to their City.

Walking south from the Pavilion you come to Old Stein, where our characters can promenade and strut their stuff in the fashionable quarter of Prinny's Brighton.

The Old Stein was originally an open green with a stream running through it to the east of the village used by fishermen for the drying of their nets and of course ended at the beach. During our period it was enclosed and became much smaller than when Brighton had been simply Brighhelmston.

We had a lovely time wandering around the area and I will share more about this next time.....

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Regency Fashion November 1815

Promenade Dress ~ From Ackermann's November 1815

Here is the description:

A round pelisse made of the Moreno blue striped satin; long loose sleeve, trimmed over the hand with plain satin; a full ruff composed of the finest French cambric, richly ornamented with French work. 

A small French shawl of shaded silks thrown carelessly over the shoulders. 

A bonnet composed of orange-coloured satin, gipsied with a handkerchief of the same, edged and tied under the chin with Moreno blue satin ribbon; the handkerchief and the rim of the bonnet trimmed with blond lace, and a cluster of wild flowers ornamenting the crown. 

Sandals, red or blue morocco. Gloves, York tan.

The shawl looks rather carefully placed to me, but the description makes it sound enchanting, doesn't it?

I love seeing the reticule and although it is not described although it is not described, the colour makes it stand out beautifully, don't you think?

Until next time….

Monday, November 16, 2015

Top Pick for the Duke's Daring Debutante

Night Owl Reviews give a top pick to the Duke's Daring Debutante. So pleased.

Here is a snippet. For the full review click the link below.

"If you are a fan of historical romance I highly recommend you pick this one up. I'm looking forward to many more offerings by this talented author." ~ Night Owl Reviews

All right so it's blowing my own horn, but once in a while is okay, right?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Harlequin Blow Out Bonanza

Wow! That ten years went fast!

You will find lots of my books on sale from Harlequin Historicals. Some are short, some are full length. Enjoy

Monday, November 2, 2015

Regency Fashion November 1815

Morning Gown Ackermann's November1815

A FRENCH jacket and petticoat composed of fine cambric muslin; 

the petticoat of full walking length, is ornamented at the feet with a broad border of the French work let in, and the fullness of the skirt carried partially round the waist; 

the jacket, rounded in front, has a broad cape to correspond, and is trimmed entirely round with French work corresponding with the petticoat; a long bishop sleeve, with French work let in at the wrist. 

A French mob cap composed of satin and quilled lace. Slippers, coloured kerseymere. Gloves, York tan.

Not one of my favourites. Perhaps it is the way the jacket looks, however I am pleased to see it called a jacket interestingly enough. And bishop sleeves are different.

Until Next time

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fall Back In Time

In addition to turning back the clocks, November 1 is also the day when aficionados of Historicalromance novels celebrate #fallbackintime with a picture - it can be you or your cat or your friend -- with a favourite historical romance novel.

 Post it on twitter or Facebook or wherever you hang out with the hashtag #fallbackintime then sit back RT and or share all the posts you see and watch it trend across the internet

Here is my pic from last year to give you the idea. In addition to the hashtag, if you are into social media, you can tag the historical romance networks too:

FB: (@HistoricalRomanceNetwork)  (@histromnet)

While Europe have already done their clocks, that is no reason not to join in if you love historicals. The more the merrier for this celebration.

Above is the one I did last year so you can see what I mean (I'll be doing a new one for this year). You don't need to add text to the photo, but you do need to put the hashtag in the post to have it show up on Social Media and see it shared around the world.

Join in by retweeting and sharing etc. if you don't want to do a picture of your own.  See you on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Farningham Village, Kent

For such a small place, Farningham has a great many lovely old buildings some of which I thought you might like to take a look at.

This cottage was once two cottages and they date from the sixteenth century. The one in in the forefront of the picture faces onto the River Darent, actually right on the bank, and if you look closely you can see its ground floor is well below the level of the road. Flooding has been a problem according to recent owners. The basement is no longer in use!  These cottages stands at the edge of the bridge over the river from which I took that earlier picture of the cattle screen.

 Here is a view from the other side.

Here is a view of the ancient Farningham Mill. It is about to become apartments and homes so will not look like this for much longer.

There has been an inn at this point where the road crosses the River Darent for centuries. While it is now called Lion Hotel in our period it was the Black Lion.  It was used as both a watering hole for horses and people as well as a meeting place for the village.

Who can resist such an interesting name for a street. And the reason behind it.  It was the lane people used to avoid the toll road and thus - spare (or save) a penny. Now shortcuts are always good places for heroes and heroines to come a cropper.  Oh, and this is not the only so named lane, there is one in Eynesford too.

Finally a home labelled on the gate as The White House and indicated as being built in 1743.  A local history notes it as being built for a surgeon. He must have been doing very well indeed.

Until next time..................

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ancient Structure, Farningham in Kent

Today we stop in the ancient village of Farningham in Kent.

Because the village is near where I grew up, I was surprised I hadn't noticed this particular structure crossing the River Darenth before.

What is it?

Did you guess a bridge? No. I took the picture from the bridge.

Guess again.

Yes this is indeed taken from the other side. As you can clearly see from this angle there is no place to cross. Could it be one remaining wall of a medieval bridge?

There is nothing to suggest it once tied in to another structure at all. It puzzled the experts for years.

Do you give up?

All right, humor me, it's Thursday and my edits are just about done.

 What if I said it has something to do with cows?

I expect you have either googled it, or figured it out by now.

The function of this structure is to serve as a cattle screen. That is to stop cows from the adjoining field who use the river to drink or who crossed at the ford here, from wandering downstream and ending up where they were not supposed to be when the climbed out again. They might have ended up wandering around Farningham village, or wandering along the road where the traffic would have been busy.

This extraordinarily ornate structure for such a mundane purpose was built between 1740 and 1770 when the Hanger family owned Farningham Manor. It was a testament to the wealth of the family at this time.

In the 1800's the Darent River was known as one of the finest trout streams in England and Charles Dicken's is known to have fished it. It is very shallow at this point, and likely because it could be forded here, it was the reason for the village being established at this point. The water is also lovely and clear and fishing does not seem at all out of the realm of possibility. A lovely location for setting a scene in a story.

Until next time................

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It Happened One Christmas

It is always exciting when a new book comes out. This one~~ three heartwarming series of Regency Christmas novellas from three Harlequin Historical authors~~ is out in print now.
E-books are available for preorder and will be available November 1st. If you didn't check it out already, visit my facebook page for details of the preorder contest.

Four Stars ~ Romantic Times "these three wonderful Regency authors showcase the joy of yuletide that shine with the magic of the season."


Christmas gets more interesting when sailing master Ben Muir takes lodgings with Mandy Mathison! Because when her scandalous past is revealed, only he can save her future… 


Lily Rutherford is shocked to learn the man who snubbed her years before will be staying for Christmas. Can she forgive the viscount in time for a stolen kiss under the mistletoe? 

WALLFLOWER, WIDOW…WIFE! by Ann Lethbridge 

Penniless widow Cassandra Norton faces Christmas on the run with her two stepdaughters, until Adam Royston sweeps her off her feet and into his country estate!

Find it at Barnes and Noble
Pick it up at
Or go to your favorite bookstore
For preorders of the ebook, also visit
Harlequin - where you can sign up for points towards other purchases.

Or, for more purchase links, go to my website

Until next time, when we will be taking another peek at Hever Castle.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Regency Fashion October 1815

A Walking Dress for Autumn

This charming outfit appeared in Ackermann's Repository.
I love the way she is looking over her shoulder at us and the romantic rocky setting. Interestingly, it reminds me of the grotto at Stourhead, a place I visited in 2010. And here she is, caught in the middle of reading a romance perhaps.

This is definitely a scene I need to write one of these days! 

Here is the description provided by our favourite magazine.

A round robe of fine cambric or jaconot muslin, ornamented with a double flounce of French needle-work at the feet, under an open pelisse, composed of French grey sarsnet, lined with the salmon colour; the upper part of the sleeve lashed with satin of corresponding colour, fulled and let in. 

A full ruff of needle-work and a small French handkerchief round the neck. 

French hat of the satin straw, with a quilling of net round the rim; three rows of grey satin ribbon, plain or quilled, round the crown; and a full plume of white feathers, edged to correspond. 

Slippers, blue or red morocco. Gloves, York tan.

Coming soon-

It happened one Christmas. If you have missed the preorder contest which ends soon, check out my Facebook page or go to my website for details.

Until next time……...

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Regency Fashion ~ October 1815

Morning Dress October 1815
From Ackermann's Repository

1815 seems to be the year of the ruffle, as I look back over several of this year's fashion blogs.

This one looks more like a nightgown to me and the use of the word negligee in the description makes me realize why. Of course morning dresses were designed for wearing around the house while looking pretty. I always love it when they add furniture to the picture.

Here is the official description

A CAMBRIC muslin petticoat, ornamented at the feet with a double flounce of French work, appliqued with a narrow heading of the same; 

the body, from the shoulder to the neck, gathered full into narrow trimming, corresponding with the heading of the flounce; a military collar, frilled with the French work; 

short French negligée, open in the front, and trimmed entirely round to correspond; long loose sleeve, gathered into a narrow trimming at the wrist, with a ruffle of the same French work. A round cap, composed of white satin and quilled lace; a white satin rose in the front. 

Stockings, ribbed silk. 

Slippers, red morocco or black kid.

Until next time………..

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Regency Britain - Hever Castle

This castle is likely one of the most famous in Britain, having been home to two of Britain's Queens.  Ann Boleyn and Ann of Cleves.

It was built as a defensive castle in the 13th Century,
by William de Hever, Sheriff under Edward I.  Even though after going into disrepair for several decades, the defensive nature of it is easily seen.

One can imagine it firing the imagination of little Regency girls and boys playing knights and maidens in distress, or maiden going out to battle the invading armies.

And yes, that is a moat all around the outside. One passes over a bridge to get into the house.

It was in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries that Hever Castle was owned by the Bullens, relatives of Ann Boleyn. By this time, the defensive nature was a thing of the past. It was a Tudor home.

These  photo's clearly illustrate that, but although it was Tudor in style during the Regency it was owned by Jane Waldo, the daughter of a knight of the realm, Sir Timothy Waldo, so it could easily be a back drop for a Regency story.

Next time, we go inside the house. Untill then.....

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Regency Fashion September 1815

As we move into Fall, this September dress makes a bit impression for sheer femininity. 

A Carriage Dress from Ackermans for September 1815. I love that she has a lorgnette in one hand and a lacy handkerchief in the other.  I can remember carrying real handkerchiefs about my person as a child.  I still have a gift box of embroidered ones given to me by my grandmother somewhere. Paper tissues just don't quite feel the same do they?  Although I do like the little packets with pretty designs on the wrapping that you keep in your purse.  I digress.

Ackermann's describes this dress as follows.

Carriage Dress September 1815

Cambric muslin, jaconet, or French cambric dress, of short walking length, ornamented round the skirt with four borders of embroidery laid on; long sleeve, the fullness at the wrist confined in a bracelet of corresponding embroidery let in. 

Plain handkerchief, front trimmed en suite. The back of the dress broad and plain, sloped low between the shoulders; the fullness of the petticoat extended round the waist; the sleeve worn considerably off the shoulder, and the waist very short. 

The Anglesea chip hat, decorated with a full cluster of ostrich feathers, drooping forward. Sandals, kid, of the Pomona green colour. Gloves, Limerick or York tan.

I think this is a very flattering style of hat and one can imagine a lady able to stride out in a dress of this shape. I think this is an outfit I would use in a story.

Until next time

Thursday, September 17, 2015

No Conventional Miss

Today we welcome debut author writing for Harlequin Historicals, Eleanor Webster, whose new book No Conventional Miss is out in October 2015.
She's always been different… Amaryllis Gibson is an unlikely debutante. She favors fact over fashion, cares not for "proper" conversation and is haunted by ghostly visions which could land  her in the madhouse! Marriage is definitely the last thing on Rilla's mind… But when she's caught in a compromising position with Viscount Wyburn, suddenly she finds herself betrothed! And worse, his powerful presence only increases her visions. By shedding light on the viscount's past, can Rilla gain his trust and win him round to her more…unconventional traits?

Welcome Eleanor, please tell us something about your journey to authorship and the research you undertook for this book.

I have always loved the Regency Period. Perhaps this developed from a youthful over- indulgence in Georgette Heyer but I think it is more than that. Regency society is one poised for change. The inventions of the Industrial Revolution are emerging, bringing with them the anticipation of societal transformation. Years ago, a friend got a summer job in Austria – we lived in Canada - by connecting his computer through the telephone lines. I was fascinated. It was a glimpse into the future and, although I could not anticipate its impact, I felt an emotional charge, an innate gut-level understanding that I was witnessing a game changer.

I wonder if people observing Richard Trevithick's first steam-driven railway journey in 1804 felt a similar charge. Or those brave passengers who boarded his ‘Catch-me-who-can’ locomotive  in London. Granted, many would have scoffed. Trevithick’s locomotives  had a habit of breaking the rails and falling over but I still think there would have been an atmosphere – a feeling – at least, for those with imagination and the spirit of innovation

My heroine, Amaryllis (Rilla) Gibson in the October Harlequin Historical release, No Conventional Miss, has exactly this spirit. Rilla is keenly interested in force, momentum and any number of ‘unladylike’ activities. She is working on an automated butter churn and has an eager enthusiasm for all things scientific.

As I began my research, I wondered whether any ‘real-life’ Regency woman might be similar to Rilla or were such accomplishments destined to remain in the fictional realm. Then I found Sarah Guppy (1770-1852). Sarah was born in Birmingham and patented numerous designs. Indeed, she achieved considerable financial success, earning a contract from the British Navy worth £40,000 for a device to prevent the growth of barnacles on ships. And then there is my personal favorite; her invention of a tea or coffee urn which also cooked eggs and warmed toast.

Needless to say, the number of female Regency inventors is limited – at least those publicly acknowledged. Indeed, women were not even permitted to become fellows of Britain foremost scientific institution, the  Royal Society of London, until 1945.

However, current historians are starting to rediscover people like Sarah and recognize female scientific accomplishments during the 18th and 19th century. Richard Holmes in the The Age of Wonder argues that women contributed to a far greater extent than is commonly acknowledged. Moreover, he states that they saw science in the context of a wider world, raising questions about its duties and moral responsibilities.

As for me, the Regency Period will always fascinate and I will continue to write about those women, both real and imagined, who had a zest for living, an imagination and the spirit of innovation.
Richard Holmes's The Age of Wonder won the Royal Society's Science Books Prize for 2009; its sequel, The Lost Women of Victorian Science, will be published by HarperCollins and Pantheon USA

Eleanor loves high-heels and sun, which is ironic as she lives in northern Canada, the land of snowhills and unflattering footwear. Various crafting experiences, including a nasty glue-gun episode,  have proven that her creative soul is best expressed through the written word. Eleanor is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in psychology and holds an undergraduate degree in history and creative writing. She loves to use her writing to explore her fascination with the past.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Regency Fashion September 1815

As we move into the cooler weather for autumn we see it reflected in this Dinner Dress from Ackermann's for September 1815
The magazine describes this gown as follows

A WHITE satin slip, worn under a dress made in primrose-coloured French gauze, terminating at the feet with a full flounce of blond lace, headed with a double border of the same, gathered in full, and confined with folds of satin, of corresponding colour to the dress; 

handkerchief-front trimmed with white satin, and a falling collar of blond lace; long sleeve of white satin, the fullness upon the shoulder confined under an epaulet of the French gauze, trimmed with white satin;

the sleeve drawn alternatingly across the arm with the evening primrose-coloured satin ribbon. Long sash of white satin, tied in front. 

The ends of the hind hair brought forward, to fall in ringlets over the temple, confined with a plain white satin ribbon, and ornamented with a tiara of pearl. 

Necklace to correspond. Gloves, French kid. Slippers, white satin.

Well, to me, primrose is a yellow colour and the artist made this blue. I almost want to get my colouring pencils out and fix it.  Perhaps yellow did not work well in print to show the difference between the blond lace etc. and the French gauze. Not that I don't really like the blue, it just doesn't say primrose to me.


Until next time, when we will be meeting Eleanor Webster and her debut book, No Conventional Miss…….

For more information about Ann Lethbridge and her books, visit

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Regency Fashions August 1815

Books being what they are we are playing catchup. I wanted you to have this August dress before I started on September's offerings.

This is a summer Promenade Dress from Ackermann's Repository and this is the extracted description:

High dress, with plain body, buttoned or laced behind, composed of a rich satin-striped sarsnet, of celestial blue and white colour, trimmed at the feet with white satin;

long loose sleeve, confined at the wrist with a fulling of tull, edged with white satin;

a deep full ruff, of the French work, round the neck; a short sash of white satin ribbon, tied behind.

A French bonnet, composed of tull fulled in, and alternate folds of white satin; a roll of white satin, laced with tull, ornaments the edge of the bonnet; satin strings, tied under the ear.

Necklace of Oriental-gold.

Stockings elastic or ribbed silk.

Sandals crossed high up the ankle with blue ribbon. Gloves Limerick or blue kid. Parasol of shaded silk.

i thought this looked particularly elegant though I am not a fan of ruffs.

Until next time…..

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Regency Inns

 Pubs hold a very special place in Britain as they did in the Regency.  Here are a couple in the small village of Thruxton, Hampshire where we stayed overnight.   Both inns were built well before the Regency.

The George Inn is a 17th century coaching inn which a character in a book might well have stopped at en route by stage or perhaps postchaise.

The White Horse Inn, dating back to the fourteenth century, however, is very different.  It is located in the village near "Mullenspond" and in 1761 a turnpike gate was set up opposite it for the turnpike road between Amesbury and Andover.

The two views of the front and back of the inn provide a sense of its charm and a wonderful setting for a trip during Regency times.

Until next time

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Regency Fashion August 1815

Such a pretty summer evening dress 
for August 1815 from Ackermann's Repository.

A WHITE satin petticoat, ornamented at the feet with a broad border of tull and satin; a frock-body, tied behind, composed of tull and satin, with a quilling of tull terminating at each end point of the shoulder-strap; a short sleeve, richly ornamented with frilled tull, corresponding to the bottom of the dress; short sash of white satin, tied in full bows behind. 
        Cap composed of white satin and gathered tull, decorated in the front with a full wreath formed of tull edged with satin. Stockings plain silk. Slippers white kid or ribbed sarsnet. Gloves French kid, drawn over the elbow.
       The waists of both morning and full dress continue extremely short, and the backs in full dress are generally brought very low, and frequently to the bottom of the waist. The fronts of both high and low bodies continued without alteration; and are made plain, to fit the shape. 
      In morning and promenade dress the sleeve is universally long, and this month worn of the same material as the dress. The short full sleeve is equally prevalent in evening costume. The length of the walking petticoat continues to meet the top of the sandal, which appears in more estimation than the boot. The most prevailing colours for the present month are, Pomona green, primrose, apple-blossom, and the celestial blue.

I love that we get the names of the popular colours for the month don't you?
Ann Lethbridge

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Regency Fashion July 1815

I hope you are having a wonderful summer.  I have been enjoying the good weather, but do not want to say goodbye to July without our second fashion feature, which I am inputting sitting on my deck with a warm breeze blowing.
I really like this gown, and love that it uses pomona green satin in stripes.  Clearly our young lady is of a musical bent, at least I am seeing this as a song book, what do you think?

Evening Gown - July 1815 from Ackermann's Repository

A white satin slip, worn under a dress formed of tull, with folds of satin of Pomona green and white alternately let in, terminating at the feet with a rich flounce of blond lace, headed with a broad border of white roses, appliqued with lilies of the valley.

A frock front, tastefully varied with tull and satin ribbon; the back brought to a point, reaching the bottom of the waist, and trimmed from the points of the stomacher in front with quilling of blond lace.

Short fancy sleeve of tull and satin ribbon, corresponding with the front of the dress. Short sash of net edged with green satin, tied in bows behind.

Head-dress, a plume of ostrich feathers; necklace, pearl; ear-drops and bracelets to correspond; slippers, white satin; gloves of French kid, drawn over the elbow.

The dresses of this month, as well as those of the last, are furnished by Mrs. Bean, of Albemarle-street, a lady to whose taste and invention the fashionable world is under considerable obligations.

And for those who prefer to sit indoors and embroider, a pattern you can try from the same issue.
One of these days I am going to give one of these a go.  Until next time……..

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Travelling Through Regency England

It wasn't all grand houses, you know.  So as I travel I take pictures of places my heroes and heroines might pass or visit on their way through the English countryside.

Here are a couple from around Lulworth.

 This Church abuts the castle and would have served the protestant congregation in counterpoint the to Roman Catholic Church inside the grounds.

A view I could not resist as we departed Lulworth

One cannot go far without finding a village in.  This is the Weld Arms, Weld being the family name of those who owned Lulworth Castle you will recall from earlier posts.  I though I would mention it just in case you did not.

This in dates from the 17th century and with a bit of imagination it can be used as a stopping place along the road of any Regency journey

Part of the back of the inn in case it might be needed for a quick escape.

Here we have a shot of the interior. Something tells me this is a combining of two floors.  I would re-imagine that upper window as looking out over the road from a private parlour.

 This interior with its low ceiling looks far more how I would imaging the lower floor of this inn.  But of course it to has been updated.

Below we have the sign with the Weld family Arms.

And so we leave Dorset and move on to Hampshire.  More next time