Monday, January 25, 2016

Fashion January 1816

I love the embroidery on this gown.

EVENING DRESS - Ackermann's   January 1816

A white crape frock over a satin slip; the frock is superbly ornamented with French Lama work in silver; the dress is cut very low all round the bosom, and the crape fronts are open at each side, so as to display the white satin one underneath.

The sleeve is an intermixture of white satin and crape; the latter full, the former tastefully ornamented with silver, to correspond with the bottom of the dress.

Head-dress, a white crape turban, ornamented with silver and a long white feather.

Necklace and ear-rings of pearl. White kid gloves, drawn nearly to the elbow, and finished at the top by a quilling of tull. White satin slippers.

This frock is also in high estimation for a ball-dress, with the hair full-dressed and pearl ornaments, or a comb composed of pearl and coloured gems.

We are indebted to the tasteful fancy of Mrs. Bean of Albemarle-street for both our dresses this month.

If you enjoy Regency romances, look out for my next book.  Details about where when and what

Coming Soon:

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

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Brighton Revisted 3

St Nicholas of Myra is an absolute treasure. It dates from the fourteenth century, though there has been a church in Brighthelstone since Saxon times. The main source of income for villagers was mackerel fishing and therefor the church is appropriately dedicated to the patron saint of fishermen and children.

The fact that this is the church where my mother in law was married makes it special to our family, but as a regency buff it is also special because of its association with those members of Regency society who would have attended church here during the summer months.

Here are some of the fascinating things about St Nicholas of interest to Regency aficionados.  The Duke of Wellington attended the school "The Academy for Young Gentlemen" run by the vicar of St Nicholas.  It was common practice for vicars to supplement their income by teaching the boys of local gentlemen at that time.

During the Regency, their were galleries in the church for local fisherman, charity pensioners and Charity-school children, while the more affluent worshiped in the box pews at ground level.  These galleries were removed during a major renovation in 1853.

The Church acquired a new organ in 1813, instrument built by H.C.Lincoln and pipes by Bevington.
If you have an interest in seeing the church before the restoration I have a picture showing the pews which hints at the galleries above, but the quality is such that I cannot include it here.

What does remain is the fifteenth century screen which is absolutely beautiful. It is thought to have come from East Anglia. Parts of it were destroyed when  the Cromwellians had a go at it, it was restored in the late 19th century.

While the stone pillars and arches were also there, the Galleries aforementioned were on a level with the festoons of the screen, making the church a much smaller and more crowded place.

 The Font, pictured here is from the 12th Century.

Made from a solid block of Caen Stone it is known as the finest piece of Norman carving in Sussex.

Of course my big question was, did all those Regency notables worship here at the only church in what became Brighton.  The local history says it was too far up the hill.

A chapel was therefore built nearer to the Pavillion. The Prince Regent rented one of the pews at 13 guineas a year.

However the Vicar at the time, preached a sermon about King David seducing Bathsheba and sending Prinny off from there in high dudgeon, never to return.

At the time of the Regency, the bell tower sported 8 bells and was known for marathon peals, ringing as many as 11,088 changes over six hours in 1779.  It became the first 10 bell tower in 1818.

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

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Fashion - January 1816

I do hope you all enjoyed your celebration of the new year as we move into 1816 -- oops, earth to Ann, it is really 2016. How quickly time flies.

However, we will go back in time and take a peek at what the ladies were wearing back then.  December 1815 gave us a walking dress, Ackermann's in January puts us in a carriage, surprisingly however, the colour is the same.

High dress, composed of the finest dark blue ladies’ cloth; it is made up to the throat, but without a collar, has a slight fullness in the back, and falls very much off the shoulder; 

the front is tight to the shape, and the waist very short. 

The trimming is dark blue satin, to correspond; it is cut byas, laid on double and very full:

long plain sleeve, finished at the wrist with satin; 

French ruff of very rich lace. Head-dress a la mode de Paris; it is a cap composed of white lace, and ornamented with two rolls of ribbon to correspond: the form of this cap is in the highest degree original. 

Gloves white kid. Sandals blue kid.

I find the shape of the dress very attractive, though to me it seems more like a "coat-dress" something I really liked wearing back in the day (my day).

The cap reminds me of a Spanish comb (peineta).

I think it preferable to December's offering, but it is all about taste.

Until next time........

Monday, December 28, 2015

Farewell to 1815

Our last fashion blog for the year.

Walking Dress, December 1815

Not my favourite by a long way, despite the glowing recommendation at the end of the description. As always it gives us a voyeuristic sense of the time.

The description is from the Ackermann's December 1815 edition.

Pelisse, of walking length, composed of blue twilled sarsnet, fastened down the front with large bows of white satin ribbon, and ornamented at the feet with a border of leaves formed of the same sarsnet, edged with white satin: 

the bottom of the pelisse, trimmed with white satin, is drawn into small festoons; sleeve ornamented at the shoulder and the hand to correspond; 

a French embroidered ruff. 

A French hat composed of the blue twilled sarsnet, trimmed with white satin edged with blue, and decorated with a large plume of ostrich feathers. 

An Indian shawl of crimson silk, richly embroidered in shaded silks. The pocket-handkerchief French cambric, embroidered at the corners. 

Shoes, blue morocco, tied with bows high upon the instep. Stockings with embroidered clocks. Gloves, York tan.

The silver-striped French gauze is a novel and elegant article, which, fashioned by the ever-varying and approved taste of Mrs. Bean, requires to be viewed, before a just idea can be received of its fascinating effects; it is allowed to be the lightest and most splendid costume ever yet presented by the amateur to the votaries of fashion.

I do hope you all had a very happy Christmas tide, if it is something you celebrate.

I am looking forward to embarking with you on a new year of fashion, travel and books.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Fashion - December 1815

Evening Gown from Ackerman's

A CRIMSON satin slip, underneath a frock of three-quarters length made of the silver-striped French gauze; the slip ornamented at the feet with clusters of flowers, and a narrow border of white satin edged with crimson ribbon: 

the frock has a border of white satin, edged to correspond, and is drawn up in the Eastern style, confined by a cluster of flowers. 

The body of the dress has open fronts, with a stomacher, which are severally trimmed en suite; short open sleeve, to correspond with a quilling of tull round the arm. 

Head-dress a la Chinoise, composed of pearl; the hair braided, and ornamented with a wreath of flowers. 

Ear-rings and drops, pearl; necklace, the French negligée.—Gloves, French kid, worn below the elbow, and trimmed with a quilling of tull. 

Sandals, white kid.

What a pretty dress to wear for a Christmas party, don't you think?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Brighton Revisited 3

The main purpose of this trip was to revisit Brighton as the place where my mother-in-law, Kit, grew up.  So after wandering along marine parade and looking at the sea, we headed up Great East Street, avoiding the lure of The Lanes, and along North Street which has always been an important shopping area. It was here that we come to No. 1 Wykeham (said Wickham like in Pride and Prejudice) Terrace.

This gothic looking entrance is quite novel is it not. The terrace is not accessible by road at the front, but merely by this set of steps leading off the path or sidewalk as we call it in North America.

When you see the individual houses in the terrace I think you might have trouble seeing it as a holiday boarding house.  I know I did.

To me it looks more like a small town house.  Here we are looking down the row. These are not large places. The doors are only two windows apart though there are four floors, one you can see within the area, as sort of basement and another up in the eaves with dormer windows in addition to the two main floors.  On our right is number 1 in a sort of tower.  This made it somewhat bigger that those in the flat part of the row. 

I took these views for my children to have a sense of what their Grannie was talking about when she talked about her life growing up.

She lived here until she was married.  She always talked about deciding whether to get a tattoo of a blue bird on her right breast, or to get married (she was known as a bit of a lad as a girl) and I think the decision had something to do with the cost, tattoos being expensive.  Well Sammy, my father-in-law must have talked her out of the tattoo, because later in life she always joked that given her increased girth after seven children, the tattoo would have gone from being a bluebird to a "bloody great eagle".

Personally I think she still regretted that tatto.

As you can see from the shared garden, this terrace is on quite a hill. No, it is not me having had too much to drink, this was taken before lunch. lol.

When Kit talked about walking up the hill to the church on her wedding day, I never imagined this.

By the time we had taken these photos the heavens opened and so we decided to follow in Kit's footsteps. In the photo on the right to the right of the picture is the fence between us and Wykeham Terrace and to the left the is North Street, which eventually took off to London.

So, on her wedding day, September 26, 1931, my mother-in-law walked up this hill in her wedding dress to get married. fortunately it wasn't raining on that day.

But what on earth has this got to do with the Regency, you ask, after my trip down memory lane?

Just wait until you see the church.  Next time......

Monday, November 30, 2015

Brighton Revisited 2

Oddly enough, the Brighton Pavilion and Prinny's antics made little impression on my m-i-l.  The highlight of her youth were her friends, the beach and swimming in the sea.  She regularly swam from the Palace Pier (now the only remaining pier) to the West Pier. The swim between the two piers was 1500 meters or roughly a mile and there was an annual race, which was likely her impetus for swimming there and back.  Neither of these piers were in situ during the Regency. 

However, there was a pier (designed by Captain Samuel Brown, RN) built in 1823 in Brighton, during the reign of George IV.  This is John Constable's rendition of Brighton beach, with the Royal Suspension Chain pier in the background.

 I love this picture of the beach, the wind and waves, the people walking, the fisherman in the foreground.  It is easy to imagine what Brighton was like in the time we are interested in.

This is Stein Street (as against old Stein). A tricky corner if ever there was one. We can imagine a Regency Hero trying to navigate this in his curricle with all the widows and young ladies looking on.

And in case you are imagining golden sands, here is the beach.  It is in fact golden pebbles.

More to come.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

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.....