Try On Your Ball Gown (and a giveaway!)

Greetings, Duchesses and friends! I’m so glad you’re here. To celebrate the release of my debut novel, WHEN SHE WAS WICKED, I have a few treats in store for you: virtual ball gowns and prizes!

First, the ball gowns. My heroine, Miss Anabelle Honeycote, is a talented seamstress, renowned for her ability to design the perfect gowns for her clients. Anabelle’s creations capture each woman’s personality and bring out her inner beauty.

Here’s a little glimpse of Anabelle in action, talking with her new friends, Olivia and Rose:

            Anabelle frowned at Olivia’s comment. “You’re every bit as beautiful as Miss Starling. More so, if you ask me.”

   Olivia erupted into peals of laughter.

            “You don’t believe me?”

            “Miss Starling is a diamond of the first water,” Olivia said. “I’m paste jewelry.”

            Her lips loosened by the wine, Anabelle said, “Miss Starling is the cumbersome train and feathers one must wear before the Queen at Court. You are the stunning silk gown made for whirling around the dance floor in a candlelit ballroom.”

            Olivia blushed. “I liked the whirling part. I shall try to remember your kind description the next time I’m tripping over my own feet. Now, what kind of dress is Rose?”

            Anabelle thought for a moment. “Rose is the light, shimmery, summer frock made for chasing butterflies in the meadow.”


Alas, most of us aren’t lucky enough to have dressmakers like Anabelle, but we do have this…Anabelle’s ball gown generator. If, like me, you’ve been living in jeans and Uggs for a couple months, you might want to trade them in for a virtual gown. It’s easy! Just select a response for each question below to find out what Anabelle will make for you!


I hope you love your ball gown. (Hint, if you don’t, just change your answers till you get the gown of your dreams!)

Now, for the prizes. TWO random commenters will win a copy of WHEN SHE WAS WICKED. Just tell us about your virtual gown, another special dress in your closet, or a favorite dress from your past (prom, wedding, 6th birthday, etc.).

Thanks for being here. You all look positively dashing in your new gowns!

Update 2/10/13:  The giveaway winners are Erin F. and Amanda B.! Ladies, please look for an email from me! Thank  you to everyone who stopped by!


Barton_WhenSheWasWicked_MMPublishers’ Weekly gave WHEN SHE WAS WICKED a *starred* review, saying, “Sensual and solid, this debut is a story demanding to be read. The characters are believable and relatable, and Barton smartly blends issues of morality and Regency era social class with passion and excitement.”



 A dressmaker in London’s busiest shop, Miss Anabelle Honeycote overhears the ton’s steamiest secrets—and (occasionally) uses them to her advantage. It isn’t something she’s proud of, but the reluctant blackmailer needs the money to care for her gravely ill mother. To make up for her misdeeds, Anabelle keeps to a firm set of rules:

  • Never request payment from someone who cannot afford it.
  • Never reveal the secrets of a paying client.
  • Never enter into any form of social interaction with a      client.

Her list keeps her (somewhat) honest—until she encounters Owen Sherbourne, the Duke of Huntford. Not only does Owen nip Anabelle’s extortion plans in the bud, the devilishly handsome Duke soon has the sexy seamstress dreaming of more than silks and satins. With Owen, Anabelle enjoys pleasures she never imagined. . . until a scandal from the past resurfaces. Now her rules could mean his family’s ruin. Owen’s searing kisses carry the promise of passion, but how will he react when Anabelle’s most devastating secret is finally revealed?


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anne barton headshot gh11Anne lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Her weaknesses are reality TV, cute-but-impractical shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

You can find her at and on Facebook and Twitter.



on “Try On Your Ball Gown (and a giveaway!)
54 Comments on “Try On Your Ball Gown (and a giveaway!)
  1. Congratulations on your release day Anne! I had the pleasure of reading an ARC I picked up at Romance Writers of America this summer, and it was so lovely. Annabelle made me a pink dress. Sigh. The fashions/fabrics are SO not my forte in this writing business. I may need to pop back and re-run a dress for my current heroine. :)

    • Thanks for the kind words about When She Was Wicked, Jennifer! Your pink gown sounds lovely. :)

      And I was hoping the ball gown generator would be a handy little tool for historical romance writers! At least it can get some ideas flowing…

  2. Ooooh, my gown is shockingly daring. Not sure if I ought to wear that in public. Perhaps a private showing for my duke is in order. *ahem*

    Congratulations on your release. I can’t wait to read it. I shall try not to envy those duchesses who were in Anaheim last summer and got ARCs.

  3. Ooh, cerulean blue with crystals, sounds very pretty! I bought a gorgeous maroon dress last year, that’s kind of glam 70s inspires. It’s stunning and it has this fabulous trailing sleeve on one shoulder, it’s also super flattering. Unfortunately I haven’t actually worn it yet because I never go anywhere nice enough! I might just have to wear it to my uni lectures one day haha.
    When She Was Wicked sounds great, I’ll definitely have to add it to my TBR pile :)

    • The 70’s inspired dress sounds gorgeous, Cerian! Now we just need a ball (or maybe a trendy club) where you can wear it. If it makes you feel any better, I don’t get out much either. 😉

  4. I only wear skirts or dresses; they just are more feminine to me and more comfortable than pants. My favorite dress is a simple black JCrew sheath. I wear it year round–sleeveless in summer, or with a cardigan or thin long or short-sleeved tops underneath in colder weather. With boots or sandals, it’s perfect!

    Anne Barton is on my TBR list.

    • Susana, I’ll speak to Anabelle and see what we can do about getting you a blue gown. She usually listens to me. 😉

      Thanks for stopping by and trying out the gown generator!

  5. Congrats on your release! I happen to be in the middle of reading WHEN SHE WAS WICKED and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys smart, sexy characters and snappy dialogue. You have a tongue-in-cheek way with words that has me smiling as I read!

  6. I got a shockingly daring green frock with white lace! Gracious me!! Shall I wear it to Almacks or would the patronesses swoon over in a faint?

  7. Annabelle made me an apple green dress with silver embroidery- woohoo! But my favorite gown ever is the burgundy velvet one I found in an antique shop about 23 years ago. It had short puffed sleeves (just like Annabelle’s), a million velvet-covered buttons up the back, and went right down to the floor. I wore it to a Christmas party and caught the attention of a handsome young gentleman who asked me out on the spot. We’ve been married for almost 22 years and our triplets turn 14 tomorrow. Yay! Let’s hear it for pretty dresses!

    • Bess! That is the best story ever–I’m getting teary just thinking about it. How cool to find a dress like that in an antique shop. I wonder if it once brought someone else the same kind of luck it brought you. Amazing! That’s the power of a pretty dress.

  8. Anabelle made me a shockingly daring gown of apple green French cambric, trimmed with delicate white lace, featuring a round neckline and petal sleeves. Not sure what the shockingly daring part is- maybe cut very very low.

    • Sheila, your gown is stunning! But your great-aunt is probably going to insist you wear a shawl. No worries, you can always “accidentally” misplace it later. 😉

  9. Mine is a dark ruby red silk taffeta–like the color of Mammy’s petticoat in Gone with the Wind–and I can’t wait to wear it for your debut. Of course it comes with a matching set of ruby drop earrings. It’s quite shocking, but since I am no longer a young miss on the marriage mart, I figured no one would notice anyway!
    Congratulations on your debut–I still remember when you told us (your GH sisters) that you’d sold. I am so very happy for you!

    • Thank you Sharon! That ruby red gown and the matching earrings sound perfect–I’d like to borrow them! And yes, there are some advantages to having been around a few Seasons…

  10. Pingback: WHEN SHE WAS WICKED HITS SHELVES JAN. 29TH! | Anne Barton

  11. My dress is a quietly resplendent confection of apple green French cambric, trimmed with sparkling crystals, featuring a round neckline and short, plain sleeves. Sounds good! My favorite gown was my prom dress, it was a long pink empire with short cap sleeves.

  12. My fav dress was the one the bridesmaid gown I wore for my sister’s wedding. It was my 1st long gown! Very sweet & pretty with puff sleeves & a scooped neckline. It was the 1st time I got to dress up for real!

  13. Lady Anne, I adored my gown because it was demure and it was delightfully blud satin. I loved the additon of the silver embroidery and the puffed sleeves but the round neckline I shuddred at since I’m under-endowed!

    I really do need to be covered up a little more and a little padding in the bust area would be much more flattering since I’m a smidge under endowed! Other than that it’s a beautiful gown and will set off my dark brown eyes to perfection!

    PS: I love that my CAOCHA Code has ny birh year in it! How did you know?

    • Don’t worry, Jeanne–you can depend on Anabelle! She’ll see that your lovely blue gown is modest…but also extremely flattering! And you can borrow my silver-embroidered reticule if you’d like–it’ll be perfect with that dress. 😉

      • Thank you for letting me borrow your stunning silver-embroidered reticule! It will be the perfect accessory to draw 1 gentleman’s attention! I’m so petite that I often get hidden behind the other lovely young ladies and I think with the candle-light glittering off the silver on the reticule might just get some handsome gentleman to glance my way!

  14. Thanks for the fun post and congrats on the new release! Mine was “Anabelle has created for you a demure and delightful frock of cerulean blue satin, trimmed with sparkling crystals, featuring a V-shaped back and short, plain sleeves. Charming!” LOL… I *loathe* dresses… more specifically dressing up. I haven’t worn a “dress” in about 2 years. So… it’d take a lot of convincing to get me to wear a ball gown :)

  15. Ha! Okay, so maybe the ball gown generator isn’t your thing. Just wait for the shoe/slipper version! Maybe that will be more your style? 😉 Thanks for trying it out, Erin!

  16. I love my demure gown of shimmering violet satin, trimmed with exquisite silver embroidery, sounds gorgeous, and violet is my favorite color too, hmmm…wondering which of the family jewels I should wear with it to the ball 😉

  17. My favorite dress is the Milly NY wine-colored sheath, which I found on EBay. It was my first ‘designer’ purchase and, when I finally wore it, I loved how lush the fabric was and loved that it was lined.

    It is my go-to dress when I attend weddings and formal occasions. :-)

    Congratulations on the new release, Anne!

    • That dress sounds amazing, Tin! Very cool that you got it on eBay, too! I once got a silk dress on eBay for $18! (Then I spent almost 3 times that to get it altered, but it was worth it. :))

      Thanks for stopping by!

  18. What a cool widget! I got a shockingly daring gown of pale pink satin, trimmed with silver satin rosettes, featuring a round neckline and short, plain sleeves. You gotta be brave to wear satin.

  19. I got “a quietly resplendent confection of shimmering violet muslin, trimmed with exquisite silver embroidery, featuring a V-shaped back and short, puffed sleeves. Utter perfection!” And I have to say it is almost spot on! Depending on how light or dark the violet is, since I have fairly pale skin a darker or medium violet would be better, but I would so love to try it on, sounds beautiful! 😀 And I would accessorize it with some golden slippers :-)

    Thanks for the fun and congratulations on your release, it is on my wishlist! :-)

  20. I live the gown generator. I got a lovely apple green one with white lace, square neck and short sleeves. It sounds delightful and I cannot wait to wear it! More than that though is that I cannot wait to read “When She Was Wicked.” I love the sound of the plot and the fact that I also love to sew will make it even more of a fun read for me. Congratulations on the new release and wishing you many, many more! All the best!

    Connie Fischer

  21. Aw, thank you, Connie! Sewing is such a cool and useful skill to have–I’d love to learn some day. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your apple green gown (my favorite color!)

  22. I got the apple green one with short sleeves, too. Unlike today, no two people wore the same dress to the same party. Best of luck with your new book. It sounds quite interesting.

  23. Congrats on your debut release. I love my cerulean blue satin gown, but not sure if the puffy sleeves will look good on me.

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