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Archive for February, 2012

Historical Cosmetics—Not For the Faint of Heart

Would you clean your teeth with gunpowder? Smear lard on your face? Dye your hair with lead? The ladies of the late 18th and early 19th century did all that and more in their quest for beauty.


The Toilet of Flora (1772) contains many recipes for various cosmetics, tooth powders, perfumes and bath oils. Among its pages, the author describes the following method to ensure your teeth remain at their whitest. He recommends cleaning with a butcher’s skewer bruised and bit at the end until it shreds and forms a brush. “Once a fortnight, it not oftener, dip your skewer brush in a few grains of gunpowder, breaking them first with the brush…” Once you’ve cleaned your teeth, he cautions to rinse your mouth well, because the saltpeter in the gunpowder may damage the gums, but it shouldn’t damage on such short contact. “The Author has constantly practiced this method for twenty-five years, and is thoroughly convinced it is safe and effectual.”

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Anne Bradstreet: Puritan Poetess and America’s First Published Author


(Anne Bradstreet 1612-1672)

If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye woman, if you can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the east doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor aught but love from thee, give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so perservere
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

Even though Valentine’s Day has passed, I wanted to share this love poem written by my favorite poet Anne Bradstreet.

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Historical Parlor Games

Without television, Mp3 players and tablets, people in historical romance novels must find something to do with their time.


After all, the heroine can’t spend every minute sneaking off for a stolen kiss (or much more!) from the hero.


I write Regency romance, so my characters do pass a great deal of time going from ball to ball, or for rides and walks in the park.


However, I often look for other activities for them to engage in, preferably ones which help propel the plot forward by giving the characters a chance to flirt, make each other jealous or get into trouble.


Games and Sports; “Manly Exercises” and “Exercises for Ladies,”  by Donald Walker, offers  detailed descriptions of games and activities which provide “muscular efforts which are of direct and practical utility in life” for both men and for women “by those gentle and graceful movements which health and the development of beauty require.”

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Duchess Debut: Sara Ramsey

It is my pleasure to introduce to you the Duchess of Fun and Delight, Her Grace Sara Ramsey. A 2009 Golden Heart winner and 2011 finalist, Sara has recently launched her award winning Muses of Mayfair Series. Tell the butler you are not receiving, darlings, and pour a cup of tea. Sara is here to chat with us about the first book in the series, HEIRESS WITHOUT A CAUSE.

Leave a comment below and enter to win a copy of HEIRESS WITHOUT A CAUSE!


Duchess Leigh: HEIRESS WITHOUT A CAUSE is the latest on dit, with a 4 star review by RT and plenty of praise from readers. Tell us about the story.

Sara Ramsey: HEIRESS WITHOUT A CAUSE features Lady Madeleine Vaillant, a proper spinster with a secret passion   for acting. As Madeleine, she’s an exceedingly virtuous spinster; as Marguerite Guerrier, she’s the hottest actress of the Season. Life gets more complicated when Ferguson, a disgraced rake who has just become the Duke of Rothwell, asks Madeleine to chaperone his sisters – and asks “Marguerite” to become his mistress. When Ferguson falls in love with her, she has to decide between the freedom she’s always desired and the surrender he demands.


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Interview and Giveaway with Jennifer Haymore

We’re thrilled to have Jennifer Haymore with the Duchesses today!  If you’ve read any of Jennifer’s novels, you already know what a talented writer she is.  But did you know she grew up surfing and sailing in Hawaii?  Or that she earned degrees in computer science and education?  I’m so glad she could join us today so we can get to know her a little better.  Plus, she has two shiny new books I can’t wait to read.

Welcome, Jennifer!  Would you please tell us a little about your latest releases?

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