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Archive for October, 2012

Dashing Duchesses First Anniversary!

Dashing Duchesses House Party

The Dashing Duchesses request the pleasure of your company at a Country House Party!

In celebration of the Dashing Duchesses turning a year old, we are hosting a country house party! For the entire month of November, we’ll be sharing bits of information on rooms, clothing, and amusements at a typical country house party. Our first engagement will be a debutante’s ball to introduce three new Duchesses on November 1. So put on your dancing slippers and slip into your favorite silk evening gown and join us for the ball! Then stay and try your hand whist, exchange historical recipes and take a stroll through the gardens.


Interview and Giveaway with Anna Lee Huber!

It is my pleasure to introduce you all to debut author, Anna Lee Huber! Anna’s book, The Anatomist’s Wife, is soon to be released (November 6th, to be exact) and I cannot wait to read it. Join me for an interview with Ms. Huber and leave a comment to win a copy of her debut novel!

Her Grace, Anna: First of all, thank you so much, Duchess Valerie, for having me.  It’s quite a thrill!

Duchess Valerie: The pleasure is mine. Please, your grace, tell us a bit about yourself. What do you like to do in your spare time, for instance?

Her Grace, Anna: I was raised in a small town in northwest Ohio, graduated from high school in South Carolina, college in Nashville, TN, and currently live in northern Indiana.  So I know the Midwest and Southeast fairly well.  I’m from a large family—I have four brothers and one much-younger sister, so I never lacked playmates, though I usually had to play GI Joe and Matchbox Cars, unless I wanted my Barbie’s undressed and/or pretend blown up.  (You can see where my love of action movies comes from.)  We were a fairly creative bunch, playing Star Wars swinging plastic baseball bats as light-sabers, and wearing my mother’s old nightgowns.  (In actuality, they were old nursing-gowns, and we used to poke our arms through the breast holes because we didn’t know any better.  By the way, my mother is going to kill me for mentioning that.  Especially since we used to run around outside in them.)  The riding lawnmower became our A-Team van, and I must say the running plates were perfect for hanging off of and firing pretend guns, just like the guys did on TV.  I always played Hannibal.  (I love it when a plan comes together.)  I was a somewhat bossy child. Read the rest of this entry »

A Duchess Does Something Very Modern

The Duchesses are setting down their teacups to tell you something quite, quite scandalous today: one of our own has written a contemporary romance.


Is that not an absolutely delicious bit of news?!  


Sitting at her finely carved escritoire, Duchess Tracy Brogan penned the sassy, fun, smart, and endearing story  of Sadie Turner, who can “organize just about anything—except her own life.”

In the midst of all the craziness surrounding the book’s launch this past Tuesday, I had the opportunity to chat with Her Grace about CRAZY LITTLE THING.

Read the rest of this entry »

Grace Burrowes Gets in the Holiday Mood With ‘Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight’ Giveaway

Author Grace Burrowes

Author Grace Burrowes

It’s been a busy time for New York Times bestselling author Grace Burrowes. Not only is she a practicing lawyer, but Her Grace is sure to keep fans happy by releasing three titles in the last three months of 2012. 

Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight, out this month, is the latest in the popular Windham series. November will see the release of  The Courtship, a novella. Her Grace’s first Scottish Victorian, The Bridegroom Wore Plaid, kicks off a new series in December.   

With a schedule like that, we’re fortunate indeed that Duchess Grace Burrowes has made time for tea and crumpets with The Duchesses.

Leave a comment or question for a chance to win one of two signed copies of  Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight.

Her Grace is also offering a signed copy of Eloisa James’ Ugly Duchess in honor of her visit today with The Dashing Duchesses. (Not that we’d know of any ugly duchesses.  Naturally, all of our duchesses are lovely in the extreme.)  

  Read the rest of this entry »

The Duchess of Richmond’s Ball

Coming November 27 2012!

Gather closer, dear readers. What shall we chat about over our tea today? Ah, I know—the Duchess of Richmond’s ball, held in Brussels on the very eve of the Battle of Waterloo on June 15, 1815. Was there ever a more famous, more notorious, ball in all of history, my dears? Her Grace’s ball is surely the most talked about party of all time.


Have you heard of it? No? Then let me fill you in on all the delectable details!


It was a grand and glorious time. and frightening as well. Some of the finest British families were already residing in Brussels—nobility like the Duke and Duchess of Richmond and their brood of fourteen children—seven eligible daughters, and seven fine strapping sons proudly following their father’s example and serving in the military. Their eldest boy, Charles, Earl of March, was in uniform, serving as an aide to the Prince of Orange, and their second son, George, served likewise for Lord Wellington, along with William, who was just barely sixteen.

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The Historical Hero’s Hair: A Commentary

Call me unreasonable, but I like a man with clean hair. You might even say I prefer men whose hair has been done “extremely” clean, in that it is “free from any clotted appearance of grease.” Picky? Maybe. And as an author of Georgian historical romance, it’s also a bit problematic. I want to be accurate. Really. But I also don’t want to be grossed out when the hero and heroine decide to get intimate.

One really fun thing about writing historical romance is reading primary sources. In 1767, “an English Periwig-Maker” published “A Dissertation upon Head Dress,” a fascinating insight into one man’s opinion about the wigs men wore at that time. He’s a tad critical. Maybe even slightly hyperbolic. But the Periwig-Maker does alert us to three reactions a heroine should never have when she sees the hero: Read the rest of this entry »

Interview With Kim Rendfeld

Ash: Today, medieval author Kim Rendfeld has dropped in for tea. And when I say medieval, I’m talking Carolingian France. Tell us a little about your latest release.


Kim: The Cross and the Dragon, published by Fireship Press, is a tale of love amid the wars and blood feuds of Charlemagne’s reign. The heroine, Alda, is a young noblewoman who must contend with a jilted suitor bent on revenge and the anxiety that her beloved husband, Hruodland, will be killed in the coming war.


Ash: That is certainly off the beaten path, but as a former French literature major, I’m familiar with the legend. If I recall my classes, “The Song of Roland” is considered the first work of French literature, in that it exists in Old French as opposed to Latin. Tell us a bit more about the time period.

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Policing and Punishment in Regency London

My new novella, To Love a Thief, features a former constable who’s just inherited a title and consequently gave up his profession. He’s definitely a case of you can take the viscount out of the magistrate’s office, but you can’t take the magistrate’s office out of the viscount. Researching this book was fascinating. My husband has worked as a police officer (and my brother-in-law is still one) and is now an attorney, so I’ve had to put up with this topic for years. Thank goodness I find it interesting!

Those of you familiar with the Regency are likely aware London had no formal police force until 1829. Before that, they had a variety of law enforcement entities, but nothing centralized. Perhaps the most well-known is Bow Street, founded in 1740 by Sir Thomas De Veil, a justice who set up this office with the purpose of investigating and pursuing crime. Sir Henry Fielding took over as magistrate in 1748. He and his brother established the “runners” or principal officers who patrolled the streets similar to modern-day police officers. Read the rest of this entry »