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Archive for January, 2013

The Love of the Wager – By Bronwen Evans

Please welcome Regency Author Bronwen Evans! She’s here to share some background on the Regency Wager:

WhitesI love a good Regency romance, mainly because I love the dashing rakes of the early 1800’s. Obviously having read a lot of Regency romances over the years, I became intrigued by the gentlemen clubs such as Whites and Brookes and what went on in these male bastions.

I’m sure all manner of revelry and drinking and more salacious activities occurred. But one I find mentioned more frequently in Regency romances is ‘the wager’.

I’ve read many stories where wagers were laid at Whites in the infamous betting book. I did some research and found some ridiculous and downright cruel wagers, placed by men who were obviously bored, were sadists and had far too much money. Read the rest of this entry »

My Favorite Royal

Never in my wildest dreams had it occurred to me that I would one day live in Budapest. Little old me, a girl from Minnesota, living in Hungary? A former Communist country? Eastern Europe?

 Parliament

What a remarkable and beautiful city Budapest is. What fascinating history. I have fallen in love with it all. It just so happens that my favorite royal fell in love with this country as well. The Empress learned the language, considered to be the second most difficult language in the world, and was so loved by the Hungarians, she became a historical icon. They built a summer palace for her just outside Budapest. One can find any number of statues bearing her likeness throughout the city, and one of the bridges crossing the Danube that connects Buda to Pest is named after her.

  Read the rest of this entry »

The Downton Abbey Phenomenon

Downton Abbey, the British TV series, is a huge favorite in the English speaking world.  With sharp dialog, sparkling sets, and fabulous clothes, who doesn’t love the Sunday night extravaganza of opulence and biting rejoinders? Being historically true to its times, it is a favorite of our duchesses.

It is such a phenomenon that Downton Abbey is going to shape what we see and read for the next several years. Ordinarily, we duchesses stick to historical fact. Today, I am going to take us on a journey of futuristic fantasy. Or, more bluntly put, my best guesses. Read the rest of this entry »

The Idiot’s Q&A on Horses in Historical Romance

Duchess Alyssa (a.k.a. The HORSE IDIOT): I must confess, horses terrify me. Big eyes, big teeth. Big hooves. Those hooves are scary. I have ridden a horse only once in my life, which resulted in significant bruises in places one should not have bruises. Therefore, I have stayed away from everything horse-related for many, many years, and don’t know a bit from a bridle from a forelock (fetlock?).

 But Duchess Alyssa, you say. You write historical romance, where everyone rides a horse. Yes, indeed I do. And I have to research every single fact about horses and their various parts, saddles and their various parts, and how to ride and hold the reins. Clearly, I have no experience in that area (see above regarding bruises — I wish someone had told me what stirrups were for.) But even better than researching is asking an expert. It just so happens one of my critique partners is not only a veterinarian, but she has been riding horses for years and even recently adopted one, Mr. Beaux Regard. Isn’t he a handsome devil? Read the rest of this entry »

Midsummer’s Day: Pagan or Christian?

Today, author Susana Ellis has dropped in to tell us about her latest release. Susana is a former teacher who is now living her dream of writing full time.

P2The summer solstice, or Midsummer’s Day, is the longest day (the most daylight) of the year. The Midsummer Festival began as a pagan event, with bonfires on Midsummer’s Eve (June 23) to protect against evil spirits and magical beings who allegedly come alive during the night. Gold plants (as gold was the color associated with the day, due to the strength of the sun’s rays) were believed to have special healing powers if picked at that time. As Christianity gained in popularity, the powers-that-be deftly turned it into a Christian holiday, celebrating the birth of St. John the Baptist, who was born six months before Christ.

 

During the Reformation, the Midsummer’s Day Festival was discredited by many religious authorities due to its pagan beginnings and the lechery and gluttony associated with it. Nevertheless, it still persisted in Regency England on a limited basis as a quasi-religious holiday during the summer months. Vicars intent on following strict Anglican doctrines refused to endorse such celebrations; others took advantage of the day to reinforce the importance of John the Baptist and the Gospel of Christ.

Read the rest of this entry »

Scandalous Proposals—Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry Plantagenet

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an heiress in possession of enormous tracts of land must be in want of a husband. Or at least that was the universal truth during the high middle ages—to the point where such an heiress risked being abducted and forced to marry her captor so he could gain control of her property.

 

At the age of fifteen, Eleanor of Aquitaine became just such an heiress when her father died suddenly, leaving her in possession of a territory nearly 1/3 the size of modern France. But like his daughter, William X Duke of Aquitaine was  intelligent and left a provision in his will to ensure Eleanor wouldn’t fall prey to the first kidnapper who came along.

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