Ash: Greetings, and welcome today. I’m very excited because my debut is coming out tomorrow, and…
Ash: Oh, you’ve heard. It’s the day before my book release. It’s called A Most Scandalous Proposal. Thank you for dropping by to congratulate me. *smile smile*
Jen: Erm, actually… It’s the day before my book releases, too.
Ash: Really? We are both debut authors, both duchesses, both 2011 Golden Heart® finalists, and our books are coming out the same day? Seems like we might have planned that a little better.
Ash: What’s your book about?
Jen: It’s a historical version of the good old “she woke up married story” called What Happens in Scotland. It’s set in the Victorian era, and—
Ash: *sniffs* Victorian.
Jen: Yes. Victorian. Does your grace have a problem with that?
Ash: No, not at all. Only. *crosses arms* The Victorian era is just so depressing with all its fascination with death and séances and don’t get me started on the morals. Not like the Regency with its endless parties. Why a girl could get away with a little scandal back then if she was careful.
Jen: You don’t think they had scandals in the Victorian era? Hrmph. Not sure I agree with that. After all, the electromechanical vibrator was invented in 1880.
Ash: Electromechanical? Sounds positively dangerous. Not to mention these things seem like they would be more fun with an actual hero around. In the flesh, as it were.
Jen: Well, I would argue it’s far more enjoyable to be scandalous in the flesh when you have the means to indoor plumbing. Hygiene is so necessary to the process.
Ash: Oh, yes, let’s talk about the necessary.
Jen: No, not the necessary… Well, I suppose the Victorian era did see the invention of flush toilets, also known as water closets. Unlike the dreary chamber pots of the Regency. Although, I do have a chamber pot that features quite prominently in my opening scene for What Happens in Scotland…
Ash: That sounds disgusting, not scandalous.
Jen: Well, I didn’t say what they do with the chamber pot. It’s not what you think.
Ash: You needn’t sound so imperious about the advantages of the water closet, you know. Some houses during the Regency did possess a manner of indoor plumbing.
Jen: Perhaps… for those who were rich enough. But the Victorian area also ushered in a new awareness of social causes. The point wasn’t to only improve the lives of the wealthy. Unlike the Regency era, which was mainly one long exercise in frivolity, in my time period social causes were a hallmark of—
Ash: *yawns* Well, enough of this tedious topic. Let’s talk about what’s really important.
Jen: What’s more important than public health? (Points out to the good readers she works for the Centers for Disease Control)
Ash: To a duchess? Fashion, of course. *nods emphatically*
Jen: *choking* Fashion?
Ash: Naturally. And while we’re discussing such low matters, might I mention a woman’s unmentionables?
Jen: I don’t think the Victorians liked to mention those.
Ash: You’re all about health, right? So tell me, which would you rather wear? This?
Or something you can actually breathe in?
Jen: Umm… I may have to concede this point. But let’s talk about what you must wear over top of that. Speaking of disgusting… it looks like she is wearing one of those modern-day veterinary cones around her neck. And don’t get me started on the way the Regency skirts make a girl look like she had man-thighs….
Ash: Man thighs? That lady has a man’s face as well. Are you sure she’s not a Regency drag queen? Anyway, I’ll see that fashion plate and raise you this one.
Who wants to wear all that fabric? Especially when it looks as if it might serve better as upholstery? You know when Scarlett O’Hara made that ensemble out of the drapes, she probably didn’t have too many people on the street giving her the side-eye, because all the other ladies were wearing something similar. And I have more where that came from. The Two Nerdy History Girls have an entire board on Pinterest devoted to it.
Jen: Care to put your fashion where your mouth is? Let’s compare book covers. I feel quite sure my heroine’s dress will make yours look positively dowdy in comparison.
Ash: I don’t think so!
Jen: As you can see the dress on my cover looks nothing like those silly dresses you just showed…
Ash: And neither does mine.
Both: *peer carefully at the covers*
Jen: Well, my cover model is prettier than yours.
Ash: How can you say that? They look just alike! Actually… are they…? They are. They are wearing the same dress. In fact, I think it’s the same model.
Ash: I think so. *nods* I guess that solves it. My book is better, because the heroine is only two and twenty years old. That means she must be old enough to be a great-grandmother in your book.
Jen: *gasps* I don’t think people lived long enough to be great-grandmothers in the Victorian era between the pollution and the lead poisoning…
Ash: There you have it then. My book must be better. *crosses arms for emphasis* My heroine is alive.
What Happens In Scotland
When recent widow Georgette Thorold wakes up in a Scottish inn with a wedding ring on her finger and lacking all memory of how she came to be there, she does what any well-bred lady with a modicum of sense and a distrust of marriage would do: she panics, clocks the wickedly handsome stranger in her bed over the head with a chamber pot, and runs.
James McKenzie, Esquire has either spent the evening protecting a very naïve, and—dare he say it—very drunk young lady from the advances of every disreputable character in the town of Moraig, or he has gone and married a pretty, scheming thief. Not that his own head is entirely clear on the matter, but when the woman in question repays his kindness with a knock on the head, the bill for her room, and the theft of his purse, an embarrassed James is determined to track her down and show her she picked the wrong solicitor to swindle.
As Georgette sets out to discover exactly what happened during her forgotten night, she uncovers a man that seems far more a hero than a rake. But when they finally meet, instead of sweeping her into his arms and kissing her senseless, he serves her with a summons, claiming she is a thief. Now the fight is on, and the only question is was it a night worth remembering? Or a mistake they would both rather forget?
A Most Scandalous Proposal
After watching her beloved sister Sophia pine over the ton’s Golden Boy for years, Miss Julia St. Claire has foresworn love and put herself firmly on the shelf. Unfortunately, her social-climbing mother and debt-ridden father have other ideas, and jump at the chance to marry Julia off to the newly-named Earl of Clivesden…the man of Sophia’s dreams.
Since resigning his Cavalry commission, Benedict Revelstoke has spent his time in London avoiding the marriage mart. But when he discovers that the Earl of Clivesden has set Julia in his sights, Benedict tries to protect his childhood best friend from the man’s advances—only to discover more than friendship driving his desire to defend her. He surprises them both with the force of his feelings, but when she refuses him and her father announces her betrothal, he fears he’s lost her forever—until Julia approaches him with a shocking scheme that will ruin her for all respectable society…
…and lead them into an exquisite world of forbidden pleasures.
What say you readers? Which era wins the battle? Or do you prefer another era entirely? Tell us why. Jen and Ash will each choose a commenter at random to receive the prizes they have prepared.
Jen: My prize will be much nicer than Ash’s. To celebrate the release of my book, I am giving away a What Happens in Scotland gift basket, including CD of Highland Music, a bag of authentic Haggis-flavored potato chips, a sample of Highland Park whisky (yes, that is spelled the Scottish way!) and a copy of my book!
Ash: I beg your pardon. I am giving away a copy of my book as well as a DVD copy of Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth version, naturally). And Colin in that wet shirt, my dears, is priceless.
Ash feels the need to state for the record that the above argument was held with her virtual tongue placed firmly in her cheek, and she really doesn’t have any objections to such modern conveniences as flush toilets, hygiene, or even vibrators.
Jen feels the need to state she enjoys the good Regency romp as much as the next reader. And who doesn’t like a good vibrator?