Posts Tagged ‘Victorian’
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.
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?
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.
Society ladies, resplendent in multi-hued ball gowns, exchange on-dits behind plumed fans. Gentlemen, the stark black of their eveningwear broken only by well starched cravats of pure white, eye the card room, but dare not removed themselves just yet. From the ballroom, the strains of a waltz rise on a lilting note, but, for the moment, no one is tempted to take the floor. Anticipation and excitement infuse the air about the entrance, for the latest gossip has proclaimed this to be an exceptional event.
Three newly invested duchesses are to make their appearance in society for the first time. They are, quite naturally, fashionably late.
What’s this? I do believe I’ve heard the sound of imminent arrivals. I push myself onto my toes and crane my neck in the direction of the double doors. All around me, conversation gives way to a silence so profound, I can hear the rustle of my silk skirts. Even the orchestra has ceased playing. Read the rest of this entry »
As summer winds to a close, this Duchess always breathes a sigh of relief at being excused from public viewing. It isn’t that I don’t love the beach – it is my chosen vacation spot, and I count a beautiful beach on St. John as my favorite place in the entire world. But why can’t I swim in shorts and a T-shirt, as I suspect would be not only more comfortable, but also more functional? Why must what I wear while swimming be dictated by fashion standards that reward youth and beauty over skill and experience? Because let’s face it… if given the choice, this Duchess would always rather be able to swim to shore than look cute while drowning.
Whether you are of the modest variety of sea bather or a more daring sort of sun worshiper, a glimpse at what defined “swimwear” in bygone days is an interesting topic of study. I developed an interest in historical women’s swimwear when I was researching my current work-in-progress, a Victorian-era romance set in the British seaside resort of Brighton, and I found the topic and the visual examples I uncovered both fascinating and cringe-worthy.
Not all Victorian heroes were tall, dark, and brooding. Come to think of it, not all Victorian heroes were handsome. Case in point? Dr. John Snow, a Victorian doctor who arguably saved thousands of lives in the mid-nineteenth century by proving cholera was transmitted by water. Hero face? Err… not so much. But heroic heart? I think so. And while the face of the man who inspired not only my choice of career but also the period about which I write might not be swoon-worthy, his brilliant yet simple theories certainly were.
I became interested Dr. John Snow when I first set out on a career in epidemiology, which is the science that tracks the origins of diseases and develops ways to prevent and control them. Every year, “The Pump Handle Award” is given to an epidemiologist who has made important contributions to the field. Curious, I set out to research the history of this award, and discovered it traced back to Dr. John Snow. In learning about the man who inspired an entire discipline of science, I unwittingly unleashed a love of history, especially facts centered on science and medicine in the Victorian era.
A warm Duchess welcome to the ‘Incandescent’ New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Courtney Milan.
***Duchess Leigh: Tell us a little about Unclaimed. Courtney Milan: Unclaimed is the story of Mark, the youngest Turner brother, who’s written a famous book about chastity. His enemies are sick of hearing about him, and decide to ruin him by hiring a courtesan to seduce him. Of course, it’s not that easy. No, it’s never that easy. I loved her reaction to his fame. Read the rest of this entry »