Wednesday, July 8, 2020

A fine figure of a man...and other items to see with your quizzing glass!

You've heard the term, strike a pose!
In Regency London, many did. Including men. Beau Brummel fixed that in men's minds. And here to show you a few good examples which I chose for their rarity, are a few fine figures!
First, a portrait of a man, his daughter and her dog. The animal does seem carefree, doesn't he, so I thought him her dog.

Next a man and his date...or rather, his wife or sister. Dated 1807.

Here is a close-up of that garment meant to indicate personality or perhaps emotion, the waistcoat! Horizontal stripes, no less.

And stuffed to the brim, the fine figure of a man in his breeches, which are different from trousers, you see.

And the item that men as well as women used often to strike that pose or simply to see better! Attached to a chain or encased in a leather case, it could be worn about town with ease! Here, a very pretty one!

Friday, July 3, 2020

Do you like animals? In your romances? Historicals or other?

Each of us has an opinion of what is really a historical romance.




Any romance with erotic terms or tones?

I submit that one element I always love in a historical romance is an animal. They are independent minded and yet protect, rescue and simply endure all sorts of mayhem. Dogs work. Parrots. I've even used a chimp. REALLY, I did. But that was in a contemporary.

Today I show you a clipping from March 30, 1815 London newspaper about a little dog gone missing! The owner requests help finding the animal and even offers a reward. Two Guineas! 

Said doggie is a Blenheim spaniel, which is liver and white and resembles our modern-day Cavalier King Charles spaniel. In other words, a sweet-faced little dude.

Children with their puppies, Charles II period
A lady with her pet!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Enter for chance to Win 30+ historical romances plus e-reader! Easy!


Follow on BOOKBUB as many of these wonderful authors of historical romance as you wish and win books plus a chance to win all the books from these authors shown here AND a new e-reader!
A few clicks and you are in for great reading and hours of fun!
My giveaway is the rollicking good time in my romantic comedy, AUNT GERTRUDE'S RED HOT CHRISTMAS BEAU!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

A royal wedding the world applauded...and then mourned!

Princess Charlotte, Princess of Wales and heir to throne of United Kingdom, married a war hero Prince Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg May 2 1816! 

She is a fixture in my story, Book 2 in this series, in A MAY DAY TO REMEMBER, because one of the characters in my story is to marry on that day too! 

This is the engagement portrait of the Princess and Leopold done in February 1816. When she met him much after the Battle of Waterloo (in which he fought and was a Russian officer), she was enchanted by him. He was quite dashing and so much more handsome than the Prince of Orange, to whom she was engaged, that she cancelled that arrangement and demanded to marry "her darling Leo."
Her wedding gown

She was a darling of the people and they rejoiced that her marriage was a love match. The couple married May 2, 1816 and retired to the country to become better acquainted. A few months later, she was pregnant...but like many first pregnancies, she miscarried.

In a few more months, she was once more enciente. In the later months of her pregnancy, her acchoucher (a much acclaimed male midwife) advised her to cut her consumption of food, walk more often and slim down. She was gaining too much weight and her limbs were swollen. He feared she would develop toxemia, an often fatal condition for a pregnant woman that increased blood pressure. He also feared the baby would be too large to deliver safely.

She went into labor and had a very difficult delivery. The baby, a boy, was born at 8 pounds. Soon after however, he died. While Charlotte initially seemed to recover, she soon developed symptoms of toxemia. She died a day later and the nation greatly mourned her tragic loss.

Her accoucher was so distraught that he committed suicide weeks later.

Her husband retired to the countryside to grieve. However soon he returned home to the Continent where the Allies soon awarded him for his service during the Napoleonic wars. They named him King of the Belgians. His descendants have ruled that country since then. All of them are offspring from his second wife, a daughter of the French King, Louis Phillippe.

Leopold has other claims to fame. He is one and the same man whom you have seen steer his nephew, Prince Albert of Saxe-Cobourg, to marry Queen Victoria.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Can you fall in love at first sight TWICE? Why not! Regency fun!

LADY FIONA'S TALL, DARK FOLLY stars a young lady who fell in love at first sight years ago...and she has not seen him since. Why not? He went off to war and so his disappearance is under stable!. The Napoleonic wars were a protracted set of battles against the French dictator, finally ending in 1815.

As soldiers return home to resume their normal lives, love affairs can blossom once more!

Here in this story, we see two people who knew instantly that they cared for each other...and had no opportunity to act on that attraction until now.

Begin laughing here!

For all in the series, go to my Amazon author page!

Thursday, April 9, 2020

A runaway bride, a handsome devil of a vicar and a lady who plans a grand affair! FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FROLIC and a nibble!

Attend here!
An injured lady always needs a good laugh…and a good man!
A nibble of my newest cherry! 

 Copyright 2020, Cerise Deland, LADY FIONA’S TALL, DARK FOLLY. All rights reserved.
A footman appeared at the open doorway with a tray of items piled high.
"And here is a man with the goods we need for that." Lord Charlton rose and stood aside for the servant to pass. "Over there is good."
When the man was gone, he surveyed the supplies. Drained his glass, put it aside and returned to her. He gazed at her, serious to a fault. "You'll have to raise your skirts once more."
Fifi drained her own brandy, put the glass to the table and inched up her skirts to her knees. "Enough?"
He smiled at her with a pure delight. "Well done."
"Set to work, sir."
"Pardon me?"
"My name is Rory. I invite you to use it."
"Oh, I shouldn't."
"Would you like to touch my bare foot?"
She fell back, laughing. “Only if you have nice knees. Do you, sir?”
She fixed him with a frank look. "Do you have nice knees? Rory?"
"I do. May I call you Fifi?"
Her mouth fell open. "Who told you that?"
"I heard your friend Mary call you that."
"Yes. I will be Fifi to you."
"And I shall be Rory to you. Only when we are together alone."
"Yes." His last two words sent quivers of longing through her. Years ago she had met him, valued him and felt her soul twine with his. Whatever her misperception of his identity, the commingling of her heart with his had not been wrong. Simply...postponed. Her imagination flew to what joys they might discover together in days ahead. She wished to rise up and hug him, kiss him. She cleared her throat, her cheeks burning in a blush as he sat down again before her, all his supplies of scissors and flannel, ice and burlap to hand. "Only then."
The tenderness of his words matched the sweetness of his ministrations to her foot. She sat, for the second time in her life, enjoying the brush of his fingers, the delicacy of his touch. Never knowing a hug or a kiss from her father, she'd not imagined men might offer that to any woman. In fact, what had drawn her to him that night so many years ago was his jovial nature as well as his genteel respect for her. For her as a young woman. For her. 
She not forgotten it. The thrill. The compliment. The comfort. Now she had it again...and she wished to never let it disappear again. She was content to sit and let him work his magic on her, heal her ankle, heal her heartache, heal her longing for him that had dwindled...but had never lost its lustre.
She sighed and noticed a figure in the doorway.
"There you are, Mary! Do come in. See what Lord Charlton is doing." She pointed to her swollen foot. "He claims to be an expert at healing twisted ankles."
Her friend approached, the wary look upon her face one of concern for her welfare. "Is that so, sir?"
Rory glanced up at her, a rueful arc to his brows, his hands still. "We are—I assure you, Lady Mary—perfectly respectable. Do note the door is open. I have not accosted your friend. Have I, Lady Fifi?"
"Not in the least," she said, absorbed in Charlton's wrapping of her ankle in a strip of flannel.
"You've done this often?" Mary inquired of him.
"Battlefield surgeons are few and far between, my lady. A commander must perform as leader, confessor, scribe and doctor."
"Of course." Mary seemed at odds as to whether to stay or go. "Will you come downstairs, my lord, after you finish here?"
"I will. So will Lady Fifi."
"Oh, no, I won't. I'm not going down there like this."
"Why not?" He paused, surprise on his face. "Does your ankle prohibit you from laughing?"
Fifi stared him down. Was he joking? "Never."
"Well then."
"You are irritating, my lord." Fifi crossed her arms, delighted to be cajoled into attending the others when she should claim the vapors, a megrim at the least. But she wanted to be with Rory. Anywhere.
She met Mary's gaze. "We'll adjourn to the salon soon."
He smiled at Mary. "A few more minutes, then."
Fifi smiled at her friend, hoping she'd leave them alone.
But Welles appeared and curtsied to them. The maid provided a suitable chaperone.
Mary dismissed herself. "I'll see you both downstairs."
He worked for a few more minutes on her ankle, smiling to himself the entire time. When he finished and drew down her skirts, he shot his cuffs and threw her a look of pride. "Are you ready to greet the other guests?"
"I am hungry." She tipped her head, marveling that her friends downstairs would see such a man honoring her with his attentions. "And I would say you are, too. Carrying me about must require Herculean efforts."
"When I look at you, I feel more like Paris."
"A man, bereft of all reason in the presence of the lady he adored."
That set her aglow. "You are becoming much too complimentary, my lord."
"Rory," he murmured so that Welles might not hear.
She cocked her head and whispered, "Rory."
"Between us," he said as he bent near to her lips, "I want only truth."
She caught her breath. Truth could ruin so much about their relationship. Truth that she had been girlishly attracted to him the minute she met him. Truth that she pined for him and, because of her vanity not to wear her glasses that night six years ago, she'd mistaken him for another. Truth that today she appreciated him more each moment as he rescued her from a wrecked coach and from the embarrassment of being crippled by her ankle injury. Truth that she should not encourage him to pay his attentions to her. But she wanted him to do that—and she wanted that at any price.
She locked her gaze on his. Her earnestness must match his. "I want it too."
"Marvelous!" He chuckled and scooped her up into his arms. His face, so close, elicited a grin from her. His eyes, so lively—his lips, so appealing—his cologne, so intoxicating—all combined to make him irresistible. She cupped his nape, the lure of him surging through her anew. 
"Kiss me, if you like," he murmured, his mouth a tempting morsel. 
"I'd like to." She considered the strong lines of his generous mouth. "Later."
“Away then! We must hurry the evening along!”
She threw back her head and laughed as she had not laughed in years. Perhaps, not ever.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

How to announce you've eloped? 1816 style!

In the Georgian period, parents of the bride or the couple themselves could announce their engagement, elopement (!) or marriage, but did so more by word of mouth than by formal declaration. 
Rarely did they post any word publicly themselves.
Newspapers would often post a line or two. Announcements of noble families' unions were rare as they wished more privacy than middle classes.
I just finished a book due out May 5 in a new series, FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FROLIC and I needed a good idea of how people gave any word of their nuptials and I did my research in British newspapers. FOUR WEDDING AND A FROLIC is a comedy series! 
Here are a few announcements of weddings from newspapers of the period. One is for a duke's imminent wedding.
Do enlarge them to read fully!

Monday, February 3, 2020

1816: The Year Without Summer and is it too cold to fall in love???
Can it snow in June? Freeze in July? Frost over in August?
Yes.. And it did when in 1816, the atmosphere filled with debris when Mount Tambora in Indonesia exploded in April 1815.  The ash and sulfur dioxide in the air chilled most of North America and Europe to the point that crops failed, animals died and people starved.
How cold had it gotten?
Only 3 degrees colder on average was what most experienced but it was enough to cause wide-spread devastation and hunger. In Ireland, thousands migrated to find food, shelter and new homes. In America, snow and ice meant many starved. In Europe, people rioted for bread.
For months, no one knew or understood the cause. Indeed the first indications I found of any idea of the cause was this entry in London Morning Post, May 4, 1816. (Do enlarge to read more easily!)

Why is this important to me? And why did I go looking for such detail? As you might imagine I wrote a novella, LADY MARY'S MAY DAY MISCHIEF, set  in late April and early May 1816 in Bath and London.

While I chose this time of year to coincide with the theme of this fabulous box set written by talented authors, I also chose it because it was May 1, 1816 that the Princess of Wales, the only direct heir to the throne of United Kingdom, married one of the great heroes of the Napoleonic Wars. Who was that? 

Prince Leopold of Saxe-Cobourg. Yes, this is the same one you've seen portrayed as King Leopold, King of the Belgians, as uncle to Queen Victoria and to his nephew and her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Cobourg. 

Leopold was a catch...and a hunk. Here he is in 1815. Yummy, yes?

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Romance for grown ups! An older man for an older woman! 99 cents on pre-order now!

Tired of heroes and heroines too young to really know what to do to protect their the bedroom and out?

Me, too! 

So here is AUNT GERTRUDE"S RED HOT CHRISTMAS BEAU, an older gentleman and an older lady, who know what they are about!

Need a nibble? 

Of course, you do!
Copyright 2019. Cerise Deland. All rights reserved.
“You may go, Nan,” she told her lady’s maid. “I’ve no need of my wrapper. I go straight to bed. You should, too.”
The servant bobbed and turned for Gertrude’s sitting room door.
But when she opened it, Simms stood there. His hand in the air, ready to scratch the wood to ask for entry, he quickly recovered his aplomb. The butler was new to Gertrude’s employ, efficient, worldly and no more than thirty years of age. Intriguing for a butler of his extensive experience to be so less than fifty, but Gertrude had not debated his background. She’d hired the man. Handsome as sin with ink black hair and flashing silver eyes, he had an air of no nonsense, a bevy of friends at Prinny’s Royal Pavilion and an odd penchant for quoting Shakespeare. Gertrude valued him. A wise and interesting choice to head her household. Even if, at the moment, he appeared to be rather disheveled. Odd that.
“Yes, Simms.” She swished her long unbound silver hair over her shoulder and pulled her green velvet robe close to her throat. “What is it?”
“My lady, we have a new arrival. I knew you’d wish to greet him.”
Him? Her heart did a girlish pitter-patter. “I wish to welcome any guest, Simms. Who—?”
“The duke of Harlow, Madam.”
She shivered in delight. “I will be right down, Simms.”
“No need, my dear Gertrude!” The bass voice was one of command, a man who knew his authority and seized it. Yes, it was Harlow! Expertly attired in a winter clawhammer and woolen breeches that hugged his sturdy frame, he glowed from the brisk winter air. His hair, black as sin with those devilish streaks of white at his temples, proclaimed his age more than the ruddiness of his cheeks. Most of all, what declared his youthful intentions were his turquoise eyes that twinkled in mischief. 
Simms stepped aside.
And Harlow filled her doorway.
 She grinned and extended both hands. “Your Grace. How wonderful to see you here.”
He walked right in, nodding in dismissal to Simms and her maid. Then he reached out to grasp the door and shut it upon them both. “How wonderful to be greeted. By a lady in her nightgown, too. Love the dishabille, my dear.”
“You rake!” She chuckled. And blushed. What a man to so commandeer the room! In front of her butler and her maid, too. My, my. “Harlow, I’m thrilled!”
“Are you, my darling?” He strode close, sent one hand up to capture the wealth of her hair and curled an arm around her waist. Crushing her against his rock-like form, he brushed his firm lips across hers and seized her mouth in a ravenous kiss. When he broke away, she was breathless . “I’m here to claim the joys of the Season—and you. Will you have me?”

I HOPE YOU WILL ENJOY HIM! AND DO ENJOY the companion book to this, THE MARQUESS'S FINAL FLING, which stars the Duke of Harlow's son, the Marquess of Tain!  

Of course, all 6 of these Christmas Belles find love at the same house party! And all are on KU!
Cerise's AMAZON page for all in this series!

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Was Mr. Darcy really rich on his 10,000 a year? Or just getting by?

Let's talk about Darcy's 10,000 a year, shall we?
Darcy fans ask the burning question: How well would Lizzie Bennet really live after she married Mr. Darcy?
That leading statement that he had “ten thousand a year” sounds rich…but it’s enlightening to learn the facts.
To help you savor the possibilities of stepping into Lizzie’s shoes, I found a wonderful website that translates previous years’ British pounds into current British pounds. So for your titilation, here’s a sample of the real cost of living for Mr. Darcy and his bride. I’ve added to the cost of a hired carriage ride and the cost of paying his servants’ salaries. (Yes, all costs are those I took from original sources of the period, give or take a few years on the publication date of Jane’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE which is 1813.)

(Do enlarge the two excerpts from an 1825 book on Household governance!)
A London carriage ride, hired hackney, 1-2 miles
(ex: Charing Cross to Hyde Park Corner) 1-2 pounds
Ladies hat, chip straw 18 pounds
Lace trim, 6 shillings per yard
Gown: Fine India Muslin, white, 13 per yard* 39-65 pounds
(3-5 needed for full length dress)
*Sewing extra
(Alternate fabric: chintz 7-8 pounds per yard)
Dinner party, food and wine, for 16-20 20 pounds
Dinner for family of 4, 3-4 courses 5 pounds
To educate (a daughter) at boarding school, including
Transportation to, from 43 per year
Recommended expenditure for running complete household:
This from one current expert in the period...and the category that breaks the bank. Watch and see!
33% of all income should go to household expenses 3300
20% to servants’ salaries, equipage (i.e. horse, carriage) 2000
TOTAL: 5300
So, let’s do the math!
Darcy has income of 10,000 pounds a year.
To run his country home, he spends 55% a year of 10,000 = 5300. pounds
He gives one dinner party a month x 12 = 240.
1 ball for 100 = (equivalent of 5 dinners) = 200
Total entertainment of others per year = 440.
5 new dresses for his wife, Lizzie = 65 x 5= 325
5 new hats for Lizzie, 18 x 5= 90
Total for Lizzie: 415.
What remains for him to expense:
· Clothing for himself, rest of family
· Education for children
· Books, entertainment, etc.
· His club dues, social responsibilities
· Etc.
And of course, the total to run his London townhouse is not listed here. That amount would be approximate to that of running his country estate. So add another 5300 pounds to his annual expenses as a gentleman.
And by that rule of thumb alone, he would already be in debt by several thousand pounds.
And what does 10,000 pounds in 1813 equal in British pounds today?
638,000 pounds
Converting that into American dollars at today’s inflation rate, we get
Darcy is a millionaire. But if he’s running two households, I hate to say this, he’s in financial trouble.
My Regency gentlemen are not broke. And I hope you will read all of the novels in which they star...and lavishly spend their riches on new wives!
Especially my complete CHRISTMAS BELLES series, out now on KU! AUNT GERT's BEAU out separately Jan. 30 !

Friday, January 10, 2020

Women of War: American girls who fought far from their garden gate!

Research can take you far, far from home!
Gates to
Suresnes American Cemetery

Here I begin a series about my travels to research a novel about the American women who volunteered to go abroad and nurse American Doughboys during the Great War, or as we now call it World War One!

A few of our women are buried abroad. If you go to Paris, do go to the American Cemetery high above the Seine at Suresnes. Situated just near a school Napoleon founded, this cemetery is land given to the United States to bury our dead after that war.

The families of these women—just as those of our men—were asked if they wished the bodies of their loved ones sent home or buried in the soil where they died.

Here are graves of four women whose families chose to have them remain. In this beautiful setting above the Seine, where one can see the Eiffel Tower and the flowing river, lie our national heroines. They bear their full names, hospital assignment, state they were from and date of their deaths. (These are my pictures taken in 2016.)

For more information about my research into World War One, medical care, and Army Nurse Corps, do visit my other blog:  

Marian Henrietta White, Nurse, American Red Cross,
Pennsylvania, October 3, 1918

Katherine Dent,
Nurse, Base Hospital 24, ANC
Louisiana, June 16, 1918

Lucy N. Fletcher, Nurse, Base Hospital 6, ANC
May 6, 1918

Nellie M. Dingley, Nurse, Camp Hospital 4, ANC
New York, August 28, 1918.