Category Archives: History

Some History of April Fools Day

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This blog deals with  many novels set in the Georgian and Regency period I was delighted to find that the first documented April Fool’s prank was purported to have been staged by Henry, Duke of Grenfeld , England, 1794.  His French wife, who loved frog legs for dinner, was always disappointed because Henry refused to have them served.  On April Fool’s Day Henry had 25 frogs captured from his estate ponds and placed under dome covers on the banquet table.  He told his Duchess that especially for her, frog legs would be served.  The Duchess was delighted until the domed covers were lifted and the frogs catapulted over the table.  This never happened. There is no Lord Grenfeld. Happy April Fools Day.

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Historical Romance Novels; a little history and some info

Historical Romance Novels; a little history and some Info originally posted back in March, 2013.  But still interesting information. (comments are 2 from the original posting.)

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The modern day romance novel can be attributed to Georgette Heyer who wrote Austen-like novels in the 1930’s.  The Grand Sophie being one of her most famous. From that time until the  early 1970’s there were novels with romantic elements like Forever Amber and  Gone With The Wind to name just a few.  All of these were published in hardcover editions, paperback books being somewhat confined to pulp fiction offerings.

In 1972 all that was about to change when Avon published Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and The Flower in paperback. It sold over 2 million copies and Woodiwiss followed up in 1974 with The Wolf and The Dove.   Also in 1974 Rosemary Rodgers came on the scene with Sweet Savage Love.  These early  paperback original novels usually had Alpha Males and helpless females with sex often of a violent (rape) nature.  Since the covers often pictured scantily clad women with dominating men leaning over them they were often referred to as “bodice rippers”. This term is not appreciated by current Historical Romance fans and writers.

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Through the 1980’s and 1990’s the genre continued to evolve featuring heroines of a more independent nature and although the heros were still Alpha types they often redeemed themselves and the sex became consensual.  Humor was often added as well as suspense and mystery.  Considered a required feature is a happy-ever-after for the protagonists. The New York Times reports that romance novels,  are the fastest growing segment in ebooks, out-pacing general fiction, mystery and science fiction.

Romance Categories:

Ancient: Egypt; Greece; Rome; etc. – the ancient world.
Dark Ages: from the fall of Rome (410 AD) to 1065.
Medieval: from 1066, up to and including the 17th century.
Georgian: from 1702 to 1811 (the age of reason and freedom).
Regency: from 1811 to 1830 (includes the regency and the kingship).
Western: the wild, wild West! Contemporary or historical.
Colonial: early settlements, exploration, and Southern romances (including Americana).
Victorian: from 1830 to 1901 (including William IV’s reign).
Civil War: America – from 1861 to 1865 (the civil war era).
Vintage: from 1901 to 1945 (Edward VII, World War I, World War II, etc.)
 Celtic: historicals / paranormals / fantasies that take place primarily in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Brittany, etc.
Time Travel: modern-day heroes and heroines thrown back in time to meet their true loves.
Fantasy: dragons, fairies, wizards, and witches – oh my!
Paranormal: vampires, ghosts, werewolves, shape-shifters, goth, etc. Contemporary or historical.
Anthology: must contain at least one genre from above.

(this blog post was referenced from Wikipedia and Historical Romance Club.com)

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Review not by Deet( You’re gonna love this one)

I haven’t read this book.  That doesn’t mean I won’t, but what follows the blurb is one of the funniest reviews I have ever read on Amazon.  Tell me, would you read this book after reading that review? Read the blurb first.  ( I love this cover!! That gown is to die for!)

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A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Book Blurb:

Rural Wisconsin, 1909. In the bitter cold, Ralph Truitt, a successful businessman, stands alone on a train platform waiting for the woman who answered his newspaper advertisement for “a reliable wife.” But when Catherine Land steps off the train from Chicago, she’s not the “simple, honest woman” that Ralph is expecting. She is both complex and devious, haunted by a terrible past and motivated by greed. Her plan is simple: she will win this man’s devotion, and then, ever so slowly, she will poison him and leave Wisconsin a wealthy widow. What she has not counted on, though, is that Truitt — a passionate man with his own dark secrets —has plans of his own for his new wife. Isolated on a remote estate and imprisoned by relentless snow, the story of Ralph and Catherine unfolds in unimaginable ways.

With echoes of Wuthering Heights and Rebecca, Robert Goolrick’s intoxicating debut novel delivers a classic tale of suspenseful seduction, set in a world that seems to have gone temporarily off its axis.

**

A 2-star Amazon review

By Alyssa Donati on March 20, 2012

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

as he flung her onto the crimson horsehair settee and ravaged her like a wild dingo. He bathed in her flesh, he scooped it up like rich creamy yogurt until her swarthy lover burst in and brandished a large shotgun. “Release that venomous tart!” He bellowed. “Never! I must have her! I shall devour her completely until only one dazzling amber eyeball remains!”

No, this is not a quote from Goolrick or A Reliable Wife, HOWEVER it could have been.

A reliable Wife is not terrible. There are some beautifully written passages and it does commence with an intriguing plot but unfortunately midway through the book begins to morph into a dime store bodice ripper. Goolrick’s protagonist is a miserable aging man who craves sex so much you begin to worry he’s going to go completely nuts one day and mount the portly old housekeeper when she’s taking out the trash. He winds up advertising for a wife and when she arrives he turns into Charlie Sheen (the new one with the Tiger Blood and porn Goddesses…) From then on the book’s plot becomes so preposterous and the sexual encounters so salacious and repetitive it’s truly hard to maintain interest. In addition to the bacchanalian sex, the sprawled limbs, the moist loins, the heaving bosoms etc…every character in this novel basically wants to drop dead (that is, if they’re not in the middle of intercourse.) Truly, I have never seen so many homicidal, suicidal, morose, pissed off, seething, wretched individuals crammed into one book. So, in summation, if you like watching irate vengeful people savagely engage in coitus and then drop dead, you might like this book.

(Deet says: I came across this book because it was on one of those Buy this for $1.99 deals I get in my e-mail so often.) 

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Deet’s Glorious Adventure (the Finale)

No events were planned until 1pm so I got to sleep-in. Yeah, right. I was on east coast time the entire week so on this final day I awoke at 5am just like the other days. I was being really lazy in the morning, uploading photos to my computer, reading a bit on my Kindle. At 1pm I made my way to the Grand Pennington Ballroom where the Book Fair and signing was held. Here we have the two Sabrinas, York and Jeffries. At the last table is Karen Hawkens and Lorraine Heath. The bottom photo is fuzzy but I wanted you to see the entire signing room.

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There was about 3hours between the book signing and the Grand Ball.  I was invited to go to dinner with the fab Victoria Vane and Julie Johnstone and Collette Cameron.

We were so caught up in conversation and laughter that time got away from us and we hurried back to the hotel to get ready for the Grand Ball. The food was Hor D’Oeuvres and Dessert.

But the gowns were the big attraction as well as the beautiful women wearing them. Yes there were a few men attending and dancing. It was a fairytale setting. first u[ our hostess Delilah Marvelle, then our other hostess Renee Bernard, next a view of the back of the gowns. Next (can I ever take a decent photo? Guess not, but wanted to show you.) Victoria Vane and the ladies wearing the gowns she sewed for them. Victoria also made her gown. Then comes Erin Knightly just beautiful! Next we have Elizabeth Essex, Tessa Dare and Victoria Vane (this one taken at an earlier event). Next is terrific blogger Ki Pha. Last and certainly not least Lovely Wendy Loverage,book reviewer, all the way from England.

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The next morning there was a continental breakfast gathering before we all bid our farewells.  Oh, and here is the Dowager Duchess of La Deetda Reads:

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Deet’s Glorious Adventure (Part 2)

The second day of the Historical Romance Retreat in Spokane, Washington was a morning to late night affair. (For some photos of day one scroll down the blog to Monday’s post.) Day two started with Author Chats/Presentations I sat in on a panel consisting of Julia London, Katherine Bone, Valerie Bowman, Tessa Dare, Rose Lerner, Darcy Burke, Wendy LaCapra, Karen Hawkins and Jenn LeBlanc. I also played a game of Regency Charades with Karen Hawkins and Victoria Alexander. But the high light of the afternoon was  the High Tea held in the Marie Antoinette Ballroom. As you can see below the tea tables were exquisite and I can relate, delicious. The little favor boxes contained a gift from Delilah Marvelle which I’ll show you later. In the photo of me I’m wearing my take on a 1930’s outfit.

After the Tea there was free time until the 8 pm Historical Gaming Night where we played various gambling games from history.  Carol and I played Bone-Off (yes, I know that name would conjure lascivious thoughts but it was quite tame) and I did win eight or ten raffle prize entries.  Alas, I didn’t win a prize.

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The evening wound down (or revved up depending on your take) with the Absinthe and Abigail  Party, where we imbibed the drink and then along with the green fairies found our rooms for the night. Here is a photo of the gifts from Delilah Marvelle, a beautiful brooch that was in that cute favor box at Tea, and from Renee Bernard a lovely mirror compact in the shape of a rose.  The charm bracelet was in my registration goodie bag. Stay with me for the Grand Ball will blow you away in a future post.

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Deet’s Life-Deet’s Glorious Adventure

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I’m off to Spokane, Washington for the first ever Historical Romance Retreat, a four day event filled with readers and authors who love the genre. I’m sure I will have some photos to upload when I get home.  Here is a glimpse of the venue, The Historic Davenport Hotel.

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This is the gorgeous Lobby:

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I will be welcomed to the event and also do some gambling on Gaming Night here:

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In this room I will be entertained at High Tea:

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The room where the Grand Ball and Book Fair  will be held:

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Regency Era Transportation

(Once again I’m giving you a glimpse of an older post. but haven’t you wondered what all those carriages looked like?)

Regency Era Transportation

I read quite a few Regency Era romance novels.  There is always a mention of a horse drawn coach or carriage in every book, since these were the typical mode of transportation for the gentry and aristocracy.  The poor folks had to rely on walking.  Instead of wondering about what these vehicles looked like, I did a little research and thought perhaps you would like to see what they looked like also.  I got these pictures from Google Images and Bing Images, any errors I’m dumping at their feet.:-)

Phaeton– This one was very popular with the rakish fellas because it was so high, a ladder was often needed to get onto the seat,  and it got them noticed.  It also was dangerous, it could easily tip over, that made it attractive to the daredevils.  There was no side protection so mud splatters were to be expected. carriage phaeton

Curricle– Another fashionable carriage for the gentleman.  It was light weight and speedy.carriage curricle

Barouche– A popular summer carriage for the wealthy. It had a hood over one of the seats.carriage barouche

Landau– This one came in at the end of the Regency Era.  It was expensive and very showy, perfect for being seen in the park. (although to my mind not as elegant as the Barouche)Carriage CLassicLandau1

 

Town Coach– Similar to a Landau but with a hard roof.  It was also called a ‘Closed Carriage”.  The nobility often put their coat of arms on the door.carriage Town coach

Mail Coach– this needs little explanation.  It traveled the roads delivering the mail across England and those who wished to travel  from one place to another could purchase a seat.carriage mail coach

 Dog Cart– It was not a cart pulled by dogs.  It was a carriage used on estates that could hold the hunting dogs being transported to a hunt.carriage dog cart

 

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London Library Bars- Yeah!

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Found on BuzzFeed  16 Library Bars in London

Now this is my idea of a fun way to drink my wine.  Usually I favor Pinot Grigio but in these settings I may have to go with a Pinot Noir or Merlot or even two fingers of a single malt. completely ensconced in my book I may not even notice the famous author sitting by the fire.

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Release Day Review- Named of The Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

Title:  Named of the Dragon

Named of the Dragon

Genre: Contemporary Romance (mystery, suspense, paranormal, history)

Author: Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark, Oct. 6, 2015

Pages: 322

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 2

Description from Amazon.com:         

SOMEWHERE IN THE HEART OF LEGEND LIES THE KEY TO HER TERRIFYING DREAMS

The charm of spending the Christmas holidays in South Wales, with its crumbling castles and ancient myths, seems the perfect distraction from the nightmares that have plagued literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw since the loss of her baby five years ago.

Instead, she meets an emotionally fragile young widow who’s convinced that Lyn’s recurring dreams have drawn her to Castle Farm for an important purpose–and she’s running out of time.

With the help of a reclusive, brooding playwright, Lyn begins to untangle the mystery and is pulled into a world of Celtic legends, dangerous prophecies, and a child destined for greatness.

**

This is very much a romantic suspense novel with touches of the paranormal just like most of Kearsley’s books.  The setting is Wales and the characters are for the most part English.  Not only do we get a mystery but also some insightful looks at Welsh history. Once again Kearsley touches on all of my favorite tropes; romance, mystery, suspense and learning something new.  The author has combined a real life setting with fictional characters and plot.  Once you start reading you are immersed in the setting, time and place.  It is not apparent that there is evil lurking but there is something that is just a bit off.  As an involved reader you will try to help Lyn figure it out but it is often elusive and difficult to know who to trust. This is truly a wonderful book from a supremely accomplished author.

I recommend this book to all who like a good mystery and a happy ending with doses of history thrown in for good measure.

This edition is a re-issue of the book first published in 1999.

 

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Downton Abbey Funny Video for all Fans

Downton Abbey starts this Fall in the U.K. we in the staes have a bit longer wait.  I think this funny little video will entertain you all while we wait.  For more go to YouTube for part 2.

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