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Category: Amy Quinton

Throughout time, it has never been too late for love…1645


I hope you enjoyed your stay in Regency England via Nicole Zoltalk’s Blog. You are now in 17th Century England!

Thanks for stopping by and welcome to London in 1645: a time of intense political and religious upheaval.

Civil War


King Charles I by Anthony van Dyck

In 1645, England was in the midst of a civil war between King Charles I with his Royalist supporters (or Cavaliers) and Parliamentarians (or Roundheads) who wanted a parliamentarian government rather than a royal monarchy.

The English Civil War lasted from 1642 to 1651, and the end saw the trial and execution of Charles I (Beheaded in 1649), the exile of Charles II (in 1651), and the replacement of the English Monarchy with the Commonwealth of England (in 1649-53) followed by The Protectorate under Oliver Cromwell (in 1653-1658) followed by Richard Cromwell (in 1658-59).

The English Monarchy was restored in 1660 when King Charles II returned from exile and retook the English throne. This date also marks the beginning of the Restoration period of England.

The period of time between the beheading of Charles I (in 1649) and the Restoration and return of Charles II (in 1660) is known as an Interregnum.

King Charles I portrait by Anthony van Dyck

Religious Upheaval, Puritanism, and an Attack on Christmas!

1645By the mid-17th century, Puritans—whose initial goal was to purify the Church of England and abolish any connection with Catholicism due to the idea that the entire organized religion of Catholicism was corrupt—had considerable influence in America and most of Europe. Puritans had power in government and thus the ability to influence laws. In the 1640s, the parliamentary party (working within the elected parliament) began working to suppress saints’ and holy days, including Christmas! This attack on Christmas came about for several reasons: they disliked the extravagance and disorder associated with the celebrations surrounding Christmas, and they saw Christmas as an unwelcome reminder of Catholic traditions (Christ’s mass). Further, they argued there was no biblical justification for celebrating Jesus’s birth.

By 1644, parliament went so far as to stress that December 25th should be a regular day of fasting and humiliation, as it happened to coincide with their weekly holy day. Further, people were directed to consider it a specific time of penance for past carnal delights associated with the holiday.

In January 1645, Parliament fully abolished and made illegal any observation of holy days, apart from Sundays. By 1659, Christmas was even abolished in parts of America, specifically the New England area, which had a strong concentration of Puritans. In fact, though the ban on Christmas in America was repealed in 1681, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that people widely began celebrating Christmas again in Boston!

A Year Without a Christmas from Never Too Late takes place during this time, when Christmas celebrations were prohibited, and is a theme of the story.

17th Century Fashion

We’ve all seen the extravagant neck ruffs associated with the Elizabethan era. By the 17th century, ruffs began to disappear to be replaced with broad lace or linen collars. Sleeves, which had previously been tight and fitted, became loose and flowing—many had slashed sleeves which revealed the shirt or chemise beneath.

Women’s clothing still consisted of bodices, petticoats, and gowns with wide lace collars and matching kerchiefs. Waistlines raised and lowered throughout the century, favoring a longer, loose silhouette. Men wore shirts, doublets, and hose, and for the first time, shoes began to have heels.

The influence of Puritanism can be felt in fashions of the time, with many apart from the extremely wealthy wearing more somber colors and significantly less lace, which was considered extravagant and wasteful. However, the higher the rank, the more lace was worn as success in Puritan eyes mean that a person was particularly blessed and therefore more Godly.

Women wore the bulk of their hair loose, with the top section pulled back into a bun, and often had bangs or fringe. Married women quit wearing lace caps so characteristic of the previous era. For men, long curls were fashionable. Cocked hats, pinned on one side with a mass of ostrich plumes was characteristic of the 1630s. The ascendance of the wig did not come about until the 1660s.


Henrietta Maria of France, Queen of Charles I by Anthony van Dyck


Hester Tradescant, second wife of John Tradescant the younger, attributed to Thomas De Critz, 1645.






Philip IV in Fraga by Diego Velazquez


Fashionable heeled boot with butterflies to prevent chafing from spurs.






Comment on all eight blogs in our tour and be entered to win a $25 gift voucher from Amazon and a print copy of Never Too Late!

You can get to all eight blogs via the time machine page on our Bluestocking Belle’s website once all tour stops are published.

Farewell from 1645

Thank you for stopping by. We hope you found your stay informative. Your next stop, takes you back to the beginning of the tour on Jude Knight’s blog, where you’ll visit New Zealand in 1886. Or you can return to the time machine page on our Bluestocking Belle’s website and pick a year.

I wish you safe travels. Good luck. Try not to land in the midst of the Battle of the Somme!

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Musings of a Motley Meddler: G— St. V—, Part 3

England 1814

Dear Interested Parties,

Today’s topic: The Betrothal of G— St . V—, the Future M— of S—, Part 3

In my last post, I recounted the gist of an incriminatory, private conversation between G—St. V— and his (hopefully) soon-to-be-betrothed, Miss Do—a W—e, as overheard via that most ancient and beloved of all past times: Eavesdropping.

Now, I must admit I found the implications of their entire conversation to be delightfully delicious, unlike my colleagues, yet as expressed previously, such a compromising conversation was utterly inconvenient for my plans as I desired them to unfold. As such, I thought I’d have my hands full redirecting my contemporaries away from such delectable gossip…seeing as they, regrettably, also overheard the aforementioned conversation.

Alas, I should have had more faith, dear friends, in my pick for Lord St. V—‘s future bride, for she handled the potential architects of her downfall with absolute grace and aplomb.

Or, at least, quite a bit of pluck.

Shall I recount the events as they unfolded?

But of course.

First, let me set the scene:

I interrupted the decadently delightful conversation by bursting through the library door with overabundant flourish (my forte, you know), my contemporaries right on my heels. St. V— was rather unfortunately—or fortunately, depending on who you ask—disheveled: his jacket dusty, his collar droopy, his cravat loose…y (I had to). Miss W— was not much better, but then her appearance appeared in such a sorry state as a general rule.

Both were seated on a red, velvet settee, entertaining a rock of all things.

And both stood with alacrity upon my glorious entry, Miss W— stating the obvious (or not so obvious, depending): “It’s not what you think.”

Of course, it wasn’t.


To the women on my heels, I added, “Well, it’s clear there’s nothing to see here.”

The rest occurred as follows:

Lady Str—n, sputteringly: “Nothing to see here! I think we can all agree there is quite a lot to see here. Besides, I know what I heard.”

Lady Led—r, enquiringly, “I expect you are prepared to do the gentlemanly thing, St. V?”

It should be noted: St. V— was not the least bit ruffled by her pointed question, yet before he could speak…

Miss W—, challenging…ly: “Of course, we’re not going to marry. We’ve done nothing wrong.”

Lady Led—r, accusingly: “We all heard you.”

Miss W—, arguably: “Did you now? And what, precisely, did you hear?”

Lady Led—r, blushing…ly: “A lady does not speak of such things. Besides, you know what you said…”

Miss W—, confidently: “Indeed. I do know. I was looking at Lord St. V—’s engraved rock, offering him a translation of its markings. What did you think I was doing?”

Lady Led—r, dismissively (and with a very unladylike snort): “That still doesn’t explain the state of your clothes.”

Miss W—, defiantly: “I rather don’t know what you mean Lady Led—r. Besides, I am thirty years of age…”

St. V—, idiotically: “You’re thirty?”

Miss W—, pointedly: “Do you have a problem with that?”

St. V—, fortunately: “No…”

Miss W—, self-assuredly: “As I was saying, I am thirty years of age: far too old to be forced into marriage for the sake of my nonexistent reputation. Especially given we’ve done nothing wrong.”

Lady Led—r and Lady Str—n, jealously: “Harrumph…” 

Me, happily: “Ahem. You see? Nothing to see here at all. Now, I suggest you all run along before you miss the morning’s events. I’m sure my nephew has many activities planned for his guest to enjoy. You won’t want to miss a thing, I assure you.”

Miss W—, relieved…ly: “Thank God that’s over.” (Once everyone had left, of course.)

See? Perfect for G— St. V—, isn’t she?

Soon, dear readers, soon…

*Hums the wedding march*

Lady Harriett Ross
Bloomfield Place
Bath, England

I’m just an old woman with opinions. On everything.

Musings of a Motley Meddler: G— St. V—, Part 2

England 1814

Dear Interested Parties,

Today’s topic: The betrothal of G— St . V—, the future M— of S—

In my last post, I outlined the terms of my latest wager: that I would have G— St. V—t, the future M— of S— betrothed in a fortnight to a gel of my choosing.

Alas, we are halfway to this self-imposed deadline and my quarry (both of them) are proving particularly stubborn despite the fact that they were caught in a most compromising situation, which in normal circumstances would spell a special license and a wedding posthaste.

Both parties claim all innocence. Of course.

Society matrons have called for their immediate marriage. As expected.

As for me? I consider myself somewhat of a progressive mind, yet even I blushed upon (accidentally, of course) overhearing their private, albeit muffled, conversation, which I must admit was quite damning.

And that’s saying quite a lot coming from me. Considering the things I’ve seen…the things I’ve done…

…but I digress.

Here are a few of the key statements overheard (the lady speaks first):

“Can I touch it?”

“Please do.”

“Oh, my. It’s really soft, but at the same time, so hard. Like marble, but warmer.”

“Mmm. Yes. I’ve been told that before.”

“I love the way it feels.”

“Me, too.”

“Do you stroke it often?”

“Every day.”

“Won’t that ruin it?”

Mumbling. Perhaps, a groan.

“Try harder, D—.”

See? Quite incriminatory.

Truthfully, I don’t relish winning in this manner. I want to earn my successes… through my own machinations.

Fortunately, my prey seem bent on allowing their reputations to crumble rather than be forced to marry.

Never fear, dear readers, I have prevailed over narrower odds than this before, and I shall do so once again. Despite their reluctance, I proclaim they will be betrothed in a week. Of their own accord. Without pressure from society and questionably compromising situations.

Now that I have you all anxiously anticipating all the juicy particulars—please be aware, I am chronicling everything, and I vow you shall have the full details of this whirlwind courtship available to you before the end of the year.

Lady Harriett Ross
Bloomfield Place
Bath, England

I’m just an old woman with opinions. On everything.

Harriett Ross is a delightful secondary character who appears in every book of Amy Quinton’s Agents of Change series. She is the Marquess of Dansbury’s beloved aunt and is looking to create her own spin-off series of match-making tales. For now, you can find her in any one of the Agents of Change books, including the wildly popular: What the Marquess Sees.

Read more about this and other stories in the Agents of Change series here.

Musings of a Motley Meddler: G— St. V—, Part 1

March 1814

Dear Interested Parties,

Today’s topic: G— St . V—, the future M— of S—

I’m willing to gamble two outdoor chaises and my infamous pink crocheted wrap that it will take:

1: my dedicated staff

2. my youthful (and by youthful, I mean eighty-two and three quarters years young) neighbor, Mike

3. my dog, Haypenny

4. a few purposely misplaced items, and

5. of course, myself…

…the better part of a two-week house party to turn G— St. V—’s life upside down.

And by upside down, I mean: he will be betrothed.

I know; I know…normally it doesn’t take me quite so long to work my meddling, er…magic, but I am working under extenuating circumstances. As we all know, the victim A: hasn’t been in the country for the better part of a year, B: is too stubborn by half, and C: is flat out determined not to marry. He isn’t even courting anyone for that matter, though honestly, I find his courting status, or the lack thereof, to be utterly immaterial…and temporary…thus, irrelevant.

Because I, Lady Harriett Ross, have found the future M— of S— the perfect bride. Everything else is inconsequential.

Besides, he needs this woman. She is utterly delightful, smart, and well, interested (though she may not realize it yet…ahem).

How could he possibly resist?

Don’t answer that.

And both victims—I mean, soon-to-be-happily-in-love-er-lovers—have accepted their respective invitations to my nephew’s next country house party. Serendipity? I think not.

If I have anything to say about the matter (and I always have something to say about matters), they’re both doomed…

Oh, did I say doomed? I mean, destined…to a long life filled with love and happiness. Eventually.

So if you’ve received one of my nephew’s coveted invitations, accept it at once. You won’t want to miss out. I hear the appetizers are to die for, the company top notch, the country air conducive to romance, and the entertainment—watching a young couple fall in love—swoon worthy.

I hope to see you there!

Lady Harriett Ross
Bloomfield Place
Bath, England

I’m just an old woman with opinions. On everything.

Harriett Ross is a delightful secondary character who appears in every book of Amy Quinton’s Agents of Change series. She is the Marquess of Dansbury’s beloved aunt and is looking to create her own spin-off series of match-making tales. For now, you can find her in any one of the Agents of Change books, including the wildly popular: What the Marquess Sees.

Read more about this and other stories in the Agents of Change series here.

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