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Bounder deceives Lady Taffy

Mr. Clemens–

It is with great reluctance and heaviness of heart that I write to you today, but decency demands I must. Were that it not so! A most intriguing stranger arrived at the Pump Room not a fortnight past — you’ll note I hesitate to call him “gentleman”! The Chevalier d’Aubusson — if indeed he holds the honor — has charmed all and sundry with a practiced grace and the face of an Adonis, but I rather suspect –nay, I am certain! — he means to abscond with one of our impressionable young ladies. For their part, the young ladies are only too happy to comply!

His attention has fallen upon the rather tragic figure of Lady Emilia Lloyd-Marshal, known to some by the affectionate appellation “Lady Taffy” because of her unfortunate Welsh roots. As you well know, Lady Emilia was presented late, and is now on her sixth — sixth! — season with not a suitable swain in sight. What does she expect, carrying on the way she does? She shocked the assembly into silence with an impromptu harp recital whilst we were attempting to take the waters in peace. She discarded her gloves, then emptied her glass into a ficus — a ficus, I ask you! At the ball this Thursday last, I espied her sneaking gin from a flask concealed on her person, then she stole a dance with the chevalier from my daughter, and deported herself like a veritable harlot. If that isn’t enough to scandalize you, my dear Mr. Clemens, you may need to find your seat for what I am about to impart.

Lady Emilia Lloyd-Marshal is to appear in a play with none other than the infamous Countess of Somerton — in a theater!

Truly, some Good Samaritan ought to save that girl from her own worst impulses. I suppose it cannot be helped. Though I have not seen her parents in your scandal sheet of late, I can assure you their behaviour is as reprehensible as ever. It is an open secret Lord Brecon lives in sin with a fishwife in some Welsh backwater, while Lady Brecon frequents the bawdy houses of Soho with her retinue of misguided lords, chief among them the hapless Lord Dorchester, who seems quite devoted, poor lamb. In such a household, I daresay Lady Emilia hadn’t the slightest chance of reaching maturity unscathed. But I digress–!

Mr. Clemens, I only wish to caution the unmarried ladies of the ton against this mysterious chevalier. He must be a pretender, for what gentleman would ever seriously court Lady Taffy? Fortune cannot make up for shamelessness or ill manners, and I’m afraid Lady Emilia has an abundance of both. I shudder to think what machinations the “chevalier” has in store for her, but whatever fate awaits her, I am assured she brought it on herself.

Regretfully,

Lady C—-

Beauty and the Bounder by Jessica Cale

He’s a liar and a fortune-hunter . . . and exactly what she needs.

The moment Lady Emilia sets eyes on the Chevalier d’Aubusson, she knows their fates are tied together. For good or ill, she cannot say. A mysterious aristocrat with a tragic past, the chevalier makes waves with his considerable charm.

Seb Virtue is not as he seems. A once-famous actor with a limited options, his future depends on him catching a rich bride. He thought it would be easy, but he didn’t count on Emilia.

There are cracks in Seb’s story, and Emilia never could resist a mystery. Whether he’s a gentleman or a bounder, he might just be the man for her.

Beauty and the Bounder in Valentines from Bath — see more, including buy links, here.

Excerpt

Seb had as much right to be here as anyone. Birth be damned, he was just as good as them if not better. Hadn’t he fought and nearly died for his country? So, he didn’t have a fortune or an ancient name that meant anything outside of Southwark, but he knew how to treat a woman. If Emilia took a chance on him, she’d find out just how good he was at that.

As the couples split into pairs, Seb took Emilia in his arms. She looked startled as his hand found its natural place at the base of her back. At a loss, her free hand skimmed his chest and settled behind his neck. Holding their joined hands tighter, he led her around the room. As he spun her in clockwise circles in an anticlockwise direction, the unavoidable dizziness gave one the sense of flying.

Emilia followed him easily, but he had the sense he’d shocked her. They were moving too quickly to properly converse, and he preferred it that way. He relaxed into the familiar steps and focused on her face. Her eyes were bright, her cheeks flushed, and her lips parted in surprise. She was a little breathless, but not nearly breathless enough. As he twirled her, a sprig of lavender fell from her hair and was crushed underfoot, adding to the perfume of beeswax and warm bodies in the air. She gasped as he caught her and held her to his chest.

Her gaze fell to his lips. “I’m quite scandalized.”

He regarded her with interest. Not yet, she wasn’t.

Jessica Cale is an author, editor, and historian based in North Carolina. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned her B.A. in History and MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in a place where no one understands his accent. She is the editor of Dirty, Sexy History, and you can visit her at dirtysexyhistory.com.
Website: http://www.dirtysexyhistory.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dirtysexyhistory
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JessicaCale
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/caleisafourletterword

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

CONTEST CLOSED: SEE THE COMMENTS FOR WINNERS

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

1645

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.

1645

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

1645

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

 

 

 

 

1645

Philip IV in Fraga by Diego Velazquez

1645

Fashionable heeled boot with butterflies to prevent chafing from spurs.

 

 

 

 

Giveaway

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!

Buy Links

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The Rose, No More? Send Word From Southwark

February 11th, 1679

Dear Achille,

I am most relieved to hear you survived King Louis’ summons unscathed. It is said people have short memories, but nowhere are they shorter than they are in Versailles. I have no doubt your sugar will prove irresistible; I do hope Colbert sees fit to reimburse you for it.

Alice thrives once again, to my greatest relief. At last Achilles smiled only this morning, and it was the most remarkable thing I believe I have seen in my life. I cannot express how much I enjoy being his father. As I did not have one of my own, I am often at a loss for how I ought to behave, but I love him and his remarkable mother with all of my heart, and I would drain the sea if that’s what it took to adequately provide for them.

Fortunately, my current position is significantly less arduous. I am now in the employ of the Republic, officially serving as a translator between the Stadtholder’s men and emissaries from our two countries, though I do not have to tell you my unofficial duties are rather more akin to my work with the army and your own good self. Tensions are high of late; King Charles dismissed parliament a week ago and we can only guess at his plans to replace it. King Louis sends guests monthly with gifts for the Stadtholder and proposals to discuss. He is quick to make peace now the war has ended, but the Dutch have longer memories than even Louis, and still they suffer from those lost among their ranks.

I have sent this to your house in Paris on a hunch–I have heard La Reynie’s investigation is closing in a number of poisoners among the divineresses of Montmartre. You wouldn’t have had anything to do with that, would you?

If you journey to London this year, would you please look in on Alice’s sisters in Southwark? We overheard the most distressing piece of gossip in the market this Saturday past–a merchant just arrived from London was expressing his disappointment that Meg Henshawe is no more! Meg is Alice’s eldest sister and quite infamous even this far into the continent. I questioned the gentleman and he told me he had gone in search of The Rose & Crown to see Meg for himself. Upon arriving, he found it very different from the legends: there were no rooms to let and the inn had suffered some fire damage. He inquired after Meg and was told in no uncertain terms she did not exist. It would seem the inn is now in the hands of a Hebrew prizefighter of some renown.

I was very distressed to hear this and immediately concerned for the fate of Alice’s four sisters. Alice reserves her worry–Meg has always had a certain fascination with the fighters of Bear Gardens–but she has written home nonetheless. We would be most grateful for any insight you might provide.

Your loyal friend,

Jack

The Long Way Homethelongwayhome (1)

(The Southwark Saga, Book 3)
By Jessica Cale

A paranoid king, a poison plot, and hideous shoes…it’s not easy being Cinderella.

After saving the life of the glamorous Marquise de Harfleur, painfully shy barmaid Alice Henshawe is employed as the lady’s companion and whisked away to Versailles. There, she catches King Louis’ eye and quickly becomes a court favorite as the muse for Charles Perrault’s Cinderella. The palace appears to be heaven itself, but there is danger hidden beneath the façade and Alice soon finds herself thrust into a world of intrigue, murder, and Satanism at the heart of the French court.

Having left his apprenticeship to serve King Charles as a spy, Jack Sharpe is given a mission that may just kill him. In the midst of the Franco-Dutch war, he is to investigate rumors of a poison plot by posing as a courtier, but he has a mission of his own. His childhood friend Alice Henshawe is missing and he will stop at nothing to see her safe. When he finds her in the company of the very people he is meant to be investigating, Jack begins to wonder if the sweet girl he grew up with has a dark side.

When a careless lie finds them accidentally married, Alice and Jack must rely on one another to survive the intrigues of the court. As old affection gives way to new passion, suspicion lingers. Can they trust each other, or is the real danger closer than they suspect?

“Really brilliant writing that’s so engaging with such endearing characters! I especially love the way Jack and Alice are both so devoted to each other! I was totally absorbed in this exciting and fascinating world Jessica Cale created from the very first paragraph to the last! I read this all in one sitting, staying awake late to finish, just had to!” – Romazing Reader

Goodreads | Amazon| B&N | iBooks | Kobo

Jessica Cale is the award-winning author of the historical romance series,The Southwark Saga. Originally from Minnesota, she lived in Wales for several years where she earned a BA in History and an MFA in Creative Writing while climbing castles and photographing mines for history magazines. She kidnapped (“married”) her very own British prince (close enough) and is enjoying her happily ever after with him in North Carolina. She is the editor of Dirty, Sexy History and a Bluestocking Belle.

Marrying a Stranger

Ask Aunt Augusta

Dear Aunt Augusta,

I am engaged to marry a man I hardly know. He is kind, soft-spoken, and very handsome, but I sense he is troubled. I know he has had a great deal of tragedy in his past, and I do not think I should ask him about it should it dredge up painful memories. Nevertheless, he seems to be quite secretive, and I am rather curious about the man I am to marry. How can I become acquainted with him if he will not speak candidly with me?

With gratitude,

Persephone

From the heroine in Artemis in Holly and Hopeful Hearts by Jessica Cale

Dearest Persephone,

My dear, you say you are engaged to a man you hardly know, which makes me question how much it is that he knows about you. Marriage is not an institution to be entered lightly, and if you two are to spend the rest of your lives together, I am sure that any secrets he houses, and any you might be as well, are certain to come to light eventually. If you wish to learn more about him, perhaps you should first allow him to learn more about you.

Also, if you were to befriend him first, that might also help you in your endeavors. It is much easier to share secrets and open up concerning past hurts when talking to a friend than to a stranger.

Good luck, my dear. Friendship can one day perhaps transform into love, and perhaps you can help him move on past his tragedy. I do hope that to be the case.

I wish you the very best,

Aunt Augusta

Artemis in Holly and Hopeful Hearts by Jessica Cale

Actress Charlotte Halfpenny is in trouble. Pregnant, abandoned by her lover, and out of a job, Charlotte faces eviction two weeks before Christmas. When the reclusive Earl of Somerton makes her an outrageous offer, she has no choice but to accept. Could he be the man of her dreams, or is the nightmare just beginning?

http://www.authorjessicacale.com

~~~

Dear authors, if ever you should find that one of your characters has found him or herself in a rather trying position, whether in matters of the heart or matters of fashion or any matter at all, do be a kind soul and write to me. I will endeavor to answer your questions, if you but pen them for me.

Gossip from a Taproom Vagrant

jan_baptist_lambrechts_attr-_-_at_the_tavernI can only say that it is a good thing Mr. Clemens located a prime investigator inside the Duchess of Haverford’s Hopeful Hearts house party because I, intrepid reporter, find myself a marooned at a third rate inn along a road that has become impassible with mud and rutted beyond use. My post chaise broke an axel in the stuff. Here I sit. Tomorrow being Christmas I will go no further for now.

The ale here is poor but abundant, and, with naught else to do, I have stationed myself in the taproom to pick up what miserable crumbs I might. I have not come up empty handed.

I no more ordered my third pint when a horseman swept in, grimaced over a mug of rancid cider, and left. Folks on horseback may travel as they will, but carriage traffic has all but disappeared. I tried to hire a horse with the pittance Clemens gives me for expenses and could not. (More about that later) This man’s horse, a peculiar specimen, stood in the courtyard looking so cool I would have thought it a fresh mount, not one that had been given water and sent on its way again.

The innkeeper acted in awe of the man who stood well over the common height and possessed both dark skin as well as hair. Unlike the innkeeper, I knew the man: he who pretends to be Elfingham, heir in waiting to the Duke of Winshire. He chases the Belvoir chit no doubt, or her brother’s consequence rather, his own being not worth a pittance. Everyone knows he is after her in hopes to shore up the family’s pretense of legitimacy. He swept from the place like the furies pursued him, dark robe flapping in the wind.

Not three hours passed when a groom came in to say a carriage lumbered up the road putting a lie to everyone’s belief that none might make it through. The greedy publican hastened to the door and the rest of the room to the windows to see who had made it so far. I watched it go by with my own eyes, a top of the trees equipage if ever I saw one. I saw the ducal crest as well: The Duke of Haverford. I doubt the old duke bothered to attend his wife’s do. Aldridge, on the other hand, can never resist a party full of beautiful women. It was he, I am certain, and there will be delicious stories to uncover, if only I can get to the Hall and insinuate myself through the kitchen.

Just when the taproom began to settle for the night, yet another carriage arrived, this one less well fated, and obviously unable to go further. A frantic young man, a cit as I live and breathe and a Hebrew—one with a French accent at that— began to berate the innkeeper, obviously desperate to get to Hollystone Hall. Why, I don’t know. No young woman of gentle enough birth to attend a duchess’s house party would entertain such a one as a suitor. I did hear him mention Baumann, the banker. Perhaps he has business with the duchess or with Aldridge. That must be it. Our readers might like to know what.

Here is the odd part. He demanded a horse, and I knew well there were none. Had the innkeeper not refused to hire one out to me? Money talks. Horses were found. Before too long he left with two nags, one a miserable hack and the other, obviously a carriage horse, with his bags loaded on it. Off he went, while I, good Christian citizen of His Majesty’s fair land that I am, remained here with naught but a bench to sleep upon.

franz_adam_-_the_stable_lad

_______________________________________________________

What happened to these holiday travelers? Find out in Holly and Hopeful Hearts, available now from various retailers. 25% of proceeds will go to the Malala Fund.

hollyhopefulheartsAbout the Book

When the Duchess of Haverford sends out invitations to a Yuletide house party and a New Year’s Eve ball at her country estate, Hollystone Hall, those who respond know that Her Grace intends to raise money for her favorite cause and promote whatever marriages she can. Eight assorted heroes and heroines set out with their pocketbooks firmly clutched and hearts in protective custody. Or are they?

 

 

About the Stories

A Suitable Husband, by Jude Knight

As the Duchess of Haverford’s companion, Cedrica Grenford is not treated as a poor relation and is encouraged to mingle with Her Grace’s guests. Surely she can find a suitable husband amongst the gentlemen gathered for the duchess’s house party. Above stairs or possibly below.

Valuing Vanessa, by Susana Ellis

Facing a dim future as a spinster under her mother’s thumb, Vanessa Sedgely makes a practical decision to attach an amiable gentleman who will not try to rule her life.

A Kiss for Charity, by Sherry Ewing

Young widow Grace, Lady de Courtenay, has no idea how a close encounter with a rake at a masquerade ball would make her yearn for love again. Can she learn to forgive Lord Nicholas Lacey and set aside their differences to let love into her heart?

Artemis, by Jessica Cale

Actress Charlotte Halfpenny is in trouble. Pregnant, abandoned by her lover, and out of a job, Charlotte faces eviction two weeks before Christmas. When the reclusive Earl of Somerton makes her an outrageous offer, she has no choice but to accept. Could he be the man of her dreams, or is the nightmare just beginning?

The Bluestocking and the Barbarian, by Jude Knight

James must marry to please his grandfather, the duke, and to win social acceptance for himself and his father’s other foreign-born children. But only Lady Sophia Belvoir makes his heart sing, and to win her he must invite himself to spend Christmas at the home of his father’s greatest enemy.

Christmas Kisses, by Nicole Zoltack

Louisa Wycliff, Dowager Countess of Exeter wants only for her darling daughter, Anna, to find a man she can love and marry. Appallingly, Anna has her sights on a scoundrel of a duke who chases after every skirt he sees. Anna truly thinks the dashing duke cares for her, but her mother has her doubts.

An Open Heart, by Caroline Warfield

Esther Baumann longs for a loving husband who will help her create a home where they will teach their children to value the traditions of their people, but she wants a man who is also open to new ideas and happy to make friends outside their narrow circle. Is it so unreasonable to ask for toe curling passion as well?

Dashing Through the Snow, by Amy Rose Bennett

Headstrong bluestocking, Miss Kate Woodville, never thought her Christmas would be spent racing across England with a viscount hell-bent on vengeance. She certainly never expected to find love…

 

BUY LINKS for HOLLY AND HOPEFUL HEARTS

Amazon UShttp://ow.ly/INwa3049Ey3
Amazon UK: http://ow.ly/ZMuH3049ELM
Amazon Australiahttp://ow.ly/TczG3049EQ2
Amazon Canadahttp://ow.ly/IERm3049EYM
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/664559
Kobo: http://ow.ly/Vx1n304jGzj
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iBooks: http://ow.ly/JcSI304jGWE

 

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