Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Regency Inns

 Pubs hold a very special place in Britain as they did in the Regency.  Here are a couple in the small village of Thruxton, Hampshire where we stayed overnight.   Both inns were built well before the Regency.

The George Inn is a 17th century coaching inn which a character in a book might well have stopped at en route by stage or perhaps postchaise.

The White Horse Inn, dating back to the fourteenth century, however, is very different.  It is located in the village near "Mullenspond" and in 1761 a turnpike gate was set up opposite it for the turnpike road between Amesbury and Andover.

The two views of the front and back of the inn provide a sense of its charm and a wonderful setting for a trip during Regency times.

Until next time

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Regency Fashion August 1815

Such a pretty summer evening dress 
for August 1815 from Ackermann's Repository.

A WHITE satin petticoat, ornamented at the feet with a broad border of tull and satin; a frock-body, tied behind, composed of tull and satin, with a quilling of tull terminating at each end point of the shoulder-strap; a short sleeve, richly ornamented with frilled tull, corresponding to the bottom of the dress; short sash of white satin, tied in full bows behind. 
        Cap composed of white satin and gathered tull, decorated in the front with a full wreath formed of tull edged with satin. Stockings plain silk. Slippers white kid or ribbed sarsnet. Gloves French kid, drawn over the elbow.
       The waists of both morning and full dress continue extremely short, and the backs in full dress are generally brought very low, and frequently to the bottom of the waist. The fronts of both high and low bodies continued without alteration; and are made plain, to fit the shape. 
      In morning and promenade dress the sleeve is universally long, and this month worn of the same material as the dress. The short full sleeve is equally prevalent in evening costume. The length of the walking petticoat continues to meet the top of the sandal, which appears in more estimation than the boot. The most prevailing colours for the present month are, Pomona green, primrose, apple-blossom, and the celestial blue.

I love that we get the names of the popular colours for the month don't you?
Ann Lethbridge

For my latest releases go to http://www.annlethbridge.com where you can sign up to receive my newsletter and receive a free short storybook

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Regency Fashion July 1815

I hope you are having a wonderful summer.  I have been enjoying the good weather, but do not want to say goodbye to July without our second fashion feature, which I am inputting sitting on my deck with a warm breeze blowing.
I really like this gown, and love that it uses pomona green satin in stripes.  Clearly our young lady is of a musical bent, at least I am seeing this as a song book, what do you think?

Evening Gown - July 1815 from Ackermann's Repository

A white satin slip, worn under a dress formed of tull, with folds of satin of Pomona green and white alternately let in, terminating at the feet with a rich flounce of blond lace, headed with a broad border of white roses, appliqued with lilies of the valley.

A frock front, tastefully varied with tull and satin ribbon; the back brought to a point, reaching the bottom of the waist, and trimmed from the points of the stomacher in front with quilling of blond lace.

Short fancy sleeve of tull and satin ribbon, corresponding with the front of the dress. Short sash of net edged with green satin, tied in bows behind.

Head-dress, a plume of ostrich feathers; necklace, pearl; ear-drops and bracelets to correspond; slippers, white satin; gloves of French kid, drawn over the elbow.

The dresses of this month, as well as those of the last, are furnished by Mrs. Bean, of Albemarle-street, a lady to whose taste and invention the fashionable world is under considerable obligations.

And for those who prefer to sit indoors and embroider, a pattern you can try from the same issue.
One of these days I am going to give one of these a go.  Until next time……..

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Travelling Through Regency England

It wasn't all grand houses, you know.  So as I travel I take pictures of places my heroes and heroines might pass or visit on their way through the English countryside.

Here are a couple from around Lulworth.

 This Church abuts the castle and would have served the protestant congregation in counterpoint the to Roman Catholic Church inside the grounds.

A view I could not resist as we departed Lulworth

One cannot go far without finding a village in.  This is the Weld Arms, Weld being the family name of those who owned Lulworth Castle you will recall from earlier posts.  I though I would mention it just in case you did not.

This in dates from the 17th century and with a bit of imagination it can be used as a stopping place along the road of any Regency journey

Part of the back of the inn in case it might be needed for a quick escape.

Here we have a shot of the interior. Something tells me this is a combining of two floors.  I would re-imagine that upper window as looking out over the road from a private parlour.

 This interior with its low ceiling looks far more how I would imaging the lower floor of this inn.  But of course it to has been updated.

Below we have the sign with the Weld family Arms.

And so we leave Dorset and move on to Hampshire.  More next time

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Great Offer for Canadian Readers

As a writer, I thought this one was too good not to promote to my Canadian #readers in case they did not see it:

This weekend only

Buy a Kobo and get a $10 Kobo Gift Card for FREE Online Only at Indigo.ca!

After all, but what is summer all about.  Reading Reading Reading.

For the rest of the world ~ you know where to find your books, hopefully you will find an equally good promotion.

Until next time…..

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Regency Fashion July 1815

 Bikini in the Regency? Not so much. But you can see her ankles. This is what you wore on the beach two hundred years ago. Mind you I have spent some chilly days on an English beach in July as a kid, as well as some lovely warm ones.

WALKING DRESS - from Ackermann's Repository for July 1815

                A HIGH dress, of short walking length, made of French cambric or jaconot muslin, trimmed at the feet with treble flounces of French work, gathered into a rich bead-heading, and laid upon the dress, at a suitable distance, one above the other; 

the body made with open fronts, worn with a full ruff of the French work, corresponding to the trimming at the feet; a long sleeve, drawn alternately across the arm, terminates with a broad wristband, worn plain over the hand.

French bonnet of white satin, edged and tied under the chin with satin ribbon of celestial blue; ornamented with a rich plume of white feathers, edged to correspond. 

French mangle of the twilled silk en suite, richly embroidered at the ends in shaded silks, composing roses or lilies of the valley. Patent silk stockings. Slippers, or half-boots, of blue kid, or primrose colour. Gloves to correspond.
 Additional note regarding general fashions for the month

 The bodies of the morning and promenade costume continue to be worn with cross or handkerchief fronts, and are generally trimmed, agreeably to the texture of the dress, with quilled tull or ribbon. The quilled ribbon is also predominate in single rows at the feet of all dresses composed of silk, bombazeen, or fancy prints. The prevailing colours are primrose, celestial blue, and evening primrose; the waist short, and the fullness of the petticoat carried to the back. Ruffs of French work are universally worn, except in full dress. The length of the petticoat continues not to exceed meeting the top of the boot; and the colour of the latter corresponds with the glove, mantle, and trimming of the bonnet.

I love the sound of celestial blue, don't you?  Until next time.....

Monday, June 29, 2015

Regency Fashion June 1815

 What better way to end June than with this lovely carriage dress from Ackermann's repository.

Here is the description

White satin pelisse, richly ornamented at the feet with clusters of leaves made in white twilled sarsnet, headed with tull; open fronts, trimmed to the bottom of the waist with a superb shell trimming of white satin ribbon and tull; loose unconfined sleeve, with corresponding trimmings at the hand. 

Hat composed of white satin and tull, with a plume of feathers of the Pomona green. 

Half-boots of similar colour. Gloves en suite.

I have the feeling that this lady has been waiting quite some time to be collected for her carriage ride. Or did she just hear a knock at the door? Either way, it is very pretty.

And in case you are feeling energetic, here is some needlework from the same edition you might like to have a go a in your spare time.

Until next month.....

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Last Day for the Goodreads Giveaway

Click here for the link.

Until next time…………..

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Giveaway on Goodreads

I love having a new book out, and to celebrate I am giving away two copies of The Duke's Daring Debutante on Goodreads.

The action-packed, sexy offshoot of Lethbridge's Beresford Abbey series begins when the grown-up Minette arrives at Duke Freddy's gaming hall with a dangerous proposition…. Lethbridge makes Minette and Freddy's journey to love a must-read. ~ 4 Stars ~ Romantic Times 


Disgraced by His Grace!

Frederick, Duke of Falconwood, has vowed never to marry, instead dedicating himself to protecting his country. But when he's caught in a very compromising position with a coquettish debutante, Freddy does the only thing that will salvage her reputation—he proposes marriage! 

Even though Minette Rideau craves the stoic duke's touch, she knows she can't become his wife. For giving in to her desires will reveal a shameful secret, putting much more than her virtue in jeopardy…

The Duke's Daring Debutante is book three in the Beresford Abbey Trilogy.

The previous books are:

Haunted by the Earl's Touch (Book One) Published February 2013
Captured Countess (Book Two) Published December 2014

Follow the link in the sidebar, or check out my website for more information.

Until next time………...

Monday, June 15, 2015

Regency Fashion - June 1815

Two Hundred years ago today, what might the ladies have worn to the Duchess of Richmond's ball a few nights before the battle of Waterloo?

This seems to be the perfect gown, doesn't it?

From gowns for June 1815 by way of  Ackermann's the description is as follows:

A FROCK of French figured gauze, worn over a slip of white satin; the frock trimmed at the feet with a deep flounce of blond lace, and decorated with wreaths of lilac; 
the fronts of the body ornamented with a cope of blond lace; short full sleeve, trimmed to correspond. 
Stockings of elastic silk. Slippers white silk or kid. 
Gloves French kid, drawn over the elbow. 
Hair in irregular curls, blended with a wreath of lilac.

Yes, I can see the ladies of the day in this, flirting with the young officers about to meet Napoleon. The glitter of jewelry, the scarlet and blue of uniforms and the dazzle of gold braid and among them all, Wellington as cool as a cucumber.

By the way, don't miss my Goodreads Giveaway for the Duke's Daring Debutante.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Duke's Daring Debutante by Ann Lethbridge

The Duke's Daring Debutante

by Ann Lethbridge

Giveaway ends June 25, 2015.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to Win

Until next time…..

Monday, June 1, 2015

Celebrating a Coronation in the Regency

Or at least, the coronation that ended the Regency.  I found this little gem in Totnes in Devon, England.  If you have never heard of Totnes, it is a town with a long history, more of which we will be hearing about later.  This however was an unexpected glimpse into Regency life.

Bear with me. This is not a great photo but circumstances were difficult.  These are the regulations to celebrate George IV's coronation and to summarize,

The Committee and the local folk were to assemble at 10 am and preceded by a band process to Mayoralty House were they would pick up the Corporation (town corporation or Council)  and from thence attend a religious service.

After which they would process back to the Bowling-green, where the Stewards would take their stations at tables set out where "Oh the Roast Beef of Old England" would be heard and I assume served and be said stewards would "joined by their neighbours in the attack on the solid fair provided for the occasion."

It advises that "Every person must provide himself with a Plate, Knife and Fork and Cup and take his station with his family specified in is ticket".

At five O'clock tables will be cleared and tea provided for females and children under the supervision of LADIES.  So the Ladies are the gentry one assumes are laying this on for the general populace.

After this the Festivities are to conclude with Music and Dancing on the Bowling-green.

So in the Regency, that is how a Coronation was celebrated in a very small town in Devon.

Until next time…..

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Regency Fashion May 1815

Here we have another of our advertisements, this one from the May edition of Ackermann's Repository. 

The numbers refer to the numbers in the picture and the description gives us some insight to assorted fabrics, some of which are new to me along with places where they may be bought.

Seven hundred and eighty guineas for a shawl is something that boggles the mind.


1. A green striped French kluteen, designed for the spring spencer or pelisse; but is equally appropriate for evening dress; it admits of fancy trimming of the same nature, or those of quilled net or thread lace. It is furnished us by Messrs. Layton and Shears, Henrietta-street, Covent-Garden.

2 and 3 are the new Japanese Bettilla muslins brought out and sold by the house of Millard in the city. They are an excellent specimen of the ingenuity of the British manufacturer, and since the interchange with Parisian fashions and the rage for colours have taken place, they are become the leading article of the day. The Japanese dress, when made, in the present style, very full, with a variety of flounces, forms an admirable dress for the morning promenade and intermediate house costume. The designs in lace and other articles for evening dress, brought forward by this house, are admirable; and the collection of superb India shawls and other India productions, afford a rich treat to that class of society which is in the habit of using those costly articles; hence the proprietor has rightly styled this extensive establishment the East India Warehouse. At this house was seen that admirable production of Eastern manufacture and grandeur, the beautiful and magnificent Golconda shawl, valued at 780 guineas, of which no one can form a just conception without seeing it, or having been at the palaces of the Great Mogul.

4. A pink and blue printed muslin, of extremely delicate appearance, equally calculated for domestic wear, or the spring bonnet and pelisse. It is sold by J. and T. Smith, Tavistock-street, Covent-Garden.

I hope you have enjoyed this particular ad and our third wander into Regency fashion this month. until next time…...

Monday, May 25, 2015

Regency Fashion May 1815

Evening Gown

This is pretty, though garnet yewer is not something I am familiar with.

Pink satin frock, richly ornamented round the bottom with a deep border of garnet yewer, headed with festoons of flowers; 
the body and sleeves trimmed with double rows of white satin; a small border of flowers let in on the shoulder; a full plaiting of blond lace round the neck. Gloves white kid; shoes to correspond. 

The hair crossed, with full curls on the forehead and in the neck.

Until next time….

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Regency Flora and Fauna

It has been a while since I posted anything on this topic, but I thought these pictures might entertain as well as inform.

A wild bramble or blackberry bush in flower in a hedgerow. The stems are extremely prickly.  The fruit forms over the summer and is picked late August September. I can recall going blackberry picking out in the woods and fields with my dad so mum could make blackberry and apple pies to her heart's content. And blackberry and apple jam. I can taste it even as I think about it.

And here is a dear little bunny who just happened to catch my eye. Watership Down, anyone?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Lulworth Castle 7

Thomas Weld owned Lulworth during the early part of the long Regency.  In addition to renovating the house and the chapel, he is known for the building a Roman Catholic Chapel in the grounds of Lulworth. It was the first free standing Roman Catholic Chapel for public worship built in England since the reformation. Owing to the anti-Catholic laws in force at this time he had to ask King George III for special dispensation to build it. The king replied that he could build a mausoleum on his grounds and if it was furnished as a chapel, then so be it.

The King visit Lulworth in 1789 and by doing so gave his tacit approval to the chapel.  Thomas aided many refugees from the French Revolution, particularly those from religious orders. Five of his fifteen children took holy orders in the Catholic church including his son and heir who later renounced ownership of Lulworth in favour of his younger brother Joseph, a famed yachtsman.

The chapel still stands in the grounds and visitors are welcome to visit, but pictures are not permitted.

It is in lovely condition, and though small, it is  well worth the time spent walking around.

As we leave the castle and its grounds, I must leave you with one more glorious view of the countryside.

Until next time....

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Guest Author - Kathryn Kane - When Flowers Wore Shirts!

I have long been an admirer of Kathryn Kane as a writer and a meticulous researcher. Her generosity in sharing the fruits of her labour are legendary and can be found at the Regency Redingote. I am so glad Kathryn agreed to share this intriguing research which is reflected in her book Deflowering Daisy. Such a fun title!

For those who comment today, there will be a draw for two copies of The Duke's Daring Debutante, print or e.

When Flowers Wore Shirts by Kathryn Kane

Before I explain the meaning of the title I have given this article, I would like to thank Ann for her invitation to guest here today. I have long been a reader of Regency Ramble and I am honored to be here and have the opportunity to share some of the research which I did for my debut Regency romance novel, Deflowering Daisy.

As a play on the title of my novel, Deflowering Daisy I have scattered a number of snippets of floral history throughout the book. One of those snippets of flower history plays an especially important part in my story. The heroine, Daisy, uses this special technique to create a gift which she believes will raise the spirits of the hero, David, and convince him there is still beauty and joy to be found in life, even if one has to make it for oneself. Later in the story, David, in turn, uses the same technique to provide intense pleasure for Daisy. This particular bit of floral history intersects with the history of dessert.

At the turn of the nineteenth century, some French chefs developed a technique with which to decorate fruit in order to make it more attractive when it was placed on the dessert table. This technique was most often used on small fruits, including dwarf apples, plums, nectarines, cherries, strawberries, currants, raspberries and gooseberries. Fresh, ripe fruit was rinsed and set to dry. While the fruit was drying, lumps of sugar were nipped off a white sugar loaf. The lumps were then pulverized in a mortar and pestle until the sugar was very fine, similar to the granulated sugar we use today. This finely pounded sugar was spread on a plate, platter or other shallow dish, ready for use.

Next, an egg white was separated from the yolk. This had to be done very carefully, for even a small amount of yolk mixed in with the egg white would spoil the final effect. The transparency of the egg white was crucial. At this point, the surviving directions differ. Some call for the egg white to be whipped to a foamy froth, though not so stiff as to create a meringue. But most of the instructions direct that the egg white be used just as it came from the egg, without any whipping at all.

Once the egg white was prepared, each piece of dried fruit would be dipped into the transparent fluid, until it was completely covered. Then it would be rolled in the pulverized sugar until it was fully coated. The pieces of sugar-coated fruit were then placed on a tray, usually lined with a sheet of baking paper and left to dry for three to four hours. The sugar-coated fruit would then be used to make attractive arrangements to adorn the dessert course of an elegant dinner. The pulverized sugar which coated the fruit would catch the flickering light of the candles in the dining room so that it would glitter and glimmer, creating the effect of fruit coated with diamond dust.

This technique was known as fruit en chemise. Translated from the French, it means fruit "in [a] shirt." This technique soon crossed the English Channel to become popular in Britain in the years just before the Regency. But the English did not restrict the use of fruit en chemise to the dessert table. In some of the better homes, fruit en chemise would be found decorating breakfast tables as well.

The English had long loved flowers, and from the end of the eighteenth century, it had become fashionable to decorate the dessert table with arrangements of fresh flowers. Initially, fruit en chemise were incorporated into or around these arrangements, but by the early years of the Regency, English ladies decided to put shirts on their flowers. Though, in most cases, the family chef or cook took the responsibility to dress fruit en chemise, it was the ladies of the house who dressed the flowers. It soon came to be considered another artistic accomplishment for proper young ladies. An accomplishment which a doting mother would have made sure was displayed on the dessert table when potential suitors were invited to dinner.

Only certain flowers would be dressed en chemise. Roses, tulips and other flowers with tightly furled blossoms were not appropriate. Pansies, violets and daisies were all ideal candidates to be done en chemise due to their relatively flat blossom shape. Each flower would be dipped into egg white, then sprinkled with pulverized white sugar. The sugar-coated flower would be set aside to dry, though it was often necessary to carefully shape the partially dried bloom if it had become misshapen during the en chemise process. Once all the flowers were coated with sugar, shaped and dried, they would be assembled into an arrangement for the dessert table.

During the Regency, dessert was considered a special course which came at the end of the main meal. The table cloth was typically removed, an elaborate centerpiece was placed on the table and the dessert was served, very often on an ornate china dessert service. Since at least the eighteenth century, it was believed that a beautiful setting for dessert was a crucial factor in good digestion, so dessert was an important final course for any dinner. However, it was especially important for one which included guests, for whom a host or hostess was expected to make every effort for their well-being and pleasure.

Flowers in shirts, that is, flowers en chemise, were considered an artistic accomplishment for many young ladies during the Regency. There are no records that this art was taught in ladies' finishing schools. Instead, it appears that ladies learned the technique on their own, perhaps from observing a chef or cook preparing fruit en chemise, or from their mother or other female relative, who might herself have learned from watching a chef or cook. There may have been at least a few governesses who imparted this skill to their charges as the Regency progressed. In many households, a mother and all her daughters might share in the effort of preparing a floral arrangement en chemise for a special dinner.

Arrangements of flowers en chemise appear to have been fashionable for only a relatively short period, from the Regency though about the end of the reign of King George IV. After that time, bouquets of fresh flowers were the standard decoration on most dining tables. At about this same time, the dessert course was no longer considered a separate part of the meal for which a special setting was required. Not to mention that the steady transition to gaslight would have spoiled the effect of flowers en chemise, since the sugar coating did not glitter and glimmer under the steadier gaslight as it had under flickering candle light.

Deflowering Daisy by Kathryn Kane

She cannot remain a virgin!

For so she was, after nearly a decade of marriage. When she was sixteen, Daisy had willingly, happily, married a man more than fifty years her senior, to escape a forced marriage to a man she abhorred. Though Sir Arthur Hammond had been a wild rake in his youth, he was so deeply in love with his late, beloved first wife that he never considered consummating his second marriage, certainly not with a woman he considered a daughter. But now, knowing he was dying and that he would be leaving sweet, innocent Daisy ignorant of the physical intimacies which could be enjoyed between a man and a woman, he felt that it was imperative she be given the knowledge which would prepare her for the life of a wealthy widow. Armed with the knowledge of physical intimacy, she would be much better prepared to deal with any fortune hunter who might try to seduce her into marriage for her money. And who better to initiate Daisy into the pleasures of the bedchamber than his godson. David had become nearly a recluse since a tragedy which occurred while he was serving the Crown against the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte. Prior to that, his skill as a tender and considerate lover had been bruited about in certain circles. Therefore, Sir Arthur believed that David was just the man to introduce Daisy to physical pleasure. And what might spending time with true and gentle Daisy do for David?

Purchase from:

Jupiter Gardens Press Print 
Jupiter Gardens Press eBook
Barnes & NoblePrint:
Nook Book

All about Kathryn

Kathryn Kane is a historian and former museum curator who has enjoyed Regency romances since she first discovered them in her teens. She credits the novels of Georgette Heyer with influencing her choice of college curriculum, and she now takes advantage of her knowledge of history to write her own stories of romance in the Regency. Though she now has a career in the tech industry, she has never lost her love of the period and continues to enjoy reading Regency novels and researching her favorite period of English history.

For more information about Kathryn and her books visit:
https://kathrynkaneromance.wordpress.com/The Regency Redingote: https://regencyredingote.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Most Peculiar Season

If you want to add a little spice to your regency reading, how about a bit of magic, or time travel, or perhaps a sexy vampire. Look no further.

A five book series of published by award winning authors of Regency Romance you can find at your favourite e-tailer or start at my website: http://www.annlethbridge.comhttp://www.annlethbridge.com

Until next time…. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Lady Sybil's Vampire

Coming Soon Book 5 in the Series, A Most Peculiar Season;

Lady Sybil's Vampire an e-book is on sale at e-tailers now:

In Regency London all is not it seems. Vampires live among humans, hiding their secret powers from their hosts in shadows.

Unbeknownst to Lady Sybil Lofstrom she is descended from a race of Fae who got caught in the middle of the Wars of the Races and were exterminated by all sides. Fearing she is losing her mind, she tells no one about the creatures of the night only she sees. Until one of them draws her into his Vampire world with his kisses. The Vampire King’s Shadow Blade, Anton Count Grazki cannot believe there is a human woman, one he finds irresistible to his lonely heart, who can see through the vampire cloak of shadows. Her unique ability means her death unless he can find some way to keep her safe.

Purchase Links
and other ebookstores around the world.
Coming soon to Barnes and Noble and Nook

Monday, May 4, 2015

Regency Fashion May 1815

Walking Dress  May 1815
From Ackermann's Depository

This outfit really makes me think of spring, the casual pelisse over the gown, the parasol. What do you think?

Here is the official description;

HIGH dress, made in cambric muslin, with deep full flounces richly worked on French cambric; a deep falling frill round the neck, to correspond.

 Pelisse, open, with falling collar, composed of green sarsnet, lined throughout with sarsnet of straw colour; the bottom of the sleeve trimmed with a double frill of the same; a double border of corresponding coloured trimming laid on the cuff and round the pelisse. 

Bonnet of straw-coloured satin, edged and trimmed with green satin ribbon, and ornamented either with a cluster of flowers or a small plume of feathers.

 Sandals of green kid; gloves to correspond. Parasol of straw-coloured silk.

The sandals seem to be a bit of a risk, but they are not open toed fortunately.

Until Next Time

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Guest Author ~ Susana Ellis

For the very first time, Regency Ramble is welcoming a guest author, Susana Ellis. Since we are in the run up to the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Susana has chosen to tell us about an anthology she is involved in celebrating that momentous battle.

Ann:  Welcome Susana, thank you for joining us today. Please tell us about the idea behind the anthology Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles: A Celebration of Waterloo.

Thank you, I am delighted to be here.  The anthology was born out of our love of all things Regency, and it is a rare occurrence to be able to celebrate such a landmark event as the Battle of Waterloo.  The bicentenary of the seemed like an excellent opportunity to use as a setting for a story, and before I knew it, I had eight other authors eager to join me, and to make a long story short, on April 1, 2015 our Waterloo-themed anthology was released to the world.

Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles:
A Celebration of Waterloo

June 18, 1815 was the day Napoleon Bonaparte's Grande Armée was definitively routed by the ragtag band of soldiers from the Duke of Wellington's Allied Army in a little Belgian town called Waterloo. The cost in men's lives was high—22,000 dead or wounded for the Allied Army and 24,000 for the French. But the war with Napoleon that had dragged on for a dozen years was over for good, and the British people once more felt secure on their island shores.

 As part of the celebration we are giving away one Beaux, Ballrooms,
and Battles mug to one random commenter on this blog

Ann: Wellington is a well-known figure in history. What did you learn about him as you and your fellow authors undertook your research for the Anthology

Wellington is a fascinating subject. Here are a few insights into the man:
  • Arthur Wellesley was the third of five surviving sons of the 1st Earl of Mornington and his wife Anne, eldest daughter of 1st Viscount Dungannon. He was born in Dublin and spent most of his early life in Ireland. An earlier form of the surname is Wesley.
  • He studied at Eton, but didn’t do well and hated it. His mother was concerned about his idleness and commented, "I don’t know what I shall do with my awkward son Arthur." Lack of funds after his father’s death prompted his mother to move to Brussels. A year later, Arthur enrolled in the French Royal Academy of Equitation, where he apparently found his niche, becoming an excellent horseman and proficient in French, which proved to be very useful in his later life.
  • Attracted by the "gaiety and charm" of the young Kitty Pakenham, daughter of the 2nd Baron Longford, he requested her hand in marriage, but as a younger son with no prospects, her brother refused to allow it. Wellesley was infuriated and burned his violins.
  • As a young man, Wellesley served in various military positions in Ireland, including aide-de-camp to two successive Lords Lieutenant of Ireland. He was also a Member of Parliament for two years in the House of Commons.
  • Prior to the Peninsular War, he served in The Netherlands, India and Denmark.
  • Returning from India as a wealthy major-general, Wellesley renewed his offer of marriage to Kitty Pakenham and was accepted. Unfortunately, the marriage was not a success. They had both changed greatly in thirteen years and were not well-suited to each other. It didn’t help that they spent most of their married life and had separate bedchambers even while living together.
  • Wellesley was not created a duke until after the Peninsular War. His titles were: Baron Douro of Wellesley, 26 August 1809, Viscount Wellington of Talavera, and of Wellington, 26 August 1809, Earl of Wellington, 28 February 1812, Marquess of Wellington, 28 February 1812, and Duke of Wellington, 18 August 1812.
  • His lean figure and meticulous appearance, as well as his military triumphs, made him a popular figure
    in Britain. Unfortunately, he was not so popular as Prime Minister. In April and October of 1831, his windows at Apsley House were smashed by a mob of demonstrators over his rejection of the Reform Bill. In 1832 he had iron shutters installed to prevent further damage, thus reinforcing the nickname "Iron Duke," which originated from his unwavering political resolve.
  • His officers called him "The Beau," referring to his reputation as a fine dresser, and "The Peer" following his elevation to Viscount.
  • Spanish troops called him "The Eagle" and the Portuguese troops called him "Douro" after the treacherous river crossing at Oporto in 1809.
  • A colonel of the Coldstream Guards called him "Beau Douro," which Wellesley found amusing.
  • Napoleon referred to him as "Sepoy General", a disparaging term referring to his service in India.
  • He always rose early and disparaged the creature comforts, sleeping in a camp bed for the rest of his life (on display at Walmer Castle).
  • While on campaign, he dined on cold meat and bread, although demanded only the best wine, of which he drank prodigiously.
  • He did enjoy attending balls and parties and hosted many in Brussels while assembling his troops for the final confrontation with Napoleon.
  • He rarely showed emotion and was often condescending to those beneath him in competence or status (which was pretty much everyone). But he cried in the aftermath of the siege of Badajoz at the loss of lives, and grieved privately at the loss of life following Waterloo. After hearing of Napoleon’s abdication following the Battle of Toulouse, Wellington reportedly broke into a flamenco dance, spinning around on his heels and clicking his fingers. After many broke ranks at Vitoria, he called his troops "the scum of the earth," but later he amended that
  • As quoted in A History of Warfare (1968) by Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein: "Sir Winston Churchill once told me of a reply made by the Duke of Wellington, in his last years, when a friend asked him: "If you had your life over again, is there any way in which you could have done better?" The old Duke replied: "Yes, I should have given more praise."
  • In 2002 he was placed as 15th out of 100 Greatest Britons in a BBC poll
Ann: Can you tell us more about the stories in the anthology, please.

I would be delighted. These are the titles and authors with a brief description.  At the end you will find an excerpt from my story with a link to our web and facebook pages for more information.

Jillian Chantal: Jeremiah’s Charge
Emmaline Rothesay has her eye on Jeremiah Denby as a potential suitor. When Captain Denby experiences a life-altering incident during the course of events surrounding the Battle of Waterloo, it throws a damper on Emmaline’s plans.

Téa Cooper: The Caper Merchant
The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure and Pandora Wellingham is more than ready to spread her wings. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon she believes her stars have aligned.

Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady
Catalina and Rupert fell in love in Spain in the aftermath of a battle, only to be separated by circumstances. Years later, they find each other again, just as another battle is brewing, but is it too late?

Aileen Fish: Captain Lumley’s Angel
Charged with the duty of keeping his friend’s widow safe, Captain Sam Lumley watches over Ellen Staverton as she recovers from her loss, growing fonder of her as each month passes. When Ellen takes a position as a companion, Sam must confront his feelings before she’s completely gone from his life.

Victoria Hinshaw: Folie Bleue
On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Aimée, Lady Prescott, reminisces about meeting her husband in Bruxelles on the eve of the fighting. She had avoided the dashing scarlet-clad British officers, but she could not resist the tempting smile and spellbinding charm of Captain Robert Prescott of the 16th Light Dragoons who— dangerously to Aimée— wore blue.

Heather King: Copenhagen’s Last Charge
When Meg Lacy finds herself riding through the streets of Brussels only hours after the Battle of Waterloo, romance is the last thing on her mind, especially with surly Lieutenant James Cooper. However, their bickering uncovers a strange empathy – until, that is, the lieutenant makes a grave error of judgment that jeopardizes their budding friendship...

Christa Paige: One Last Kiss
The moment Colin held Beatrice in his arms he wanted one last kiss to take with him into battle and an uncertain future. Despite the threat of a soldier’s death, he must survive, for he promises to return to her because one kiss from Beatrice would never be enough.

Sophia Strathmore: A Soldier Lay Dying
Amelia and Anne Evans find themselves orphaned when their father, General Evans, dies. With no other options available, Amelia accepts the deathbed proposal of Oliver Brighton, Earl of Montford, a long time family friend. When Lord Montford recovers from his battle wounds, can the two find lasting love?

David W. Wilkin: Not a Close Run Thing at All
Years, a decade. And now, Robert had come back into her life. Shortly before battle was to bring together more than three hundred thousand soldiers. They had but moments after all those years, and now, would they have any more after?

Ann, Would you be willing to tell us a bit more about your story, Susana?
Yes indeed.

Lost and Found Lady - Susana Ellis
On April 24, 1794, a girl child was born to an unknown Frenchwoman in a convent in Salamanca, Spain. Alas, her mother died in childbirth, and the little girl—Catalina—was given to a childless couple to raise.

Eighteen years later…the Peninsular War between the British and the French wages on, now perilously near Catalina’s home. After an afternoon yearning for adventure in her life, Catalina comes across a wounded British soldier in need of rescue. Voilà! An adventure! The sparks between them ignite, and before he returns to his post, Rupert promises to return for her.

But will he? Catalina’s grandmother warns her that some men make promises easily, but fail to carry them out. Catalina doesn’t believe Rupert is that sort, but what does she know? All she can do is wait…and pray.

But Fate has a few surprises in store for both Catalina and Rupert. When they meet again, it will be in another place where another battle is brewing, and their circumstances have been considerably altered. Will their love stand the test of time? And how will their lives be affected by the outcome of the conflict between the Iron Duke and the Emperor of the French?

Excerpt from Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady

September 14, 1793
A beach near Dieppe, France

"I don’t like the look of those clouds, monsieur," Tobias McIntosh said in fluent French to the gray-bearded old man in a sailor hat waiting impatiently near the rowboat that was beginning to bob more sharply with each swell of the waves. "Are you sure your vessel can make it safely all the way to Newhaven in these choppy seas?"
The old man waved a hand over the horizon. "La tempête, it is not a threat, if we leave immédiatement. Plus tard…" He shrugged. "Je ne sais pas."
"Please, mon amour," pleaded the small woman wrapped in a hooded gray cloak standing at his side. "Allow me to stay with you. I don’t want to go to England. I promise I will be prudent."
A strong gust of wind caught her hood and forced it down, revealing her mop of shiny dark locks. Tobias felt like seizing her hand and pulling her away from the ominous waves to a place of safety where she and their unborn child could stay until the senseless Terreur was over.
"Justine, ma chère, we have discussed this endlessly. There is no place in France safe enough for you if your identity as the daughter of the Comte d’Audet is discovered." He shivered. "I could not bear it if you were to suffer the same fate at the hands of the revolutionaries as your parents did when I failed to save them."
She threw her arms around him, the top of her head barely reaching his chin. "Non, mon amour, it was not your fault. You could not have saved them. It was miraculeux that you saved me. I should have died with them."
She looked up to catch his gaze, her face ashen. "Instead, we met and have had three merveilleux months together. If it is my time to die, I wish to die at your side."
Tobias felt like his heart was going to break. His very soul demanded that the two of them remain together and yet… there was a price on both their heads, and the family of the Vicomte Lefebre was waiting for him in Amiens, the revolutionaries expected to reach them before midday. It was a dangerous work he was involved in—rescuing imperiled French nobility from bloodthirsty, vengeful mobs—but he had pledged himself to the cause and honor demanded that he carry on. And besides, there was now someone else to consider.
"The child," he said with more firmness than he felt. "We have our child to consider, now, Justine ma chère. The next Earl of Dumfries. He must live to grow up and make his way in the world."
Not to mention the fact that Tobias was human enough to wish to leave a child to mark his legacy in the world—his and Justine’s. He felt a heaviness in his heart that he might not live long enough to know this child he and Justine had created together. He could not allow his personal wishes to undermine his conviction. Justine and the child must survive.
Justine’s blue eyes filled with tears. "But I cannot! I will die without you, mon cher mari. You cannot ask it of me!"
"Justine," he said, pushing away from her to clasp her shoulders and look her directly in the eye. "You are a brave woman, the strongest I have ever known. You have survived many hardships and you can survive this. Take this letter to my brother in London, and he will see to your safety until the time comes that I can join you. My comrades in Newhaven will see that you are properly escorted."
He handed over a letter and a bag of coins. "This should be enough to get you to London."
After she had reluctantly accepted and pocketed the items beneath her cloak, he squeezed her hands.
"Be sure to eat well, ma chère. You are so thin and my son must be born healthy."
She gave him a feigned smile. "Our daughter is the one responsible for my sickness in the mornings… I do not believe she wishes me to even look at food."
She looked apprehensively at the increasingly angry waves as they tossed the small boat moored rather loosely to a rock on the shore and her hands impulsively went to her stomach.
"Make haste, monsieur," the old sailor called as he peered anxiously at the darkening clouds. "We must depart now if we are to escape the storm. Bid your chère-amie adieu maintenant or wait for another day. I must return to the bateau."
"Tobias," she said, her voice shaking.
He wondered if he would ever again hear her say his name with that adorable French inflection that had drawn him from their first meeting.
"Go, Justine. Go to my family and keep our child safe. I promise I will join you soon."
He scooped her up in his arms and carried her toward the dinghy, trying to ignore her tears. The old sailor held the boat as still as he could while Tobias placed her on the seat and kissed her hard before striding back to the shore, each footstep heavier than the last.
He studied the darkening sky as the sailor climbed in the boat. "You are sure it is safe?"
"La Chasseresse, she is très robuste. A few waves will not topple her, monsieur."
"Je t’aime, mon amour," she said to him plaintively, her chin trembling.
"Au revoir, ma chère," he said, trying to smile, although his vision was blurring from tears.
Will I ever see her again?
He stood watching as the dinghy made its way slowly through the choppy sea to the larger ship anchored in the distance, grief-stricken and unable to concentrate on anything but his pain. When the ship finally sailed off into the horizon, he fell to his knees and prayed as he had never done before for the safety of his beloved. He remained in that position until drops of rain on his face reminded him of the Lefebre family waiting for him in Amiens.
With a deep breath, he rose and made his way to the nearby forest, where his horse waited, tied to a tree.
"Come, my friend. We have a long, wet journey ahead of us."
Setting foot in the stirrup, he swung his leg over the saddle and urged the horse to a gallop, feeling his heart rip into pieces with every step away from his beloved.
About the Author

Susana has always had stories in her head waiting to come out, especially when she learned to read and her imagination began to soar. Voracious reading led to a passion for writing, and her fascination with romance and people of the past landed her firmly in the field of historical romance.

A teacher in her former life, Susana lives in Toledo, Ohio in the summer and central Florida in the winter. She is a member of the Central Florida Romance Writers and the Beau Monde chapters of RWA and Maumee Valley Romance Inc.

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