Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American Friends

Wishing you all the best for a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Regency Fashion - November 1814

This is a half dress, something to wear around the house when not expecting company?  It is the apron that makes me think this, though the whole thing is pretty glam.

And more stripes, as we saw in the last gown for this month in this year.

From Ackermann's Repository the description is as follows:

Green satin striped sarsnet frock, ornamented round the bottom with a rich border, embroidered with shaded chenille; long full sleeve, confined at the wrist, and trimmed with Vandyke lace. 

A bodice and apron made of clear muslin, trimmed entirely round with Vandyke lace, and headed with a double row of white satin ribband; falling collar, trimmed to correspond. 

Cap composed of blond lace and satin tied under the chin with a silk cord and tassel.

 Neck-chain and heart of Oriental gold. 

Gloves, Limerick or French kid. Sandals of striped kid.

I love the way this model looks in this cap, but I have the feeling it would not suit everyone, ie me. A bit too floppy.

Until next time.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Athlelhampton Part 3

No doubt you noticed the door to the right inside that lovely oriel window we looked the last time we visited Athlehampton.  If not you can go back and take a peak here.   That stone arched door led into what is called the King's Ante Room.






It is a small room and far more cozy than that of the Great Hall. But it had several doors leading off from it, clearly a transitional space, but with a peculiar charm.









 Needless to say, finding a neat little passage into a room like this is what makes the adventuring into Regency England so worthwhile.

  There are a couple of items of note in this ante room other than its delightful quaintness, perfect for a scene in a novel,on  is the item on the table on the right. It is a Coade-stone torchere by Coade and Sealy, Lambeth, 1810, part of a set of ten that once belonged to the Prince of Wales.
The second is the large portrait.  This is Princess Sophia, daughter of George III believed to have been the mother of an illegitimate son who lived not far away at Islington House in Puddletown.





My newest novel, Captured Countess will be in stores on tomorrow, you can purchase print copies on line at:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Barnes and Noble
Chapters Indigo Canada

Or your favourite bookstore

The e-book will be out on December 1, so I will post links for your convenience on that day too.


Until next time

Monday, November 10, 2014

Athelhampton - Part II

Athelhampton Great Hall is a masterpiece of fifteenth century domestic architecture.  


How exciting to discover that the timbered roof is more or less the way it was built before 1500. 










 You will recall the outside of the house and that oriel window in the corner. Here it is from the inside.  It would not have been in the corner originally, since the wing was added later.

This window contains fine tracery and sixteenth century heraldic glass depicting marriage alliances of the family.

It is this great hall I am using in the novel I have just completed, the Duke's Daring Debutante, though it is set much closer to London.  It has a lovely Gothic feel, and it is the site of one of Thomas Hardy's short stories The Waiting Supper.

This view of the fireplace gives such a wonderful perspective of the grandeur of this hall.  A truly magnificent and impressive space for its time. 

One can only imagine our Regency folks complaining of the drafts and the cost to heat it.

The linenfold panelling is particularly lovely in its delicacy.  


The tapestry above the fireplace is Flemish, "Sampson slaying the Philistines with the jaw bone of an ass." and is dated as late sixteenth/early seventeenth century.


An the piece de resistence as we artistic types like to say, the Screen.

This is set in the original position, though a later version and separates the Hall from what were the service areas, and of course the front door. 

It boasts a very fine George III mahogany and gilt organ on the minstrels' gallery above.

More to come, until next time

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Regency Fashion November 1814


From Ackermann's Repository

Now I am not sure about your idea, but this looks far from warm. Nor do I much like the Vandyke French ruff. What do you think?

Walking Dress

An Italian striped sarsnet lilac-coloured dress, ornamented round the bottom with a double quilling of satin ribband; short full sleeve, trimmed to correspond; the fronts of the dress cross the bosom and form an open stomacher; a Vandyke French ruff, and full bordered cap to correspond.

The satin straw hat, tied under the chin with a check or striped Barcelona handkerchief, crossing the crown with a small plume of ostrich feathers in the front. 

French shawl, a white twill, embroidered with shaded scarlet and green silks, and fancifully disposed on the figure.

 Gloves, Limerick of York tan, drawn over the elbow. Half-boots of York tan or pale buff kid.

Until next time

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Captured Countess December 2014


Bragging just a little

Four Star Review for Captured Countess


Adventure, sensuality and Romance are beautifully blended as Lethbridge's captive/captor spy vs. spy tale unfolds.  REaders will be easily drawn in by intrigue as the author carefully builds her plot, wrapping the reader in a web of deceit, mystery and passion.  This is a quick exiting tale that Lethbridge's fans will devour  -  Romantic Times
Never trust a spy! 
Nicoletta, the Countess Vilandry, is on a dangerous mission—to lure fellow spy Gabriel D'Arcy into bed and into revealing his true loyalties. With such sensual games at play and such strong sensations awakened, suddenly Nicky's dangerously close to exposing her real identity. 
Gabe knows that the countess has been sent to seduce him. The only question is to what end? He's never met such a captivating woman—and he's determined to enjoy every seductive second she spends as his very willing captive! 

Sign up for the Goodreads Give away:   GoodReads Giveaway

Preorder at:

Barnes and Noble
Amazon.com
Kobo
Chapters Indigo Canada


Thursday, October 23, 2014

Regency Fashion October 1814

October is clearly the month for walking at Ackermann's

An evening primrose-coloured French sarsnet petticoat, trimmed round the bottom with a double border of clear muslin, drawn full with a narrow ribband of corresponding colour to the petticoat; high body of jaconot muslin, with reversed drawings; long sleeve, drawn to correspond. A silk ruff.

 A silk net handkerchief-sash, tied in streamers and small bows behind.

A Shipton straw bonnet, tied under the chin with a net handkerchief crossing the crown, and trimmed with a band of the same silk net.

Sandals of evening primrose-coloured kid. Gloves to correspond.

Very smart. And more sandals.


Until next time

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thanksgiving - Canadian style




When I grew up in England, Thanksgiving was something I read about in "Little Women". As I understood it, the celebration related to something that occurred as a result of leaving Britain behind.  We did have Harvest Festival, or Harvest Home, a Sunday church service relating to the bringing in of the harvest that occurs around the autumn equinox, usually in late September. The church was decorated with wheat sheaves and other items of produce signifying a successful harvest and food items are given to those less fortunate. There were no special family gatherings.

When I came to Canada I was surprised to discover the extent of Thanksgiving in North America. To me it felt like having a second Christmas with turkey and all the trimmings and family in attendance, but no gifts.  I was also surprised to discover that it came a month earlier than the one celebrated in our neighbours to the south.

It certainly didn't take us long to adapt to this additional celebration in our annual calendar and every year we look forward to sitting down with family and friends. And if we have taken on the Canadian traditions of cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie to go along with our turkey, we retain some of our British roots with chestnut stuffing and bread sauce added to the table's delights.

Our family has much to give thanks for, despite trials and tribulations throughout the year, and I wish all my Canadian friends and family who are unable to be with us today, Happy Thanksgiving and all best wishes to those of you who will celebrate your Thanksgiving next month.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Athelhampton - Dorset

Athelhampton House in Dorset is full of lovely surprises and I will reveal them as we go along. Rambling Regency Britain is always a joy, mostly because much of what I discover predates the Regency so I have a chance to enjoy more history rather than less.

 Located in the heart of Thomas Hardy Country, Athelhampton is a privately owned home and has been for 500 years.  And since we are focusing on the Regency we are focusing on the Long family who owned the residence until the mid 1800's

This was my first view of the house on the day of the Queen's Jubilee in 2012. The original gatehouse, removed in the mid 1800's according the the guide book, but the arch is quite similar. The gate house was a two story affair, the arch wide enough for carriages leading into the a courtyardwalled on two sides with the "L" shaped house making up the other two sides of a rough square.




Here you can see the two wings of the building.  The front of the house is the original 15th Century Great Hall and buttery with an attached solar.

In the sixteenth century the west wing, on the left was added to that original building.

It is such a treasure and such a privilege to see inside this wonderful old house





As we get closer we cannot help but be enchanted the the embattled frontage and this wonderful window in the corner of the two wings at the solar end of the Great Hall


First we have to go inside so you will follow me through this ancient door beneath  the tower-like entrance porch. Or you may want to sit awhile on the stone benches and soak up the ambiance, like a lady waiting for her carriage to be brought around from the stables.

Until next time.....






Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Regency Fashion - October 1814



From Ackermann's Repository October 1814

PROMENADE DRESS.
            
 A CELESTIAL blue or French grey silk skirt, buttoned and trimmed down the front with a full border of lace, gathered on a plain heading, terminating at the bottom with a deep flounce of the same; high-drawn body, made either of sarsnet or India muslin; long full sleeve, confined at the wrist by a bracelet of blue satin bead and emerald clasp. Lace ruff round the neck. 

A net handkerchief crossed over the bosom and tied in bows behind. 

Full-bordered lace cap, ornamented with a small wreath of flowers on one side. 

A French straw bonnet, lined with white sarsnet, and trimmed round the edge with a narrow quilling of net lace; a small plume of ostrich feathers in the centre of the crown. Sandals of blue kid. Gloves, York tan or Limerick.

Sandals in October. A bit nippy on the toes I must say. And what is the idea of the handkerchief? Support?

Until Next Time......

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Montacute House Finale

A few farewell pictures.

Another view of Montacute's amazing oriel window.

































And yes that is me.  And finally, the Gate House





Until next time....

Monday, September 22, 2014

Montacute Continued

I have this odd interest in ice houses, perhaps because these houses are underground to the keep the ice from melting and are always an adventure to find.  The one at Motacute was no different.

This ice house was thought to have been built in the late 18th  or early nineteenth century. So definitely in our period of the Regency.  It was, of course quite far from the house and half way to the ice ponds in the grounds.
 
This is the path we walked along to reach it and yet through that narrow little gap in the wall and then down.
and around. A great deal of thought and effort went into this. Clearly ice was deemed important.

I would not have wanted to be the one delivering or retrieving this ice.

 There is a latin inscription above the entrance Glacies frondeat atque Nives

Freshness springs from the ice and snow.


Ice was carried to the kitchen, washed and used in wine coolers and ice pails to cool drinks. It was also used to make ice desserts. Fish, game and fruit might also be placed directly on the ice to keep them fresh.


 This view on the left looks directly down into the bottom of the circular house. Poor person who had to go down there to chip out the ice on a regular basis.

They would have had a bucket and pulley system to removed the chipped ice, which would have been packed down to form a solid mass.  The ice could sometimes last as long as two years in such a deep house, and well packed with straw.

The second view is of the ceiling which is also circular and domed.

Okay so that is my ice house fix for a while. Hope you enjoyed the adventure too. One day I will find a way to feature an ice house in a book.  Dead body perhaps, frozen for two years. Hmmm. I will have to think about that one.










Thursday, September 11, 2014

Regency Fashion - September 1814

Here we have the rather unusual back view.  Nice that we get the full glory of the hairstyle in this one.



Evening Half-gown from Ackermann's Repository

A plain frock, with full drawn back, composed of striped sarsnet Italian net of peach-blossom colour; full flounce of blond lace, headed with tufts of the same; a quilling of blond round the top of the dress; long full sleeve of white satin, inlet with lace. 

Hair in short full curls behind, and blended with flowers on the front of the head. Slippers of white kid. Limerick gloves.

I really like the sleeves on this gown. I believe the clue to the colour is the fact that it tries to represent the idea of a net over the fabric of the dress, because to me it doesn't say peach-blossom.

Until next time.....

Monday, September 8, 2014

Montacute House Continued

Our last view of the inside of the house.

 True to its medieval roots the house retains the screen, the wall that separated  the servants preparing the meals and those dining.

We saw it from the other side.
 Opposite the screen was once a smaller buttery with a cellar below it and a passaage on the west side which would have linked the Hall with the kitchen.  This is where the butler would have dispensed the beer and wine. During the Regency it became a Common Parlour, and much later enlarged into the dining room we see today.

Five of the chairs at the dining room table are Cromwellian "farthingale" chairs with leather seats and backs.
The fireplace dates from the renovations done in the Regency era.

Next time we will take a wander in the grounds and  have a closer look at the oriole window mentioned earlier.

Until next time....

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cover Reveal and Sneak Peek

This is the cover for my next book, Captured Countess. The book comes out in December 2014 and there are a few buy links below to get you started if you would like to pre-order.

I must say I am pleased with it. The story is set in London and Cornwall and a couple of other places. The cover shows a scene from the story, and I think it evokes the mystery of the Cornish location and the story itself.

Barnes and Noble Amazon.com(US) Kobo.com icon Amazon Canada Amazon U.K. Or available for Pre-order wherever you like to shop.

Never trust a spy! 

Nicoletta, the Countess Vilandry, is on a dangerous mission—to lure fellow spy Gabriel D''Arcy into bed and into revealing his true loyalties. With such sensual games at play and such strong sensations awakened, suddenly Nicky''s dangerously close to exposing her real identity.

Gabe knows that the countess has been sent to seduce him. The only question is to what end? He''s never met such a captivating woman—and he''s determined to enjoy every seductive second she spends as his very willing captive!  


A Friday Fragment

Looking into her eyes, he turned her hand palm up, his thumb massaging the tender flesh. "Such a pretty hand,"  he murmured. "So white. As delicate as a bird's wing."

And as easily crushed by his superoior strength. The threat was not lost on her.
 
 Until next time...
 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Regency Fashion September 1814



I hope you had a wonderful Labour Day weekend. It is hard to believe the end of the summer is upon us already, but this dress should be enough to remind us that while we are moving into the Autumn, the weather may yet surprise us.



MORNING DRESS September 1814.

From Ackermann's Repository
             
A ROUND robe of lilac or evening primrose-coloured sarsnet, trimmed entirely round the bosom with a quilling of blond lace, edged with chenille; sarsnet flounce, headed with tufts or quilling of blond, corresponding with the top of the dress; long full sleeve, partially drawn up and fastened with bows of silk cord; a lace cuff.

 The French hat, composed of white and lilac satin; the crown trimmed with tufts and bows of ribbon, and ornamented with a large cluster of flowers. Slippers of lilac kid. Gloves pale tan.

I really like this gown, and the French hat is very pretty, at least on the model. Now what would you say she is carrying? Parasol?  It doesn't look right.

She is definitely at the beach because those are ships off in the distance, but could it be a telescope?  Any thoughts?

Until next time

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Perseverance - Writer's Friend or Foe

When asked about success as a writer, I often mention perseverance as key.

Persevering to the end of a story is certainly something that every beginning writer needs to accomplish. There is nothing more satisfying than writing the end even if it is the first draft.

It certainly requires a huge measure of steadfastness to write book after book when no one is buying what you write.

Submitting those books to editors and agents despite the pain of rejection is a special kind of perseverance.

It's all good right?

Well, I have come to realize that sometime perseverance can be a bad thing.

For example, writing and re-writing to perfect prose, so that it is never finished, is a problem.  Some blame it on perfectionism, but I have come to realize that the same dogged determination evidenced above is part of this too.

And what about sitting hour after hour staring at the computer to meet a deadline or finish the word count set for the day. There are serious health aspect to this kind of perseverance. The body was built to move.

And what about the hours you spend never talking to anyone while you finish the manuscript. Even a writer needs to speak to real people one in a while.

So, persevere by all means, but in moderation. The goal isn't everything. How you get there is important.  And definitely have fun along the way.


The Gilvrys of Dunross

Until next time….

Monday, August 18, 2014

Montacute House Part VII


I frequently find myself gazing out of the windows when visiting one of these great houses.  Here is another view showing the garden and at the end of a wall, one of two pavilions which were designed as extra bedrooms.

I would love to have been one of the guests assigned to one of these rooms. Imagine the quiet. Though it would be a hike for breakfast.
I
A huge feature of Montacute is its Long Gallery. An important room, used for exercise by the family in inclement weather and I would guess, the odd ball.

It is in a room like this that I imagined Merry playing battledor with Caro's young son Tommy in More than a Mistress, though I had invested that gallery with suits of armor. I needed something for them to tie a string to.

Interestingly enough, several bedrooms lead off this gallery.

I took this picture to show the length of the gallery. These days I would think a gym would be pleased to have such a space for a running track.


At the southern end of the gallery there is an oriel window. It is hard to see it because of the drapery.

But here it is from the outside. Just beautiful


And here is another view. Not all of these gardens are as they were in the Regency owing to the the vagaries of fortune, but they are still beautiful to see.


Until next time....