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.

You are all invited to visit our Website and Facebook Page

Monday, April 27, 2015

Lulworth Castle 6

 As we finish up our tour of the castle, and I thought you might enjoy this view which seems to show it as it would have been before the fire, we descend into the basement where the kitchens, storage and servants working areas are located.
 I am always interested in these glimpses into the lives of those who lived below stairs.  My guess is that this would have been particularly uncomfortable located as it was in such medieval-looking surroundings with its small high windows for natural light..

 You can an example of how daylight was brought into the space.  On a cloudy day it would not be nearly so bright. I wonder if the odd scullery maid would have climbed up into that window to look out at the day.
 I loved this example of an oven beside the great hearth, which would have been even bigger than it is now in its heyday. 

And another view of the entrance into the kitchen area.

So medieval, yet in use up to 1925.

Until next time.......

Monday, April 20, 2015

Regency Fashion April 1815

Morning Gown
Ackermann's April 1815

I loved the addition of the parrot to this picture. And the description contains a word that jumped out at me:

A loose robe of fine cambric or worked jaconet muslin, over a petticoat of the same, flounced with French trimming; long full sleeve, confined at the wrist with treble drawings, and ornamented with corresponding trimming. 

The robe, or negligée of demi-length, is confined at the top by a narrow collar, or gathered into a Vandyke ruff, and is worn with a coloured silk handkerchief, tied carelessly round the neck, and is fastened down the front with bows and tassels. 

A mob cap, composed of net and Brussels lace, decorated with a cluster of flowers, and bows of satin ribbon. 

Hair curled in the neck. 

Slippers or sandals of pale tan-coloured kid. Gloves en suite.

Negligée, translated as robe, to me means night attire, as in bedroom attire, so I was interested to see the use of it in this context.  I also really liked the demi-length of it and was interested to see that is described as being over a petticoat, rather than a gown. Definitely something I will want to use in a story.

Talk about using fashion in stories my new release The Duke's Daring Debutante has several gowns inspired by this blog. I will give you a preview next time.

Coming soon and available for preorder, The Duke's Daring Debutante

Until next time .......

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lullworth Castle 5

One of the interesting things about Lullworth is its connection to the Prince of Wales. A slight tenuous it is true.

The Welds, the owners of Lullworth were staunch Roman Catholics and suffered much for their preferred religion, coming under suspicion whenever the issue of Catholicism or when the Stewarts were trying to reclaim the British throne. All Catholics were barred from holding public office.

After a childless first marriage,  Edward Weld's second wife was the beautiful seventeen-year-old Maria Smythe. Regency buffs will know that he died from injuries suffered from fall from his horse one month after his marriage. So very sad.

Maria, and was left destitute, because there was no will - how could her parents not have seen to this I ask myself? She married again - a Mr Fitzherbert.

Yes, she is indeed Maria Fitzherbert, who later illegally married the Prince Regent. Her marriage was never recognized.

And there we have the connection.  I think the Weld family were wrong not to support Edward's widow, don't you?

Until next time.....

Monday, April 6, 2015

Regency Fashion April 1815

What does the Spring of 1815 have in store for us. We know that Napoleon having left Elba has established himself in Paris, but what were the ladies wearing in London

Evening Dress Ackermann's for April 1815

WHITE satin petticoat, richly ornamented at the feet with white satin trimming; a deep flounce of blond lace, gathered full into a narrow heading of corresponding trimming, and tastefully laid on in festoons above the lower border;
a body of white satin; plain fronts open to a point in the centre of the waist; the back to correspond, very narrow on the shoulder, and the neck exposed; the body trimmed entirely round the top with a full plaiting of blond lace; short full sleeves, ornamented with satin trimming, corresponding with the bottom of the dress; the waist very short. 
Hat composed of white satin; narrow turban front, ornamented with a full plume of ostrich feathers. 
Necklace and cross of satin bead or pearl; ear-drops and armlets to correspond. 
Grecian scarf, or shawl, a pale buff colour, embroidered with shaded morone silk, in Grecian characters, and fancifully disposed on the figure. 
Plain silk stockings, with laced clocks. Slippers of buff satin or kid, trimmed with silver. White gloves of French kid, drawn over the elbow. Fan of carved ivory or sandal wood.

This is quite the lovely outfit and very much in what we think of Regency style I think.  This is one of the few times I recall the mention of stockings with clocks, so I thought that was very interesting.

Until next time…..