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Monday, January 17, 2011

Monday Spotlight: Grace Elliot

 5 Reasons the Regency is Romantic

Hello everyone, over the next 5 days I would love to get to know you, so please do leave comments at the end of the post! But before I warm to the topic of: - ‘5 Reasons the Regency is Romantic’, let me introduce myself.

My name is Grace Elliot and I lead a double life. By day I am a veterinarian and by night I write historical romance. Now that isn’t quite as odd as it sounds because I started writing as a de-stress from the emotionally draining side of veterinary work. As an avid reader, my aim is to write the page turning, lump in the throat romances I so love to read. My debut novel A Dead Man’s Debt is a story of blackmail, duty and unexpected love.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, sharing 5 reasons the regency is romantic and first on the list is ‘The Season.’ 

In purely factual terms the Season took place between New Year and August, peaking after Easter and over the summer. The actual dates varied according to when Parliament sat, which in turn depended on sport.

“The sessions of Parliament cannot be held til the frost is out of the ground and the foxes begin to breed.”

The Season was a round of social events that any self respecting young lady in search of a husband must attend. To snare a good husband it was essential to attend the right events such as the Derby (for which Parliament adjourned), Ascot ( a more exclusive event), the Royal Academy Exhibition, the Henley Regatta and cricket at Lord’s. 

The measure of a successful season meant being admitted to Almack’s – the exclusive club run by a committee of fearsome high born ladies who had the power to make or break reputations. 

So why was the Season romantic? Well apart from the gorgeous balls, so much was at stake. Finding a husband was no casual task but the work of a social mastermind; from revealing gowns, epic hairstyles and  witty conversation to being seen in the right company everything must be just so…and not a hint of scandal. What better setting for intrigue and heartbreak could a writer ask for?

In Georgian times marriage was a commodity people traded for mutual advancement…so what of true love? If our heroine sets her sights on an unsuitable match, a rogue that makes her heart race, how to protect reputation? How resourceful must our heroine be with her fearsome Mama breathing down her neck? For a writer the obstacles to true love are just delicious and part of why the Regency is so romantic.

So what eras do you read and why? I’d love to know, do please comment below.

      EXCERPT – ‘A Dead Man’s Debt.’
With sudden decisiveness she [Celeste Armitage] lifted the desk onto her knee, and picking up a goose quill between long, delicate fingers she wrote;
      Dearest Mother,
      I find myself in tolerable spirits despite being distant from your care…

      Celeste chewed her top lip and frowned. It simply wouldn’t do. She’d never liked half-truths and platitudes and wasn’t about to start now. Breaking the inky meniscus, wiping the nib she began again in bold lettering.

      Dear Mother,
                              If you thought to teach me a lesson by sending me to the country, it is one poorly learnt. I will not change my opinion of the odious Earl of Crumbourne, no matter how excellent a match you consider him to be. Further more, my sojourn here has granted ample time for reflection and I remain resolute that marriage is not for me.  It is my determined and final decision to remain unattached…
      She shivered, suddenly vulnerable, as unwelcome memories sprang to mind; of Lord Crumbourne with his greasy slobberings and mutton chop breath. Bile rose in her throat as she remembered scratchy bristles against her neck and his odor of onions. What an idiot she’d been, feeling sorry for that fool! It had been so insufferably hot in that ballroom, when he’d suggest a turn round the rose garden it had all seemed so innocent, just a gentleman concerned for a lady’s comfort. A chaperone seemed unnecessary… presumptuous even…with a family friend.
      Once out of sight of the lighted windows, his clammy hand had tightened on her shoulder, catching her by surprise. When he’d run a hand behind her head to force her mouth towards his, her first reaction was that it was a jest. When he’d rammed his tongue past her gritted teeth and kissed her it had been a most unpleasant shock.
      Then when he’d crushed her against a wall, bearing his full weight against her hips, her blood had run cold. His mouth smothered, sucking air from her lungs. She’d squirmed to get away but he’d tightened his grip. She panicked as cool air flooded round her knees, his free hand lifting her skirts. The shock of his rough probing, his thumb pressed into her inner thigh had given her strength. As her protests were muffled by his lips, instinctively her knee jabbed sharply up into his groin. The result was immediate and satisfying. He’d released her and crumpled like a leaf.
      Later Estella had written to her that Crumbourne walked with a limp for a full week afterwards. In a strange way he had done her a favor. It would take a while for the gossip to subside and until in effect she’d been banished from London by her mother, who apparently approved of his lordship as a match. With a sigh Celeste set the quill aside.
      The more she thought about the future, the more she knew the restrictions of marriage were not for her. So much living she ached to do and see; to touch the ancient stones of the Parthenon, breathe the dank air of the pyramids, ride out a storm at sea…she wanted to travel, and paint…to be her own woman. If a man could do such things then why not her? Why should she, Celeste Armitage, forsake such adventures just because of her sex? Besides, the thought of becoming a chattel, of everything she owned belonging to a husband was simply intolerable, let alone the indignity of the marriage bed….

      [A Dead Man’s Debt is available from most eBook retailers including Amazon, Fictionwise, Smashwords and Books on Board.]
      To find out more about the author visit:


Maureen said...

I think a Regency ball must have been like the red carpet last night and the Regency is a favorite setting of mine because of the excitement and glamour.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Great post, Grace. Love the sound of your novel, which I must read soon. It's one of my favourite romantic periods (my own first Regency novel comes out in May) and I look forward to reading your other reasons!

cheryl c said...

I love Regency romances. The Season sounds like it was a fun, yet very stressful, time. If you were one of the "diamonds" it was a wonderful experience, but if you were a wallflower, it was mortifying.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your comments ladies,
Part of why I love the regency so much is the scope for rebellion - everything was so beautifull and yet so be a rebel you didnt have to try very hard.
Grace x

Alexis Walker said...

Hi Grace, I do love to read a regency, but sometimes all those rules and restrictions and unfair (at times) opinions make me feel stifled. I have to admit my favorite era was early Medieval, preferably Scottish, when things were a little less informal ;-)

Unknown said...

Hi Grace
Very interesting. I've never really been interested in historicals, but I have to say, reading about books like yours and a couple other authors, makes me think I should check it out.
Thanks for the sneak peek.

ladydi6497 said...

I love the excerpt. I am adding this to my to be read list.


SiNn said...

your book sounds awesome honestly I read all eras and everything I love Regancy as well as modren and all inbetween i dont limmit my self to one set genera or era id miss out if i did that

I look forward to reading your book

Joselyn Vaughn said...

Congratulations on your book, Grace. I love Regencies. I think the clothing is my favorite. All those lovely gowns sound so much more romantic than my sweatshirts and jeans. :-)

Denise Golinowski said...

Hi, Grace! Glad to find I've only missed one of these. Ah, The Season! Again, such a combinatino of delight and torture. Did the social whirl of parties and dances compensate for the crushing weight of expectations and restrictions? To think that marriage was not based upon any inkingly of compatibility but upon upward mobility or even just plain survival is heart-breaking. The vulnerability of women in such a system was a nasty underbelly to the surface beauty. However, as a woman of now looking back - I adore reading about it as presented in Regency Romances.

Denise Golinowski