Posts in the Historical Fiction genre

Guest Post

Guest Post: Lise Arin on Her Favorite Kinds of Stories

Matilda Empress Lise Arin

Among contemporary novels, my favorites are always set sometime in the past. I just can’t get interested if the setting is one that I recognize and can judge for myself. It doesn’t seem compelling to me to hear what my peers have to say about the world that we share. I consider myself to be an astute observer of human nature and of culture, of our current way of life. I don’t need to be inside my neighbors’ heads. Life would be unbearably noisy if I didn’t content myself with my own thoughts. Likewise, I consume the news, but never the op-eds. I form my own opinions. I watch movies and episodic television, but never read reviews. What I seek is an escape from the world that I know, as well as anybody can.

Historical fiction takes me on an incredible journey back in time, to the past – a foreign country, to be sure – where everything is mysterious, from the most enormous political questions of the day to the most minute quotidian realities. I enjoy descriptions of picturesque or sublime landscapes no longer extant on earth, food no longer eaten, clothing so luxurious it hurts, battles fought and won over issues easy to understand and empathize with. The cadence of obsolete speech charms me; the philosophical discussions of our ancestors weren’t mere parlor games, as they seem to be today, but genuine explorations of the human condition. The stakes seemed higher in the past, and people lived more viscerally, with a greater understanding of what it means to be mortal on this earth.

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Essential Beginnings Kennedy Layne
Guest Post

Guest Post: New Year’s Resolutions in Amanda Forester’s MY HIGHLAND REBEL

My Highland Rebel Amanda Forester

Every New Year I make new resolutions…or at least I think about making resolutions. Sometimes I start, sometimes I only think about starting, but rarely do I continue with any of my resolutions…at least until the next year!

Being released at the beginning of January is a great time for My Highland Rebel, because the two main characters definitely make some serious changes throughout the book. Both are stretched and grow and make some significant changes—ones I’m pretty sure they will keep!

Before Jyne Campbell meets Core, she has been dismissed by her family as the youngest and weakest lass in a large and powerful clan. With so many big personalities around her, it is easy to fade into the background. When she is placed in a situation where vulnerable people need her help, however, she finds in inner strength not even she knew she had.

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Guest Post

Guest Post: Jane Ashford’s Favorite Parts of Writing Historical Fiction

Lord Sebastian's Secret Jane Ashford

There are lots of things I enjoy about writing historical fiction. In terms of plot, I appreciate the social constrictions of earlier times, because they provide so many opportunities for complications.

I love research. I can happily dive into sources, drawn from one fascinating fact to another until I surface hours later with a treasure trove of material. There’s so much to learn!

The clothes are great, too. Gloves and cloaks and bonnets. Ballgowns and walking dresses. Half boots and dancing slippers.

But if I have to pick one favorite thing it’s the language, particularly in the Regency period where I hang out, with a huge shout-out to Georgette Heyer for showing us the way in this regard. Who could resist the phrases?

A stupid or silly person can be — bacon-brained, beef-witted, bird-witted, a chucklehead, a fatwit, a nincompoop, a rattleplate, a slowtop, or scatter witted.

They called gin blue ruin, Flash of Lightning, Old Tom, and Stark Naked. The latter presumably because of the state in which you might find yourself after a drinking bout. And the wonderful terms they had for those who’d overindulged — drunk as a wheelbarrow, in your cups, castaway, disguised, eaten Hull cheese, foxed, jug-bitten, properly shot in the neck, tap-hackled, and top-heavy. And if you tried to lie about your condition, you were telling bouncers or Canterbury tales or plumpers, cutting shams, or pitching the gammon.

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Sisters in Love Melissa Foster
Steals & Deals

Deal Alert: Kennedy Layne, Eugenia Riley, and Brenda Hiatt

Need a break from the politics on your newsfeed? We’ve got just the cure: books. A bunch of them. And for a great price! Don’t miss these steals from Kennedy Layne, Eugenia Riley, and Brenda Hiatt!


CSA Case Files Volume 1 by Kennedy Layne

From USA Today Bestselling Author Kennedy Layne comes the first box set of the CSA Case Files series! Follow along as each book conveys a team member’s story as they work together on investigations that lead them down perilous paths of passion, intrigue and suspense…

Captured Innocence (CSA Case Files 1)

When a killer sets his sights on Lauren, Connor is forced to grabble with the reality of their relationship. He has the training it takes to catch a murderer, but does he have the courage to escape his inner demons and capture Lauren’s heart?

Sinful Resurrection (CSA Case Files 2)

Sins of the past have been resurrected, predetermining Jax and Emily’s path to love. Jax doesn’t know how he’ll walk away this time or if he even wants to. Emily is determined to expose a high-level official within the United Nations and walk away unscathed. She wants a second chance with her first love — even if it kills her.

Renewed Faith (CSA Case Files 3)

Is it possible to renew one’s faith in love? Kevin’s current case crosses paths with Elle’s past. Secrets and lies encircle them as a killer ups the stakes in a cat and mouse game meant for only one winner. When time runs out, Kevin intends to be the last man standing — in life and love.


A Timeswept Christmas Anthology Eugenia Riley
A Timeswept Christmas Anthology by Eugenia Riley

TRAVEL BACK IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS! For a limited time, Eugenia Riley’s charming and touching collection, A Timeswept Christmas Anthology, is bargain priced! And Eugenia’s breathtaking Embers of Time is bargain priced during this same promo!

From the Bestselling Time Travel Romance Author and Winner of the HOLT Medallion: Two Victorian Christmas romance novellas, plus a bonus Valentine’s Day novella, all reissued in a single volume!

CONTENTS:
A CHRISTMAS IN TIME

Cynical reporter Jason Burke embarks on a magical journey back in time to Dickens London, where he discovers the true joys of a Victorian Christmas while meeting the love of his life . . . and struggling to save her from certain death.

CHRISTMAS WITH AN ANGEL

Nathan Fletcher realizes too late how much his bride Emily means to him–only when he learns of her death. But can a Christmas angel intervene and grant the couple one final day to rediscover the glory of their marriage?

TWO HEARTS IN TIME

After receiving a Victorian Valentine, Amanda Brewster turns a corner in time . . . and travels from the Strand in contemporary Galveston, Texas, to the Strand in Victorian London! There Amanda discovers a cure for her broken heart as she is wooed by a handsome, masterful earl.


Rogue’s Honor by Brenda Hiatt

“Brenda Hiatt has created a most different and dashing rogue.” -Kasey Michaels

To escape her stepmother’s matchmaking machinations, Lady Pearl runs away, pretending to be a common housemaid, with the help of her abigail. When she is rescued from the near-disaster of recognition by a charming serving-man, Pearl pretends to be simpleminded to safeguard herself from any unwanted advances. But soon she begins to suspect that her rescuer is far more than the common servant he seemed at first.

Luke St. Clair lives a double life, pretending to be a gentleman while in reality sustaining himself and the needy as the notorious Robin Hood-type thief, the Saint of Seven Dials. The last thing he needs in his life is a beautiful simpleton in need of protection. But “Purdy” proves to be anything but simple—or common! Once he learns the truth, does he dare continue, in the ballrooms of the elite, the flirtation that began in the slums of London? The risk is enormous, but Lady Pearl’s sweet kisses may just be worth it.

Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Guest Post

Guest Post: “Five Things To Love About The Gilded Age” by Joanna Shupe

Magnate Joanna Shupe

When I explain that I write romances set in the Gilded Age many people ask, “Wait, when is the Gilded Age again?” Understandable since history classes focus mostly on Tammany Hall and financial scandals that bear a striking resemblance to the end of Trading Places.
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I get it. Crooked politicians are old news to us, and forgettable presidents with boring names (HELLO, Ulysses, Rutherford, Grover, Chester?) aren’t exactly memorable. But wait! Did I mention robber barons? New York’s rigid Knickerbocker society? New money vs. old? Electricity and railroads? The era is rife with conflict and turmoil, the perfect setting to throw in a pair of opposites and watch the sparks fly.

That’s what I did in my new release, Magnate. Born in the slums of Five Points, Emmett Cavanaugh climbed his way to the top of a booming steel empire. He loathes New York’s “high society” types, the ones who never let him forget his past.

Elizabeth Sloane can play the Stock Exchange as deftly as New York’s most accomplished brokers—but she needs a man to put her skills to use. Emmett reluctantly agrees when the stunning socialite asks him to back her trades and split the profits.

These two could not be more different, and serve as just one example of the various groups that collided in the Gilded Age. That melting pot is one reason that helps make this era so unique.

What else makes the Gilded Age stand out?

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TV Recaps

TV Recaps: Downton Abbey Season Finale—The End of an Era

 

Downton Abbey FinaleIt was very hard sitting down to write this recap because it means admitting that Downton Abbey has come to an end.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I bawled through most of this episode even though I had seen it already (I bought the DVD weeks ago). Oh, I have had my issues with this series over the years, the almost too fast pace, the arrests of both Anna and Mr. Bates, Mary’s romantical problems (I was rooting for Charles Blake), Edith’s streak of bad luck, Barrow’s schemes, I’m going to miss this series. I loved this show so much that I bought the British DVD’s and watched the episodes before they even aired on American TV (I have a problem with delayed gratification). Hold on to your hats, because this going to be a long recap given that the finale was super-sized.

Edith announces to the family that she is moving to London and putting Marigold in school. The magazine is doing very well and she enjoys working.  While Robert worries about Edith living alone, Edith replies that she is a spinster and that is what they do, live alone. Ah, Edith, as optimistic as ever! On the way to London, Edith stops off at the Dowager’s to inform Spratt that they are expanding his column in the magazine. Spratt informs Edith that he’s “full of ideas when it comes to combining comfort and elegance, milady.” Of course, Denker is eavesdropping outside the door, the better to get the goods on Spratt.  Why she hasn’t used the information about Spratt’s nephew, I’ll never know.

Downton Abbey Finale 2

While in London, Edith heads to dinner at the Ritz with Aunt Rosamund, only to discover Bertie is already seated at the table. Aunt Rosamund discretely exits while Bertie pleads his case with Edith.  When Edith informs him that he broke her heart, Bertie tells her that he’s no good without her.  He still loves her and wants to marry her. He spills the beans that Mary helped arrange this little get together much to Edith’s surprise. It’s nice to know that now Mary is happy, she can allow her sister to have a little happiness of her own.  Edith reminds Bertie about Marigold. She wants to know how her future mother-in-law is going to feel about her.  Bertie hems and haws before finally admitting that maybe they should just keep that between themselves. Despite her misgivings, Edith agrees to marry Bertie.

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TV Recaps

TV Recaps: Downton Abbey Series 6, Episode 8

Downton Abbey 6x8So much drama last night. This episode had everything—scandal, hearts were broken, an epic fight, truth telling, a near tragedy and a wedding in this next to last episode. Edith still doesn’t know what to do about Bertie Pelham.  She loves him but she’s afraid to tell him about Marigold. Cora tries to convince her that a marriage can’t start with a huge, whopping great lie but Edith is unconvinced.  She’s come so close to happiness before with Michael Gregson that she’s afraid to have it snatched away from her.  Oh Edith, I feel for you, I really do but your mother and Aunt Rosamund are right. Especially since everyone at Downton knows that Marigold is Edith’s child. How would Bertie feel if Tom drank too much Jameson one night and spilled the beans?

Downton Abbey Series 6x8 b

While out walking, Mary and Tom discover that Bertie’s cousin, the Marquess of Hexham has died. Mary believes that Bertie will now be out of a job and unable to marry Edith. Imagine her surprise when she finds out that Bertie is the new Marquess of Hexham! Which means that if he and Edith get married, Edith will outrank them all. Mary refuses to believe that Bertie will still want to marry Edith now that he’s inherited not only the title but Brancaster Castle. She’s in quite the snit in this episode and her mood worsens when Henry Talbot just happens to be in the neighborhood while doing some car things in Durham. Cora invites him to stay and Henry takes the opportunity to press his case.  He blows it, though, when he accuses Mary of not wanting to marry him because he has no money.

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TV Recaps

TV Recap: Downton Abbey Series 6, Episode 5

Downton Abbey Ending
Guess who is coming to dinner? Why it is current health minister (and future Prime Minister) Neville Chamberlin. Lucky Mr. Chamberlin received a coveted invitation (against his will) to attend one of the family’s notorious dinner parties.  Over the past 5 seasons, the show has featured many memorable ones but last night’s has to go down in the history books as the most ‘shocking dinner party’ ever. It is also one of the few times in the past 5 years that a real life person has ventured into the fictional world of the Crawley’s. Since Chamberlin was visiting facilities in the North, Violet naturally invited (twisted Chamberlin’s arm) to dinner.  Robert doesn’t believe that a busy man like Chamberlin would change his plans on a moment’s notice. Violet mentions that Robert’s father was Chamberlin’s wife’s godfather so they are practically family.

Cora, of course, invites Isobel, Lord Merton and Dr. Clarkson as reinforcements. It appears that Dr. Clarkson has now had a change of heart and now supports the merger. When Denker finds out, she accosts Dr. Clarkson in the street and accuses him of being a traitor, reminding that the Dowager was running things while he was still in nappies eating porridge in Scotland. Dr. Clarkson refuses to let the insult stand and writes to the Dowager who promptly fires Denker.  Before Spratt can throw a going away party, Denker threatens to tell Sgt. Willis about Spratt harboring a fugitive. Spratt has no choice but to somehow convince the Dowager to give Denker her job back.  Although he accomplishes the impossible, Denker refuses to let him off the hook.

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Swoon-Worthy Heroes

Swoon-Worthy Hero Highlights: Jace Montgomery From Jude Deveraux’s Wishes

Wishes Jude Deveraux

As a young girl who struggled with her weight from the time she was ten, I remember picking Jude Deveraux’s Wishes when I was thirteen. I felt an intense kinship with Nellie Grayson-the heroine who had a pretty face, but because she was overweight, it didn’t seem to matter. I held onto the dream that a guy would come along and love me for me, which is why I think I’ve held onto Wishes for twenty years and continue to read it again and again. Because Jace Montgomery was everything I fantasized about.

*The unofficial Wishes book trailer I found on YouTube.

If you haven’t read Wishes, it is a Cinderella tale about a selfish woman who gets to purgatory (or The Kitchen in this case) and, because of how nasty she was in life, can’t advance to Heaven until she has completed a type of fairy Godmother deal. Although she at first likes Nellie’s little sister, Terel, she grants Nellie three wishes…wishes that benefited everyone but Nellie because of her selfless and giving nature. When the Godmother finally tries to fix things, she realizes that she really does need to change. But even during all the frustrations and wanting to slap Terel and shake Nellie, there was Jace.

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TV Recaps

TV Recap: Downton Abbey Series 6 Episode 2

This week’s episode could have been subtitled ‘subplots galore.’  The biggest drama in this episode was surprisingly whether or not Carson or Mrs. Hughes was going to get his or her way in regards to where their wedding reception would be held. Lord Grantham graciously offered to hold the reception in the servants’ hall but Lady Mary (of course) thought that they could do a bit better. She insists that the reception be held upstairs in the great hall or one of the many other rooms at Downton that we probably haven’t even seen. Mrs. Hughes doesn’t want to have her wedding reception at Downton at all. Number 1, she doesn’t want to be a servant on her wedding day and number 2, as she puts it to Carson, “It’s just not who we are.” Carson protests that he couldn’t possibly turn down Lady Mary’s generous offer which just annoys Mrs. Hughes. “I am the bride. We’ll be doing it your way for the next 30 years, I know that well enough. But the wedding is mine.” Unfortunately for Mrs. Hughes, Carson refuses to budge.  He’s always been inordinately fond of Lady Mary and would rather disappoint his fiancée than her. Priorities, Carson, priorities!

Downton Abbey Lady Mary

Speaking of Lady Mary, she’s now the agent for the estate which comes as a bit of a shock to poor Mr. Finch. It was bad enough that he had to deal with a jumped up chauffeur, but now a lady? “It’s a changing world,” he tells Lady Mary, reminding us once again of the theme of the last two series of Downton. All this change is likely to give the poor man a heart attack.  He’s come to ask whether or not the estate should enter their pigs in the fat stock show. Lady Mary tells him it can’t hurt and promises to bring little George and Marigold along while she talks to her ‘pig man’ Mr. Drewe. Edith, of course, wonders if it is a good idea to have Marigold hanging around near the Drewes, particularly Mrs. Drewe but of course she can’t tell Mary why she disapproves. As Cora points out to Robert, Edith is afraid that Mary will somehow use the information to hurt her and she’s probably not wrong. Ah, siblings, such a blessing. If only Mary and Edith could work together for good instead of finding ways to hurt each other.

Downton Abbey AnnaLady Mary may not be kind to her own sister but she certainly is a good friend to Anna. When Anna confides that she’s having fertility problems, Lady Mary reminds her that she too once had problems but a London doctor performed a minor bit of surgery and all was well.  She not only offers to make an appointment for Anna to see the same miracle gynecologist but also to pay for any treatment/surgery that Anna might need. Of course, Anna being Anna tries to demur, but Lady Mary is good at riding roughshod over whatever the servants might want and insists.  Which is a good thing too because I don’t think I can take another episode of Anna crying in the laundry room or wherever.  Despite Mr. Bates insisting that he would be happy with adoption, Anna is sure that he is lying to her and he only wants children who carry his own DNA.  The good London doctor informs Anna that she has an incompetent cervix but all he has to do is just stitch her up good once she becomes pregnant and a new little Bates can be born. Hurrah! Of course Anna is grateful to which Lady Mary replies that she seriously owes her since Anna hid her Dutch thing-a-majig for her last series, and helped her get rid Mr. Pamuk’s dead body in series 1.  Anna is practically doing cartwheels when she arrives back at the house. As usual, she doesn’t bother to inform Mr. Bates of the cause of her newfound happiness. That would be too easy!

Downton Abbey Drewes

Poor Edith is not having a good episode.  While Mary and Mr. Finch manage to come to an understanding, the editor of the magazine Edith owns won’t listen to her, and although she’s keeping the flat in London, she won’t stay there because it’s too lonely.  And then there is the whole Drewe situation.  Mrs. Drewe quite rightly still yearns for Marigold, the child she raised for several months.  The whole situation is uncomfortable for everyone. Lord Grantham worries about how living so close to Marigold is affecting the Drewes but he can’t quite bring himself to tell them leave. After all, the family have been tenants at Downton since Waterloo! But when Mrs. Drewe makes off with Marigold while everyone is cheering Lady Mary and prize-winning pig, it’s clear that the Drewes can’t stay. It’s incredibly sad but understandable. Of course, Comrade Daisy, thinks the whole thing sucks and is another example of how horrible the aristocracy is, although the Drewes leaving mean that Mr. Mason can now move into Yew Tree Farm.

Thomas has been seriously off his game this series. After five seasons of back-stabbing, blackmailing, and crawling his way up from footman to under-butler, Barrow is now superfluous in the Downton household.  Carson has nothing for him to do, Andy practically runs whenever Thomas offers to help him with something.  When Thomas asks Carson whether or not he should start looking for a new position, Carson practically starts writing a reference for him! When he interviews for a new job, he discovers that he would be expected to not only be a footman but a valet as well as an under butler! Even Baxter has started to feel sorry for him, despite the fact that she was forced to confess her secret to Lady Grantham, because of Thomas.

Downton Abbey Dowager Hospital

In case you were wondering, Isobel vs. Violet, the Dowager is still at a stalemate regarding whether or not the local hospital should merge with the Royal York.  It’s a question of more modern medicine versus a more personal touch. Dickie Merton is still supporting Isobel, and hoping that she will eventually change her mind and marry him. Dr. Clarkson is still on the Dowager’s side. Robert, who is the patron of the hospital, is trying not to get involved or to take sides.  Good luck with that! Violet also convinced Robert not to tell his wife about a meeting of the trustees which didn’t go down very well.  Cora is clearly supports Isobel’s point-of-view. Once again this sub-plot is yet another example of the old ways versus the new.  And it’s not particularly interesting thus far, just regurgitating the same argument they had last week. Only one side can win, and while Isobel worries about whether or not her friendship with Violet will survive, Violet just wants to be right.

Next week it’s Carson and Mrs. Hughes wedding!  Can’t wait to see what the bride is wearing!