Guest Post

Victorians Like You & Me | Sandra Schwab

YuletideTruce-FINAL (1)
London, 1845

It’s December, Alan “Aigee” Garmond’s favorite time of the year, when the window display of the small bookshop where he works fills up with crimson Christmas books and sprays of holly. Everything could be perfect — if it weren’t for handsome Christopher Foreman, the brilliant writer for the fashionable magazine About Town, who has taken an inexplicable and public dislike to Aigee’s book reviews.

But why would a man such as Foreman choose to target reviews published in a small bookshop’s magazine? Aigee is determined to find out. And not, he tells himself, just because he finds Foreman so intriguing.

Aigee’s quest leads him from smoke-filled ale-houses into the dark, dingy alleys of one of London’s most notorious rookeries. And then, finally, to Foreman. Will Aigee be able to wrangle a Yuletide truce from his nemesis?

Thank you so much for hosting me today, EverAfter Romance, as I celebrate the release of my Victorian holiday romance Yuletide Truce!
Let’s talk about the Victorians, shall we? The Victorians are often said to be straitlaced and stuffy, with no sense of humor. But were they really? If you look a bit closer, you’ll soon find that the Victorians were as fun-loving as you and me, and they struggled with similar problems as we do today. This becomes abundantly clear through the social cuts of the satirical magazine Punch.

1) Graffiti? Yep, the Victorians had them!
Meet Mr. Briggs, who has just moved into the suburbs that were growing all around London. And he is not happy that some boys continue to scribble on his garden walls:
“The Intelligent Reader is requested to imagine that the Gates in the above Cartoon have just been thoroughly cleaned, and fresh painted. On his return from the City, Mr. Briggs finds that rude boys (totally regardless of his feelings), have been farther decorating them.”
(By the wonderful John Leech)

2) The Trials & Tribulations of Owning a House
Poor Mr. Briggs! A slate has come loose on the roof of his pretty suburban villa, which means an invasion of builders follows soon. Oh dear!

3) Victorians grumbled about their public transport…
See? Just like us! Just with real horsies instead of horsepower. And nowadays, you probably won’t encounter a medical student with a glass full of leeches on the bus. (Cartoon by Richard Doyle, one of my favorite Victorian artists)

4) …about their roads…
(By Richard Doyle)

5) …and about traffic jams of epic proportions!
GAH! (Unsigned, so I’m not quite sure who created this cartoon)

6) And what’s up with all these ads?
(by John Leech)

7) Victorians loved going to the zoo…
Meet Brown, Jones, and Robinson in one of their adventures around the metropolis (by Richard Doyle).

8) …and to the circus
Astley’s Amphitheatre was famous for its equestrian shows, acrobats and conjurors. The famous clown Grimaldi worked here, too. Astley’s also staged epic battle scenes. (From the Manners & Customs series by Richard Doyle)

9) Before they went to a party, they made sure to have GREAT hair…
More Brown, Jones, and Robinson! They also take some dancing lessons to catch up with the latest trend in dancing (the polka).

10) …and hoped for a dash of romance

YuletideTruce-FINAL (1)Award-winning author SANDRA SCHWAB started writing her first novel when she was seven years old. Thirty-odd years later, telling stories is still her greatest passion, even though by now, she has exchanged her pink fountain pen of old for a black computer keyboard. Since the release of her debut novel in 2005, she has enchanted readers worldwide with her unusual historical romances (some of which she now uses to shamelessly fangirl over Punch, her favorite Victorian magazine).

She holds a PhD in English literature, and in autumn 2015, she appeared on the BBC documentary Great Continental Railway Journeys to talk about another favorite topic of hers, the Grimms’ fairy tales (while walking through a rather muddy stretch of the Black Forest) (there were a lot of slugs, too).

She lives in Frankfurt am Main / Germany with a sketchbook, a sewing machine, and an ever-expanding library.

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