10/12/2021 Updates from my writing cave

I’ve been reading old newspaper articles from the British Newspaper Archives set in 1813. I’m working on a non-fiction book about seven women who were powerhouses in Regency-era England, and have been looking for details about their various lives and activities. When writing anything set in Regency-era England, it is difficult to avoid the Season in London. Many of us read novels about the social activities of members of the highest level society, and try to imagine what it must have been like: glamorous, romantic, magical. The popularity of Jane Austen’s novels and their adaptations have fueled this interest. When I ran across several articles about balls and other social events, it gave me a different view of what holding a major ball actually entailed for the hosts.

On a winter night in early 1813, a ball was held in a mansion in Mayfair. The bare outlines of the events were these: approximately 500 guests starting arriving about 10:00 that evening, dancing commenced at 11:00, supper was held at 2:00 in the morning (Tuesday morning), after which dancing resumed until 5:00. The last guest departed at 6:00 in the morning. That is an 8-hour party. While one realizes that many of the guests probably came and went throughout the evening, one must presume that the host and hostess, at a minimum, were there all night long. This doesn’t take into account last minute activities earlier in the day: checking arrangements with staff, getting dressed, etc. Even with a full roster of servants at the ready, this must have been an incredibly long and exhausting event, as the host and hostess must have been constantly on the watch to be sure all went as it should: guests properly entertained and served, unexpected tensions smoothed, and indiscretions (or outright scandals) avoided. Somehow not quite the glamorous, care-free event one envisions…

Although the back-breaking labor of preparations and clean up was performed by servants, the host and hostess had the ultimate responsibility for the successful entertainment of their guests. No small endeavor, especially as social occasions of this nature were more than just fun. A ball of this nature advertised one’s status in the world not only for one’s self but one’s family in general. Its success (or otherwise) could affect reputations. Social events of this nature were also used for other matters, including discreet meetings of political colleagues, who were also frequently members of the same social set, and families considering judicious marital alliances to advance the respective families’ interests. Many issues and concerns simmered under the surface of what, at first glance, was an evening of entertainment. An event of this nature, then, became as much a serious business campaign as a social occasion.

The Next Dance by George Goodwin Kilburne (Wikimedia Commons-Public Domain) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:George_Goodwin_Kilburne_The_Next_Dance.jpg

On a completely different note, don’t forget that Books at the Beach is coming up in Clearwater, Florida from October 21-October 24. Lots of authors will be there, and it promises to be a fantastic book festival. Unfortunately, I will not be there, but recommend it highly. Visit Eventbrite for ticket information here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/books-at-the-beach-2021-tickets-131262115521?fbclid=IwAR2K_5BGTZLWCJDlHzZZMz1i3eVQnpOUpaMELX0NOMsfU4sRUjCqmUMzhjg

A Good Day

9/5/2021

The Orlando Reads Books Festival has come and gone. Useful information at the Industry Day Sessions, and the signing on Saturday was a success. Face masks and hand sanitizer were present, but nothing prevented readers from talking to authors and finding new reads. I really enjoyed it.

Tampa Indie Author Book Convention Coming Soon!


Coming soon! Mark your calendars as the Tampa Indie Authors Book Convention will be held on Saturday, June 5 at the Doubletree by Hilton Rocky Point Tampa! (Address: 3050 N. Rocky Point Dr. West, Tampa, Florida 33607-5800, USA) I will be there, and hope to see you! A very exciting event with lots of authors and their books. More information can be found on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TampaIndieAuthorBookConvention

An Amiable Wife

My post on Anne Law, Lady Ellenborough, is up for viewing on the English Historical Fiction Authors Blog.

As a female, I cannot help being interested in the lives of women of earlier times.  Finding information about some is easy, thanks to published letters and memoirs, newspaper archives, and (because of their own personal status or accomplishments or notoriety) even biographies.  With others, it is a challenge, and we may find ourselves finding that little data is available, and that as side details provided in the information related to a father, husband or other male relative.  One such lady is Anne Law, Lady Ellenborough.  The November/December issue of JANE AUSTEN’S WORLD magazine included a reference to her in “What Made The News in November & December 1812” that caught my attention. 

To read more about her, visit the blog at: https://englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com/2020/12/an-amiable-wife.html#comment-form

Lady Sarah Frederica Caroline Child-Villiers: An English Princess

By Lauren Gilbert

477px-Schloss_EsterhC3A1zy_Eisenstadt_1587
Schloss Esterházy, Eisenstadt, Darstellung von Lady Sarah Frederica Caroline Child Villiers, by Karl Gruber January 2013 (Creative Commons Austria)

Today on the English Historical Fiction Authors blog, I have posted  about Princess Nicholas Esterhazy, born Lady Sarah Caroline Frederica Caroline Child-Villiers.

Lady Sarah Caroline Frederica Caroline Child-Villiers was born August 12, 1822 in London, and was baptized May 27, 1823 in St George’s Hanover Square Parish.  Her mother was Sarah Sophia Child-Villiers, Countess of Jersey and her father George Child-Villiers, 5th Earl of Jersey.  She was born into one of the wealthiest and most powerful families.

To read the rest of  the post, please visit the English Historical Fiction Authors blog.

Elizabeth Evans, Businesswoman and Philanthropist

Elizabeth Evans was the daughter of a wealthy, self-made businessman.  She married a man who was the son of a businessman, who was successful himself in his family’s business, and, after his death, married his half-brother.  During her second marriage, as a partner in the bank and businesses, Elizabeth utilized talents to make her mark as a businesswoman and as a philanthropist.  During the Georgian era, women were theoretically subsumed into their husbands.  However, there were some women who managed to make their marks in the business world.  Elizabeth Evans was one of them.

To read more about Elizabeth Evans, please visit the ENGLISH HISTORICAL FICTION AUTHORS blog.

Interesting Finds: Louis Ude French Chef

In the course of doing research for a non-fiction book due next year with Pen and Sword Publishing, I ran across an interesting character: Louis Eustache Ude, French chef.

Louis Eustache Ude was born around 1769, the son of a chef who cooked at the court of Louis XVI in France.  Louis was briefly apprenticed there as as well, left to try other occupations, and then returned to cooking.  He cooked for Napoleon’s mother, Maria Letizia Buonaparte for 2 years.  Moving on to England (probably late 18th-early 19th century), he went to work for William and Maria Molyneux, 2nd Earl and Countess of Sefton, with whom he stayed for almost 20 years.  The Earl and his countess were known for lavish dinners and select parties. His cuisine must have been greatly appreciated, as the Earl paid Ude 300 guineas per year, and left Ude 100 guineas in his will. While in the earl’s employ, Ude published his first cookbook, THE FRENCH COOK, in 1813. It is said that Ude left the earl’s service when the earl’s eldest son put salt in a soup Ude had prepared.  The exact dates of service for the earl are not known.

After leaving the Earl’s service, Ude went to work for the Duke of York.  After the duke’s death in 1827, he went to work for Crockford’s, a gaming club in St. James’s Street, where he was paid 1200 pounds per year to start.  He was there until late 1838 or early 1839, when he left over a salary dispute.  He was replaced at Crockford’s by Charles Elme’ Francatelli (about whom more here  ), while he moved on to work at other clubs.  His cookbook, which he re-titled THE FRENCH COOK: A System of Fashionable, Practical, and Economical Cookery, Adapted to the Use of English Families, went into numerous editions. (It is interesting to note that Mrs. Beeton is rumored to have included Ude’s recipe for turtle soup in her own cookbook.)  Ude was living in London when he died April 10, 1846.

Sources include:

Cooksinfo.com “Louis Eustache Ude” by Randall Oulton, published December 31, 2005 and updated May 10, 2018.  (c) 2010.  HERE

GoogleBooks.com THE NATIONAL REVIEW Vol 25, March-August, 1895.  pp. 784-785. London: Edward Arnold. “The Literature of Cookery (18th and 19th Centuries)” by A. Kenney Herbert. HERE

Morningmail.org “Indigestion: Dinner with high drama” (no author or post date shown). HERE

Oldcookbooks.com “Ude, Louis Eustache. The French Cook” (no author or post date shown). HERE

Blog Hop Celebrating A RATIONAL ATTACHMENT!

A Rational Attachment cover from Amazon

My latest book, A RATIONAL ATTACHMENT, was released in December 2019, and introduced at the Sunshine State Book Festival and the Amelia Island Book Festival (both terrific events, about which more later).  Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours is conducting a blog hop with a giveaway to celebrate this release.  Please go here to check the schedule and see why I’m so excited.  Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!  In addition to the book and the e-book, there will be some special surprises to enjoy while reading. Don’t miss it!