Great news! The Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews will be on sale from June 4-June 10, 2018 for 99 cents. This historical romance, set in Victorian England, is a delightful read. Mimi is celebrating the release of the audiobook on June 11, so this is a special opportunity to get the printed copy for a great price. Mark your calendars so you won’t miss out!
It is my great pleasure to introduce the lovely and talented author Lucinda Brant, who will be posting her Tasty Summer Reads blog as my guest today. Lucinda writes Georgian historical romances with wit and adventure, and crimances (crime with lashings of romance). Her latest release SALT REDUX is the sequel to the internationally best selling SALT BRIDE, and is a 2013 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards Finalist. You can read more about Lucinda on her website www.lucindabrant.com And now for Lucinda…
Welcome to the Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop!
New release: SALT REDUX: Sequel to SALT BRIDE
Jane and Salt—four years of Happily Ever After
Sir Antony Templestowe—four years of Exile
Lady Caroline—four years of Heartache
Diana St. John—four years plotting Revenge
The time has come…
How does a brother cope with life knowing his sister is a murderess? How can a nobleman have the life he has always wanted when a lurking evil consumes his thoughts and haunts his dreams? What will it take for good to triumph over evil?
For readers who enjoyed Salt Bride, the story continues…
2013 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards Finalist
Now for the Random Tasty Questions:
1) When writing are you a snacker? If so sweet or salty?
I drink coffee; lots of it! Making a cup of coffee gets me up out from in front of the computer screen. I have a Nespresso machine. I take my coffee black with one teaspoon of raw sugar. I usually just drink the coffee but occasionally I will indulge in a snack, usually a piece of the latest cake I’ve made – some faves are Zucchini and Carrot cake, Pear, Raspberry and Pistachio bread, Orange, Almond and Coconut cake.
2) Are you an outliner or someone who writes by the seat of their pants?
I use an A5 20 ring binder full of notes for each WIP. I get dressed for work each day in my writing PJs. I buy my “writing” PJs from www.peteralexander.com.au which have funky designs for summer and winter. Ah, the life of the full time writer.
3) When cooking, do you follow a recipe or do you wing it?
I’ve been cooking now for a long time, so don’t follow recipes but my taste buds! But I am new to making cakes. My daughter, who has moved out of home, was the cupcake and sweets maker. So I will follow a recipe when making a cake or dessert.
4) What is next for you after this book?
I’m currently writing book 4 in my Roxton series, DAIR DEVIL, which begins on the night before book 3 ends. It’s about a minor character in book 3 Alisdair (Dair) Fitzstuart, heir to the earl of Strathsay, and Aurora (Rory) Talbot, granddaughter of England’s spymaster general. It should hit the cyber shelves before Christmas.
5) Last question…on a level of one being slightly naughty and ten being whoo hoo steamy, how would you rate your book?
My books have elements of naughty, but if you mean the mechanics of sex, then no. But there is enough sexual tension to get all hot and bothered, that’s for sure!
And now for the really tasty part: the recipe!
Brussels Sprouts, Cranberry and Almond Warm Summer Salad
(sorry, but I don’t use precise measurements – but this is easy to do!)
About 20 Brussels sprouts topped and chopped in half
a quarter of cabbage (any kind) chopped
a big handful of dried ready to eat cranberries
a big handful of slivered almonds
Rice Bran oil to mix
Steam Brussels sprouts in microwave until tender but firm (but not mushy)
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss to coat with oil
Place in an ovenproof dish and heat in a moderate oven until Brussels sprouts have caramelized
Serve as an accompaniment to lamb, chicken or beef.
I have tagged author Prue Batten to carry on the hop. Prue Batten writes Historical Fiction and Fantasy. Her fantasy novel A Thousand Glass Flowers received a silver medallion in the 2012 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Her latest book is the second in her Gisborne saga Gisborne: Book of Knights.
I’ll now have you hop on over to Prue Batten’s blog! http://pruebatten.wordpress.com/
Other Tasty Summer Reads Blog Hop participants are: Christy English http://www.christyenglish.com/2013/07/17/tasty-summer-reads-blog-hop/
Anna Belfrage http://www.juditharnoppnovelist.blogspot.com/ or http://www.juditharnopp.com/
As part of her Verity’s Lie blog hop, I am delighted to announce my very first guest poster! Author Grace Elliot is joining us today, with a fascinating post about coffee houses in the Georgian era. Grace is the successful author of historical romance novels, including her new book Verity’s Lie, and a regular contributor to the English Historical Fiction Authors blog in addition to maintaining her own blog. Be sure to check out the links below after enjoying her post. Take it away, Grace!
Coffee Houses – the Georgian Equivalent of Facebook?
by Grace Elliot
In the 18th century coffee houses were big business – much like today! A bit like the roll social media plays in the modern age, coffee houses were places for like-minded people to meet and debate issues or conduct business. In the previous century King Charles II recognised and was intimidated by the potential within coffee houses to organise rebellion and tried to ban them as:
“places where the disaffected met, and spread scandalous reports concerning the conduct of His Majesty [Charles II] and his Ministers”
Their history is such that it took just over two decades from coffee being available outside the Ottoman Empire, for a rash of them to appear all over Europe. England’s first coffee house opened in Oxford in 1652, and by 1675 there were over 3,000 countrywide! Indeed, coffee houses were the fore-runner of the private gentlemen’s clubs that became so popular in the late 18th century.
The popularity of coffee houses lay not so much in the hot beverages they sold, but as a meeting place. Each house had a distinctive clientele who gathered there to hear the latest news or gossip. By 1739, in London alone there were 331 coffee houses catering for various political groups, lawyers, doctors, stockjobbers, writers, artists or the like. A Frenchman, Antoine Prevost, visiting London commented that coffee houses were “the seat of English liberty”, a place “where you have the right to read all the papers for and against the government.” They also served another social function as a place to have mail delivered, to collect lost property or read newspapers.
One of the most famous coffee houses was Garraway’s, near the Royal Exchange in London. In the 1800’s you could purchase four ham sandwiches and a glass for sherry for two old pence, or feast on a pot of tea, six slices of bread, two crumpets and a muffin for a cost of ten pence plus a two pence tip for the waiter. But, men went there to do business, rather than dine. At Garraway’s people of quality met to buy and sell books, paintings and shipments of tea, coffee or wine. This was done by the famous “inch of candle” sales – a bizarre system of auctioning goods where the successful buyer was the last person to place a bid before a candle stub burnt out.
Coffee houses were great social levelers when men of different classes could meet. It was not unusual for a physician to meet his patient there, or a lawyer his client. Added to that the coffee houses were often gloomy, poorly lit places with smoky atmospheres – they were the perfect places to meet people without arousing suspicion.
In my latest historical romance, Verity’s Lie, the hero wishes to intruct a spy, so what better meeting place than a coffee house!
Excerpt from ‘Verity’s Lie’.
Needham’s Coffee House was a place of business rather than pleasure, and the rooms were decorated accordingly. In the hearth hung a cauldron of coffee from which the servers filled their jugs. Clean sand on the floor, and a candle lit each wooden table; the patrons preferring their transactions to be conducted in the anonymity of gloom.
Ryevale entered this thick atmosphere of tobacco, coffee and coal smoke, the sickly smell catching at the back of his throat. Like so many shadowy monoliths, an assortment of merchants, lawyers, physicians and stock-jobbers sat hunched around tablets, deep in conversation.
Giving his vision time to adjust, Ryevale ducked to avoid a beam and crossed to his favorite corner booth with a view of the door. Sitting, he placed a document on the table and ran a finger down a column of figures, as if there to meet to his broker.
“Coffee, my lord?”
“Thank you, Williams. Most kind.”
“Very good, I’ll see to it myself.”
Williams was Needham’s proprietor; a man both unobtrusive and tight lipped, his character reflected in the coffee house’s reputation for discretion. A well-dressed man wearing a pristine white neckcloth slid into the seat opposite, a copy of the Spectator clamped under his arm. His skin glowed with the freshly scrubbed appearance of a man come directly from the barber, a man who took pride in his appearance. Ryevale looked up and nodded.
“Coffee for me as well, Williams.”
“Of course, Mr. Hanley.” Williams melted backwards.
“Good of you to come at short notice. I appreciate it, Hanley.”
A serving wench brushed past the table, casting doe-eyes at Ryevale, who smiled back absent-mindedly.
“Anything in the news?” he asked, nodding to the Spectator.
“The usual from abroad: Napoleon’s antics on the run…another ambush…that sort of thing.” Hanley had a cultured voice with an aristocratic twang.
“How is business?”
“Stocks are booming, despite the unsettled situation.”
Hanley grinned. “After inside information?”
Williams approached with a coffee jug and two cups. “Here we are, your lordship, Mr. Hanley.”
“Thank you, Williams.” Ryevale pressed a shilling into his hand.
“My lord.” Williams discretely withdrew.
Once alone with no one to overhear, Hanley leaned across the table with a glint in his eye.
“Enough small talk. I take it you need information?”
Hanley smiled as he poured the coffee. “Good. Town has been dull lately; a diversion would be welcome.”Author biography and links:Grace Elliot
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is passionate about history, romance and cats! She is housekeeping staff to five cats, two sons, one husband and a bearded dragon (not necessarily listed in order of importance). “Verity’s Lie” is Grace’s fourth novel.
Verity’s Lie – Synopsis:
Charles Huntley, Lord Ryevale, infamous rogue…and government agent.
In unsettled times, with England at war with France, Ryevale is assigned to covertly protect a politician’s daughter, Miss Verity Verrinder. To keep Verity under his watchful eye, Ryevale plots a campaign of seduction that no woman can resist– except it seems, Miss Verrinder. In order to gain her trust Ryevale enters Verity’s world of charity meetings and bookshops…where the unexpected happens and he falls in love with his charge.
When Lord Ryevale turns his bone-melting charms on her, Verity questions his lordship’s motivation. But with her controlling father abroad, Verity wishes to explore London and reluctantly accepts Ryevale’s companionship. As the compelling attraction between them strengthens, Verity is shattered to learn her instincts are correct after all – and Ryevale is not what he seems. So if Lord Ryevale can lie, so can she… with disastrous consequences.
Subscribe to Grace’s quarterly newsletter here: http://bit.ly/V7T6Jd
Grace’s blog ‘Fall in Love With History’ http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com
Grace on Twitter: @Grace_Elliot
Grace’s author page on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Elliot/e/B004DP2NSU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
Tomorrow, my very first guest blogger will be posting. Grace Elliot is a talented historical fiction author with four books to her credit, a contributor to the English Historical Fiction Authors’ blog, and has her own blog Fall in Love with History (http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com). In her other life, she is a veterinarian! I know you will enjoy her post, so please be here tomorrow! Don’t forget to share!
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland May 5, 1786, Sarah Clementina (or Clementina Sarah) was the daughter of James Drummond, Lord Perth, Baron Drummond of Stobhall and the Honorable Clementina Elphinstone. The Drummond family was a noble family of Perthshire, who were loyal to the Jacobite cause. After the Rising in 1715, the 4th Earl Drummond was attainted and the estates and title were lost (although still considered valid by the Jacobites in exile). Clementina’s father obtained restoration of the estates in 1787, but the title was not restored; he was created 1st Lord Perth and Baron Stobhouse by George III in 1797 (he was considered the 11th earl de jure by the Jacobites in exile)*. Clementina was the only surviving child and heir. A number of compositions for dances were named for her, including “Clementina Sarah Drummond”, a strathspey by John Bowie published in 1789, and “Miss Sarah Drummond of Perth”, another strathspey. On her father’s death in 1800, she inherited a large fortune and estates in Perthshire.
On October 19, 1807, at age 21, Clementina married the Honorable Peter Burrell, who was the son of Sir Peter Burrell, 2nd Baronet Burell of Knipp and subsequently Baron Gwyndir, and Lady Priscilla Bertie, 21st Baroness Willoughby de Eresby and the daughter of the 3rd Duke of Ancaster. His family had no money to speak of. On November 5, 1807, the couple took the name of Drummond-Burrell by royal license. This was supposedly at her father’s insistence but, since he died in 1800, this may have been a requirement of her marriage settlement or her own request. (I also saw an indication that this may have been at his father’s request.) In any case, the couple became Mr. and Mrs. Drummond-Burrell. Initially, at least, they lived at Drummond Castle.
Peter Drummond-Burrell was a great dandy, and a member of Brooks’s Club (a Whig stronghold), and had been working toward a political career. He was elected Member of Parliament for Boston in Lincolnshire in April 1812, and usually voted with the opposition, although his attendance was not steady. Clementina was an active hostess, noted for her parties. By 1814, according to Captain Gronow, Clementina was one of the patronesses of Almack’s Assembly Rooms. She had the reputation of being the highest stickler, very proud, and very grand. In FRIDAY’S CHILD, Georgette Heyer described her as “the most coldly correct of Almack’s patronesses….”
There are some implications that this was not a particularly happy marriage. Peter Drummond-Burrell was expensive, and his father was in debt; Clementina’s reputation for grandeur and shrewdness would not indicate a “soft touch” for cash. However, after 1808, they appear to be fixed in London and very busy with their social and personal lives. The couple had five children: Clementina Elizabeth, born Sept. 2, 1809 in Piccadilly, Westminster; Elizabeth Susan, born Sept. 21, 1810 in Westminster, Charlotte Augusta born Nov. 3, 1815 in Berkley Square; Frederick, born Feb. 4, 1818 in Middlesex; and Alberic born Dec. 25, 1821. Two of the children died before their parents. Frederick died May 17, 1819, and Elizabeth died Oct. 10, 1853. It is worth noting (considering the time) that I did not run across any speculation about the paternity of their children. I also did not run across suggestions that Peter had a string of mistresses. (A dandy’s lifestyle, combined with political aspirations, does justify a high level of expenditure!) This would indicate a couple who, if not madly in love, at least cared about and respected each other.
Peter’s father died June 29, 1820, apparently significantly in debt, at which point Peter succeeded to his titles, becoming Lord Gwydyr. His biography on THE HISTORY OF PARLIAMENT indicates he sold many family treasures and, rather than face another election, retired from politics to live in Paris by choice for a period of time. How long he was in Paris, and whether Clementina went with him, is unclear. In any event, they were still a couple and in England fairly soon after this, as their fourth child Alberic was born December 25, 1821, and was christened at St. George’s, Hanover Square, December 30, 1821. In 1828, his mother died, and he inherited her title, adding the 22nd Baron Willoughby de Eresby and Joint Hereditary Lord Great Chamberlain to his list of titles, invested in the Privy Council. The couple was known as Lord and Lady Willoughby de Eresby from this point on. Although the duties of Hereditary Lord Great Chamberlain and Privy Counselor required Lord Willoughby de Eresby’s presence at court, they continued to spend time at Drummond Castle where they were involved in continuing improvements, especially in the gardens. In 1842, Queen Victoria supposedly planted copper beech trees at Drummond Castle during a visit.
Clementina died January 16, 1865 in Piccadilly, and was buried in St. Michael Churchyard, East Halton, Lincolnshire. Peter died February 22, 1865, outliving her by only a month.
Clementina Drummond-Burrell was an influential society hostess, with the power to make or break a social career. She had the reputation of being a high stickler, requiring a high standard of conduct in her protégés. Certainly, I found no suggestion of scandal connected to her. Her background as the only child of an earl, heiress to wealth and privilege, may have been a source of pride to her, and must surely have excited envy. These things, however, do not necessarily require a cold, harsh personality. Although in novels, she is portrayed as a rigid, implacable despot, the facts I found indicate an admirable person. In REMINISCENCES OF CAPTAIN GRONOW, “Society in London in 1814,” he describes Lady Castlereagh and Mrs. Burrell “de tres grandes dames”1 (very great ladies). I can think of worse things for which to be remembered.
Gronow, Captain Rees Howell. REMINISCENCES OF CAPTAIN GRONOW. P. 19
Gronow, Captain Rees Howell. REMINISCENCES OF CAPTAIN GRONOW. 1862: Smith, Elder & Co. Cornhill. Published in the U.S . by IndyPublish.com, McLean, VA.
The giveaway of HEYERWOOD: A Novel on Maria Grazia’s blog, My Jane Austen Book Club, has closed. The Winner is Linda Brower! A signed hardcover will be on it’s way to Linda shortly. Congratulations, Linda!
A big thank-you again to Maria Grazia for allowing me to be a guest on her wonderful blog! (A link to her blog is here for those of you of have not yet visited there.)