WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ The Parson’s Mousetrap (plus a giveaway!)

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ The Parson’s Mousetrap (plus a giveaway!)

Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.
~The Impressive Clergyman, The Princess Bride

The Country Wedding by John Lewis Krimmel, 1820, public domain.

The Parson’s Mousetrap

The state of matrimony. See also noozed, priest-linked, spliced, swish’d, and yoakd.

The vernacular painted a pretty bleak portrait of marriage. Or perhaps an all-to-true one. Despite what some authors still get incorrect about the time period, there were no easy annulments, and even less easy divorces. Matrimony was truly ’til death us do part.’ Daughters had better hope their fathers negotiated favorable marriage settlements, that their unions fell somewhere along the scale of love match to cordial business arrangement, or that they produced what was required of them to cause their husbands to leave them in peace after obligations were fulfilled.

I’ll take our written happily ever afters.

 

Signing the Register by Edmund Blair Leighton (1853-1922), Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery UK, The Bridgeman Art Library.

Off for the Honeymoon by Frederick Morgan, 1903, Bonhams.

None But the Brave Deserve the Fair by James Shaw Crompton, 1915, from The Pears Annual, Digital Library, University of North Texas.

PS: I’m in a multi-author giveaway that’s open for two more days – this giveaway from BookSweeps ends on February 20th! If you haven’t already entered, don’t miss your chance to win 30 Victorian, Georgian, and Regency Romances, plus a brand new eReader. You’ll even get a collection of FREE reads just for entering! Enjoy and bon chance! Just click the graphic below:

 

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WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Valentine

WOW ~ Word of the Week ~ Valentine

Guess what happens this week!

If you guessed Valentine’s Day, you’re only partially correct. I was shooting for the day after Valentine’s Day, when candy goes on sale for half-price or more. Now that’s something to celebrate, amiright?!

Anyway. On to the Word of the Week.

The observation of St. Valentine’s Day has its origins in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a pagan fertility festival. That celebration involved lots of naked men running around the city spanking women’s bottoms, which was thought to increase their fertility. Ahem.

And like all good pagan rites of yore, Christians swooped in and usurped the pagan’s place in the festivities; after the death of Christ, February 14th became a date associated with the martyring of three different saints, all coincidentally named Valentine (or Valentinus, in the Latin of the day).

Now, the first documented association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love came with the publication of Parlement of Foules by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1382:

Ye knowe wel how, Seynt Valentynes day,
By my statut and through my governaunce,
Ye come for to chese — and flee your way —
Your makes, as I prik yow with plesaunce.

History also reveals a Frenchman (but, of course!) holds the honor as first to send a Valentine, although under tragic circumstances. After his capture following the Battle of Agincourt, the duc D’Orléans wrote a missive to his wife from his cell in the Tower of London. He addressed her as “my sweet Valentine.”

Poem from Charles, duc D’Orléans, to his wife in 1415. Photo courtesy BBC; original document at the British Museum.

Shakespeare brought the concept of Valentines and Valentine’s Day to the masses when  he penned Ophelia’s mournful song for Hamlet (Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5).

Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donned his clothes,
And dupped the chamber door.
Let in the maid that out a maid
Never departed more.

The idea of sending notes specifically on Valentine’s Day took off in England, so much so that a how-to book was published in 1797, The Young Man’s Valentine Writer. The rampant popularity naturally meant the term would be adopted into the vernacular.

Hence this week’s timely slang term.

Valentine (noun)

The first woman seen by a man, or man seen by a woman, on St. Valentine’s day, the 14th of February, when it is said every bird chuses his mate for the ensuing year.

Early Valentines were personal and hand-made, specific to the tastes and feelings of the sender and recipient. Witness this lovely Puzzle Purse Valentine from 1816. The squares are numbered so that the message can be read in order as each section is opened. The final message or illustration takes the center spot. Who wouldn’t love to receive one of these?

Valentine Puzzle Purse, 14 February 1816. Image courtesy Nancy Rosin.

 

A Legend to Love Series: His Duchess at Eventide by Wendy LaCapra

Lovers reunited & a dukedom reclaimed—the Regency meets the Odyssey

Lord Cheverley, son of the Duke of Ithwick, never wanted to go to war, but when he eloped against his father’s wishes, the furious Duke forced him to choose—either take a naval commission, or have his marriage annulled. Devastated physically and emotionally by seven years of war, a shipwreck, and six years in the captivity of a brutal pirate, Cheverley returns to England to find that the courts have declared him dead, and his wife is entertaining suitors. Should he demand his rightful place, disrupting his family’s lives, or should he return to sea, seeking vengeance against the pirate? He sets out to find the answer in disguise.

Penelope once believed in love, but then the man who swept her off her feet deserted her, leaving her and her unborn child utterly alone. Now a widow, she will do anything to protect her son, including enlisting the aid of a mysterious sea captain to uncover the true intentions of her devious suitors. When the captain awakens something in Penelope she thought long dead, she begins to suspect he is no stranger. But, as they peel back the layers of a deadly plot, can this broken family heal their wounds in time to save what really matters?

“You even smell like him, not that I can remember what he smelled like because that would make me sound mad. But your scent makes me confused and hot and longing and I’m fairly certain his did as well, however that could have been the fact we were sixteen and sixteen is entirely too, oh, blast, I can’t, I tell you! I just cannot—”

“Shh,” he soothed. Tentatively, he rested his hand against the small of her back.

“No! Not shh! It’s terrible. A complete muddle.” She splayed her hands against his chest. “I’m still bold and you’re still impossibly hard but you aren’t a toff—and I’m me and you’re not you and I’m—well—I am going mad, aren’t I? That’s the only explanation.”

“Shh,” he repeated, crumbling inside.

“Stop shushing and just—” she grabbed his wounded arm and wrapped it around her waist. Then, she placed her hand on his nape, curled her cheek into his neck and sighed. “There. Now I will shush. This is right.”

This was anything but right. “I’m sorry,” he whispered.

“That helps,” she replied.

“Helps make you feel better?”

“No. It helps to make you, you, not him.” She sighed. “Chev never apologized, you see.”

 

Get a copy of His Duchess at Eventide at your favorite online vendor:


 
 

 

A Legend to Love: A Gift From A Goddess by Maggi Andersen

This week’s release in the A Legend to Love series is A Gift From a Goddess by Maggi Andersen. Her story is a Regency romantic suspense based on the Myth of Pygmalion and Galatea.

Pygmalion was a Greek sculptor from Cyprus who, disenchanted with women, dedicated himself to his work. He created Galatea, a beautiful statue of a woman, from ivory. As Pygmalion worked on the statue, it became more beautiful to him than any woman that had ever lived or been carved in stone. As he worked with hammer and chisel, he fell deeply in love with his statue. The goddess, Aphrodite, had given life to the statue; whose name was Galatea.

Hebe Fenchurch’s life has been turned upside down after her father became involved in a swindle and killed himself. Shunned by the ton and with her mother struggling to make ends meet, Hebe is forced to seek employment. Told she is unsuited for a governess and lacks the skills of a maid, Hebe finds work as an artist’s model.

Sculptor, Lewis, Lord Chesterton has shut himself away, working on his sculptures after his wife, Laura, left him and was subsequently murdered. Some in Society believe he was behind her death. When Lewis begins a new work titled Aphrodite, Hebe Fenchurch comes to pose for him.

Lewis prides himself on his professionalism. He never sleeps with his models although many in the ton believe he does. He finds himself drawn to Hebe, his work stalls, and he fears he won’t finish the statue of Aphrodite. Must he dismiss Hebe and lose his best model?

After another of Lewis’ models suffers the same fate as his wife Laura, the mystery intensifies and gossip spreads. Hebe is drawn into the fray.

Bow Street have had no success in finding the murderer. Will they strike again?

As Hebe sits for him, Lewis’ employs his skill as a sculptor to fashion the beautiful goddess from a block of marble. It is said that Aphrodite stands for love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation, and she can even mend a broken heart.

Can the goddess’ power be real?

And will Lewis be able to keep the model he’s fallen in love with from suffering the same fate as the others?

Grab your copy of A Gift From A Goddess today!

 

 

 

Multi-published, Amazon best-selling author in Regency and Suspense, Maggi Andersen, fell in love with the Georgian and Regency worlds after reading the books of Georgette Heyer and Victoria Holt. Maggi has raised three children and gained a BA and an MA in Creative Writing. She and her husband live in the beautiful Southern Highlands of Australia.

P.L. Travers lived in the house next door almost 100 years ago. Travers later wrote Mary Poppins and there’s a statue in her honor in the park.

Maggi’s free time is spent enjoying her garden and the local wildlife, reading, and movies. She keeps fit walking and swimming.

Apart from her Regency Series, The Baxendale Sisters and The Spies of Mayfair, and her stand alone historical novels, Maggi writes contemporary romantic suspense, mysteries and young adult novels. She supports the RSPCA.

Catch up with Maggi:

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A Legend to Love: Rogue of the Greenwood by Susan Gee Heino

A Legend to Love: Rogue of the Greenwood by Susan Gee Heino

Many have worn the clothes — and attempted the accent — of Robin of Locksley. The wilds of Sherwood Forest have seen many incarnations of the famous hero. But what of a heroine?

In author Susan Gee Heino’s version of the Robin Hood legend, her hero is a very reluctant rogue. He thinks Robin Hood is nothing more than a silly legend — until he finds himself hiding in Sherwood Forest and fighting against the Sheriff of Nottingham! And his childhood nemesis — Marianne Maidland — turns out to be even more of a rogue than Robin Hood.

1815, Nottinghamshire, England

Mr. Robert Locksley is not the great-great-grandson of the infamous Robin Hood. He just happens to share the same name. And an estate in Nottingham. And the shame of an addled grandfather who liked to don green hosen and rob from their neighbors. The legend is nothing more than a source of embarrassment for Robert and now that he’s come back from the horrors of war, he wants nothing to do with violence or suffering or Robin Hood again. It comes as quite a shock, then, when he discovers his peaceful home is in chaos and he is presumed dead! There’s a new sheriff in town and nothing in Nottingham is as it should be. There’s only one thing to do—bring Robin Hood back to life.

Marianne Maidland never quite outgrew her fascination with Robin Hood. She used to romp through Sherwood Forest and dream of adventure. Returning to Nottingham as a cultured lady, she is sad to hear that Robert Locksley is dead and his beautiful estate is falling to ruin. But the good people of Nottingham are suffering, and she isn’t sure why. She knows what they need, though; they need Robin Hood! If Robert isn’t here to fill that role, then she will have to. How handy that she’s an excellent archer and has just found Grandfather’s old Robin Hood costume.

Sparks fly—along with arrows!—when these pretenders collide. Would there be a happy ending for two daring rogues in the forest? Sure would!

Grab your copy today!

 

 

Susan Gee Heino is living out her own Happily-Ever-After in rural Ohio with an ever-changing menagerie of creatures, her very supportive husband, and the two most adorable — and frighteningly creative — children imaginable.They are all addicted to happy endings, and that seems to be working out just fine.

Connect with Susan:

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(If you’ve read my contribution to A Legend to Love ~ A Wulf in Duke’s Clothing ~ did you find the Easter Egg connected to Rogue of the Greenwood? This might just be a big hint!)

A Legend to Love: The Promise of the Bells by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

A Legend to Love: The Promise of the Bells by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

This week’s new release in the A Legend to Love series is based on a legend that’s a bit different: Dick Whittington and his cat.

Most have heard the story of the poor boy who went to London to make his fortune, believing the roads were paved with gold. He found work with a merchant, but the housekeeper was mean to him and he was miserable. Dick found solace in his cat (who was also handy at keeping away rats). One day, the merchant announced he was going to take a trip abroad, and servants were welcome to give him something of value to trade.

Dick gave up his cat – his dearest possession. Again, he was treated poorly – and was about to leave London for good – when he heard the church bells that appeared to be calling him to return, and that he would be Lord Mayor of London three times.

He returned and discovered the merchant also returned with Dick’s fortune. One night, when the merchant was dining with an Eastern king, the dining hall was overrun with rats. The merchant told the king he had a cat who would deal with the rats. The cat did and the king was so delighted that he paid a fortune in gold for the cat.

But there is a twist in the tale – Dick Whittington was an actual historical figure. Richard (Dick) Whittington was actually Lord Mayor of London in the 14th century.

Unlike the legend that grew up from the late 17th century, Whittington was a younger son of a aristocratic family and a successful merchant. He was known for his probity, honesty and charity. He was also a shrewd political operator too. As Lord Mayor of London, he was in charge of great wealth and kept on the good side of both Richard II and Henry IV. He commissioned a great number of public works including sanitation and was also major benefactor of St Thomas’ Hospital, endowing a wing to look after unwed mothers and their babies. No one knows where the cat entered the picture, and there is no evidence that he ever had one but it is now so entwined with the legend that it is impossible to tell the story without it.

 

Young Richard Whiting comes from a poor family but he’s given a golden opportunity – to move to London to further his education. On the way there, he is befriended by Lord Ambrose and his young daughter, Catherine ‘Cat’ Swanston, and Richard and Catherine become sweethearts.

In order to make his fortune, Richard is pulled into a different life but the young couple vow beneath the tolllng bells of the churches of London to always be there for one another.

Years later, now an up and coming barrister, Richard learns that Catherine needs help. Her father is missing, and His Lordship’s business partner refuses to provide any information. It will take Catherine’s bravery and Richard’s legal cunning for there to be a happily ever after…

The Promise of the Bells is a sweet romance. Richard and Catherine are such a lovely couple – and you get to meet Mog, Richard’s Calico cat!

Get your copy today!

 

 

 

A Legend to Love Series: Between Duty and the Devil’s Desires by Louisa Cornell

A Legend to Love Series: Between Duty and the Devil’s Desires by Louisa Cornell

The wonderful Louisa Cornell’s novel, Between Duty and the Devil’s Desires, is based on the legend of Tristan and Iseult. Those who know the legend usually associate it with Wagner’s opera, but the legend is not a German story. The heartbreaking tale made popular in the 12th century was derived from a Celtic legend. There is even a Drustanus Stone in Cornwall with an engraving referring to Drustan, the archetype for Tristan. The story appears in the Welsh triads and in the Mabinogion—11th century compendiums of early Welsh legends and poetry. It is believed the fatal love triangle between King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, and Sir Lancelot is based on these legends.

THE LEGEND

After defeating the Irish knight Morholt, Tristan travels to Ireland to bring back the fair Iseult for his uncle, King Mark of Cornwall, to marry. Along the way, Tristan and Iseult accidentally ingest a love potion and fall in love with each other. (In some versions no love potion is needed, they simply fall in love.) Upon arrival at his uncle’s castle, Tristan is honor-bound to leave his beloved Iseult so she may marry the king. In some versions, King Mark discovers their betrayal and, in a violent rage, mortally wounds Tristan. In other versions, Tristan sails away and eventually marries another woman, even as he continues to love Iseult. Whilst saving a young damsel from six knights, Tristan is struck with a poison lance. He asks his squire to send for Iseult, who is known far and wide for her healing powers. He tells the squire to sail back flying white sails if Iseult has agreed to come to his aid, but to fly black sails should she refuse. As Tristan lays dying, his jealous wife tells him the sails on the horizon are black. Heartbroken, Tristan dies. When Iseult arrives and finds him dead, she drinks poison to join him in eternity.

Louisa flips her story a bit. Here’s the blurb and a tease of an excerpt.

A determined governess, a reluctant bridegroom, and a winter’s journey from London to Cheshire…

Reputed to be the most exacting governess in England, Miss Elegy Perkins has cared for Lady Margaret, the spoiled daughter of the Marquess of Braemar, for twelve interminable years. Then she receives a life-changing offer that would bring her a prize of 5000 pounds and the chance at financial freedom. All she must do is find and escort Lady Margaret’s reluctant bridegroom to his wedding. A simple enough task, until she meets the bridegroom in question.

Major Lord Devlin St. George has very little control of his life. For the past sixteen months he has done his utmost to avoid contracts, signed when he was a child, to leg-shackle him to the daughter of a wealthy marquess. Evading the efforts of his betrothed’s brothers to drag him to the altar, Devlin has successfully missed three wedding dates so far. The only thing that stands between him and missing a fourth is a pistol-wielding, strait-laced governess. A lady who is far more woman than she dares reveal.

Hair black and silky as a starless night hung well past his shoulders. With an equally dark beard and mustache and eyes the clear blue of sapphires, even if a bit blurred and bloodshot, Lord Hadley resembled nothing so much as a pirate or, if she were kinder, the subject of a Renaissance painting. Elegy drew herself up and squared her shoulders. She had no time for silly feminine frailty. Especially not where this man was concerned. She had a task to perform.

“I find I hear better when wearing drawers,” the gentleman said with a sly grin. He leaned back onto the bed and propped himself on his elbows. “If you’re not wearing any perhaps you should borrow mine.”

“Borrow… What on earth are you— I most certainly do not wear drawers.” What had possibly possessed her to give him that piece of information?

“Ah! Well then feel free to don mine if it will help you to hear and answer my question.”

“Don yours? Lord Hadley, I assure you, I have no interest in your drawers or your questions,” Elegy declared. Earl or not, the man was the outside of enough.

“Then why are you clutching them to your bosom like a spinster’s last prayers?”

She glanced down at the item in her hands. And promptly tossed it towards the bed, where it landed on the threadbare rug at his feet.

Nab your copy of Between Duty and the Devil’s Desires today!

 

 

 

Louisa Cornell is a retired opera singer who lives in the wilds of LA (Lower Alabama). She shares her home with a chihuahua so disagreeable he has been banned from vet clinics in two counties. She also has a cat who thinks she is a Great Dane, who terminates vermin with extreme prejudice, in addition to several very nice relatively normal dogs.

When she is not lounging about living the high life of an author, she can found at these places on the web:

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