Tag Archive | historical romance

A Short History of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has always been celebrated with candy, flowers and greeting cards, some heartfelt and others sappy, right? ??

Well, no…not exactly.

There really was a St. Valentine…at least a dozen or so of them, in fact, depending on whether one consults the lists of martyrs of the Roman Catholic or the Eastern Orthodox Church. The name “Valentine” (or “Valentinus”) is from the Latin word, valens, meaning “strong.”

The simple feast (or Commemoration) of St. Valentine in the Roman Martyrology, the Catholic Church’s official list of recognized saints, has traditionally been February 14th, reportedly the date in the year 273 when Bishop Valentine of the Diocese of Terni (in what is now Italy), was imprisoned and killed in Rome.

The truth behind the legends of this particular St. Valentine are murky, to say the least. In 3rd century Rome, Emperor Claudius II believed that young men who were single, without the encumbrances of wives or children, were more dedicated, so he forbade his young soldiers from marrying. Bishop Valentine defied this decree and continued to perform marriages, a stand that cost him his life.

The first recorded connection of St. Valentine to the concept of “romantic love” was in the poem by Geoffrey Chaucer, Parlement of Foules, in 1382, which was written to celebrate the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, who were married when each was but 15 years old. (Without doing any further research, methinks that might have been an arranged marriage.)

Later writers such as John Donne and Shakespeare (in “Hamlet”) also mention Valentine’s Day. By 1797, a British publisher printed The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, with a number of suggested verses for young lovers who felt they were not capable of composing their own. By the early 1800’s, the Regency period in England, factory-produced paper valentines became popular, with fancy ones adorned with real cloth lace and ribbons for those who could afford them. It was also common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange handwritten notes and small tokens of affection.

Real lace became paper lace by the mid-1800’s. In the United States, Esther Howland received an English valentine from one of her father’s business associates. Since her father operated a book and stationery store, Esther decided to create and mass produce valentines in the late 1840’s, using decorations imported from England, and is known as the “Mother of the Valentine.”

Hand-written valentines thus led to greeting cards, which paved the way for Valentine’s Day to become the commercialized, multi-billion-dollar industry it is today. Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. Paper cards, e-cards, flowers, chocolates, and even diamonds are now necessary accoutrements each February 14th to go along with those three little words that never seem to go out of style: “I love you.”

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If you enjoy reading traditional Regency romance, please check out my novella, An Arranged Valentine, available from e-book stores everywhere. Here’s a bit about it:

An Arranged Valentine - revised 1-31-2016

In the coldest days of February, can St. Valentine generate enough heat to melt these two strangers’ hearts into one?

“…a perfectly lovely afternoon read.”

“This is a wonderful little gem of a story, heartfelt and touching.”

“Of course, the over riding situation is one where it suits both parties to be arranged.”

“An Arranged Valentine” is a traditional Regency romance novella told in 10 short chapters.

Miss Penelope Braxton has never met either sensible George Harburton or his more dashing younger brother, Henry, but she agrees to grant her dying father peace of mind by considering marriage to one of them.

The advantage of the match for the brothers is evident in the form of Miss Braxton’s substantial dowry. However, her money takes second place when the brothers realize the extent of Penelope’s courage, wit, and devotion.

Henry doesn’t plan to give up his philandering to romance Penelope. George’s days are filled with the running of the family estate and he has never put aside his duties long enough to contemplate marriage. When one of the gentlemen changes his ways, will he be able to compose the perfect poetry to win Penelope’s heart?

An Arranged Valentine can be found through your favorite e-book retailer by clicking on this Books2Read link:

http://books2read.com/u/bw8KoY

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“The Unseducible Earl,” new Victorian romance from Sheri Humphreys

BLURB:

When an earl who’s given up on love and has settled on an engagement to a darling of society falls for a Crimean War nurse, he must either forsake his love or embroil them all in scandal.

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EXCERPT:

For a moment, she froze in the doorway. The earl stood at the sideboard dishing up his breakfast. He couldn’t have had any more than a few hours sleep, but he looked as though he felt much more rested than she did.

The country gentleman’s garb he wore this morning suited him. With his mahogany hair combed and his jaw clean-shaven, he seemed younger. Was it possible his posture grew even straighter when she entered?

He greeted her and offered a plate. “You’ve plenty of time before you’ll need to leave for the train. I believe your trunk is being packed now?”

The way he spoke, he might have been assuring a guest he regarded fondly. She almost gave a rueful laugh, but accepted the china and turned to the sideboard, very aware of his tall frame beside her.

She forced her attention to the perfectly prepared selections of food. She wasn’t particularly hungry and took a small portion of egg. After adding a slice of fried bread and asking the footman for coffee, she settled at the table. “I saw Captain Merrick before coming down. There was no one packing when I left my room.”

His plate loaded with what appeared to be a bit of everything, Cheriton sat at the end of the table, in juxtaposition to her. He frowned. “You’ve seen Jamie this morning?”

“Yes, I have.” In unison, they picked up their coffee and took long sips. Victoria held the warm bowl of the cup with her fingertips, enjoying the spreading warmth.

She’d probably never see Cheriton again, and she preferred to think of him as a devoted, if injudicious, brother. Failing that, remembering him as an attractive aristocrat would be acceptable. Unfortunately, his ardent defense of his brother had caused her to regard him as a man of determination and steadfastness.

She’d acceded to his demand that she leave, digested her outrage and sorrow, and then been left with an estimation of him that she didn’t understand or want. For some unexplained reason, and despite their discord yesterday, he affected her in ways other men did not.

He made all her senses heighten. Her heart and lungs worked harder, her skin heated, and her body yearned to draw close. He radiated confidence and strength and something intangible that unsettled her and made her aware of his masculine and her feminine differences. His face might be too intense for some, but she found it compelling.

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AUTHOR Bio and Links: 

Sheri Humphreys used to be an Emergency Room nurse, but today applies bandages, splints, and slings to the characters of her Victorian romance novels. She loves to ignore yardwork and housework and read—usually a book every one to three days. Having conjured stories in her mind her entire life, she wondered if she was normal. Then she began putting stories to paper and became a two-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist. She lives with a Jack Russell mix rescue, Lucy, in a small town on the central California coast.

A Hero to Hold received a prized Kirkus Star and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2016.

website: sherihumphreys.com
facebook: facebook.com/SheriHumphreysAuthor/
twitter: twitter.com/sheri_humphreys

Buy Link:

http://boroughspublishinggroup.com/authors/sheri-humphreys

REVIEW: The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn

Jane Austen and time travel? I’ll be reading this one for sure! ~ Kadee

AustenBlog

ja-project-coverThis year we commemorate Jane Austen’s death. We certainly do not celebrate it. We feel a sense of unfairness about it, not only for our selfish sake–for being cheated out of, based on the lifespan of her parents and most of her siblings, thirty or forty years’ worth of Jane Austen novels–but naturally for Jane’s own sake. She died just before she would have reached real success–the success enjoyed by her contemporaries such as Burney, Radcliffe, and Edgeworth, all of whom she has utterly eclipsed in the intervening centuries. It is just horribly unfair. Jane gave the world such joy and never really had the opportunity to enjoy real fruits from her labor (by which we mean money. From what we can tell, Austen was never big on the whole adulation thing).

We also have great affection for time-travel stories, but within certain parameters. The method of time travel must…

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“Mail Order Love” – short clean western romance series from author Beth Boyden

The Gambler’s Girl

What if your long-distance sweetheart was an up-close disaster?

Ann Forsyth arrives in Texas on a hot summer day. She’s left her troubles far behind, and all she wants is to settle down with Reichard Monroe. He’s handsome, his penmanship is good, and he says he’s everything she’s dreamed of.

But the stories he told and the man she meets have nothing in common.

Ann finds herself relying on strangers and her own wits and character, as she tries to piece together a new life in the west. And when another man catches her eye, she must find her way between duty, self-preservation…

…and hope.

The Minister’s Match

Clara wants nothing more than to start over. Her Aunt Francis and Uncle Lyle have supported her since her parents’ death, but their house is a suffocating environment full of judgment and conflict.

When she begins to correspond with Rev. Holloway, a Texas minister in want of a wife, she knows she’s found her way out. Before long she’s on a train headed West, certain that she can begin a brand new life.

But with her aunt’s angry, condemning voice echoing in her head, Clara finds that it’s not so easy to get a fresh beginning. There are gossipy congregants, well-meaning friends, her sweet new husband, and her own ideals to consider, all pulling her in different directions. She’s about to find out if she can bend far enough to please everyone…or if she’ll shatter under the strain.

The Schoolteacher’s Sweetheart

Marian Yates wants something more out of life–romance, adventure, excitement. She longs to step out of the dull everyday routine of her Texas schoolteacher’s life and fall in love with a stranger.

In Brody Calhoun, she seems to have found her perfect match. He’s tall, dark, and handsome, with a thousand stories from far beyond her tiny hometown. He’s mysterious and unpredictable, exactly like the heroes in Marian’s favorite books.

But Brody is haunted by more than memories. And when his past comes between them, Marian must discover his secrets–or lose the man she loves forever.

 

Buy Links:

The Gambler’s Girl: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D0TJ0NU

The Minister’s Match: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M29ACYD

The Schoolteacher’s Sweetheart: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N1ZZ1RB

 

My review of The Gambler’s Girl:

“The Gambler’s Girl” is a lovely, clean western romance. It’s short and easy to read, with characters you’ll care about and root for. Ann is pretty and sweet, and her handsome hero gallant and swoon-worthy. If you like western romance, you’ll enjoy this one, for sure. 🙂 ~ Kadee

“Trouble Cove,” sweet historical romantic suspense from author Nancy Lindley-Gauthier

Trouble Cove from Nancy 3-9-2017

 

BLURB:

Far from the all the action of World War I, in a charming tourist’s spot on Cape Breton Island, Elizabeth Eames has stumbled into the most wonderful man in the world. She’s landed herself in a world where wealth reigns supreme; where any eligible bachelor would meet her mother’s aspirations. Of course, she’s dead set on the one she’s certain should not be mentioned in her letters home. Actually, there’s a lot she’s not mentioning. Something is not-quite-right at the grand resort Oceanside, but Elizabeth isn’t giving up her one great chance…

 

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  B&N.com  Wild Rose Press-paperback

 

Second Chance Marquess, new Historical romance from Jessica Jefferson

BLURB:

When Wilhemina Turner’s younger sister runs off with a young Lothario, she has no choice but to turn to the notorious rake who broke his promise and her heart, for assistance. George Bartlett, the Marquess of Chesterton, hasn’t forgotten the woman who hurt him so many years ago, but can’t deny her request, knowing that his brother’s reputation, and fortune, is at risk. A series of misfortunes leave the straight-laced widow and committed bachelor stranded, sharing both close quarters and old secrets. But when morning comes, will this unlikely pair find a second chance at love?

AMAZON

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EXCERPT:

“Are you accusing Kitty of going after your brother for his money?”

“She wouldn’t be the first.”

Willie set her jaw firmly, just as she always had when she was angry. “A decade later and you’re still following your father’s example. You still think the worst of women, don’t you?”

“I’m simply waiting to be proven wrong.”

“You were,” she said quietly, almost too low for him to hear.

“Once, Willie, and even that’s debatable. Every woman after you has fulfilled my lowest expectations.”

She looked away, a pale blush spread across the creamy pale skin of her chest. “Mrs. Turner,” she reminded him, facing him once again. “Kitty’s not like that. She doesn’t need his money.”

“Both your parents are gone and last time I knew, you hadn’t a penny to your name. How can she not need my brother’s money?”

“Because I make sure she’s taken care of. I’d do anything for that girl, no matter how silly or naïve she is. She’s still mine to take care of.” She jutted her chin proudly, just as she always had. George had to remind himself that this was no longer the stubborn, hopeful young woman he once knew, but a strong, experienced widow standing before him.

“Mr. Turner left you comfortable then?”

“My finances are none of your concern. We are doing quite well considering our circumstance.”

He found that hard to believe. “Beg your pardon, Mrs. Turner, but a vicar and a viscount are two very different things. Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll need to get on the road soon. I heard mention that there might be a great deal of rain coming, possibly snow, and I doubt the weather will hold off much longer.” He turned his back to her and continued gathering the necessary items from around the study.

“I can’t allow you to go by yourself,” Wilhelmina protested, ignoring his less than subtle hint that their discussion had ended. “There’s no way I could possibly trust you to address this situation fairly after the unwarranted judgment you’ve already made regarding Kitty’s character.”

“It’s only unwarranted if it’s not true and that remains to be seen, now doesn’t it?”

“I won’t let you do it, George.”

The use of his given name stopped him cold. He took a deep breath, then turned to her, arms folded across his chest. “What exactly do you propose I do then, Mrs. Turner?”

“Take me with you.”

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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Jessica Jefferson makes her home in Almost-Chicago with her husband, two young daughters, French bulldog Lulu, and English bulldog Pete. When she’s not busy trying to find middle-ground between being a modern career woman and Suzy-Homemaker, she loves to watch “Real Housewives of [insert city here]” and performing unnecessary improvements to her home and property.

Jessica writes Regency-era historical romance with a modern twist where she invites her readers to fall in love with romance again.

Links and social media:

http://www.JessicaJefferson.com and http://www.embracingromance.com
Like me at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jessica-Jefferson/545243542195152
Follow me at https://twitter.com/authorJessicaJ/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7376474.Jessica_Jefferson
Amazon Author Page- http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Jefferson/e/B00GI20W2K
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/authorjessicaje/

Buy links: http://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Jefferson/e/B00GI20W2K

AMAZON

 

“Holiday Ever After,” a romance short story anthology from LARA!

winter-holidays-romance-from-los-angeles-romance-authors

I’m thrilled that my sensual Regency short story, “Bed of Sweet Surrender,” was chosen to be included in this amazing new collection of contemporary, historical and paranormal holiday romances from LARA – the Los Angeles Romance Authors. All proceeds benefit the chapter, so please download your copy today from the buy links below and find some wonderful new stories (and maybe some “new-to-you” authors, as well!) to get you in the mood…for the holidays, that is!

Amazon.com    B&N.com   Kobo.com   iTunes.Apple.com

EXCERPT from “Bed of Sweet Surrender”:

By the middle of the carol, when the Wise Men came from country far, John wondered where Miss Jennings had disappeared to. Standing at the rear of the group assembled around the pianoforte, he slipped away and went to look for her. His plan to see his fiancée often and convince her of his affections had so far been less than successful.

He paused at the open door to the dining room and found her there, seated alone, with no servant in sight. For once, she looked relaxed, her eyes closed as she put the last bite of a piece of gingerbread in her mouth, then licked the crumbs from her fingertips and sighed in pleasure, savouring the taste. Her honey-blonde hair shone in the candlelight, making her an entrancing sight to behold.

For a moment, he forgot to breathe. “Miss Jennings,” he found his voice at last, even if it came out barely a whisper.

Her blue eyes flew open and she gasped, bolting upright in her chair. “Mr. Ashton, I’m sorry, I—”

“Don’t.” He held up his hand to stall her as he advanced into the room. “You have no reason to apologize. Once we’re married, if you wish to eat gingerbread every day of the year, you may do so.”

She stood then with a sway and clung to the table for support. “I fear the wine has gone straight to my head, sir.” He covered the distance between them in seconds and pulled her against him, afraid she might fall if he did not. She turned her face up to his, looking startled.

Whether it was the two cups of the punch he’d had or simply the opportunity, he would never know, but he would kiss her now or die in the attempt.

 

 

Beautiful exhibit of costumes from “Outlander” season 2

I had the pleasure of a leisurely visit to The Artistry of Outlanderat the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. From the critically acclaimed STARZ and Sony Pictures Television series, the exhibit showcased many iconic costumes designed by Emmy-winning costume designer Terry Dresbach.

Set in 18th century Parisian society, Season 2 of Outlander is based on Dragonfly in Amber, book 2 in the best-selling series of historical romance, adventure and time travel, written by the very talented Diana Gabaldon.

Though I’m not a professional photographer, I wanted to share a few of my pictures. Enjoy!

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Nancy Lindley-Gauthier and “Patriot: At Any Cost”

Patriot coverMulti-published author Nancy Lindley-Gauthier stopped by this morning to chat about her delightfully old-fashioned romance set during the turbulent days of World War II. The title is Patriot: At Any Cost, and it’s now available as an e-book and in paperback.

As we here in the States observe Memorial Day, I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to the men and women who fought side-by-side to keep the world safe. As poet John Milton wrote three centuries before the Second World War, “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Good morning, Nancy, and welcome!

‘Morning. It’s great to be here – I don’t believe I’ve ever been in tea room dedicated to romances before. Love your deco.

Thanks so much. Please take a seat while I make us each a cup. Is there any special flavor you prefer?

At the moment, I love cinnamon tea. Apple cinnamon quite okay, too

Excellent! I do have that. Don’t you just love Keurig machines? While it’s brewing, would you tell me a bit about yourself?

I’m a fan of the historical romance. I adore being swept to a different time, but especially the ’40s. The WWII era had the music (“Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree…”), the attitudes, the FOOD, for heaven’s sake; it was an amazing time for woman to start coming into their own, and still: everything was home-made!

Let’s talk about real apple cider doughnuts arriving with that tea. Need I go on?

Hmm…I’ll check the pantry, but I don’t get much call for apple cider doughnuts. While I search, though, I’d love to hear more about Patriot At Any Cost. The cover is striking and promises so much adventure. May we read a little of it?

My mother used to say “Wartime is not like any other time.” World War II created a community spirit that brought people together, and perhaps simplified daily life. Here, on the ‘home-front’ of the rocky coast of Maine, we find a young woman who so wants to contribute…but who feels so terribly left behind.  Not only by the times…but by the love of her life, as well.

Here’s a blurb and an excerpt from Patriot At Any Cost:

Blurb:

Lillian wants nothing more than to join the war effort, especially since her childhood sweetheart is headed to war–and promising to write–to her gorgeous adversary, Celia.

Her accidental introduction to injured pilot Callahan sets her on an unexpected path. She joins the Civil Patrol, but suspects the war will hardly be coming to Maine’s quiet shores.

Or, will it?

Excerpt:

Lillian peeked anxiously into the night from behind the safety of her heavy kitchen curtains. A glimmer from the crescent moon gave away the young couple pressed close together at the top of the granite stairway, scarcely inches from the house.

Lill ducked back, away from the window. A roar filled her ears. She could no more hear the strains of big band music wafting from the parlor radio than register the steady crash of waves out on the point. She shut her eyes but could not block the image of the two clasped so tightly together.

There was no denying the truth this time. She did not need to guess at the identity of the couple. She leaned back and forced a slow, deliberate breath. “I cannot believe this.”

Link:  Amazon.com/Patriot at Any Cost

For info on more of Nancy’s other titles, check out her site: http://anothershoestringadventure.weebly.com/

I, and the many talented authors I’ve hosted, would love to hear from you! If you’d like to join in on the discussion and leave us a comment, just click on the title of this (or any other) post or click on the heart to the right of the title, and then scroll down to see the reply box or replies at the bottom of the post. Thanks for stopping by! ~ Kadee