Tag Archive | Regency romance

The Soldier’s Woman, Regency romance from author Kelly Lyonns

The Soldier’s Womanmediakit_bookcover_thesoldierswoman

by Kelly Lyonns

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE: Historical Romance – Regency

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

It is 1810 somewhere in the chaos of war-ravaged Napoleonic Portugal. Miss Charlotte Everslea, dedicated member of an ancient secretive Guild and skilled paranormal artefacts hunter, has found herself trapped behind enemy lines. Colonel Maximillian Bladewood is used to giving orders and having them obeyed, both on and off the battlefield. But the petite golden-haired hoyden, to whose accidental intervention he owes his life, challenges both his authority and his sanity. Their cross-purposed journey will reach a crossroad where one or both of them  will need to compromise.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

EXCERPT:   When Charlotte met Maxmillian

He was still holding her, and she wasn’t quite sure what to do next. There was a pause as she felt him lean back a little, probably trying to catch a glimpse of her face. It was extremely silly, but despite everything she had already faced, she couldn’t look him in the eye, couldn’t bear him seeing the red puffy proof of her crying.

“I wish I had a handkerchief to offer.” The deep quiet voice above her head paused, “Sadly, mine are with my dress uniform in a supply wagon, somewhere on the other side of this battlefield I should think.”

She was grateful for his attempt to invoke the humour and even a little civility to their situation.

“I most sincerely apologise, Sir.” Heavens above, her voice came out as a wavering snuffle. She could absolutely not look up.

He neither moved nor answered for some long moments. She felt a little trill of something like panic building in her chest. When he did speak, the words were all gentleness, despite the dust roughened rasp.

“It is of no consequence Madam. I think that we find ourselves in an unusual situation.” He cleared his throat before adding quietly, “I have seen strong men break down and weep after a battle. There is no shame in this.”

The little alarm that had been building evaporated. She still stood inside his arms. He had made no attempt to release her, but then neither had she made any sign that she wished it. Suddenly realising she needed to do exactly that, she stiffened in his arms and gave the barest push with her hands. Was it her imagination, or was there a moment of hesitation before he let her go?

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:mediakit_authorphoto_thesoldierswoman

After earning a living as a freelance environmental scientist, writer and editor, Kelly Lyonns has evolved into a creative writer. She cohabitates with three cats, two children and a husband in a house so packed with characters, even the termites live next door. Burning questions about ecological sustainability and how to tie a Regency bodice, keep her on the internet deep into the night.

She enjoys tea, meditating, Jane Austen, solar punk, science fiction, sculpting and science. She frequently succumbs to the need to write. She rarely succumbs to the need to vacuum.

Connect with Kelly at:

Website: http://kalyonnswrites.weebly.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KellyLyonnsAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kellylyonns

 

“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.

 

 

“When a Marquis Chooses a Bride,” Regency romance by author Ella Quinn

MediaKit_BookCover_WhenAMarquisChoosesABrideBLURB:

Thanks to their large extended family and unconventional courtship, the Worthingtons have seen their share of scandal and excitement. But nothing has prepared them for this…

The Dowager Lady Worthington isn’t quite sure what to make of country-girl Dorothea Stern. As the granddaughter of the Duke of Bristol, Dotty is schooled in the ways and means of the nobility. But her sharp wit and outspoken nature has everyone in a tizzy. Especially their cousin, Dominic, the Marquis of Merton.

Prematurely stuffy, Dom was raised by his cheerless uncle to be wary of a host of things, including innovation, waltzing, and most perilous of all: true love. Still, there’s something about Dotty, beyond her beauty, that Dom cannot resist. But the odds are against him if he intends to win her as his bride. Will he choose loyalty to his family—or risk everything for the one woman he believes is his perfect match…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Excerpt:

“Kimbal,” Dom called to his valet.

“Yes, my lord.”

“I shall be dining at White’s.”

“Yes, my lord.”

Dom scribbled a note to his friend Viscount Fotherby asking if he would like to join Dom for dinner. By the time he was dressed and had donned his hat, Fotherby’s answer affirming the invitation had arrived.

A short while later, just as a light sprinkle turned into a persistent rain, Dom handed his hat and cane to the footman at White’s and found his friend lounging in the room that held the club’s famous betting book. William Alvanley, another of Dom’s friends, was seated next to the window with another man staring intently at the rain.

He turned to Fotherby. “What are they doing?”

“Five thousand quid on which raindrop will reach the bottom of the sill first.”

Despite being close with many of the Prince Regent’s circle, Dom could not abide the excessive wagers his friends made. Alvanley would end up ruining himself and his estates at the rate he was going. “Are you ready to dine, or are you waiting the outcome?”

“Famished.” Fotherby tossed off his glass of wine. “Thought you weren’t coming to Town this year.”

“My plans changed.” Dom and Fotherby entered the dining room. “I have decided to take a wife.”

“Wife?” Fotherby choked. “Any idea who?”

“Not yet, but I have a list of qualifications. She must be well-bred, not given to fits of temper or strange starts, quiet, biddable, easy to look at—I must get an heir on her after all—know what is expected of a marchioness. And not prone to scandals. You know how my uncle hated them. I think that about covers it.”

“A paragon, in other words.”

Dom gave a cut nod. “Indeed. I could wed no one less.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:Ella_Quinn headshot

Bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually, her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series, The Worthingtons, began in April 2016.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America. Europe is next!

Website: http://www.ellaquinnauthor.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EllaQuinnAuthor
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/ellaquinnauthor
Blog http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpresscom

Buy Links:  Kensington Books  Amazon.com  Barnes&Noble.com  iTunes.Apple.com

“Simply the Best” – an award-winning romance anthology

Simply the Best: A Collection of International Digital Award Winning Romances

by L.A. Sartor, Laurel O’Donnell, Kathy L Wheeler, Dale Mayer,

Charity Tahmaseb, Cynthia A Clement

Media Kit _BookCover_SimplyTheBest

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

GENRE:  Multi-genre

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This collection of multi-genre romances features winning novels from the International Digital Awards, including historical, suspense/thriller, short historical, contemporary, paranormal, and young adult. Simply the Best of all worlds!

Haunted by Death ~ Dale Mayer

Death haunts anthropologist Meg Pearce…

In her last summer before college, an innocent camping trip ended in a friend’s disappearance…and destroyed her life.

Angel’s Assassin ~ Laurel O’Donnell

When Damien enters Aurora’s life, tempting her with promises of dark passion and forbidden lust, he threatens to tear her peaceful world apart with shadowy secrets of his own.

Be Mine This Christmas Night ~ L. A. Sartor

At Christmas, finding love and a family seems even more possible…unless you’re keeping a secret.

A Hunter 4 Rescue ~ Cynthia Clement

Worlds Apart. Joined by Love

A unit of elite alien warriors, known as Hunters, crash lands on earth and their leader is torn between getting his men to safety or protecting the human woman he has bonded with.

The Fine Art of Keeping Quiet ~ Charity Tahmaseb

Sometimes staying silent is the biggest lie of all

No one expects the girl who has mastered the art of keeping quiet to join the speech team. But Jolia does. When a crush-worthy rival offers to coach her in secret, she can’t say no. But secrets have a price, and this one might cost Jolia everything.

The Mapmaker’s Wife ~ Kathy L Wheeler

In the midst of his worn-torn country, love posed the greater danger.

A flippant proposal and an attack on her person finds one young woman married to the mapmaker who only needs someone to take control of his ungovernable child. Feelings quickly shift into something less platonic and when the enemy gains vital secrets, her suspicions land her in jail.

This multi-author boxed set will be sold for $0.99 cents

at Amazon  B&N.com  iBooks.com  Kobo

~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

AUTHOR Bios and Links:

Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author known for her page turning plotlines and heartwarming characters. A prolific writer, she specializes in Romantic Suspense, but also writes thrillers, comedy, and contemporary romances.

Website: http://www.dalemayer.com

Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/dalemayer

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/dalemayer.author

Award winning author Kathy L Wheeler loves travel, fantasy football, NBA and musical theatre. As an avid reader of romance and patron of the theatre, her main sources of inspiration come mostly from an over-active imagination. Kathy writes contemporary and historical romance, from sweet to spicy.

Website – http://kathylwheeler.com/

Blog – http://kathylwheeler.com/blog

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/kathylwheeler

Twitter – https://twitter.com/kathylwheeler/

L.A. Sartor is a bestselling, award-winning author. She began telling stories around the age of 4 when her mother, at L.A.’s insistence, wrote them down and L.A. illustrated them. As an adult, she writes suspense and action-adventure novels with a dash of romance, and screenplays—she’s had a contracted adaptation!  She lives in Colorado with her husband whom she met on a blind date.  L.A. loves to travel and thinks life is an adventure and we should embrace the journey.

Website – http://bit.ly/Msu6J8

Facebook  – http://on.fb.me/NxXQPL

Facebook Author Page – http://on.fb.me/MUU9HK

Twitter  – https://twitter.com/LesannSartor

Laurel O’Donnell is a best selling author and has won numerous awards for her medieval romances, including the International Digital Award and the Holt Medallion Award.

Website – http://www.laurel-odonnell.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/LaurelODonnell.author/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/laurelodonnell

Charity Tahmaseb has slung corn on the cob for Green Giant and jumped out of airplanes (but not at the same time). She’s worn both Girl Scout and Army green. These days, she writes fiction (short and long) and works as a technical writer.

Website/blog – https://writingwrongs.wordpress.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/charity.tahmaseb

Twitter – https://twitter.com/geekgirlx2

Cynthia Clement is an award winning author who began writing when she was a teenager. Her novels reflect her love of romance, strong honorable heroes, and suspense intertwined with the intriguing and unexplained.

Website – http://www.cynthiaclement.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Cynthia-A-Clement-Author-124053354459215/?ref=hl

Twitter – https://twitter.com/CynthiaAClement

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 a wife 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.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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 gentleman 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:  Books2Read/AAV

Books and gardening tips from author Emma Lane

Kadee: My guest today is fellow Regency author Emma Lane, who has one of the greenest thumbs I know! Do tell us, Emma…how does your garden grow?

 

Emma: Gardens grow of their own volition, Kadee! You labor with the lay out and lovingly place the plants. By the third year, your garden has selected what it will and will not accept. But it’s gorgeous, healthy and you wouldn’t change a single thing. (Okay, maybe you’ll move that fragrant dianthus in front of that balloon flower which is taller.) Some of it is your fault because you couldn’t resist that church sale and your neighbor shared several perennials. Status normal. Allow your garden nostalgia. You show it off by saying, “I got that one for next to nothing on sale, Susan Smith gave me that one when she moved to Florida, I miss her so! My mother-in-law finally broke down and shared that rose. Would you believe how she can make cuttings and root them?” This iris came from … and that one came from…

SEASONAL: Do plan spring shrubs/bulbs which are so welcome. Fall red/yellow leaves.

INVASIVE: When someone mentions the plant is invasive, believe it! I love the golden blooms of Rudbeckia Goldstrum, but it will take over if given the chance. Plant it way over there where you can mow it if need be; same with any sort of mint.

 

PARTNERSHIPS: Delphenium back up to fences almost poetically, a partnership. Peonies are almost small bushes. I love to make a back ground hedge row from them. Yellow coreopsis and red yarrow are made in heaven for hot colors.

FRIENDSHIP: The deer, rabbits, groundhog, the neighbor’s pets, etc have destroyed some of your hard work? This is your opportunity to share and discover new friends. What better way to become acquainted? You’ll learn to laugh and maybe learn new gardening secrets while you commiserate.

Now that your garden is all you want it to be, take a good book and relax in all that beauty. May I suggest my newest release, The Duke and Miss Amabel Hawkins?

Amazon buy link

Emma Lane is a gifted author who writes under several pen-names. She lives with her patient husband on several acres outside a typical American village in Western New York. Her day job is working with flowers at her son’s plant nursery. Look for information about writing and plants on her new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter.

Welcoming Allison Morse and “The Sweetheart Deal”

I loved watching all those wonderfully witty romantic comedies from the 1950’s and 1960’s starring Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Shirley MacLaine, and even Elvis! Taking us back to that time now, when romance went hand-in-hand with gender inequality and misunderstandings, is my fellow LARA chapter mate, Allison Morse, and her newest release, The Sweetheart Deal. Below is a bit about it and an excerpt… (oh, and here’s a little inside scoop…the e-book is only $2.99 until September 2nd, so grab your copy today!)

Blurb:perf5.000x8.000.indd

Ellen Hamilton is an unconventional woman living in the conventional 1950s. When her family’s company is threatened with takeover by John Adair, the man who broke her heart and was run out of town years ago, the game is on.  Has Ellen met her match?  Or, will this time be different and will Ellen win everything—including the handsome and mysterious John.

BUY LINKS:  AMAZON  –  B&N  –  KOBO

Excerpt:

Something inside her gave way and she flung her arms around his neck and gave him a hot, lingering kiss. He grabbed hold of her and pulled her onto his lap. The kiss grew deeper, her mind lost in the sensation of him, his taste, his feel and the tightness in her own body begged for more.

The appalling doorbell sounded and she leapt to her feet. “Oh, it’s Harold.”

She paced. What an idiot! What possessed her? She looked at John and groaned inside. It was a compulsion, that what he was, or maybe hypnotism. Whatever it was, thank goodness for clichés, because she’d just been saved by the bell.

John stood, and as if he were a magnet she stopped pacing and halted right in front of him. He caressed her arms. “Ignore him.”

She threw off his hands. “No, no, no. No! He’s good, you’re bad. I’m ignoring you. Ignoring this.”

“Hey, I didn’t make that kiss happen. You did, and it was great.” His baritone voice was both soothing and sexy.

“Fine, I made it happened, and now I’m making it not happen.”

“Ellen.”

“I have a date.” She realized that she was reminding herself of that fact as much as him.

He stepped in closer. “Sure. Go ahead.”

“You’re smirking.” Still, she didn’t move. “You are such an egotist.” She wanted to move. She planned to move. She didn’t move. “I’m going out with Harold.”

The doorbell rang again.

John grinned. “So I see.”

Author Bio:Small_Brogan Photo_2013

Allison has had many careers. She is currently working earning a living as an attorney.  However, one of her favorite jobs was working for the now closed Dutton’s, a wonderful, musty new, used and rare bookstore in North Hollywood with deep roots in Southern California’s literary community. Books and story-telling have always ruled her imagination. In addition to The Sweetheart Deal, she is working on a mystery set in Hollywood entitled Depth of Focus.  She lives with her husband in a house in the hills that’s filled with books.

Connect with Allison on her websiteTwitter

All About April – Fools and Showers

Thanks to the “Jane Austen’s London” blog for this wonderful drawing from Regency satirical illustrator Cruickshank! 🙂

Jane Austen's London

April showers

These days April is famous for its showers and its fools, and I love this illustration by Cruickshank showing two ladies caught out in the rain while everyone else is either sheltering under an archway or buying a new umbrella from J. Gingham, Umbrella Depot. I’m not sure what the three lads are doing – possibly they are up to some kind of April Fool’s Day prank. As always with these tiny Cruickshank drawings the fun is in the details – behind the pieman with his basket is a shower bath standing outside T. Brass, Ironmonger. And, of course, the scene is set in St Swithin’s Lane. There is a real lane of that name in London, running between Cannon Street and Lombard Street in the City. St Swithin’s Day is July 15th, but the connection with rain was obviously too much for the artist to ignore.

St Swithun’s day…

View original post 225 more words

Christmas traditions in the time of Jane Austen

Regency Christmas dinner complete with pudding

The Regency period of English history was technically only the years 1811-1820, but practically ran the adult life of King George IV, from the late 1700’s through to 1830, and is sometimes referred to today known as the “long Regency.” Christmas in those days was most definitely not the commercial holiday we celebrate today. There was no mad rush to shop for the latest gadgets, no stockings hung by the fire with care, and certainly no white-bearded gentleman with a sleigh and reindeer flying through the night skies.

Attending church service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day was a must for the English in Regency times, although only a few of the carols we sing now would have been sung in church then as hymns, such as The First Nowell.(Yes, that spelling is the correct one!)

Instead of everyone looking forward to just December 24th or the 25th, a Regency Christmas was a much longer celebration of dancing and dining spread out over the period of ‘Christmastide,’ from Christmas Eve to January 6th, Twelfth Night. (Hence, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas.’)

Preparations, however, began long before December 24th. ‘Stir-up Sunday,’ the Sunday before Advent, marked the unofficial start to the Christmas Season, so-called because of the traditional church service held that day, but also becoming the day that Christmas puddings and cakes were prepared, in order to allow enough time for them to ‘mature’ (which called for regular doses of brandy!)

Jane AustenChristmas was a time to reflect upon one’s religious faith and to enjoy the companionship of friends and family. Jane Austen mentions Christmas in each of her six major novels. For instance, in Emma, she wrote, “At Christmas everybody invites their friends about them, and people think little of even the worst weather.” In addition, the aristocracy and the landed gentry were expected to entertain their tenants and neighbors and show generosity through charitable acts.

During the four-week period from Advent until Epiphany, the upper classes held balls, parties, dinners and other social events, welcoming both family and friends. Since everyone was usually together, it was also a time for courtships and weddings. Even though there was no Santa Claus, December 6th, St. Nicholas’s Day, was marked by the giving of small gifts. There was no exchange of presents on the 25th itself, but giving ‘Christmas Boxes’ of food and gently-used items of clothing and household goods to servants and to charity was the custom on St. Stephen’s Day, the day after Christmas, now celebrated as ‘Boxing Day.’

Holly, ivy, evergreen and laurel were brought into the house on Christmas Eve, since it was considered unlucky to bring greenery inside before Christmas. These remained in place until the Epiphany on January 6, when they were taken down and often burned to prevent bad luck for the rest of the year. Indoor decorated trees were rare and found only in a few houses of wealthy families with German connections, where they were a long-standing tradition.

Of course, we can’t forget mistletoe, although the custom was more likely practiced below stairs than above. (The requirement of plucking a berry every time a kiss was stolen beneath the bough was already in place, and once the berries were gone, alas, the kissing was over.)

Christmas Day meant Christmas dinner, with the best a family could afford…turkey, goose (the most traditional), mutton, or venison might be served, and for the rich, the table could be laden with all of these at once. A Christmas dinner would not be deemed complete without the aforementioned pudding. The pudding would be doused with even more brandy and then set aflame, a key theatrical aspect of the holiday celebration.

(For the brave of heart among you, or for those who just enjoy setting their food on fire, some traditional holiday pudding recipes can be found at: http://britishfood.about.com/od/christmas/a/xmaspud.htm )

Epiphany on January 6th marked the official end of Christmas festivities. It was yet another feast day to mark the coming of the Magi, and as a result was the traditional day to exchange gifts.

Joseph-Grimaldi_1630699cOne final English Christmas tradition that was present in Jane Austen’s time and is still alive today is the Christmas pantomime. The pantomime usually opened on Boxing Day. Joseph Grimaldi, the famous clown who lived from 1779 to 1837, regularly performed in one at Drury Lane Theatre in London, a theatre often visited by characters in Regency romances.