If you've read any of these books and enjoyed them, please leave a review on any of these sites:
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1pk7UFG
Reviewing a book only needs to be a few words long or a star rating. I'm grateful for every single one!
P.S. If you're interested, an Isabella Hargreaves Readers' group has formed to discuss my books: https://www.facebook.com/groups/223984487953919/
#historicalfiction, #Historicalromance, #romance
Synonymous with the Regency period and its associated romance genre is the reticule. This vital accessory was a small, often drawstring, bag. Women carried essential items in this precursor handbag. In previous eras they kept these items in a pocket hung about their waists and hidden amongst the layers of their clothes. However, the lightweight and slim-line dresses of the Regency period, designed to fall gracefully and emulate the classical clothing of the ancient Greeks and Romans, did not accommodate such a device.
Instead, essential items were carried in a reticule looped around the wearer’s wrist or held in her hand. Popularly, they were made of linen, silk, velvet or soft leather, perhaps decorated with embroidery or with a knotted fringe. A variety of shapes were used. Inside a reticule, one could expect to find a small coin purse, letters, a handkerchief, a pocket book and smelling salts or scented water in a bottle.
Jane Brody, the heroine of The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody, carries important papers in her reticule:
“By the time Jane had completed her essay an hour later she had talked to herself sternly and returned to reality as she dusted the document with sand, rolled it up and slid it into her reticule for delivery.”
“Jane retrieved the list from her reticule and passed it to her friend who read it carefully before walking to her secretaire to add some more names.”
Neither Jane nor Elizabeth Everslie, sister of the Marquis of Dalton would go anywhere without a reticule, even to a ball:
“Turning to his sister, he asked, “Are you ready to depart, Elizabeth?” She agreed and gathered her reticule and shawl.”
“At eight o’clock a loud rap on the knocker of Reverend Brody’s front door sounded and the housekeeper, Mrs Creevy, hastened to answer it. Jane was still upstairs assisting her sister with her hair combs. She heard a masculine voice and assumed the coachman’s offsider had come to the door to inform them of the carriage’s arrival. She immediately collected her reticule.… She hurried down the staircase only to halt halfway down the last flight of stairs, pinned by the arrested look on Lord Dalton’s face as he stood in the hallway below looking up at her.”
I don’t suppose the Marquis of Dalton noticed Jane’s reticule, but she would have been lost without it.
Do you have a favourite scene in a Regency book that features the heroine’s reticule?
‘1800 Accessories – Regency Fashion History’, <http://www.fashion-era.com/1800_accesories.htm#Reticule Handbags> accessed 26 Mar 2015.
Jane Austen's Sewing Box: Craft Projects and Stories from Jane Austen's World. Murdoch Press, London, 2009, pp.181-6. Link: http://jenniferforest.typepad.com/jennifer-forest/books.html
Isabella Hargreaves, The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody, Steam eReads, ebook, 2013.
If you're interested, a round-up of reviews from this week's book tour for All Quiet on the Western Plains can be found here: http://www.isabellahargreaves.com/news-and-events.html. The winner of a copy of the novella has been drawn. Congratulations if it was you!
Join me on tour 15-21 May to launch All Quiet on the Western Plains. As usual there's a book giveaway drawn at the end of the tour.
"One war, two battle-scarred hearts, one chance for happiness. "
First stop is: http://bookwormbridgette.blogspot.com/2014/05/blog-tour-all-quiet-on-western-plains.html
During the 1920s, the biggest concern for many people in country Queensland, aside from the weather, was the rapid spread of the pest cacti commonly known as prickly pear. From Mackay in central Queensland to central New South Wales, these plants were multiplying and choking the land. They had been introduced into Australia from North and South America during the nineteenth century.
Warnings of their capacity to multiply and make good land useless began in the 1870s, but it wasn't until the 1890s that bylaws and legislation requiring their removal were created. By the early twentieth century, the need for a biological control of the pest had been recognised. Although an effective poison to kill the cacti was determined in 1916, obtaining it during World War One was difficult and Australia's manpower and the money to control prickly pear were employed overseas.
Finally, in 1919, the Commonwealth Government and the governments of Queensland and New South Wales established a joint project, to discover and introduce into Australia biological pests of prickly pear, to control its spread. Achieving this goal was to take 10-20 years, but the introduction of Cactoblastis cactorum and a number of other parasites of the cacti, was an outstanding success.
Not all of Queensland was affected by prickly pear. Open plains were generally spared the infestation - among them the plains of western Queensland. It is here that my latest book, All Quiet on the Western Plains is set. The characters therefore weren't involved in the struggle to control prickly pear that was going on in much of rural Queensland in 1924.
Does your family have a story from the bad old days of Prickly Pear? I would love to hear from you.
All Quiet on the Western Plains - available 1 May 2014 - from Amazon, Steam eReads and Book Srand.
Dodd Alan P. The progress of biological control of prickly pear in Australia. Commonwealth Prickly Pear Board, Brisbane, 1929.
Dodd Alan P. The biological campaign against prickly-pear. Commonwealth Prickly Pear Board, Brisbane, 1940.
Dodd, Alan P. ‘The Conquest of Prickly-Pear’. RHSQJ, 1945, 3, 5, pp. 351-61.
Mann, John. The Naturalised Cacti in Australia, Queensland Lands Department, Brisbane, 1970.
While working on my latest book, All Quiet on the Western Plains, I looked at fashions in the 1910s and '20s, and have since found some lovely French fashion studies from the period advertised online. They are from hand-painted pochoirs (stencils) - using gouache and watercolour - dating from circa 1912- circa 1925. I think the fashions are gorgeous! See what you think.
Go to the following link, if you're interested (b.t.w. I have no connection to this business) :
If you would like further information about pochoir and the journal in which they were published (Gazette Du Bon Ton - Mode et Frivolites) see: http://antique-print-club.blogspot.com.au/
With the hundredth anniversary of the start of World War One approaching, I have been reading lots of autobiographies and biographies of soldiers and nurses who served in Europe and the Middle-East. A few months ago all this reading sparked the idea for my forthcoming novella, All Quiet on the Western Plains.
English nurse Fleur Armitage wants to escape all reminders of the Great War, which killed family, friends and patients - by living as far from its reminders as possible - in outback Queensland, Australia. Jack Edgarson is a war hero, pastoralist and damaged man. Suffering from nightmares and sleep walking, he fears he may harm someone, so lives in isolation. Through a chance meeting, their lives become entangled. They come to share a love of the wide western plains, but dare they love each other?
For some World War One autobiographies and biographies, see my sources page on this website.
All Quiet on the Western Plains – available 1 May 2014 – from Steam eReads and Amazon.
Today, it’s my turn in the My Writing Process Blog Tour, where authors and writers answer questions about their writing process. Last week, my friend, Noelle Clark, Australian author of the wonderful contemporary romances Let Angels Fly and Rosamanti wrote about her writing
process. You can read more here: www.noelleclark.blogspot.com.au
This week, you can read not only my post but those of Kendall Talbot and Susanne Bellamy.
Everyone has their own unique way of writing. With the help of a few questions, I’ll talk about mine.
1) What am I working on?
Currently I’m working on revisions to my historical romance, Colonial Cousin, set in convict NSW and Regency England. This is a story I wrote many years ago and have heavily revised in the last year. The way in which I have worked on it certainly doesn’t reflect my writing process for The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody, my recent historical romance set in
Regency England. For that book, I plotted it out, knew the character motivations and development, then I wrote it. I wrote in short bursts for the first five chapters, fitting writing in between full-time work and family time, then did an intense burst of writing to finish it while on annual leave for four weeks. A few months of revisions followed.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
Like other writers, I try to take the reader into the historical period in which the story is set and into the minds of the characters so that they can relate their story. I’ve been told that my work differs from others in its genre by including social commentary in a historical romance. Certainly, in The Persuasion of Miss Jane Brody, women's rights and their sphere are important component.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write stories that come from an idea for a character or from an interest in a particular time period I want to explore. I try to write stories that I want to read. For me, that means believable characters, period-appropriate dialogue, motivations and plots.
4) How does your writing process work?
As I’m a plotter, I like to know where my story is going to end up, the character arcs and at least a basic sketch of how I’m going to get there, before I start. Therefore, I spend quite a bit of time on working out the background, although I have been known to write a first chapter with only the most rudimentary outline of the story worked out, because I just have to get my initial idea down in writing. The rest flows from there...
Next week, you will meet some of my fellow Steam eReads authors, each of whom writes in different ways and genres:
Heather Kinnane is the author of fantasy and romance, living in the island state of Tasmania, Australia. With a fascination of all things magical and mysterious, it's no wonder her stories contains elements of the Otherworld as she weaves tales that introduce readers to the beautiful landscapes of her island home. Her blog can be found here: http://heatherkinnane.com/news/
Elizabeth M Darcy author of Historical Romance. From Knights in shining armour to Highlanders and English rakehells, Elizabeth takes her readers on a romantic journey through history with deliciously handsome heroes and strong heroines. Find her blog at: http://elizabethdarcyauthor.blogspot.com.au/
Kris Ashton has been a journalist since 1998. In 2005 he sold his first short story and two years later he published his first novel, a paranormal romance called Ghost Kiss. Kris’s novel Hollywood Hearts Ablaze will be released in March 2014. See his blog at: http://kris-ashton.wix.com/spec-fic#!blog/chun