Guest Interview–Lord Harrington

Stories from the Past

51hWvtatiUL._SY346_It’s been awhile since I’ve had a guest on the blog! Today, I’m excited to share this interview with Lord Harrington. I first read Lord Harrington’s Lost Doe a few years ago. It’s such a sweet, feel-good story and I appreciated the unique premise involving the treatment of the insane during the Regency era.


Lord Harrington is the lead male in Lord Harrington’s Lost Doe. Affectionately called “Mr. Grumpy” by those who know him best, he is the owner of a massive estate in Northern England.

  1. What is your favorite drink?
    Brandy
  2. What is your usual breakfast?
    Turtulong, marmalade, tea
  3. What is your favorite holiday like?
    A quiet one, spent at home with just family.
  4. What is your favorite feast?
    Venison, asparagus, rarebit, port
  5. What is your favorite animal?
    My horse
  6. What is your favorite thing you own?
    Denwood, my estate. I’ve worked hard to bring it back from ruin.

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Review: I Survived the Titanic by Lawrence Beesley

I’ve been fascinated with the Titanic quite a while and have many books on the subject, but this one is the most enjoyable I’ve ever read. Lawrence Beesley was a second-class passenger on the Titanic and survived the sinking.

In I Survived the Titanic, he gives readers a play-by-play of the crash, from impact to rescue in a way only a true account can. A few of my favorite parts are:

1. When the iceberg first hits and no one is really worried about it. After all, it was an unsinkable ship, right? He walked through the smoking room where gentlemen were playing cards. One of the gentlemen jokes about his glass of whiskey and says,

“Just run along the deck and see if any ice has come aboard: I would like some for this.”

To which all in the room laughed. It’s amazing to me that the ice would be joked about when not two hours later, the ship was under the deep dark sea, probably accompanied by the joking gentlemen himself.

2. One of the biggest things this account speaks of are the misconceptions we hold about the crew, passengers, and the mood of that bitterly cold night. He mentions several times that they never thought the ship would sink. There was no panic. No rush. No indication of anything being wrong.

“…after we had embarked in the lifeboats and rowed away from the Titanic, it would not have surprised us to hear that all passengers would be saved: the cries of drowning people after the Titanic gave the final plunge were a thunderbolt to us.”

3. His mention of details I had not heard yet. Like there was a stoker on his boat so cold because he wore only pants and shirt because below decks was so hot working with the coal. Or the woman with so many furs she started handing them out to those who were shivering on the lifeboat. Or the Chinese passengers who saved themselves by hiding under the seats in rowboats, only discovered when they started unloading at the Carpathia.

For anyone interested in the Titanic this is a must-read.

Review: A Peculiar Engagement by Kara Louise

A Peculiar Engagement by Kara Louise is an interesting take on the life of one of Pride and Prejudice‘s lesser loved characters. Lady Catherine’s daughter, Anne de Bourgh.

I have to say I have never once wondered how Anne felt, what her child was like, or what happened to her after Darcy and Lizzy got together, but for those of you who have wondered, this is your answer. This book not only explains Anne’s view of the whole Lady Catherine-planned engagement of her daughter to Mr. Darcy, but it flashes back to their childhoods. Part adulthood and part childhood, this story flips back and forth, explaining their relationship as cousins. Their first meeting, as they both lost their parents at the same time and wrote letters to each other of encouragement, and how as they grew older the pressure of engagement infected their otherwise pleasant relationship.

While this book may not wow Darcy fanatics, it does give a nice glimpse of his possible childhood. It also connects another of Kara Louise’s variations, Mr. Darcy’s Rival.

My favorite bits of information gleaned from this book are:

  • Getting a glimpse of Anne’s father before he passed. Hard to imagine what kind of man would put up with Lady Catherine.
  • Richard (Col. Fitzwilliam) I’ve always liked him but he really comes alive in this book. I like the way Kara portrayed him here.
  • Seeing the “Georgianna goes to Ramsgate” situation arise while Darcy is at Rosings and Anne encourages him to investigate.
  • The fact that Anne is a writer and publishes books behind Lady Catherine’s back. Take that!
  • The connection this book has to Kara Louise’s Mr. Darcy’s Rival book.
  • Anne’s love interest is rather interesting and I love how the elopement is conducted.

A line from this book I find especially inspirational is what Anne’s love tells her when she mourns not being able to do things because of her asthma.

“Do not regret what you cannot do. You must allow yourself to fully enjoy those things you can do and be thankful for those blessings.”

This is a quote I will be putting up in my office to remind myself everyday. After being in a wheelchair for seven months last year, I could have used this little insight during recovery! But it’s a good thing to remember at all times.

While I’m not a fan of Anne de Bourgh in general and probably would not have read a book centered on her except for Kara Louise writing it, I am glad I did read this book for the pieces it filled in for me.

Now, if she’d only write a Colonel Fitzwilliam book! 🙂

Guest Blog: The Secret Victorian Language of Love

The Secret Victorian Language of Love

by M. M. Genet

I have a confession to make. Behind this tough exterior of jaded writer and road weary musician is a mushy, Meg Ryan, romance junkie. Whether she’s playing Kathleen, the New York children’s bookstore owner or the full-of-hope romantic listening to a broken hearted widower on a radio show, I’m all in. While I may love the pairing between her and Kevin Cline in French Kiss the best, there is a scene in Kate and Leopold that tops them all.

Victorian time traveler, Leopold tries to explain to his modern contemporary that there is more to giving a woman flowers than grabbing a bouquet at the local supermarket. In Victorian times, each flower meant something specific. Along with Meg Ryan films, I also adore flowers. I buy them for friends to say thank you for dinner or for hosting me in their home for a weekend (along with a good bottle of champagne.) I send them to friends who’ve been dumped and I buy them for myself when I need to celebrate the little triumphs in life. I’ve even been known to send them to the man in my life on occasion.

Want to send your love a message that mere words can’t express? Let’s see which combination conveys what is brewing in your heart.

Acacia has stalks with tiny yellow flowers. It represents a secret love between two people. Have a secret crush? What if the two of you hang out every day in the break room and smile, blushing, but neither of you can summon the courage to ask the other out? Why not send a bouquet of Acacia? Card optional.

Cactus. Yes you read that right. Love isn’t always about tingles and giggles and holding hands. Sometimes staying together is tough. Sometimes life is so hard that all you have is each other. A cactus represents resilience. If your partner sends you a cactus, it means that they believe the two of you will still be standing together no matter what the world throws at the two of you.

Carnations are maybe one of the most commonly gifted flowers in the United States. They’re beautiful and often inexpensive. Did you know they represent the ultimate in feminine beauty as well as delicate emotion? If you love a woman for all the things only she can be; sweet, loving, gentle, a celebration of both happy and sad tears, then the carnation is the one to send her.

Gardenias and roses became associated with love thanks to the writing of Shakespeare. Gardenias have a heavy, sweet floral scent. White pedals surround a yellow center with delicate green leaves. Their specific meaning is, “You are lovely.”

Ivy was long used in wedding ceremonies called Handfastings during the Middle Ages. During a Handfasting, the couple holds hands and ivy is wrapped around their wrists (instead of the exchange of rings) to symbolize “two becoming one.” Hence, Ivy is a serious addition to any bouquet as it represents betrothal, fidelity and commitment.

Jealous much? No really. Is there a certain someone that you pine for? You (and everyone else) can see that the object of your affection would be much better off with you than the unappreciative idiot their currently with. Want to steal their heart? Send Lilly of the Valley. This stealthy little plant, with it’s delicate bell shaped, white flowers are beautiful but the legend says that the magic is in the scent. One whiff of its intoxicating perfume and you will steal another’s heart. That said, be sure to send a card.

Orange blossom is often used in floral bouquets to symbolize fertility. More recently, people in long term relationships hoping to have a baby will send it to their partner as a sign of hope.  Send your love orange blossom particularly when waiting to hear the results of a fertility treatment, learning that it’s early days of a recent conception or to gently suggest that you’re ready to try to have a baby with them.

Lastly, it wouldn’t be an article about the language of love without mentioning roses. First painted in Renaissance portraits wrapped around the ankle of the Goddess Venus, roses were meant to represent femininity, beauty and the intoxication of love. While white roses imply very innocent love, pink roses mean maternal love and deep red roses symbolize long time, committed love.

However your heart is aching, express it by surprising that special someone (who may realize or not) in the language of flowers. The Victorians gave us some of the longest lasting stories about love and angst that have endured the test of time. In a modern world of text messages, swiping left or right and online profiles, flowers and their meanings need to make a comeback. The romantic in me needs to believe that there is something worth exploring in reserving a secret language reserved just for love.


M.M. Genet is the author of  The Clever Courtesan.  The book takes readers on a wild ride through the eyes of Cassandra Flemming, a Lady of Keys.  Fighting the norms of Victorian high society, Cassandra challenges all the rules when it comes to women, power, sex and power of a lock and a key.

Review: Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

I absolutely adore this book. I read the first couple pages of Edenbrooke over a few days, but when Marianne’s personality started showing, I was caught and could not put it down. I read chapters three-to the end and in captured anticipation.

Marianne is a country mouse who’s staying with her grumpy grandmother in Bath and being stalked by a creepy wet-mouth dude who writes bad poetry about her. Her twin, Cecily, is a city mouse so she’s off in London enjoying her season with aims to capture a rich, titled husband. Marianne is happy not to be in the society crush, but when Cecily writes to invite her to a country estate named Edenbrooke, she can’t resist.

Adventure and excitement thrill Marianne as she sets off for Edenbrooke, but when a highwayman shoots her carriage driver on the way, stealing her mother’s locket and leaving her and her maid stranded in the wilderness, it seems she may never reach the estate. Somehow Marianne finds the strength to get to an inn and even saves the carriage driver’s life.

Although she supposed to be an elegant young lady, she’s funny and adventurous and clumsy which makes her highly entertaining to read.

The gentleman in this story is unexpected and charming as well, although you aren’t quite sure who she’ll end up with in the end. The journey getting there is fun and satisfying.

There are so many gem scenes in this book, I found myself unable to take a break as I had to find out what happened next! Delightful side characters also made the tale fun and I found the family she stayed with to be refreshingly kind. Too many of the Regency upper class in books tend to be ugly self-serving jerks. The Wyndham family is completely the opposite. They are kind, compassionate, and really seem to care about their guests. There’s no talk about high society and how she doesn’t fit in, which I would assume was more the case when people came to stay with you in those days.

I really enjoyed reading this book and will look for more from this writer.

The Clever Courtesan by M.M. Genet

Like a little Erotica in your Historical Romance? Check out my friend M.M. Genet’s book!

Meant to Be Press

Buy now in Print or eBook

Heat Level: Steamy

Cassandra is beautiful, smart and afraid of nothing…except maybe falling in love.  Taking her destiny into her own hands, she chooses a life she has to carve out for herself in British society instead of taking the marriage proposal that’s been handed to her.
Selling the key to her chastity belt to the highest bidder, her lovers include daring pirates, exotic ivory traders and even ambassadors to kings. Cassandra will stop at nothing, always asking herself, ‘Who is the richest person in the room?’

When Lord Maddox secretly purchases her key from her current lover, Maddox proves to be far more of a challenge than Cassandra expected. While being his Lady of Keys may make them both richer and more powerful than she ever imagined, can either of them withhold their greatest possession? Can Cassandra and Lord Maddox support a royal…

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Jane Austen Society Gala – Great fun!

I had a great time this weekend talking about books and geeking out on Jane Austen with my fellow Janites at the JASNA NorCal Region Annual Birthday Gala. Below you can see some of our answers to the tough JA question posed to us by DiAnn Ellis.

If you are thinking about joining the JASNA, I would endorse it. The party was loads of fun and an experience no Jane Austen fan should go without. It felt really comforting and special to be with people who know Jane as well as I do. No explaining necessary! 🙂

My fellow panelists are: Abigail Bok, Jeannette Watts, and Reina M. Williams.