Archive | May 2022

Bluestockings

Rarely has a word conjured such varied reactions as the one that has come to be used to describe an educated, intellectual woman.

Who knew the mere color and quality of leg coverings could change the course of history?

Beautiful woman legs in color tights on yellow background

Back in the 15th century, the members of the Compagnie della Calza, the theatrical associations that arranged festivals and feasts in Venice, could be identified by their beautifully embroidered leg coverings. The practice was later adopted in the 1500s in Paris by women who had literary aspirations. Bas bleu (stocking blue) was the French term used to describe these educated women. By the 17th century, the Covenanters in Scotland had begun wearing dark blue worsted stockings, in contrast to the bleached or dyed-black silk stockings worn by the affluent (think blue jeans versus formal wear).

Although “bluestocking” originally referred to educated people in general, by the 18th century, it often meant the group of women led by the “Queen of the Blues”, Elizabeth Montagu. Founded in the 1750s for women who were bored with embroidery and wanted to be included in men’s conversations, the Blue Stockings Society included such learned women as Elizabeth Vesey, Hester Chapone, Elizabeth Carter, Hester Lynch Piozzi, Hannah Moore and Frances Burney as well as several prominent men including Edmund Burke and Samuel Johnson. They invited men to gather informally with them to talk about books, literature, art and architecture, as well as places and events that interested them. The informality including dressing in their practical country clothing, which included their warm and wooly blue worsted stockings.

In 1769, Horace Walpole described the Blue Stocking Society as “the first public female club ever known” and added that most of the ladies were “of the greatest beauty, and most of the young men of fashion were of the club.”

Lady Evangeline Tennison, the heroine of THE TALE OF TWO BARONS, could have been a member of this interesting group. Her brother, Harry Tennison, Earl of Everly, is a renown explorer and scientist and can boast one of the best private libraries in London. But during his extended trips to do research, Evangeline is left behind to fend for herself. Bored with stitching exquisite embroideries of botanical subjects, Evangeline prefers to read, devouring the books in her brother’s library as well as purchasing new books at London’s largest bookseller, the Temple of the Muses. Although she pays calls on her friends and occasionally hosts callers in the parlor of her brother’s Mayfair home, she has gained a reputation as a bluestocking among members of the ton (the peerage).

Oh, the horrors!

You see, by 1816, the term bluestocking had taken on a rather negative connotation among members of the peerage. And how it could it not when the well-known art critic and painter, William Hazlitt, was quoted as saying, “The bluestocking is the most odious character in society…she sinks wherever she is placed, like the yolk of an egg, to the bottom, and carries the filth with her.” In the eyes of Society, bluestockings had become stereotyped as frumpy, unfeminine, pedantic, humorless, and self-important.

Is it any wonder Lady Evangeline, still unmarried at the age of three-and-twenty, decides a bit of scandal might be in order? Anything to lose the label of bluestocking! So when she buys the only copy of The Story of a Baron at the Temple of the Muses just moments before Jeffrey Althorpe, Baron Sommers, arrives to buy the very same book, she invites him to read the book with her in Finsbury Square.

They spend the morning together on a park bench, shoulder-to-shoulder and thigh-to-thigh, reading the first chapter. For the second chapter, they’ll meet in Grosvenor Square and do the same. And should the weather turn inclement? They’ll meet in the library at her brother’s house. She’s hoping the neighbors will notice the bachelor paying a call when they all know the earl is away. Certainly the gossip about Evangeline receiving a male caller will wipe out any hint of her being a bluestocking!

But will a different reputation result? Sometimes you have to read between the lines in The Tale of Two Barons.

Note: Since 1900, the name “Blue Stocking” or “Bluestocking” has been used as the title for all-women college yearbooks, feminist magazines, and bookstores.

The Courage of a Lyon

Enter the world of the most notorious gambling den in London, where matches are made… unusually. Welcome to the world of THE LYON’S DEN: The Black Widow of Whitehall Connected World, where the underground of Regency London thrives… and loves.

Their earldom is at stake. Can they save their futures and find love along the way?

Recovering from his wartime injuries and returning home to an earldom on the brink of bankruptcy, Captain Charles Audley is faced with the momentous task of settling his mischievous brother’s debts. But try as he might, he can’t take his mind off the angel of a nurse who cared for him on the battlefield. And after he crosses paths with an enigmatic matchmaker with a strange proposition, it quickly becomes clear that he might not have seen the last of his wartime beauty.

Meanwhile, James heads to Cambridgeshire, dead-set on winning the hand – and the hefty dowry – of a marquess’ daughter. But when he discovers her already taken, he finds his eye drawn to her rebellious and fiercely independent younger sister. James can’t bear the thought of returning home empty-handed… and although Lady Eloise is convinced he’s only interested in courting her sister, an attraction begins to bubble to the surface that leaves her questioning James’ true intentions.

With their earldom at stake and two young women desperate for men who can understand their deepest desires, can Charles and James find real love? And will the cunning talents of matchmaker Mrs. Dove-Lyon come to the rescue?

Available on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited: https://amzn.to/3ySUQxZ

Brimming with turbulent passion and steeped in the gorgeous and regal setting of 19th-century British aristocracy, The Courage of a Lyon is a delightful and whimsical historical romance novel by bestselling author Linda Rae Sande. Scroll up and grab your copy today…

Secrets, Scandals, & Seductions Blog Tour

Between now and the release of this box set on June 7, 2022, we’ll be featuring the authors and stories that make up the collection. Welcome Rose Pearson author of The Truth About the Earl.

Text

Description automatically generated

About The Story

What do you find interesting about your main characters? 

Lady Essington is a young widow with a unique opportunity to earn some money secretly writing about high society news. It sounds like it would be easy, right? It turns out to be a challenge as someone blackmails her!

I love that Lady Essington is enterprising enough to take on a money-making opportunity as that would not have been common at that time. She was motivated to try and improve her financial situation but many ladies would have immediately tried to marry a wealthy man!

Where does the story take place and why did you choose this setting?

This is a story set in Regency England, my favorite time period!

Share a little about the story behind the story.

The story title is The Truth about the Earl.

After the untimely death of her aged husband, young Lady Norah Essington was given the opportunity to write a weekly piece for the local society newspaper, detailing news, scandals and secrets of the ton that surrounded her – and all under a fictitious name. Delighted with such an opportunity, she began to do so with relish, only for a falsehood about her to be printed under that very same fictious name! Confused, Norah is horrified when letters begin to arrive at her door, demanding that she write what they tell her – or else suffer the consequences.

James, Earl of Yarmouth, is disgusted with what he reads in society papers, particularly when one such comment is made about himself! Determined to put things to rights, he tries to discover who is writing such lies, only to find himself thrown together with Lady Essington in what is swiftly becoming a much bigger mystery. Will she be courageous enough to tell him everything? And what will James do when the truth finally comes out? 

Ah yes, writing about high society news and scandals might remind you of a famous Regency series on Netflix! This story is part of a list aiming historical romance anthology – Secrets, Scandals, and Seductions. Pre-order your copy today! Only $.99 for hours of reading pleasure!

What is the theme or takeaway you want readers to think about?

Marriage was the best option for most young ladies during that time. There were few ways to earn money and even the unusual way that Lady Essington found has its dangers. Fortunately, this story is a romance wrapped in a mystery and she gets her happy ever after in the end.

Amazing how opportunities for women have expanded over the last two centuries!

About The Author

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

Books will get you through anything in life! They have been my lifeline since 4th grade when I started reading 2-3 books a day. Yes, I was a book nerd and I still am. Then I realized that I could create stories too but didn’t do much with it until I was a (much!) older adult. It’s amazing how the world has changed to give us the self-publishing opportunity.

Favorite animal?

My Westie, Duffy, and the Westies that preceded him, Buddy and Becca Boo. The love that dogs bring to your life is precious.

If you could travel to any spot in the world, where would it be?

Italy to see the sights and enjoy the wonderful food!

What’s next in your writing?

I have a new series coming out soon about governesses and companions – the loneliest ladies in Regency times!

Social media links:

Twitter: @rosepearsonauth

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/rosepearsonauthor

Instagram: @Rosepearsonauthor

Secrets, Scandals, & Seductions Blog Tour

Between now and the release of this box set on June 7, 2022, we’ll be featuring the authors and stories that make up the collection. Welcome Alyssa Drake author of A Perfect Recluse.

About The Story

What do you find interesting about your main characters?

Both of my characters started as minor characters in a different story in this world. However, what makes them most unique, is that both of them have suffered from the vicious tongue of Society, and sought refuge by the ocean (although at different points in time). They are both grieving the loss of their sisters, who are assumed to have perished aboard a ship bound for America, and this connection breaks through Patrick’s self-imposed exile, allowing his heart to heal.

Where does the story take place and why did you choose this setting?

The story takes place at a lighthouse on the western coast of England. I chose this setting because the lighthouse is mentioned in previous stories in reference to Patrick. This location is also used as the port town from which their sisters sailed on the ill-fated ship.

Share a little about the story behind the story.

Patrick Flannery, my grumpy lighthouse keeper, was always supposed to receive his own story, but I hadn’t intended for the tale to take on such a melancholy tone. As I plotted out his story, the reason for his isolation developed into a psychosis that I hadn’t realized affected him (I love it when characters talk to you).

What is the theme or takeaway you want readers to think about?

Patrick faces a continual conflict between what he wants (Sarah) and what he deems is best for her (not him). Patrick’s growth and acceptance of his own value, is what convinces him to conquer this fear and proclaim his affection.

About The Author

When did you know you wanted to be an author?

When I was a child, my mother’s best friend was a writer, and I was fascinated by her. The idea of creating worlds by stringing together simple words was magical. I wanted to do the same thing.

Favorite animal?

Today it’s a cat, but that’s because he’s curled up on my lap purring.

If you could travel to any spot in the world, where would it be?

When I first began this series, I chose Wiltshire as the fictional location because I really wanted to visit Stonehenge, which is the actual location of that mystical spot. And while magic does not play a role in this particular world, I love knowing that secret connection behind the town’s name.

What’s next in your writing?

I’m working on the second book in a time-travel trilogy set in Elizabethan England, which combines my love of historical romance and the paranormal. I also intend to publish Alana’s story (Patrick’s sister) next March, as her pirate experience needs to be told.

Social media links: