Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Exclusive interview with historical romance author, Julie May Ruddock author of A Daughter of Warwick!

Exclusive interview with historical romance author, Julie May Ruddock author of A Daughter of Warwick.  

I am extremely fortunate to have made a lovely new friend lately.  After nagging her incessantly, she finally gave in and I am delighted to be able to interview her for my blog.

Hello Karen, thank you for inviting me onto your blog. It’s a new experience for me. I am a total dinosaur when it comes to computers.

It’s an absolute pleasure to interview you Julie.  Thank you for singling me out for the privilege and sorry for nagging you so!
As you can image I would like to talk to you about your book A Daughter of Warwick.  It’s set in the time of King Richard III and right now, I guess your book is very popular since the King’s remains have so recently been found.  What led you to write about his wife?

I’ve been a member of the Richard III society for a long time and when I decided to realise a long held dream and write a full length novel, Richard seemed the natural place to start. But, while I was researching and checking out the competition, I realised that his wife Anne’s life was really quite remarkable and she didn’t have her own book. I thought it would be nice to write a book where she isn’t secondary to her husband. It is about how it might have affected her. The hardest thing was ending it before Bosworth but if it was to be Anne’s book, it had to stop when she did.

I imagine that was hard to do.  I personally would have wanted to write about the famous battle too.
As they say; behind every great man is a great woman.  Tell us a little more about her and that period of history.

Anne and her sister, Isabel were daughters of the powerful Yorkist, Earl of Warwick. They were raised at Middleham castle with Richard, Duke of Gloucester (later King Richard III) and his brother George of Clarence who were Warwick’s wards. Both girls learned to hate the Lancastrian faction.  When Warwick fell out with King Edward and allied with the enemy, Anne was married off to Edward, the prince of Lancaster, son of Henry VI, a man she had always seen as her enemy.
 As the wars of the roses continued, she was soon widowed, losing her father at the same time.  Once a wealthy heiress she made a tantalising target for the greedy and ambitious George of Clarence, who was by this time married to Isabel and coveted Anne’s share of the inheritance for himself.

Oh dear, I am explaining this very badly. I assure you the novel is more concise.

I was just thinking nasty things about George of Clarence actually.  What happened to Anne next then?

Well, George kidnapped Anne and put her in hiding, traditionally believed to be in a cookhouse in the stewes of London. Richard of Gloucester tracked her down to marry her himself. Some historians believe that, like George, he was after her money and properties but, in my book, it is a love match. 
The pair are married and for a while everything goes swimmingly well but then, King Edward IV dies and Richard finds the crown of England within his grasp.  The question is, ‘does he want it?’
The story goes on to tackle Richard’s reasons for taking the throne, the fate of the princes in the tower and explore his relationship with Anne, who in this story is a woman of some substance.  It is her death and that of their son that undermines the King’s mental strength.

You cover a lot of history in your book.  Do you stick to conventional history, use artistic license or come up with your own theories?

I try to stick to the facts where possible but when you are dealing with Richard III it is impossible to remain impartial, one way or the other and there is a lot of fiction and speculation involved. This book is not in any way meant to be clever. It is a love story, with glittering kings and brave knights and princesses in distress. As one of the reviews says, ‘This book was pure escapism and it was interesting to see it from Anne's point of view. Had a tear in my eye at the end even though I knew what was coming.’ 

That is a lovely review.  I am sure that in order to truly show your characters and bring them to life on paper that you had to do a lot of research.  How long did it take you to write in the end?

I wrote my novel A Daughter of Warwick a while ago now, it took me about five years to complete it because I write it all in long hand first, with a pencil. When it comes to cutting and pasting, I do it the old-fashioned way using scissors and sellotape.  

Wow, I can’t imagine how long that must take you Julie.  I don’t know how I’d manage without my computer to write on.  I am also not sure the muscles in my wrist and hand could handle all that writing.  I take my hat off to you.  Do you then transfer the manuscript to a computer, or do you send the manuscript to the editor as is?

Once I am middling happy with the result, I have to transcribe it onto the computer, editing and revising as I go.  My poor editor had a devil of a job sorting out all my wayward commas.  I should really improve my computer literacy just for his sake. They tell me I need a facebook page and a blog account too but …I am not ready for that yet.

That’s a shame.  I know we’d all love to have regular contact with you and updates from you too. Maybe I’ll have to nag you about that too! ;-)

Maybe you will.  If I’d been left to my own devices I would probably have had the book bound to give to people as presents but a friend of mine insisted I let him load it onto Kindle.  His wife made me the lovely cover.  I sat with her while she did it and was amazed at how quickly it all came together. Once that was ready, it was uploaded and there I was, published!
 I didn’t think anyone would buy it …or bother to read it.

It’s amazing how quickly a book can be published these days.  You must be glad to have friends like them to help you.
So, did people start to buy it?

Luckily, just at that moment, archaeologists discovered remains in a Leicestershire car park.  Very suddenly the world fell in love with Richard III and there was my little book – ready and waiting, as if I’d known it was going to happen.  Since I don’t use the internet, it wasn’t until last week my friend told me about the book’s ranking that I realised I had been quite wrong about it.

You must be so pleased about that though.  It’s a fantastic book and a great read.  I am so glad that a story that has such deeply researched history weaved throughout its pages is out there and doing so well.

At the time of writing this A Daughter of Warwick is now in the top forty of Historical Romance and 1,432 in the Kindle chart. Far from the best seller lists and I have no idea what that equates to in terms of earnings but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that people are buying my book and, judging by the reviews it’s had so far, they are liking it too. 
Two five stars and a four star!  But, of course, there is still time for bad reviews and I am sure they will come, I can’t please everybody. I have no doubt there are some serious historians out there ready to shoot me down in flames.

That’s great to hear Julie, I’m really pleased for you.  Has the success of A Daughter of Warwick made you think about writing any more books?

It has certainly made me pick up pace a bit with writing the next one. And my friends are trying to persuade me to put A Daughter of Warwick out in paperback. 

That would be a brilliant idea.  There are still a lot of people out there who prefer a printed book in their hands despite the successes of kindle.

It’s been a pleasure and an honour to chat with you today Julie.  I am a fan, I hope you don’t mind me saying and you’ve made my day.  I also really look forward to reading your next book.

Thank you for having me, Karen. Hopefully I can come back when my next book is ready.

I’d love to have you back on my blog.

So there you have it folks!  Julie May Ruddock is a fabulous writer.  I heartily recommend her book A Daughter of Warwick to you all, especially if you’ve caught Richard III fever like me!

You can buy A Daughter of Warwick through Amazon in the UK here and in the US here.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Winners Announced!

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I am so pleased to announce the winners of the Hearts Through History Hop!

Congratulations to Lisa S and Judith Arnopp for your correct answers and interesting comments!

I will email you both .mobi files - if you have a problem with that please let me know a.s.a.p. 
I will wait 24 hours before sending to allow you time to let me know that the .mobi is ok!

Many thanks and congratulations again!

You've won a copy of




Thursday, 14 February 2013

Happy Valentine's Day to all my lovely readers!


Firstly I would like to say a deep, heart-felt thank you to you all, for not only buying and reading my books but for being on this great journey will me.

May The Lord bless you
When Valentine's Day is here

May He keep you in His Loving care
Every day throughout the year

And may He grant you happiness
In everything that you do

For in everything you seek and share
His love is always with you

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Countdown to Valentine's Day! With Mary Middleton!

Countdown to Valentine's Day!  

One day to go and have we got a treat for you!

A Valentine's Day Gift for You - Day three - by Mary Middleton.

It is day three of the giveaway and once again thank you to Karen Aminadra for letting me join in her Countdown to Valentine's Day. Tomorrow Come, Dance With Me will be FREE for your Kindle, PLUS the person who leaves the best comment on my blog will receive a free signed paperback copy.  

Excerpt number three is below. Andrei and Sasha are alone in his apartment ...

A short pause in the music, and then a new track began, a strain of The Blue Danube spreading about the room. Sasha stilled and put down her glass. ‘I love this,’ she whispered, ‘it reminds me of my dad.’
‘I love it too.’
And then Andrei was on his feet beside her, holding out his hand. ‘Come,’ he begged, ‘dance with me.’
Sasha’s mouth fell open. Andrei Kovalevsky was asking her to dance …and she had two left feet.
She turned very warm and her cheeks flamed as she looked down, twisting her fingers in her lap. She shook her head. ‘I- I can’t dance.’
‘Sure you can. Anyone can dance with me. Come, I will guide you.’
The tingle when he touched her fingers travelled up her arm, into her body making her breasts quiver. She felt as if she was in a sort of dream as she was pulled, against her will, to her feet. She stumbled from her seat and followed him to an expanse of polished wooden floor beside a grand piano.
It was a waltz. He eased her toward him, positioned her body firmly against his, then he slipped an arm about her waist, took her hand in his. Sasha had spent her teenage years dreaming of this moment. Her eyes were level with his neck. Instead of making a fool of herself dancing, she longed instead to press her lips against his skin and taste his sweetness. For all she knew, she was probably no good at sex either but at least in bed she could lay passively beneath him while he exercised his famous sexual prowess upon her. On the dance floor there was nothing she could do to disguise her incompetence.
But he was swaying, moving her in the steps of a dance she did not know.
‘Feel the music,’ he whispered, his lips brushing her ear. ‘Feel it in your heart, flowing in your blood and once you grasp it, relax and let yourself go with it.’
She had to trust him but it was hard to concentrate when she was in his arms, the hardness of his body tight against hers, forcing her to move in ways she had never moved before. 
The Blue Danube played on and after a while, as her mind filled with his music, she began to enjoy it. She felt the melody was being played on her heartstrings, the beat pulsing with the blood in her veins.
Andrei’s palm was firm beneath her fingers, the muscles of his back undulating beneath her other hand. She wanted to run her fingers over him, slide them inside his shirt, tear open the buttons and stroke the smoothness of his skin and welcome whatever it was that came next.
They danced for a long time. When her steps faltered, he caught her close to prevent her from stumbling and, thereafter, held her more securely, until they were pressed so close that she was sure he would feel the erratic beating of her heart.  She was drunk but, on some subconscious level, she knew that I wasn’t just the champagne making her want to weep and cling on to this moment for the rest of her life.
Her head was so dizzy that she was unaware when they stopped dancing for the room continued to spin. She felt so light it was as if they floated a little way above the floor. She blinked up at him and when he reached beneath her hair and cradled her skull firmly in his big, steady hands, she relaxed fully, closing her eyes and waiting for his lips.

Oooh,  you naughty girl Sasha! 

For another romantic interlude with Sasha and Andrei don't forget to visit and leave your comment on my blog for a chance to win a FREE signed paperback of Come, Dance With Me. 

My romance books are all available on Kindle. Titles include Vittorio's Virgin, The Greek Tycoon's Secret Daughter, Where the West Wind Blows, and For One Night Only

If you are in the UK click here 
If you are in the US click here

Many thanks again to Karen Aminadra and don't forget to visit my blog to enter the competition!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Valentine's Day Gift for you - Day two - by Mary Middleton

A Valentine's Day Gift for you - Day two - by Mary Middleton

As promised here is the excerpt from my book Come, Dance With Me.  At the bottom you'll find out how you can enter the giveaway tomorrow! ~ Mary.

Come, Dance With Me - the protagonists meet for the first time when Sasha interviews Andrei for her television show.

The studio lights came on. He stalked across the stage and sprawled in the empty chair, tossing the camera a smile destined to send all the women in England swooning to their knees. One flash of his perfect teeth, the glint of his dark, sexy eyes and the applause of the live audience grew to deafening proportions.  Crossing his long, lean, leather-clad legs, he swivelled in his chair to greet the presenter.
He blinked. The blinding studio lights made a halo around her hair and, as her face came slowly into full focus, Andrei forgot his determination to be disobliging. She was smiling, her pink lips stretched wide, her thick lashed eyes set wide apart, skin glowing, hair writhing in vibrant snakes about the prettiest face he had ever seen.   Her eyes met his and it was as if a hot knife had been thrust into his chest, where his heart used to be.

He swallowed, leaned into her welcome and she took his hand.  Her palms were warm, slightly moist but pleasantly so. She continued speaking, her lips moving; he glimpsed the pink tip of her tongue and his attention lingered on her mouth, waiting to see it again, wondering how soft her lips were, how they would taste.  
At first, he heard only the music of her voice, the sense of her speech falling on his ears in a confused jumble. He answered wildly, hoping that somehow his instincts would take over and see him through. As her voice continued, his eyes left her wonderful face to trickle down her luxuriant neck, resting for a moment on her full, red clad breasts before travelling to her slim waist, and journeying along her lengthy, slender legs.
‘When did you first learn to dance, Mr Kovalevsky?’
He jerked his head, fumbling for his senses, blinking into lights that were no more dazzling than his hostess.  He moistened his lips, cleared his throat, wrenching his attention back to the matter in hand. Andrei tugged at his tie, pulling himself together but his voice when it came was hoarse as if he needed a drink.
‘Oh, I was a boy. M-my mother is a great lover of the dance and she showed me …just the rudimentary steps. Later, I took lessons and …it all took off from there really.’
‘Then the world owes your mother a lot, Mr Kovalevsky. We all loved you in last season’s Celebrity Dance. I’ve followed your career for a long time and I for one was gutted when you only came second. Tell me, just how important is it for you to win? How determined are you to lift that Celebrity Dance trophy?’
She was warming to the interview now. He raised his head and looked into her bright eyes. It was like staring at the sun; uncomfortable, dangerous but somehow compelling.  He blinked and swallowed, a muscle in his jaw tensing as he ran a hand through his hair, sending a ripple of delight through the largely female audience.
‘Oh, you can rest assured, Miss Johnson, I don’t care how long it takes but I will not rest until I have won it.’

Don't forget to leave a comment on any of these Valentine posts on my blog for a chance to win a signed paperback of Come, Dance With Me.

All my books are available on Amazon Kindle Click here if you are in the UK
And here if you are in the US

Mary Middleton.

Falling in love with Darcy's Derbyshire - my guest post with Darcyholic Diversions

Darcyholic Diversions is celebrating its birthday with a fantastic giveaway!  A free kindle loaded with lots of ebooks!  Click here to enter.

I am honoured to have been asked to be a part of the celebrations and to add Charlotte - Pride & Prejudice Continues to the prizes.  I also was asked to write a post, you can click here to go to their site or scroll down and read it here.

Falling in love with Darcy's Derbyshire!

On the face of it, Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice is about the five Bennet sisters and their prospects (or lack thereof) with regards to getting married.  Enter two eligible and not to mention rather handsome strangers and it’s a free-for-all with Mrs Bennet, their mother, leading the fray.  Well, not quite.  Jane showed us what was going on in society in her day and how ‘getting married’ was done.  I am sure Mrs Bennet is based on more than one mother that Jane personally knew and that she took delight in writing such a fun character.  We look upon her now and laugh, but I am certain I would not have liked to have a mother like her!  Jane showed us the social etiquette of courting and marrying in Regency England and that falling in love really wasn’t necessary at all, in fact, it was often a hindrance.  She also shone the spotlight on how ridiculous it all really was.  I am sure she had been pushed into many a social setting just like those in her books, with a view to getting her married off too.

However, it was while visiting Derbyshire, England herself that Jane Austen penned her most famous novel Pride & Prejudice.  In it, she tells us that love matters not a jot in her society, only money, titles and estates.  What was it about this beautiful county that inspired her?

Jane was staying in Bakewell when inspiration hit and her quill began to scratch away on the paper and the story of the Bennet family was born.  Bakewell is in the Peak district and has been a market town since 1330, but was mentioned in the 1085 Domes day book as ‘Badequella’ meaning bath-well.  It is most famous these days for its puddings that we now call Bakewell tarts.  If you haven’t tried one, you simply must.  I am sure Jane did.  Austen scholars also believe that Bakewell was the inspiration for Lambton.  However, it was the village of Longnor near Buxton (famous for its spring water), which was used in the 1995 BBC version of Pride & Prejudice.

One cannot visit Derbyshire without visiting Chatsworth house the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire.  And it is this wonderfully grand house, which is thought to have been the inspiration for Pemberley.  Jane wrote, “The eye was instantly caught by Pemberley House, situated on the opposite side of the valley into which the road into some abruptness wound.”
 “It was a large, handsome, stone building standing well on rising ground, and backed by a ridge of high woody hills; and in front, a stream of some natural importance was swelled into greater, but without any artificial appearance.  Its banks were neither formal, nor falsely adorned."

In the 1995 version, Sudbury Hall was used for the interior shots of Pemberley.  It’s definitely a place to add to the list of Darcy-related places to visit.  The exterior shots, as I am sure you know, were of Lyme Hall, which although technically in Cheshire, stands between Buxton and Stockport.  Mr Darcy and Elizabeth strolled through the 1,400-acre park enjoying superb views of the Peak District, something all Darcyholics want to do too.

It’s all too easy to get wrapped up and lost in time in these wonderful homes and gardens, but when visiting Darcy’s Derbyshire, don’t forget to wander in the Peaks as I am sure Jane also did.

One place I would also recommend, and I am sure Jane would have visited too, are the Blue-john mines.   Blue-john stone is from the French Bleu-Jaune, meaning blue and yellow.  The stones are beautiful as are the caves and well worth taking time out of your stately home tour to see, and the shop is a great place to buy unusual souvenirs and presents to take home.  Visiting Bakewell, Chatsworth, Matlock, Dove Dale, Lyme Hall and the Peaks, you would not only be following in the steps of Elizabeth, the Gardiners and Jane Austen herself, but it would be a dream tour of Darcy’s Derbyshire!

Karen Aminadra is the author of the award-winning Charlotte – Pride& Prejudice Continues available through all stockists and Amazon.  

Monday, 11 February 2013

indieBRAG LLC - fancy becoming a reader for them?

indieBRAG LLC.

BRAG highly values readers and depend upon them for a candid assessment of the books being considered for a medallion. Therefore, we are selective in who we invite to become a part of this group. We have many women and men reading world wide as well as authors. The single most important criterion that we ask our readers to use in judging a book is whether or not they would recommend it to their best friend. Once a book meets this standard of quality, we award it our B.R.A.G. Medallion.

Our mission is to recognize quality on the part of authors who self-publish both print and digital books.

If you are a reader who is interested in reading for us please visit:

If you are a self-publishing author and are interested in our services please contact us:

Stephanie Hopkins

BRAG Website:

A Valentine's Day Gift For You from Mary Middleton

A Valentine's Day Gift For You from Mary Middleton.

Thank you to Karen Aminadra for letting me be a guest on her Countdown To Valentine's Day.  It's great to be able to contribute.

It is that time of year again. I don't know where the time is going but since I spend most of it buried in the depths of a work in progress, I suppose I shouldn't wonder. I haven't been as regular with  my blogging as I intended but, once I am caught up in the current of a plot, I find it hard to do anything but keep swimming.

But listen up lovers of Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing with the Stars or romance books in general, this is for you. In the week leading up to Valentine's Day I intend to run a series of blogs featuring excerpts from Come, Dance With Me. I don't want to post too much and spoil your read as on the 14th February itself I will be offering kindle copies for free PLUS a free signed paperback to the person who leaves the best comment on my blog.

First, I think, the blurb to give you a rough idea of the plot and where it  might possibly lead.  This is the blurb from the back cover.

Come, Dance With Me 

When television chat show host, Sasha Johnson, interviews international ballroom dancer, Andrei Kovalevsky, her life is altered forever. And six years later, when fate thrusts them together once more, Sasha does all in her power to prevent him from blowing her world apart for a second time. But can she defuse a bomb that is already ticking.

Andrei Kovalevsky has won almost every ballroom dancing prize known to man, apart from television’s coveted Celebrity Dancing Trophy.  When Andrei is partnered with an old flame, Sasha Johnson, her two left feet threaten to kick the glittering prize way out of his reach.
With just eight weeks to do it, Andrei determines to break down the barriers between them, knock her into shape and turn Sasha Johnson into a dancer.
But secrets, lies and an irresistible attraction impede his way and their path to the Celebrity Dance final is fraught with trouble.

Mary Middleton’s latest novel, Come, Dance With Me, will waltz you through the glitzy, glamorous world of ballroom dancing and leave you breathless.

Come back here to Karen's blog tomorrow for excerpt number one.
If you can't wait that long you can get the kindle versions of all my books on Amazon click here if you are in the UK
And here if you are in the US
Alternatively paperback versions can be ordered direct from the publisher here

Don't forget to CLICK HERE to go to my blog and leave a comment for a chance to win!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Valentine's Hearts Through History Blog Hop with giveaway!

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Welcome to the Valentine’s Hearts Through History Blog Hop! 
Hop from site to site and enjoy historical anecdotes and trivia tidbits about all things romantic. 
Stories of old love, fascinating insight into love/courting/marriage and weddings from all over history await! Even better, each stop is offering a giveaway you can enter with just a comment, so hop away!

I am so pleased to be participating in the Valentine's Hearts Through History Blog Hop!
At the end of my post on Courtship, I will give you details of my own giveaway!
Yes, I am giving away 2 copies each of my two novels Charlotte - Pride & Prejudice Continues and Relative Deceit.   
Charlotte won a 2012 B.R.A.G Medallion.

Courtship in Jane Austen's time... something you thought only your granny had done!

The subjects of love, courtship and marriage are a universal theme throughout all of Jane Austen’s much loved novels. The couples in the books are always looking for romance, or so it seems.  Their coming together was based on attractiveness, compatibility, and intimacy rather than being subjected to the arranged marriages of previous centuries for wealth, status and family advancement.  Despite that seeming much as it is today, there were still  heavy restrictions on a couple and they really weren't as free to court as might appear.  Today the idea of courting is laughable, something that our grannies would do and we certainly wouldn't, even if we hanker after living in Jane Austen's time.

A woman of the Georgian, Regency and Victorian period had nothing better to do than to find a husband.  And as we all know It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Courting couples had to follow an established and inflexible etiquette developed over decades if not centuries to protect the woman's character and good name.  This ensured her viability (yes, her virginity and purity was a commodity) on the marriage market but obviously this made courtship very difficult . To us these restrictions on unmarried girls/women limiting their private conversations, correspondence, and prohibiting touching seem huge barriers to the pursuit of love.  I am amazed that anyone could fall in love under such circumstances.  How did they ever get to know one another?

It was unacceptable for a lady to acknowledge a man’s attentions apart from the accepted forms of observed behaviour.  That means no flirting!  What would we do today without flirtation?   A lady who did succumb to any enthusiasm or awareness of a gentleman’s intentions was inviting ridicule and herself becoming a subject of mockery and derision.  Huh?  That's most of us discounted then! ;-)

So the Rules and Prohibitions of Courtship are...

Formal means of address (Mr, Miss etc. I can't imagine my husband having called me Miss Coles for all those years before our marriage!)
Discreet conversation  (I don't think we know how to do this at all these days)
No intimate touching  
No correspondence (No love letters?  No poems?  No Valentine's?  Surely this must have been the most frequently broken of all the rules.)
No gift giving  (not even on a birthday?  Does this include flowers?  I think Jane Austen broke most of these rules in her novels too, eh?)

Formal means of address

Forms of address even amongst family members were very reserved.  Even married couples would address each other formally in public just like Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet do in Pride and Prejudice. Outside of the family the use of Christian names would be used only to distinguish younger siblings.  For example; Miss Bennet (meaning the eldest sister, Jane) and Miss Elizabeth Bennet etc. in Pride and Prejudice. Addressing anyone by any name other than their surname was to denote an inferior rank such as servant  and was also used for a child.

Conversation and Physical Contact

Young and unrelated unmarried men and women were not allowed to be left alone in the same room together. Any interest, however small that was shown in public would be misconstrued as marital intent. Conversation was therefore very discreet and any secret meaning had to be conveyed and interpreted (or misinterpreted as in Emma) by facial expressions.  (blushes, stares, smiles, frowns, and tears)  This, I assume is why in the Georgian period there was the 'language of the fan'.  

Shaking hands is something that we do all the time was actually a sign of intimacy in Jane Austen's time.  Then a greeting was a slight bow of the head or curtsy.  (Very friendly, I'm sure.)

However, all was not lost.  There was of course dancing and walking.  Dancing was an important socially, and couples could come together, talk, and even, shockingly enough, touch. The intricate steps of the favoured country dancing allowed for hand holding. The couple could also conduct a somewhat private conversations while being watched closely by those sitting around the dance floor.

Young couples could also have taken chaperoned walks in the countryside. If a couple wanted to speak they could fall behind the others for a little chat.  However, to me this seems rather obvious and I am sure gave rise to speculation about 'a certain upcoming, happy event' ;-)

Correspondence and Gift Giving

So, no talking, no letter writing and certainly no giving of gifts.  This was seen as far too personal.   Any of these things generally meant that an attachment had been made, so it was carefully avoided unless the couple were in love.  In Sense and Sensibility, Elinor Dashwood assumes there is an attachment, between her sister Marianne and Willoughby because Marianne has accepted a gift of a horse.  He was also given a lock of her hair, and she wrote openly to Willoughby while in London. “Such conduct made them, of course, most exceedingly laughed at; but ridicule could not shame, and seemed hardly to provoke them” 

The Marriage Proposal

When a young man was quite sure that the object of his love returned those feeling he needed to seek a private moment to actually ask for her hand. I have no idea how he ascertained this without speaking to her many times before.    The easiest and presumably most acceptable way to go about this was to ask the permission of the lady’s father. His intentions were made clear this way and an appropriately private setting could be arranged.  Perhaps this is why many women were married against their will to men they didn't love if their father's said yes for them.

I am sure that not all proposals were welcome.  Etiquette dictated that it was bad form to encourage an attachment if one didn't exist.  The gentleman had to be turned down but with a sensitivity deferential to the man’s feelings.  (Is there a nice way to say 'no'?)  

Once a proposal was accepted and parental consent was obtained to break off an engagement was considered a huge no-no. An engagement was seen as a binding contract. A gentleman was not permitted to break an engagement and a lady could only change her mind after careful consideration.

After all this, I am surprised that Jane Austen managed to get any of her heroines married at all.  And I am certainly not surprised that she broke more than a few of the rules in order to get them to the alter too!

How would you feel about being restricted by those rules of Courtship?

I am giving away 2 e-copies of Charlotte - Pride & Prejudice Continues and 2 e-copies of Relative Deceit.

To win simply answer this question by leaving a comment below... (the answer is in one of my previous blog posts) 

According to Emma Thompson's 1995 version of Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility, which of Shakespeare's Sonnets brought the love-struck Marianne and Willoughby closer together?

(Answer by leaving your comment below)

Thank you so much for stopping by.  Happy Valentine's Day and good luck with the giveaway!

Other Hop Participants.

  1. Random Bits of Fascination (Maria Grace)
  2. Pillings Writing Corner (David Pilling)
  3. Sally Smith O’Rourke
  4. Darcyholic Diversions (Barbara Tiller Cole)
  5. Faith, Hope and Cherry Tea
  6. Rosanne Lortz
  7. Sharon Lathan
  8. Debra Brown
  9. Heyerwood   (Lauren Gilbert)
  10. Regina Jeffers
  11. Ginger Myrick
  12. Anna Belfrage
  13. Fall in love with history (Grace Elliot)
  14. Nancy Bilyeau
  15. Wendy Dunn
  16. E.M. Powell
  17. Georgie Lee
  18. The Riddle of Writing (Deborah Swift)
  19. Outtakes from a Historical Novelist (Kim Rendfeld)
  20. The heart of romance (Sherry Gloag)
  21. A day in the life of patootie (Lori Crane)
  22. Karen Aminadra
  23. Dunhaven Place (Heidi Ashworth)
  24. Stephanie Renee dos Santos

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Roses are red....

Countdown to Valentine's Day!

Roses are red....

Roses are red, Violets are blue... are the opening lines of many a Valentine's Day poem.  But where did it start?

Apparently the origins of the poem can be traced as far back as to the lines written in 1590 by Sir Edmund Spenser from his epic The Faerie Queene (Book Three, Canto 6, Stanza 6)

It was upon a Sommers shynie day,
When Titan faire his beames did display,
In a fresh fountaine, farre from all mens vew,
She bath'd her brest, the boyling heat t'allay;
She bath'd with roses red, and violets blew,
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.

A nursery rhyme that is certainly closer to the modern Valentine's Day poem can be found in Gammer Gurton's Garland, a 1784 collection of English nursery rhymes.

The rose is red, the violet's blue,
The honey's sweet, and so are you.
Thou are my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou'd be you.

Victor Hugo may not have known the English nursery rhyme when, in 1862, he published the novel Les Misérables. Hugo was a poet as well as a novelist, and within the text of the novel are many songs. One sung by the character, Fantine, contains this refrain, in the 1862 English translation.

(Les Misérables, Fantine, Book Seven, Chapter Six)

We will buy very pretty things
A-walking through the faubourgs.
Violets are blue, roses are red,
Violets are blue, I love my loves.

The last two lines in the original French are:

Les bleuets sont bleus, les roses sont roses,
Les bleuets sont bleus, j'aime mes amours.

Of course as children many of us made up humorous versions of the rhyme.  This tradition probably goes right back to the creation of the rhyme.  However, in the name of romance I have included below a collection of Roses are red, Violets are blue love poems and quotes.

Roses are red violets are blue, Sugar is sweet and so are you!

Roses are red violets are blue, You've made all my dreams come true!

Roses are red violets are blue, You know I've got my eyes on you!

Roses are red violets are blue I feel so lost without you...

Roses are red violets are blue, These lips can't wait to be kissing you!

Roses are red violets are blue, I'd do anything to be with you!

Roses are red violets are blue, I love chocolate more than you!

Roses are red violets are blue, I never knew love until I found you!

Roses are red violets are blue, there's only one way to say this, I love you.

Roses are red violets are blue, I'd rather be spending my time with you!

Roses are red violets are blue, May I have this dance with you?

Roses are red violets are blue, Have I mentioned I'm in love with you?

Roses are red violets are blue, I don't want no one if I can't have you!

Roses are red violets are blue, I'm the one who'll make all your dreams come true!

Roses are red violets are blue, Love never crossed my mind until the day I met you!

Roses are red violets are blue, Love me so much, like I love you!

Roses are red violets are blue, My love keeps me tied to you!

Roses are red violets are blue, I don't want to spend a day without you!

Roses are red violets are blue, My love will always be so true!

Roses are red violets are blue, My heart is broken without you.

Roses are red violets are blue, Thanks for everything we've been through.

Roses are red violets are blue, I love you for everything you do!

Roses are red violets are blue, I don't really care but I love you!