When Jealousy is Not a Curse – My Georgette Heyer Addiction: Guest Post by Avril Tremayne

Today, I am very pleased to welcome author and fellow #DashItAll Avril Tremayne with a guest post on Georgette Heyer!

Composing a Letter by Vittorio Reggianini, (1858–1938).

Composing a Letter by Vittorio Reggianini, (1858–1938).

I’m admitting upfront to a case of author envy when it comes to Georgette Heyer – even though I write super sexy, ultra-contemporary romances that are a world away from Heyer’s bygone eras full of heroes and heroines who fall in love before they even kiss. Continue reading

The “Dash It Alls” on Romance, Writing, and the Influence of Georgette Heyer

The Recital by Vittorio Reggianini, (l1858-1938).

The Recital by Vittorio Reggianini, (1858-1938).

As some of you may remember, during the RWA Beau Monde’s 2015 celebration of the eightieth anniversary of the Regency romance novel, I wrote a weekly Georgette Heyer poll here on my site as my way of contributing to the festivities.  These polls were quite popular at the time and a great way for Heyer lovers to connect over favourite characters, favourite scenes, and best loved phrases.  It was during this time that romance authors Avril Tremayne and Jane Godman, editor Ali Williams, and I formed our own little Heyer group which Ali affectionately named the “Dash it Alls” in honour of Freddy Standen from Heyer’s 1953 novel CotillionContinue reading

From Chancery Court to Mansfield Park: A One Year Anniversary Digest

Young Lady in a Boat by James Tissot, 1870.

Young Lady in a Boat by James Tissot, 1870.

Last March, a questionnaire from my literary agent about my social media presence prompted me to finally join Facebook and Twitter.  The very next day on March 23, 2015, I started this blog.  Initially, I wasn’t sure which direction I would go in, however, in real life I’m a crackerjack researcher and—according to my last boss—I write exceptionally compelling briefs.  Since my latest book hadn’t sold yet and I had no blurbs or buy links to post, I decided to focus my skills on the subjects I love best: 19th century Romance, Literature, and History.

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The Evolution of the 19th Century Gown: A Visual Guide

Individual Images of Gowns via Met Museum

Individual Images of Gowns via Met Museum

The silhouette of women’s gowns changed a great deal over the course of the 19th century.  From the onset of the Regency to the end of the Victorian era, fashionable ladies saw Empire waistlines drop and classical simplicity give way to flounces, frills, and an abundance of trimmings.  Sleeves ballooned up and skirts ballooned out.  The crinoline morphed into the bustle and steam-molded corsets cinched the waist ever tighter.  Most of us can easily identify the lines of an early Regency gown or the shape of a late-Victorian dress with a bustle.  But what about those transitional years?  The 1820s, 1830s, and 1870s, for example.  Sometimes styles of these decades are harder to pinpoint.  With that in mind, I present you with a decade-by-decade visual guide to silk gowns of the 19th century. Continue reading

Georgette Heyer’s Most Beloved Novel

The Thick of the Plot by George Goodwin Kilburne, 1924.

The Thick of the Plot by George Goodwin Kilburne, 1924.

Filled with sparkling wit, frothy romance, and impeccable period details, every single one of Georgette Heyer’s Georgian and Regency novels has something to recommend it.  There are runaway balloons, devoted rescue dogs, kidnappings, duels, brooding Yorkshire heroes, and “that Greek fellow.”  How can a Heyer fan choose only one favorite?  It would be unfair of anyone to ask us to do so.  Nevertheless, it seems only fitting that for the final Georgette Heyer poll we address ourselves to the difficult task. Continue reading

Nurses, Valets, & Tigers: Georgette Heyer’s Most Unforgettable Servants

A Distraction from Chores by Auguste Serrure, 1903.

A Distraction from Chores by Auguste Serrure, 1903.

The townhouses and country estates that house the heroes and heroines of Georgette Heyer’s novels are not staffed by servants who fade discreetly into the background.  Instead, we encounter all manner of outrageous characters.  There are fighting valets, kleptomaniacal tigers, and nurses who preach fire and brimstone.  In real life, any one of these domestics would be let go without a reference.  In a Heyer novel, however, their hilarious hijinks are endlessly entertaining – and utterly unforgettable. Continue reading

The Plight of the Pet Monkey in 19th century Literature and History

“Properly trained and looked after, there is no pet which can be so interesting or amusing as a monkey.”  Hardwicke’s Science Gossip, 1889. 

The Monkey Who Had Seen the Word by Edwin Henry Landseer, 1827.

The Monkey Who Had Seen the World by Edwin Henry Landseer, 1827.

Throughout most of the 19th century, it was not at all uncommon for a family to keep a monkey as a household pet.  Monkeys were playful, mischievous, and adept at mimicry.  In short, they were amusing.  They were also human-like enough to be regarded by some affectionate owners as no more than naughty children.  Indeed, for some, the pet monkey may even have filled the vacant role of child in a childless family. Continue reading

Venetia and the Byronic Hero

A Garden Stroll by George Goodwin Kilburne, 1924.

A Garden Stroll by George Goodwin Kilburne, 1924.

(*Author’s Note: The following article was originally published in the April edition of The Regency Reader.  I thought it was time to have it here in its entirety.  Enjoy!)

As romance writers and readers, we are all intimately acquainted with the Byronic hero.  That particular brand of brooding, mysterious, misunderstood – and did I mention handsome? – Regency rogue that has stolen the heart of many a sheltered young Regency heroine.  He is Captain Conrad in The Corsair, Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, and Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre.  And as dark and dangerous as he is, he makes the honorable, morally upright gentlemen with whom he shares the page seem downright unappealing. Continue reading

The Pet Parrot: As Depicted in 18th and 19th Century Art, Literature, & History

Woman at the Piano with Cockatoo by Gustave Léonard de Jonghe, (1870).

Woman at the Piano with Cockatoo by Gustave Léonard de Jonghe, (1870).

When thinking of 18th and 19th century pets, we inevitably imagine dogs or cats or small, caged canaries.  Large and colorful exotic birds are not generally the type of animal we envision inhabiting the pages of a Georgian or Regency novel, much less an actual Georgian or Regency home.  It may surprise you to learn that parrots were, in fact, quite popular as pets during the 18th and 19th centuries. Continue reading

Courtship, Proposals, and Marriage: Heyer’s Most Memorable Couples

Signing the Register by Edmund Leighton Blair.

Signing the Register by Edmund Blair Leighton .

Much like in a Shakespearean comedy, the end result of most of Georgette Heyer’s novels is a marriage.  We may not see the wedding and we are certainly never privy to the honeymoon, but make no mistake, from start to finish, a Heyer romance is all about the happy couple.  With that in mind, I have carefully selected five popular pairings from Heyer’s Georgian and Regency novels.  I present to you below the contenders for Georgette Heyer’s Most Memorable Couple. Continue reading