Archives

Mrs. Barlow’s Tasteful Advisements to Young Matrons and Overwrought Mothers of Daughters: Made-Dishes

This post is part of the Authors in Bloom Ten-Day Blog Tour. Each stop on the tour will offer a prize, and a Grand Prize of an eReader and a $25 Gift Card will be awarded to two participants who comment on each and every one of the participating blogs.

My prize is a print copy of my time travel romance, A Home for Helena, about a young woman who discovers she was kidnapped from Regency England as a child. This prize is International and will be awarded to a random commenter on this blog post.

Note: Be sure to leave your contact email in your comment so that you can be contacted if necessary.

 

Made-Dishes

What is technically called a made-dish, presupposes either a more elaborate mode of cookery than plain frying, boiling, or roasting or else some combination of those elementary processes,—as, for example, half-roasting and finishing in the stew-pan, which is a very common way of dressing a ragout. All dishes commonly called French dishes are of this class, such as fricassees and ragouts, meat braised, larded, &c. and so are hashes, curries, and generally all viands that are re-dressed.

Made-dishes are valued by the gourmand for their seasonings and piquancy, but they are equally esteemed by the economist from the circumstance of a much less quantity of material than would suffice for a boil or roast, making a handsome and highly-flavoured dish; while, by the various modes of re-dressing, every thing cold is, in a new made-dish turned to good account. The most common fault of made dishes is, that they are overdone.

The very name made-dish, with us implies something savoury and highly relishing, and though over seasoning is to be avoided, it is proper that made-dishes should rather be piquant than insipid.

Made-dishes of beef that has been dressed.

Few persons come to the years of eating-discretion like cold meat, and though the days are quite gone when the hospitality of the landlord was measured by the size of the joint, it still happens that where a table affords any variety of dishes, much meat will be left cold. The invention of the culinary artist is thus put on the rack for new forms and modes of dress, and new names for various dishes which are intrinsically one. The most common and the best methods of dressing cold beef are broiling, heating in the Dutch oven, or hashing.

Click here for links to all of Mrs. Barlow’s recipes.

Introducing Mrs. Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow, mother of five lovely daughters herself, has graciously condescended to provide Susana’s Parlour with some of her tasteful advisements on housewifely matters, such as meal planning and the rearing of children, in hopes that our readers will find them informative. Having recently set up a Twitter account where she will be sharing her most treasured household tips, she hopes many of you will follow her: https://twitter.com/lucybarlowsmom

Much of her advice comes from this manual, which she insists should be in every housewife’s possession:

The Cook and Housewife’s Manual, Containing the Most approved Modern Receipts for Making Soups, Gravies, Sauces, Regouts, and All Made-dishes; and for Pies, Puddings, Pickles, and Preserves; Also, for Baking Brewing, Making Home-made Wines, Cordials, &c.

Mrs. Margaret Dods (Christian Isobel Johnstone), Edinburgh, 1826

Available free on Google

About A Twelfth Night Tale

Without dowries or the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. When Lucy, the eldest, attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, she knows she should encourage his attentions, since marriage to a peer will be advantageous to all. The man of her dreams was Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and now he’s betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to accept reality… and Lord Bexley.

Andrew returned from the Peninsular War with a lame arm and emotional scars. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend, “little Lucy”—now a strikingly lovely young woman—who shows him the way out of his melancholy. But with an eligible viscount courting her, Andrew will need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.

Amazon • iBooks • Kobo • Nook

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Barlow’s Tasteful Advisements for Young Matrons and Overwrought Mothers of Daughters: Sauces

Sauces, Essences, and Condiments

“Elements! each other greeting,

“Gifts and Powers attend your meeting!”

Pirate

“It is the duty of a good sauce,” says one of the most recondite of modern gastrologers, the Editor of the Almanach des Gourmands, “to insinuate itself all round the maxillary glands, and call into activity each ramification of the palatic organs. If it not be relishing, it is incapable of producing this effect, and if too piquant, it will deaden instead of exciting those titillations of tongue and vibrations of palate, which can only be produced by the most accomplished philosophers of the mouth on the well-trained palate of the refined gourmet.” This, we think, is a tolerably correct definition of what a well-compounded sauce ought to be.

The French, among our other insular distinctions, speak of us as a nation “with twenty religions and only one sauce,”—parsley and butter, by the way, is this national relish,—and unquestionably English cookery, like English manners, has ever been much simpler than that of our neighbours. Modern cookery too, like modern dress, is stripped of many of its original tag-rag fripperies. We have laid aside lace and embroidery, save upon occasions of high ceremonial, and, at the same time, all omnegatherum compound sauces and ragouts, with a smack of every thing. Yet the human form and the human palate have not lost by this revolution. The harmonies of flavours, the affinities and coherence of tastes, and the art of blending and of opposing relishes, were never so well understood as now; for the modern kitchen still affords, in sufficient variety, the sharp, the pungent, the sweet, the acid, the spicy, the aromatic, and the nutty flavours, of which to compound mild, savoury, or piquant sauces, though a host of ingredients are laid aside.

The elegance of a table, as opposed to mere lumbering sumptuousness, or vulgar luxury, is perhaps best discovered in the adaptation of the sauces to the meats served, and in their proper preparation and attractive appearance. Plain Sauces ought to have, as their name imports, a decided character; so ought the sweet and the savory. All Sauces should be served hot,—a matter too often neglected in the hurry of dishing and serving dinner. Sauces with which cream and eggs are mixed must be diligently stirred after these ingredients are added, to provent their curdling, and suffered to warm through, but not to boil. The same care must be taken in mixing capers and all acid pickles in sauce. Though it is willful waste to put wine, catsup, lemon-juice, aromatic spices, and other expensive ingredients, into sauces for more than the time necessary to extract the flavour, yet, on the other hand, these things must be infused or boiled long enough to be properly blended, both in substance and flavour, with the basis of the sauce. The previous concoction must also be duly attended to, whether at the mincing-board, in the mortar, or saucepan. As a general rule, brown sauces should be thinner than white. Cream should be boiled before mixing.

The basis, or, more correctly, the vehicle of most English sauces, is butter, whether melted, oiled, browned, or burnt; or gravy, clear, brown, or thickened; also water, milk, cream, and wine, or some substitute. A numerous class of sauces is composed of vegetables and green fruits, another of shell-fish, and a third of meat. There are still other sauces compounded of an admixture of all these ingredients. It will simplify arrangement to take these in regular order; though the philosophers of the kitchen, it must be owned, shake themselves tolerably free of the trammels of system.

Click here for links to all of Mrs. Barlow’s recipes.

Introducing Mrs. Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow, mother of five lovely daughters herself, has graciously condescended to provide Susana’s Parlour with some of her tasteful advisements on housewifely matters, such as meal planning and the rearing of children, in hopes that our readers will find them informative. Having recently set up a Twitter account where she will be sharing her most treasured household tips, she hopes many of you will follow her: https://twitter.com/lucybarlowsmom

Much of her advice comes from this manual, which she insists should be in every housewife’s possession:

The Cook and Housewife’s Manual, Containing the Most approved Modern Receipts for Making Soups, Gravies, Sauces, Regouts, and All Made-dishes; and for Pies, Puddings, Pickles, and Preserves; Also, for Baking Brewing, Making Home-made Wines, Cordials, &c.

Mrs. Margaret Dods (Christian Isobel Johnstone), Edinburgh, 1826

Available free on Google

About A Twelfth Night Tale

Without dowries or the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. When Lucy, the eldest, attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, she knows she should encourage his attentions, since marriage to a peer will be advantageous to all. The man of her dreams was Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and now he’s betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to accept reality… and Lord Bexley.

Andrew returned from the Peninsular War with a lame arm and emotional scars. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend, “little Lucy”—now a strikingly lovely young woman—who shows him the way out of his melancholy. But with an eligible viscount courting her, Andrew will need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.

Amazon • iBooks • Kobo • Nook

Mrs. Barlow’s Tasteful Advisements to Young Matrons and Overwrought Mothers of Daughters: Vegetables and Roots

Vegetables and Roots

Vegetables are at their best when just on the eve of being ripe, in their natural season, and when their growth has neither been retarded, nor forced on by artificial means. The vanity, and it is no better, which spurs on people to load their tables with flavourless, colourless, immature vegetables, is ever punished by the expense and disappointment it occasions. Much, however, has been judiciously done of late years, both to improve the quality and to spread the cultivation of vegetables. Where a turnip, a cabbage, or a leek, was twenty years ago the only vegetable luxury found on a country gentleman’s table, we now see a regular succession of not merely brocoli, cauliflower, and peas, but the more recondite asparagus, sea-kale, endive, and artichoke, with an abundance of small saladings. The vegetable-markets of most towns have within the same period undergone a wonderful improvement. The number and quantity of articles are more than doubled, and the price, except for early vegetables, has diminished at least a half; so that this healthful and harmless luxury is now within the reach of all classes. But vegetables of the more delicate species are still comparatively such recent acquaintances, that, even at tables otherwise elegantly appointed, they are seldom seen perfectly well dressed, at least in so far as regards colour. That homely chemistry, which does not disdain to descend to the kitchen, has indeed considerably assisted the cook of late in this department. A few general observations will, if attended to, supply the place of long or often-repeated directions for dressing vegetables. Unlike animal substances, vegetables can never be dressed too fresh, though some kinds, such as French beans and artichokes, will keep a few days. They must, after being carefully cleared from insects and decayed leaves, or other spoiled parts, be washed in plenty of water; they cannot be too much washed. Let them lie in salt and water, head downwards, till they are put to boil. This simple method will bring out every insect that may lurk in the leaves. To preserve their beauty, they must be boiled alone, in a perfectly clean and well-tinned vessel, and in abundance of soft water. A tea-spoonful of salt of wormwood, or a bit of pearl-ashes or soda of the size of a nutmeg, will not only preserve the green colour, but contribute to the tenderness of cabbage, savoys, &c. Put in all vegetables with soft boiling water and plenty of salt; with hard water the colour will keep better, but the quality will not improve. Make them boil fast, and do not cover the vessel if you desire to preserve their fine colour. In a former section it was recommended to boil several sorts of vegetables and roots with the meat, when salted, with which they are to be served; and this, though it may injure the colour, will certainly improve the quality,—a point of greater importance. All vegetables should be enough boiled. The cook’s rule of having them crisp is as inimical to health as offensive to the palate. If boiled quickly, which they ought to be, vegetables are ready when they begin to sink in the boiling water, and they will spoil ever instant after that. Meat may wait a little, but vegetables will not.

Obs.—Stewed and roasted onions used to be a favourite supper-dish in Scotland, and were reckoned medicinal. The onions were stewed (after boiling) in a butter-sauce, to which cream was put,—the sauce blanche of France.

Click here for links to all of Mrs. Barlow’s recipes.

Introducing Mrs. Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow

Mrs. Leah Barlow, mother of five lovely daughters herself, has graciously condescended to provide Susana’s Parlour with some of her tasteful advisements on housewifely matters, such as meal planning and the rearing of children, in hopes that our readers will find them informative. Having recently set up a Twitter account where she will be sharing her most treasured household tips, she hopes many of you will follow her: https://twitter.com/lucybarlowsmom

Much of her advice comes from this manual, which she insists should be in every housewife’s possession:

The Cook and Housewife’s Manual, Containing the Most approved Modern Receipts for Making Soups, Gravies, Sauces, Regouts, and All Made-dishes; and for Pies, Puddings, Pickles, and Preserves; Also, for Baking Brewing, Making Home-made Wines, Cordials, &c.

Mrs. Margaret Dods (Christian Isobel Johnstone), Edinburgh, 1826

Available free on Google

About A Twelfth Night Tale

Without dowries or the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. When Lucy, the eldest, attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, she knows she should encourage his attentions, since marriage to a peer will be advantageous to all. The man of her dreams was Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and now he’s betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to accept reality… and Lord Bexley.

Andrew returned from the Peninsular War with a lame arm and emotional scars. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend, “little Lucy”—now a strikingly lovely young woman—who shows him the way out of his melancholy. But with an eligible viscount courting her, Andrew will need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.

Amazon • iBooks • Kobo • Nook

A Regency Christmas Dinner

Christmas Decoration

Merry Christmas!

 Reblogged from Kathy L. Wheeler‘s Blog

December 10, 2013

Roast beef dinner

Christmas Dinner, served around midday, might feature a boar’s head (really a pig, since there weren’t any boars around by then), roast goose or roast turkey (which came to England from the New World around 1550 and rose in popularity through the eighteenth century). These were accompanied by vegetables such as boiled or steamed brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, and roast potatoes (sometimes boiled or mashed), as well as stuffing.

According to legend, Henry VIII was the first to have turkey served at Christmas. In A Christmas Carol (1843), Scrooge sends the Cratchitts a large turkey for their Christmas dinner. But turkey did not become a popular favorite in England until the 20th century.

The meal would be accompanied by wine or wassail (See December 13th post), which was often made with sherry or brandy.

wassail copy

For dessert, there was always a Christmas pudding (See December 3rd post), which might be served with brandy butter or cream. Although it was sometimes called “plum pudding,” there were no plums—only raisins. Mince pie was another traditional favorite (See December 4th post). There might also be gingerbread and marzipan and other popular sweet treats.

After dinner, the family might gather around the pianoforte (if there was one) and sing carols such as Deck the Halls, Here We Come a-Wassailing, and While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks. Most other Christmas carols sung today are of German origin and didn’t spread to England until Victorian times.

Traditionally, a small tithe was given to a landowner on Christmas Day, and sometimes children might receive a small toy, but the Regency Christmas was not a time of gift-giving as it is today. All in all, Christmas was a time for family to assemble together and celebrate the Christmas-tide Season.

A Twelfth Night Tale is on sale for the remainder of 2014!

In A Twelfth Night Tale, the Barlows celebrate the holiday with their neighbors, the Livingstons, and the St. Vincents—a wealthy viscount who is courting the elder daughter Lucy and his three daughters. Andrew Livingston, who has returned wounded from the Peninsula, suffers a few pangs of jealousy as he watches the viscount’s attentiveness to the now-grown-up-and-very-desirable Lucy. Is it too late for him to stake a claim for her?

http://www.susanaellis.com/A_Twelfth_Night_Tale.html

twelfthnighttale_msr copy200x300

Ellora’s Cave • Amazon • Barnes & Noble • Kobo

 

Short and Sweet Holiday Treats

If you’re looking for a quick HEA fix for the holiday season, here are some suggestions. Not all are holiday-related and not all are sweet, heat-wise, but all are bargains and great reading!

A Holiday Anthology, Vol. 1 by Rose Anderson

holiday anthologyA Holiday Anthology, Vol. 1 is a  FREE collection of short Christmas stories By Exquisite Quills Authors and Friends. It has been written for adults who love romance stories but is family friendly. Each story is unique and is meant to give a sampling of the writing of that author. From contemporary to historical, the Exquisite Quills authors and friends wish you a happy holiday filled with wonderful books.

  • Christmas Knight by Victoria Adams
  • Star of Wonder by Rose Anderson
  • The Kissing Ball by E. Ayers
  • The Christmas Risk by Beverley Bateman
  • Fallen in Love by Helena Fairfax
  • Snow Job by J.D. Faver
  • Christmas Miracle by Jennifer Garcia
  • Highland Hogmanay by Romy Gemmell
  • Almost Christmas by Vonnie Hughes
  • The Unexpected Christmas Gift by Susan Jaymes
  • Shooting Star Holiday Express by Gemma Juliana
  • The Christmas Gift by Jean Lamb
  • A Faery’s Wish by Jane Leopold Quinn
  • Joyeux Noel by Zanna Mackenzie
  • Gifts to Treasure by Kaye Spencer

Free download on Smashwords.

**********

A Grosvenor Square Christmas by Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly, Anna Campbell, and Kate Noble

Four breathtakingly romantic tales of a Regency Christmas from four bestselling romance authors.

Down through the years, enchantment touches a tall gray house in Grosvenor Square. The legend of Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball promises true love and happiness to one lucky couple. Who will feel the magic this winter?

1803 – The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen

Rowena Harcourt, the Duchess of Valère, never forgot the handsome footman who helped her escape the French Revolution. For fourteen years, Gabriel Lamarque has loved Rowena—now at Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball, has fate finally delivered a chance to win her hand?

1818 – One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly

Nigel Dash is London’s most reliable gentleman, a reputation he never minded until he fell in love with beautiful Amelia Easton. Unfortunately, Amelia sees Nigel as a dependable friend, not a dashing suitor. At Lady Winterson’s famous Christmas ball, Nigel vows to change Amelia’s mind—by sweeping her off her feet.

1825 – His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell

At the season’s most glittering ball, a girl who has never dared to dream of forever after discovers a Christmas miracle.

1830 – The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble

Susannah Westforth has always loved Sebastian Beckett – but he’s only ever seen her as a friend. When Sebastian takes his Grand Tour, Susannah transforms herself into a woman he’ll notice. Now Sebastian is back, just in time for Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball – but the last thing he expects to see is his little Susie, all grown up…

You’re invited to join the whirling dance at Lady Winterson’s sparkling Christmas ball, where miracles happen and true love shines forever. How can you resist?

**********

Mischief and Mistletoe by Tanya Anne Crosby

Suspecting he can never be the man Emma Peters wishes him to be, Lucien Morgen, the fifth duke of Willyngham, decides to break off their long-standing engagement… only to discover the innocent fiancé he set aside for years has unexpectedly blossomed into a passionate, irresistible woman.

As the family counts down to Christmas, everyone else seems to realize Lucien and Emma are truly meant to be–except the oblivious couple. With the help of some very mischievous children, Emma and Lucien are about to discover that a little mischief beneath the mistletoe might just open their hearts to love.

**********

Christmas Roses: Love Blooms in Winter by Mary Jo Putney, Patricia Rice and Susan King

Love Blooms in Winter. Three rare, historical romance novellas by acclaimed writers Patricia Rice, Mary Jo Putney, and Susan King are collected together here for the first time in this exclusive eBook, Christmas Roses. “The Snow Rose”, “The Black Beast of Belleterre”, and “The Kissing Bough” weave tales of the joy of unexpected Love, at a special time of year, Christmas – as only these talented writers can. Discovery in the midst of a clash of clans, hidden desires from an unexpected suitor, and a love once lost and found combine for a truly romantic journey through history. This tantalizing collection of historical romances also includes all-new introductions and recipes to add to the delight of the season.

**********

The Gladiator’s Girl by Amy Hearst

Rue, a slave girl in an ancient Roman ludus, has been searching for love all her life. Her mistress often gives her to victorious gladiators for pleasure at their school as a reward for competence in the arena.But Rue has only experienced cruelty from men until she meets Ducius,a muscled and handsome gladiator who relishes their love and revives Rue’s wilting spirit. He treats her gently and nurtures her, and Rue begins to believe in the future again.Their relationship grows ever deeper each time they come together. But the shadow of death haunts them whenever Ducius sets foot upon the sands of the arena, and Rue is certain she will never escape the bonds of slavery. They both search for a path to permanent happiness, a path that can only be determined by their master.

**********

A Winning Streak by Téa Cooper

Will the path of true love incur the wrath of the virgin Goddess Artemis?

Abandoned at birth, Atalante, protege of the goddess Artemis, is forced into an untenable position by her estranged father, the King of Arcadia—renege on her vow of virginity or condemn her suitors to a sacrificial death. The aristocratic courtier, Melanion, cannot believe anyone would be foolish enough to put their life on the line for the dirty little predator whose reputation for speed and cruelty is legendary. That is until he falls under Atalante’s spell.

Consumed by desire and jealousy, Melanion is determined to win Atalante’s hand or die trying. He calls upon Aphrodite to assist him, little realizing that her noisome brat, Eros, has the pair of them in his sights and is determined to inject a little spice into their lives. Spice that will devastate the path of true love and incur the wrath of the virgin Goddess Artemis.

**********

Kisses, She Wrote: A Christmas Romance by Katharine Ashe

Christmas in town has never been so steamy . . .

Handsome as sin and scandalously rakish, Cam Westfall, the Earl of Bedwyr, is every young lady’s wickedest dream. Shy wallflower Princess Jacqueline of Sensaire knows this better than anyone, because her dreams are full of the breathtaking earl’s kisses. And not only her dreams—her diary, too.

But when Cam discovers the maiden’s not-so-maidenly diary, will her wildest Christmas wishes be fulfilled in its pages . . . or in his arms?

**********

Her New Year’s Knight by Selene Grace Silver

The holidays are a time for family. So what if Darla doesn’t have one. She’s a trained psychologist and well-versed in all the dangers of inflating the importance of one week of the year. Besides, she has her clients who need her. Unfortunately, one of them seems to have a dangerous obsession for her. She doesn’t need Santa to bring her a family. What she really needs to find under the tree is a strong protector.

This novella runs 110 pages. It contains explicit descriptions of sex. Recommended for mature (17+) readers only.

**********

All That’s Unspoken by Constance Phillips

After eight years, Hailey is back in Caseville, Michigan. Just months after her mother’s death, her siblings want to put their father in a nursing home and rent out the family farm. If that wasn’t enough, the prospective tenant is Nate, the high school crush she left behind the day after they acted on their mutual attraction.

After high school, Nate Jenkins planned to leave small town behind, but life dealt him a different hand of cards. He’s now back in Caseville, raising his daughter and running his family’s diner. His daughter’s speech disorder has been improved by therapeutic horse riding and if he can lease the old Lambert farm, he can get her a horse of her own. The only thing standing in the way is Hailey, the same woman who left him eight years ago without even saying goodbye.

Can they get over all that’s unspoken between them?

**********

Council Courtship by Constance Phillips

When Tristan Ipsly becomes eligible to fill a vacated Council seat, he thinks his chances are non-existent. Especially since he is the sole member to a house the fell to the revolution and his contender Edwin Vettore is an elder from a house that adheres to Canon teachings.

If fairykind has a chance at survival, it will come on Tristan’s wings of change. Or so Quinn Vettore believes. But voicing her support for Tristan will anger her grandfather, and he’s the one man who can stand in the way of a courtship between Quinn and Tristan.

Will Edwin successfully keep both Quinn and the position out Tristan’s grasp, or will the Council yield to change?

**********

Twelfth Night Wager by Regan Walker

THE REDHEADED RAKE
It was a dull day at White’s the day he agreed to the wager: seduce, bed and walk away from the lovely Lady Leisterfield, all by Twelfth Night. But this holiday season, Christopher St. Ives, Viscount Eustace, planned to give himself a gift.

THE VIRTUOUS WIDOW
She was too proper by half—or so was the accusation of her friends, which was why her father had found her a husband. But Lord Leisterfield was now gone a year, and Grace was at last shedding the drab colors of mourning. The house felt empty, more so during the coming Christmastide, and so tonight would begin with a scandalous piece of theater. The play would attract rogues, or so promised her friend the dowager countess. Rogues, indeed. The night would preface the greatest danger—and the greatest happiness—that Grace had ever known.

**********

The Holly and the Thistle by Regan Walker

A chance meeting at Berry’s wine shop, a misunderstanding and Christmastide all come together to allow the most handsome Scot in London to give Lady Emily Picton the best Christmas gift ever: a marriage not of convenience, but of love.

**********

Three Timeless Loves by Claire Delacroix, Terri Brisbin, Eliza Knight

Not short, but a great deal, especially if you like Scottish time travels!

**********

The Christmas Cuckoo by Mary Jo Putney

Major Jack Howard, a weary veteran of the Peninsular Wars, has just returned to England and intends to travel to an unwelcoming family home for Christmas. But when a pompous secretary gives him too many orders, Jack hops on the next stagecoach leaving the London inn, not caring where it’s going. Too much whisky to stave off freezing leaves him sleeping it off in a different inn, and when an attractive young woman asks if he’s Jack Howard, he happily goes home with her.

Despite vile weather, Meg Lambert drives to the local inn to collect her brother’s friend Jack Howard, but since she’s never met the man, she doesn’t realize that she’s brought home the wrong Jack Howard. Jack realizes her mistake when he awakes the next morning with an aching head—but he finds a warmth and welcome with Meg and her family that he’s yearned for all his life. He can’t bring himself to admit that he’s a cuckoo in her nest—but what will happen when Meg’s brother and the right Jack Howard turn up for Christmas???

**********

A Lass For Christmas by Jane Charles

Lady Madeline Trent had grand plans for her future until she learned her family’s awful secret. When a fall through an icy lake lands her in the arms of a handsome Scot, her future is more unsure than ever.

Lachlan Grant, the Marquess of Brachton, may hold an English title, but he’s a Scot through and through. He’s bound and determined to marry a lass just as Scottish as he is, at least until his fate is altered one snowy night.

A Lass for Christmas is a novella of approximately 27,000 words and the fourth story in the Tenacious Trents series.

**********

Mistletoe and Magic by Katie Rose

SusanaSays3SUSANA SAYS: A delightful holiday romance: 4/5 stars

Penelope Appleton has an unusual gift—that of seeing visions of the future. Among other things, she foresaw both of her older sisters’ love matches, and then, finally, she sees her own.

When she and Jared Marton clasp eyes on each other at the Christmas Ball, they both know they are destined for each other. Unfortunately, Penelope sees something else as well—a newspaper headline proclaiming Jared’s death on Christmas Eve.

In an attempt to protect her heart from the devastating blow of losing her true love, Penelope determines to avoid Jared. But the smitten attorney doesn’t give up easily. No matter what Penelope contrives to discourage him, he manages to find a way to counteract it. And Penelope finds herself falling for him in spite of herself.

Mistletoe+and+Magic+(Novella)But Penelope’s visions have always come true, so she can’t help becoming more and more anxious as Christmas Eve approaches.

This novella is a sequel to Rose’s “Courting Trouble” and “A Hint of Mischief.” “Mistletoe and Magic” stands by itself, however, which I can verify since I have not read either of the preceding novels.

“Mistletoe and Magic” is a delightful Christmas read that will no doubt spur other readers on to obtain the first two stories and discover how Penelope’s sisters met their matches.

Available

AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo

**********

Cotillion Christmas Traditions series

cotillionchristmastraditions                    printbook copy2

This series of eight sweet Regency novellas has previously been featured on this blog. These stories are also available in two print volumes: Cotillion Christmas Traditions and Cotillion Christmas Celebrations.

**********

A Regency Christmas Collection by Hetty St. James

Three Regency Christmas stories available in digital form as well as print and large print. Previously featured on this blog.

The Yule Log: #MistletoeHop

 Merry-Mistletoe-Hop-300x300

Click banner above to return to the other stops on the Mistletoe Hop!

Yule Log

As a former French teacher, the term “Yule Log” tends to bring to mind the tasty Bûche de Noël, a sponge cake rolled with cream and decorated with chocolate icing and marzipan mushrooms. The Bûche de Noël originated in France and Belgium and has spread to the UK and other places as well.

5-fireplace copy

The tradition of the Yule log is not an ancient custom in Britain, but is considered to have been imported from Flanders in Belgium (from an ancient Nordic pagan tradition). The idea was to find the largest log possible (usually oak) and to keep it burning throughout the entire Twelve Days of Christmas. A remnant of the log was kept in the house for the next year to bring prosperity and protection from evil spirits…and to use in lighting the next year’s Yule Log.

The Yule log would be cut down and dragged by horses or oxen as people walked along and sang merry songs. Often it would be decorated with greenery and sprinkled with grain or cider before being lit. The first attempt at lighting the log had to be successful in order to avoid bad luck during the coming year. And the person lighting it had to have clean hands; dirty hands would be disrespectful. While log burned, people would drink cider and tell ghost and other tales and watch the walls for shadows. A headless shadow foretold the death of the person casting the shadow in the next year. People could burn offerings to represent their personal faults and mistakes to wipe the slate clean and start the year afresh.

Originally, the log was an entire tree, one end of which would be inserted into the hearth and the rest jutting out into the room. Burning an entire tree is not practical today with central heating and all.

In Cornwall, barrelmakers (coopers) would donate old trees unsuitable for making barrels to people for Yule logs. In Devon and Somerset, people used very large bungles of ash twigs, due to the legend that it was very cold in the stable where Mary and Joseph were staying and the shepherds collected twigs for them.

By the Regency-era, most people did not have large enough hearths to burn entire trees, but they could burn a large log for at least twelve hours on Christmas day.

A random commenter on this post will win a Twelfth Night Tale Christmas charm bracelet.

bracelet2

Büche de Noël recipe

Martha Stewart recipe

About A Twelfth Night Tale

A wounded soldier and the girl next door find peace and love amidst a backdrop of rural Christmas traditions.

Without dowries and the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. But when the eldest attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, suddenly it seems as though Fate is smiling upon them.

Lucy knows that she owes it to her younger sisters to encourage Lord Bexley’s attentions, since marriage to a peer will secure their futures as well as hers. The man of her dreams has always looked like Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and, in any case, is betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to put away childhood dreams and accept reality…and Lord Bexley.

Andrew has returned from the Peninsula with more emotional scars to deal with than just the lame arm. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend “Little Lucy” who shows him the way out of his melancholy. He can’t help noticing that Lucy’s grown up into a lovely young woman, but with an eligible viscount courting her, he’ll need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.

Available

Ellora’s CaveAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboSonyARe

Mary’s Merry Christmas and Birthday Giveaway Hop

blog hop button

Happy Birthday, Mary!

Merry Christmas, Everybody!

Click on the above banner to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning one of the fabulous prizes! Click here for the Rafflecopter!

Christmas in Regency Times

Celebrated since medieval times, the Twelve Days of Christmas was a time of celebration, feasting and dancing that began on December 26 and ended on January 6 (which much later become known as Epiphany). (Christmas Day is not part of the Twelve Days because it is considered a holy day and meant for solemn reflection instead of wild partying.)

Where did the Twelve Days come from? Apparently it took the Three Kings twelve days to find the Christ Child…and the twelfth day—January 6th—is when they gave Him their gifts. In Hispanic countries, January 6—el Día de los Reyes Magos—is when people exchange gifts, not on December 25th.

During the Twelve Days, neighbors would visit each other and share traditional holiday foods such as mince pie and wassail, and entertain themselves with games and songs. Other than caring for livestock, farm laborers and peasants took this time off as well to celebrate with their families and friends.

Many Christmas traditions were pagan in origin, however.  Wassail, which was an ale-based drink with spices and honey, was used in a ceremony to sprinkle on the roots of apple trees to ensure a good crop. People would shoot off guns and make a lot of noise to scare away the demons and wake up the tree spirit. A pretty girl was selected to place cider-soaked pieces of toast in the tree branches. Then everyone would chant and sing traditional wassail songs. Although this is still practiced today in some areas, wassailing in the Regency had evolved into more of a “caroling”-type event, which you will see in my novella, A Twelfth Night Tale.

Regency Christmases tended to be more laid-back and relationship-oriented than our Christmases today. Decorations of holly and greenery, candles, roaring fires, the smells of Christmas goose and pudding, games of hoodman blind and charades, singing carols around the pianoforte, King Cake, helping others less fortunate, and engaging in lots of interaction with family and friends were the heart of Regency Christmas traditions.

No frenzied shopping, constant pressure to outdo everyone else, wearing oneself out so as to be too exhausted to enjoy the actual event. Also no Christmas trees or stockings (German traditions that came to England much later) or Christmas cards.

Wouldn’t it be great if Christmas were to return to the relaxed, people-oriented celebration it once was instead of the commercial hustle-bustle that causes stress and, eventually, credit-card shock? Or do you think it’s too late for that?

A random commenter on this post will win a Twelfth Night Tale Christmas charm bracelet.

bracelet2

About A Twelfth Night Tale

A wounded soldier and the girl next door find peace and love amidst a backdrop of rural Christmas traditions

Without dowries and the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. But when the eldest attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, suddenly it seems as though Fate is smiling upon them.

twelfthnighttale_4inchLucy knows that she owes it to her younger sisters to encourage Lord Bexley’s attentions, since marriage to a peer will secure their futures as well as hers. The man of her dreams has always looked like Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and, in any case, is betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to put away childhood dreams and accept reality…and Lord Bexley.

Andrew has returned from the Peninsula with more emotional scars to deal with than just the lame arm. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend “Little Lucy” who shows him the way out of his melancholy. He can’t help noticing that Lucy’s grown up into a lovely young woman, but with an eligible viscount courting her, he’ll need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.

Available

Ellora’s CaveAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboSonyARe