Tag Archive | A Twelfth Night Tale

A Regency Christmas Quiz

A Regency Christmas Quiz

(Answers below)

For this quiz, the Regency is defined as 1811-1830.

True/False

  1. Christmas trees lit by candles were common decorations in Regency England.
  2. Gift-giving was a prominent Christmas tradition in Regency times.
  3. The Twelve Days of Christmas began on December 26 and ended on January 6 and did not include Christmas Day because it was a solemn, holy day and not one for partying.
  4. Many Christmas traditions were pagan in origin.
  5. Although it originated as a pagan ceremony to ensure a good apple crop, wassailing became more of caroling event in the Regency.
  6. Christmas Pudding, or Plum Cake, contains raisins rather than plums.
  7. A Christmas Pudding can be made months in advance.
  8. Finding a thimble in your slice of Christmas Pudding means good luck for the coming year.
  9. Mince pie and all things Christmas were banned during Cromwell’s reign because they were considered “pagan,” but it all came back when Charles II came into power.
  10. Originally, mince pie was made with meat and spices and served as a main course.
  11. The three spices in mince pie—cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg—were meant to represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  12. Originally, the Yule Log was from the largest tree that would fit in the fireplace so it would keep burning throughout the Twelve Days of Christmas.
  13. “Mummers” were traveling troupes of actors who would go door-to-door offering to perform and sing for a few coins.
  14. In the Regency era, Christmas decorations were often left up throughout the month of January.
  15. Silent Night was one of the Christmas songs commonly sung in the Regency era.
  16. The custom of stealing kisses beneath the kissing bough, or even a sprig of mistletoe hanging from the ceiling or doorway in a place where people were certain to walk beneath it, became popular in the late eighteenth century.
  17. Boxing Day was a time to reward servants, tenants and tradesmen with gifts of money and/or food.
  18. Plough Monday, which is the Monday after Twelfth Day (Epiphany), is when the farm laborers are called back to work after the Christmastide.
  19. Christmas Eve was the traditional night for wassailing.
  20. If your piece of King Cake contained a bean, you were crowned “King” for the night.

Contest Winner

(from the Sweet N Sexy Divas blog contest)

Nancy Mayer

Regency Researcher Extraordinaire

Answers

  1. False. Christmas trees did not appear until the Victorian era, when Prince Albert brought the German custom to England.
  2. False.
  3. True.
  4. True.
  5. True.
  6. True.
  7. True.
  8. False. It means “thrift.” Finding a wishbone means good luck.
  9. True.
  10. True
  11. False. The three spices were in honor of the Three Magi who came from the Orient to honor the Christ Child.
  12. False. The Yule Log was the largest and tallest true and was inserted the long way into the fireplace, with the rest jutting out into the room. In the Regency era, it was a large log that would burn at least twelve hours on Christmas Day.
  13. True
  14. False. It was bad luck to have them up past Twelfth Day (January 6th).
  15. False. Stille Nacht was one of many German songs that were exported to Britain during the Victorian era.
  16. True.
  17. True. Because servants were required to work on Christmas Day, it was tradition to give them the next day off to spend with their families.
  18. True.
  19. False. Twelfth Night (the evening of January 5th) was the traditional night for wassailing.
  20. True. Whoever got the pea was “Queen.”

About A Twelfth Night Tale

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

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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.

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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

 

Cotillion Authors’ Blog Tour & Scavenger Hunt

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Click the graphic above to return to the blog tour page!

Welcome to the Cotillion Authors Blog Tour & Scavenger Hunt!

—International—

February 14-17, 2014

Janice Bennett • Kate Dolan • Susana Ellis • Saralee Etter • A.S. Fenichel • Aileen Fish • Barbara Miller • Hetty St. James • Elaine Violette

We’re not your typical Ellora’s Cave authors!

We write for Cotillion, an imprint of Ellora’s Cave’s Blush line, the mainstream “other” side of Ellora’s Cave that most people don’t know about.

Yes, Virginia, Ellora’s Cave does publish mainstream romance, in addition to the erotic romance it’s famous for. Even sweet romance, such as traditional Regencies, believe or not!

It’s true!

Cotillion is the traditional Regency imprint of Ellora’s Cave’s Blush line. Cotillion stories are chock-full of romance and traditions common in the early 19th century. Their settings range from elegant London ballrooms to family estates in the country. Heroines may be wealthy society belles or impoverished gentry such as the Bennet daughters in Pride and Prejudice. Heroes may be titled or untitled, but if they are rakes, they must be ready to reform, because the only sexual behavior you’re going to see here is kissing.

If you like Jane Austen and traditional Regencies such as were popularized by Georgette Heyer, why not give our books a try? We’d love to hear what you think!

Hop around to your heart’s content, feel free to comment on the posts, hunt for answers to the authors’ scavenger hunt questions, and perhaps you’ll be one of our 10 lucky prize winners (see contest details below)…although you’re already a winner if you find a new story to read, don’t you agree?

The theme for this tour is Love in the Regency Era, and for my post, I’ve chosen to talk about the limited choices available for young ladies in the Regency era.

A Lady With Few Choices

For ladies with much wealth and family connections, particularly those with beauty as well, the ton was their oyster. Surrounded by suitors, they would more than likely have their choice of husbands. Once the marriage took place, all bets were off. Even beautiful, wealthy, and noble women were legally in their husband’s control.

Ladies without those advantages often had little choice in who they married. Jane Austen turned down at least a couple of proposals, but she and her sister came from a family where independent spinsterhood was an option. Ladies without indulgent family members either became governesses or companions, or went into servitude to their more fortunate family members as poor relations.

Lady Theresa is the daughter of an earl, but her father lost his money through embezzlement, and now that he is ill, he is concerned that upon his death, his daughter will be left homeless and impoverished. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if his heir, a distant cousin who is wealthy in his own right, were to make Theresa his wife? Not only would she be economically secure, but she would be able to remain at her beloved childhood home, the estate she has managed for several years.

However…Damian, Lord Clinton is a London Corinthian, the likes of which Theresa despises. He thinks she’s a country clodhopper and a nitwit besides. There seems to be no hope that a match between two such polar opposites will succeed.

But maybe—just maybe—first impressions can be misleading?

My Author Prize

printbook copy2The prize I am offering is an autographed print copy of Cotillion Christmas Celebrations, which is an anthology of Christmas Regency romances that includes my novella, A Twelfth Night Tale.  Click here for the Rafflecopter to enter to win the contest.

Here’s my question for the scavenger hunt: What is Theresa’s father’s title?

Click on the Cotillion Authors Blog Tour & Scavenger Hunt page to fill in the answer, and you may continue on from there. Enjoy!

Prizes

  1. Each author will offer a prize for a contest, the specifics of which is set up entirely by her. The contest will be open to all participants, regardless of geographic location. For logistical purposes, authors may substitute a digital prize (gift card, etc.) of equal value for another prize that might prove difficult to mail to a distant location.
  2. The Grand Prize for the Scavenger Hunt will be awarded to the participant with the most correct answers to the authors’ scavenger hunt questions.  In case of a tie, the winner will be chosen randomly.
  3. The name of the Grand Prize winner will be posted on the Cotillion Authors Blog Tour & Scavenger Hunt page the following week.

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Scavenger Hunt

  1. Click on the Cotillion Authors Blog Tour & Scavenger Hunt page.
  2. Read the blog post and the author’s short answer question at the end. Locate the answer to the question, then click on the link to the Cotillion Authors Blog Tour & Scavenger Hunt page and type in the answer next to the author’s name. Be sure to fill in the your name and email address!
  3. You may go back to same page and read more of the author’s post (excerpt, etc.) or you may click on another author’s name on the answer sheet and repeat the process.
  4. When you are finished, check to make sure the spaces for your name and email address are filled in correctly, and submit your answer sheet to the tour coordinator . If you submit an incomplete answer sheet, you may come back later and make another submission with the remaining answers when you have more time.

Any questions about the scavenger hunt should be directed to the tour coordinator .

About Treasuring Theresa

She’s a country lady. He’s a London swell. They have nothing in common. Or have they?

Lady Theresa despises London society. What’s worse is that she has to attend the betrothal ball of the young man she expected to marry. To deflect all the pitiful glances from the other guests, she makes a play for the most striking gentleman there—who happens to be her Cousin Damian, who is everything she despises.

Damian, Lord Clinton sees a desperate young lady with no social graces, and it solidifies his opinion that country folk are beneath him. But it so happens that he is the heir to that young lady’s father’s title and estate, and the time comes when he finds himself obliged to spend some time there. 

Thrown together, both Damian and Theresa discover each other’s hidden depths. But are their differences too much to overcome to make a successful match?

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Available

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Excerpt

The dancing had already begun when they arrived. Damian stayed close at Theresa’s side, his arm lightly around her so that his fingers pressed into the small of her back, while she introduced him to her friends and acquaintances. They shared a set of country dances, and when he returned to her side after fetching a glass of lemonade, she was chatting merrily with a cluster of her friends, so he danced a trio of sets with some of the other young ladies. He managed to get back to her in time for the supper dance, just ahead of a tall, fresh-faced youth in a poorly tied Mathematical and a waistcoat that went out of style years ago.

treasuringtheresa_1.75“When does the waltzing begin?” he whispered as they performed the elaborate steps of the country dance. “I must claim the first waltz.”

“We do not waltz here,” she whispered back. “It’s considered far too scandalous. Besides,” she added when they came back together, “we have already danced twice. A third would make us the talk of the shire.”

He chuckled. “Isn’t that what you were aiming for at the Sedgely ball? A juicy scandal to divert the gossips’ attention?”

She looked up at him in surprise. “You know,” she said, “I just realized I don’t care about that anymore. I’m glad Reese is happy with Eugenia.”

“Indeed,” he managed, wondering why he suddenly felt so relieved.

She did condescend to dance another set with him, and Damian hoped all of the old biddy gossips had noticed.

On the return trip, Mrs. Noble babbled on incessantly about gowns and stale cakes while Damian found his eyes lingering over the curvaceous form of the young lady on the seat across from him, the light of the moon being thankfully dim enough to conceal his bold appraisal.

She was silent, in a reflective mood, her head turned toward the window and the shadowed images of the scenery outside.

“Imagine that scamp Dickie Fielding enticing the Hampton chit to meet him in the garden!” Mrs. Noble exclaimed indignantly. “Why I thought her father would explode when they were discovered.” She lowered her voice. “I have it on good authority that they were embracing,” she revealed. “A dreadful scandal indeed should they not marry post-haste.”

Theresa’s head shot around to face him, and he knew she was recalling that night at the betrothal ball when she’d tried to lure him out to the terrace and he’d made a hasty escape. He rather thought now that he would enjoy a pleasant interlude alone in the moonlight with her. He would hold her against him, her head on his chest, while his hands swept over her curves. When he felt her pulse rising, he would draw her chin toward him and take her lips in a long kiss while his other hand would cup her breast, already pebbling with her desire.

Damian froze. What was he thinking? Cousin Theresa was no strumpet. The only way he could indulge in such carnal delights with her would include an obligatory wedding first. And that was out of the question.

Wasn’t it?

About the Author

P1smsqA former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, but historical—Regency in particular—is her favorite. There’s just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination.

In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around the UK and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley, Central Florida and Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.

Contacts

Web site • Email • Facebook • Twitter • Linked In • Pinterest • Google+Goodreads

Susana’s Parlour (Regency Blog) • Susana’s Morning Room (Romance Blog)

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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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???

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

A Palm Tree Sort of Christmas: MFRW’s Home For the Holidays Hop

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Click above to return to the hop!

The phrase “Home For the Holidays” conjures up an image of the family gathered around the fireplace at Grandma’s house eating turkey with all the trimmings, including Grandma’s date-filled cookies and orange bread. We children were all wound up about the treasures Santa had left us under the tree, and being spoiled by Grandma was the icing on the cake.

Grandma’s gone now, and the house is now occupied by my parents, but only in the summer months. Mom and Dad are snowbirds now, enjoying the warmer temperatures and decorated palm trees of central Florida. The icy cold of the north has begun to bother me as well, so I have now joined them in this cozy little retirement community. The Christmas lights are beautiful at night, and we still enjoy a hearty Christmas feast at the clubhouse, but it’s not quite the same.

I miss Grandma and the excitement of being with the extended family, but I don’t miss the ice and dirty slush and the cold drafts in my office in Ohio. I’ll be happy to return in the spring to enjoy the warmer weather, but “Home For the Holidays” for me involves decorated palm trees.

What does it mean for you?

About A Twelfth Night Tale

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

twelfthnighttale_4inchWithout 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

Susana is going all out to celebrate the release of A Twelfth Night Tale!

Besides the Grand Prize—a Giant Treasure Box—she is giving away a Twelfth Night Tale Christmas charm bracelet (silver-plated) for one random commenter on each of the twelve stops of the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter for the Giant Treasure Box!

A Twelfth Night Tale Giant Treasure Box*

  • lovely gift box
  • A Twelfth Night Tale Christmas charm bracelet (silver-plated)
  • Father Christmas figurine
  • Three Wise Men figurine
  • Thomas Kinkade photo collage
  • Treasuring Theresa mug
  • Treasuring Theresa necklace
  • Treasuring Theresa keychain
  • two Christmas ornaments from Scotland (Mary Queen of Scots and fleur-de-lys)
  • two decks of Ellora’s Cave playing cards
  • two perfumed soaps from Scotland
  • fizzing bath salts from Scotland
  • Celtic pen from Scotland
  • “jeweled” soap
  • nail clipper keychain from London
  • stuffed toy bear

*In lieu of the treasure box, a winner from outside the U.S. will receive a gift card from the book retailer of their choice.