Tuesday 10 March 2015

A Salon Guest: Accomplishments, Not Expertise!

It is a pleasure to welcome Jane Ashford to the salon to discuss the matter of accomplishments, not expertise!


A fashionable young lady in Regency England was expected to have a repertoire of “accomplishments.” She was to be ready to entertain guests of an evening by playing on the pianoforte and singing the latest ballad. A smattering of French or Italian was a plus. She ought to be able to embroider a pair of slippers or a penwiper as a pretty little gift. The ability to produce tasteful watercolor paintings was praised. But such a young lady was not to take any of these pursuits seriously, as a lifework. They were mere ornaments, inducements to admiration and, eventually, attractive offers of marriage.

I think many talented young ladies must have found this frustrating. In my new book Married to a Perfect Stranger, the heroine Mary Bexley certainly does. She’s a gifted artist, with an uncanny ability to paint portraits that reveal the inner nature of their subject. While she’s painting, the process utterly enthralls her.

It’s too much. Her family labels her a hapless dreamer. Her husband doesn’t understand the intensity of her experience. A leader of society is offended by her all too accurate portrait. It seems a recipe for disaster. And yet, in the end, Mary’s skill saves the day. She achieves recognition as not just “accomplished,” but expert in an important way. And she’s loved for her unique abilities as well as her beauty and kindness.

Thanks for having me on the blog!

About the book
Time and distance have changed them both. Quiet and obliging, Mary Fleming and John Bexley married to please their families. Almost immediately, John was sent on a two-year diplomatic mission to China. Now John is back, and everything they thought they knew about each other seems to be wrong... It's disconcerting, irritating, and somehow very exciting.

regency historical, steamy

About the Author
Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was entranced by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Jane’s historical romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. She has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews.

Website www.janeashford.com
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jane-Ashford/154028944714495?ref=bookmarks

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Written content of this post copyright © Jane Ashford, 2015.


Regencyresearcher said...

True except for French. The Haut Ton all spoke French. The American representative to UK in 1818 mentions several gatherings where every one spoke French, including the English aristocrats..
One of the girls Agnes porter had as a student was taken to London before she was officially out to have dance lessons, get a dress for her presentation at court and to polish up her French.
Music and art were accomplishments meant to show off the lady and usually given up when she married. Austen mentions Mrs. Elton saying she gave up music when she married.

Catherine Curzon said...

Merci! ;-)