Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Fatal Fashion


A lady discovers that fashion can be deadly... literally. “A cutting wind or the fatal effects of tight-lacing”, c.1820, courtesy of the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

See more #gloriousGeorgians on Twitter!

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

The Bum-Bailiff


The Bum-Bailiff is outwitted by a canny lady who abandons her scaffolded frock to make good her escape! #GloriousGeorgians of 1786 via the British Museum.

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Thursday, 1 April 2021

Under a Spitfire Sky - 99p for a limited time!

  

Our debut Ellie Curzon novel, Under a Spitfire Sky, is just 99p for a limited time!

Buy it now! Published by Orion DASH, writing as Ellie Curzon.

Can they find love in the darkest days of war?

It’s 1944, and Florence is a talented engineer in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, patching up planes to make sure that the brave Spitfire pilots of Cottisbourne airbase return safely day after day.

When she befriends the new squadron leader – shy, handsome Siegfried – it seems that romance might blossom under the war-torn skies. But Florence is nursing a broken heart and a terrible secret, which might destroy her one chance of happiness…

Meanwhile, a new plane is being developed that could turn the tide of the war, but Florence fears there is traitor is in their midst, putting Siegfried – and the whole country – in terrible danger. Can Florence save her Spitfire boys, and her own heart?

This romantic, exciting World War II saga is perfect for fans of Kate Hewitt, Jenny Holmes and Annie Murray

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Being Mr Wickham: Live Streaming

Being Mr Wickham starring Adrian Lukis will stream live later this Spring... You asked for it, Adrian and I delivered!

Click on the link to find out more and book your virtual ticket!

Being Mr Wickham

Unfortunately, I can’t answer technical questions about the stream and its availability - please direct them via the link above  



Wednesday, 17 March 2021

The Three Graces in a High Wind


Never underestimate the perils of fashion! The Graces in a high wind - a Scene taken from Nature, in Kensington Gardens, by James Gillray. Via the V&A.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

The Commercial Dandy

Dr. Samuel Phillips Eady, a quack specialist in sexual health, certainly seems to get on well with his glamorous patients! "The Commercial Dandy and his sleeping partners", by George Cruikshank, 1821.Via the Lewis Walpole Library Digital Collection.

Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Miss Prattle and the Doctor


“This old thing? I just threw this on.” Miss Prattle Consulting Doctor Double Fee about her Pantheon Head Dress,  1772, via the Met.

See more #gloriousGeorgians on Twitter!

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Jane Austen Made Me Do It

 It's my pleasure to welcome Zoe Wheddon, with a charming tale of Jane Austen's best friend.

---oOo---

‘Jane Austen made me do it’ is a refrain that we may have heard before, but in my case, it really is true. In the summer of 2017, the bi-centenary year of Jane Austen’s death, book benches designed and painted by local artists were dotted around my Hampshire home as part of an art trail that encircled various places where Jane Austen had once walked before us. Amongst other things following the map to each bench spawned a reading frenzy about our beloved authoress, the like of which I had never embarked upon before. Why had I never made the most of the opportunity to find out more about our local heroine in the past? I could not answer, but I read every biography I could get my hands on.  

With the end of the Summer would come the end of my obsession – or so I thought, but instead I fell headfirst down a very beautiful rabbit hole as I stumbled upon the chance to volunteer both at Jane Austen’s House and ‘the Great House,’ Chawton House. It was as I spent time in these beautiful places the following Spring, the words of talented biographers weaving their way through my mind and mingling with the images and objects of her affection all around me, that a thought struck me. I will not forget that moment (one that anyone who has ever followed a creative impulse will recognise.) A question loomed in on me...who is this Martha Lloyd? She flitted in and out of my peripheral vision, almost like a ghost, her name would sometimes appear and then disappear, there were whispers of her on the wind here and there – who really was she and why, if she had spent so many years living with Jane, had no-one said anything about her before? My feelings began to stir and I realised I felt more than a little passionate about this, ‘If Jane had been married you can bet your bottom dollar, we would know about it’ I quietly ranted in my head, thinking of the many films and tv series that this would have inspired over the years. Yet this friend, who apparently cooked for Jane and lived in a little room just along the upstairs landing from her bedroom was barely ever mentioned. The thought would not shift, I began to turn it over and over in my mind, I had to find out more. So, I began and it was as if Jane was nodding at me now, encouraging me along to find out more, she wanted Martha to be talked about too.

Why would Jane want the world introduced to Martha I wondered? Could it be that her story was so unique that Jane wanted it shared? Perhaps. Was it that she had inspired one of the characters in Jane’s novels? Possibly. Slowly but surely, it dawned on me it was about the uniqueness of their friendship, a friendship that had been so very important to Jane - Jane the person as well as perhaps Jane the novelist. I realised that I wanted to tell this story more than anything, because Martha knew Jane as only a best friend can, just as Henry knew her as only a brother could and James Edward as only a nephew could. This, this was a completely different perspective, one with more meaning and interest to Jane’s followers than a male relative’s view of her, one that would reveal more of the person that Cassandra so touchingly depicted in her own eulogy letter to her niece. Here was a way for us to peep behind the curtain into Jane’s homelife and see her as another young woman might have seen her. This was too special an opportunity to pass by, too rare a glimpse not to be sought after with every effort and using every possible source available. This was a dream come true – the dream of everyone who has ever read a Jane Austen novel or seen an adaptation and wished with all their heart that they could carry on the conversation with the author herself. This was surely a narrative for our time, and with the resurgence of the female voice through campaigns such as the #MeToo movement it seemed even more important, more relevant than ever, that we should seek a clearer picture of Jane Austen the woman. For in doing so we might not only indulge our dreams of being Jane’s friend but also reveal a more authentic view of Jane and thus with it a deeper understanding of her messages to us in her novels. 

The book written, I took a trip to Jane and Martha’s Chawton home and sat on the beautifully carved commemorative stone bench. I imagined them both coming and sitting with me as we gazed out upon verdure. I felt truly grateful for the many hands of friendship offered to me throughout the research and writing journey, especially to Catherine the very first to reach out and encourage me.  ‘Friendship is certainly the finest balm’ not just for ‘disappointments in love’ as Jane pointed out, but also for our hopes and dreams, those really quiet ones that we perhaps flick away like flies or that lay hidden deep within our hearts. Learning about Jane and Martha’s friendship taught me to have faith in my own creativity. It unearthed the realisation that I, as we all do, have a contribution to make to life through love and connection with others. 

Hidden in Jane Austen’s Best Friend: The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd there is a challenge implicitly issued to every reader - what would Jane have YOU do? In writing this book I have found she would have you be your truest and fullest self, to find a way to bring your dreams into the light, and to give your own ‘darling child’ a lease of life. She would encourage you to let the spark catch, to start where you are, to find your own small group of supporters and to begin to carve out moments, to mould your time to do your bidding. She would acknowledge that you need to dredge up the gumption and put in the hard work even though that work be difficult or imperfect because in letting forth this fountain, this force, you will know, as Jane did, the thrill that only the expression of yourself can bring and you will, in that moment, know how to value yourself as you should. 

---oOo---

A native of Jane Austen's beloved county of Hampshire, Zoe lives in a North Hampshire village, on the outskirts of the town that she and her husband Matt both grew up in, with their 3 grown up children and their cat Leia. When she is not researching or writing, Zoe can be found in the classroom teaching Spanish and French or singing ABBA songs loudly in her kitchen.

JANE AUSTEN'S BEST FRIEND: THE LIFE AND INFLUENCE OF MARTHA LLOYD is a heart-warming examination of the 'recipe for friendship' between Jane Austen, (with whom all Janeites are best friends in their imaginations,) and Martha Lloyd. In looking back somewhat longingly at Martha and Jane's strong and enduring bond we can examine all their interests, including the hits and misses of their romantic love lives, their passion for shopping and fashion, their family histories, their lucky breaks and their girly chats.

Through an examination of the defining moments of their shared lives together, the book gives readers an insight into the inner circle of the famously enigmatic and private authoress and the life changing force of their friendship.



Monday, 22 February 2021

Under a Spitfire Sky

 

Out now! Published by Orion DASH, writing as Ellie Curzon.

We’re so excited – today’s the day that our debut Ellie Curzon novel, Under a Spitfire Sky, will be hitting your Kindles!

Can they find love in the darkest days of war?

It’s 1944, and Florence is a talented engineer in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, patching up planes to make sure that the brave Spitfire pilots of Cottisbourne airbase return safely day after day.

When she befriends the new squadron leader – shy, handsome Siegfried – it seems that romance might blossom under the war-torn skies. But Florence is nursing a broken heart and a terrible secret, which might destroy her one chance of happiness…

Meanwhile, a new plane is being developed that could turn the tide of the war, but Florence fears there is traitor is in their midst, putting Siegfried – and the whole country – in terrible danger. Can Florence save her Spitfire boys, and her own heart?

This romantic, exciting World War II saga is perfect for fans of Kate Hewitt, Jenny Holmes and Annie Murray

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Pampered Cats

More cats who know they’re onto a good thing! A Catamaran Or an old maid’s nursey, by Thomas Rowlandson, 1811. Via the British Museum.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

A Use for a Rump


An alternative use for one lady’s flamboyant hat and fake rump - a rain shelter! The Summer Shower, or Mademoiselle Par, a Pluye, 1786. Via the Met.

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

A Spoiled Cat


This cat knows it’s onto a good thing. Miss Sukey and her Nursery, 1772. Via the British Museum.

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Breeches


“I think I make as good a man as my brother.” My brother's breeches--or not quite the thing, 1816. Via British Cartoon Prints Collection (Library of Congress).

Monday, 18 January 2021

The Elder Sons of George III: Kings, Princes, and a Grand Old Duke

I'm thrilled to announce that The Elder Sons of George III: Kings, Princes, and a Grand Old Duke, is out now. If you'd like to learn more about the six daughters of the Windsor nunnery, follow the link below to read my guest post at the Pen & Sword blog.

The Elder Sons of George III: Kings, Princes, and a Grand Old Duke

For nearly 60 years, King George III reigned over a tumultuous kingdom. His health and realm were in turmoil, whilst family life held challenges of its own. From the corpulent Prinny and the Grand Old Duke of York, to a king who battled the Lords and the disciplinarian Duke of Kent, this is the story of the elder sons of George III.

Born over the course of half a decade of upheaval, George, Frederick, William, and Edward defined an era. Their scandals intrigued the nation and their efforts to build lives away from the shadow of their impossibly pious parents led them down diverse paths. Whether devoting their lives to the military or to pleasure, every moment was captured in the full glare of the spotlight.

The sons of George III were prepared from infancy to take their place on the world’s stage, but as the king’s health failed and the country lurched from one drama to the next, they found that duty was easier said than done. With scandalous romances, illegal marriages, rumours of corruption and even the odd kidnapping plot, their lives were as breathless as they were dramatic. In The Elder Sons of George III: Kings, Princes, and a Grand Old Duke, travel from Great Britain to America and on to Hanover in the company of princes who were sometimes scandalous, sometimes sensational, but never, ever dull.




Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Pickpockets


This “cake” (a naive young fellow) is so busy being charmed by his lady friends, that he hasn’t noticed they’re picking his pocket! A Cake in Danger by Rowlandson, 1806. Via the Royal Collection.

Monday, 4 January 2021

Bridgerton: The True Story of Lady Whistledown

If you've been enjoying Netflix's brand new regency drama Bridgerton over Christmas, then you'll already be familiar with Lady Whistledown and the scandal sheets that kept the gossipy wheels of Georgian Britain turning. I'm delighted to be featured by Town & Country to lift the lid on the real Lady W, and the true story of some very scandalous newspapers indeed!

Click here to read more!

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