Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Valentine’s Day’ Category

Happy Valentine’s Day! Over at Austen Authors we’ve been celebrating the whole weekend with lots of fun stuff – on Saturday I compiled excerpts from everyone’s books – lovely romantic passages, of course – do have a look. 

I am thrilled to bits with this review from Suite 101 I don’t think if I’d written it myself I could have done it better-thank you so much, Jessica Hastings!

I’ve been over at Love, Romance, Passion talking about writing styles. Here’s the interview I had with Keira.

And here’s a guest blog from Read All Over Reviews – suitably romantic for today!





Thank you, Teresa, for inviting me to your blog to talk about my book, Mr. Darcy’s Secret, and as we are so close to Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be lovely to tell you about how some of my research was connected with the sending of flowers and love letters.
In Georgian times it was customary to send love letters and tokens, cards cut and pricked with a design to look like lace or flowers for Valentine’s Day. This was the age of the Romantic poet, and so poems were popular, they might be in the form of a riddle, such as the letter that Emma receives when Mr. Elton wishes to court her or an acrostic where the first letter of every line gives the lover’s name. Again, in Emma, Jane Austen has Frank Churchill send Jane Fairfax a very expensive valentine in the form of a pianoforte. Of course, she leaves us guessing from whom this gift has come, and I suppose that’s what makes valentines then and now, so much fun. Part of their charm is that we do not know always know the identity of the sender.
When I was writing Mr. Darcy’s Secret, I wished for Georgiana Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s sister, to receive such a gift. There are two gentlemen pursuing her, and though I wanted to give the scene an air of mystery, I also wanted her to guess which particular gentleman had sent the tussie mussie, (a country word for a bouquet). Flowers were often sent as love tokens in this time period and every flower had a special meaning, so that if you were a shy suitor you would let your lady know how you felt by sending a particular flower. I chose violets, partly because they are associated with faithfulness and modesty, but also because they are February’s flower. Georgiana’s suitor wants her to know that he is steadfast and will never forget her, and is also illustrating what he feels she represents as a lovely, modest young woman. Here’s a sneak peek from the scene. Georgiana’s maid has entered her room on a spring-like February day.
“Oh, Miss Darcy, look what we have here,” Mary said, as she returned to the bedside fussing about her charge, pummelling pillows and straightening the bedclothes. Georgiana sat up rubbing her eyes but smiling at the sight of Mary who looked most excited. “There’s no note with them, Miss,” she began, “but I expect these beauties are from Mr Calladine.”
A bunch of blue violets, their delicate heads nodding against the glossy green leaves that bound them were wrapped in waxed paper and tied with a purple ribbon. “That’s so romantic, Miss,” Mary continued. “My dear old mum says there’s hardly such a romantic flower for lovers. Faithfulness, I’ll always be true is what a violet says, and a bunch as big as this—he must have been up for hours picking them. Ooh, Miss Darcy, smell them! Just a moment, I’ll fetch a vase of water.”
Georgiana held the posy to her nose and breathed in the sweetest perfume redolent of the scents of woodland in early spring. Hugh Calladine could not be responsible for such a delightful gift, she thought. The only flowers she had received from him were a bunch of hothouse blooms forced from one of his greenhouses on the day after the announcement of their engagement. The only person who really understood flowers and would be aware of their symbolism and meaning was the only man who truly empathised with Georgiana, she knew, and, as she buried her nose deep into the tussie mussie, her happiness at the idea knew no bounds. To think of Tom wandering through the woods collecting the tiny flowers, to know that she must have been in his thoughts at such an early hour was to render her almost delirious with elation. But whilst the sense of euphoria was almost intoxicating, the antithesis of feelings in desolation and despondency soon took hold. Knowing that their love, however sweet, was forbidden and could never be gave rise to feelings of despair.
Have a fantastic Valentine’s Day with those you love!





Just a reminder that the competitions for a signed copy of Mr. Darcy’s Secret close today. Winners announced tomorrow!


Advertisements

Read Full Post »

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, here is a snippet from Willoughby’s Return. I wanted this book to be as much Margaret’s story as Marianne’s and I thought it high time she started to enjoy herself by attending balls and meeting young men. Colonel Brandon’s sister and family have recently returned to Whitwell and his nephew, Henry Lawrence, back home from university, is introduced to Margaret for the first time at a ball at the Brandon’s home, Delaford.

The gong rang out, calling the weary dancers to rest awhile and replenish their energy. All the guests hurried off to the dining room, where tables were set, groaning under the weight of a magnificent spread. The musicians laid aside their instruments and dashed to the servant’s hall for a glass of negus and a bowl of soup. Colonel Brandon ushered his guests, Sir Edgar and Henry Lawrence, to his table, where much to her great delight, Margaret already sat, with her mother, the Middletons, and Mrs
Jennings. There was such a hubbub and frenzied bustle about the room as people found their chairs and struck up conversation.

Every little party was talking nineteen to the dozen, piling plates with cold meat and hot pies, sweets and sorbets, filling glasses with ice cold wine. Everyone had so much to say and wanted to say it all at once. The sound of chattering, braying, prattling, and screeching, punctuated by howling laughter or tittering giggles, added to the delirious atmosphere.

Henry took his seat next to Margaret. “This evening is surpassing all my expectations,” he whispered, smiling into her
eyes. “This is so much fun, do you not agree, Miss Dashwood?”

“I do, indeed, Mr Lawrence,” she replied. “I am enjoying myself very much, though I would more so if I felt we were not under so much scrutiny. Do not look now, but we are being observed.”

“Let me guess, Miss Dashwood,” he responded, “Lady Middleton and her sweet mother are watching us and, no doubt,
trying to catch the essence of our conversation. Hmm, let me see. I must give them something on which to ponder and discuss.”

He selected a dish of pink, heart-shaped marchpane and, taking one between thumb and forefinger, proffered it toward her,
proclaiming in an audible voice for all to hear, “Miss Dashwood, may I offer my heart? Pray, do not leave me in suspense, I beg
you. Do not break it, but take it and devour it whole!”

Margaret felt mortified, especially when she saw Lady Middleton exchange knowing glances with Mrs Jennings. Everyone laughed when Margaret refused to take the heart and even more so when Henry begged again and it was only when
Mrs Jennings spoke that the table fell silent.

“Colonel Brandon, where is your dear wife? Has she not come in to supper? I cannot think where she can be and for that matter, I cannot recall when I saw her last. I hope she is not ailing; she did look a trifle pale after the last dance. Bless my soul, but I must say it is probably wiser that she sit down more often.”

Margaret looked about the room and, in so doing, caught her sister Elinor’s solemn expression. They had each perceived
the hints that Mrs Jennings was making and knew their sister would be far from pleased. But apart from that neither of them
could see Marianne and both recognised the solicitous mien in the other.

Read Full Post »

Lydia Bennet’s Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia’s online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet’s Story, begins.

Monday, February 15th, 1802

Two events have occurred today to vex me beyond endurance.
I am a laughing stock, only to be pitied and I am more convinced than ever that I will die an old maid!
The first was a letter from my friend Isabella extolling the virtues and pleasures of love and affairs of the heart, which by all accounts she is surrounded as she has gone to Bath. I have received more descriptions of lovers than I ever want to read again and I expect she will receive an offer any day now. I am happy for her but it is so unfair! Other people have all the luck! If I should have the chance to go to Bath, I am sure I would find myself a husband but papa won’t even take me as far as St. Albans!!!
The other circumstance, which has been my great misfortune to have bestowed upon me, is the discovery by Kitty, (who I swear will never let it lie) of the identity of my sweet valentine. To my great shame he is no admirer of any consequence and Kitty plagues me with his name every time we cross paths. I have taken to avoiding her, I am heartily sick of her laughing about my ‘beau’ as she calls him. Oh! That I had destroyed the letter on first receiving it and never told her a word about the whole episode.
The perpetrator deserves to have his ears boxed for the presumption and I do not know if he will ever be forgiven. I have a good mind to tell papa! For no officer, captain or other acquaintance was the author of such romantic verse, it was Ned our stableboy, who copied out the verse he found in a pocket book! Rebecca, our sweet maid, is put out as she was not the recipient and I think it will be a while before he is allowed to chase her around the kitchen. I cannot begin to wonder what he meant by it!!

Lydia Bennet

Read Full Post »

Lydia Bennet’s Online Diary.
At this time of the year I always read Pride and Prejudice and I thought it would be fun to see what Lydia is thinking about all the goings on at Longbourn. Lydia’s online diary starts just before Mr Bingley arrives and finishes where my novel, Lydia Bennet’s Story, begins.


February 14th, 1802

Rebecca the housemaid came to our door this morning with a breakfast treat of rolls and a cup of chocolate. She set down the tray, put more coal on the fire and then stood before the bed looking for all the world as if she bore it on her shoulders.
“Begging your pardon, Miss Lydia,” she whispered, looking about her as if she expected us to be intruded upon at any moment, “Forgive me if I have done wrong, but I thought it would be best not to hand this over to you in front of your mother and father. I found this letter addressed to you lying on the hall carpet, just poked under the door. I hope that’s right, miss,” she added, and took from her grubby pocket, a letter, sealed with red wax.

“Oh, Rebecca!” I exclaimed as I took in the seal that was formed into the shape of a heart. “Do stay. If you promise not to breathe a word, I shall read it to you.”
Kitty chose this moment to awake and as I produced the letter with a flourish and waved the heart under her nose, she squealed, expressing both her excitement and dismay at never having had any valentine ever profess his love on paper and asserted that she probably never would.

The seal was carefully broken to reveal a poem written in miniature script and decorated with a border of hearts pricked out with a pin.

Oh! Thou unkind one! prithee tell
Why thus from me, in haste, you go?
None else can love thee half so well,
Then do not, do not leave me so.
If fate ordains that we must part,
And I must ev’ry joy resign;
Then grief will quickly break that heart,
Which, while it throbs, shall still be thine.

“It must be from Captain Carter!” shrieked Kitty. “It can be no other. Oh, Lydia, he must love you very much to take the trouble to write and tell you.”
“How can it be the Captain, Kitty?” I cried, despairing at her stupidity. “He has just got engaged, as you well know, and besides, I can distinguish his handwriting and this is not it. In any case, I cannot imagine Richard Carter pricking out a decoration to save my life!”
“Unless he had a hand in its making,” chimed in Rebecca who had been staring mute and afraid to speak lest we sent her away.
“And if not, then it must be from someone else!” Kitty exclaimed, grabbing the letter and peering intently at the handwriting. “I swear there is something familiar about this writing, but I cannot think why that should be. I feel sure I have seen it somewhere before.”

We are all intrigued but I am certain that this proclamation of love has nothing to do with Captain Carter and has come from another quarter. How I am to find out I do not know but, I shall be most careful to observe the manners of all my gentlemen acquaintances when next in Meryton. No doubt my valentine will give me a sign. I must admit this little escapade has cheered me up beyond measure and I feel most excited at the prospect of a valentine beau!

Lydia Bennet

Read Full Post »

…he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents would most suit her.

In chapter fifty of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth Bennet is beginning to think that she made a mistake when she turned down Mr Darcy’s proposal. Her feelings towards him have changed and she can only contemplate on the fact that if he knew of her heart’s transformation he would consider he had won a victory.

What a triumph for him, as she often thought, could he know that the proposals which she had proudly spurned only four months ago, would now have been gladly and gratefully received! He was as generous, she doubted not, as the most generous of his sex; but while he was mortal, there must be a triumph.

She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was an union that must have been to the advantage of both; by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved; and from his judgment, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance.

Here’s a card for Valentine’s Day. I hope you like it – it shows Jane Austen sitting at her little desk at Chawton cottage on her brother Edward Knight’s estate writing Pride and Prejudice. She’s nearly finished her novel and she’s enjoying a moment of triumph as she reads through the passage above. At any moment she may be covering her work when she hears the creaking door that tells her when someone is coming. Quick, Jane, I can hear someone coming. Oh, it’s only Cassandra and she knows exactly what you are doing. What a relief – there’s a little more time before anyone else will come downstairs, so hurry up and finish for all those generations of Janeites waiting to read your wonderful book.

Read Full Post »

…he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents would most suit her.

In chapter fifty of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth Bennet is beginning to think that she made a mistake when she turned down Mr Darcy’s proposal. Her feelings towards him have changed and she can only contemplate on the fact that if he knew of her heart’s transformation he would consider he had won a victory.

What a triumph for him, as she often thought, could he know that the proposals which she had proudly spurned only four months ago, would now have been gladly and gratefully received! He was as generous, she doubted not, as the most generous of his sex; but while he was mortal, there must be a triumph.

She began now to comprehend that he was exactly the man who, in disposition and talents, would most suit her. His understanding and temper, though unlike her own, would have answered all her wishes. It was an union that must have been to the advantage of both; by her ease and liveliness, his mind might have been softened, his manners improved; and from his judgment, information, and knowledge of the world, she must have received benefit of greater importance.

Here’s a card for Valentine’s Day. I hope you like it – it shows Jane Austen sitting at her little desk at Chawton cottage on her brother Edward Knight’s estate writing Pride and Prejudice. She’s nearly finished her novel and she’s enjoying a moment of triumph as she reads through the passage above. At any moment she may be covering her work when she hears the creaking door that tells her when someone is coming. Quick, Jane, I can hear someone coming. Oh, it’s only Cassandra and she knows exactly what you are doing. What a relief – there’s a little more time before anyone else will come downstairs, so hurry up and finish for all those generations of Janeites waiting to read your wonderful book.

Read Full Post »

Calling all men! (As Lydia would say!) Look here – I know there’s still a couple of weeks left until Valentine’s day, but I wanted to draw your attention to the lovely work of Jean Judy and her blog about Jane Austen which features her lovely jewellery. I first discovered her work on Ms Place and Laurel Ann’s lovely blog and couldn’t get an e-mail out quickly enough to ask her to make me one after I’d dropped some large hints to my husband about February 14th! Here’s a sneak preview of my beautiful bracelet (underneath) which features Sense and Sensibility on one side of the medallions and a selection of my own paintings on the other. I asked for spring colours – I love blues and greens and I think it’s beautiful.

I’m not sure I will be able to wait until Valentine’s day to wear it.

Here’s my lovely husband with a couple of gorgeous girls – my sister and my daughter.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »