Justine: Some Historical Fun in the Kitchen

Program note: I have a set of blog posts planned over the next several weeks geared for the newbie writer. I’m calling it “Back to Basics,” as I find myself going back to the storytelling basics as I work on my new contemporary romance. Also, beginning next week, Nancy Hunter and I will be alternating Tuesdays. I’ll start with my first “Back to Basics” piece, then she’ll blog the following week. We hope you’ll tune in!

In the meantime…I’m taking you back in time!

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Last week, I followed a link from Isabella Bradford and Loretta Chase’s site Two Nerdy History Girls and after much clicking and reading, I found these amazing videos of cooking in a real Georgian kitchen.

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Kew Palace (rear) and Queen’s Gardens. Image courtesy WikiMedia Commons.

The kitchen, located in a separate building from Kew Palace, is one of the few original Georgian kitchens restored as it was last used over 200 years ago. Here you can learn Continue reading

Justine: Regency Research Books

The beautiful Regency-era music room at Kenwood House outside London. Photo (c) 2015 J. Covington

The beautiful Regency-era music room at Kenwood House outside London. Photo (c) 2015 J. Covington

I just returned from ten fabulous days with Jilly in England where I saw all manner of museums, country houses, old ships, and gorgeous churches, big and small. The only downside is the horrible jet lag I’m suffering with today. Combine that with a deadline to return revised manuscripts to two contests I finaled in and a Kindergarten “promotion” ceremony on Wednesday for my little one means I’m recycling a previous post.

I plan to post soon about the dozen or so books I picked up while I was in England, but for now, here’s a recap of some of the ones I’ve read over the last year and enjoyed.

“What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist — the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth Century England” by Daniel Pool
This book covers the gamut. Card games, how to address your peers, the Church of England, MPs, you name it. Everything is covered at a high enough level that you learn about it, but you won’t necessarily become an expert. The most helpful insight so far: learning how many players it takes for a game of loo. Continue reading

Justine: Fun Regency Expressions

"Two Strings to Her Bow" by John Pettie, 1882. From Wikimedia Commons.

“Two Strings to Her Bow” by John Pettie, 1882. From Wikimedia Commons.

I’m on a personal deadline to finish my book, so I went light on my blog post this week. While not necessarily informative, I hope it’s at least a little fun.

These past several weeks, I’ve been listening (yeah, listening — I spend 2 hours a day shuttling the kids to/from school and it’s about the only way I read books anymore) to several Heyer books and thoroughly enjoying each one of them.

In the process of listening (and when I’m at a red light or in traffic), I’ve taken to jotting down some of my favorite expressions. Here’s a handful, with some helpful “how to use them” expressions (when I could figure out how to use them) and layman’s definitions Continue reading

Elizabeth: Taxing the Regency

taxcartPaying taxes is nothing new. Regency England had an extensive system of taxation that might be considered minimal compared to modern rates, but was a source of frustration among those that had to pay it. There were taxes on land, income, glass, candles, beer, carriages, menservants, newspapers, bricks, stone, windows, horses, sugar, coffee, and tea, among other things.

Many of the taxes had social implications beyond the reduction in income. Taxes on paper, for example, meant that reading materials were expensive and Continue reading

Justine: Introducing the “Regency Showcase.” Today: Rotten Row

Rotten_Row_by_James_Valentine_1894

Rotten Row (to the right) and W. Carriage Drive (on left) by James Valentine circa 1894.

As a new regular feature (how “regular” it is remains to be seen), I will share a neat little tidbit or photo of things I’ve learned about the Regency, which is the historical period in which I write. For those of you more…well, historically challenged, the Regency Period is technically defined as the years between 1811 and 1820, during which the Prince of Wales (and future King George IV) ruled England by proxy as Prince Regent. His father, King George III, while still king, was suffering from a “madness” that rendered him incapable of fulfilling the duties of the crown (historians now suspect he suffered from porphyria, an enzyme disorder that can cause mental instability). Loosely speaking, though, the Regency period lasted from about 1795 through the beginning of Victoria’s reign in 1837 (or from the later French Revolutionary Wars to the beginning of the Victorian period).

It was a period of decadence, opulence, and over-indulgence on the part of the ton, or upper ten thousand (the aristocracy), and for me, it’s devilishly fun to write. Continue reading