Showing posts with label well to do marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label well to do marriage. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Book Blurb... Goodbye Piccadilly

Hello lovely readers,

Last week I finished the book Goodbye Piccadilly by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. I have read a few books of Cynthia Harrod-Eagles in her "Morland Dynasty" series which range from the Renaissance to the 1920s time period, so you can find a time period you can enjoy. You will probably not be surprised but I like the books set in the Edwardian Period to the 1920s... so I was intrigued when I saw she is writing a series just about World War I.

The story is mostly set around the Hunter family... who are middle class with the husband working as a banker and the wife stays at home to mind the household and servants. The story starts off a little slow and what is happening in mainland Europe is just in the back ground. My main criticism of the story is that their are a lot of characters. While there are the Hunters and their 5 maybe 6 kids, there is also their servants, Mr. Hunter's sister and her own plot line. I am hoping as this is a series that we will get to see all these characters plots unfold and it won't be fruitless to keep track of their stories.

The two characters I was most interested in were the Hunter daughters Diana and Sadie. Diana is casted as the beauty of the village who has lots of suitors but her focus is on Charles Wroughton, who is the oldest son of the Earl. While Charles is in good position in society he is not the most social person mostly because of nerves and fear of not knowing what to say. So when he catches Diana's eyes he is actually intrigues that this beautiful girl is attracted to him. Of course his family thinks she is just a fortune hunter... and while that might be a bit true she is honestly interested in him.

The next daughter Sadie, is sixteen and loves horse and actually doesn't want to be out in society for her only destiny to be marriage. She gets a position (most likely volunteer) to help ride horses in order to get them ready for soldiers and begins a crush on the veterinarian.  I hope in the other books she will be able to develop and do real war work.

I also hope in the other books they will develop David, the oldest son of the Hunters, who enlisted in the army a few days after the war.

Outside of the Hunter family is the Hunter family servants. Ethel the young housemaid seems a little arrogant and full of herself... she kind of reminded me of the Ethel character in Downton Abbey, I hope she won't suffer the same fate.

I will be honest this book was not that thick (only 392 pages) but it did take me a bit to get through it... I don't think it was honestly the books fault. I love the history this book included it provided me valuable insights into English society at the beginning of WWI. For example: Charles Wroughton is not allowed to write to Diana herself, he has to write to her mother. I mean that definitely doesn't allow for much romance. Also it gave good information on dates and other historical background like the Irish wanting Home Rule and some suffragette information. I personally love these details as they inspired my own writing so I was happy to read them but I don't think the casual reader would care for them.
As the story was about the the same period that I am currently writing about I found the story inspiring and I think I spent some of my usual commute time reading to write out scenes. Also after falling in love with Susanna Kearsley this summer I would love to find an author who wrote WWI novels in her style. Do you have any suggestions?

As I said there are other books, I think only one other is out set in 1915 called Keep the Home Fire Burning but the library doesn't have it yet... so I will keep waiting to see what happens next.

Overall: I liked the story, but I could do with less characters and I don't know if the casual reader would enjoy a lot of the historical content... however I think it proves that Cynthia Harrod-Eagles has truly done her work and keeps it based in reality.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Too many stories in my head

Dear lovely readers,

I am writing mainly to the other bloggers out there who are writers... well I guess all bloggers are writers. But I feel like this is more a writing problem. I am in the middle of writing a story I love and it has been going through my mind for years, so writing it finally feels like I am accomplishing a goal. However, I am re-reading Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (I know I have talked about the book and mini-series a few times on this blog...if you have not read it or watched it by now, you are missing out) anyway I love this story so much and I have thought about how to update it.
Roger Hamley and Molly
Or re-tell it in some way. I have watched a lot of vloggers updating stories on YouTube and while I feel this would be a great and easy vlog to do... I do not have any film experience. So if a vlogger is out there reading this blog can you please please make a adaptation of this story I would be eternally grateful.

For myself, I feel more comfortable with writing about the early twentieth century than I do in modern times. The last story I wrote was a re-telling of Sense and Sensibility but set in 1906 in western Massachusetts. It was lots of fun bringing the characters of Elinor and Marianne, who I love so much to life as Laurel and Emmy and trying to figure out what women in 1906 do when they are completely dependent on the generosity of family members. 

Molly, Cynthia, Mrs. Gibson
So now I my mind wrapped up in how to bring Molly Gibson up-to-date. The basic premise of Molly Gibson is she is very selfless, and always trying to please people, especially her papa. Unfortunately she is too selfless and in that has a hard time speaking up for herself and when she does some people think she is being selfish, especially her new step-mom. Her new step-mom frequently pretends that she is better than the station she lives in and acts in ways that are quite silly because she wants to be considered high-class. With her step-mom come a new step-sister, Cynthia, who is beautiful... I mean it is said about a hundred times how enrapturing Cynthia is. I personally think this is because she is actually not that good of person on the inside. But good Molly loves her anyway and goes to great lengths to protect Cynthia... even at the cost of ruining her reputation. Eventually her reputation is restored, thanks to Lady Harriet and she does find love (sorry spoiler). However, Elizabeth Gaskell dies before the actual book is finished so we just have to assume all ends happily for Molly.

Going back to my writing- as I said I feel more comfortable with the early twentieth century. So I am trying to configure a way to bring Molly into that time period. However, as much as I am enjoying those musings I must stayed focused on my story at hand. Ugh to be a writer with too many stories on my mind. I guess it is better than not having any stories.
If I do write this story I must use this line.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Debuntante through the years

Edwardian Debutante


I am sorry I have not posted much of my story here... I have been writing I promise. As I have said in the past I usually have to write out my story in my notebook and then I type it up. Unfortunately with the heat wave we have had in Boston  and also due to some of the emotional issues I have shared I have not had the energy to sit at my computer and typed it up. As I have postponed my thesis I want to spend more time fun writing and then typing it up. In my story I am up to the year 1913. Daphne, the oldest daughter is now being presented into society. I was first introduced to the idea of a debutante through Gilmore Girls... though the debutantes have changed over time there definitely something very traditional about them.

I know it is old fashioned but there seems something about a girls debut that seems so nostalgic. In the books I have been reading The Dream Kingdom and The Restless Sea the author Cynthia Harrod-Eagles makes a girl's first season to be the height of their life. It is also a pivotal point in a girl's life... it is here the girl can finally leave the home and perhaps have some adventure. It is also during the season a girl had hopes to find love and marriage. (I had truly wished Downton Abbey had shown Lady Sybil's season.)

The book To Marry an English Lord writes "In the June fortnight between the Derby and Ascot, the seasons reaches its peak. Invitations like in stacks on silver salvers just inside every front door. More dinners, parties, balls, concerts, teas, breakfast even, than anyone can possibly attend. The aristocracy socializes morning, noon, and night, going without sleep for the sake of another dance or one last hand of 'baccy'" (p. 25).


And now it is Daphne's turn to partake...

          It was now the early spring of 1913.  My sister, Daphne, was now eighteen and the height of her beauty and was preparing to be presented in society. Lady Adelaide had slowly come back to us, though she was forever weakened. She could be lively when she need be. Lady Adelaide had generously invited the position of tutoring and hosting Daphne for the season. When I asked her if she was sure about this position knowing how her heartache when Aurora died, she promised she was certain. Daphne was to attend the best of society. Father grumbled at the dressmaker's bill but mother  knew it was all the key to getting Daphne married off well. Mother wanted Daphne to be the talk of the town and mother was repeatedly telling Daphne she had the beauty to capture a viscount or earl if she put her mind to it.

      Daphne and I spent most of the spring practicing dancing and other refined manners. Mother though t best that I too be prepared for my debut. Of course by the time my presentation would come we would be at war and the season was hardly thought of. However, for now I was happy to have such an open time at Cranston Court. I enjoyed being able to see Lady Adelaide most everyday and I felt our presence was a comfort to her since Lord Welford had been splitting  his time between York and Manchester only rarely coming to Cranston. Parker was away at University and even when he had a holiday he spent it with some of his classmates. Marcus did the same.

      "Men were not to stay at the home," she once told me. I never knew if that was meant to console her heart or just a truth.

      And as Parker and Marcus were away Lady Adelaide enrolled Shane and Kelby to be our dance partners. Until now I only saw Daphne having a crush on Shane but it was during our time at Cranston I began to see Shane had feelings for Daphne. It all came on gradually it would be hard to pin point when I first notice an affection between them. Then one day we were dancing and the floor was too slippery and Daphne tripped and he gallantly picked her up and carried her to the sofa. I am sure any man would have done the same but there was a look that I saw pass between them. After that it was only looks I noticed. They had to be discreet as it would bring ruin to both Daphne and Shane if a servant to fall for a lady. While at this point it was only looks I never imagined either one of them would act on it. Daphne knew the desire mother had for her life and Daphne was the finest defender of propriety. So the moments of their affection would be off the page if it wasn't for my for my vivid imagination.

This has been particularly interesting in writing this part as my story is told from first person perspective, Rose's perspective and she is not with Daphne. So far letters have told the events of what is going but I need to think of other ways... perhaps more will be told when Daphne returns home.

Besides the books I have listed there have been some websites that have been quite helpful...


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Love of Fashion!


I love fashion history!  I am very picky too about my fashion history to be accurate. I mean I got upset at Barnes and Nobles because they had a cover of Little Women with women in Empire waist dresses and a copy of Emma in Victorian dresses those are backwards. Of course at that time I was in high school and none of my friends understood but this is example of how specific I like it to be. 

When I am writing a story I always want to make sure the way I describe dresses is historically accurate. I have a whole pin board on pinterest board dedicated to Edwardian Fashion. This part of the story was really fun as I not only got to look at Edwardian wedding dresses  I also learned about Edwardian wedding customs. Apparently they didn't have receptions like we do today usually the married couple were just escorted to the train station and then they were off on their honeymoon. (I might take some artistic liberties here).  

Here are some links I used for my writing
1. The Wedding 
2. Wedding Traditions

The insert story below is from part of my newest post Kathryn's Wedding ...
Friday passed uneventfully, Mrs. James threw a little dinner in Kathryn's honor. Mrs. James insisted that it end early to make sure the wedding party slept well. Truth be told no one slept very well. Kathryn woke up several time to make sure she had not over slept and she got up walk to the closet and looked her dress. They had found it last spring in one of the best shop in New York that imported directly from Paris. It was a beautiful cream white silk with lace cuff on the sleeves, lace around the neck and some subtle beading in the bust line and skirt that flowed into at least two foot train. Her veil came with its own tiara that fell half the way of the train of the dress and had the same beaded pattern along the edge. It would all be glamorous and while Kathryn longed for a quiet ceremony she loved this dress and felt like a princess when she stepped into it. Her mother told her face glowed when she first tried it on in that New York shop. She felt her face glow every time she looked at the dress. Looking at the dress now she could not wait till Nicholas saw her in it tomorrow.

            "Miss," a voice startled her.
            Kathryn flinched then turned to see her petite maid "Bea, you startled me."
            "I am sorry miss, I saw the light under the door and I was just making sure things were all right."
            "Yes Bea, things are wonderful. It is a pretty dress isn't it"
            "Yes Miss. You will be a princess in it."
            "Thank you Bea."
            "Do you need anything Miss?"
            "No Bea, you go back to bed, tomorrow is going to be a long day and mother will run you raged if you are not will rested."
            "Yes Miss, you need your sleep too, we would not want you falling asleep at your own wedding."
            "I won't Bea, I am too excited."
            "Yes Miss, good night Miss. The future Mrs. Nicholas Danford."

            The sound of her new name sent a thrill up her spine. She walked back to her bed and fell asleep till Bea woke up for good. The James house buzzed starting at sunrise. Mrs. James made sure everyone ate a full breakfast especially Kathryn. She was not going to have Kathryn gouge on food at the luncheon making her look wild beast on the biggest day of her life. Kathryn was then tugged into a corset. Kathryn could tell Bea was ordered to pull the strings extra tight, she could also tell that these orders made Bea uncomfortable as Kathryn winced. She took her last deep breath of the day and told Bea as happily as she could that it was all right. She tried to laugh it off that beauty was pain.

            The church was done to the tops filled with the fragrance of yellow and orange color trumpet lilies that made the air smell sweet for miles around and were the perfect color for autumn. Mrs. James thought lilies would be fragrant but Kathryn wanted lilies more than anything. They were no in season anymore, so they had to be specially grown for the occasion. No expense was spared and Kathryn used the fact that her mother wanted to prove to all of Boston that her daughter was worthy of the Danford name as leverage to get any lavish touch she wanted. Though the church was filled with yellow and orange lilies Kathryn just carried a simple bouquet of white roses that were the same shade of the cream that match her dress.

To read more of the story click here

Friday, October 7, 2011

Bitten by the bug

What bug you ask? The Downton Abbey Bug that is.

If you have not seen it... oh you are missing out. In my post on Weekend Loves I wrote how I discovered this show. Well over the weekend I watched most of the first season on but sadly they were off line before I could finish the season. So I sought out a copy and found a good price copy on I was quite impressed with Amazon as I ordered a copy on Tuesday and when I got home on Thursday I had discovered it had arrived. YEAH!!! Also because I am impatient I have found some links that got me to the second season. See what a little googling can do.
The Sisters (Lady Edith, Lady Sybil, Lady Mary)
It is hard to explain the greatness of this beautiful costume drama but I have got swept up in it all.

If you haven't watched it... well you should. But to explain it starts in 1912 right after the sinking of Titanic and we quickly learn that Lord Grantham's only heir (his nephew) was on the ship and died. Now the property and title will be left to his third cousin Matthew Crawley (my latest hollywood crush). And at first no one can except him... I mean he is an upper class lawyer not a gentleman.
Matthew Crawley 
Dowager Lady Grantham 
There is a great scene when he first comes to town where he explains he will get a job, and Lord Grantham asks says he will need to learn the property and he says I can do that on the weekend and Maggie Smith (Lord Grantham's mother) asks "what are weekends?"
But eventually Matthew Crawley gets into the hearts of the people at Downton Abbey especially Lady Mary (Lord Grantham's oldest daughter). But there is so much more than this love story. That is one plot line I love. I do hope Lady Mary and Matthew will get together in the end but it is so complicated and Lady Mary with all her snobbery and stubbornness is a great heroine in the making.

Mr. Bates
Then there is the downstairs plot line I love with Mr. Bates and Anna. Mr. Bates is Lord Grantham's valet and Anna is a house maid. And their love is quiet and tender for each other but it makes my heart flutter when ever they are in the same scene.

And there is Daisy, a young girl in the kitchen who repeatedly abused by the head cook. She loves Thomas, a footman, and William, another footman watches in vain to love her. But Carson, the butler, is probably my favorite downstairs character. He has such honor and pride in how the house of Downton Abbey is run and he makes sure the house runs properly. But he does have a soft spot for the family and the staff he over sees.I feel like I am leaving things out.

Lady Sybil
Back upstairs there is Lady Sybil, the youngest daughter, who is going to change the world. She has a voice on politics, mostly concerning women's rights and she is determined to see one of the house maids hired to be secretary. And when the war comes she goes to help the war movement she becomes a nurse.
Here Sybil is learning how to cook

All the drama (both upstairs and downstairs) is so wonderful to get swept up along in and some times watching it I wish I could go back and live in this world. But I guess I am highly romanticizing it. If you haven't watched yet and are going to seek it out now I recommend you set aside an afternoon to watch and enjoy it because like a good book you can get swept up into it...and one episode is not enough.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

An Afternoon Tea (Part 1)

I know it's been awhile since I posted about my story but I have been working on it so here is some more... If you need to catch up go to My Story Begins and Continuation of the Story

Hope you like and enjoy...

It was in these woods Miss Pembers knew to look for Emmy when the household was expecting Mrs. Melbourne and her eligible son Mr. Melbourne for tea.

“Miss Emmy you have been outside long enough it is time for tea and your mother insist you come outside.”

“I don’t want to be involved in anything where Laurel throws herself at the boring man Mr. Melbourne is.”

“I seriously doubt Miss Laurel will throw herself at anyone, it would be in-proper and your sister has a higher sense of propriety then anyone I know. Now come or I shall send Helena to get you.”

Helena was Grandma Danford’s cook who had no p
roblem disciplining the girls into good behavior with a wooden spoon, Emmy suffered the worst for it. She was hardly the a model of good behavior from her unkempt hair, dirty finger nails and stockings something covered in mud. Mother would only allow Helena to give Emmy one or two hits but Emmy still felt the blows to be fatal. With the threat of Helena’s wooden spoon Emmy climbed down from her rock and dusted herself off before presenting herself to Miss Pembers.

“And where are your shoes.”

“One can hardly climb with those little boots on, I would slip and break my neck.”

“Your Grandmother would break you neck knowing you walked outside barefoot. It is a good thing you have yet to wear long dresses you would ruin all of the with your childish ways.”

“I am not a child.”

“Well you are certainly not acting like a girl of sixteen. Playing in the woods, day dreaming and losing yourself in your world of make believe.”

“I like my world it is more interesting then this world.”

“Hush your mouth. You have all beauty and luxury around you. You are lucky to have such a fortunate family. There are girls in orphanages who dream of having what you have.”

Emmy wanted to remind Miss Pembers that none of the beauty and luxury was hers to do with what she would. If it was she would sale everything and explore the world. It all belonged to her Grandma and then it would go to uncle and the girls would receive nothing. She wanted to remind Miss Pembers of all that but know when Miss Pembers let her Irish accent slop she was about to let her hot temp out. So Emmy kept her mouth shut.

It was the fact that the girls were penniless that made the Melbourne’s visit more important. The Melbourne fortune was nothing compared to the Danfords but they had always had a comfortable life working in timber. It would be enough money, Laurel considered, to keep her mother and sisters living well. That was most important to Laurel and it pressed against her heart to make sure she could provide for her mother and sisters. The Melbournes were well-heeled and would advance well into society having a connection with the Danford name even if no finical gain would be made in the match. The Danford connection was the only card Laurel felt she had and she had to use it well. No one in the family, least of all Emmy could believe when Laurel spoke so kindly of dreary old Mr. John Melbourne and everyone was surprised when she insisted that he and his mother be invited over for tea at their earliest convenience. It all seemed quite unannounced, but the Melbourne’s graciously accepted the invitation and the two mothers arranged a time for the tea.

“Why do we have to have tea with the Melbournes?” Emmy asked her mother the day before.

“Your sister has taken an interest in John Melbourne.”

“You must be joking. How could anyone take interest in dreary, dull, dumpy John Melbourme,” Emmy couldn’t think of any other words to keep the alliteration going.

“That might be but Laurel must see more to him then we can.”

Emmy doubted it. How could anyone see anything of interest in John Melbourne aman who had two love, his horsed and collecting pocket watches from the early nineteenth century. Those two items was all he talked about and both in a monotone style that aroused nothing minus the amount of the yawns. Emmy had to yet to understand that sometimes the wants of the heart must be drowned by the demands of the pocket book. She had read about Mr. Willoughby sacrificing Marrianne to stay wealthy but anything would happen in real life. How could one give up the woman or man they truly loved just to stay in well a off condition. It seemed inconceivable to her. The matters of the heart should always take precedence.

Fiona hoped Emmy would always keep up her ideals and did not want to tell her real reason Laurel had found interest in John Melbourne was his financial status. She also hoped her thinking was false and that Laurel actually did like John Melbourne for reasons she herself did not know. Fiona knew Laurel felt a stronger burden for her family than her younger sisters.Laurel had always been more aware of the world around her and being older understood the hardship her parents faced in her in her father’s final days and the months that followed his death. Laurel was also aware that though they lived in a fine house they had hardly had the funds to keep it going with out the generosity of their Grandmother and once Grandma Cornelia passed away it would end their fortunes. Though Fiona knew that Laurel was aware of all this she did not know Laurel had over heard a conversation eight years ago when they first moved in.

“What would you have me do mother, let my children and I beg for our meals”

“I told you this would happen Fiona. I told you he was not fit. And when I think how you could have had Alfred Dumont and now he is married to your friend Iris who is barren and you have three girls and no money.”

“I did not love Alfred,” Laurel recognized the tone from mother it was stern but not raised.

“Love has brought you here penniless, begging for charity from your family. That must make you feel wonderful.”

“I thought my family would accept me but if you would like I could return to Boston and end my days as a poor maid, your granddaughters being forced to clean homes or worse sale flowers on the street corners. But how would that look having Danford blood in such ruined conditions. Rather you like it or not my girls and I are Danford blood and how we survive still reflect on you and Charles.”

“You would drag your respectable brother and family down.”

“I will do whatever it takes to make sure my girls will make sure my girls will never go hungry and have a good education,” Laurel had never heard her mother speak in such a sharp but almost unfeeling way.

“Well then I hope your girls marry well so you might gain good fortune that way.”

“I hope they follow their hearts,” Fiona wanted to say but didn’t because she knew that would be too unkind.

To the world it had looked as if Cornelia Danford had shown great charity in taking in her poor daughter and three granddaughters. To Pine Haven it looked as if Cornelia treated her daughter and granddaughters as if nothing had happened and all of Fiona’s past actions had been wiped clean but there would always be three people Laurel, Fiona, and Cornelia who knew absolute truth.

Read An Afternoon Tea (Part 2)