So You Think You Know St. George’s

I’m having some migraine issues and my computer time is pretty limited for a while, so I thought I’d share an article I wrote a while back when I was blogging for Teatime Romance. It’s one of my favorites!

Many a Regency romance ends with a great society wedding at St. George’s in Hanover Square…but how much do you know about the famed church?

St. George's

1. The Parish Church of St. George was completed in what year?

    1. 1711
    2. 1716
    3. 1725
    4. 1731

Answer: C  St. George’s was part of the Fifty New Churches Act passed in 1711, but wasn’t until 1720 that a location was approved and a design was chosen.  The first stone was laid in 1721 and the building was certified complete on March 20, 1725. Three days later it was consecrated by the Bishop of London.

2. What denomination is St. George’s?

    1. Catholic
    2. Anglican
    3. Lutheran
    4. Presbyterian

Answer: B  St. George’s is an Anglican (Church of England) church, part of the Diocese of London. It is the parish church of Mayfair.

3. Which American president was married at St. George’s?

    1. Teddy Roosevelt
    2. Franklin Roosevelt
    3. Woodrow Wilson
    4. Andrew Jackson

Answer: A  Teddy Roosevelt married his childhood sweetheart Edith Kermit Carow in 1886. He took a room at Brown’s Hotel in Dover Street to meet the residency requirement, and remains the only American president to be married at St. George’s. His wedding also inspired many other Americans to marry at the church.

St. George's organ4. According to tradition, St. George was a native of Asia Minor.  When did he become the patron saint of England?

    1. The sixth century
    2. The ninth century
    3. The eleventh century
    4. The thirteenth century

Answer: C  A vision of St. George (along with St. Demetrius) spurred on the Norman troops at the battle of Antioch during the First Crusade in 1098. The Normans won the battle, and adopted St. George as their patron.

5. Which famous composer was a regular worshiper at St. George’s?

    1. Handel
    2. Brahms
    3. Bach
    4. Purcell

Answer: A  George Friderick Handel emigrated to London from his native Germany in 1724, purchasing a house in Brook Street just as the church was nearing completion. His opinion was sought on the suitability of the organ when it was being installed, and he provided the music for the testing of candidates to play it. In 1726 he became a naturalized British citizen, attending services at St. George’s until he died in 1759.

So how did you do? What fact surprised you most?

Want to learn more about St. George’s? Visit their website at



Regency Customs: Using the Social Call to Change a Story Line

Award-winning Regency romance author–and fellow teacher–Regina Jeffers talks about the etiquette of social calls, and how Jane Austen used them as a pivot point in her novels. 


In the 1800s, morning calls or visiting upon a household developed a certain protocol, and those who broke protocol were often shunned. First a calling card was presented to the household’s servant. It was common for those who came to London for the Season to drive about with a footman in tow to present one’s cards to acquaintances. Do you recall Mrs. Jennings doing so in Sense and Sensibility? “The morning was chiefly spent in leaving cards at the houses of Mrs. Jennings’s acquaintance to inform them of her being in town.”

One would leave three cards with the servant: one from the lady for the house’s mistress; one from the caller’s husband for the house’s mistress and another for the house’s master. Displaying cards of those who had called was commonplace. It gave one social status to display cards from those of the nobility. In Persuasion, the Elliots took care to display “…the cards of the Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple and the Hon. Miss Carteret, to be arranged where they might be most visible.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Friday Favorites, Society

Friday Favorites: The Waltz with David Tennant

Happy Valentine’s Day! How many of you are going dancing with your sweetheart this weekend? Or have read about a glorious waltz at a Regency Valentine’s ball?

How many of you have actually danced the waltz?

For those of you that haven’t, here’s a look at the modern process. Actors David Tennant and Jessica Hynes learn together for a scene in Doctor Who.


And here’s a look at the finished product, set in England just before the beginning of the First World War.


Philip Astley: Equestrian, Showman, and Entrepeneur

Ever read a Regency romance involving a visit to Astley’s Amphitheater? My good friend and Regency novelist Susana Ellis has written this wonderful post about the life of Philip Astley and his equestrian show. Check it out:


Early Life

Philip Astley was born in Staffordshire (about 150 miles from London) on January 8, 1742. When he was around eleven years old, his family moved to London, where his father had a carpentry shop near Westminster Bridge. In 1759, he went to be trained in horsemanship in Wilton at Lord Pembroke’s estate, where he showed extraordinary promise. Soon after, in search of excitement, he left his family and joined a regiment of light dragoons called Eliot’s Light Horse, later the 15th Light Hussars.

Astley’s Military Service

Astley was assigned to care for and train the horses to be “bomb-proof”, i.e., not to take off in fear at the sound of gunshot.

Read the rest of the article at Susana’s Parlour.


London Then and Now: Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens

Regency romance author Grace Elliot posted a fabulous article on her blog comparing the famous Vauxhall Gardens in the late 18th century to what remains of it in the 21st. She even added photos taken during her own visit. Check it out!


Ever since visiting an exhibition about the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens at The Foundling Museum, the history of the gardens has fascinated me. So for my first foray of the New Year, I visited the site of the old Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens to see if any of the great 18th century attraction has survived to the present day.

On the south bank of the Thames, the gardens’ popularity peeked in the Georgian era. Under the proprietorship of Jonathan Tyers, they grew from the equivalent of a pleasant (well, if you ignored the prostitutes and pickpockets!) country walk near a tavern, to a trendy place of entertainment with sensational lights, exotic buildings, first class music, dancing and romantic walks. Tyers was an entrepreneur and ahead of his time because he had a canny talent for advertising and marketing.

Read the rest of the article here.


Regency Christmas Traditions: Cloved Oranges

Excellent for Christmas, New Year’s…or a cold winter’s day stuck indoors. With the record cold blanketing such a large chunk of the US, I figured I’d post this today even though the Christmas season has already passed (except in the Orthodox Church–Merry Christmas to you tomorrow!). Cloving oranges is like a good way to pass the time (I did mine while listening to an audiobook), it’s easy enough for children to do, and the result will brighten up your house for weeks to come.

Start with an orange–any variety will do. I’ve also seen clementines, lemons, limes, and tangerines cloved.


Take a clove and push it into the skin of the fruit. The head of the clove with stick out a little (or a lot, depending on how big your cloves are). Repeat.


Continue cloving in any pattern you choose. I did mine like the stripes on a basketball (or the longitude lines on a globe), then filled in between them. But you could do spirals, snowflakes, circles, or whatever else takes your fancy.


My finished product: this year I cloved several oranges and put them in a basket in my sitting room. They spice up the air without the use of chemicals, air fresheners, or perfumes, so my house smells great and my asthma isn’t bothered.


Want more information on the historical significance of cloved oranges? Check out this post from There’s also a nice graphic for making cloved oranges you can hang.

Books, Contests & Giveaways, Society

Twelfth Night with Susana Ellis…and 2 giveaways!

Regency romance author Susana Ellis is stopping by on her Twelve Days of Christmas Blog Tour to celebrate her newest release A Twelfth Night Tale. She’s brought with her some tidbits about the celebration of Twelfth Night and not one, but two giveaways!


Twelfth Night was the evening of January 5th, the night before Epiphany (“Twelfth Day”), which marked the end of Christmastide. On Twelfth Day, Christmas greenery is taken down and burned in the fireplace, in order to avoid the penalty of an entire year of bad luck for everyone in the house.

Twelfth Night was the traditional night for wassailing (See December 15th post), which was similar to caroling. “Twelfth Night Cakes” or “King Cakes” were served (See December 16th post), which were baked with a bean and pea, the fortunate recipients of which would be crowned “King” and “Queen.”

It was also a time for masks and playacting, charades being a very popular game for the evening. Partners were chosen by gentlemen drawing ladies’ names out of a hat.

In A Twelfth Night Tale, Lucy and her best friend Jane Livingston, charged with planning the Twelfth Night party, were expressing concern about the numbers being unequal, with so many more “ladies”—the children were allowed to participate as well—than gentlemen, when Jane’s brother Andrew Livingston came in and offered a solution. (He seemed to “pop in” a lot when Lucy was there…hmm.)

A tradition customary of the Livingston family was to reenact the “lord of the manor” ritual from medieval times. The “lord and lady” (usually Mr. and Mrs. Livingston wearing period costumes) would welcome the wassailers (“peasants”) to their ballroom (decorated to appear as a medieval dining hall) and offer them food and drink as a gesture of goodwill for the New Year. This custom had ceased after Mrs. Livingston’s death several years ago, but this year, there seems to be a spark of Yuletide spirit in the air once again.


Susana is going all out to celebrate the release of A Twelfth Night Tale! She is giving away a Twelfth Night Tale Christmas charm bracelet (silver-plated) for one random commenter here and on each of the other twelve stops of the tour.


As a grand prize, Susana is also giving away a treasure box full of goodies!

A Twelfth Night Tale Giant Treasure Box*

  • lovely gift box
  • A Twelfth Night Tale Christmas charm bracelet (silver-plated)
  • Father Christmas figurine
  • Three Wise Men figurine
  • Thomas Kinkade photo collage
  • Treasuring Theresa mug
  • Treasuring Theresa necklace
  • Treasuring Theresa keychain
  • two Christmas ornaments from Scotland (Mary Queen of Scots and fleur-de-lys)
  • two decks of Ellora’s Cave playing cards
  • two perfumed soaps from Scotland
  • fizzing bath salts from Scotland
  • Celtic pen from Scotland
  • jeweled” soap
  • nail clipper keychain from London
  • stuffed toy bear

Click here for the Rafflecopter for the Giant Treasure Box!

*In lieu of the treasure box, a winner from outside the U.S. will receive a gift card from the book retailer of their choice.



About A Twelfth Night Tale

A wounded soldier and the girl next door find peace and love amidst a backdrop of rural Christmas traditions.

Without dowries and the opportunity to meet eligible gentlemen, the five Barlow sisters stand little chance of making advantageous marriages. But when the eldest attracts the attention of a wealthy viscount, suddenly it seems as though Fate is smiling upon them.

Lucy knows that she owes it to her younger sisters to encourage Lord Bexley’s attentions, since marriage to a peer will secure their futures as well as hers. The man of her dreams has always looked like Andrew Livingston, her best friend’s brother. But he’s always treated her like a child, and, in any case, is betrothed to another. Perhaps the time has come to put away childhood dreams and accept reality…and Lord Bexley.

Andrew has returned from the Peninsula with more emotional scars to deal with than just the lame arm. Surprisingly, it’s his sister’s friend “Little Lucy” who shows him the way out of his melancholy. He can’t help noticing that Lucy’s grown up into a lovely young woman, but with an eligible viscount courting her, he’ll need a little Christmas magic to win her for himself.

Available at: Ellora’s CaveAmazonBarnes & NobleKobo


All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

A Blush® Regency romance from Ellora’s Cave

Chapter One

The Barlow Home

near Charlbury, Oxfordshire

23 December 1813

It’s so kind of you to call, Lord Bexley. The flowers you sent are simply lovely, are they not, Lucy?”

Unable to miss the warning tone in her mother’s voice, Lucy sat up straight in her chair and smiled sweetly at their caller.

Oh yes indeed. They are undoubtedly the most beautiful I’ve ever received, my lord.”

Of course, she did not mention that they were the first flowers she’d ever been sent by a gentleman. And considering that there were few opportunities to meet eligible gentlemen in the quiet little neck of the woods where the Barlows resided, the arrangement was quite likely to remain the only floral tribute to come her way.

Her caller beamed with pleasure. “They were the best I could find at the florist, but of course they cannot hold a candle to your beauty and sweetness, Miss Barlow.”

Lucy swallowed and forced herself to reply. “You embarrass me with your flattery, my lord.”

Not at all,” he insisted. “You were quite the belle of the Christmas Ball last evening, Miss Barlow. I was much envied to be allowed the honor of two dances with you when so many gentlemen had to be turned away.”

The “Christmas Ball” was merely a small celebration at the local assembly rooms. Her mother had encouraged her to favor Lord Bexley, but in truth, Lucy herself had not found him objectionable. He was an accomplished dancer and quite distinguished-looking, in spite of the fact that he had at least twenty years over her.

At eighteen, she was of an age to be out in society, and Lord Bexley, a wealthy widower from Warwickshire, was undoubtedly the most eligible gentleman in the county. Recently out of mourning, he was seeking a new wife and a mother to his three children, and as Mrs. Barlow kept telling her, Lucy should be flattered that he seemed to be favoring her for the role.

Well, she was flattered. Wasn’t she? The number of young ladies far exceeded that of eligible gentlemen, and she didn’t wish to be left on the shelf. With her family in financial difficulties and four younger sisters to be married off, Lucy knew she owed it to them to marry well and do what she could to find her sisters suitable matches as well.

She was prepared to do her duty and make the best of it, but somehow, when she thought of marriage and children, it was not the kindly Lord Bexley who came to mind. It was the face of the strapping, dark-haired Adonis with laughing gray eyes who lived on an adjoining estate with his younger sister—her bosom friend Jane—who had teased her unmercifully from the time she learned to walk. She couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t been in love with Andrew Livingston—she’d even asked him to marry her at the age of five when he’d been twelve and about to leave for Eton. He’d laughed and quipped that it would be like marrying his sister, and she’d nursed a broken heart ever since.

She sighed as she frequently did when she thought of Andrew and his affianced wife, and her mother glared at her. Fortunately, Phillips wheeled in the tea cart and Mrs. Barlow’s attention was mercifully diverted.

Please do the honors, Lucy. An excellent opportunity to practice your housewifely skills.”

Lucy flushed. Could her mother’s intentions be more obvious? But Lord Bexley did not seem to notice. He smiled kindly at her somewhat shaky inquiry as to his preferences, and thanked her graciously when she brought him his tea and a plate of cherry tarts.

Quite charming,” he commented as he regarded her with obvious approval. It was unclear whether he was speaking to her or to her mother, and Lucy wasn’t sure how to respond.

Fortunately, there was a shriek followed by the sound of fierce arguing from the back rooms of the house. Lucy turned instinctively to the door, which was promptly thrust open and filled by the figure of her sister Lydia, who was breathing hard and wringing her hands in agitation.

Do come, Lucy! Lila and Louisa are having one of their rows again, in the kitchen of all places. Lila broke one of Cook’s mixing bowls, and Cook swears she’ll leave if someone doesn’t stop them and you know you’re the only one who can, Lucy!” She flushed when she saw Lord Bexley and her mother’s angry face. “Oh…pardon me, I didn’t realize we had a guest.” She backed out into the hall, shooting Lucy a pleading look as she did so.

Relieved for an excuse to terminate the social call, Lucy muttered her excuses and scrambled out of the room. But not before she heard her mother’s mortified apology and Lord Bexley’s soothing reply that he found it quite agreeable to discover a young lady so accomplished in the maternal skills.

Goodness, he really was intent on courting her! She should be flattered. She was a sensible girl, and it was pointless to set her cap at Andrew Livingston, in any case. Lord Bexley would be an excellent match for her. His three daughters could not possibly be as troublesome as her two youngest sisters, after all.

She gritted her teeth and hurried to the kitchen, the ineffectual Lydia as usual trailing behind her. The second eldest Barlow daughter was as helpless as their mother at controlling the two youngest children. When Lucy married and left the house, as she would in time, her bookish middle sister Laura was going to have to take up the reins.

About the Author

A former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, Susana Ellisbut historical—Regency in particular—is her favorite. There’s just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination.

In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around the UK and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley and Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.

Web site • Email • Facebook • Twitter • Linked In • Pinterest • Google+Goodreads

Susana’s Parlour (Regency Blog) • Susana’s Morning Room (Romance Blog)


Regency Christmas Traditions: Parlor Games

Article by Maria Grace. She has one husband, two graduate degrees and two black belts, three sons, four undergraduate majors, five nieces, six cats, seven Regency-era fiction projects,  notes for eight more writing projects, cooks for nine in order to accommodate the growing boys, and usually makes ten meals at a time so she only has to cook twice a month.


Christmastide and the release of my new book are both coming soon upon us. To celebrate both, I am beginning a series on Regency Christmas traditions, possibly with a few of my family’s thrown in for good measure.

Regency Parlor Games pt. 1

Christmastide was a time for fun and frivolity. Parlor games made up a large part of the fun.

They were played by all classes of society and often involved overstepping the strict bound of propriety. Losers often paid a forfeit, which could be an elaborate penalty or dare, but more often were a thinly disguised machination for getting a kiss. Often, forfeits were accumulated all evening, until he hostess would ‘cry the forfeits’ and they would all be redeemed.

Here are a few of the games that might have been played during Christmas parties of the Regency.

Blind Man’s Bluff and variations there of

Many variations of this game existed, including Hot Cockles, Are you there Moriarty, and Buffy Gruffy. All the variations include one player being blindfolded and trying to guess the identity of another player who had tapped them or who they have caught. A great deal of cheating was generally involved, which only added to the sport.

Click here to read the rest of the article at Maria’s blog, Random Bits of Fascination.

Children, Food, Marriage, Society

Mistress of the Manor: Lady of Leisure or Full Time Working Mom?

Think all those Regency romance heroines do nothing but pay calls all day? Think again. Author Maria Grace takes us inside the life of landowner’s wife.


“Period dramas have left many of us with the notion that ladies of the landed gentry in the Regency era had little to do but dress in lovely gowns, embroider and gossip.  Reality could not be farther from this image. In general, both master and mistress of the manor did a great deal of work around the estate, often working alongside the servants in the efforts to get everything done.

Labor tended to be divided along gender lines. So much so that single men sought female relatives to manage their households. Bachelors looked to sister or nieces while widowers often called upon daughters or the dead wife’s kin.  So, even if a woman did not marry, there was a very strong possibility she might take on the responsibilities of a household sometime in her lifetime.  Gentlemen tended to respect the household mistress’ authority; her contributions to the home had worth equal to his.”

Read the rest of the article here.


Shopping is Wonderful…Until Hoby Sends His Bill

Bills are bills, even during the Regency. Check out Louise Allen‘s post featuring different hand-written bills from the era.


“If you had the money, late Georgian shops were awash with tempting goods. And even if you weren’t so well off, tradesmen would extend credit for considerable periods if your name was good, you were a prominent person or your expectations were favourable. Many a Regency rakehell kept buying on tick for years, dangling the prospect of an inherited estate or a forthcoming marriage settlement before his unfortunate tailor or wine merchant.”

You can find the rest of the article here.