Night at Vauxhall — just released!

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Lively, lovely, and headstrong, young Phoebe Mayhew is disappointed that her visit with her brother, the new Earl of Drake, does not include the elegant balls and parties of her imagination – simply because she has not yet made her debut in Regency London’s high society!

Determined not to return to her small village without attending at least one fashionable event, Phoebe undertakes a risky plan…one which could end in scandal and her ruin…until Drake’s friend Lt Tommy Hazelton comes to her rescue.

*****

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Night at Vauxhall is a short “interval” story [approx 14,000 words] It’s neither a prequel or a sequel – it’s an interval of events that occur during the same time as The Magpie Masquerade.

The story stands on its own. If you’ve already read The Magpie Masquerade, you will recognize some of these characters; if not, you will meet them in    Night at Vauxhall.  Enjoy!

Rated PG.

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Classic Regency romance

Hello! I’m Victoria Hodge, and I write traditional Regency romances.

What is a Regency romance? A romance set during the Regency era in England. For people unfamiliar with the genre, the easiest way to explain is: think Jane Austen and high-waisted gowns so familiar from the many productions of Pride & Prejudice.

JaneAusten 

Jane Austen                                          Pride & Prejudice Ball

The late, great Georgette Heyer invented the genre. Although some of her Regency romances are mysteries or melodramas, most are lighthearted comedies of manners, exploring love and courtship among the gentry and aristocrats of the time.

More recent Regency authors often incorporate varying degrees of heat (little pun there, unintentional!) in their stories, ranging from spicy to steamy, much to the delight of readers.

My Regencies emulate the more traditional, classic style of Georgette Heyer – a dash of ironic humor, a little adventure, sparks fly and misunderstandings abound, all on the way to a happy ending.

HEA P&P Pride and Prejudice – The Special Edition (A&E Miniseries)

A kiss is inevitable, but everything else? I leave up to the vivid imaginations of my readers!

Pride-and-Prejudice-1995-kiss

Coming soon, The Magpie Masquerade:

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In Regency London, an orphaned and penniless young lady hopes to earn independence from her unkind aunt by secretly working as a gossip columnist, but when a Navy captain enters the social season as a new earl (and the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart), his unexpected interest jeopardizes her plan….and her heart.

Scheduled for release on March 20, 2015 — I hope you enjoy it!

Do you have a favorite Regency romance? author or book? Comment below!

The Magpie Masquerade (Part 6) – The Finale!

Part 6 of The Magpie Masquerade is now available!
Confusion, conflict, and crisis, all converge
in the conclusion of The Magpie Masquerade.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010P7HNPW

Magpie (Pt 6) [comp 299x488]
Marjorie must escape the machinations of her cruel Aunt Valeria and the threats of the slimy Sir Wrexham — but how? And where will she go?

Fin’s hurt pride leads him to make a terrible mistake — how can he get out of his entanglement?

Can the Magpie and Drake surmount heartbreak and hopelessness to find happily ever after?

What do YOU think? 😀

Find out, in Part 6 of  The Magpie Masquerade – the finale.

Vauxhall Gardens

V [150x150]   V is for Vauxhall

In the late 1600s, Vauxhall was a rustic village on the south bank of the Thames, with a large plot of trees known as Spring Garden, where locals could wander and seek a refreshing break from the squalor and noise of city life.

By the mid 1700s, Jonathan Tyres, a leather tradesman, had transformed the plot into Vauxhall Gardens — an exotic and verdant space for people to enjoy art, music, and dancing.  There were numerous pavilions, grottoes, illuminated pathways, and a Grecian-style grove that could accommodate 3,000 people.

vauxhall [398x291]In the octagonal Orchestra building, patrons could sit in colonnades of large, open-air boxes to savor refreshments while listening to the concert.

During its heyday, in the late Georgian era, the Prince of Wales and the elite of London society were frequent visitors, and a “silver ticket” or season pass cost one guinea – a huge sum in those days.

But Vauxhall Gardens was open to anyone who could pay the regular one-shilling admission, and all could enjoy the music, singers, dancing, sculptures, and fireworks displays. There were over 100,000 visitors every season.

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Henry Fielding wrote, “That delicious    sweetness of the place; the enchanting charms of music, and the satisfaction which appears in every one’s countenance, carried my soul almost to heaven.” Amelia (1752)

It must have been an enchanting experience, especially at night —  Continue reading

Unicorn-style driving

U [150x150]       U is for UNICORN

In Georgette Heyer’s The Unknown Ajax, young Richmond Darracott is mightily impressed when his rakish cousin Vincent arrives,

“…driving himself in a curricle to which were harnessed three magnificent black geldings, randem-tandem…and exclaimed: ‘Here’s my cousin at last! Oh, he’s driving unicorn! He’s the most complete hand!'”

[He asks] ‘What’s this new quirk, Vincent? ….Is it now the high kick of fashion to drive–unicorn, do you call it?’

‘Yes, or Sudden Death,’ replied Vincent…’And no, little cousin, you may not drive them. We have had enough sudden deaths in the family.’

When I first read The Unknown Ajax, there was no Google-search, and the dictionary only described the mythical horned beast, so I had to guess what the term meant.

Later I learned that driving a team of horses unicorn-style means there are 3 horses pulling the carriage — a pair of  wheelers behind a single lead horse.

Unicorn2 [261x200]Farmers would hitch their horses in this fashion in order to negotiate closer turns along the edge of the field. Coachmen might drive unicorn when one horse in a team of four went lame and had to be left behind.

This difficult style of driving, also known as “randem (sic)-tandem,” requires a particularly well-trained lead horse and an experienced driver (see, e.g., Jennifer Kloester’s Georgette Heyer’s Regency World, p. 169)


During the Regency, sporting gentlemen (and the occasional dashing lady) would drive unicorn-style as a display of their prowess.

Unicorn

Even trickier was driving a coach in a pickaxe hitch — five horses, three across at the front and two wheelers behind them. Apparently the fashionable Corinthians and Go’s wanting to show off restricted themselves to driving  tandem (one horse in front of another) or unicorn, and left the pickaxe hitch to professional coachmen.

 

 

 

Gretna Green

G - [150]   G is for Grena Green — THE destination for runaway marriages in the early 19th century.

Not because it was a romantic spot for a honeymoon — Gretna was just an obscure little village.  Not exactly the Poconos, or even the Vegas, of the Regency era.

But its location, right on the toll road and just over the Scottish border from England, was ideal for a couple racing to get married without the restrictions of English law, especially if there were an angry father or rival suitor in hot pursuit.G - escape to Gretna

Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act of 1754 required parental permission for anyone under age 21 to marry, but that law did not apply in Scotland, where the age of consent was only 14.

Furthermore, in England everyone had to ‘post banns’ (announce the upcoming marriage for 3 weeks in a row at the local parish church), or else obtain a costly special license in order to wed.

In Scotland, however, as long as a declaration was made before two witnesses, almost anyone was allowed to conduct the marriage — including the blacksmith on the green in the village of Gretna.

For anyone who could not get consent of the parents, or who, for whatever reason, did not wish to publicize their marriage, Gretna Green was the only option.

It wasn’t a decision to be taken lightly, either. Although an elopement to Gretna sounds very romantic, it was a scandalous and expensive undertaking.  The journey took several days…and nights!…over a long road.

G - Gretna runaway marriage [400x254]

“Runaway Wedding at Blacksmith’s Shop Gretna Green – ‘Too Late'”

A young, unmarried lady was not even supposed to drive around the park in a gentleman’s carriage without a chaperone. To travel together in a private chaise — alone! — was the height of impropriety. Especially because the unmarried couple would be forced to stay at several public inns along the way, all without benefit of chaperone.

Furthermore, there was the cost of hiring the post chaise, the postillions, paying for the horses, the tolls, the rooms at the inns…

G - Gretna done deed [400x279]

“All’s Well That Ends Well”

So those who undertook an elopement to Gretna Green must have been driven by desperation, passion, or both. 😉

Gretna Green still does a thriving business in marriages, but now it’s more of a tourist attraction and a quaintly historic venue for a wedding, rather than a last recourse for a couple desperate to marry.

G - Gretna old blacksmith's shop [198x155]  G - Gretna now [199x149]

G- Gretna anvil

 

A Feather to Fly With

F [150x150]    F is for A Feather to Fly With

A new Regency romance from author Joyce Harmon!


Really a delight, this is a Regency romance in the Georgette Heyer tradition, with engaging characters, a clever plot, and witty dialogue.

From the blurb:

    In Regency England, young ladies make their fortune by marrying it.         But Cleo Cooper has come to London with a different idea – she’s going to make her fortune by stealing it. Raised abroad by unconventional parents, Cleo has no use for the rules and strictures of the ton. She’ll pretend to fit in, but she has a secret scheme.

      Arthur Ramsey, Duke of Winton, is in the market for a wife. He imagines a sweet, conformable young lady who will gracefully fill the role of Duchess, secure the succession with an heir, and not interfere with his scientific pursuits. That’s what he’s looking for – but what he finds is Cleo.           (Author’s Note: A Feather To Fly With is a traditional Regency. If it were a movie, it would be rated PG, or even G.)

Harmon is also the author of a cozy mystery series, and anyone who has read Died on the Vine or Bidding on Death will recognize her talent for understated humour and well-drawn characters.

* * *
Check it out! Particularly if you like Joan Smith, Georgette Heyer, or Barbara Metzger, A Feather to Fly With is a highly enjoyable read.