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Archive for April 23rd, 2009

lb_whatwouldjaneaustendo

Surely Jane Austen would know how to handle such a rake…

From the author of Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake, a new time travel romance featuring a modern day career woman swept back in time to Regency England, where she thwarts a Napoleonic spy, chats with Jane Austen, and falls in love with a notorious rake.

Eleanor is a costume designer in England for the Jane Austen festival, where her room at the inn is haunted. In the middle of the night she encounters two ghost sisters whose brother was killed in a duel over 200 years ago. They persuade her to travel back in time with them to prevent the duel. Eleanor is swept into a country house party, presided over by the charming Lord Shermont, where she encounters and befriends Jane Austen. But there’s much more to Lord Shermont than the ghosts knew, and as Eleanor dances and flirts with him, she begins to lose her heart.

Blog: Loves the Regency Era

By Laurie Brown

One of the things I like about writing time travels is doing the research. Authentic historical details add to the setting and characters, and spark ideas for both. I’ve always been especially drawn to the Regency, at first because of the women’s fashions of the day, and then later because of the manners and lifestyle.

During my research for What Would Jane Austen Do? I realized I should have paid more attention in history class. I wanted my heroine to be an American and my hero to have something to do with catching Napoleon’s spies but I ran smack dab up against the War of 1812 of which I knew very little. When I read Jane Austen’s books, I just assumed the military men in the stories were destined to fight the French. In truth the soldiers of 1814 may well have been sent to America, and the characters could have had friends or relatives fighting across the Atlantic. That circumstance would not have made the rare American visitor the most popular guest in an English home, so I had to account for that. And because America and France had been allies during the Revolution, it also gave the hero Lord Shermont an instant reason to question why she was there. Was she involved with the French spies he was searching for?

When she goes back in time Eleanor realizes just how many modern amenities she misses. Some of those things were easy to think of, like cars, cell phones, and computers. But sometimes I had to stop and look up when something was invented. The zipper was patented in 1913 as the hookless fastener (sort of sounds like Velcro which of course was not invented until 1955). Because I was writing one day with a toothache I had her miss modern dentistry, which of course I had to look up. She also misses modern plumbing. Although there has always been some sort of waste disposal system being invented or improved, the flush toilet as we know it was not invented until 1886.

I always find interesting stuff in my research that I can’t use. Such as the “earthcloset” sort of a portable outhouse found in many houses a bit later in the 19th century. Rather like a kitty litter box for humans, dry granular clay was dispensed from a hopper into a box to desiccate waste and prevent odor. When the box was full the earth and waste could be removed for disposal elsewhere.

Eleanor misses chocolate. Some history buff might point out that cocoa has been around for centuries, but not in the form she would know as chocolate. During the Regency unsweetened cocoa powder would have been available for making into a hot beverage. Coffee houses routinely served cocoa as well as the other brews. (The first Baker’s Mill for grinding cocoa beans was opened in the U.S. in 1765.) But chocolate as in candy bar was not invented until 1847. So I had her miss M&M’s which were not invented until 1941.

I enjoy learning about other time periods especially the Regency and Victorian eras. I often wonder how I would have liked living in a different time period. Maybe that’s why I write time travels. Besides family and friends, I would miss most Reese’s peanut butter cups, Corralejo tequila, Spanx, and Lancome Absolu Night Cream. Necessities of life. 😉

What is your favorite time period/location? Would you go there if time travel were a reality? What would you miss most?

— Laurie

*****Leave a comment for the chance to win a copy of WHAT WOULD JANE AUSTEN DO? Good Luck! 🙂

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