A Real Life Georgian Love Story

October 20, 2012
Originally posted at ~Romantic Historical Lovers~


The inspiration for MIDNIGHT MARRIAGE: A Georgian Historical Romance

I am often asked where I get my inspiration for my novels, and my standard reply is that inspiration can come from any number of sources. I love gazing at 18th Century inspired Genre paintings, walking around a Robert Adams room in a big house or it could be the embroidery detail in a gentleman’s gorgeous frockcoat. Usually, my inspiration is sparked delving into my collection of history books and biographies on the 18thCentury and dipping into the letters of that great 18thC dilettante and gossiper Horace Walpole. However, in the case of MIDNIGHT MARRIAGE, I can point directly to a real-life incident that sparked the germ of an idea that blossomed into Julian and Deborah’s story.

Stella Tillyard’s excellent Georgian biography Aristocrats explores the lives of the Lennox sisters, Caroline, Emily, Louise and Sarah between the years 1740 -1832. And it is the arranged but very happy marriage of their parents, the 2nd Duke and Duchess of Richmond, that I drew my inspiration for Julian’s marriage to Deborah in MIDNIGHT MARRIAGE

The 1st Duke of Richmond was a great gambler and he owed a large debt to the Irish Earl of Cadogan. To pay the debt he offered his son Charles as a bridegroom for Cadogan’s daughter Sarah. The Earl accepted – his daughter would one day be an English Duchess! The marriage was quickly arranged, as the young bridegroom was about to embark on the Grand Tour with his tutor and would be away for many years.

Charles Lennox was just 18 and Sarah Cadogan 13 and still in the nursery. The children learned of the impending marriage on the day of the wedding and Sarah came before her young bridegroom just before the wedding service.

The little girl was speechless and the bridegroom horrified that he was being married to, as he put it, “a dowdy”. The marriage went ahead regardless of the children’s feelings and wishes, as was the norm for marriages made between politically powerful aristocratic families in the 18th Century.

After the ceremony, the new husband went off to Italy with his tutor, and the bride went back to the nursery.

Fast forward three years and Charles Lennox returned to London from his Continental wanderings a young man of 21. Instead of going to claim, or even make a visit to his wife, he went to the theater. He noticed that just sitting a few boxes away from him was a beautiful young woman. He asked someone who she was. His informant declared that he must be a stranger in town because everyone knew the beautiful Lady March (Sarah Cadogan that was!). The beautiful woman Charles had been admiring was in fact his very own wife!

Very soon after, Charles Lennox as Lord March claimed his 16-year-old bride. The marriage was a huge success and the couple were devoted to one another for the rest of their lives. This was an outstanding accomplishment given the lax standards of Georgian aristocratic marriages, particularly given the marriage was an arranged one between two children.

As Duke and Duchess of Richmond, the couple had 12 children, 7 of whom survived to adulthood.

The circumstances behind the marriage of Julian, Marquis of Alston, heir to the Roxton dukedom, and Deborah Cavendish, cousin of the Duke of Devonshire, mirror the arrangements of the Lennox marriage, but for very different reasons that become apparent during the story. Deborah, a year younger than Sarah, is 12 years of age, the minimum legal age when girls in the 1700s were permitted to marry. After their midnight marriage, Julian is banished to the Continent to wander on the Grand Tour, and Deb is returned to the nursery. The couple do not meet again for nine years. How they meet up again and what happens next, you can find out by downloading a free copy of Midnight Marriage from all participating eBook stores! Enjoy!


Gorgeous Georgian Metrosexuals

May 26, 2012
Originally posted at English Historical Fiction Authors

—or How To Strut Your Metrosexual Stuff in Georgian England


The term “metrosexual” was coined by Mark Simpson to describe a man (especially one living in an urban, post-industrial, capitalist culture) who spends a lot of time and money on his appearance.

Urban Dictionary definition number 5 states: “A straight guy who’s so cool, smart, attractive, stylish, and cultured, that everyone thinks he’s gay. But he’s so secure i...
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“Jumps”—A Comfy & Sexy Alternative to Georgian Stays

May 25, 2012
Originally published at History Undressed

Tight Lacing, or Fashion before Ease by Bowles & Carver ca.1770–1775.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Think Eighteenth Century female undergarments and usually the first article to come to mind is the corset, or stays. Worn over the chemise to cover the breasts and upper torso, stays were made from a variety of materials, cotton to silk, depending on the occasion and most often had a square neckline.

The enduring image of a pair of stays is the...
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Georgette Heyer’s Historical Romances… Like Olives

May 24, 2012
Originally published at Stiletto Storytime

In my third year of University I complained to Cathy that I had nothing to read. Actually I’d shouted “I’m bored” from my dorm room loud enough for Cathy to hear (she lived two rooms away).

I was lying on the floor with my feet on my bed staring at my bookshelf crammed with Political Science and History texts, and a collection of tattered recreational reading material by Austen, Caldwell, Plaidy and Seton wanting something new t...

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In Jane’s Visiting Footsteps; Great Bookham, Surrey

May 24, 2012
Originally published at My Jane Austin Bookclub

Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen novel, and Anne Elliott my favorite Austen heroine. I don’t care much for Emma, but Mr. Knightley is my second favorite Austen hero. I first read Emma as a set text in high school and then Persuasion for my final year and fell in love with Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliott. Just one month after completing High School and gaining a place to study law and politics at university, I deferred my studies ...

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Anyone for REAL Tennis?

May 23, 2012
Originally published at History Undressed

18th Century man of letters, Horace Walpole
The characters in my novels may be fictional, but as an historian I want the setting to be as accurate as possible—places, clothes, food, people, politics and even the weather! All my novels are set between 1740 and 1780s in England and France—stopping short of the French Revolution. SALT BRIDE: a Georgian Historical Romance, takes place in 1763.

So what was the weather like in January 1763? And what...
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The Apothecary’s Apprentice in 18th Century England

May 23, 2012
Originally published at History Undressed

A nanosecond of background
In England, as early as the 12th century apothecaries (pharmacist physicians) belonged to the Worshipful Company of Grocers. This guild included the Pepperers and the Spicers and apothecary shops sold everything from confectionery, perfumes, spices, spiced wines, to herbs and drugs that were compounded and dispensed on the premises to the public. By the mid-16th century apothecaries were equivalent to today's compounding...
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