Diane’s Ideal Shopping Trip

Okay. Friday on Megan’s blog, I exposed my family’s “non-shopping” habits as we prepare for the Christmas holiday. It isn’t that I don’t LOVE to go shopping; it’s just that I’m not very good at selecting gifts.

I think my problem is that I need to go shopping in Regency England–I will, of course, possess the fortune of one of our fictional dukes and I’ll start my shopping in Mayfair.

I’ll stop at Hatchard’s and select the perfect books for my friends, perhaps some books “By a Lady.” Perhaps I will climb the stairs and find the book I desire there. In my two trips to England, I can remember feeling awed that I was shopping for books at Hatchard’s and climbing stairs I can imagine being climbed by Byron and Brummell and all sorts of Regency characters.

I’ll walk around the block and stop in the Floris shop and purchase some scent for my sister, Marilyn. I actually did this on my 2005 trip to England and the store was wonderful. I thought I’d stepped back into the Regency. The shop was bare except for a long mahogany trimmed glass counter, with two young men in black suits waiting behind the counter to assist me. At first I thought there would be nothing there I could afford, but I told the young man my price range and he found me a lovely gift.

My friend Mary Blayney says that you can never go wrong if your gift is something good to eat, so perhaps I could stop in Fortnum and Mason and purchase some lovely jams and cheeses. Or the new-fangled tinned foods that are such a novelty.

I never made it to Fortnum and Mason on my England trips, preferring to spend my shopping time in Hatchard’s, but there is always next time.


Perhaps I’ll buy my husband a hat at Lock’s, where both Admiral Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington purchased their hats.

I’d give anything if I could also visit some shops that no longer grace the streets of Mayfair. I’d love to pour through the prints at Ackermann’s, to pick out a lovely ruby necklace at Rundell and Bridge, be fitted for a new ball gown at Mrs. Bell’s. I think a visit to Gunter’s for an ice would be the perfect end to my shopping day.

So, my excuse for being a lousy gift shopper is that I cannot shop in Regency England.

If you could be transported to Regency England, like Celia May Hart’s heroine, where would you want to shop?

Check out my website for the December updates and my contest, the Grand Finale of the Contest Countdown to The Vanishing Viscountess.

If you simply cannot wait until January for The Vanishing Viscountess, it’s available now from eHarlequin and from MillsandBoon.co.uk

The Mills and Boon version has a special bonus included in it – The Mysterious Miss M!

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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