“Interesting and intriguing…fabulous reading…” —Novel Reaction“…a terrific blend of love, friendship and a tad bit of suspense.” — Tracy’s Place“I can’t wait to read about the romantic tribulations of the four other women and to find out who is behind the caricatures.” — Romance Novel News
Tell us how you came up with the idea for the series The Real Duchesses of London.
I was watching a episode of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and thinking how ridiculous it all was. Then I started to think about how their real lives must be different from what was seen on TV. I’d also just watched Downton Abby and was excited by the idea of having the maids take the place of the TV viewer.
Who are the “Real Duchesses”?
The real Duchesses are a group of aristocratic women who are brought together when a print of them all is pasted to shop windows all across London. Each of the women either has a problem with her husband or develops one as the result of a scandalous print.
Kathryn the Kitten is available now. What is her story?
Kathryn, the Duchess of Harrington, has always done everything perfectly. When a tragedy changes her world Kathryn doesn’t know how to react and finds herself withdrawing farther and farther from her husband. When a cartoon implies that her husband has a huge secret, Kathryn must find away to start a new relationship with the duke.
What is Risky about this series and its first story?
The relationships between the women can be very risky. In the first story Kathryn discovers things about her dearest friend, Linnette, the Dowager Duchess of Doveshire, that change and almost ruin their long-lasting friendship.
From a personal standpoint the most risky thing was trying to write a scene with several duchesses in the room and still make it clear who was talking. There were “Your Graces” all over the place. I had to move everybody to a first name basis much sooner than I would have otherwise or it was just too confusing.
Where was most of your research time spent? Watching the “Real Housewives” on TV or researching in the regency? Did you discover anything interesting in your research?
I spent time looking at old prints and cartoons. It’s hard to call it research because it was just so much fun. It is amazing the things that could be printed for anyone to see.
I also re-examined the fashions of the time because I moving into the early 1820’s with these stories and things were starting to change. I actually make use of the great bell shaped skirts in my second story, Linnette, the Lioness.
Tell us how the YouTube video and its depiction of the Duchesses came about.
It all started when I saw my friend Janet Mullany’s daughter making a drawing for another author. I loved it and asked if she could do one for me. Even if I never used it I thought it would be fun to have a drawing to represent the first cartoon in my book.
My daughter, who is taking computer graphics in high school, asked why I didn’t have a book trailer – and before I knew it she was creating one for me. The original concept of using the cartoon and combining it with the opening credits from The Real Housewives was mine, but she took it and ran with it. The ultimate product is very much her creation.
What’s next for you? What’s the next book in the series and what is your next book?
The next novella in my series is Linnette, the Lioness. It comes out this Tuesday. It’s a reunion story and also a story of learning to love again after a past betrayal. Annabelle the American will be released in August and Elizabeth the Enchantress, in September.
My next book, What a Duke Wants, comes out this October and is the story of a runaway lady and a duke who doesn’t want to be a duke. I had great fun writing about mistaken identity and learning to survive when life doesn’t work out the way you want.
Is there anyone who will admit to liking the women’s clothing of the 1820’s? I am genuinely curious. I love true regency dress and then suddenly the skirts poof out and the sleeves as well – and the bonnets . . .
I just can’t imagine ever wanting to wear it. How about you?
Good morning everybody,
Can’t wait for comments and chat.
Lavinia, I love the idea for your novellas. They sound very intriguing. I will admit to being a bit fascinated by some of the clothes of the 1820s and the Victorian era. Maybe my time is a bit off and I think it is, but I adore the way Molly Gibson looks in the movie Wives and Daughters when she goes to the big house. The big sleeves, stuffed with tissue paper and the waists that looked incredibly small because the skirts were so full. I don’t know if I’d like to wear them all the time, but they are pretty. We did Hedda Gabler in similar clothing when I was in college. I was just Berta, the lowly maid, but I loved the beauty of the dresses Hedda and her friend wore. And they really did stuff their sleeves with tissue.
I am relatively sure that I would Not enjoy wearing the fashions of 1820. it seems almost as if women had this breif respite in wacky clothes that felt strange or required padding, etc., and then the fashions changed and they had to go right back into things that defied reason, logic, and gravity ! Also, Corsets are The Devil !
I look forward to reading this series !
I love this idea! First, there are so many days when I have a only short time to read and only have time for a novella. However, over the course of a series of novellas, there’s definitely enough room to build storylines and expand characters. Second, I’m a Bravo/Real Housewives addict, so a Regency version? Perfect! (And yes, I know the RH shows are totally absurd, but they’re my guilty pleasure. 😉
I love the idea of a series of enovellas and then the novel coming out in the fall.
I find the idea of the clothing of that time period pleasing, but when I start to think about the reality of it all (corsets, etc) I realize it sounds horrible!
Lavinia, what a wonderful, ambitious project–a one woman anthology of connected stories culminating in that scrumptious fellow on the October cover. You will be one of the debut downloads on my new Kindle.
And as for Regency attire and what succeeded it… Part of the reason I don’t write later is because the dress itself takes on the depth of a character. Loretta Chase is a genius at dealing with this this, and how I envy her.
I’ve read Kathryn the Kitten and, I tell you, Lavinia managed to set up the series and have Kathryn’s story complete (and sensual) in just novella length. I can’t wait for the next one!!
As for the clothes of 1820, I like the waistline dropping a little. I think it is flattering, but then the fashions very quickly get pretty silly.
Thanks for visiting the Riskies, Lavinia!
I love series that include women’s friendships, so this one sounds cool.
As to the 1820s fashions, a lot of them look overdone to me. Everything big–does this remind anyone else of the 80’s?
Hi Lavinia, I love your take on the modern Housewives in your series The Real Duchesses of London. I think it will be much more interesting to see the lives of the aristocratic women then because women’s voice and choice faced many challenges then.
I will definitely admit to liking the women’s clothing of the 1820’s and the whole century even. The beauty is in the detail, handmade, custom-fitted with so many choices in fabric, colour and other details. I would feel very feminine and regal. Now, as for wearing it, I’m not sure I can pull it off but the fashions of that time is to be admired and appreciated.
These books definitely look like fun reads. I’m always a duchess in my dreams wearing dresses by Worth..and since I’m a duchess I tell them to make them stunning but comfortable with no corsets.
Hello Lavinia! What a great idea for a series! Can’t wait to read them. And the book trailer is wondeful!
I too love the cartoons from this era. Some amazingly pointed and risque things were put into print. Had they not been cartoons someone might have found themselves in hot water or worse, in court!
I love any sort of dress that makes my waist look smaller, but those sleeves are a bit much. I DO, however, love those hats! I have a thing for shoes and hats.
Novellas are a good length for me to read on my Kindle. I prefer reading full length books on paper.
I don’t think all those dresses look all that comfortable. Corsets! No spandex! And all that ironing!
Nathan Kamp looks yummy on “What a Duke Wants”.
Lavinia, I think the Real Duchesses of London is a BRILLIANT concept! And I know you’ll do each of them justice. As far as the clothing, I always love period clothing. But when it comes to the practicality of wearing it and the conditions of that time….I get a chill in my bones. I think I must have lives another life then. And yes, I’m serious. My feet are freezing right now just thinking about it. lol
Again, you are BRILLIANT!
on a hot day like today, I’m extra glad to not be living back then & have to be stuck under all that material and layers upon layers. 🙂
Thanks for all the comments.
I would admit that anything that makes my waist look smaller is a winner. I think I’ve just become a comfort queen. I used to love the idea of 1940’s and early 50’s clothing and now all I can think is how do you move your arms if the sleeves are that tight.
It was so much fun working with the idea of catty female friendships that have some real affection underneath.
Lavinia, like you, I feel like there’s a huge precipice ladies’ fashion falls off into in the 1820s. They must’ve all been tired of the simplicity of their dresses, but ugh!
Thanks for visiting today, your series sounds delightful.
I like looking at the fashions of that era but I don’t wouldn’t want to wear any of it. First of all I would look ridiculous! Secondly, I shudder at the thought of wearing a corset.
hi Lavinia, nice to have you here at the Riskies! I’ve decided I don’t like Regency-Georgian fashions from after 1805 or so when the gowns developed all sorts of frills and fussiness. But I do love the 1790s when women dressed like goddesses and the Wives and Daughter period when the lines became cleaner again (other than the silly sleeves)
Congrats on the new release. I don’t think I would like to wear the clothing of the 1820’s. I can imagine how uncomfortable and restricting they were.
I’ll admit to loving the Regency dress. So much nicer and stylish than hoop skirts and panniers!
You’re starting to persuade me that I may need to take another look at some of the fashions, concentrating more on the details and less on the sleeves. LOL.
I especially love the jackets of the time, like the long pelisse. But my favorite is the short Spencer jacket.
Welcome to the blog, Lavinia! I’m kind of sad we’re disqualified from winning on our own blog, because I am very intrigued by this duchess print 🙂
Thanks, for having me. I didn’t expect I’d be the one learning. I’ve already started examining the clothing again and trying to decide if I was being closed minded (I almost wrote clothed mined, which apparently I am).
Lavinia, this sounds like a great project. I think the dress from that time is lovely but I don’t think I could stand it. I’m a jeans and T-shirt girl.
I am sure I wouldn’t like wearing the dresses of the 1820s for one thing they would be way to hot. I couldn’t imagine dressing like that. I do love the look for that time period though, they were pretty.
I am really looking forward to this series.
I love the idea of the women coming together because of the print being posted in the windows!I’m not surprised that the women have trouble with their husbands because what man can understand a woman’s mind! I’ve been married for 41 years and my husband still can’t understand “where I’m coming from”! Now think how men thoought of women in the 1820’s. I guess some things never change!
I’d love if those above the waist fashions came back in style today. No restraining belts when you eat that piece of cake that’s definately not on your diet. Today’s models figures definatley weren’t in style then and that wasn’t extra weight but instead something something the men thought attractive. Wouldn’t it be great to have a seamstress so the top and bottom of a dress both fit? I guess I was just born in the wrong century because I definatley don’t wear a size 4!
1820s clothes are pretty awful, aren’t they? I don’t think I’d be tempted to wear them, especially the bonnets which must have been deadly weapons when aimed withintent!
hi lavinia, I’ve read all 4 of the novellas in the real duchesses of london and I was wondering if there was going to be a 5th one for Georgiana?