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That’s the title of the Christmas anthology with my novella, The Major’s Christmas Return, still on sale so hurry and order your copy now!

The Major’s Christmas Return tells of the reunion of Nash and Caroline who, because of an illness, are unwittingly trapped in their friends’ country house with only a few young servants, orphans who’d never experienced a proper Christmas. As Nash and Caroline contrive to give the orphan servants the Christmas they deserve, they discover the love and passion they’d lost years before — when Nash left Caroline at the altar.

Through Nash and Caroline I was able to show several Christmas traditions that would have been followed in the Regency. Here they are!

House decoration

No Christmas trees during the Regency, but evergreens were gathered and the house was decorated with them.

Yule log.

A yule log was a large log brought in on Christmas eve and kept burning in the fireplace during the Christmas season. Before it was lit everyone made wishes for the new year.

Christmas Candle

A large candle was also lit on Christmas eve. If it went out before Christmas day, it was very bad luck.

Plum Pudding

On Stir-up Sunday, at the beginning of Advent, the pudding was mixed and steamed and hung up to age for Christmas dinner.


Wassailing usually meant a group of people going from house to house singing Christmas carols and being rewarded with wassail, a spiced ale or cider. Nash and Caroline devise their own version in the house.

Mince pies

The traditional Christmas dinner dessert


No Regency Christmas novella would be complete without the mistletoe or kissing bough. That’s how Nash and Caroline rediscover their love for each other!


Here’s wishing all of you a very happy holiday. What holiday traditions are your favorites?


Do errors or modern phrases bump you out of a historical story you were enjoying? Or as an author, do you find that despite your best efforts those kinds of errors creep in when you’re not paying attention? Well, if so, here’s good news: Writing Regency England has released! It is the culmination of two years of meticulous hard effort honing and focusing, choosing what to include (the topic could be an encyclopedia unto itself, of course!), writing, re-writing, fact-checking, digging for illustrations–all the work.

Picture of the book, Writing Regency England, shown at an angle so the front cover and the spine are both visible. Co-author Jayne Davis and I both love our genre, and we hope this book may serve everyone with any interest in the Regency time and world. We both believe if you’re going to go to the trouble to set a story in a historical time period, creating an authentic sense of that time and world strengthens the story and the experience the reader will gain from reading it. Mistakes can lead to bad reviews, disappointed readers, and an overall bad rep for the genre! WRE is our effort to help fellow authors avoid that fate!

Available in print only, the book offers sixteen chapters of wisdom and information about the Regency time period focused on the “most commonly seen” errors that authors make. Designed as a guide, not a list of complaints, the book covers a wide range, from developing an ear for period appropriate language, avoiding modernisms and Americanisms, to simple facts about the landscapes, flora and fauna of England (no chipmunks! no skunks!), the correct use of titles for characters in the nobility (and who is or isn’t a peer), wisdom about naming your characters plus much more. If you write Regency-set fiction or even just enjoy reading about the period, this is a new resource with a unique slant that you might find invaluable.

Reviewers are giving it 5 stars and saying:

“The authors of Writing Regency England: A Resource for Authors have nailed all the things I grit my teeth over when reading Regency fiction: language that is inappropriate to the period, foods that were not eaten, incorrect use of titles, ignorance of mores and early 19th century life in general. This book covers everything: setting, flora and fauna, building styles, transportation, Great Britain’s old, confusing monetary units (shillings, pence, etc.), professions, the army and navy, and much, much more. I’ve done research for my own books since 2016 and am amazed at the scope of Writing Regency England. I wish I’d had a copy then.”

“If you’ve ever wondered whether what you were reading was accurate or not, then this is the book to tell you. …whether you’re an author or a reader, this book is highly recommended.”

“Thank you to Jayne Davis and Gail Eastwood for putting their heads together to write ‘Writing Regency England’. I do not know how much time I spend going down rabbit holes when I research the period, especially when I am looking for something specific. This book is a great resource for both writers and readers of the period who care about historical accuracy.”

“I’m impressed with the quality of the information and how easy it is to read the book. I’d recommend it highly to historical literature fans, readers and authors alike.”

Every author’s approach to authenticity is as unique as their writing style and voice, but there seemed to be a need for Writing Regency England. Others who write in the same period could certainly have done this book, but Jayne and I were the ones who were crazy enough to tackle it!

Do you think accuracy matters in historical fiction? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

Rumor to the contrary, I did not fall down a huge rabbit hole and disappear, although I have been missing from this blog for a couple of months in a row (and that theory is not at all unreasonable)! Has anyone else felt time was racing past at a speed too fast to measure?

Where have I been ? What has been keeping me so occupied? Writing. I wish it was something more exotic, but that’s the truth. I have been working on three projects at once (well, there are also some other projects that aren’t writing ones–aren’t there always?).

Two of the writing projects are related to my Regency series, Tales of Little Macclow.

Book Four (His Lady to Love) is coming along. The heroine is Scottish –what the heck is she doing in Little Macclow, a tiny village in Derbyshire?

And the other related project is a series prequel. It will be free to my email subscribers. If you enjoy my blog posts here, are you on my list? I send chatty newsletters that I consider letters to my friends, but not more often than once a month (sometimes less). If you’d like to join my community, here’s a link to sign up: (You can get a free short story.)

Neither of these projects have covers yet, sorry! No pictures. I’m scouting for stock photos of attractive redheads, however, if you happen to have any favorites!  And the prequel takes place around 1780, so the images for that one are going to have to be quite different. (Anyone have a guess what it’s about?)

But ah, the third project. That has been sucking up the largest amount of my time, but is almost done!

I should have a release date (or announcement!) very soon! British Regency author Jayne Davis and I teamed up to write this guide to help our fellow authors. There are so many common mistakes an author can make when writing this sub-genre, especially if they’re not British, and since readers of Regency romances skew heavily to the American market, more American authors tend to write the books, too.

As Jayne and I explain in the book’s intro): “One problem all historical fiction authors share is not having lived during the time we are describing. But non-British authors also have the disadvantage of not being steeped in the language, culture and history of the country. And we all have the problem of ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’.”

Writing Regency England aims to help authors to get the language and setting right, and also some of the historical aspects that often trip up authors (laws on marriage and divorce were very different then, for example). It can’t cover everything an author needs to know (that would require an encyclopedic scope), but it casts light on many topics about language, setting, and society where errors are commonly made (including ones we’ve made ourselves) and gives a good starting point for further research.

Do you know anyone who might like to have this book? The holidays are coming –maybe it would make a good gift! I’ll give an update very soon. Meanwhile, I must get back to work!

The leaves are just starting to turn here in Virginia and soon we’ll see their beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges. Last week still felt like summer, but now the days are cool and brisk. It’s finally feeling like autumn. 


Here, again, is my Regency homage to autumn, because the season and the poem are so beautiful. 

On 19 September 1819, John Keats took an evening walk along the River Itchen near Winchester and was inspired to write one of the most perfect poems in the English language:

To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,–
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

The poem was included in volume of Keats’ works printed in 1820 to better reviews than his earlier works. A year later, Keats died.

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When Queen Elizabeth II gave royal assent to the 2013 Succession to the Crown Act it meant that both sons and daughters would have an equal right to inherit the royal crown. Until then daughters could inherit only if the monarch had no sons. This was a big royal step to equality, but what of the non-royal titles?

Our basic knowledge of history (from school, private study, or extensive reading of historical novels) has gotten ourselves used to the idea that titles and/or property are always inherited by the oldest male heir; if not the oldest living son, then the oldest, closest male heir. We think of Mr. Collins in Pride and Prejudice, for example.

This might have been the most common type of aristocratic inheritance in the UK, but it was not the only one. There were titles and property that women could inherit, even as far back as the 1300s.

It all depended upon how the title was created. (Isobel explained it very well in her blog post, A Duchess in Her Own Right). Peerages that daughters could inherit were more typically Scottish, but there were English ones as well. Most of these titles were baronesses, but there were also viscountesses, marchionesses, and countesses. There were even Duchesses. The 1st Duke of Marlborough’s title passed to his daughter.

Henrietta Godolphin, 2nd Duchess of Marlborough

Peeresses who inherited titles in their own right could not sit in the House of Lords, though. That did not change until 1948.

The monarch could also create peeresses in their own right. George IV created three: Joan Canning, 1st Viscountess Canning; Catherine Fitzgerald, 1st Baroness FitzGerald and Vesey; Charlotte Strutt, 1st Baroness Rayleigh. The King or Queen could also create life peerages which ended upon the death of the title holder.

In my latest book, The Lady Behind the Masquerade, Kitty inherited the title Baroness Walsingham, because the villain, Turstin, had faked his own death and the title fell to her, having been written that way at the time of the title’s creation which could have been in the 1300s. It was unusual, but it could happen. Can you think of other Regencies or Historicals where the woman bore a title in her own right?

Would you like to win a copy of The Lady Behind the Masquerade? I’ll be giving away both The Lady Behind the Masquerade and Secretly Bound to the Marquess in Isn’t It Romantic Book Club’s Fall into a Book September 22 and 23. Join Isn’t It Romantic Book Club on Facebook and fall into 300 books!

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