First of all, I have been so turned around lately with everything that is going on that I almost forgot I have a Harlequin Historical Undone story out in August!!!! Unlacing The Lady in Waiting is set at the court of Mary Queen of Scots, and was so much fun to write, so I’m excited to see it out now, and with such a yummy cover. (see more info and how to order here…) I’ll talk more about it next Tuesday and give away a free download!
And lately I have been reading every non-fiction book I can find about the Victorian era for my next Laurel McKee series (book one, One Naughty Night will be out in June 2012…), and right now I’m in the middle of a great read. Pleasure Bound: Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism by Deborah Lutz is one of the works that has really opened my eyes to the truth of the period, which belies its rule-bound surface and myths and shows the bubbling cauldron of massive change and rebellion underneath, personified by artists, poets, and explorers like Dante Gabriel Rosetti and Richard Burton (among others). It’s fascinating stuff, and perfect for my research on a series that centers around an artsy, scandalous family that stands just outside the reach of propriety.
From the cover copy: In this stunning expose of the Victorian London we thought we knew, Lutz takes us beyond the eyebrow-raising practices of these sex rebels, revealing how they uncovered troubles that ran beneath the surface of the larger social fabric; the struggle for women’s emancipation, the dissolution of formal religions, and the pressing need for new forms of sexual expression.
I especially enjoy the way the author describes the many figures of this movement in a way that brings them to life and centers them in their world. One especially fascinating person I don’t know a great deal about (except for her appearance in paintings) is Jane Morris, wife of William Morris and lover of Rossetti and others: She fashioned herself into a bold character, making living a creative act…Jane too could play at Byronism. Taking the part of a mysterious, gravely silent cipher, she seemed to others to hide a brooding interior and a tormented, unknowable past. She topped it off with a secret sexual life, unusual for a woman of her time. Designing, dying, and sewing her own clothes, Janey shunned the current ultra-feminine fashions with their crinolines, corsets, and bustles for medieval art robes….
And, since it is yet another day of 100+ temps here and my mind seems friend along with my lawn (and because I just like them), let’s look at some pretty Pre-Raphaelite paintings!
Do you enjoy the Pre-Raphaelites? What’s your favorite painting by them? Anything surprising about history you’ve discovered through reading? And how are you staying out of the heat?? (I finally got to see the new Harry Potter movie this weekend–it was fabulous, but a little sad it’s all over now…)
Amanda, might I suggest you rent or buy the BBC miniseries “Desperate Romantics” as seen here: http://www.amazon.com/Desperate-Romantics-Aidan-Turner/dp/B0026P40NU/ref=sr_1_3?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1311698447&sr=1-3. I think it will help put you in the mood and goes along with some of your research.
I’d also recommend reading the book “May and Amy” http://www.amazon.com/May-Amy-Forbidden-Daughter-Burne-Jones/dp/0307335895/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1311698511&sr=8-16. It has a great explanation of the three types of Victorian love: 1. The love you feel for your wife. 2. The lust you feel for a prostitute 3. Celestial love which was the most pure and required no physical contact. I don’t remember what the other two were called, but a great book and more Pre-Raphaelites.
One of my favorite paintings is of course “The Lady of Shallot” I have it in ring form. But I learned something new today. I have a friend who does mass-media artwork and I received this print for Christmas :http://tartx.com/item/Cinderella/260/c7 And now I know where Cinderella came from. It’s very haunting and beautiful, isn’t it?
I have to disagree about Desperate Romantics. It’s basically ‘Entourage with Easels’ (seriously that is the way the producers describe it). I would suggest that you read Franny Moyle’s book of the same name instead for a more accurate picture. Although Aiden Turner is yummy.
Amanda, I am delighted there’s more “Unlacing” at Harlequin Undone!
Pleasure Bound does sound fascinating and certainly will provide fodder for a new book. But how do you get around the men’s fashions of the Victorian period?
The Pre-Raphaelite paintings are wonderful. I love all the emotion in them. That one of Cinderella is amazing!
“It’s basically ‘Entourage with Easels'”
LOL Elizabeth! Sounds like a pitch for a book. 🙂 I do have that book, and now it’s moved to the top of my TBR pile as soon as I finish “Pleasure Bound.” (I’m also reading a book about Shakespeare, but not for research at the moment…)
“I received this print for Christmas :http://tartx.com/item/Cinderella/260/c7“
I LOVE the stuff at Tartx! I already own about 6 necklaces from her, and really, really want this Cinderella piece now.
Diane, my books are set in the 1840s, before high Victorianism really kicked in with fashions. 🙂 I always think it’s so funny how fashions in any era progress from attractive and relatively simple (see: English fashions of the 1530s or 1790s) to so crazy I don’t know how anyone wore them (fashions of the 1580s and 1830s)
Congrats on your new release! And I can’t wait to read a series about an artsy, Victorian family. 🙂
I like Waterhouse’s Ariadne – (the one of the lady lounging with leopards) – and used it in a book. 🙂
I will add Pleasure Bound to my TBR list, thanks!
PS – love TartX too. I lust after the absinthe bracelet. And the Poe bracelet is mighty fine too.
Can’t wait to read this latest Undone !!
And now I have all of these research books to look for, you KNOW they are my weakness.
I love the Lady of Shallot. Always have.
How am I coping with the heat? AC, baby, AC! I have window units in every room in the house. And lots of iced tea!