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Tag Archives: Frost Fairs

I am excited about two things to share with you! First, I can –FINALLY!! –tell you that the “new, improved” version of The Magnificent Marquess has a release date! May 15. (Cue the fireworks?)

I have worked on the revisions for months and months –it started to look like the improvement project that would never end. But I am happy with the final results, and delighted to share them. This book was originally published in 1998, so a lot of readers out there now never caught the first version. Just as well. This one is longer, so it is able to have greater character depth across the spectrum and even some new characters! The plot hasn’t changed, exactly, but I think it got more interesting.

I also love my new cover. How can anyone resist a hero with these amber eyes?

 But if you think those look a trifle haunted, you would be right. The Marquess of Milbourne may be newly arrived in London from India, immensely wealthy and handsome as sin, but he’s a wounded soul with a broken heart. I am a sucker for wounded hero stories!

The blurb: When all of London is enthralled by the newly-arrived Marquess of Milbourne, Mariah Parbury’s curiosity about his life in India undermines her resistance to his charm. Could he possibly care for her? But he has enemies. When dangerous secrets emerge about him, is she willing to risk her life as well as her heart for the chance of love?

“…a fascinating web of piquant romance and spine-tingling danger guaranteed to take your breath away.”—Romantic Times Magazine

I don’t have buy links yet, but the book will be available on all the usual ebook sources such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords for the other connections to iBooks, etc.

That said, are there any Dr Who fans out there reading this? Episode #3 of the new season that aired in the U.S. last weekend was set at the London Frost Fair of 1814!!! Just heavenly having the good doctor and his new assistant/”boss” running around in Regency dress among all the hoi polloi at the fair. The episode, titled “Thin Ice” of course involved so much more, but if you haven’t seen it I won’t spoil it by saying anything more. Just always happy to see our period used (when done well) as a setting for popular TV!! This great episode tribute painting was done by Thomas Chapman, who is apparently a huge Dr Who fan. You can see more of his artwork on Facebook at:  Want to know more about the frost fairs? Nice general background article at Radio Times:

I would love to run around in a beautiful green pelisse like Billie’s in this episode, wouldn’t you? Are you a Who fan? ‘Fess up –I know you’re out there! I could totally envision Dr Who enjoying tea with my Magnificent Marquess in his “East Indian-style” refurbished home. But that would be in 1817, so instead I’m inviting you!




Originally this was going to be a post about weather during the Regency weather, something I was determined to blog about before the official arrival of spring, although here (near Washington DC) it’s warm and sunny and daffodils are blooming. I did however do some digressions, some of which turned out to be more interesting.

England in Jane Austen’s time was in the grip of a minor Ice Age that had begun in medieval times and lasted up until the mid-nineteenth century–hence the snowy cold winters of A Christmas Carol and the Pickwick Papers. It was cold enough for the river Thames to freeze over completely, which it did for several months in some particularly cold years. In the sixteenth century Henry VIII traveled from London to Greenwich along the Thames by sleigh. What better opportunity for the enterprising merchants of London to set up shop on the river, thus creating Frost Fairs, the most famous of which (featured in Orlando by Virginia Woolf) was held in 1608.

The Frost Fair of 1814 was the last of its kind, and featured an elephant being led across the ice near Blackfriars Bridge (according to one source I found), donkey rides, and the roasting of a whole sheep on the ice. People had to pay to see the sheep roasted and then pay for a portion of “Lapland Sheep.” Nine printing presses churned out souvenir items. This fair only lasted four days until a thaw set in.

The weather, of course, is always a safe conversation topic–particularly if the man of your dreams has appeared unexpectedly:

But it was then too late, and with a countenance meaning to be open, she sat down again and talked of the weather.

That’s Elinor, from Sense and Sensibility, whose keen sense of the appropriate phrase gives her a certain affinity with Jim’s aunt in A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas:

And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim’s Aunt, Miss Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said, “Would you like anything to read?”

I have to mention a couple of fascinating sites I came across while trying to find a good Jane Austen quote about the weather (the one I was originally looking for, about a stupendously cold snap in London, is in Emma, I think). There is for your edification, a site with a search function for Sense and Sensibility, and other books too, Tilneys and Trap-doors, and that site also includes the Henry Tilney Fan Site–yes, the man who knows how to wash muslin. Who would’ve thought it.

Any polite comments on the weather, literary examples thereof, or really excellent time wasters online?

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