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Tag Archives: The Last Frost Fair

Yay! I am done with the book and with the revisions on my new Undone short estory and am momentarily free of all deadlines.

Which means I am in the throes of worrying what to write next. The field is a way open. I can write anything I want to–as long as it is set in Regency England.
So I’ve been thinking of what books I’ve enjoyed, and one keeps popping up in my mind: The Last Frost Fair by Joy Freemen, a Signet Regency from 1985.
I loved the set-up for this book. The heroine is the beauty of an impoverished family. Her sisters and mother toil endlessly while she must sit and watch, to save her hands. The survival of her family depends upon her making a good marriage. Then she meets and falls in love with the hero, a soldier, but they both know that they cannot marry. They reunite later in the story and attend the last frost fair. A happy ending seems almost impossible.
I love the drama of needing to marry for money but falling in love with someone else. And the excitement and danger of the last frost fair. I wrote a blog about the last frost fair, and it figures prominently in a book I started a long time ago, one that has paranormal elements so isn’t a fit for Harlequin Historicals.
Do you have a book that just continues to stick in your mind?
Do you have a favorite plot that you never tire of? Reunion stories. Cinderella stories. Marriage of convenience. (I’d love to know….I have to write a new book, you know…)
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I’m doing research for a new book. I won’t say too much it yet, but part of my research has been about the last frost fair held on the Thames for a few days in February, 1814.

From about the mid 14th century to the early 19th century (the little ice age), the Thames sometimes froze solid in the winter and fairs were held on its ice. The climate was not the only reason the river turned to ice. The Thames was shallower then and the old London Bridge was built in a manner that slowed the flow of water and fostered freezing.

The first recorded frost fair was held in 1608, but the one I wanted to know about was the frost fair of 1814, The Last Frost Fair.

Joy Freeman wrote one of my favorite old Regencies titled The Last Frost Fair, which is where I first heard of the event. It seemed perfect to use in my new story and I knew just where to look for more information–The Annual Register of 1814

I have all the Annual Registers from 1810 to 1820. The Annual Registers are a little like almanacs with all the parliamentary issues, births, deaths, marriages of important people, poetry, and the most interesting news stories from the year. The Annual Register for 1814 is on google books so you can read it for yourself. The account of the fair begins on page 11 of the Chronicles, beginning on February 1 and ending February 7.
Another book with a good description of the Frost Fair is John Ashton’s Social England under the Regency, also on googlebooks.

Ashton describes the frolickers playing skittles, drinking in tents “with females,” dancing reels, more sedate coffee-drinking, and gaming booths. Souvenir cards were printed on printing presses set up on the ice. The Annual Register said the carousing went on until the ice began to break up and then people went scrambling to safety. There was some loss of life and there never again was a freezing of the river sufficient to hold a frost fair.

Have you read any books that show the Last Frost Fair?
Did you read Joy Freeman’s book and what did you think of it?
Are you curious as to what my new book is about? (cuz I’m still not telling)

Come visit my website. I have a new contest this month, continuing my countdown to The Vanishing Viscountess in January.

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