Tag Archives: A Love for every Season

Cover Reveal!

And here it is: the preliminary cover (or rather, three slightly different versions of the cover) for the brandnew novel! What do you think? Which do you like best? (Updated to add: The edge of the lower part of the cover is different in each picture. *g*)

Springtime Pleasures will be the first in a series of four books: “A Love for Every Season” will follow the adventures of four young women who become fast friends in the course of a year. The men they meet are all strong and stubborn, and most unlikely partners for our heroines – or are they?

Names, names, names

Yesterday afternoon I had another of those pesky panic attacks, so I dived into my (very battered) 1833 copy of Debrett’s Peerage. I found a pressed clover, various notes in ink (reminded me of Sir Walter Elliott editing his family’s entry in the baronetage in Austen’s Persuasion), and a very good reason why upper-class men addressed one another by their last names or titles: they were all called John, Henry, Edward, John Henry, Henry Edward, George, Robert, George Augustus, George Edward, William, John William, John Edward William, James, James Edward, George John, Thomas, Thomas George, Richard, John Richard, Thomas William, etc. If you had walked into White’s and called “John”, at least ten men would have turned their heads. Not very useful.

There are a few variations to these names as some families used the mother’s maiden name as their heir’s first name. Thus Austen’s Mr. Darcy is called Fitzwilliam Darcy (we also learn that his cousin is Colonel Fitzwilliam, so Fitzwilliam is obviously the family name of the Earl of —, Darcy’s uncle). But judging from my copy of Debrett’s, it would appear the practice wasn’t that widespread.

You can also find some really fanciful names, like Sir Launcelot Lake (I kid you not). Incidentally, Sir Launcelot named his son after his wife’s family title: she was the daughter of the Earl of Warwick, so the son was called Warwick Lake. His son was Launcelot-Charles Lake, then followed a few Gerards, then finally Francis-Gerard Lake, the present [i.e. in 1833] Viscount Lake. (He is also Baron Lake.)

Even though I found quite a few George Augustus Fredericks listed in Debrett’s, I decided to re-name the hero of the brandnew novel because I realised that quite a few people I know have young sons called Frederick. So a romance hero called Frederick would have been … eh … weird.

I thought about replacing Frederick with Fenton, his mother’s family name, until I realised that it would have been his elder brother who would have been given that name.

So, scratch Fenton.

In the end, Griff became a mere George Augustus. I daresay the loss of a Christian name won’t bother him too much given his overall problems. (Note to self: Give all your heroes LOTS of problems so they won’t be bothered when you rename them.)

His very large cousin, by contrast, got the Fenton name: he is George Fenton Cole.

His other cousin is Edward Fenton, Baron Anson (or, Ed the Snake). (Though you won’t see much of Ed the Snake in Book No. 1)

As you can see, naming one’s characters is a tricky business, especially when you want to stay true to the time your story is set in. 🙂

3 Facts about the Brandnew Novel

  1. Charlie not only wears spectacles, but she is also very tall.
  2. This is considered a sad affliction by her aunt.
  3. Charlie considers footmen far more distressing:
“I am too tall.” She frowned, pausing for a moment. “Or perhaps the gentlemen are simply too short, whatever it is. I could live with that, I assure you, but the footmen!” She sighed, shaking her head.
“The footmen?” Mrs XY [poor woman, she doesn’t have a name yet] echoed, her brows raised.
“Yes. In London one cannot go out on one’s own, but is obliged to take one of them. Truly, for the life of me I cannot see what for, as they are not even armed.”
“Armed?” Mrs XY’s brows climbed even higher.
Charlie eyed her speculatively. Perhaps, having been out of the country for so long, Mrs. XY didn’t yet know the extent of the moral depravity to be found in England.

 Confidently, Charlie leaned towards her. “On account of the highwaymen.”

Yes, you guessed right: 3 facts about the aforementioned brandnew novel

  1. Carlotta feels very deeply for people who have got problems and she normally feels obliged to help them (mean-spirited people refer to this habit as meddling, which is completely untrue and utterly unfair).
  2. Griff has a problem. A big problem. (Remember that he has problems with his papa? His Big Problem is connected to that.) Griff himself doesn’t think he has a problem.
  3. Nevertheless, Charlie is determined to help him with his Big Problem, for one simply cannot have people of one’s acquaintance fall into a sad melancholia!
Miss Carlotta Stanton to Lady Isabella Griffin, by two-penny post
My dear Lady Isabella,
I hope this letter finds you well. Your brother has just called on us & I am positive that the lines on his face were harsher than 3 days hence. He looks positively haggard. I am convinced  that we ought to take Some Kind of Action to cure him of his Sad Melancholia. Indeed, dire measures are called for. Do you think it will cure him when he has to teach somebody to drive a high-perch phaeton? I asked James the footman (as the Most Likeliest Person in this household to know the answer to my question) & he informed me that the highest high-perch phaeton in all of London is owned by an Individual called Whitstock. […] I believe we ought to take Action as soon as possible to let your poor brother not continue in this sad state.

Your affectionate friend, Carlotta Stanton

    Guess what! Three More Facts about the Brandnew Novel

    1. Griff doesn’t like dancing.
    2. However, this season he is obliged to attend balls in order to meet eligible people of the female persuasion.
    3. In Chapter 3 our hero & heroine meet at one such ball and they dance:

    It occurred to her then that the poor man was probably horribly nervous – Mr. Bernstone [the music teacher at St. Cuthbert’s] had warned them that there existed  gentlemen who might feel uncomfortable about dancing and who had a propensity  for stumbling over their own feet. One had to look at such unfortunate persons with charity, he had impressed upon the girls at St. Cuthbert’s. Under no circumstances must such poor people be teased or bullied or their coats decorated with slips of paper bearing comic inscriptions.

    Three More Facts about the Brandnew Novel

    1. My hero has one of those horribly clichéd hero names of romance fiction: friends call him Griff. His full name is George Augustus Frederick Griffin, Viscount Chanderley.
    2. He has to find a respectable wife. Fast.
    3. He has problems with his papa:
    “So,” the earl said and eyed Griffin from top to toe. So far he had not offered his son to take a seat, and it became increasingly clear that neither would he do so now. “I have summoned you here today, Chanderley, to discuss your future.” The earl paused as if waiting for a comment.
    Taking his cue, Griff echoed with forced politeness, “My future?”
    “Indeed. It is well past time that you do your duty to your family and produce an heir. So this season you will find a suitable wife. A respectable girl from a good family and with an umblemished reputation.”
    Griff felt the trap close around him.
    “After the wedding,” his father went on, “you will naturally remove yourself from London and settle down in the country. I will be generous and leave one of the estates at your disposal. Shall we say Rinton Park?”

    Which was nicely situated among the Yorkshire moors. Griff gritted his teeth.

      Three More Facts about the Brandnew Novel

      1. Wildlife that is mentioned in the course of the story: wild boars, catfish, eels, and a crocodile (well, sort of).
      2. My heroine’s name is Carlotta (Charlie to her friends).
      3. Her best friend is Emma-Louise:

      The stagecoach rumbled along the turnpike road. Outside, the brownish-green landscape flew by, while inside Carlotta and Emma-Louise sat squeezed between a shopkeeper from Berwick, a woman with a basket filled with cabbage heads, and a gentleman who was involved in demolishing a rather strong-smelling sausage. Unperturbed by the stench of the sausage, Emma-Lee was knitting. Click-clack, her needles flew as she created block after block of the blanket for her new baby niece. Charlie almost envied her best friend – at least Emma-Lee had something to keep her hands busy! She, by contrast… Knitting had never been her forte, and she had no wish to attempt some embroidery in the coach. She would probably end up with the needle stuck in her eye. Or, at the very least, with her fingers all pricked and sore.

        Three Facts about My Brandnew Novel

        The brandnew novel I mentioned in the comments to my last posts? The one that I hope to get published by late spring / early summer? Let me tell you about it:

        1) The heroine wears spectacles.

        2) I’m a Bad Author who knowingly includes historical anachronisms in her novel: there will be wild boars. And wild boars, alas, became extinct in Great Britain during the Middle Ages. But since I like wild boars, wild boars you are going to encounter.

        3) And you’re going to encounter them already in the first chapter (yes, I know, shocking), which starts like this:

        Chapter 1
        in which our story opens with wild boars,
        highwaymen, an an early-morning stroll
        up St. James’s Street

        When the century was still in its teens, and on one surprisingly sunshiny day in April, there drove up to the rusty gate of Miss Pinkerton’s Academy for Young Ladies, on Chiswick Lane, a large battered coach, with two fat horses and a fat coachman, his face mottled with hectic red. A scrawny youth, who sat on the box beside the rotund coachman, bit his nails, tugged at his sweaty hair, and scrambled down the box as soon as the coach drew up opposite of Miss Pinkerton’s spotted brass plate. St. Cuthbert’s Academy for Young Ladies, it read with old-fashioned, un-neoclassical flourish. One corner was dented and below the letters somebody had scratched a leering face. It might have been the face of a gargoyle, or perhaps the scratcher had simply not been used to working with brass.

        (Which is a parody of the beginning of Thackeray’s Vanity Fair.)