Monday, July 25, 2011
Guest Leigh Michaels: The Regency Season
Linda Banche here. Today I welcome Leigh Michaels and her latest fun-filled Regency historical, Just One Season in London. Just One Season in London is a wonderful story of how you help yourself when you help others played out against the pomp and splendor of the Regency Season.
Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win one of two copies of Just One Season in London which Sourcebooks has generously provided. Leigh will select the winners. Check the comments to see who won, and how to contact me to claim your book. If I cannot contact the winners within a week of selection, I will award the books to alternates. Note, Sourcebooks can mail to USA and Canada addresses only.
And the winners Leigh selected are Teresa K. and Di. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all for coming.
Tell us a little about “The Season” during the Regency period. Why was this time so important for marriages?
Thanks for inviting me to join the Historical Hussies today – and what a great question! The Season is a huge part of Regency romances (as it was a huge part of the lives of young men and women during the period). The Season happened in the spring, when the aristocracy left their great estates and gathered in London. After Parliament adjourned for an Easter break, the nobles returned for what could be an extended session of debate and negotiation – so it made sense to bring their families along. The wives had little to do while their noble husbands debated laws, so they (and the members of society who were not part of the law-making body) socialized, gave parties and balls, and introduced their daughters. The daughters learned the ways of the world, formed friendships, met young men, and contracted marriages.
The timing of the Season was based not only on Parliament’s schedule but on weather. During the winter, travel was more difficult and less predictable; during the summer, un-air-conditioned London smelled, and fresh breezes were rare in the crowded neighborhoods. Though there was what’s called the Little Season in the autumn, most of the aristocracy preferred to go hunting at that time of the year. So the spring and early summer became the all-important time where young ladies were introduced to the queen and to society – and to potential mates.
The Season is sometimes referred to as the Marriage Market, because it was the best way for young people from all across the country to come together, get acquainted, and make matches. Travel was still arduous, time-consuming, expensive, and occasionally dangerous – so the pool of men a young woman could meet in her day-to-day life was seriously limited by geography. Ten miles was at least an hour’s drive (and that didn’t allow time to harness the horses). But many a great estate had only a neighbor or two within that distance. Perhaps one of those few nearby families had an eligible offspring of the same age, and perhaps the two young people would hit it off. But more likely not.
So it made sense for everyone to gather in one spot on a regular basis to assess potential mates. Though the ten or twelve weeks of the Season seems a fearfully short period of time to decide the important question of a lifelong mate, in fact people could get to know each other better in a few weeks of constant contact and observation during a London Season than in months or years of occasional meetings. In the fishbowl existence of the London Season, each could assess the other – see how he behaved around his elders, how she treated those less fortunate than herself – but also get the opinions of those with more experience. The Season was a lot more than dancing and flirting. How a woman handled the constant pressure, and how a man handled the constant temptation, could tell a great deal about character.
A London Season was expensive. The rental of a town house, the wages of servants, the cost of carriages, all added up. With perhaps fifty balls and great parties to attend and at least as many more soirees, dinners, galas and concerts, a young woman needed a wardrobe the size of a modern department store.
Rye, Sophie, and Miranda in Just One Season in London know exactly how high the stakes are. They can’t afford a second try – so they have only one chance to make their marks and to cement their futures. Just One Season in London…
JUST ONE SEASON IN LONDON BY LEIGH MICHAELS—IN STORES JULY 2011
A family that courts together…
Viscount Ryecroft has a beautiful sister he needs to marry off… if only he had the money for her Season in London.
His family is in financial ruins, and his mother is willing to do anything to help her children, including sell herself to the highest bidder…
Finds passion on their own…
Sophie Ryecroft will sacrifice love to marry for the good of her family… but instead finds passion and solace in an attractive alternative.
With so much riding on their one and only Season in London, Rye, Sophie, and Miranda can’t help but get hopelessly entangled with all the wrong people…
Celebrated author Leigh Michaels effortlessly weaves three tales of unexpected romance with surprising twists you won’t soon forget.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Leigh Michaels is the author of nearly 100 books, including 80 contemporary novels and more than a dozen non-fiction books. More than 35 million copies of her romance novels have been published by Harlequin. A 6 time RITA finalist, she has also received two Reviewer's Choice awards from RT Book Reviews, and was the 2003 recipient of the Johnson Brigham Award. She is the author of On Writing Romance, published in January 2007 by Writers Digest Books. Leigh also teaches romance writing on the Internet at Gotham Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Ottumwa, Iowa, where she is working on her third book from Sourcebooks, The Wedding Affair, which will be in stores in September. For more information, please visit www.leighmichaels.com.