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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.

Welcome, Leigh!

Tell us a little about “The Season” during the Regency period. Why was this time so important for marriages?

Leigh Michaels:

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.

20 comments:

Alyssia said...

Hey, Linda! Hey, Leigh! Wonderful interview--Leigh, you've been one of my favorite authors since I set foot into the fabulous, exciting world of historical romance. Your historical accuracy and lively depictions of the era, the people who lived within the era, and the way they conducted their lives on a day to day basis is truly astounding; a stellar depiction for anyone who seeks to find a true account of this time period and still read a great story.

Just One Season in London looks wonderful, and congratulations on its release. Happy writing!

Alyssia Kirkhart
alyssia.nicole@suddenlink.net

Sharon Sullivan-Craver said...

Hello Linda and Leigh,
This is the time era I especially love. I have read all of Barbara Cartland's books and now that I found that you write them too I am definitely going to be purchasing some to read. Excellent inteview. Thank you for inviting me in.

Sharon Sullivan-Craver
s.craver@yahoo.com

Maria said...

Loved the interview! Just One Season in London sounds like a very interesting story and I have it on my wishlist. I find this period of time to be so interesting - the season really was important in terms of finding a spouse and it's great to see the different viewpoints on it. Thanks for the giveaway!

junegirl63(at)gmail(dot)com

Karen H in NC said...

Hi Leigh,

Thanks for an interesting interview. You are a new-to-me author and since my favorite reading genre is the Regency era, I'll look forward to checking out your book. Sounds terrific, BTW. Thanks for the giveaway too.

kareninnc at gmail dot com

Lynne Connolly said...

Jo Beverley's been doing a lot of research into the Season, and it seems that it wasn't as strict as we've been led to believe. Some aristocrats preferred to live in town all year round.
The height of the season was always the marriage mart, though, after Lent and before the round of summer parties in the great country houses. But it was deeply political, with alliances being made through marriage, and future policies discussed at balls. Wives like the Duchess of Rutland and of course the Duchess of Devonshire did as much canvassing as their husbands!
I shall definitely be looking your book up, it sounds a lot of fun!

Lynne Connolly said...

Jo Beverley's been doing a lot of research into the Season, and it seems that it wasn't as strict as we've been led to believe. Some aristocrats preferred to live in town all year round.
The height of the season was always the marriage mart, though, after Lent and before the round of summer parties in the great country houses. But it was deeply political, with alliances being made through marriage, and future policies discussed at balls. Wives like the Duchess of Rutland and of course the Duchess of Devonshire did as much canvassing as their husbands!
I shall definitely be looking your book up, it sounds a lot of fun!

Teresa K. said...

Hi Linda & Leigh,

This was a wonderful interview. I love the Regency era. Matter of fact I love it so much when I go to conventions I dress up in Regency era clothing. I love the gowns.

Just One Season in London sounds fantastic. I started out reading Barbara Cartland books many years ago and still have that love for that era.

You will definitely be added to my list of greats, Johanna Lindsay, Lynsay Sands, Anna Campbell, and Madeline Hunter. From seeing you write as great as them.

Congratulations on the new release and I wish you many, many more.

Teresa K.
tcwgrlup41@yahoo.com

Leigh Michaels said...

Thank you all for stopping by! I fell in love with the Regency through Georgette Heyer's books -- partly because her characters didn't always follow the rules of society. I think it was pretty much like today -- we all know what the expectations of good conduct are, but that doesn't mean we always follow them... I hope you'll enjoy Just One Season as much as I liked writing it!

catslady said...

That's the first time I heard the season explained to me and so well. I just figured it was one more excuse for the rich to show off but what you said makes lots of sense.
And how wonderful that in Sophie willing to sacrifice for her family turns into something good for her too!I've always enjoyed Regencies but with this addeded knowledge I am going to look at it a little differently now - thanks!

Linda Banche said...

In our climate-controlled world, we don't realize how often the weather controlled events in the past. Imagine trying to find a husband or a wife when not only London, but also your prospective mate, smelled to high heaven. *g*

I loved JUST ONE SEASON IN LONDON

Meg an Aggie in Frisco said...

Thanks for the interview. You new-to-me author and since my favorite reading genre is the Wild West. I have been recently hook in to the world of Regency after reading Lily Gayle's Slightly Tarnished. I will be adding you to my ever growing and expanding TBR wish list.

Meg

Leigh Michaels said...

Thank you, Linda, for a great question... and for inviting me to stop by and post. Catslady, I'm pleased the explanation of the Season has increased your enjoyment of Regencies. Meg an Aggie, glad you've now discovered the Regency period!

Chelsea B. said...

Wow, this book sounds like it is going to be fantastic! I can't wait to read it!

justforswag(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

Linda Banche said...

Leigh, you're welcome. And come back any time.

Jerri Hines/Carrie James-Haynes said...

Absolutely love the cover. I find the Regency Period fascinating. Romance readers seem to flock around the whole time period-the costumes,the setting, the alpha male, the lady in distress. The way the Season was set up does give way to a lot of interesting scenarios. Love your books. Don't you, though, find it ironic in a time where most marriages in the ton weren't based on love, we have this whole genre devoted to it. Kinda funny isn't it?

Jane said...

Hi Linda and Leigh!

Leigh ~ Thanx for a detailed description of the season! I love Regency, but never fully understood "The Season" before! :)

Linda~ Thanx for having Leigh visit! :)

~Jane~
Janewrites234@yahoo.com

Di said...

Thanks so much for that full description. I kind of understood a lot of that from reading many Regency Romances, but you confirmed some things and added many more details. I'm a bit of a history nerd so I like to understand the settings & circumstances of historical books that I read. I must have read some of your books (I'll go search my stash) and this one sounds wonderful. Your name is on my list now!

sallans d at yahoo dot com

StephB said...

Linda and Leigh, what a great interview. I've always enjoyed reading historicals set in this time frame, but you must have done a lot of research to be accurate. That said, Leigh when was the "season" established, during what reigh? George II? III? Even further back? Did they go through Victoria's reign? When did having "seaons" stop?

Thanks for visiting the Hussies, Leigh! I enjoy your stories very much and I'd love to have a copy of your latest book!

Smiles
Steph

botrina_buchanan@yahoo.com

Leigh Michaels said...

That's a great question, Steph, and I'll have to go do my research because I don't know. Young women were formally presented to the queen at least as early as the reign of Charles II, but of course that's not the same as the Season, only an element of it. (I think it was George III's queen who really turned presentation at court into an art form.) In Elizabeth I's time, much of the society matchmaking and intrigue happened at the court, but that doesn't mean there wasn't a social season ongoing at the same time. So I will do some checking and perhaps I can let you know what I find out next time I visit the Hussies!

Minesha said...

I'm a bit confused. when exactly did the hunting occur? And what about drag hunting.

And wasn't there a beginning of the animal rights movement in the 1800s by a couple of members of the aristorcracy?

Thanks for explaining what a season really is about.