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Friday, December 26, 2014

Princesses: the 6 Daughters of George III

Princesses: The Six Daughters of George III
Flora Fraser
Anchor Books, 2006
478 pages; $16.95

Review © Cheryl Bolen

In the century and half since the last princess died, no one has ever before had the fortitude to chronicle the lives of the six daughters of George III (1738-1820) and his wife Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744-1818). Until Flora Fraser.

One of England’s premier biographers of the late Georgian era, Fraser (Beloved Emma) first became acquainted with the princesses when doing archival research for her biography (Unruly Queen) of their sister-in-law, the Prince Regent’s wife.

"Given other circumstances, the letters of these six royal sisters might have been filled only with Court gossip, pomp and fashion," Fraser writes. "Instead their correspondence makes harrowing reading, revealing the humility with which they met pain and horror, the tenacity with which they pursued their individual dreams, and the stratagems they devised to endure years of submission and indignity."

The circumstances which catapulted their lives onto a sorrowful trajectory, of course, were the intermittent bouts of the king’s insanity which terminated in a nine-year regency after he was declared incompetent to rule.
King George III

His first occurrence of the illness was in 1788; it was another 23 years before the regency became official. Sadly, it was during those years the princesses came of age, only to be denied the opportunities for gaiety and marriage. The king’s illness turned a concerned mother into a domineering tyrant who deprived the princesses of any hopes for happiness.

During those years, the princesses were forced to forgo personal pleasures or aspirations for matrimony for fear it would incite another relapse in the father who was so excessively fond of his daughters.

To a one, all the princesses wished to marry, to have their own homes, to have children. Most of them would be denied these simple pleasures.

The king himself said in 1805 — when the Princess Royal was 39 and the youngest princess, Amelia, 22 — "I cannot deny that I have never wished to see any of them marry: I am happy in their company, and do not in the least want a separation."

When he spoke those words, "Royal," as the eldest sister was always called, was the only sister to have married. Her father had refused many offers for her hand, a fact that embittered her. She finally succeeded in marrying a widower, the Hereditary Prince of Wuttemberg, when she was thirty.

She was thrilled to escape "The Nunnery," a title the princesses themselves dubbed their residences at Kew Palace and Windsor Castle. She never regretted the decision to marry. While she never bore a live child, she was an indulgent mother and grandmother to her step-children and may have been the happiest of the sisters.
Princess Sophia

None of the sisters would ever become a mother, though the fourth princess, Sophia (1777-1848), gave birth secretly to an illegitimate child sired by her father’s equerry, who was more than thirty years older than she. She never married.

Amelia died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-seven, which many think contributed to her father’s final fall into hopeless insanity. Even on her deathbed, her family would not allow Amelia to marry the young officer she had been in love with for eight years.

Her sister, Princess Augusta (1768-1840), also fell in love with a military man, Gen. Sir Brent Spencer. When she was 43 she wrote a letter to the regent that begged to be allowed to marry the man who had shared her "mutual affection" for twelve years. Request refused, she died a spinster.

Princess Mary had more luck. She demanded the regent allow her to wed her cousin, the Duke of Gloucester, whose father was her father’s brother. The regent reluctantly agreed. At age forty, she finally married. While it is doubtful she was in love with her husband, she relished the first liberty she had ever tasted.

The sister who had most wanted to marry and had dreamed of bearing a child, Princess Elizabeth, finally was granted one of her wishes. At age forty-eight and well past child-bearing years, she married the Landgrave of Hesse-Homburg and had a happy marriage for eleven years.

Fraser’s research is meticulous, right down to the names of the royal wet nurses and the salary paid to them. Almost all of the research is original, delving into letters in collections, archives, and libraries across the globe, a feat that had to have taken several years.

For the casual reader, there are a few problems. First, it is difficult to chronicle six lives at once chronologically. We get a snippet of one sister, but the narrative thread drops while there is an awkward transition to another sister because of chronological constraints. Therefore, the book makes for dry reading and lacks dramatic structure.

For the historian, this work is a gem.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Regency comedy GOOSED! OR A FOWL CHRISTMAS is Here!

Goosed! or A Fowl Christmas, the first in my Regency The Feather Fables series, is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Kobo and Apple.


The Feather Fables--where birds twitter and chirp and bring romance.

Ah, Christmas, what a glorious season. Decorations, friends, good will to all, a time of magic and miracles.

But not for Miss Julia Shaw. She is new to the area, her farm desperately needs upkeep, and the pittance she earns from her artwork doesn’t pay the bills. And then her pet goose escapes. Making matters worse, when she first meets the devastatingly attractive Lord Tyndall, the abominable man insults her as he returns her goose. No peace and good will for her this Christmas.

Exhausted from a year of business travel, Robert, Baron Tyndall, returns to London only to fall prey to his mother’s matchmaking attempts. Escaping to his country estate, he finds solace with the birds in his aviary. Except that a plague of a goose that belongs to his new neighbor, Miss Shaw, has somehow entered his aviary and wreaked havoc. That disagreeable lady had better keep her misbegotten bird to herself. Too bad she is so lovely. What a horrendous Christmas this season has become.

But even in the blackest depths, a spark of light can glimmer. For at this wondrous time of Christmas, miracles and magic can and do happen.

A sweet, traditional Regency romance with fantasy elements. 61,000 words.

What was that infernal din? Catching up her shawl, Julia dashed down the stairs and then out through the front door. Winding her shawl around her, she rounded the house and almost slammed into an unfamiliar gig.

The vehicle blocked her view of the goose pen, from which the honking emanated. But no one was there—her pet goose had run off. She ran around the conveyance and stopped dead.

Her pet had returned! Flapping, honking and biting, the flying goose—He could fly? She had never before seen him do so—attacked a large, stylishly dressed gentleman.

The man, his arms high to protect his head, flailed at the goose. His back was to her, his upended hat lay in the dirt and white feathers covered his black greatcoat. He swore. Loudly.

Julia’s ears burned. “Do not hurt my goose, sir!”

The man batted at the goose again and turned toward her.

Julia gasped. He was the man on the road a few days ago. His dark eyes blazed, his brown hair was mussed, and his sharp cheekbones had flushed from the effort of warding off the goose.

Her pulse raced. He had looked handsome at a distance. Up close, he was magnificent. Tingles raced over her skin.

“This spawn of Satan is your property, madam?” He jerked his head back from the goose’s open bill as the bird dove in for a bite.

“He is, sir, and you will not harm him!” She jumped between the man and the goose.

The goose, breathing heavily, plopped to the ground. Eyes afire, he angled his head around her. He hissed at the man.

“Gracious, what is the matter?” She stroked the goose’s head.

The bird went limp, as if he had been pumped full of air and all the gas suddenly escaped.

She tipped her head back to glare up at the man. Good gracious, he was tall. “He has never acted this way before. What have you done to him?”

The man’s jaw dropped. “I? This feathered blackguard has tried to bite me ever since I saw him. And just now he attacked me.” He scowled at the goose. “If he is your property, you are welcome to him.”

Available at

Also available at the other Amazon stores

Barnes and Noble

Smashwords (note, all formats are available on Smashwords)


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thank you all,
Linda Banche

Welcome to My world of Historical Hilarity!

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Origin of Hanging Stockings at Christmas

The origin of hanging stockings by the fire for Santa Claus, or St. Nicholas, to fill is difficult to pinpoint. Like so many traditions, the true origin can be traced back to more than one source, all based on folklore and legend with so many variations, we may never know how it all really started. But there are some fun stories.

Possibly as far back as the Third Century A.D., there was a happy family whose father was either a nobleman or a merchant, depending on who tells the story. Anyway, the mother of this family died, leaving the father so distraught that he absentmindedly made some poor investments which ultimately led to the family's ruin. The family had to leave their comfortable home and move to a humble cottage where his three daughters (have you noticed three seems to be a preferred number for stories?) took over all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other household chores. The father worried his daughters would never marry well without a dowry to offer a new husband. This painted a bleak picture of their futures.

Into this sad tales steps a kindly bishop named Nicholas. He had a particular sympathy for the downtrodden and a pure love toward children. Nicholas had been traveling, teaching people about God and bringing hope, and sometimes gifts of food or money, to those who needed them. Nicholas stumbled upon the plight of this man and his daughters and was moved by compassion. According to some accounts, Nicholas waited until the family slept, slipped down the chimney, and placed a bag of coins on the fireplace mantle. As Nicholas climbed back up the chimney, the bag of coins tipped over, rolled off the mantle and fell into one of the stockings that the daughters had left along with other laundry drying by the fireplace. In the morning, when the family arose, they found the bag of coins. They rejoiced, for now they had enough money for the eldest daughter's dowry. She promised to marry a good man and take care of her father in his old age.

Duringt this time, Nicholas covertly peeked into the window. When he saw the joy and hope he'd brought to the family, he returned the following night, bringing another bag of coins. This second bag of coins provided a dowry for the second daughter.

The third night, the father, suspecting their unknown benefactor would return again, waited up for him. When Nicholas arrived with the third bag of coins, the father fell down at the feet of the bishop and thanked him for his generosity. This bishop later became sainted for this and many other acts of charity. We know him today as Saint Nicholas.

Some accounts say Nicholas came in through the door instead of down the chimney; others say he tossed the coins in through the window, either with accurate enough aim for the coins to land in one of the hanging stockings, or with bad enough aim that they fell off the mantle, which was his original target, and into a stocking. The stories also vary in that some claim he visited the family only once and others that he came three times. It is also suggested that the bag of coins was actually a large golden ball. This may have prompted the custom of children getting oranges in their stockings, in remembrance of that golden ball, or perhaps of the ball-shaped bag of coins.

In Norse folklore, a god named Odin, who rode a mighty horse named Sleipnir, visited children's houses on Christmas Eve. If the children left their boots filled with hay, sugar, or carrots for Sleipnir, Odin left candy and gifts for the children to thank them.

The Dutch have a similar tradition. As far back as 16th Century Holland, Sinterklaas arrived by ship and rode a white horse (or a reindeer, again depending on who you believe). The children left a treat for him near the hearth and placed their shoes called clogs by the fireplace filled with hay and carrots for his horse (or reindeer). Sinterklaas left treats in the children's shoes.

Eventually, legends and customs merged, changing the custom of hanging stockings instead of boots or shoes.

In the famous poem " 'Twas the Night Before Christmas" the Christmas stocking is mentioned twice. Near the very beginning of the poem, it says, “The stockings were hung by the chimney with care” and, again, near the end: “He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings then turned with a jerk."

So this Christmas, when you hang your stockings, spare a thought for a kindly bishop who helped those in need.

In my short Christmas story, there aren't stockings or gifts under a tree, but two lovers torn apart by war and heartache, get the best gift ever...a second chance.

A CHRISTMAS REUNION, the Gift of a Second Chance, pictured to the left, is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Wild Rose Press, and everywhere digital books are sold.

Or, if you're in the mood for a collection of short historical stories, all by different authors including yours truly, and which take place during the winter (some take place during Christmas), try A TIMELESS ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY: Winter Collection pictured to the right. In my short romantic tale,  A Winter’s Knight  a young lady’s fascination with a murdering earl and his dark castle lands her in the heart of an ancient and terrible  secret.  It  will  take  more  than a Christmas kiss underneath the mistletoe to break the curse and find a happily ever after.This collection is available in both print and ebook on Amazon.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Glass Armonica

Although Benjamin Franklin was an American and therefore not part of my usual Regency geekiness, I have to admire his brilliance.  Every few years I learn of another invention of his. This time, I discovered that he invented an unusual musical instrument called the "glass armonica." No, it's nothing like a harmonica--it's more like playing wine glasses with a wet finger, only these glasses are on their sides, all attached, and the glass does the spinning.

According to Franklin originally named his invention the 'glassychord', but changed it to "armonica" after the Italian word for harmony.  The Armonica hit the musical scene in London in 1762, launched a tour of Europe, and captured the interest of both Mozart and Beethoven who wrote pieces to be played on this unusual glass instrument.

Below is a fascinating YouTube video of "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" on the Glass Armonica played by William Zeitler who is one of few musicians who have mastered playing this unusual instrument. It love the magical, almost ethereal notes of the glass armonica and hope you find this a fitting way to kick off a magical Christmas Season.

BTW, if you're in the mood for a short historical romance and you like the sweeter side of romance, check out my brand new short story A Christmas Reunion, the Gift of a Second Chance for only $.99, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and directly from my publisher, The Wild Rose Press.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Horace Walpole's Strawberry Hill House

© Cheryl Bolen
One of the most well-known men in Georgian England was Horace Walpole (1717-1797), a younger son of the first British Prime Minister, Robert Walpole. Horace would have been assured a certain notoriety because of his family connections, but he also blazed his own trail as a man of letters, a Whig politician, art connoisseur, and builder of Strawberry Hill House. 
Horace Walpole
Horace Walpole's greatest source of fame came from his immensely bestselling novel, The Castle of Otranto, which was first published in 1764. At first released under a pseudonym and purported to be a translation from old Italian documents, Walpole soon took credit for the unique work, which established the genre of the gothic novel. 

The rich details of Georgian life in his erudite letters are a valuable resource to historians. 

Walpole started building his "gothic castle" in Twickenham in 1749 and continued on it for nearly 30 years, expanding from the original five acres to 46 acres while designing gardens befitting his showplace house. During his lifetime, Strawberry Hill House drew throngs of visitors.  
Strawberry Hill House and Gardens in the 18th Century

Though Strawberry Hill was considered in the country during Georgian times, it is located in the present London borough of Richmond-upon-Thames and was one of a proliferation of Thames-side villas erected by aristocrats and other wealthy men during the eighteenth century. 

As an aesthete, Walpole filled his beloved Strawberry Hill House with art treasures, mostly antiquarian. 

Described as a "natural celibate," the effeminate Walpole never married and died childless.  After his death, Strawberry Hill passed to his cousin Anne Seymour Damer, then to the Waldegrave family. Losing the Waldegrave family fortune, two Waldegrave brothers authorized a huge auction of the treasures of Strawberry Hill House in 1842. This left the house stripped of all its contents. 

The Lewis Walpole Library at Yale University has a database of all Horace Walpole's art treasures, their current location, and descriptions of those whose ownership has not been traced. 

In 1923, St. Mary's University purchased Strawberry Hill House and held it for more than three-quarters of a century. In 2007 Strawberry Hill House was leased to the Strawberry Hill Trust, which raised £9 million for the restoration and subsequent reopening of the house. 

Strawberry Hill House Today, after Restoration
After two centuries, the house re-opened to the public in 2010 and is administered by the trust. It can be reached by a variety of London transit options. Since it is currently just a three-minute walk from the Thames River Walk around Richmond, it is suggested that visitors walk along the river path from Richmond in order to tour Strawberry Hill House.--Cheryl Bolen's sixth installment in the Brides of Bath, A Christmas in Bath, was released this month.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Regency Chocolate

by historical romance author, Donna Hatch

Today, people (at least in the US) use the terms hot chocolate and hot cocoa interchangeably. And most commercial mixes available in grocery stores taste pretty much the same. However, technically, hot cocoa is made with cocoa powder, the stuff you can buy in a metal container that comes unsweetened and has no cocoa butter.

Hot chocolate is actually made from melted chocolate, which includes cocoa butter. Because of its higher fat content, true hot chocolate is richer than the original hot cocoa recipe made from cocoa powder.

During the Regency, people drank hot chocolate too, but they drank it unsweetened the way people drink coffee black, and they often drank it in the morning as a way to begin the day rather than as a special treat. In books, I often have a maid bring the characters a breakfast tray with chocolate (they didn't add the word 'hot' as it was implied since that's the only way people drank it) and a pastry. After the heroine goes through the procedures of dressing and having her hair styled, she goes downstairs to the breakfast room and eats her breakfast buffet style, as was the custom in much of England during the Regency.

Since I like my hot chocolate and/or hot cocoa sweet and decadent, most of my heroines do too, but I have people comment on what a strange quirk that is.

Here is my favorite hot cocoa recipe. As you can see, even though it uses cocoa powder and not melted chocolate, it is not low fat :)

My oldest daughter found this recipe years ago here and we've been using it ever since when we want a special treat that tastes far better than instant mix.
Best Ever Decadent Hot Cocoa
Makes 4 servings
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup white sugar
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups milk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup half-and-half cream

Combine the cocoa, sugar and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Blend in the boiling water. Bring this mixture to an easy boil while you stir. Simmer and stir for about 2 minutes. Watch that it doesn't scorch.

Stir in 3 1/2 cups of milk and heat, stirring constantly, until very hot, but do not boil!

Remove from heat and add vanilla.
Divide between 4 mugs.
Add the cream to the mugs of cocoa to cool it to drinking temperature.


Image downloaded from Wikimedia commons

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Fall of the Leaf--Fox Hunting Season

After the fall of the leave to the last frost—that is the traditional foxhunting season, when the fields lie fallow. What we otherwise think of as November to March. However, cub hunting (when young hounds were trained with drag hunts, might begin as early as October, depending on the weather and the keeness of the hunter.

To me, autumn is always the time to think of fox hunts. I've used fox hunting in several of my books, and it's a main plot point in Under the Kissing Bough, for the heroine is an early advocate of animal rights (a movement that does see its birth in the early 1800's).
In England, the record of the oldest foxhunt dates back to mid 1600's and the second Duke of Buckingham, who hunted the Bilsdale pack in Yorkshire dales.

Each hunt is composed of a Master—usually the man who owns the hounds. The Master may employ "whipper-ins" to help keep the hounds together. Hunting is informal in the 1700s—anyone can join in to follow the hounds (as in that wonderful scene from the movie, Tom Jones, when the Squire cannot resist the call of the huntsmen's horns). Those horns are actually signals to the other huntsmen and the pack as to where the fox is headed.

The Duke of Bedford's hounds hunted actually stags until 1770's. But by 1780's fox hunting took over in popularity. Enclosure Acts and reduction of forests mean less stag hunting. And hare hunting was generally regarded as more a necessity of country life.

Hunt territories varied widely. The fifth Earl of Berkely hunted an area from Berkley Castle to Berkley Square, stretching 120 miles. Most hounds were kept by rich individuals, and they often invited local farmers to hunt with them, for very often you depended on the locals allowing your hunt access over their farms—there's still no way to predict which way a fox will run.

By 1810, there were only 24 subscription packs—or packs that you could pay to belong to and hunt, as opposed to requiring an invitation from the Master. But this would double, so that by the mid 1800's hunting became a more a matter of 'subscribing' in exchange for the right to hunt with the pack.

The golden age for hunting in Leichesterchire is 1810 to 1830. This starts off with Hugo Meynell, who hunted his foxhounds from Quorn Hall in Leicstershire from 1753 to 1800. His record run was 28 miles in 2 hours 15 minutes.

During this time, there's as many as 300 hunters stabled in Melton Mowbray--with some gentlemen keeping up to 12 hunters. You could hunt 6 days a week with the still famous packs—the Quorn, the Cottesmore, the Belvoir, the Pytchley. Lord Sefton, Master of the Quorn from 1800-02, went through 3 horses a day—which is why you might need a dozen horses.
Ptychey's record run was in 1802, when the pack covered 35 - 40 miles in 4 ¼ hours. With horse medicine being about the same as for people—horses were bled after a long, tiring day. So the life of a hunter could be a short, hard one. In Warwickshire, a hunter might fetch 200 - 500 guineas. But in Leichestershire, a hunter could cost up to 800 guineas.

Wellington's officers took to hunting in their regimental scarlet coats. These started to be called hunting pink (the story goes that this was after the tailor Mr. Pink, but there's no evidence this is true). Each hunt, however, has its own colors—a color of leather boot tops, coat color and collar color and even button design. It's said that Brummell never hunted past the first field, for he hated to get his white-leather boot tops muddied.

Ladies were also found in the field. Mrs. Tuner Farley hunted for 50 years. Lady Salisbury was master of the Hatfield Hunt from 1775 - 1819. She hunted old and blind, in her sky blue habit, with a groom leading her horse and yelling at her to, "Jump, damn you, my lady." From 1788 to 1840, Lord Darlington hunted his own hounds 4 days a week in Yorkshire and Durham, with his 3 daughters and his second wife, all in their scarlet habits.

But between late 1700's to about mid 1800's, when the jumping pommel was invented for the side saddle, ladies were more the exception than the rule, and they were more likely to be advised to "ride to the meet and home again to work up an appetite."

Traditionally, each hunt always has a designated meeting place—a gate, or an inn, or even a house. You meet, the hunt cup is taken—folks drink to stave off the cold. You might meet around 11 and hunt all day—or until it's dark. Bad weather does not stop hunting--wet weather means the scent will be high (so long as it's not pouring). Ice can be dangerous—that's when you get broken necks and legs.

Having hunted myself, I can tell you a hunt really is lots of standing around. You do a lot of galloping to and fro, trotting from cover to cover, hoping to draw a fox. Some hunts kept tame foxes they could let go if the day's sport proved too slow. Some areas had to curtail their hunting to allow the fox population to come back.

Hunting was always viewed as a sport for everyone, but the reality was that it cost money to keep a pack of hounds and hunt them. However, anyone could take a horse and follow, if the master allowed it, and some followed the hunt in their carriages. (For some great hunt scenes, rent Tom Jones--the squire in the movie is always ready to abandon anything when he hears the cry of the master's horn.)


Shannon Donnelly’s writing has won numerous awards, including a RITA nomination for Best Regency, the Grand Prize in the "Minute Maid Sensational Romance Writer" contest, judged by Nora Roberts, RWA's Golden Heart, and others. Her writing has repeatedly earned 4½ Star Top Pick reviews from Romantic Times magazine, as well as praise from Booklist and other reviewers, who note: "simply superb"..."wonderfully uplifting"....and "beautifully written."
In addition to her Regency and Historical romances, she is the author of the Mackenzie Solomon, Demon/Warders Urban Fantasy series, Burn Baby Burn and Riding in on a Burning Tire, and the SF/Paranormal, Edge Walkers. Her work has been on the top seller list of and includes the Historical romances, The Cardros Ruby and Paths of Desire.
She is the author of several young adult horror stories, and has also written computer games and does editing work on the side. She lives in New Mexico with two horses, two donkeys, two dogs, and the one love of her life. Shannon can be found online at,, and twitter/sdwriter.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Knight’s horses...and a book giveaway

by guest blogger Regan Walker

When I was doing the research for my new medieval, THE RED WOLF’S PRIZE, set in England two years after the Norman Conquest, I learned a lot of surprising things about the horses the Norman knights rode. For example, horses were not so much distinguished by breed as by use. There were highly trained warhorses like destriers, strong coursers, smooth-gaited palfreys for lords and ladies, and general purpose rounceys. Knights did not, for the most part, ride their warhorses around the countryside, at least not very often. They rode palfreys, high-status riding horses.

Warhorses—the destrier and coursers—were reserved for battle. The courser was preferred over the destrier as it was light, fast, steady and strong—and less expensive. You can get a rough idea of the warhorses from illustrations of the period, such as the Bayeux Tapestry, which is actually an embroidery sewn in the 11th century and meant to depict the events that surrounded the Conquest.

 Destriers and coursers were stallions trained for charging and putting up with the shock of impacts. They had to be maneuverable, too, but with the strength to bear a knight’s weight in battle. (Though the chain mail was much lighter in the 11th century than the mail and plate armor that would come later.) 

While the origin of the medieval warhorse is not clear, it is thought they had some Barb and Arabian blood through the Spanish Jennet, a forerunner to the modern Friesian and Andalusian horse. Today, breeds that have similar bloodlines include the Welsh Cob, the Friesian, the American Quarter Horse, a stocky Morgan and the Andalusian.

The Spanish-Norman horse, like both the Percheron and the Andalusian, is predominantly gray in color, and is the horse Sir Renaud (“the Red Wolf”) rides in THE RED WOLF’S PRIZE. It is known that William the Conqueror was gifted a Spanish stallion at one point and so it occurred to me that a favored knight might also receive one as a gift from his lord.
In addition to palfreys, nobles rode the general purpose rounceys, but not typically knights, although knights might use them in a pinch. There were also horses for the hunt and the race that were fast and had stamina. And there were workhorses (common plough horses), and carthorses bread for hauling things.

Interestingly, William the Conqueror shipped horses across the English Channel when he invaded England in 1066—as many as thousand or more. Unlike the English, who rode their horses to battle and then dismounted to fight on foot, the Normans fought on horseback. It is also why they fought using longer swords than the English. The outcome of the Battle of Hastings has been described as “the inevitable victory of stirrupped cavalry over helpless infantry.”

When the battle was over, the knight would leave his warhorse and his helm with his squire and ride off on a palfrey, a much more manageable horse than his often mean-spirited warhorse, and one that had a smoother gait making for a better ride. Hence, the Red Wolf rides his Spanish horse when going to the Siege of Exeter and the Battle of York, while his squire leads his destrier.

Ladies rode the smooth-gaited palfrey, too, often riding either astride or pillion (sitting sideways and having their horse led by a groom). In THE RED WOLF’S PRIZE, Lady Serena rides a white palfrey her father had given her.

Here's the blurb for Regan's new historical romance, THE RED WOLF’S PRIZE:

Sir Renaud de Pierrepont, the Norman knight known as the Red Wolf for the beast he slayed with his bare hands, hoped to gain lands with his sword. A year after the Conquest, King William rewards his favored knight with Talisand, the lands of an English thegn slain at Hastings, and orders him to wed Lady Serena, the heiress that goes with them.

Serena wants nothing to do with the fierce warrior to whom she has been unwillingly given, the knight who may have killed her father. When she learns the Red Wolf is coming to claim her, she dyes her flaxen hair brown and flees, disguised as a servant, determined to one day regain her lands. But her escape goes awry and she is brought back to live among her people, though not unnoticed by the new Norman lord.

Deprived of his promised bride, the Red Wolf turns his attention to the comely servant girl hoping to woo her to his bed. But the wench resists, claiming she hates all Normans.

As the passion between them rises, Serena wonders, can she deny the Norman her body? Or her heart?

To celebrate the release of her new book, Regan is giving away the eBook of The Red Wolf's Prize to one winner.  To enter the random drawing, simply enter in the rafflecopter below. It's super easy! 

Regan Walker - Author Bio:

Bestselling author Regan Walker loved to write stories as a child, particularly those about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits took priority. One of her professors encouraged her to pursue the profession of law, which she did. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding sovereign who taps his subjects for “special assignments.” And in each of her novels, there is always real history and real historic figures.
Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, whom she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses.