Thursday, December 07, 2017

New Giveaway






Annie Burrows is running a worldwide giveaway via Goodreads from 7th December 2017.  She will be giving away 3 signed copies of her 25th release for Harlequin Historicals, "The Marquess Tames His Bride"

For details of how to enter, please go to our Giveaways page, for link.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Research into Costume...by Annie Burrows

On my regular monthly blog for the Novelistas UK, I was asked the following question:

"Do you use real locations? Which locations have inspired you? (I think you may have done this before!)

Ditto the Regency clothes - do you make them up, or are they actual clothes?"

OK, well, first of all, if you’ve read any of my books, you will know that I don’t, as a rule, put in a lot of detail about this sort of thing.  This is because I think it can detract from the story, and the action going forward if you keep breaking off to spend whole paragraphs describing a room, or an outfit.  I tend to use broad brushstrokes to suggest the era, or the scene, or even the clothes, and rely on the reader to fill in the gaps with their own imagination.  So that I can concentrate on the emotional inner life of my character, and the action going forward.

BUT…part of being able to create vivid, believable Regency characters comes from being historically accurate.  I have to know all about the background even if all I’m going to do is sketch it in briefly, or it won’t ring true, and will be a far less enjoyable read.

This particularly true of clothing.  I have to know what a Regency lady would wear, so that love scenes can play out convincingly as the hero removes her garments one by one.  I need to know what type of corset she might wear, how her stockings were held up, and whether or not she wore drawers.  Not only will this place her firmly within the historical era, but it will also say something about her social status, and her personality, too.  Silk stockings, rather than cotton, for example, or a gown that laces up at the back, rather than the front will tell the informed reader (and most readers of Regency are very knowledgeable about the customs of the age) a lot about my heroine without me having to take another couple of sentences explaining whether she is upper or lower class, wealthy or poor.

I also sometimes zoom in on an outfit a heroine is wearing to help show how she is feeling.  “The Captain’s Christmas Bride” for example, opens with the heroine’s friend struggling to do up the laces of her gown.  A short cut to telling the reader she has body issues.

In the opening section of “The Debutante’s Daring Proposal”, the heroine is conscious of her frayed gloves and her muddy boots when the hero strides onto the page looking all expensive and elegant, to emphasise the differences in their social and financial status.

As on all other topics of Regency life, I have a few favourite books that I frequently consult to give me inspiration, or to help me describe an outfit convincingly.
Another thing I’ve done is to purchase a reconstruction of a Regency costume, to see what it would feel like to move around in long skirts.  I wasn’t surprised that my movements felt a bit restricted compared to the normal jeans and t shirt which are my usual everyday wear.  Long skirts are not very practical.  By the end of the day the hem was filthy.  It seemed to suck up dirt like a hoover.  Being cotton, though, it washed very well, and came up good as new.  However, it made me realise that keeping clothes clean would indeed need the services of a maid to do the laundry and ironing.  You couldn’t keep clothes clean without the help of servants.  Wearing light colours had to have been a symbol of status.  Lower class women would surely have chosen darker colours that didn’t need laundering every day, or changing every day at least.  So all those debutantes in their pristine white muslin gowns were probably making more of a statement than just about their youth and virginity.

One thing that did surprise me, though, was how warm the outfit was.  Everyone assumes that wearing light muslin or cotton gowns must have meant that the women would have felt cold.  The gown I’m wearing in the picture was actually made up of two dresses.  An underdress and an overdress.  The outfit came with a full length cotton petticoat, too.  The underdress could have been worn on its own, but I chose to put on the top one as well on this day.  Once I’d put all three layers on, I was actually too warm, so had to (shock, horror!) remove the petticoat.  I didn’t buy a corset, since I was only out in Regency garb for fun, not to go on a re-enacting event where authenticity would have been more important, but I can imagine that had I been dressed in a shift, corset, petticoat, underdress and overdress, I would have jolly well needed to make use of a fan to keep me from sweating.  A  properly brought up Regency lady would not have ventured out of doors without a bonnet and gloves, either.  (I did buy a bonnet, but went without the gloves – shockingly fast of me!)  What with all those layers, and a hat and gloves, I felt I could have survived the most inclement weather.  Or at least, I could have done with the addition of a spencer (short jacket) or pelisse (long coat)  Don’t forget that with full length skirts, you could wear pretty much what you liked underneath and nobody would have seen it.  Thick woollen stockings and boots in winter?  Probably.

So, I do study pictures of what Regency ladies wore, and I’ve spent a day wearing a reconstruction of the type of gown a Regency lady would have worn, so that I know how she would feel in it.

So that I can leave out the descriptions of gowns with a fair amount of confidence!

If you'd like to ask Annie anything about her writing, or her research, you can contact her on the Novelista Blog, where she answers reader's questions on the 1st Friday each month.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

new releases

6 new titles coming from your favourite historical writers in April


Monday, January 16, 2017

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Happy New Year!

This January there is a treat in store for all you lovers of Historical Romance.  6 Brand new titles are already on the shelves from 6 top Historical writers:



Thursday, December 01, 2016

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Pink Heart Society: Friday Fun – Is That the Time (Period)?

The Pink Heart Society: Friday Fun – Is That the Time (Period)?: We're delighted to welcome back  Elisabeth Hobbes  to the  Pink Heart Society  as she talks about whether her novels would work in diffe...

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Massive ebook sale now on!

Harlequin are having a massive sale of backlist ebooks.  You can find your favourite Hussy titles for only $1.99 from all major US etailers until 25th October.


Sunday, September 04, 2016

Twitter Tuesday

Come and chat with Harlequin Historical authors this Tuesday, 6th September - all about our inspiration for characters and settings.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Goodreads Giveaway!

 
 

    Goodreads Book Giveaway
 

   
        Mistaken for a Lady by Carol Townend
   

   
     

          Mistaken for a Lady
     
     

          by Carol Townend
     

     
         
            Giveaway ends September 01, 2016.
         
         
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.
         
     
   
   



Monday, July 18, 2016