Anna Larpent, 18th Century Diarist and Lover of Plays


The production of a female pen : Anna Larpent’s account of the Duchess of Kingston’s bigamy trial of 1776 by Anna Margaretta Larpent; Matthew J Kinservik; Lewis Walpole Library. University Press of New England, ©2004.

An 18th Century diarist, Anna Larpent’s diary gives a look into Georgian life. She was the daughter of a diplomat. She served as the de facto assistant Examiner of Plays during her time. At age 18, Larpent pulished a 32-page account of the bigamy trial of Elizabeth Pierrepont, Duchess of Kingston-upon-Hull at Westminster Hall, an event well-attended by those of both the middling and the aristocracy. The manuscript is one of the first of those written by a woman for other women. 

On 25 April 1782 she married a widower who she hoped would care for her and her younger sister Clara, who she had adopted. Her husband, John Larpent,  was the Inspector of Plays serving as the single approver of plays that were to be performed in Britain. Anna was the de facto assistant to him. When the plays were written in French or Italian then she had the skills to be able comprehend them. Larpent was interested in her work and she was a fan of Elizabeth Inchbald, an English novelist, actress, and dramatist. Inchbald’s play Lovers’ Vows (1798) was featured as a focus of moral controversy by Jane Austen in her novel Mansfield Park.


Fiona Ritchie of McGill University in her piece entitled “Anna Larpent and Shakespeare,”  tells us, “Anna Margaretta Larpent, née Porter (1758-1832) is a crucial figure in theater history and the reception of Shakespeare since drama was a central part of her life. Larpent was the daughter of Sir James Porter, the British ambassador at Constantinople, and his wife Clarissa Catherine, the eldest daughter of the Dutch ambassador there. After spending her early childhood in Turkey, Larpent returned to England with her family in 1765. Her mother died soon after but Larpent and her siblings enjoyed a cultured upbringing, ‘socializing with politicians and intellectuals, attending the theatre, and visiting historic landmarks.’ In 1782 she married John Larpent, who held the post of Examiner of Plays in the Office of the Lord Chamberlain from 1778 to 1824. Larpent “served as a sort of co-censor” with her husband and thus influenced the licensing of drama for the London stage.1 She was a meticulous diarist: the Huntington Library holds sixteen volumes of her journal, covering the period 1790 to 1830, plus a further retrospective volume for the years 1773 to 1786.2 These diaries shed significant light on the part Shakespeare played in her life and contain her detailed opinions of his works as she experienced them both on the page and on the stage in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century London.” 

According to Alan Taylor at Bristish History Georgian Lives, Larpent’s diary “entries show the activities and thoughts of an intelligent woman of the ‘middling’ class living in London. Daughter of a diplomat she had a very full active and family life – for instance on the 9th April 1792 her diary records that after rising at 7.30am that morning she read two chapters of Paine’s ‘Rights of Man’, tutored her sons in literature and Latin, accompanied them to see a Kangaroo on exhibit from Botany Bay (which she described in detail) and then went on to look at a number of mechanical reproductions of portrait paintings at Schomberg House. Having sat down with her husband for dinner at 3 o’clock they both then went to see two comedies at Convent Garden Theatre which lasted into the evening. Anna would be perhaps described today as ‘having to all’ as she even had a job as an Examiner of Plays, a powerful position as they recommended to the Lord Chamberlain whether plays could be licensed or not and in her diaries she makes frequent comments, both good and bad, about the many plays she saw. Her interests even extended to philosophical matters especially as to what was meant by ‘taste’ -she had many conversations with her friends as to conflict between lifestyles in which the main aim was ‘pleasure’ as opposed to cultivating a sensibility especially in the appreciation of the arts.

“Anna was not alone -in the late 18th Century critics recognised the increasing contribution of women to English culture. There were many female writers, painters, actors and musicians – for instance between 1750 and 1770 six of the twenty most popular novelists were women and in 1777 the painter Richard Samuel engraved a group portrait of ‘the Nine Living Muses of Great Britain’ which included Angelika Kauffmann, Anna Baubauld, Catharine Macaulay and the leader of the London Bluestockings, Elizabet Montagu. Of course not all agreed with this type of woman criticising them for seeking fame and fortune rather than being a good wife and mother!”

Huntington6.75x10b  L. W. Conolly published an article entitled “The Censor’s Wife at the Theatre,” which he discusses the role Anna Larpent played in her husband’s success. 


Larpent recorded such mundane facts as the time she went to bed, arose in the morning, what she had to eat, her daily prayers, names and comments on the books she read, something of her family, and her husband’s job in theatre licensing. The diary reads very much like a Facebook page these days, plus or minus the political rhetoric. 

Brodie Waddell shared this excerpt and this image on The Many Headed Monster.

In the first week of February 1792, she recorded the following:

Anna Larpent Vol 1 p.36

1792    In Newman Street London

February 1st Wednesday    Rose at 8. Breakfasted. Settled much family business above to London for the Winter, came there to dinner. Our Waggon followed us. We dined near 5. Evening I wrote to Farquhar concerning my sister … to miss Garmeaux on the business of her his Lord Neice coming to town &c.  Tea rest of the Evning worked &c. Tired.

February 2nd Thursday   Rose at 8. Breakfasted. Very busy in family matters and teaching myself. Received the Miss Fanshawes dressed. Evening made a White Silk petticoat then tea. I then red through the Critical Review &c. prayed went to bed after.

February 3rd Friday  Rose at 8. Red part of one of Christie’s Letters on the French Revolution. Breakfasted. Taught George to read, spell, write, learn Latin &c. then drove out saw old Mrs Larpent. Mrs & Mis. Crofter. I called at Shops. Dined. Wrote the Journal of the preceding day. Red Christie. Worked. Prayed to bed at 11.

February 4th Saturday    Rose at 8. Prayed. Red part of Christie’s letters. Breakfasted. Taught George to spell, read & Latin. Drove to mrs Jeffrey’s saw her then to Mrs Larpent Kennington Green. Only returned to dinner. Eveng worked part of a flounce for my sister. Then wrote to Mrs Pickering about getting a Servant. Rest of ye Eveng Chatted prayed to bed at 11.

February 5th Sunday     Rose at 8. Prayed. Breakfasted. Attended divine service at St Anns. Mr Eten preached on Providence, on the Gospel System as proving that providence. That dispensation was finely traced – returned home. Recd. Mr and Mrs Planta, Mr S. Sargent. Mrs Belson & her family. We then went out. Saw Miss Fanshawe, Miss Buchanan and Mrs Beaver. Returned home to dinner. Dined. Eveng till tea red the Bible. Psalms. Corinthians. & 2d – through & two Chapters of Matthew. Then copied the journal of a fortnight past in this book. Prayers. To bed at 11.


Posted in British history, drama, Georgian England, Georgian Era, Jane Austen, playwrights, reading habits, real life tales, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

In History, “False Teeth” Were Not So False

 waterloo_teeth.jpg What we refer to as “false” teeth are not false, for most dentures in history contained real teeth, either from an other human or from an animal. Some of the oldest finding regarding false teeth come to us from Mexico. They date to around 2500 BC, and excavators confirm the use of wolf molars in the denture. Original dentures had difficulties with fit, attachment, comfort, and durability, but became a necessary evil as tooth decay became more prevalent with dietary changes, especially the consumption of sugar. 

Around the 7th Century, the Etruscans developed a method that led to what we now think of as dentures. They used gold wire to secure a false tooth to those around it, creating a new tooth for the missing one.

During the 16th Century, the Japanese invented wooden dentures. They made a beeswax impression of the person’s teeth, before an artisan would carve teeth to match the impression, setting the new teeth on a soft mouth guard, again made of beeswax. 


Pierre Fauchard described the construction of dentures using a metal frame, animal bone teeth, and leaf springs in 1728. – Public Domain –

This practice ended with their civilization, but had a upsurge during the 1700s when “dentures” were made. It was a time when it was rare for an adult to reach middle age without having lost one or more teeth. Dr. Natalie Harrison tells us, “In 1728, Pierre Fauchard wrote about crafting false teeth from wire brackets and hand-carved animal bone. In 1774, Alexis Duchâteau made the first porcelain dentures. While they looked aesthetically pleasing, the pure porcelain was prone to chipping and cracking. In 1820, a [Westminster] jeweler and goldsmith named Claudius Ash made a huge advancement in denture knowledge and craftsmanship. He decided to mount porcelain on 18-karat gold plates with gold springs and swivels. This reinforced the porcelain, and resulted in dentures that work well and looked natural.”

The True History of False Teeth speaks to the materials used in early dentures: “Ivory was one of the earliest materials used to replace lost teeth. Ivory came from animals like the hippopotamus, walrus, or elephant. These teeth tended to decay and rarely looked natural, but got the job done. Ivory was still used for the base of dentures, even after quality human teeth became more available near the end of the 18th century. [Still improving, from the 1850s onward, dentures were made of Vulcanite, a form of hardened rubber into which porcelain teeth were set. Claudius Ash’s company was the leading European manufacturer of dental Vulcanite.]

“The best dentures were made from human teeth. The source of these teeth ranged from robbed graves, peasants looking to make a quick buck, and even dentists’ collections. Understandably, these sources provided poor quality teeth. Their poor quality meant that dentures were mostly cosmetic and needed to be removed for eating.


Carved ivory dentures from the 18th century. Left is lower/mandibular; upper/maxillary is at right.

“The death of 50,000 men at the battle of Waterloo in 1815 soon diminished the lack of quality human teeth. Soldiers marching at Waterloo were young and healthy, so their teeth were ideal for denture making. “Waterloo teeth” became the fashion in Britain and were often worn as a trophy despite the impossibility of knowing their direct origin.[Waterloo teeth were riveted into the base of animal ivory.] This practice of using human teeth for dentures continued on into the late 1860s. The American Civil War provided one source to these later versions of ‘Waterloo teeth.’ 

“Luckily, such ghastly techniques lessened after 1843 when Charles Goodyear discovered how to make flexible rubber. Charles’s brother Nelson named the new material vulcanite and patented it in 1851. It turns out that vulcanite makes a more comfortable base for false teeth. Because other versions of false teeth were more expensive, the market for vulcanite teeth flourished. For the first time ever, middle class people bought and wore false teeth along with the rich and wealthy.

“Porcelain false teeth were invented in the late 1700s in France. However, their tendency to crack and grate against each other made them unpopular choices. It wasn’t until after many improvements in strength and texture in the late 1800s that porcelain teeth because a popular choice for dentures and bridges and replaced human teeth, ivory, and bone. Porcelain is still a popular choice for many dental applications.”

Alan Taylor on British History Georgian Lives provides a bit more information on “Waterloo Teeth.” – “This will really set your (real) teeth on edge -‘Waterloo teeth’
In 18th Century. Britain there was a burgeoning market for false teeth – the advert below dated 1792 asked for Continental teeth only ( better quality than the average discoloured British teeth?). Once received by ‘dental technicians’ such as jewellers, ivory turners or even blacksmiths. they would usually be set in ivory and sold for about £100 (an enormous sum for those times). Because demand was so high soldiers and scavengers from England extracted the teeth from bodies on the field of Waterloo and sold them on at a good profit. Generally molars were less easy to pullout than front teeth so commanded a higher price. Later in the 19th Century, vulcanite was used as the base.” 




Did Your Know?

Queen Elizabeth I stuffed bits of cloth in her mouth to hide her missing teeth during public appearances. 

Despite popular tales to the contrary, George Washington’s teeth were not made of wood. A partial denture made of ivory was created by Dr. John Baker for Washington during the general’s Revolutionary War years. When he was inaugurated in 1789 as the U.S. first President, Washington wore a denture made from hippopotamus ivory, into which human teeth (along with parts of both horse and donkey teeth) were fitted, a creation of Dr. John Greenwood. [Hippopotamus, walrus, and elephant ivory were all popular choices for dentures in the 1700s.] The dentures attached to Washington’s final remaining tooth. 



Edentulous: A Brief History of Dentures

Silverado Family Dental 

The Weird History of False Teeth 

Posted in American History, British history, Elizabeth I, fashion, history, inventions, medicine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Robert Pate Strikes Queen Victoria with His Cane, but Does Not Kill Her


Shooting Victoria: Madness, Mayhem, and the Rebirth of the British Monarchy by Paul Thomas Murphy

A little over two years passed after William Hamilton’s attempt to assassinate Queen Victoria on 19 June 1849, before Robert Pate made his attempt on 27 June 1850.

Born in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, on Christmas Day 1819, Pate came from a relatively wealthy family. His father had worked his way, first in trade as a corn dealer, eventually to be Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and High Sheriff of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire. Pate received his education in Norwich, and his father purchased him a Cornetcy in the 10th Light Dragoons. His Lieutenancy was purchased shortly afterward. Pate’s lunacy was suspected as early as 1844. He resigned his commission and moved to Piccadilly in 1846, living very much as an eccentric recluse. 

During his trial, his defense team asked for a lenient sentence based on the idea he simply had a lapse caused by a weak mind. Seven years of penal transportation was his punishment. Pate’s social class, thanks to his father, permitted him more kindness during his imprisonment than he might have received otherwise. He arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now known as Tasmania) in November 1850. However, on arrival he was consigned to the Cascades penal settlement on the Tasman Peninsula, like a common criminal. He served less than a year under what for him must have been an especially hard regime, and was then transferred to more amenable work in the community until the end of his sentence. [Charles, Barrie (2012). Kill the Queen! The Eight Assassination Attempts on Queen Victoria, Amberley Publishing, pages 80-82]

“Pate’s father died in 1856, but most of his money passed to other relations and Pate only received an annuity of £300 and a share of his personal possessions. However, his money problems were solved the following year when Pate married Mary Elizabeth Brown, a rich heiress. They lived in Hobart for eight years before selling up and returning to London. Robert Pate lived a quiet life in the capital until his death in 1895. Under the terms of his will, he left £22,464 to his wife. He is buried in Beckenham Crematorium and Cemetery.” [Charles, Barrie (2012). Kill the Queen! The Eight Assassination Attempts on Queen Victoria, Amberley Publishing, pages 82-85] Wikipedia 


Kill the Queen!: The Eight Assassination Attempts on Queen Victoria by Barrie Charles

Now to the assassination attempt. There are several versions of the events. These are the facts with which each account of the event agree: 

Pate, an ex-soldier (retired lieutenant of the 10th Hussars), had descended into some form of lunacy. 

Pate had the habit of goose-stepping about Hyde Park 

Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales, Prince Alfred, Princess Alice and lady-in-waiting Fanny Jocelyn had visited the Queen’s dying uncle Prince Adolphus of Cambridge. 

The Queen’s carriage slowed to enter a gate. Her escorting equerry were pushed aside by the crowd, permitting Pate his chance. tells us this of the event: “Only one attempt on Victoria’s life actually injured her, and it was the only one not made with a gun. In 1850 an ex-soldier named Robert Pate hit her over the head with an iron-tipped cane while she was in the courtyard of her home, [Paul Thomas] Murphy writes. “It left the Queen with a black eye, a welt and a scar that lasted for years,” he writes. She appeared two hours later in Covent Garden to prove that she was well and that her injury wouldn’t stop her from seeing her subjects.


 Meanwhile, Sunday Express gives a bit more information. “Victoria’s fifth assailant, Robert Pate was the only one of the seven to harm the Queen. Well-known in London for his manic perambulations about Hyde Park, he interrupted one of these when he came upon the Queen’s carriage inside the gates of her uncle’s mansion on Piccadilly.

“He pushed himself to the front of the crowd, knowing that when the Queen’s carriage emerged he would find himself inches from her, and slashed his cane down upon the royal forehead, blackening Victoria’s eye and leaving a welt. Victoria had intended to go to the opera that night. When her ladies-in-waiting begged her to stay home, she replied “Certainly not: if I do not go, it will be thought I am seriously hurt and people will be distressed and alarmed.”

“But you are hurt, ma’am,” her lady replied.

“Then everyone shall see how little I mind it,” the Queen said.

Pate was sentenced to seven years’ transportation.”


The Social Historian provides us even more detail of the event. “About twenty minutes past six o’clock on the evening of Thursday, 27 June 1850, Queen Victoria along with three of the royal children and Viscountess Jocelyn, lady-in-waiting, left Cambridge House in Piccadilly to return to Buckingham Palace. As the royal carriage passed through the gates, a respectably dressed man ran forward two or three paces and struck the Queen a sharp blow on the head with a small black cane. Several persons in the crowd rushed forward and seized the man and for a moment it seemed likely he might be lynched by the mob until the timely arrival of Sergeant Silver who took the prisoner to the Vine-street police station. The Royal Carriage proceeded onwards to Buckingham Palace.

“At the police station, the prisoner gave his name as Robert Pate, a retired lieutenant of the 10th Hussars and gave his address as 27, Duke-street in St. James. The stick with which he had struck the blow was not thicker than an ordinary goose quill and just over 2 feet in length. It weighed less than three ounces.

“After being examined several times by doctors to determine whether he was insane, Pate was committed to Newgate to await a hearing.

“On 8 July 1850, 30-year-old Robert Pate stood trial at the Old Bailey. He was indicted for unlawfully assaulting the Queen, with intent to injure her, a second count of assault with intent to alarm her and a third count of  intent to break the public peace. Many witnesses were called an all testified that Robert Pate was not of sound mind.

EDWARD THOMAS MONRO, ESQ ., M.D. I have had five interviews with Mr. Pate since this occurrence—I saw him first on the 2nd of the month at Clerkenwell, and again on the 3rd; and I saw him afterwards in Newgate on the 5th, 8th, and 10th—from my own observation, and from what I have heard to-day, I believe him to be of unsound mind.Old Bailey Trial of Robert Pate

MR. COCKBURN. Q. You gather that [he is well aware that he has done wrong in this matter], from what he has said to you on the subject? JOHN CONOLLY, ESQ ., M.D. A. I do—he seems quite unable to give any account why he did it, or any account of the act at all, any more than it was not done by another person—he does not deny having done it, but he expresses himself very sorry for it—I asked him a great many questions on the subject; he had no motive whatever in committing such an action, no premeditation, no powers of deliberation or reason at the time; but he acted under some strange morbid impulse, which he had no power apparently of resisting. Old Bailey Trial of Robert Pate

At the conclusion of the trial, it was found that although of unsound mind, Robert Pate was capable of distinguishing between right and wrong and he was accordingly found guilty and sentenced to be transported for seven years.

Check out Paul Thomas Murphy’s account HERE.

Posted in British history, real life tales, research, Victorian era | Tagged , , , , , ,

Announcing the Winners of Jennifer Redlarczyk’s “A Holiday to Remember” Giveaway



Jennifer and I are happy to announce that Mary Olson and Laura Capio are the recipients of an eBook copy of Ms. Redlarczyk’s A Holiday to Remember. Congratulations, Ladies. Jen will be in contact to deliver the eBook. Happy Thanksgiving!!!! 


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William Strickland, the Man Who Introduced Turkeys to England

Tomorrow in the U.S., we will be all about the turkey and fixings and football and preparing for Black Friday sales, but in the U.K., turkeys are a more traditional dish for Christmas. Why might you ask? We can blame that particular fact on one William Strickland, a 16th Century navigator and explorer, who supposed, in 1596, brought turkeys back to his home in Yorkshire from America. 


The coat of arms of the Strickland family of Gilsland is Sable three escalopes argent, meaning “three silver scallops on a black field”.

Strickland was an English landowner, who reportedly sailed on early voyages to the Americas. In later life, he was an important Puritan Member of Parliament. The son of Roger Strickland of Marske, a Yorkshire gentleman and a member of the Stricklands of Sizergh faction of the family tree. The English surname Strickland is derived from the place-name Stercaland, of Old Norse origins, which is found in Westmorland to the south of Penrith. It has been used as a family name at least since the late 12th century, when Walter of Castlecarrock married Christian of Leteham, an heiress to the landed estate that covered the area where the villages of Great Strickland and Little Strickland are now. [ Peach, Howard (2001) Curious Tales of Old East Yorkshire, p. 53. Sigma Leisure. Includes illustrations of Strickland’s coat of arms and the lectern.]

Strickland sailed with one of Sebastian Cabot’s [Son of the Italian explore John Cabot, Sebastian Cabot conducted his own voyages of discovery, seeking the Northwest Passage through North America for England. He later sailed for Spain, traveling to South America, where he explored the Rio de la Plata and established two new forts.] lieutenants. Strickland is credited with introducing England to the turkey. When Strickland was presented a coat of arms in 1550, it included a “turkey-cock in his pride proper” upon it. The official recording of the crest in the archives of the College of Arms is thought to be the oldest surviving drawing of a turkey in Europe. 

Supposedly, Strickland bargained for six turkeys by trading with Native Americans on his 1526 voyage. He brought them back and sold them in Bristol’s market for tuppence each. 

Christmas-Strickland-turkey.jpg _64882635_lectern-web.jpg

With the proceeds from his many voyages, Strickland purchased estates at Wintringham and at Boynton in the East Riding region of Yorkshire. He lived out the remainder of his days at Place Newton, the Wintringham property and is buried there, but he had the Norman manor at Boynton rebuilt as Boynton Hall. His descendants have resided there for centuries.  The church at Boynton is liberally decorated with the family’s turkey crest, most notably in the form of a probably-unique lecturn (a 20th-century creation) carved in the form of a turkey rather than the conventional eagle, the bible supported by its outspread tail feathers. The village church, in which William Strickland is buried, is adorned with images of turkeys. It has stone sculptures on the walls, stained-glass windows and a carved lectern.


Although Sir William Strickland felt deeply honored that Edward VI allowed him to include turkeys on his coat of arms as a mark of his pioneering role in facilitating their importation, the ‘elite’ quality of turkey meat was impossible to preserve. Everyone wanted it. In 1560 laws had to be passed to prevent turkeys bred for slaughter from being allowed to roam through the streets of London and it was amid such turkey-based chaos that the bird began to emerge as an ‘aspirational’ staple of the Christmas dinner table.

According to Wikipedia, “In 1558, Strickland was elected to the Parliament of England as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Scarborough, and seems to have proved an able and eloquent advocate of the Puritan cause, earning such nicknames as “Strickland the Stinger” from his political opponents, though the anonymous author of the Simonds d’Ewes diaries described him sardonically as “One Mr Strickland, a grave and ancient man of great zeal, and perhaps (as he himself thought) not unlearned”.

“Strickland does not seem to have been particularly prominent in his first two parliaments, but came to the forefront in the parliament that met in 1571, in which the Puritan faction was stronger than previously. This time he found himself at the centre of a constitutional crisis, one of Parliament’s earliest assertions of its privilege to conduct its proceedings without royal interference with its members.

“Strickland spoke on both the first two days of the session, 6 April 1571 and 7 April 1571; on the second of these he put forward a motion to reintroduce six bills to reform the Book of Common Prayer, which had been defeated in the previous parliament; the Speaker allowed the bills to be read, but the Queen had previously directed that Parliament should not debate such matters, and this earned the house a royal reprimand. Then on the last day before the Easter recess, 14 April 1571, Strickland introduced his own bill to reform the prayer book – among other measures it proposed to abolish confirmation, prevent priests from wearing vestments and the end of the practice of kneeling at the Communion. The bill was given a first reading against the vigorous opposition of the Privy Counsellors present, but after further argument the House voted to petition the Queen for permission to continue discussing the bill before any further action was taken, and the House adjourned.”

Eventually summoned before the Privy Council, Strickland was forbidden to resume his seat in Parliament. Some reports of his imprisonment exist and some say rumors existed of his being brought up on charges of heresy. The members disapproved of Strickland’s removal unless by order of the House itself. Heated debates followed on how Strickland should be treated. The following day, Strickland was permitted by the Privy Council to return to his position, where he was promptly nominated to one of the committees. He was not reelected in 1572, but again knew success as MP for Scarborough in 1584. 

Other Articles of Interest Related to Strickland’s Tale 

BBC News: William Strickland, the Man Who Gave Us the Turkey Dinner

Christmas in Yorkshire: I’m From Yorkshire 

History Today: The Rise of the Turkey

Spartacus Education: William Strickland

The Telegraph : Are These Bones the Remains of England’s First Turkey Dinner?

Yorkshire Reporter: Yorkshire Man Credited with Our Traditional Turkey Dinner


Posted in British history, buildings and structures, Christmas, Church of England, customs and tradiitons, England, history, holidays, kings and queens, legends, Living in the UK, real life tales, religion, Thanksgiving | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Celebrating the Release of “Follow Your Star Home” with Jude Knight and the Bluestocking Belles

To be a Princess

Have you heard the joke about the girl who wanted to be treated like a princess? So her father married her off to a stranger to cement his trade alliance.

That’s not the modern view of a princess, but it’s certainly the lived experience of real life princesses throughout history. From ancient Egypt and Babylonia through to more recent history in Britain and Europe, few princesses have been free to choose a life mate, and for those who did, the marriage was often their second and more likely to be a political choice than a romantic one.

cleopatra.jpg Cleopatra, for example, was first married to her younger brother Ptolemy, as the custom was in Egypt at that time. The pharaoh, being a god, could have god children only with another god, which meant a sister or a cousin. The physical deformities associated with inbreeding were controlled by dedicating such children to Sobek, the Nile crocodile god.

The affair between the young Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, who was in his 50s, was almost certainly an astute decision to help her win a civil war. She required Roman support against her brother. The affair with Mark Antony might also have been political – he was now one of the most powerful men in the Roman Empire, but certainly the myth of their love affair has been enduring. 

0-3.jpgCatherine of Aragon was sent to England as a teenager to marry Arthur, heir to the throne. When he died shortly after their marriage, her brother-in-law had the marriage annulled so he could marry her himself. By all accounts, she loved her husband, Henry VIII, despite his roving eye. But when she failed to give him a living son, he set the marriage aside (even splitting with the Pope and setting up his own church when the obstinate man refused to un-annul Catherine’s first marriage so that Henry could marry his pregnant mistress).

Henry himself was descended from another royal mistress, later the wife of John of Gaunt, the third son of Edward III.

Amonute, known to history as Pocahontas, learnt a little English when she was a child 0-2.jpgand the leader of the English colonists was a prisoner of her people for a few months. John Smith was 27 and she was probably around 10. John Smith later told stories about her saving his life and defying her father to bring food to Jamestown. Not true.

She married a young warrior of her people and became pregnant, but when the English threatened violence against her village, she was forced to give up her baby and go with the troops. Oral history in her tribe tells that she was raped while a prisoner, and she gave birth to a child, Thomas, before being married to John Rolfe, who later took her to England where she died.

Being a princess isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.


Follow Your Star Home

Divided sweethearts seek love and forgiveness in this collection of eight  seasonal novellas.

Forged for lovers, the Viking star ring is said to bring lovers together, no matter how far, no matter how hard.

In eight stories, covering more than half the world and a thousand years, our heroes and heroines put the legend to the test. Watch the star work its magic, as prodigals return home in the season of good will, uncertain of their welcome.

Follow Your Star Home

25% of proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.

Follow Your Star Home, the Bluestocking Belles’ latest holiday box set, features eight stories set across time. In my story, Paradise Regained, the heroine is a princess who has run away from the fate of princesses, as the excerpt below shows.

Buy links and more blurb at:


Paradise Regained

In discovering the mysteries of the East, James has built a new life. Will unveiling the secrets in his wife’s heart destroy it?

James Winderfield yearns to end a long journey in the arms of his loving family. But his father’s agents offer the exiled prodigal forgiveness and a place in Society — if he abandons his foreign-born wife and children to return to England.

With her husband away, Mahzad faces revolt, invasion and betrayal in the mountain kingdom they built together. A queen without her king, she will not allow their dream and their family to be destroyed.

But the greatest threats to their marriage and their lives together is the widening distance between them. To win Paradise, they must face the truths in their hearts.

Paradise Regained is a novella in Follow Your Star Home. For information about the other novellas and buy links, see the Bluestocking Belles’ website.


“You will be destined for the Emperor’s own women’s quarters, Mahzad,” Mamani said. “As a wife, no less. Just imagine! Your son could be Emperor.”

Only, Mahzad wanted to say, if they could successfully avoid trouble in the broken lands that had once been the Uzbek empire. Only if she had sons. Only if one of those sons survived the machinations of the zenana and then of the divan, the government bureaucracy, to become ruler. She had no intention of putting all her faith in a child as yet not even conceived, but she could clearly expect no support from her grandmother, so she said nothing.

She was not the only high-ranking trophy bride in the caravan. They would negotiate their way East, giving gifts to the rulers of kingdoms and cities along the way, and most of the other girls felt as she did.

“But what can we do?” asked Fatimah, daughter of a satrap and his Uzbekistan concubine and therefore probably the first to be traded for the safety of the caravan. “That Englishman of your grandmother’s has us closely watched.”

Fatimah was another favored daughter, allowed freedoms and training beyond the feminine arts, petted and praised by her father, and then sent to be used with as little compunction as if she were a pawn of ivory or jet, rather than flesh and blood.

“How much do you wish to escape?” Mahzad asked.

In the end, nine of them made the attempt, including Mahzad’s maid. The other three promised to cover for them and helped them gather the men’s clothes they would wear to avoid the risks of women travelling without a male escort.

Their chance came after a bandit attack in the mountains. The would-be robbers were killed or driven off, and the triumphant guard relaxed around their fires, celebrating their success, while Mahzad and her friends followed the English serveries’ instructions to stay in their tent. “Drunk men may forget themselves, princess,” he told her. “And I would not wish to have to cut off a man’s hand because one of you failed to hide when I told you to.”

After midnight, as the noise around the men’s fires died down, the runaway brides kissed their friends goodbye. They had long since sent their maids off to bed, and now, they helped one another into their new clothes, shushing one another’s giggles as they struck male poses.

They were nine slim lads, gliding through the shadows to the horse pickets, where the guards, praise be to all the saints, nodded over a jug of wine.

Each woman saddled and bridled her own horse, and Mahzad breathed another prayer of thanks. Some of them had never waited on themselves in their whole pampered lives. The travel and the English serkerde’s insistence that they each learn to do some of the daily tasks, such as looking after their own horses, had hardened them and readied them for this adventure.

Mahzad was about to give the order to mount when one of the guards lifted his head and spoke.

“Going somewhere, princess?”

Startled, she could do nothing but stare into the face of the Englishman who commanded the caravan. Jakob. James, as his own people said it. In that frozen moment, the other three guards moved, standing and raising their weapons.

The other brides looked to Mahzad. For orders or for inspiration? She raised her chin. She was descended from royal houses in China, Persia, Turkmenistan, and England, and would not give up.

“You are four, and we are nine,” she pointed out. “We are leaving, James Beg.”

“I am impressed,” he replied, and his eyes gleamed. “I would not have thought of men’s clothes.”

“We are leaving,” she repeated, clutching at her mare’s reins until the horse sidled.

“Princess, I made a promise to your grandmother that I would defend you against all dangers. How can I do that if I let you leave?”

“You are four, and we are nine,” she repeated, but even she was unconvinced. Nine pampered ladies who had never used their weapons in earnest against four hardened warriors?

“Forgive me. I have not made myself clear. If I let you leave without me, I should have said. But I have no more desire than you ladies,” he bowed to include them all, “to continue with this mission now it has brought us within reach of our freedom. Will you consent to take us as partners in your escape?”

61MJ-Yrj7nL._US230_.jpgMeet Jude Knight

Jude Knight wants to transport you to another time, another place, to enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, and delight in a happy ending.

She writes everything from Hallmark to Regency Noir, in different eras and diverse places, short, medium and extra-long. Expect decent men with wounded hearts, women who are stronger than they think, and villains you’ll want to smack or worse. and all with a leavening of humour.


Learn more about Jude at:


Late 18th century, Georgian, #Englishexplorer, #ducalson, #Persianprincess, #mountainbandits, #explorersinIran, #Englishadventurers, #historicalromance, #friendstolovers, #secondchanceromance #ParadiseRegained #FollowYourStarHome @BellesInBlue @judeknightbooks

Other Books by Jude Knight: 

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Posted in book excerpts, book release, Guest Post, historical fiction, history, holidays, marriage, reading, reading habits, romance, world history | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Celebrating the Release of “A Holiday to Remember” from Jennifer Redlarczyk + a Giveaway

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Regina, thank you so much for having me back on Every Woman Dreams with my new book, A Holiday to Remember. This time last year I was giving voice lessons over at Merrillville High School in Indiana when I heard the advanced choir rehearsing for their December concert. What could be better than these inspiring words set to a catching tune and sung by energetic young people?

It’s a holiday to remember, feel the joy that’s in the air.

Once a year each December comes a magical time

When your spirits will climb,

A time to share, A time to give and a time to care

It’s a holiday to remember

A season filled with love!

A Holiday to Remember – by Mac Huff

Here is a YouTube link if you would like to hear the Merrillville Choirs singing some Christmas Concert Highlights.

Merrillville HS is a multi-racial lower income community where many of the students are living in homes with single parents or in several cases, grandparents and other relatives. For those students who participate in the arts, music is such an important part of their lives. It not only gives them a chance to excel at something they love, but it gives them a chance to reach out to the surrounding community when they perform.

For many, their participation continues past the academic school year. The

Director, Melinda Reinhart and her husband, Mike run a summer theater for young people who live in Merrillville and the surrounding communities. For over fifty years the Reinhart family has been involved in this type of community service.

Last summer’s production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame was exceptional. If you have a chance, please to listen to this short link which features two of my students who are brothers. Lucas – Quasimodo (17) and his older brother, Jacob – Frollo (21), are doing the solo parts. The outstanding vocal ensemble is comprised of primarily high school students.


In short, Melinda Reinhart and her choirs were the inspiration for my story. In this modern P&P variation, Elizabeth Bennet is a dedicated choral director and teacher at Meryton Academy for the Performing Arts and William Darcy is the aloof CEO of Darcy Enterprises. The two of them met when unfortunate circumstances brought them together during a summer music festival in Chicago where tempers flared and unpleasant words were exchanged. Find out what happens when their paths cross again in December. Will their animosity continue, or will their reunion turn out to be A Holiday to Remember?

Haven Middle School

From Chapter One

Meryton Academy for the Performing Arts

Monday, 4 December

Present day

“Liz Bennet! Please tell me I didn’t hear what I just thought I heard!” Charlotte Lucas burst through the doors of the choir room and marched straight to the keyboard where Elizabeth was working out the final arrangements for A Holiday to Remember—part of the music academy’s final showcase before the winter break.

“Char, I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I’m kind of on a deadline here. Uh … you do remember I have a major rehearsal at six o’clock tonight?” She arched a questioning eyebrow in her friend’s direction before entering the final chords on the master lead sheet in her computer. 

“Right, but for your information, Mr. Billy Collins just told everyone in the teacher’s lounge he has a big date with you on New Year’s Eve. He says he’s escorting you to the Pemberley Foundation’s charity gala at Forest Ridge. What gives? Don’t those tickets start at five hundred a pop? Not to mention any woman who would dare to go out with that nutter would have to be a marble short.”

Elizabeth stopped what she was doing and burst into laughter. “Char, do you honestly think BC would actually shell out that kind of money just to have a date with me? The man is so tight he probably wouldn’t spend five dollars on his own mother. Don’t worry. The Vocalteens were asked to perform at the gala and will be doing the opening act right after dessert. Since Reeves will be out of town, I’m making do with Billy-boy to run sound. You’re welcome to join us if you don’t have a date. I can always use an extra chaperone. Plus, after the kids leave, the adults are invited to stay and enjoy the rest of the party. There’s going to be a live band, dancing, loads of food and some kind of a silent auction. It could be fun, even without dates.”

“Sorry, Liz. As a matter of fact, I do have a date.” Charlotte straightened up and fluttered her eyelashes in jest. “And … as much as I’d like to hobnob with the rich and famous, Brexton Denny is taking me to the Signature Room to celebrate the New Year. Who knows, this might turn out to be my Holiday to Remember, if you don’t mind me borrowing the title from your medley.”

“Go right ahead. The Signature Room is pretty impressive. Is there any chance your Mr. Denny might finally be getting serious?”

“Not to my knowledge. Still, there’s no way I’m going to pass up a date with a buff trainer from the fitness club, fireworks over Lake Michigan, and a kiss at midnight.”

“A kiss at midnight,” Elizabeth sighed, kind of dreamy-eyed. “Aunt Maddy says being kissed at midnight by someone special is magical, and although I’ve yet to meet that perfect someone, I believe her.”

“Girl, you’ve been watching way too many holiday romance movies on your favorite channel, if you ask me. I could never be like you. At any rate, if you need an escort, you can always ask my brother. I know Johnny isn’t ideal, but he’s okay in a pinch. On second thought, what about that cute drummer from the music store? Didn’t you go out with him a couple of times? Maybe you can take him.”

George Wickham?! I think not! And no, we never dated. Char, your memory fails you. I only agreed to sing backups for that smooth talker’s band at the Lollapalooza Music Festival last summer because he was desperate. Believe me; dating was not part of the chord chart. Besides, I’m hardly interested in a fly-by-night drummer or any freelance musician for that matter. And I’m definitely considering adding your brother to my no-go list of men. If Johnny stands me up for one more transmission or any other mechanical failure, the man is toast. As it turns out, I’ll probably hand him his marching orders once he escorts me to Charles Bingley’s holiday party on Friday. Who knows, I may end up following Jane’s lead and using her professional dating service after all. I mean, who could complain about Mr. Bingley?”

“Are you serious?”

“Absolutely! Charles is exceptional. He’s considerate and has a great sense of humor. Plus, he brings Jane flowers, sends her cards, and takes her out to dinner, concerts, company functions, yada, yada…. And to top it all off, it was Charles Bingley who recommended the Vocalteens for the Pemberley gig. As one of the corporate lawyers who work for the foundation, he was happy to submit my PR materials to the marketing director. Mr. Reynolds thinks our Holiday to Remember medley will be perfect for the charity gala.”

“I agree; it’s bound to be a hit. The kids are already looking pretty good, and you still have until next Thursday to pull it all together for the showcase. Speaking of the gala, I hear the CEO of Darcy Enterprises is pretty hot.” Charlotte wiggled her eyebrows as if in the know. “William Darcy has been in all of the tabloids lately. They say he’s some kind of aloof, mystery man—tall, dark, and handsome. I wonder if he’ll be there.”

William Darcy?” Elizabeth frowned. “His sister, Georgiana, was studying piano with Aunt Maddy at the music store until….” Her voice trailed off. “Are you sure he’s connected to the foundation? Mr. Reynolds never mentioned him.”

“Small world! According to Google, the foundation is run by Darcy Enterprises.” Glancing at the wall clock, Charlotte changed the subject. “It looks like the bell is about to ring, so I’d better head over to my advanced ballet class. Do you still need help tonight with choreography for the opening number?”

“I’d really appreciate it, since I’m going to have my hands full with the pit orchestra. If you can take over while we run through my new arrangements, it would mean one less thing for me to juggle at practice.”

“No problem. I’ll be there. Catch you later.”


After Charlotte left, Elizabeth minimized her music program and quickly googled William Darcy, CEO of Darcy Enterprises. “I can’t believe it. It is him! So, Mr. Darcy,” she continued to babble while glaring at the computer screen. “Your Mr. Reynolds booked us for the gala. How was he to know you never wanted to see me again?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Oh well, I guess we’ll just have to make the most of it, won’t we?”

Darcy Modern 3 sm  Lizzy Modern 4

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt and once again, thank you, Regina, for having me today. Please feel free to leave your comments below as I will be giving away two eBooks (International). And if you have a musical experience that you would like to share, that would be great! THE GIVEAWAY WILL END AT MIDNIGHT EST ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20. 


Jen red 1smaller

Jennifer Redlarczyk (Jen Red)

My Pinterest page for A Holiday to Remember

A Holiday to Remember on Amazon

Posted in blog hop, book excerpts, book release, contemporary romance, eBooks, excerpt, giveaway, Guest Post, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Vagary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments