As the name implies, the History Lovers are a group of readers and authors who love both history and romance, especially when they’re combined in a delightful story. (Obviously, I'm one of them, or I wouldn't be posting today.) If you feel the same, you’re welcome to join us on our Facebook page.

Below you’ll find authors of historical romances set in a wide variety of time periods. Perhaps by participating in our Grand Tour you’ll discover some new authors for your future reading pleasure. Hop around to your heart’s content, feel free to comment on the posts, hunt for answers to the authors’ questions, and perhaps you’ll be one of our 25 lucky prize winners (see contest details below)…although you’re already a winner if you find a new story to read, don’t you agree?
  
The theme for this tour is Courting Rituals, which strangely enough are under discussion in the story I'm writing now!

Stork's nest -- whence comes the result of courting rituals.


In my story, the hero and heroine have just been married (two whole days), but they haven’t yet consummated their marriage (for reasons I won’t get into here). It’s a marriage of convenience (which should actually be called a marriage of inconvenience, seeing as neither of them wants it). They hardly know each other. They’ve been thrown into marriage without any of the usual courting rituals. They have to get acquainted after the wedding rather than before (not that this was all that uncommon, but I won’t go into that here, either). Anyway, the hero wants the innocent (i.e. virginal) heroine to look forward to (no, crave) her first sexual experience. He suggests getting to know one another (i.e. he gets her heated up) via a courting ritual—flirtation.

He tells her, “It’s quite primitive, I think—rather like mating rituals of birds or beasts.”

And the heroine thinks, Primitive. What an odd word to use of flirting, which had always seemed a highly civilized behavior until now.   

That’s what courting rituals are – attempts to corral the most primal of urges into civilized patterns of behavior. In the Regency (at least amongst the wealthy classes), young, single women were hedged about with chaperones. A girl’s reputation was paramount. She couldn’t risk being alone with a man (except her father or brother). She might be forced into marriage because of something as innocent as a kiss. About the nearest a couple could get to a date was a drive in a curricle (or other open carriage so that the couple would be in plain sight at all times) to Gunter’s for an ice or sorbet. The closest an unmarried couple could get physically was a waltz—still considered a scandalous dance by some. The advantage of all this corralling was (usually and in theory) that a girl only got to consider suitable men. Suitable is such a boring word, isn’t it? But in a world where an upper class woman had no way to support herself except by marrying well, finding a suitable man (and avoiding unsuitable ones) mattered.  

(But have no fear! Not everyone followed the rules, especially romantic heroines -- see below.)


The prize I am offering is a download of two of my novellas, The Magic of His Touch and Bewitched by His Kiss (or two of my other novellas, winner's choice). For a chance to win, comment on this blog with the answer to my question: In what kind of carriage would a couple drive to Gunter's? Then click on the History Lovers Grand Tour page and fill in the same answer (unless you think you've got it wrong, in which case go ahead and guess something else) for a chance at the grand prize. 

 


Peony Whistleby, the heroine of The Magic of His Touch, longs to fall in love and marry. She has already gone the approved route (the London season ad nauseam) and found no suitable man to marry. So she resorts to another courting ritual – a magical one! She rolls naked in the dew on May Day morning, because folklore says this will bring her true love to her side.

Excerpt:

“Get up! Get dressed!”

Peony froze in mid-roll. A strange man bounded toward her, gesturing, his voice low but urgent. She scrambled to her feet, a shriek catching in her throat.

“I won’t hurt you,” he said, but he kept on coming. Her heart clambering into her gullet, she tried to cover herself with her hands.

“Who— What—” She couldn’t get a word out.

“Don’t stand there like an idiot, girl! I already know what you look like naked.” A blush crowded up her neck and burned her cheeks. “Get your clothes on, and be quick about it.” With brisk, shooing motions he herded her toward the hawthorn where she’d left her shift and gown.

Anger swelled up, overcoming her fear. How dare he order her about? “Go away,” she said, hating how her voice trembled as she fled before him. “What are you doing here? You have no right.” A little way round the circle of meadow, she spied a horse cropping the grass at the edge of the wood.

“You should be thankful I’m here,” he said, stopping several feet away when she reached the hawthorn. “I don’t know what foolishness you’re up to, but clearly your lover isn’t coming, and—”

“No, because you spoiled everything,” she said. Her hair had fallen out of its ribbon and stuck wetly to her face. She clawed it away, wanting to hit him. Her chance at finding love was gone. “Go away!

He folded his arms and just stood there, scowling—and looking at her as if, underneath that frown, he was enjoying himself. “Not until you put your clothes on and be off home where you belong.”

Another flush overwhelmed her, this time of shame and misery, as she realized what he meant. He thought she’d come out here to tryst with some likely village lad, as if she were a scullery maid. And who was he, anyway? She’d never seen him before. He was dressed like a gentleman and spoke like one, too, but he didn’t belong here.

“Who gave you the right to order me about?” she demanded. “This is private land.”

His eyes widened. “You silly little fool, I’m trying to protect you. I traveled here with a friend. To him, a naked woman is a blatant invitation. You’re lucky it’s I who came upon you and not he.”

She grabbed her shift and turned it right side out. “Stop staring at me.”

“You’re a beautiful girl without any clothes on,” he said. “I wouldn’t be much of a man if I didn’t stare.”

The Magic of His Touch buy links:



History Lovers Grand Tour Authors

Rue Allyn • Amylynn Bright • Collette Cameron • Téa CooperBeverley Eikli • Susana EllisAileen Fish • Debra Glass Amy Hearst • Evangeline Holland • Piper HuguleyEliza Knight Kristen Koster • Cora Lee Georgie Lee • Suzi LoveDenise Lynn • Deborah Macgillivray • Barbara Monajem Shelly MunroElla Quinn • Eva Scott Shereen Vedam Elaine Violette 

Prizes
1.       Each author will offer a prize for a contest, the specifics of which is set up entirely by her. The contest will be open to all participants, regardless of geographic location. For logistical purposes, authors may substitute a digital prize (gift card, etc.) of equal value for another prize that might prove difficult to mail to a distant location.
2.       The Grand Prize for the Scavenger Hunt will be awarded to the participant with the most correct answers to the authors’ scavenger hunt questions.  In case of a tie, the winner will be chosen randomly.
3.       The winners will be posted on the History Lovers Grand Tour page the following week.

 

12 comments

  1. Beth Trissel // July 22, 2013 at 8:08 AM  

    What a fascinating post! I love this.
    And I want to read your books. I've got to get a new kindle. I gave mine to my 11 yr old niece who has vision challenges. But I have a birthday soon.

  2. Barbara Monajem // July 22, 2013 at 9:02 AM  

    I'm glad you enjoyed the post, Beth. I really had no idea what to say, so it's a bonus for me if it came out OK. :)

  3. Beth Trissel // July 22, 2013 at 9:13 AM  

    It surely did!

  4. Mary Ricksen // July 22, 2013 at 5:52 PM  

    I have to get a Kindle myself. My Nook doesn't get all the books amazon has and they are discontinuing them!
    Great post Barbara, just a guess, a palfrey?

  5. Mona Risk // July 22, 2013 at 7:24 PM  

    Nice excerpt, Barbara. Regency used to be my favorite romances before I started writing my own novels.

  6. Mary Ricksen // July 22, 2013 at 7:34 PM  

    I did read open carriage, just didn't sink! LOL

  7. kipha // July 22, 2013 at 7:36 PM  

    Well, the couple would have to drive an open carriage for propriety sake. But I do love this post and the small teasers of your book. Shall I say when I read Primitive acts I thought of dogs and not birds? LOL That is what I would have though if I was the bride to such statement.

  8. Mel Bourn // July 22, 2013 at 7:49 PM  

    The couple would have to be in an open carriage unless the woman's reputation would be at stake. Wouldn't want that!
    Mel
    bournmelissa at hotmail dot com

  9. bn100 // July 24, 2013 at 3:31 AM  

    curricle or other open carriage

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  10. Màiri Norris // July 25, 2013 at 11:09 AM  

    Barbara, I've enjoyed this Grand Tour, and your post. (I love that word 'curricle'. It just has such a nice, melodic ring to it. But what a name for a carriage, LOL!)
    Looking forward to reading one of your books, soon. I love Regencies, though most of my novels are medieval.

  11. Barbara Monajem // July 25, 2013 at 10:14 PM  

    Hi, Kipha -- LOL. Yes, I can see why you would think of dogs!

    Hi, Mel -- Yeah, those pesky reputations. ;)

    Hi, bn -- Thanks for entering!

    Hi, Màiri -- Curricle does have a nice ring to it. It's from a Latin word meaning chariot, which is appropriate, because riding in one could be pretty dangerous if the driver wasn't skilled. (My hero, of course, is extremely competent in many, many ways. ;))

  12. Barbara Monajem // July 28, 2013 at 4:55 PM  

    Congratulations to Jessica, the Grand Prize winner!

    My winner is Mel Bourn. :~) Congratulations, Mel! I will email you privately re how to collect your prize.

    Thanks, everyone, for entering the Grand Tour and Scavenger Hunt!!

    Barbara