Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Historical Fiction Enticements 6/19

I am taking a break from the Wednesday feature this week due to sickness, but a book that I mentioned previously is now available for purchase:

Emeralds of the Alhambra
John D. Cressler

In Emeralds of the Alhambra, Christians, Muslims and Jews live together in peace, sharing languages, customs, and a level of tolerance and mutual respect unheard of today.

Working together, they spawn one of the world’s greatest intellectual and cultural flowerings in medieval Spain.

William Chandon is a wounded Christian knight brought to the Sultan’s court in Granada. and the strong-willed Layla al-Khatib is on a quest to become the first female Sufi Muslim mystic in a male-dominated society.

As Chandon’s influence at court grows, he becomes trapped among his forbidden love for Layla, his Christian heritage, the demands of chivalry, and political expediency.

Chandon must make a choice between love and honor, war and peace, life and death--a choice which ultimately will seal Granada’s fate as the last surviving stronghold of Muslim Spain.

Set amidst the resplendent Alhambra Palace in Granada during the Castilian Civil War (1367-1369), Muslims take up their swords to fight alongside Christians.

Emeralds of the Alhambra is the first book in the Anthems of al-Andalus trilogy.



Friday, June 14, 2013

Giveaway: Sons of the Wolf by Paula Lofting

The story starts in 1054, the years leading up to the great defining battle of 1066. King Edward is a pious and ineffective king, spending his days hunting, sleeping and praying, leaving the security and administration of his kingdom to his much more capable brother-in-law Harold Godwinson, the powerful Earl of Wessex. Against this backdrop we meet Wulfhere, a Sussex thegn who, as the sun sets over the wild forest of Andredesweald, is returning home victoriously from a great battle in the north. Holding his lands directly from the King, his position demands loyalty to Edward himself, but Wulfhere is duty-bound to also serve Harold, a bond forged within Wulfhere’s family heritage and borne of the ancient Teutonic ideology of honour and loyalty.

Wulfhere is a man with the strength and courage of a bear, a warrior whose loyalty to his lord and king is unquestionable. He is also a man who holds his family dear and would do anything to protect them. So when Harold demands that he wed his daughter to the son of Helghi, his sworn enemy, Wulfhere has to find a way to save his daughter from a life of certain misery as the daughter-in-law of the cruel and resentful Helghi, without comprising his honour and loyalty to his lord, Harold.

Now meet the children of Wulfhere who have come to tell their stories to you


"I am the daughter of Wulfhere and I was fourteen when his story started. My father was the thegn of our village and I loved him dearly and he loved me as his favourite. I had always known I was his favourite child. He could deny me nothing. But it all went wrong for me and him when he came back from warring in the Northern lands where he had fought a terrible battle against the Scots. You see, I had fallen in love with the son of our neighbour, Helghi of Gorde. All that summer whilst Father was away, I sneaked away to meet him in the forest. I knew it was forbidden for any of us to talk to any of the people from Gorde, but I had no idea why. I had no idea of the depth of animosity that ran between our fathers. Edgar was a handsome lad, but he had a crippled leg. His father blamed my father for it, something to do with a horse that my father had sold his father, although he had warned Helghi that the horse was not suitable for a boy; Edgar had only been a child at the time and the horse had thrown him and broken his leg. Neither Edgar nor I could see that this was a problem. But soon we were to find out that we were two young lovers stuck in the middle of a blood feud that we knew nothing about. We were soon to learn that the rivers of hatred ran deeper than any of us could ever have known. A hatred that would tear us apart and never die until one of our fathers was dead.”


“I was only 8 years old when our saga began; and two years younger than my brother Tovi, my closest companion in my short childhood. Life was wonderful for us until the day my father was sent a package from the Lady of Waldron. That day was the day that would change our lives forever. Tovi and I used to spend our summer days running through the forest, playing amongst the woods and the stream and the pond where we used to swim. Once we caught our sister Freyda, swimming with her paramour, Edgar Helghison. We knew it was forbidden for any of us to speak to the Helghisons, but we didn’t really know why. Of course seeing our big sister with Edgar was a great source of amusement and we used it to our advantage. Freyda was not very happy that she had to pay for our silence by handing over the brooch and copper plated mirror I was very fond of. But soon all was blown and Freyda and Edgar were found out and I had to return the items very reluctantly and much to my displeasure.

"The day that father received the package, Tovi and I had been hunting with some of the village children. We were running like foxes through the woodland path when we met the man from Waldron, scaring his horse into throwing him off. Unfortunately he was hurt and his horse had run away, so he was unable to continue on to Horstede to finish his mission which was to give my father this little mysterious package from the Lady Alfgyva who lived in Waldron. With the innocence of children, we offered to take it to my father. If only we had not. For some reason, Tovi and I would always blame ourselves for that mysterious package contained something that would drive a wedge between our mother and father forever. If I could turn back the time, from that day, I would, for life was to change dramatically for us all.”


“My father, Wulfhere, thegn of Horstede was bred for war. He learned from a young age to fight with a spear first and then sword and axe. And it was also from a young age that he taught me and my twin brothers Wulfwin and Wulfric to fight too. I loved my father, but one day I was to catch him out and that was the day that my life changed. I began to see my father for the flawed human he truly was. But he always tried to be good to me and to my brothers and sisters and for that I would always respect him. Life was not always good for me in our household. My older brothers hated me, I never knew why. I think it was just their way. They loved to torment me and once they hung me from a tree to stop me from going hunting with the Earl. I was so excited that Father had said I could go and they stopped it from happening. Then another time they hung me down a well and almost drowned me because I stopped them from using my younger sister Winflaed as target practice. Luckily Father caught them and pulled me out. They were punished, but I never found out how. But you could be sure that they were not beaten. Father was not one for punishing us in that way.

"One happy thing in my life was my little sister Winflaed. She and I were allies against the tormenting twins. I wasn’t always very nice to her, but she always took my side, no matter what. But the worst thing in our lives was yet to come in the shape of a blood feud. No one could ever know what it was like to have your life blighted by one until you have experienced it yourself.

"My Father was to fight on many a bloody field, but sometimes the enemy was closer to home, far more sinister and deadly than any battle.”

“Sons of the Wolf is a snap shot of medieval life and politics as the events that lead to the downfall of Anglo-Saxon England play out, immersing the reader in the tapestry of life as it was before the Domesday Book. With depictions of everyday life experienced through the minds of the people of the times; of feasts in the Great Halls to battles fought in the countryside, it cannot help but enlighten, educate and entertain.” – Lorraine Hunt Lynn, author of The Bartlemas Anthologies.

Paula will give away an ecopy of Sons of the Wolf to one winner. Please comment below to enter the drawing, and be sure to leave contact information.

The winner is Denise!

Find out more about Paula Lofting and her novel Sons of the Wolf on her websites: – a blog that studies the Bayeux Tapestry.

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Also available on Waterstones, The Book Depository and all other good online bookstores, on Kindle and other E-readers.

This is an IndieB.R.A.G. Blog Tour

1. No purchase is necessary.
2. Your email address will not be given out or used for any other purpose than contacting you if you are a winner.
3. The prize is available to one winner. Should a prize not arrive, proof of shipping is all that may be required of the provider.
4. The contest is being offered by author Debra Brown, Corvallis, OR 97330 USA.
6. Each prize will be valued at the price of the offered paperback or ebook.
7. The winner will be chosen by third party random drawing.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Historical Fiction Enticements 6/12

Enjoy our five Historical Fiction synopses. Historical Fiction Enticements is a regular Wednesday feature on this blog.


Like Chaff in the Wind
Anna Belfrage

Matthew Graham committed the mistake of his life when he cut off his brother’s nose – however much he deserved it. In revenge, Luke Graham has Matthew abducted and transported to the Colony of Virginia, there to be sold as indentured labour – a death sentence more or less.

Matthew arrives in Virginia in May of 1661, and any hope he had of finding someone willing to listen to his tale of unlawful abduction is quickly extinguished. If anything Matthew’s insistence that he is an innocent man leads to him being singled out for the heaviest tasks.

Insufficient food, grueling days and the humid heat combine to wear Matthew down. With a sinking feeling he realises no one has ever survived the seven years of service – not on the plantation Suffolk Rose, not under the tender care of the overseer Dominic Jones.

Fortunately for Matthew, he has a remarkable wife, a woman who has no intention of letting her husband suffer and die, and so Alex Graham sets off on a perilous journey to bring her husband home.

Alex is plagued by nightmares in which her Matthew is reduced to a wheezing wreck by his tormentors. She sits in the prow of the ship and prays for a miracle to carry her swiftly to his side, to let her hold him and heal him before it’s too late. Fate, however, has other ideas, and what should have been a two month crossing becomes a yearlong adventure from one side of the Atlantic to the other.

Will she find him in time? And if she does, will she be capable of paying the price required to buy him free?

Like Chaff in the Wind is the second in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

Amazon US
Amazon UK


Melinda and the Wild West
Linda Weaver Clarke

"Melinda and the Wild West: A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho," is an award-winning novel for Reader Views "Reviewers Choice Award." Debra Gaynor from Reader Views wrote: "From the first page I was captivated by this book. I had to continue reading, rushing to turn the page, I had to see what next adventure would catch up with Melinda. The plot is interesting: mixing history with fiction, adventure with romance. It is a great honor to highly recommend this book to readers of historical fictions and romance. Ms Clarke, this is a piece to be proud of, well done!"

In 1896 Melinda Gamble wants to make a difference in the world. Without hesitation, she accepts a job as a schoolteacher in the small town of Paris, Idaho. She has many challenges such as trying to help a rebellious student, coming face-to-face with a notorious bank robber, a vicious grizzly bear, and finding herself in a terrible blizzard that leaves her clinging to her life. But it's a rugged rancher who challenges Melinda with the one thing for which she was least prepared-love.

Socrates Book Review wrote: "Linda Weaver Clarke has created a beautiful story of love, strength and endurance in this first book of her Bear Lake series. Melinda is a character readers will admire and cheer for. Each character will touch the reader's heart and hold onto it until the very last page and beyond. I loved every minute of this book. Any book that has such memorable characters deserves my Socrates Great Book Alert!"

When a rugged rancher and a determined schoolteacher meet, they tend to butt heads and clash with each encounter, but at the same time there seems to be an underlying interest in one another. In this story, Melinda is trying to help a rebellious student through acceptance and love, and at the same time she is trying to understand her own heart.

Page One Literary Book Review wrote: "Linda Weaver Clarke displays an easy and excellent style of writing, blending adventure/romance/history/humor and courage. Melinda and the Wild West is an instant classic and should put this author on the literary map all over the world."



Tempest in the Tea Room: 
An Ezra Melamed Mystery
Libi Astaire

Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes when a crime wave sweeps through 19th-century London's Jewish community and the adventures of wealthy-widower-turned-sleuth Ezra Melamed are recorded for posterity by Miss Rebecca Lyon, a young lady not quite at the marriageable age.

The third volume of the series begins when Mr. Gabriel Taylor, a medical doctor recently arrived from the Continent, rents rooms on Bury Street, London. No one is more delighted than Mrs. Miriam Baer, the London Jewish community’s busiest matchmaker. Not only is Dr. Taylor an eligible young bachelor, but he also has a charming unmarried sister, Miss Elisheva Taylor.

However, not long after the brother and sister have arrived, tragedy strikes. First, Miss Harriet Franks—a young lady from a respected family in the community—comes down with a serious stomach ailment. Next, children living at the community’s orphanage, where Dr. Taylor has been appointed the resident doctor, are stricken. Then one of Dr. Taylor’s fashionable patients, Lady Marblehead, becomes deathly ill—and a wild rumor begins to circulate: Dr. Taylor is poisoning his patients!

That rumor is fueled by the disappearance of a priceless pearl bracelet from Lady Marblehead’s jewelry box, as well as the astonishing discovery that the brother and sister receive mysterious late-night visits from a Jewish Old Clothes Man whose secretive ways suggest that he just might have a second and even less respectable profession, that of a grave robber.

Is Mr. Taylor truly an unscrupulous physician who is engaging in illicit medical research? Or is he an innocent man who has unknowingly stumbled into some dark, nefarious plot?

An increasingly hysterical community turns to Mr. Ezra Melamed to investigate the case. But will it be too late for the littlest victim, a frail orphan boy who is already more than half-way to death’s door?

Amazon US
Amazon UK


The Cross and the Dragon
Kim Rendfeld

A tale of love amid the wars and blood feuds of Charlemagne’s reign.

Francia, 773: When Alda first beheld Count Ganelon, she thought he was the handsomest man in the realm. And then he opened his mouth. His insults, his ill treatment of his servants, have rendered any desire she had for him to ashes. Instead, Alda yearns for Hruodland, King Charles’s nephew and Ganelon’s rival, a warrior who protects her when Ganelon threatens to strike her, a man who values a woman’s intelligence.

Yet as a member of the royal family, Hruodland seems out of reach, and her brother, Count Alfihar, wants her to marry Ganelon for his land and wealth. Knowing she will receive a good dowry, Alda is desperate to get out the arrangement and even considers taking the veil on the strict cloister on Nonnenwerth, a Rhine island near her home.

Fortunately for Alda, time is on her side, and her brother starts to become annoyed with her suitor, always asking about Drachenhaus, Alda and Alfihar’s birthplace, as if it were his inheritance. When Alfihar’s good friend Hruodland expresses an interest in Alda, her family likes what he has to offer better, and he and Alda are betrothed, much to Alda’s joy. Furious, Ganelon promises revenge.

778: Alda and Hruodland are happily married but frustrated by their lack of children. Alda worries Hruodland will set her aside, and she has never forgotten Ganelon’s vow of vengeance. Yet the jilted suitor’s malice is nothing compared to Alda’s premonition of disaster for her beloved, battle-scarred husband.

Although the army invading Hispania is the largest ever and King Charles has never lost a war, Alda cannot shake her anxiety. Determined to keep Hruodland from harm, even if it exposes her to danger, Alda gives him her charmed dragon amulet.

Is its magic enough to keep Alda’s worst fears from coming true - and protect her from Ganelon?

Inspired by legend and painstakingly researched, The Cross and the Dragon is a story of tenderness, sacrifice, lies, and revenge.

“…a pleasure to dive in to…” - Publishers Weekly (manuscript review, 2011 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition quarterfinalist)

Links to Buy from Various Vendors
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble


Lily of the Nile
Stephanie Dray

Heiress of one empire and prisoner of another, it is up to the daughter of Cleopatra to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers.
To Isis worshippers, Princess Selene and her twin brother Helios embody the divine celestial pair who will bring about a Golden Age. But when Selene's parents are vanquished by Rome, her auspicious birth becomes a curse.

Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, the young messianic princess struggles for survival in a Roman court of intrigue. She can't hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her hands, nor can she stop the emperor from using her powers for his own ends. But faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined to resurrect her mother's dreams.

Can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win-or die?

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble 
Book Depository

Please return next week and find your next favorite book!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Historical Fiction Enticements 6/5

Marquess of Cake (The Redcakes #1)  
Heather Hiestand

London:  1886
Alys Redcake’s family has come a long way from the days when she and her twin brother worked side by side in their father’s baking factory. Now happy in her position as wedding cake designer in her father’s London tea shop and emporium, she’s not ready for the changes coming to her lifestyle when Queen Victoria knights her successful industrialist father.

Michael Shield, Marquess of Hatbrook, adores Redcake’s Tea Shop and Emporium. He visits frequently as he works to rebuild his family’s finances, and not just for the pastry either.

Alys unaware that with each morsel—and flash of ankle—she is seducing the handsome marquess frequenting her father’s tea shop. Unmarried at twenty-six, Alys’s first love is the family business. But thoughts of the gentleman’s touch are driving her to distraction… even as her father is insisting she marry someone, anyone, so that her younger sisters, who were raised more gently, can enter fashionable society’s marriage mart.

With his weakness for sugar, the Marquess of Hatbrook can imagine no more desirable woman than one scented with cake and spice. Mistaking Alys for a mere waitress, he has no doubt she would make a most delicious mistress. When tragedy strikes his family and he finds himself in need of an heir, he plans to make her his convenient bride. Yet as they satisfy their craving for one another, business and pleasure suddenly collide. Will Hatbrook’s passion for sweets—and for Alys—be his heart and body’s undoing? Can Alys find happiness away from her beloved cakes? Nothing will ever be the same again.



Emeralds of the Alhambra
John D. Cressler

In Emeralds of the Alhambra, Christians, Muslims and Jews live together in peace, sharing languages, customs, and a level of tolerance and mutual respect unheard of today.

Working together, they spawn one of the world’s greatest intellectual and cultural flowerings in medieval Spain.

William Chandon is a wounded Christian knight brought to the Sultan’s court in Granada. and the strong-willed Layla al-Khatib is on a quest to become the first female Sufi Muslim mystic in a male-dominated society.

As Chandon’s influence at court grows, he becomes trapped among his forbidden love for Layla, his Christian heritage, the demands of chivalry, and political expediency.

Chandon must make a choice between love and honor, war and peace, life and death--a choice which ultimately will seal Granada’s fate as the last surviving stronghold of Muslim Spain.

Set amidst the resplendent Alhambra Palace in Granada during the Castilian Civil War (1367-1369), Muslims take up their swords to fight alongside Christians.

Emeralds of the Alhambra is the first book in the Anthems of al-Andalus trilogy.

Releases June 15th.

The Afflicted Girls
Suzy Witten

As a funeral is held in a church meetinghouse for a boy infant, a hired coach carrying Maine orphans Mercy Lewis, 19, and Abigail Williams, 15, crashes in a forested wilderness. Two 20 year-old friends, Joseph Putnam and Ben Nurse, who are out hunting, come to the girls’ aid and escort them to their destination, Salem Village. A powerful, otherworldly, but morose, attraction begins between Mercy and Joseph. Abigail grows jealous observing it. At the same time, she is rebuffed by Ben.

The dead baby’s father is Joseph’s impoverished, older half-brother, Thomas Putnam, a Pro-Parris farmer, who is suing to regain a stolen inheritance. Divided politically, half in the village want to fire the minister, while the other half vehemently support him, like Thomas.

Abigail's uncle is Samuel Parris, the self-righteous minister at the center of the village strife. Begrudgingly, he accepts the arrival of an unknown niece, and also hires out Mercy as an indentured servant to Thomas. Ann Putnam, Thomas’ wife, is succumbing to grief, and their three daughters have long suffered a mad mother’s neglect. Mercy’s kindness comforts.

Reverend Parris has one daughter, nine-year old Betty, who is more loved by the parsonage slave Tituba than by her own stern mother. Kidnapped as a child from a Carib jungle tribe, Tituba has been Samuel Parris’ property since his profligate youth. She is married to the parsonage manslave, John Indian. Abigail’s cunning intelligence works quickly to supplant her younger cousin in her uncle’s affection. She also suspects, rightly, that Tituba has powers.

Ignored by their drunken fathers on Sundays after church, a pro-Parris group of friends sneaks to scandalous Bridget Bishop’s high road tavern to play shovelboard. After encountering Joseph there, Mercy returns after midnight seeking a love charm from Bridget. She also confesses a sordid history of abuse. Bridget, outraged and in spiritual kinship, swears on her life to protect and teach this gifted girl.

A snoop always, Abigail follows Tituba into the parsonage woods one night and watches the slave pick a thorny plant, eat seeds, and do an erotic dance. From her window, she also sees Mercy plant thecharm in Joseph’s father’s grave in the parsonage graveyard. She threatens to expose her unless she teaches her and her friends conjuring games.

When Mercy meets Joseph Putnam on the road accidentally, she is easily coaxed to a hidden bower, where they make love. His detached, rough-handed manner is unsettling, but she attributes it to the sinister side of charms. He asks her to spy for him on his brother.

On their Sunday picnic, Abigail distributes auguring cakes based on Tituba’s recipe. Mercy’s charge, frail twelve-year-old Lucy Putnam, experiences a dazzling vision of Jesus in Heaven, which Abigail denounces as blasphemy. In God’s name, she and Putnam cousin, Susanna Walcott, cry out on villagers they think are witches. When a sudden thunderstorm sends her friends runing home, Abigail seduces the boy, who was with them.

Betty Parris, desperate for news of the picnic, eats a cake then gazes at her thumbnail. After demonic visions, she falls into a deathly fit. Abigail succumbs, as well. As the fits spread, Reverend Parris declares a Devil’s assault on the innocents. Examinations by magistrates are held. Witchcraft trials end with convictions and a hanging. A murder mystery is strangely solved.

After losing his lawsuit and nearly his farm, Thomas discovers Mercy’s betrayal with his brother. Enraged, he beats and rapes her. She tries to run away, but is caught. Forced to be an accuser by her master, in church she denounces Reverend Parris for the corruption. Abigail, touched by God, accuses her.

Imprisoned, pregnant by either brother, in despair, someone comes to help Mercy flee the witch hunt and begin a new life in distant, freer lands.

THE AFFLICTED GIRLS by Suzy Witten (Winner of the 2010 IPPY Silver Medal for Historical Fiction)

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
Google Books


The Chalice
Nancy Bilyeau

The Chalice, by Nancy Bilyeau
The Chalice is the second novel in my series set in Tudor England, with a main character who is a young Dominican novice from an aristocratic family. The first book, The Crown, was praised by Oprah: “The real draw of this suspenseful novel is its juicy blend of lust, murder, conspiracy, and betrayal.”

In the second book, Sister Joanna Stafford plunges into an even more dangerous conspiracy as she comes up against some of the most powerful men of her era. Booklist said, "Bilyeau paints a moving portrait of Catholicism during the Reformation and of reclusive, spiritual people adjusting to the world outside the cloister. This intriguing and suspenseful historical novel pairs well with C. J. Sansom’s Dissolution (2003) and has the insightful feminine perspective of Brenda Rickman Vantrease’s The Heretic’s Wife (2010)."

In 1538, England is in the midst of bloody power struggles between crown and cross that threaten to tear the country apart. Joanna Stafford has seen what lies inside the king’s torture rooms and risks imprisonment again, when she is caught up in a shadowy international plot targeting the King.

As the power plays turn vicious, Joanna understands she may have to assume her role in a prophecy foretold by three different seers, each more omniscient than the last. 
Joanna realizes the life of Henry VIII as well as the future of Christendom are in her hands—hands that must someday hold the chalice that lays at the center of these deadly prophecies.

Amazon US
Amazon UK


A Rip in the Veil
Anna Belfrage

On a muggy August day in 2002 Alex Lind disappears without a trace. On an equally stifling August day in 1658, Matthew Graham finds her on an empty Scottish moor. Life will never be the same for Alex – or for Matthew.

Due to a series of rare occurrences, Alexandra Lind is thrown three centuries backwards in time. She lands at the feet of Matthew Graham – an escaped convict making his way home to Scotland in this the year of our Lord, 1658.

Matthew doesn’t quite know what to make of this concussed and injured woman who has seemingly fallen from the skies- what is she, a witch?

Alex gawks at this tall, gaunt man with hazel eyes, dressed in what to her mostly looks like rags. At first she thinks he might be some sort of hermit, an oddball, but she quickly realises the odd one out is she, not he.

Catapulted from a life of modern comfort, Alex grapples with this new existence, further complicated by the dawning realization that someone from her time has followed her here – and not exactly to extend a helping hand.

Potential compensation for this brutal shift in fate comes in the shape of Matthew – a man she should never have met, not when she was born three centuries after him. But for all that Matthew quickly proves himself a willing and most capable protector he comes with baggage of his own, and on occasion it seems his past will see him killed. At times Alex finds it all excessively exciting, longing for the structured life she used to have.

How will she ever get back? And more importantly, does she want to?

A Rip in the Veil is the first in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Come back next Wednesday for five more synopsis. You may find your new favorite book!

Authors of historical fiction from any location may contact me to submit a synopsis using the contact form on this site. No steamy romance novels, please.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Summer Banquet Hop with Diane Scott Lewis

A Georgian Repast

In the eighteenth century what food was available depended on the season. In finer homes, several courses would be served, with the tablecloth removed between courses. Dinner had its own ritual. Ladies and gentlemen dressed in fine clothes to impress. The host would proceed to the dining room with the most senior lady on his arm. The host sat at the foot of the table, the hostess at the head. After the senior lady sat, the other guests would choose their seats. Chairs near the hostess were considered places of honor and reserved for the most important guests.

One course could consist of between five to twenty-five dishes: soups or creams, main dishes, side dishes and pastries. Meat dishes were placed in the center of the table; vegetable, fish and custard dishes were never placed in the center. The dinner began when the host served soup to his guests. Each guest took a glass of wine, toasting everyone’s health.

Meals would last for hours, ending with the women departing for a drawing room or parlor, to drink coffee or sweet wine, and the men remaining at the table to discuss serious matters over their port.

Households often made their own libations, including wine.

Receipt for raspberry wine: (raspberries available starting in June, but usually in July)

Take some fine raspberries; bruise them with the back of a spoon; strain through a flannel bag into a stone jar. To each quart of juice, put a pound of double-refined sugar. Stir well, and cover with a cloth. Let it stand for three days, then pour it off clear. To a quart of juice, put two quarts of white wine, bottle it off. It will be fit to drink in a week.

A favorite dessert in this era was the syllabub.

Receipt for Whipt Syllabub: Take a quart of thick cream and a half pint of sack. The juice of oranges or lemons (oranges available most months, probably due to being cultivated in an Orangery). Grate the peel of two lemons; add half a pound of double-refined sugar; pour into a broad earthen pan, and whisk well. Sweeten some red wine or sack, and fill glasses; when the froth from the mixture rises, take it off with a spoon and lay it on a sieve to drain. Then fill your glasses with the whipped froth.

Receipts from The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy, by Mrs. Glasse, 1796.

Diane Scott Lewis

I'll give away a paperback copy of my historical novel, The False Light, set in England during the French Revolution. The winner of this giveaway is Shelly Hammond!

Hop Participants
  1. Random Bits of Fascination (Maria Grace)
  2. Pillings Writing Corner (David Pilling)
  3. Anna Belfrage
  4. Debra Brown
  5. Lauren Gilbert
  6. Gillian Bagwell
  7. Julie K. Rose
  8. Donna Russo Morin
  9. Regina Jeffers
  10. Shauna Roberts
  11. Tinney S. Heath
  12. Grace Elliot
  13. Diane Scott Lewis
  14. Ginger Myrick
  15. Helen Hollick
  16. Heather Domin
  17. Margaret Skea
  18. Yves Fey
  19. JL Oakley
  20. Shannon Winslow
  21. Evangeline Holland
  22. Cora Lee
  23. Laura Purcell
  24. P. O. Dixon
  25. E.M. Powell
  26. Sharon Lathan
  27. Sally Smith O'Rourke
  28. Allison Bruning
  29. Violet Bedford
  30. Sue Millard
  31. Kim Rendfeld