Monday, April 05, 2021

My Favorite Cocktail

   Because it's Monday.....

Some Of My Latest!

 Some of my newest releases!

His Unlikely Duchess  (Book One, The Dollar Duchesses)

Money can buy her marriage

But will it lead to love?

Miss Lily Wilkins hopes her American money will compensate for her lack of etiquette, as she needs a prestigious marriage to save her sisters’ prospects. Raised to believe wealth was her greatest attribute, she’s stunned when her unconventional ways catch the eye of the notorious Duke of Lennox. He’s far from the safe, sensible match she’d planned on—but Lily might just discover he’s the one she needs!

From Harlequin Historical: Your romantic escape to the past.

Dollar Duchesses

Money for Marriage into London Society

Regency Christmas Kisses

Take a walk back in time with five sweet Regency Christmas shorts and novellas.

Snowbound Christmas – Amanda McCabe
(A sequel to "The wallflower's Mistletoe Wedding")

Years ago, fate parted Helen Layton and Charles St. George. Now a wealthy widow and a famous artist, they are stuck together in a Christmas blizzard! Can old pain, and true love, bring them back together?

Lady Felicity’s Feud with Christmas – Kathy L Wheeler
(Part of the Rebel Lords of London series)

Christmas does not come easy for a young woman who has seen too much tragedy around the holidays. Lord Lexum is snared into obtaining Lady Felicity’s assistance for a Christmas event. Can he find a way to show Felicity Christmas also means hope?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree – Amanda Mc Cabe
A National Reader's Choice Award Finalist

Spend the holidays at a Regency England house party! Seeking an heir to her fortune, a widow challenges her family to a wild holiday scavenger hunt in the novella "A Partridge in a Pear Tree"--and two lost, lonely people find a lasting love and true family seeking the Twelve Days of Christmas...

Five Gold Rings – Kathy L Wheeler
(Part of the My True Love Gave to Me anthology from the Oklahoma Romance Writers.)

The noblest of England’s finest families vie for the honor to attend Pemberton’s Annual Christmas Ball—most especially those with daughters of a marriageable age. Something Bartholomew Dixon, Viscount Weston, in all accounts, typically avoids like the plague but for one idiotic wager. He’s acquired four of the five rings required to win…but what of the fifth?

Nine Ladies Dancing – Amanda McCabe
(the sequel to A Partridge in a Pear Tree!)

Spend Christmas in the magic of Regency England! The lovely, red-headed Gordon twins, studious Jane and vivacious Kitty, are excited to attend their first Kirkwood Christmas Ball at Swan Court—-and are filled with plans for the future. Kitty has dreams of marrying the Duke of Tremanton, while Jane thinks the handsome new vicar, Harry Phillips, might suit her. But Christmas has a magic of its own—and the universe has its own idea of romance! Will all end well, under the mistletoe?

Lady Rights a Wrong (w/a Eliza Casey)

As the suffragette movement sweeps England in 1912, Lady Cecilia Bates wants to march but ends up trailing a killer instead in the latest entry to the Manor Cat Mysteries.

Lady Cecilia of Danby Hall feels adrift. She couldn’t be less interested in helping to plan the church's upcoming bazaar. Instead, what excites her most is the Woman’s Suffrage Union meeting she has just attended.

Inspired by the famous and charismatic leader of the group, Mrs. Amelia Price, Cecilia is eager to join the Union—if she can hide it from her parents, that is. But when Mrs. Price is found dead at the foot of the stairs of her home, her Votes for Women sash torn away, Cecilia knows she must attend to a more urgent matter: finding the killer. With the help of her lady’s maid Jane and intelligent cat Jack, she hopes to play her part in earning women’s equality by stopping the Union’s dangerous foe.



Hello, everyone!!!  It's been ages since I've tried blogging, but it seems like there is so much to share lately (and after this year, I am feeling a bit lonely and needing to reach out into the world!), so I'm starting a brand new blog, brand new springtime.  There will be much more to come in the next few days, but in the meantime, what have you been reading??  What have you been watching?  (I'm obsessed with my new BritBox subscription, and a new wine delivery service that has me trying my own personal tasting room in my kitchen on Fridays...more reviews of all to come)

We'll have more Heroines of the Weekend post soon, as well as links I just happen to come across every week and think are fun, so stay tuned!

Saturday, April 03, 2021

Fun Weekend Links

 The Queen's 95th Birthday Collection Includes a Corgi Ornament!

The Story Behind Sculptor Brenda Putnam and the Folger's Statue of Puck

Five Fearless Female WWII Spies

Finding Peace at Brasserie Lipp

The Mystery of Agatha Christie

Historical Mysteries of the Roaring Twenties

How to Pair Cheese

Aphra Behn: Royal Spy

Savage Insults From Literary Icons

The Louvre's Entire Collection is Online--Free

Interesting Woman of the Weekend: Zelda Fitzgerald

 On this day in 1920 (April 3) F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Sayre were married in NYC!  How did it work out?  Well--not so well, but definitely interestingly...

This weekend's Heroine is the prototypical flapper Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, born on this day in 1900, in Montgomery, Alabama! She was a spoiled Southern belle, the youngest of six children of Minnie and Anthony Sayre, members of a prominent Southern family. As a child she was known to be very active and energetic, taking ballet lessons, swimming, spending time outdoors; she was less interested in her school lessons, though she was a popular student at Sidney Lanier High School. She was known as something of a scandal in Montgomery, drinking, smoking, going out with boys, and (gasp!) wearing a one-piece flesh-colored bathing suit. She sought out attention whenever possible, flouting convention, but her family's position kept her from ruin. She had many suitors.

In July 1918 at the local country club where she often went to dance and swim she met 21-year-old First Lieutenant F. Scott Fitzgerald, posted at the army base at Montgomery. They were both infatuated right away, and Zelda would later write, "There seemed to be some heavenly support beneath his shoulder blades that lifted his feet from the ground in ecstatic suspension, as if he secretly enjoyed the ability to fly but was walking as a compromise to convention." He began to visit her almost daily, and redrafted the character of Rosalind in his WIP, This Side of Paradise, to resemble Zelda. But she was more than a mere muse--Scott lifted passages from her diary to use in the novel.

In October he was sent North, expecting to be sent to Europe until the Armistice was signed and he went back to Alabama to be with Zelda. When he was discharged in February 1919 he set out for New York and they wrote every day until he sent her his mother's ring and they became engaged. But the Sayres disapproved of Scott, disliking his heavy drinking and the fact that he was Catholic. Zelda also went on flirting with other men, which caused arguments and a breaking of the engagement. By September 1921 This Side of Paradise was finished and published the next March. Zelda had reconciled with him and agreed to marry him once the book was published; it came out March 26, and Zelda arrived in NYC on March 30. April 3 they were married in a small ceremony at St. Patrick's Cathedral and embarked on a glamorous, artsy life--or so it appeared.

They were famous in New York, both for the success of the book and for their wild, flapper-ish behavior. Zelda jumped in the fountain at Union Square; they were kicked out of hotels for drunkeness; they rode on top of taxis. Dorothy Parker said of them, "They did both look as though they had just stepped out of the sun; their youth was striking. Everyone wanted to meet them." But the drinking fueled not only parties by violent arguments. In October 1921 their only child, Frances "Scottie" Fitzgerald, was born in Scott's hometown of St. Paul, Minnesota. They employed a nurse for the baby as well as housekeepers, cooks, and laundresses. They seldom saw the child or were even at home. The next year Zelda again became pregnant, and possibly had an abortion.

When Scott's next book, The Beautiful and the Damned, was published the New York Tribune asked Zelda to write a cheeky review. Though the review was humorous and quirky, it also revealed her frustration at Scott's "borrowing" of her own words and their marriage: "It seems to me that on one page I recognized a portion of an old diary of mine which mysteriously disappeared shortly after my marriage, and also scraps of letters...which sound to me vaguely familiar. In fact, Mr. Fitzgerald...seems to believe that plagiarism believes at home." The piece led to offers from other magazines, including an article called "Eulogy on the Flapper" in Metropolitan Magazine. But the couple had money troubles as well as health worries, and in 1924 they left for Paris and then the Riviera where Scott worked on The Great Gatsby and Zelda began a wild flirtation with the young French pilot Edouard Jozan. She asked Scott for a divorce, starting even more arguments, though Jozan soon left and later told Zelda's biographer there was never a real affair.

After this rupture they seemed to reconcile, and kept up appearances among their friends with parties and travel. That fall Zelda took an overdose of sleeping pills, though the incident was never spoken of and Scott went back to his books, which he finished in October. They then left for Italy, where Zelda found some solace in painting. Back in Paris, they met Ernest Hemingway, who became good friends with Scott though Zelda found him "phoney as a rubber check." He told everyone she was crazy, but it was through him they met other artists of the Paris set and went on with their racy lives (including an incident where Zelda jumped down a marble staircase when Scott was talking to Isadora Duncan and ignoring her).

As the 1920s progressed, the marriage deteriorated. Scott became more alcoholic and Zelda's behavior more and more erratic. At 27 she turned back to her childhood love of ballet, setting up a grueling daily practice of 8 hours a day which drove her to exhaustion. She was actually offered a place with the San Carlo Opera Ballet in Naples in 1929, but declined. In 1930 she was sent to a sanatorium in France where she was diagnosed in schizophrenic. After a stay at another hospital in Switzerland the Fitzgeralds returned to Alabama where her father was dying. Scott then left for work in Hollywood, and by February 1932 Zelda was again in hospital. While at the Phipps Clinic in Baltimore she felt a surge of creativity and wrote a book, Save Me the Waltz, in 6 weeks. She then sent it to Scott's publisher. When Scott read it he was furious at its obvious depiction of their stormy marriage (which he intended to use himself). It was published in October 1932 in a small printing, but only sold half of even that and was a failure.

From the mid-1930s Zelda spent her life in and out of hospitals, ending up at the Highland Hospital in Asheville, NC in 1936 where she stayed while Scott worked in Hollywood and had an affair with gossip columnist Sheilah Graham. In 1938 Scott and Zelda tried a trip together to Cuba, which was a failure. They never saw each other again until Scott's death in 1940 (she did not attend the funeral, or their daughter's wedding a few years later). She started a new novel, Caesar's Things, which was never finished, and she died in a fire at highland Hospital on March 10, 1948, a sad and terrible end to a life that once seemed to promise so much and came to stand for a whole generation. She was buried with Scott in Rockville, Maryland, under a stone engraved with the last line of The Great Gatsby: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

Some sources on Zelda's life:

Jackson Bryer, Cathy Barks (eds.), Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda: The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald (2002)
Sally Cline, Zelda Fitzgerald: Her Voice in Paradise (2003)
Nancy Milford, Zelda: A Biography (1970)