Regency Tête-à-Tête (+ Giveaway!) with Carolyn Miller

I have a treat for you today, especially if you’re a lover of all things Regency. Fellow Aussie, author Carolyn Miller, is joining me today for a little Regency tête-à-tête. So do, please, take a seat in our drawing room and join us!

First things first, we have a handy little Regency name finder for you. I am henceforth to be known as Miss Sophia Beaumont, and I will be chatting today with Mrs Selena Pembroke. Do be sure to introduce yourself to us in the comments. 🙂

Tête-à-Tête

Miss Sophia Beaumont: Thank you for joining me for this little tête à tête, Mrs Pembroke. Let’s begin by talking about location. Where do you think you would prefer to live if you were in Regency England. Town (London) or country, and why?

Mrs Selena Pembroke: I think I would love to have a London house (preferably in Grosvenor Square), but I’d prefer to spend most of my time in my manor house in the country. The Cotswolds, to be precise. This part of the countryside is not too far from London, the weather is mild, it is filled with quaint villages, and is counted as having some of the prettiest views in all of England. Of course, I would need to visit my relatives in their grand Scottish castle upon occasion also!

Sophia: Oh, the Cotswolds. How delightful! And of course, Gosvenor Square is a most desirable address.

I think I would prefer to spend the majority of my time in the country, too. Town and country were two very different lifestyles really, weren’t they? What kinds of activities would young ladies have filled their days with in either setting?

Selena: When in town, young well-to-do ladies might spend their time attending balls, the theatre, galleries and museums, parties, dinners, walking in Hyde Park, shopping, and visiting one’s acquaintances in their homes.

For country-dwelling young ladies, their time might be spent walking, horse riding, reading, visiting neighbours, attending services at church and local assemblies. Depending on their status, young ladies might assist their dear Mama with various household tasks, such as helping to manage the household budget, preparing and preserving food, herbs, flowers, mending clothes, visiting tenants, and giving to the poor, as well as those other duties considered proper for a young lady who might one day be a landowner’s wife.

Sophia: I imagine all those wonderful distractions in Town would be fun for a time, but I do think the quiet industry of the country life would suit me better overall. What do you think would have been some of your favourite Regency pastimes, Selena?

Selena:  If in London, I would love to attend musical soirees and the theatre, and would enjoy visits to places like Gunter’s to enjoy their ice creams and other treats. In the country, it would be most pleasant to spend time walking in the glorious countryside (although perhaps not with my skirts six inches in mud) before retiring to a well-stocked library in front of a roaring fire to read Shakespeare with convivial companions.

Sophia:  I would definitely enjoy the superior musical society to be found in Town. Having to provide one’s own musical entertainment (including fudging and slurring my way through the difficult passages) would become a little tedious. But I’m sure I would much prefer the air in the countryside. And it would be much cozier to be reading in the peace of a well-stocked library without the accompanying clops of horses on cobblestones!

But what about meals. Even they differed depending on whether you were in Town or a country estate, didn’t they? What were some of the differences in dining habits?

Selena:  Meal times varied, as many London events did not start until later in the evening. For particularly indolent types, they might not rise until near noon, which of course meant a very different concept of breaking their fast. ‘Country hours’ usually meant people dined earlier (no doubt to preserve their candles!) and generally involved more basic fare. Some estates might employ a fancy French chef, but most would have the sorts of food their estate would provide, such as venison, poultry, pheasant, trout, etc. Depending on who was dining, there might be a huge range of courses and food items on offer; for country people (unless it was a dinner party) it was usually much simpler.

Sophia:  Not rise until noon! Heavens. That is indolent!

Are there menu items from the Regency period that we would find really odd today?

Selena:  Turtle soup! I’ve read about how live turtles were strapped to carriage roofs and transported to their unfortunate destinations.

Sophia:  Oh, yes. I’ve heard of that. I can’t say I would be particularly eager to sample it, however…

And on that note, if you were invited to a Regency dinner party, what would you be looking forward to most, and what would you be most nervous about?

Selena:  I’m interested to try the white soup, as I understand it’s very time consuming (and somewhat expensive) to make, although it may be a little bland. Definitely want to try the roast goose and lamb cutlets, although I’m a little unsure about the plovers eggs in aspic jelly. I’m looking forward to the meringues a la creme, and the chocolate cream 🙂

Sophia:  I can tell you I’m very unsure about the plovers eggs in aspic jelly, but I’ll definitely take a serving of the roast goose or lamb cutlets.

I have to admit, the idea of organising a party gives me hives at the best of times, but organising a Regency dinner party would have been a logistic nightmare! What kind of things went into organising a Regency party?

Selena:  Considerations would have to be made regarding which guests to invite (who must come, who cannot afford to be snubbed), and what the weather would be like (most parties needed a full moon to enable safe travel for guests). Then there is the planning of the menu (what is seasonal, what will impress without being too expensive), and the organising of who sits where. Guests would enter the dining room based on rank, so the highest ranked guest would enter on the arm of the hostess, and then people would pair off accordingly, which would then affect seating positions at the table.

It’s also important to ensure people have sufficient conversation, so one doesn’t want to invite anyone generally known as being overly taciturn by nature. One has to ensure the cook and servants are up for the challenges of the menu, and to ensure any post-dinner entertainment contains guests willing (and able) to perform sufficiently well by singing, playing the pianoforte or displaying their musical ability on the harp.

Sophia: So, in other words, I was right; a logistical nightmare! And we haven’t even mentioned the dancing yet. Are you the sort of young lady who would dance every dance, or would you have been more of a wallflower?

Selena:  I might tend towards keeping company with those wallflowers, unless it’s a country dance (and a partner) I find extremely agreeable.

Sophia:  I think the dancing would be so much fun, although I would definitely prefer a partner who is a proficient dancer. So perhaps you had better explain the etiquette of dancing during the Regency era. And do explain what all the fuss is about the waltz!

Selena:  There were many rules concerning dancing, some of which make sense when you consider that dancing was one of the very few times a young lady and young gentleman could converse without a chaperone overhearing, so it was very important as a way to get to know each other. Some of the rules included:

  • One could never attend a private ball without an invitation.
  • A gentleman could not ask a lady to dance unless they had been formally introduced.
  • One shouldn’t save too many dances in advance, as room should be left for requests on the night.
  • If someone asks you to dance then you should accept, otherwise you are considered rude and should sit out the rest of the evening.
  • Gloves were expected to be worn by both sexes (except during supper).

The waltz was considered scandalous, as it involved the gentleman placing his arm around the lady’s waist, which was most unlike other dances of the time (which tended to consist more of jumps, pirouettes, and the like). To be held in a ‘near embrace’ in front of one’s acquaintances might suggest an intimacy one did not mean to imply!

Sophia:  Oh, I see! I imagine it would be quite a breath-taking dance with the right gentleman. 😉

We’re nearly out of time for our little tête-à-tête, but I’d love to know: if you were able to go back to the Regency era, which real-life person would you most like to meet?

Selena: I’d love to meet Mary Moser, one of only two female members of the Royal Academy of Art. I enjoy art, and think her battling to own her creativity in a world dominated by men would be most inspiring and interesting to learn about.

Sophia:  It definitely would! And now for my final question: If you were able to meet a character from the Regency era (from any book, including your own), who would you most like to meet and why?

Selena:  I’d love to meet Mr Darcy (who wouldn’t?) but also Persuasion’s Captain Wentworth (he’d have some interesting tales to tell from his time on the high seas) and The Elusive Miss Ellison’s Lord Nicholas Hawkesbury – he’d also have some fascinating stories from his time as a soldier on the Peninsular, plus we could discuss Shakespeare at his estate in the Cotswolds!

Sophia:  Most excellent choices!

Well, sadly our little Tête-à-Tête has come to an end, but thank you so much for chatting with me today, Mrs Selena Pembroke (aka Carolyn Miller). And don’t forget to enter the giveaway at the end of this post to win a copy of one of Carolyn Miller’s novels!


~ About the Author ~

Carolyn Miller

Carolyn Miller lives in the beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia. She is married, with four gorgeous children, who all love to read (and write!).

A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn’s novels have won a number of Romance Writers of American (RWA) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers. Her favourite authors are classics like Jane Austen (of course!), Georgette Heyer, and Agatha Christie, but she also enjoys contemporary authors like Susan May Warren and Becky Wade.

Her stories are fun and witty, yet also deal with real issues, such as dealing with forgiveness, the nature of really loving versus ‘true love’, and other challenges we all face at different times.

Connect with Carolyn:  Website //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Pinterest  //  Instagram

~ Books by Carolyn Miller ~

Regency Brides: A Legacy of Grace

Regency Brides: A Promise of Hope


~ Giveaway ~

Carolyn Miller is offering TWO lucky readers the chance to win a copy of one of her books. One Australian reader will win a paperback copy of their choice, and one international (non-Australian) reader will win an eBook copy of their choice!

To enter the giveaway, simply comment below and let us know which Regency person (real or fictional) YOU would love to meet. And we’d love to hear your Regency name while you’re at it!

To enter the international (non-Australian) giveaway for an eBook copy, click here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bd61d44b38/?

To enter the Australian giveaway for a paperback copy, click here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bd61d44b39/?

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
This entry was posted in Author Interviews, Christian Fiction, Historical Romance and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Regency Tête-à-Tête (+ Giveaway!) with Carolyn Miller

  1. debraemarvin says:

    I love seeing all the books together! Congratulations on so much success with these lovely stories, Carolyn! Thanks for the invite to eavesdrop on your conversation!

    Like

  2. Stephanie H. says:

    I would most like to meet Jane Austen during that time period. I would love talk to her about her books and how she feels about being a famous writer in our lifetime (since she died so young and before her stories made her well known today). My Regency Tête-à-Tête name is: Lady Lydia Radcliff.

    Like

  3. deannadodson says:

    I am Miss Henrietta Pembroke, and I simply adore this little gathering. I think we shall all deal famously.

    Like

  4. isisthe12th says:

    I am Miss Caroline Young. I just finished reading Too Woo a Wicked Widow by Jenna Jaxson and would love to be Lady Charlotte Cavendish. Thank you.

    Like

  5. Arletta says:

    Mrs Harriet Beaumont here! I would love to meet Captain Wentworth fictional and Colin Firth, real.

    I walked in Hyde part last year and tried to imagine what it must have been like 150 years ago. Thanks for the excellent question and responses. I enjoyed reading up on all the different nuances of regency life.

    Like

  6. Tina Radcliffe Radcliffe says:

    Show me a picture of teacups and I am so in. I agree re Captain Wentworth SWOON. Let’s have tea, dear sir. I am the Honourable Miss Abigail Young.

    Like

  7. Brandi says:

    I would love to meet Jane and Elizabeth Bennet. My regency name would be Honourable Miss Emma Stapleton. I love ALL of Carolyn Miller’s books and own all of them except for the Making of Mrs. Hale, which is probably my 2nd favorite of them all. 😄

    Like

  8. Becky D. says:

    “Miss Julia Templeton” here. 🙂 I would like to meet Lavinia Ellison from “The Elusive Miss Ellison” or Emma & Harriet from “Emma”.

    Like

  9. Laurin says:

    I would love to meet Jane Austen and all of her characters (except maybe Lady Catherine and Mr. Collins!). 🙂 And I would be called the Honourable Miss Caroline Stapleton (which I like and may start insisting that people call me!).

    Like

  10. Mrs. Sophia Beaumont here, and so delighted to be among such fine company! Wonderful conversation!

    Like

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