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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

I am taking a longer break from blogging this year as I am spending the next few days with my lovely friend, Wendy Loveridge, and the Christmas Holidays with my husband and son.

The blog will be up and running again on 2nd January 2017.

I’d like to thank everyone for their continued support of Rakes and Rascals and I hope you all enjoy the festivities and I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!

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george-wickham

It has taken a while for broadband to reach Regency England. Yet, with a fair wind, full sail and a just a little bit of steam, Mr George Wickham finally finds himself in possession of the means with which to make the acquaintance of the good folk of the 21st century!

It is my pleasure to meet the readers of the good Mistress Cork’s almanac of literature.

I understand that, somehow, this unremarkable old soldier has enjoyed some level of infamy over the decades but it is not for me to delve into such matters. Instead, in keeping with the salon hosted by the estimable Mistress Cork, I should like to take you on a literary journey.

Novels, it has been said, are the root of much evil, of fanciful women and dissolute men, of youngsters lost to bacon-brained wanderings that squander their education on the witterings of authors who have known little of the world. I, however, do not subscribe to such thoughts.

Now, I know better than anyone that there’s many an untruth told in novels, but let us not dwell on such matters. In recent weeks, I was asked by a most charming lady what my favourite book was in boyhood. Did I, she wondered, prefer the outdoor life to the printed page? Was I ever one to pick up a tome, or might I be more likely found dipping for tadpoles or galloping through the grounds of Pemberley on the finest steed in the stables?

She was surprised to read that I was a keen reader.

Nay, voracious.

What then, did I read?

Myths.

Bring me myths, and I was happy; tell me of Hercules, of Zeus, of Jason, and let me roam the land and tell my own tales. With my friend and brother, the erstwhile Darcy, the paddocks became Olympia, the rose garden transformed into Hesperides and The kitchens, full of heat and steam and racket, were our Tartarus. The hallways of Pemberley became the labyrinth and through it we would stalk after whichever poor domestic we had selected to be our minotaur, two carefree boys lost in our own world of make-believe.

And what of Mount Olympus?

What of that place where the gods might sit, might know all that there was to know?

My good friend Darcy never scaled Mount Olympus, but I did regularly. It was better known as the older Mr Darcy’s study, where one might happen upon the finest brandy a lad could hope to find. Indeed, after a nip of that, any boy might believe himself a god.

Now, to enter the Temple of Aphrodite, one had a good few years more to wait. Indeed, I had left boyhood far behind by that halcyon day. It is not a memory for a page such as this, however, one dedicated to the pleasures of boyhood, so I will draw a tactful, gossamer veil over that day. After all, Aphrodite is only my dearest Lydia now, there is no other goddess tempting me into her temple.

And so, dear reader, I bid you adieu. Perhaps you might take a moment to dip back into the myths yourself, and recall those tales of wonder and magic. Never forget, however, that the brandy tastes better atop Olympus.

 

 

George Wickham’s papers are transcribed at Austen Variations   by Catherine Curzon, a royal historian who writes on all matters 18th century at www.madamegilflurt.com. Her work has been featured on HistoryExtra.com, the official website of BBC History Magazine  and in publications such as Explore History, All About History, History of Royals and Jane Austens Regency World. She has provided additional research for An Evening with Jane Austen at the V&A and spoken at venues including the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, Lichfield Guildhall and Dr Johnson’s House.

Catherine holds a Master’s degree in Film and when not dodging the furies of the guillotine, writes fiction set deep in the underbelly of Georgian London.

Her books, Life in the Georgian Court, and The Crown Spire, are available now.

She lives in Yorkshire atop a ludicrously steep hill.

A Covent Garden Gilflurt’s Guide to Life: www.madamegilflurt.com

Mr Wickham’s Memoirs: http://austenvariations.com/author/catherine-curzon/

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hrr

On Saturday 24th, nothing was arranged until 1:00pm and so Wendy and I took a short walk to look around the River Park Square Shopping Mall. After coffee at Nordstroms, we walked back to our hotel.

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We made our way to the Grand Pennington Ballroom where the Book Fair and Signing was being held. With so many of my favourite authors there, it’s no surprise that I came away with more books than I intended!  

Among the authors were Mary Balogh, Lorraine Heath, Anna Campbell, Elizabeth Hoyt, Delilah Marvelle, Renee Bernard, Laura Lee Guhrke and Cecilia Grant.

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Afterwards we had a delicious meal in the Palm Court Grill and then got so engrossed chatting with Mary Balogh that we completely lost track of the time. We had about 20 minutes to get back to our room, change and freshen up our makeup. We arrived at The Grand Ball looking somewhat flustered!

The ball was the highlight of the weekend and so many ladies were wearing the most beautiful gowns with a few brave husbands in attendance too. Refreshments of hor d’oeuvres and desserts were served during the evening. It was so magical and it felt as if you had been transported back in time. The evening finished on a lovely note when Lorraine Heath invited Wendy and I to have a drink with her.

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Lorraine Heath, Wendy Loveridge, Me and Mary Balogh

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Victoria Vane, Julie Johnstone Alanna Lucas and Meara Platt (Victoria made all the dresses)

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Delilah Marvelle

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Collette Cameron

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Julie Johnstone and Katherine Bone

There was a farewell party on Sunday morning but we didn’t leave until the following day and so we headed for the mall to buy some presents for our families. After packing in the afternoon, we had dinner with a lovely group of ladies including Anna Campbell, Mary Balogh and fellow bloggers Jacquie Tobin and Dorothy Salvagin.


On Monday 26th, after an invitation to breakfast with Delilah Marvelle, Victoria Vane and her lovely husband kindly gave us a lift to Spokane Airport for our flight to Salt Lake City and then onto London Heathrow.

victoria-john
Victoria Vane and her husband John

If you are interested in attending the Historical Romance Retreat in 2017, here is the link to the website where you will find details:

http://www.historicalromanceretreat.com/

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hrr

Friday 23rd started with breakfast. Wendy ordered 2 rounds of toast while I opted for the buttermilk pancakes served with maple syrup. Of course, I forgot that pancakes in the US are much larger and thicker than the ones in the UK.  Despite my best efforts, I only managed to eat two and a half of the plate sized pancakes!

After a lazy morning, the afternoon featured a number of author chats. We decided to go to the Porter Room where Valerie Bowman, Tessa Dare, Rose Lerner, Darcy Burke , Jenn LeBlanc, Wendy LaCapra, Julia London, Karen Hawkins and Katherine Bone were chatting and answering questions.

wendy-lacapra-tessa-dare-valerie-bowman-darcy-burke-jen-le-blanc
From left to right, Wendy LaCapra, Tessa Dare, Valerie Bowman,
Darcy Burke and Jenn Le Blanc

 

The highlight of the afternoon was the High Tea held in the Marie Antoinette Ballroom. As you can see from the pictures below the tables were beautifully laid out. As the hotel could only supply modern style cups and saucers, Delilah Marvelle acquired all the china cups and saucers!

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The small green gift box, which everyone received, contained a lovely cameo brooch from Delilah. This is mine.

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There was some free time until the Gaming Night at 8 pm. Unfortunately, Wendy wasn’t feeling very well and I went alone.  I sat at a table with Dot and discovered that we were playing a game called Bone-off.  We played with real old pennies (I remember using them before decimalisation in the UK in 1971) and I managed to win a few raffle prize entries but wasn’t lucky enough to win any of the prizes.

me-at-the-gaming-night
Looking as if I understand the rules

The evening concluded with the Absinthe and Abigail Party where we sampled various historically authentic drinks, including Absinthe which didn’t taste anything like I imagined. In fact, it was quite pleasant.

absinthe-abigail-party

When I got back to the hotel room, I was relieved to find that Wendy was feeling much better.

 

 

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After our very long and tiring journey, Wendy and I finally arrived at The Davenport Tower at midnight on Wednesday 21st September. We just managed to unpack our bags before collapsing into the enormous beds in our spacious bedroom!

davenport-tower-bedroom

The day’s events on Thursday 22nd didn’t start until 11:00 am and so we had the luxury of a lie-in. Making our way to the registration in the Historic Davenport, we were greeted by Delilah Marvelle and Renee Bernard, the organisers. What an amazing job they did!

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Delilah’s charming husband, Mark, handed us a tote-bag containing lots of goodies, including a charm bracelet (each charm representing one of the authors) and a handmade envelope with cards detailing the events for each of the days. There was also a table laid out with a selection of other author goodies.

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The motif on the tote bag was specially designed 
by Delilah

table-with-goodies

Afterwards, there was an opportunity to meet some of my fellow bloggers and friends that Wendy and I had made through Facebook. It was exciting to meet in person authors who had previously been just been names to us.

jaci-me-dot
With fellow bloggers, Dorothy Salvagin (La Deetda Reads) on the right
and Jacquie Tobin (The Reading Wench) on the left

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Facebook friend Karen Overby-Gallegos
with her lovely mum, June

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Having lunch with Mary Balogh

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Ahoy maties! Katherine Bone

Later in the evening, after a welcome gathering, we went to a special showing of a 1951 movie, ‘The Law and the Lady’, at the historic Bing Crosby Theater, which was a short walk away.

the-bing-crosbytheaterthe-bing-crosby-theatre-the-law-the-lady

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I won’t be around for the next two weeks because Wendy, my lovely friend and guest reviewer, and I are going on a dream trip. We are attending the first ever Historical Romance Retreat which is being held at the historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane, Washington State, USA.

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“Washington’s grandest hotel. Whether it’s the soaring architecture, award-winning amenities, rich history, or simply its proximity to nearby Spokane attractions, The Historic Davenport Hotel has welcomed film stars, explorers, writers, politicians and other luminaries for more than 100 years.”

It has been organised by authors, Renee Bernard and Delilah Marvelle,  who have some some fabulous events lined up, including High Tea, a Gambling Night with Historical Games, an Absinthe Night with Historical Drinks, and a Grand Ball. There is also a book fair and book signings.

We get the opportunity to mingle with lots of authors and fellow lovers of historical romance for three days in this beautiful historical setting. I can’t believe I will actually be meeting some of the top names in historical romance… Mary Balogh, Tessa Dare, Elizabeth Hoyt, Lorraine Heath, Anna Campbell to name but a few.

I am hoping to keep a diary while I’m there and, as many of the attendees will be wearing historical costumes, I will have my camera at the ready. You can read all about my adventures and see some of the photos I took in my October post.

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Thank you to everyone who stopped by and commented. My husband kindly drew the winner’s name and…

MARY SMITH

Congratulations Mary! Please email me at carolcork@live.co.uk with the full mailing address you would like me to send your prize to. 

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