Black Friday is here and we’re discussing the season with Ella Quinn’s Lord and Lady Rutherford from The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh.
Since she was a young girl, Anna Marsh has dreamed of Sebastian, Baron Rutherford asking for her hand in marriage. But that was in another life when her brother Harry was alive, before she vowed to secretly continue the work he valiantly died for. Now as Sebastian finally courts Anna, she must thwart his advances. Were he to discover her secret, he would never deem her a suitable wife…
Sebastian has always known Anna would become his wife someday. He expects few obstacles, but when she dissuades him at every turn he soon realizes there is much more to this intriguing woman. Somehow he must prove to her that they are meant to be together. But first he must unravel the seductive mystery that is Miss Anna Marsh…
Christmas Shopping During the Regency
It may surprise many that Christmas two hundred years ago was not the huge deal we make it out to be today. In fact, the United States is one of the few countries that goes wild over Christmas shopping. Most of what we think of as an English Christmas began during the Victorian era. So what did they do during the Regency? Many families had house parties in which friends and family were invited. Travel was difficult during the time, so a house party could go on for a few weeks. On Christmas Eve, everyone would go through the woods collecting greens and mistletoe, if it was available. That evening, houses were decorated, and a party held. Christmas Day was a time for attending church, and when a large meal with everything from whole hogs, to plum pudding was served.
As for presents, children usually made items such as embroidered slippers or handkerchiefs for their parents and other siblings or special friends. Still some shopping had to be done. So we’re going to visit the recently wed, Lord and Lady Rutherford, from my book, The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh, as they ready themselves for Christmas.
Rutherford, cursed under his breath as he entered the breakfast room. How the devil had Anna got her so quickly? He could have sworn she’d be at least another half-hour. More than time enough for him to drink a cup of tea and leave for Dover. The was their first Christmas together as a married couple, and he wanted to buy her something special. The problem was he had very little idea what to get her. Perhaps a piece of jewelry. Damn, he should have paid more attention to what she admired the last time they visited Dover.
He started to back out of the room. If he was lucky, he’d make his escape before the put the paper down.
“Good morning, Sebastian.”
“Good morning, my love.” Really, fate could be a bit kinder to him when it came to Anna. “What are you plans for to-day?”
She poured him a cup of tea and called for fresh toast. “We’re going to Dover.”
“Oh.” He slid in the chair next to her. He’d better come up with something, fast. “I thought I’d take a look at the . . . stable. There might be a leak in the roof.”
Anna raised a skeptical brow. “I’m sure the carpenter can fix it without your assistance. You do remember I’d planned this as a shopping trip for”—she glanced at the door, then lowered her voice—“Christmas?”
Rutherford didn’t remember anything of the sort. “Of course, my love. How could I forget something that important?”
“Actually,” Anna smiled, “I was about to call you down. The coach will be ready soon, and it won’t do to keep the horses waiting in this weather.”
This might work to his advantage after all. He could watch her while she made her purchases, and see what she liked. “I’ll be finished by the time you fetch your bonnet.”
An hour later they arrived at the Ship, and well appointed inn on Dover’s high street. Anna waited for Sebastian to hand her out of the coach. She’d been racking her brain for a week trying to think what to buy him for Christmas. The only thing she’d ever given him was an embroidered handkerchief. On the other hand, the only thing he’d ever given her was ribbon for her hair. One of the things she’d always admired about him was that he didn’t load himself down with fobs, yet it was making it hard to shop for him. Perhaps a new pin for his cravat, he didn’t have that many.
It was a good thing she knew what she’d buy for everyone else. She tucked her hand in the crook of his arm. Some of the shops had placed greenery in their windows. One even had a small Christmas tree. The royal family had them, but they hadn’t quite caught on. “My look how festive everything looks.”
“More so than usual, I think.”
After purchasing ribbons for Sebastian’s two younger sisters, and gloves for the eldest, she found a Malaccan sword cane for her brother. I thought we’d stop at the jewelers. I’d like to look at their snuff boxes. The Colonel is fond of them, and he had to sell most of his.”
Sebastian tugged her closer. “Perhaps a pair of earrings for my mother.”
“Just the thing, and for Emma.” Anna took a breath. “Is there anything particular you’d like?”
He glanced down at her, a warm glow in his gray eyes. “You are everything I want.”
Heat rose in her cheeks. “I love you.”
Someone coughed, and she realized they were standing in the middle of the pavement, staring at each other. Then she knew, it didn’t matter what they bought, she and Sebastian had each other.
Meet Ella Quinn!
Ella Quinn lived all over the United States, the Pacific, Canada, England and Europe before finally discovering the Caribbean. She lives in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands with her wonderful husband, three cats and loveable Great Dane. Ella is a member of the Romance Writers of American, The Beau Monde and Hearts Across History. She is represented by Elizabeth Pomada of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agency, and published by Kensington. She is the author of The Seduction of Lady Phoebe, The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh and the upcoming The Temptation of Lady Serena (Jan 2, 2014) and Desiring Lady Caro (Apr 3, 2014.
Want to purchase Ella’s novels?
- The Seduction of Lady Phoebe
- The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh
- The Temptation of Lady Serena (Jan 2, 2014)
- Desiring Lady Caro (Apr 3, 2014)
Please help spread the word: Tweet: #BlackFriday is here. Celebrate the chaos with #holiday #stories and #contests by 26 authors (Nov29-Dec24) http://wp.me/p3SIUp-atz
Thank you Ella for taking part in Literary Escapism’s Black Friday!