6:06 AM

I'm so excited to have Donna Lea Simpson here today as my guest blogger. Donna has written a wonderful romance set in the Georgian Era, and she's going to share a little of her research into the clothing of that period. After her guest post I'll post my review (hint I really like it!) Thank you Donna for being here!

Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark


By: Donna Lea Simpson


The Georgian Era of Lady Anne Addison

Lately, I’ve come across a lot of talk on the internet about how the Georgian era, a time of paint and high heels and powder—on the men—is a difficult time within which to place a romance novel. But I think we need to clarify a little; of all times, people perhaps understand the least about the Georgian era, and paint the whole time period with the same broad cosmetic brush, so to speak.

Paint and patches, periwigs, powder, and panniers… all of these exaggerated images of what folks wore! When I decided on the Georgian era for my new Lady Anne series, I knew it was a time of change. The Georgian era as a whole spans an enormous number of years, from 1714 right through 1811. To put that in context, if you look back to 1899, and consider how much our dress and lives have changed since then, you can see that the entire Georgian era must not be seen as one huge amorphous haze.


The 1780s, when Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark (Sourcebooks Casablanca – April 2009) is set, was a time of change in lady’s fashion. As far as I can tell from contemporary art, no one was wearing patches, nor was exaggerated face paint the style. Panniers, those wide cages worn under skirts to give an exaggerated silhouette, were long gone, in favor of small bustles or ‘bumrolls’. Wigs were still being worn by some and hair powder by many—it was required, for instance, as a part of military uniform dress—but natural hair was making a comeback except in very formal situations.

And as for gowns, according to We Make History, an excellent website on historic fashion, “Most fabrics tended to have some weight or stiffness to them at least until the mid 1780s when lighter weight silks and cottons began to catch on… In the 1780s and 90s a completely new style of round gown known as the “chemise gown” was popularized by imitators of Queen Marie Antoinette of France. This dress… was initially mocked by many who declared that women were running about in their undergarments (thus the name “chemise” gown) but it caught on quickly with younger, fashionable ladies and proved to be the harbinger of the soon to come Regency era styles.”


You can tell by this that the switch had begun, the movement toward more natural lines, less stiffness in fabric and structure, a move from formality to informality. Fashion reflects social movement. The 1780s was an exciting time to live in England; the birth of the women’s movement, increasing agitation for Catholic emancipation and the abolition of slavery, the movement in philosophy and the arts from pure rationalism to include elements of romanticism, were all a part of the change, and like leaves in a stream, fashion was moving right along with it.


Anne Bissonnette, Ph.D., curator of the Kent State University Museum, says… about the time, in her introduction to a 2007 exhibition on Hair: The Rise of Individuality - 1790-1840, “The Age of Reason was failing and being replaced by its antithesis, nature and sentiment. Informality in hairstyles, as in dress, became the growing trend of the last two decades of the 18th century. By the 1790s, a new ideal of beauty had emerged.”

So 1786 was definitely a time of transition, from the formal face paint, wigs and hair powder, to more informal and natural hair and appearance.

Lady Anne Addison is certainly a woman of her time: questioning, alert, intelligent. She was raised to think for herself, like another prominent woman of her time, Mary Wollstonecraft, but marriage in her time for a woman still meant giving up everything and placing herself utterly in the control of her husband. When she meets the moody but magnificent marquess, Lord Anthony Darkefell, will she fall in love? And if she does, will she submit to marriage?


Read Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark to find out! Here’s a brief description:


England, 1786

Lady Anne, a smart, stubborn, and skeptical spinster, travels north to Yorkshire at the request of a newly married friend to try to figure out what is going on. A wolf—or werewolf—is roaming the countryside near Darkefell Castle, terrorizing the populace and harassing the sheep herds. The hour she arrives in Yor

kshire she stumbles across a body, and her outraged sensibility demands she discover who committed such a foul deed.

With a bewildering love/hate relationship developing between her and the master of Darkefell Castle, the Marquess of Darkefell—he happens to also be her friend’s new brother-in-law—Anne investigates, digging into the family history. Conf

used by the marquess’s passionate pursuit of her and skeptical of the claims of a werewolf on the loose, Lady Anne manages to triumph, uncovering the reality of a very human murderer, a bitter enemy of the family, just in time to keep from becoming his next victim.

Alarmed by her growing passion for the imperious Marquess of Darkefell, Anne flees after successfully unmasking the killer. But Darkefell, as stubborn as Anne and twice as imposing, follows her. Their courtship, unconventional but fiery, plays out over three books, as he attempts to bully… or rather persuade her to

marry him, and she tries desperately to concentrate on debunking ghosts, and discrediting gypsy curses.


For more information on the Georgian Era and the Lady Anne series, drop in to my website: http://www.donnaleasimpson.com


From Sourcebooks Casablanca

Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark – April 2009

Lady Anne and the Ghost’s Revenge – August 2009

Lady Anne and the Gypsy Curse – November 2009


Purchase Your Copy Here

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