Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace
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Thursday, November 7, 2013

What Did A Regency Lady Know? by Ella Quinn

Please join me in welcoming Ella Quinn to the blog today! She's written a great Regency piece for us today. Enjoy!


What Did A Regency Lady Know? 

by Ella Quinn


Most readers who love the genre can come away with a mixed idea of what a lady during the Regency era actually did. Not only books, but movies, and TV as well can give one the impression that they went to parties, shopped, and sat around the house doing needle work. The answer is a bit more complicated.
Most girls were taught, reading, maths, art, literature, at a minimum, French and some Italian. It was more unusual for them to have learned Latin or Greek, which most men studied, but it did happen, and yes, needlework, which amounted to everything from embroidering slippers and handkerchiefs, to the beautiful whitework.

Also pianoforte, and singing. Can you imagine preforming for your future husband and, <groan> mother-in-law?

Jane Austen describes it. “after dinner families and friends were obligated to entertain each other with conversation, musical performances, parlor games and cards, or reading aloud.”

 Let’s not forget horseback riding, and driving a carriage.

However, they also had to have knowledge of how to run a large house and possibly the estate, or estates, as well. Depending on size of her husband’s holdings, that job was the equivalent of running a small to large business.

For an idea on how many servants it took to manage a small place one can look to Georgette Heyer’s Friday’s Child, where the young couple decided to lease a small townhouse, and the number of servants needed to “ensure a moderate degree of comfort” amounted to a cook, butler, two maids, a page boy, groom, tiger, coachman, a lady’s maid, and valet. Since there was no housekeeper, that left the job of directing the maids to the lady of the house. If any of them were ill, it was her job to have the doctor called and pay for the expenses. Not to mention keeping the household accounts.

This was especially true of estates, where it was your responsibility to see to the health and welfare of your dependants, both in the house and tenants who rented plots for farming.

Which leads us to planning social events. There was no buying wine and beer, and throwing out some chips and dip here. Many events had hundreds of guests. If you hosted a house party, that could go on for up to a month, you had to plan the entertainment.

Are you tired yet? Let’s not forget, there is no phone, text or email. In order to keep in touch with family and friends, you have to sit down and write a letter. Unless your husband was a peer and could frank your letters, in which case you could go on for pages, you would make use of one sheet of paper and cross your lines, or even write across again diagonally so that the person receiving your correspondence didn’t have to pay as much. Try reading that.


When does your day end? Generally after dinner, when the men rejoin the ladies and tea has been served.

Available now! The Secret Life of Miss Anna Marsh


“Let yourself be seduced by this sexy mix of spies, smugglers, and happily ever afters.” —Sally MacKenzie
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…


Ella Quinn's studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape.

After a stint in the Army, where she was the first woman to be assigned to a Green Beret unit, and serving in Guam and Germany, she decided to return to university where she earned a B.A., and MS in International Relations, and a J.D., which led to another term in the Army as a JAG officer. By day, she works as a family law attorney, helping clients resolve problems, and by night she crafts stories where characters always find happy endings. 

When Ella and her husband to be were dating, he convinced her he was really a Viking warrior. That was thirty-one years ago. They have a son and granddaughter, Great Dane and a Chartreux. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa and in Europe, she and her husband decided to make St. Thomas, Virgin Islands their home.

           Ella is a member of Romance Writers of America, The Beau Monde, Hearts Through History and is an active member of the Regency Romance Critique Group.

 She’s extensively researched the Regency era both while living in England for two years and aftwards. She imbues her stories with the flavor and feel of the age so that readers lose themselves in the time period. 
  



31 comments:

Christi Caldwell said...

SO informative!!! And, LOL, no, I most certainly cannot imagine having to perform for my mother-in-law pre-marriage. Seems like a horrific thing to put a lady through! Congratulations on the release! Spies, smugglers, and intrigue is everything I love in a historical romance!!!

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

Thank you so much for stopping by, Christi!!

Lani said...

Ella! I didn't know your name was Marion. What a lovely name!

I too would have hated to perform for my future mother-in-law. Eek! A lady during the Regency certainly was busy. As much as writing a letter might consume so much time, I still love to do it myself.

Thanks for another great post!
Lani

Rue Allyn said...

Terrific post and great information, Ella. THanks and congrats.

Andrea Cooper said...

Great post & congrats on your release.

Liza O'Connor said...

I greatly enjoyed the discussion of what a society lady must know. I dare say I would have been an utter disaster as a regency woman. I would have been better off dressing like a man so not so much was expected of me.

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

Rue, thank you for stopping by!

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

Hi Lani, thank you. I don't think people appreciate how much they had to do.

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

Andrea, thank you so much for visiting.

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

LOL, Liza!! Training started when one was very young. You would have been fine.

Gina Danna said...

Oooo I like the bit of history with this. Nice! Excited for this book!!

Stacey Brutger said...

Congrats on your new release!

Great post. I would so not want to 'catch' a husband using the old methods.

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

LOL, Stacey. It would be different!

Collette Cameron said...

Good heavens, Ella. It as exhausting just reading about what a proper lady needed to know. So excited about your release!

Sandy Owens said...

Happy Release Day, Ella!

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

They were busy ladies, Collette. I'm really excited about the release!!

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

Than you, Sandy!!

D'Ann said...

Congrats on the release! Those ladies had a lot of pressure, just like all women!

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

They did indeed, D'Ann! Thank you for visiting.

Eileen Dandashi said...

A great summary of life during the Regency era. I'm tired already!! And I learned a bit more about the author's life. Thanks for the great blog post.

jodi marinich said...

great post cant wait to read this

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Eileen!! Thank you for visiting!

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

Thank ou, Jodi!!

angieia said...

Enjoyed the interview!

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

I'm so glad you did, Angie. Thanks so much for your support!

Callie said...

I really enjoyed your post, Ella. I'm sure most readers do think of ladies of the regency era as being pampered and bored. We forget without all the modern conveniences how busy they really were. Best of luck with your new book. Since I pre-ordered it, yesterday it popped up in my email box.

Lana Williams said...

How exhausting! Regency women were amazing! Can't wait to read the story! Tweeted as well.

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

Very true, Callie, and these ladies were young when they had to know how to manage. Thanks for buying my book!!

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

I agree, Lana! We forget how much things have changed. Thank you for coming by!!

Melissa Keir said...

I think I'll stop complaining about the full time job, housework, parenting and my writing. It seems like I have it easy! Although I don't have to kill my food either!

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

LOL, Melissa. I doubt a lady would actually have to kill hers either. One of the servants would have the pleasure.

Can you imagine having to have learned how to manage a house and estate by the age of 17 or 18? I wonder if our teenagers could do it.