Above painting: Louis Jean Francois - Mars and Venus an Allegory of Peace

Pages

***All photos accompanying posts are either owned by the author of said post or are in the public domain -- NOT the property of History Undressed. If you'd like to obtain permission to use a picture from a post, please contact the author of the post.***

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Scandalous Mitfords: Socialites, Nazis, Communists, Oh My


This week on the History, Books and Wine podcast, I'm pouring a glass of vino and diving into the Scandalous Mitford family! They were made up of socialites, debutantes, couple of fascists, a communist, socialists, a couple of Nazi sympathizers, WWII volunteers, a soldier, authors, a duchess... the list goes on and on... This wild family of seven siblings were constantly in the papers in the 1920s, 30s, 40s...and still TO THIS DAY! 

Nancy's book The Pursuit of Love was just adapted into a short series by Netflix, starring Lily James. Diana even has a cameo on the show, Peaky Blinders, played by Amber Anderson.

There is something about the Mitfords that fascinates and continues to do so a hundred years later.

Take a listen to find out the fascinating history behind this scandalous and evergreen family. Here's a snippet to get your started.


History, Books and Wine podcast is available on our website, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio, and more. Listen and enjoy wherever you download your favorite podcasts!


Can't get enough Mitfords? I invite you to read my international bestseller, and Costco Book Club PickThe Mayfair Bookshop: A Novel of Nancy Mitford and the Pursuit of Happiness

From USA Today bestselling author Eliza Knight: a brilliant dual-narrative story about Nancy Mitford—one of 1930s London’s hottest socialites, authors, and a member of the scandalous Mitford Sisters—and a modern American book curator desperate for change, connected through time by a little London bookshop.


1938: She was one of the six sparkling Mitford sisters, known for her stinging quips, stylish dress, and bright green eyes. But Nancy Mitford’s seemingly sparkling life was really one of turmoil: with a perpetually unfaithful and broke husband, two Nazi sympathizer sisters, and her hopes of motherhood dashed forever. With war imminent, Nancy finds respite by taking a job at the Heywood Hill Bookshop in Mayfair, hoping to make ends meet, and discovers a new life.


Present Day: When book curator Lucy St. Clair lands a gig working at Heywood Hill she can’t get on the plane fast enough. Not only can she start the healing process from the loss of her mother, it’s a dream come true to set foot in the legendary store. Doubly exciting: she brings with her a first edition of Nancy’s work, one with a somewhat mysterious inscription from the author.  Soon, she discovers her life and Nancy’s are intertwined, and it all comes back to the little London bookshop—a place that changes the lives of two women from different eras in the most surprising ways. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

A Naughty Rebel Princess


On this week's History, Books and Wine podcast, we have guest author Georgie Blalock talking about a naughty rebel princess. 

Princess Louise was the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria, and made quite a reputation for herself. Come join our happy hour to learn about this fascinating royal!

Here's a sample to get you started... 


Episodes of History, Books and Wine are available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeartRadio and many more places where podcasts downloads are available. You can also listen to this episode HERE.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

The Stone of Scone

The Stone of Scone Replica
Photo credit: Eliza Knight



Today's episode on History, Books and Wine podcast, with Lori Ann Bailey, is about The Coronation Stone aka The Stone of Destiny. 


Who knew when Lori planned this episode that it would become as relevant as it is today?


While the UK mourns the loss of Queen Elizabeth II, somewhere behind the scenes, plans are in motion for the coronation of King Charles III.


Listen anywhere you find your favorite podcasts to find out why a huge chunk of stone is essential to the process.


Here's a sample...




Thursday, September 8, 2022

The End of an Elizabethan Era

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Royal family on this sad day. Queen Elizabeth II gave all of herself to the service of her realm and her crown, for all of her life, and most especially for the seventy years in which she reigned. She was a person to be admired, a legendary monarch, and a very gracious queen.

Rest In Peace.

I'll leave you with this, my favorite speech of hers that she made on her 21st birthday in 1947.




Tuesday, September 6, 2022

History, Books and Wine podcast is back for Season 2!


I'm SO excited to announce that History, Books and Wine podcast is back for Season 2!

Episode 1 is a happy hour with both myself and my co-podcaster, Lori Ann Bailey. This week we're discussing our obsession with genealogy, and we've got some fun tidbits and facts!

On upcoming episodes we'll explore other fun historical facts, wine tasting, book discussions AND new this season, special guest authors!

Episodes will release weekly on Tuesdays. Download on Apple, Spotify, iHeartRadio or wherever you listen to your fav podcasts.

Looking forward to a great new season!

Want a sneak peak? Check out this clip from our podcast...





Friday, May 13, 2022

The Longest Running Magazine in England



Before Nancy Mitford was a novelist, she worked for the magazine The Lady, which is the longest running magazine in England, and still publishes today. 


The magazine was founded in 1885 by her maternal grandfather, Thomas Bowles. He gave Nancy's father his first job as the general manager of the magazine as well, and her mother, owning a percentage of the magazine after his passing, collected a steady income from it.


Nancy was a regular contributor to articles on fashion, etiquette, society news etc... The magazine hosted famous writers, including Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland).


There is a quote on The Lady website from a 1945 article titled, Cosmetics in Prison, that says: "Now that the use of cosmetics is so general, a woman deprived of them may find their absence demoralising." I can't help but wonder who wrote this, and who it might have been intended for, considering Nancy's sister Diana was imprisoned during this time for her dangerous relationships to fascists. (You can read more about that in The Mayfair Bookshop!)

Friday, May 6, 2022

How One Famous Socialite Volunteered During WWII


During WWII, novelist Nancy Mitford did quite a lot voluntary service to her country, in addition to working at the famous bookshop, Heywood Hill, where she entertained writers and bibliophiles alike in her makeshift salon, “Club Nancy,” along with sharing the love of books with those left in London.

While two of her sisters were actively courting friendship with Hitler, Nancy doubled down on her patriotic duties to Great Britain. She spent a very short time as an ARP ambulance driver during the Blitz which resulted in a small accident. Considering that there was a blackout at night in London during the blitz, her volunteering to drive was quite brave. All lights were extinguished during this time, and no headlamps were allowed to be used on vehicles, which of course resulted in an increase in accidents.


After the accident, Nancy sought a different type of service. She worked in a first aid post in Picadilly, rolling bandages and assisting those who came in needing aid, but she also used a blue indelible pencil to write identifying information on bodies that came in after the Luftwaffe attacks. 


She had a brief stint as a BBC broadcaster, teaching the people of London how to put out fires. However, listeners found her voice to be irritating enough that they wrote into the BBC complaining about it and asking that she be replaced. That didn't stop Nancy from aiding her fellow Brits. She also served on the fire watch herself, often at night after a long shift at Heywood Hill. 


When her family’s home, Rutland Gate, was used as a billet for about 70 Jewish refugees from the East End of London, she took up the care and running of the household and its new inhabitants. This included getting everyone's rations, making sure the house was maintained, making appointments for the refugees healthcare, etc... 


And, perhaps most intriguing of all, when a friend at the war office asked for her help in spying on the French who’d recently come to London, Nancy didn’t hesitate. She made friends with the Free French officers and got herself invited to their club so she could listen in on their conversations.


The resiliency of those on the home front during WWII has always fascinated me, and I made sure to add Nancy's service to my historical novel, THE MAYFAIR BOOKSHOP, to highlight that she was much more than the scandalous socialite she’s often made out to be. Nancy had a big heart, which was much too often broken.

To dig in further into Nancy's and her family's participation in WWII, including the two sisters who were cozy with Hitler, order the book today!



The Mayfair Bookshop: A Novel Of Nancy Mitford And The Pursuit Of Happiness…


From USA Today bestselling author Eliza Knight: a brilliant dual-narrative story about Nancy Mitford—one of 1930s London’s hottest socialites, authors, and a member of the scandalous Mitford Sisters—and a modern American book curator desperate for change, connected through time by a little London bookshop.


1938: She was one of the six sparkling Mitford sisters, known for her stinging quips, stylish dress, and bright green eyes. But Nancy Mitford’s seemingly sparkling life was really one of turmoil: with a perpetually unfaithful and broke husband, two Nazi sympathizer sisters, and her hopes of motherhood dashed forever. With war imminent, Nancy finds respite by taking a job at the Heywood Hill Bookshop in Mayfair, hoping to make ends meet, and discovers a new life.


Present Day: When book curator Lucy St. Clair lands a gig working at Heywood Hill she can’t get on the plane fast enough. Not only can she start the healing process from the loss of her mother, it’s a dream come true to set foot in the legendary store. Doubly exciting: she brings with her a first edition of Nancy’s work, one with a somewhat mysterious inscription from the author.  Soon, she discovers her life and Nancy’s are intertwined, and it all comes back to the little London bookshop—a place that changes the lives of two women from different eras in the most surprising ways. 


Order your copy!

Personalized Signed Copies: https://www.sykesvillebooks.com/eliza-knight

Harpercollins: https://bit.ly/TheMayfairBookshop

Bookshop: https://bit.ly/TheMayfair_Bookshop

IndieBound: https://bit.ly/TheMayfairBookshop_BuyIndie

Books-a-Million: bit.ly/TheMayfairBookshop_BAM

Amazon Print: https://bit.ly/MayfairBookshop

Amazon Ebook: https://bit.ly/TheMayfairBookshop_Ebook

Amazon Canada: https://bit.ly/MayfairBookshop_CA

Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/TheMayfairBookshop_BN

Kobo: https://bit.ly/TheMayfairBookshop_Kobo

Apple: https://apple.co/3AhR8fV

Chapters: https://bit.ly/TheMayfairBookshop_Chapters

Audible: https://bit.ly/TheMayfairBookshop_Listen