A Not-So-Traditional Regency Christmas
We celebrate Christmas with different traditions today than those that were common 200 years ago, but like today, Christmas in the Regency period was fraught with expectation, emotion, stress, and –hopefully–joy. Here are four tales that explore the drama of the season. Each of these novellas is available alone as an ebook or in print as part of an anthology. They are part of the Cotillion series of “traditional” Regency romances where the focus is on dialogue more than disrobing. And I say that mine are “not-so-traditional” because, well, my characters don’t behave like they’re starring in a romance novel.
There are many people William Fletcher would prefer to never again encounter in life, but if forced to rank them, he just might put Matilda Blakethorn at the top of the list. She humiliated him at the age of nine, and truth be told, scared the wits out of him for years after.
So now, waking up after a night of heavy drinking to find her looming over him is a bit of an unpleasant surprise. Especially since he has no place else to go.
Matty Blakethorn doesn’t recognize the bedraggled stranger sleeping on the floor of the St. Bartholomew’s Almshouse. But when he unwittingly ends up staying to help with repairs, the old acquaintance is renewed. And while neither Matty or William is anxious to admit the troubles that have driven them to such a humble place, Christmas is a time of sharing and giving and reconciliation. When William finally reveals his greatest failing, Matty must decide whether she can again face the demon that already destroyed her life once before.
A lonely girl is forced to spend the Christmas holidays far from home with cousins who ridicule her at every opportunity. To get revenge, she tries to scare them by making up stories about the Belznickel, the Christmas demon. Then her stories start to come to life…
Love is the delusion of fools. Helen has watched the illogical emotion turn her sister into a mindless mooncalf who ruins Christmas every year by descending on the household with her husband and an ever-growing menagerie of disruptive children. So when her sister has the nerve to suggest that Helen is in love with her neighbor, Mr. Danville, Helen sets out to prove her wrong. But Helen isn’t prepared for the truth—and, as it turns out, neither is Mr. Danville.
The set-up is familiar to anyone who’s ever read Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility: a widow and her daughters must leave their ancestral home and move to a small cottage in a strange part of the country. But that’s where the similarity ends. In this story, Amanda, her eccentric mother and headstrong sister move to a remote area just before Christmas. The neighbors are not quite as genteel as the ones in Austen’s work.
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