23 June 2010

~Historical Places~ Almack's Assembly Rooms

(This is another crossover post, incidentally, my original "Regency Wednesday" post from my author blog. I've decided to post it here, as an extensive scene from Deception takes place within the hallowed walls of Almack's.) 

Almack's Assembly Rooms

Almack's was a social club attended only by the crème de la crème of Regency Society. Located in King Street, St James, London, it was ruled by six or seven patronesses at any given time during the Regency. In 1814, they were Mrs. Drummond Burrell, Lady Esterházy (who was Princess Esterházy after 1833), Lady Jersey, Lady Cowper, Lady Castlereagh, Lady Sefton, and Lady Lieven (who was Princess Lieven after 1826). Balls were held every Wednesday night during the Season.

To attend, one had to apply for vouchers at a cost of ten guineas. Eager attendees were allowed in only if they had one of these coveted vouchers. Being denied vouchers for any reason could ruin the social aspirations of the seeker. If one received vouchers only to lose them later, one may as well pack one's bags and leave London.

The outer appearance of Almack's was nothing special but neither was the interior. The patronesses wanted the focus to be on the Society within, the people and manners, not the amenities. It was a social club to the core, a place to see and be seen.

Dancing was the premiere entertainment at Almack's with gossip running a close second. Reputations were made and broken with shocking regularity.

Almack's was an important part of Regency history. The famed novelist Georgette Heyer often mentioned it in her Regency romances. At times, she is even credited with having invented Almack's. It was a real place, however.

If anyone has something about Almack's they'd like to share, please leave a comment. Even if all you want to do is point out where I've erred.
In Deception, Aurora attends Almack's with her companion, Miss Ellison. While there, Aurora helps ward off a scandal involving the hero, Lord Greville. But the Duke of Derringer takes matters into his own hands, ruining one woman's chance of ever marrying well and damaging Aurora's reputation in the process.

*Dates were taken from the Wikipedia article Almack's.

19 June 2010

~Writing Deception~ An Early Mistake

This is a crossover post from my author blog. I don't normally do crossover information but I'm making an exception for Deception related articles. Thank you. :o) 

While writing Deception, I made reference to a certain historical person of note. At the time, I thought it was fine. Later, I looked up more info on that person and realized I could not make reference to a man who had yet to come into his fame. Who was that man? 

"Golden Ball" Hughes 

Golden Ball was best known for the significant inheritance he received from his stepfather, Admiral Sir Edward Hughes, in 1819. At the time, Golden Ball was plain Edward Hughes Ball. Eventually, he took on his stepfather's name, becoming Edward Hughes Ball Hughes. It wasn't long before he became known as "Golden Ball" Hughes.* 

With £40,000 per annum, he was easily one of, if not the, richest man in Regency England. He made something of a name for himself as a gentleman of fashion and, according to the many sources I've encountered, was an all-around pleasing gentleman. Accounted quite a handsome man, he was nevertheless rejected by more than one young lady of Society. Apparently, no amount of money could overcome his plebeian roots.

His unfortunate love life came to an end in 1822 when he met Maria Mercandotti, a 15-year-old Spanish dancer. They caused a minor scandal in 1823 when little Maria failed to appear at a performance and rumor suggested they eloped. However, they had secretly married with the permission of her mother and Lord Fife, who rumor suggests was her natural father. As I read this, all I can think is, "How romantic!" 

I found another print of Ball Hughes; the page may be of some interest to my readers, so I'll post the link to that. You have to scroll down quite a bit to reach the print of Ball Hughes but the page is all about Prinny's set so the whole thing is worth a look. Enjoy! 

Further reading: The Beaux of the Regency, Volume II, p 159, by Lewis Melville (1908); The Story of the London Parks, p 255, by Jacob Larwood (1881) 
Print of "Golden Ball" is an etching by Richard Dighton, 1819, taken from The Beaux of the Regency, Volume II, p 158, by Lewis Melville (1908) 
*Disclaimer: There are differing versions of Golden Ball's parentage. Above, I have presented Melville's version as the accurate one. However, other sources claim Ball's uncle was Admiral Sir Alexander Ball and his father a slop-seller in Ratcliffe Highway. Melville maintains that these writers were wrong and that Ball was the son of Captain Ball of the Royal Navy. Golden Ball's widowed mother married Admiral Sir Edward Hughes but produced no more children. 

14 June 2010

Release Date

AHHH!! Deception has a release date! It's all official and everything. Look for it July 15, 2010. I can't believe it. And it's available NOW for pre-order from my publisher, TreasureLine Publishing. So exciting!!


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