Welcome to the History Lovers Grand Tour & Scavenger Hunt!
History Lovers Grand Tour Authors
Rue Allyn • Amylynn Bright • Collette Cameron • Téa Cooper • Beverley Eikli • Susana Ellis • Aileen Fish • Debra Glass • Amy Hearst • Evangeline Holland • Piper Huguley • Eliza Knight • Kristen Koster • Cora Lee• Georgie Lee • Suzi Love • Denise Lynn • Deborah Macgillivray • Barbara Monajem • Shelly Munro • Ella Quinn • Eva Scott • Shereen Vedam • Elaine Violette
As the name implies, we’re a group of authors who love both history and romance, especially when they’re combined in a delightful story. If you feel the same, you’re welcome to join us on our Facebook page and converse with us about historical romance fiction.
Below you’ll find authors of historical romances set in a wide variety of time periods. Perhaps by participating in our Grand Tour you’ll discover some new authors for your future reading pleasure. Hop around to your heart’s content, feel free to comment on the posts, hunt for answers to the authors’ questions, and perhaps you’ll be one of our 25 lucky prize winners (see contest details below)…although you’re already a winner if you find a new story to read, do you not agree?
The theme for this tour is Courting Rituals, and for my post, I’ve chosen to talk about love in the age of the automobile.
Young ladies and gentlemen of the Edwardian era had long since freed themselves from the shackles of chaperonage, and met freely for picnics along the Thames, dances, horse rides, and tea in teashops–they even exchanged letters without parental interference and spoke with one another on the telephone! The bicycle raised alarm amongst parents in the 1880s and 1890s, but the automobile aroused sheer terror in the 1900s. Granted, the automobile was expensive and messy to handle, and it did not penetrate beyond the wealthy until the 1920s, but for the lucky few with access to a motorcar (on both sides of the pond, though there was a little more freedom in the United States)? Bliss!
“In My Merry Oldsmobile“, the 1905 song by Gus Edwards and Vincent P. Bryan, was a broad wink at the types of activities a couple could get up to in an automobile:
Young Johnny Steele has an Oldsmobile
He loves his dear little girl
She is the queen of his gas machine
She has his heart in a whirl
Now when they go for a spin, you know,
She tries to learn the auto, so
He lets her steer, while he gets her ear
And whispers soft and low…
They love to “spark” in the dark old park
As they go flying along
She says she knows why the motor goes
The “sparker” is awfully strong
Each day they “spoon” to the engine’s tune
Their honeymoon will happen soon
He’ll win Lucille with his Oldsmobile
And then he’ll fondly croon…
Come away with me, Lucille
In my merry Oldsmobile
Down the road of life we’ll fly
Automobubbling, you and I
To the church we’ll swiftly steal
Then our wedding bells will peal
You can go as far as you like with me
In my merry Oldsmobile.
The king and queen of automobile-centered fiction in the early 1900s were husband-and-wife duo, Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson, who wrote multiple books and short stories about fake chauffeurs, motoring trips, and of course, romance! You may find reviews of some of their titles on Melody’s blog, Redeeming Qualities.
The prize I am offering is five (5) e-copies of volume 1 of my Edwardian-set saga, An Ideal Duchess! To enter, leave a comment, tweet about the scavenger hunt, or like the History Lovers page on Facebook. You may enter as many times as you like between now and July 26th.
About An Ideal Duchess
The Buccaneers—fresh, untutored, and easy-going—conquered 1870s English society, but by the Edwardian era, American heiresses were supposed to be cool and level-headed about their pursuit of titles.
Amanda Vandewater embodied this new wave of American invaders when she meets and marries the 9th Duke of Malvern, though she soon discovers she desires more than a coronet and strawberry leaves.
Set against the backdrop of the turbulent years leading up to WWI, An Ideal Duchess is the tale of an idealistic American heiress who must fight for her position—and for love—in the face of the strict adherence to duty over desire, of reputation over understanding, and of clinging to the past over embracing the present.
Amanda was present at the Long Wharf when the Fall River Line steamer pulled into its berth and released the scores of New York businessmen who traveled every weekend between their Manhattan offices and Newport. She squeezed the horn attached to the hood of the apple red Packard Model F she’d wheedled from the chauffeur, and grinned at father when he glanced at her and then glanced back with a dumbfounded expression on his face. He was, until now, unaware she knew how to drive an automobile (lessons had also been wheedled from the chauffeur), and she grasped the steering wheel with a stubborn tilt to her chin as he approached. His amazement had mellowed to disgruntled amusement. She ignored this and waved at her father’s longtime valet, Jonah White, who followed behind her father, carrying their luggage.
“Hello Papa, White,” She gestured towards the rear of the motor. “I’ve got my foot on the brake pedal, so you’d better hurry into the motor.”
White clambered into the rear seat and her father into the curved black leather seat beside hers, and she slowly lifted her right foot from the brake, moved it to the accelerator, and sped away from the wharf with a few warning honks of the horn. As she drove through Washington Square and down Touro Street, which then turned into Bellevue Avenue, Amanda caught the scandalized expressions of the ladies driving their phaetons and matched pair up Bellevue Avenue towards the Casino. Her father guffawed beside her, and even White laughed, though he covered his amusement with a few hearty coughs. She could only imagine tomorrow’s headlines, or next week’s issue of Town Topics, concerning her impromptu disruption of the sedate, mid-morning carriage drive, and winced a little at making herself even more conspicuous.
The dark blue and gilded wrought-iron gates leading to the elegant English-style cottage they rented for the summer were open, and Amanda drove through them and down the manicured courtyard to the entrance. There she was able to turn the motor off, and it rumbled and shook to a quiet halt. White stepped down from the rear entrance and disappeared through the servants’ entrance in the western wing, leaving Amanda with her father. She loosened the scarf holding her hat to her head as she turned to face him.
“Now Papa, before you begin scolding me—”
“It wouldn’t do you any good, would it, young miss?” He shook his head. “Motor driving!”
“You must admit I’m rather good at it,” Amanda preened. “Kincaid said I had a real knack for driving.”
“As long as you don’t take up racing these contraptions.”
“Of course not, Papa, though I must admit the prospect sounds exciting.” She grinned at her father’s reddening complexion. “But I promise I will not race.”
Her father shook his head again and slid his substantial bulk from the passenger seat. “Now where is this duke of yours?”
Amanda checked the levers, pedals, and the ignition switch before leaving the motorcar, and then linked her arm into that of her father’s as they entered the house. They were met by the sight of Lulu sledding down the spiral staircase on metal sheet and then skidding across the marble floor, where he promptly capsized his sled and crashed onto his side. Amanda looked up at the booming laughter to see Bron and Quintus grinning down at them from the second floor. Well, she thought with a pang of jealousy, His Grace seemed to get on quite well with her brothers. She glanced at her father, who was now puce with some suppressed emotion. Cornelius Vandewater’s unusually sharp faculties obviously failed him in the face of a ducal guest wreaking havoc in one’s home.
Lulu scrambled to his feet and lifted his sled—one of the old shields their father had purchased from a Roman art dealer—and pulled a face when she caught his eye. The laughter seemed to have fled the room as they awaited her father’s reaction, but then he burst into great bellows of laughter, grabbing Lulu by the arm and mussing his hair. Amanda joined in with the laughter, which drew her mother from whatever she was doing in the drawing room.
“My word—Cornelius, dear!” Her mother’s face brightened when she realized Papa was there, and they embraced, her father giving her mother a smacking kiss on the cheek.
Quintus had descended the stairs and was also playfully rubbed on the head by Papa.
“Now young sirs, what is this?” Papa gestured towards the shield Lulu held.
“His Grace, I mean Bron, he said he used to do this on his holidays at home.” Quintus replied. “It’s my turn Lulu.”
“His Grace, eh?” Her father lifted a brow.
The Duke of Malvern slowly stepped down the spiral staircase, and Amanda frowned slightly at the shaken, slightly unnerved expression on his face. His freckles stood out starkly against the pallor of his skin like copper blotches.
“I apologize for the disturbance, Vandewater,”
“No need,” Her father waved a hand carelessly. “How do you like Newport?”
The duke appeared even more taken aback, this time by her father’s abrupt change in topic. “I, ah, expressed my pleasure to Mrs. Vandewater earlier this week. It’s unlike any place I’ve seen before.”
“Has my daughter shown you around? I don’t get down here as often as I like, but I know there are many activities for you young people.”
“There’s a clambake tonight, Papa,” Amanda said quickly. “His Grace and I were invited by Douglas Warfield.”
“Excellent! I know his father well,” Her father looked pleased. “Pardon me while I go wipe a bit of my travel from my heels. It is a pleasure to see you here in my home, Your Grace.”
“Thank you for having me,” The duke said in a subdued voice before her parents began mounting the stairs.
“My turn, Lulu!” Quintus reached for the shield.
“That’s enough indoor sledding, Quin,” Amanda tugged the shield from Lulu’s arms. “We don’t want to press our luck regarding Papa’s good humor about this.”
“Oh bully, Amanda,” Quintus rolled his eyes. “Let’s go ride our bicycles to the Casino, Lulu.”
Amanda was left with the duke in the entrance hall, and she glanced briefly at him, questions about his brother, about his current thoughts, about everything concerning him, bursting on the tip of her tongue. But the memory of his earlier rebuff of her confidences stung her again, and she walked through the drawing room to the library, where she replaced the shield—a little more battered for wear—on the wall beside the Rubens. She turned and gasped with surprise, for the duke had followed her into the library, and stood just inside the door, staring darkly at the Rubens and the other paintings adorning the walls.
“I recall seeing that Lely in Chesterfield House a few summers ago,”
“Not this conversation again,” She said, exasperated.
“I’m sorry,” He said stiffly, piercing her with his silver-gray eyes. “Perhaps you might tell me about this…clambake?”
“I’ve actually never been to one,” Amanda admitted with a rueful smile. “This is the first summer at Newport where we’ve been deluged with invitations instead of polite snubs.”
He appeared stymied by her confession. “I find that rather difficult to believe, the way everyone seems to treat your family like old chums.”
“That, my dear duke, is because they cannot acknowledge you without acknowledging us.” Amanda said. “Wither thou goeth, I go, and so I am deemed an acceptable guest at various functions.”
“What rubbish. You’re just as pretty, if not more so, and much more intelligent, than any of the other women I’ve seen here.”
She could not halt the flush of pleasure warming her cheeks, and they stared at one another for half a beat before he blinked, breaking the subtle spell of delight woven by his unexpected compliment.
She cleared her throat and briefly lowered her eyes from his face. “Yes, well, the clambake…is a rather amusing New England tradition where clams and quahogs and other seafood are steamed over a pit of heated rocks.”
“That sounds…unconventional,” He replied gravely. “I look forward, I think, to the experience.”
“I do hope so,” She smiled at him. “I know it will be such fun.”
Here’s my question for the scavenger hunt: What is the name of the naughty song about romance in an automobile?
Visit the History Lovers Grand Tour page to fill in the answer, and you may continue on from there.