Slip Into Something Victorian

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Guest: Deborah Schneider

I recently had the opportunity to visit London with my good friend and critique partner. We were only in England for a day when we realized as much as we share a love of history, we had very different interests when on vacation.

 Sheryl was snapping photos of buildings in Kensington where our hotel was – on the bus and as we walked to the Portabello Road market. I was only interested in a couple of things – clothing and jewelry. The market was like walking into a treasure trove filled with antique jewelry and vintage clothing. As the days went on Sheryl told me, “You’re on a fashion tour of Europe!”

She was right, and a visit to the Fashion Museum in Bath was a highlight of the trip for me. First of all, it’s Bath — and we’ve all read books about the aristocracy staying in their beautiful homes here and carrying on in the most outrageous ways. We felt like time travelers in this village filled with beautiful white stone buildings.

  The Bath Fashion Museum held a collection of clothing from the time of Charles I to the present. Of course, the Victorian era was my main interest, because my books are set in that time period.

I’d never seen such exquisite fabrics up-close, not to mention the embroidery, details, lace and finishing.  The purses, hats and gloves were amazing. (It’s all in the accessories I always say).

 The day after visiting Bath, we toured the Victoria and Albert Museum.  The museum is fabulous, housed in a huge building and the dress collection covers four centuries of European fashionable dress, from the beginning of the 18th century to the latest creations of the 21st century.

After seeing all these gorgeous clothes, I regretted that my poor heroine in my newest release, Promise Me, rarely gets to wear such fine things. As a widow, she’s expected to adhere to a strict dress code.

Here’s an excerpt when she explains to the hero why she dresses in black.

Amanda batted at him playfully, and the ugly black shawl fell to the floor. She grimaced when she retrieved it.

“I’m so tired of black. I swear this year will be the longest of my life. Widow’s weeds are so depressing, it’s no wonder women wearing them don’t want to go out unless they have to.”

 She wrapped the shawl around her shoulders and picked up her gloves.

 “Why don’t you just dispense with them? After all, you’ve admitted you’re not exactly in mourning for good ol’ Arthur. Why not exchange them for some bright colors and get on with your life?” He stepped over several petticoats piled in front of the door.

Amanda made a disparaging sound and shook her finger at him. “As if that wouldn’t make people talk. Women are expected to follow strict rules of mourning. There are very specific wardrobe requirements. Black, to gray, to blue, to colors.”

Sam opened the door and followed her into the hall, offering her his arm gallantly.

“Well, you don’t always have to do what other people want you to. Isn’t it time you learned to defy the expectations of society and do what you want? Don’t wait for someone else’s approval, Amanda, because you might have to wait for a very long time. 

Deborah A. Schneider

View the Promise Me book video trailer, in e-book and paperback from The Wild Rose Press.

Follow my blog tour and enter to win a St. Valentine’s Day gift bag that includes a free copy of Promise Me, chocolate, a Starbucks coffee card and some great Valentines Day goodies. Every time you comment on any blog or article, you’re entered in the contest!

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12 Comments

  1. Denise Eagan says:

    Deborah, those photos are gorgeous! I envy you. And I love reading about the mourning customs. The excerpt is wonderful!

  2. Isabel Roman says:

    Your cover didn’t show up…fixing that now. I loved this excerpt, what a teaser! And your trip sounds wonderful, I’m so jealous.

  3. Ilona Fridl says:

    Your trip to England sounded wonderful! I always wanted to go there. The excerpt is very interesting. I’d love to read the book. Wishing you good sales!

  4. Your trip sounded wonderful. I was in Scotland for a month and loved visiting all the castles and getting a view of how they lived and wore. History is so interesting and such an added bonus to writing. That’s why I love to write and read historicals.

    Thanks for visiting with us toda. Nice to meet you.

  5. Deborah says:

    Thank you for stopping by. It was a lovely trip, and I have so much now reliving the memories.

    Paisley – Scotland and Wales are on my list for the next trip.

    Denise and Ilona, I thought the excerpt would focus a bit on poor Amanda’s wardrobe. It was so hard to keep putting her in black!

    Thank you Isabel for inviting me to visit the site.

  6. Laurie Ryan says:

    What a fun trip you had. We were in London, but only for a day. We did the square mile in 8 hours. Yikes! Thank goodness we had a cabbie who was also a historical buff. I couldn’t take notes fast enough! And I’m so happy. My copy of Promise Me just arrived in the mail. What a wonderful cover! I can hardly wait to read the story.

  7. Tammara says:

    I’ve always loved the Victorian styles and vintage jewelry, and hope it will never become a forgotten era.

  8. Tanya Hanson says:

    Deb, I am so excited about this wonderful book. And your recent trip to London, one of my favorite places in the world. I wish you tons of success with Promise Me.

    Thanks for your wonderful appearance on Wednesday at Petticoats and Pistols!

    Love,
    ~Tanya
    http://www.tanyahanson.com
    http://www.petticoatsandpistols.com

  9. Penny Rader says:

    I absolutely adore your cover! And enjoyed your excerpt, too. What fun being able to travel and see those clothes up close.

  10. Great excerpt and trailer, Deborah! Loved the music!
    And I love those Victorian era clothes!!

  11. JOYE says:

    Really enjoyed reading about the dresses of this era. The Museum sounds like an interesting place to vsit. I like to read about the fashions that the characters wear in the books I read.

  12. Congratulations on your new release Deborah. I wish you much success.

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