Christmas Carols Blog Tour.
Thank you, jj, for your kind offer to help me celebrate the release of my new book Christmas Carols, published by Liquid Silver Books on the 10th of August.
I know readers might think it a little odd to be thinking about Christmas in August but in Victorian England, where my story is set, people were used to starting their Christmas preparations early. One of the things I love about this era is the ingenuity of so many of its entrepreneurs.
The Christmas Card is one of those things designed and produced in this era. First used by Sir Henry Cole and illustrated by John Callcott Horsley in London on the 1st of May 1843 this proved to be a money spinner for generations of illustrators, poets, designers and producers. Cole had introduced the Penny Post in the UK. With the Christmas card he gave people a reason to use it for more than letters.
Victorian Christmas cards are often sentimental and the best of them in my opinion are self-made. This is a tradition which is delightful to follow. You send your friend not a bought card with a print out of the family’s doings in the last eleven months but a personal greeting card. You can, of course buy templates for cards but the very best ones are those with original designs and messages. If you intend to send many cards and don’t want to have to buy them I would suggest you start early. I love the snowy street scene as a basis for a card because the possibilities of making it all your own are endless.
Being in mourning Alice Broadbrace, my heroine in Christmas Carols doesn’t send cards. It would be unseemly for a widow to celebrate anything. As can be seen from this excerpt, Victorian life as a widow often proved an obstacle course to avoid scandalizing the community.
She turned and smiled at the vicar. “Good evening, Mr. Francis. Do you wish to speak with me?”
“Indeed. A splendid recital, don’t you agree?”
“Oh, yes. Thrilling.”
“I want to thank you, Mrs. Broadbrace, for your work with the floral displays. They have been superb.”
She smiled. “I’m glad you approve of them. You are quite happy with the accounting from the wholesaler?”
“I am. The committee agreed last night it is a modest sum to pay for such exquisite work. They have also charged me to inform you they wish to offer you a quarterly sum in recompense for your efforts.”
“Oh, that is gratifying, sir. I’d be most grateful.”
“Indeed, but we’ll keep the information to ourselves, we don’t want any tittle-tattle about it.”
She sighed. Every aspect of her life seemed tinged with the threat of gossip. “Of course.”
“Are you on your way to take tea?”
“No, sir. Not unaccompanied. I’m afraid it might raise eyebrows.”
“Then, Mrs. Broadbrace, join me as my guest for tea.”
“That is kind of you, but I think I’ll make my way home now. I’ll be back here tomorrow, sir, and leave you some of my suggestions for the seasonal floral displays.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Broadbrace. Good evening.”
“Good evening.” She made her way to the church door and out into the darkness. The streetlamps flicked and the November wind, brutal as any bully, shoved at her skirt and scoured her cheeks. All the way home, as she trod the low-lit street, she hummed snips of the music that had lifted her heart.
What a wonderful evening. Next week, she would attend again.
Stephen Grafton, the blind organist at Holy Trinity Church, is gaining a reputation for his fine playing and compositions. Alice Broadbrace’s initial venture back into society after years in deep mourning brings her to the notice of the talented organist, and he offers her the opportunity to sing a solo carol to his accompaniment. His courage convinces her to find her own, while her charm entices him into thoughts of romance. A difficult walk in a snow storm is only the beginning of Stephen and Alice’s journey to happiness. Enjoy this sweet Victorian tale of talent and love blossoming.
Thanks for reading
Find Daisy Banks here
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/1NWh8gi
Daisy Banks is the author of
Soon to be available with Liquid Silver Books Serving the Serpent
Marked for Magic
A Perfect Match
A Gentleman’s Folly
Your Heart My Soul
A Matter of Some Scandal
Daisy’s books are available here
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Daisy Banks writes a regular monthly story in the Sexy to Go compilations.
Attribution for Snowy Street scene
Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_almoond’>almoond / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
daisy banks is an awesome author…I recommend you purchase Christmas Carols. It is a joyful pleasure.