Excerpt from Fashions in the Era of Jane Austen by Jody Gayle

Excerpt from Fashions in the Era of Jane Austen by Jody Gayle


It’s rainy and cold today. Again. This weather has been consistently wet and miserable for two weeks now. So cold that I finally gave in and turned on the heat. I also confess that I’m a cold weather wimp now that I’ve spent most of my life living in the south. Even my mama says so! It’s also the perfect weather for writing. I don’t feel tempted at all to step outside, and there’s no sunshine or balmy weather to seduce me. Instead I’m perusing Pinterest and looking for clothing inspiration for my new venture into the realm of the romantic.

What’s that, you ask?

Why, it’s my romance set in Regency England. And get this, it’s NOT erotica! I know. I can hear your gasps of incredulity. Writing a Regency romance has been on my bucket list since I discovered my first Georgette Heyer novel at thirteen. I had no time for Judy Blume, because my heart was stuck in the Regency with romantic, dashing rakes and spirited debutantes. It was the history of that time, and the fashions, that were as gripping as the people that inhabited them. Once I got hooked, I read everything I could get my hands around.

Regency romance became my guilty secret as a lit major in college. I stashed the beaten paperbacks in the back of my closet while I left my Moby Dick out on the coffee table where everyone could see it. Eventually my reading passions took a turn into urban fantasy, and the Regency romances spent more and more time on the highest shelf of the bookcase where few people gazed at the covers. I never truly forgot them, though.

Last year I decided to use NaNoWriMo (I highly recommend everyone who has ever wanted to write a novel to join in the writing madness of November) as an excuse to finally write the romance that was swimming around in my brain. I managed to write 55,000 words of the novel by the end of November, and I was thrilled. Grace, my heroine, had come to life on the page, brimming with opinions and exhibiting a penchant for trouble. She is not what one would expect from a Regency widow, which is why she falls head-over-heels for the rakish, Nash Hargrave, a man who is not what he appears to be. Even writing this little bit is getting me excited all over again.

Here’s my working synopsis:

At the ripe age of five-and-thirty, Lady Grace is a widow and considers herself permanently on the shelf. Despite her family’s impeccable connections, she eschews the social whirl of the ton and looks forward to pursuing her Blue Stocking tendencies in the country among her favorite books. Her mother, however, has a very different plan for her only daughter and convinces Grace to accompany her to London for the Season and their cousin’s debut. Fate has its own designs for Grace, as well, and mouldering in the country isn’t one of them.

Grace literally stumbles upon Nash Hargrave–a spy, and a Rake. A man who lost part of his soul in service to his country during the Napoleonic Wars. Nash and Grace are thrown together repeatedly until one night, in an act of desperation, Grace saves them both from ruin. Now reluctantly paired, they must navigate the treaturous waters of a new marriage and a barely formed trust between them. Just in time to fight Nash’s greatest foe.

Or something like that.

I’ll be certain to post more inspirational pics that remind me of Grace and Nash, and later on, I’ll have some excerpts to tease you.