The English in France During the Peace of Amiens

In March 1802, France and Britain signed the Treaty of Amiens, ending the war that had raged between the two countries since 1793. It was a time of great excitement for both Paris and England. English high society was in a flutter as it rushed to France to enjoy once again the delights of Paris, an indulgence denied to them by the last nine years of conflict.

Upper class England’s love of all things French is what made Paris so alluring. It was a mark of breeding to speak French fluently, employ French cooks and follow French fashion. Before the war, wealthy young gentlemen, and sometimes young ladies, weren’t considered properly educated until they’d spent a year or two on the continent. Once France was closed off to the English, many grand dames and old gentlemen lamented the loss of its culturing influence on their children and grandchildren. With the Peace of Amiens, it was once again safe to accompany the younger generation across the Channel.

It wasn’t just the English who found opportunity in the peace. Paris benefited from the influx of money from the tourists. During the war years, the city had been left to rot while Napoleon concentrated on conquering the world. Many of the English who returned to it were surprised at the decay and decline that had taken place over the last nine years. Also, thanks to the French Revolution, the old social order of Paris was gone. Napoleon and the new aristocrats he’d created were the center of society now and he wanted to make an impression on the English. He arranged an exposition to show off French goods and allowed many high born English ladies to be presented to his wife, Josephine. 

Outside Napoleon’s circle, there were other delights awaiting the English. Balls, dinners, and card parties were very popular nighttime activities. During the day, visitors would travel to view galleries full of paintings, Roman marbles and other artifacts which the English had been denied access to because of the war. Then, just as now, Paris was all about shopping for high end goods, and the English certainly shopped! Many spent exorbitant amounts of money on china services, paintings, ancient marbles and clothes.

The Peace of Amiens was also a time for reunions. Many old aristocrats who’d fled France and the Terror now returned to visit family, and petition Napoleon for the restoration of their lands. Some were successful, most were not. Untitled people also went to France to visit family they hadn’t seen for nine years. The poet William Wordsworth travelled to France to visit his former mistress and the illegitimate daughter he’d sired with her ten years before. Alexandre d’Arblay, the husband of author Fanny Burney, travelled to France with his wife and their only son to try and reclaim his land and to see his family.

The excitement of the peace did not last. In January, cracks in the peace began to show and the tide of visitors to France began to shift as people returned home. By early May 1803, it was imperative that anyone who wanted to leave France needed to do so immediately. Those that were able to make their way back to England were lucky. There were many who were not so fortunate. Fanny Burney, her husband and son were trapped in France. She and many others would not see England again until the Battle of Waterloo brought down Napoleon in 1815.

The year after the Peace of Amiens was a glittering time that ended almost as quickly as it had begun. For a few months, the English were able to indulge their love for all things French, reunite with loved ones, visit old friends and gather experiences before war denied them access to the country for another twelve years. It was a time rife with conflict, excitement, anticipation, loss, hope and fun, a great time to provide drama for a romance novel, such as my latest release, THE COURTESAN'S BOOK OF SECRETS.

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Literacy Event Gift Baskets

Every November, Romance Writers of America's San Diego chapter hosts a big literacy event. We raffle off gift baskets, then donate a portion of the proceeds to a local literacy charity. 
This year's guest speak at the event is author Brenda Novak.
I'm donating two baskets this year.

The first basket is a beach reads basket. This is a basket for anyone who wants to sit by the pool and relax. I've included two steamy novels, sunglasses to shield the reader's eyes, sunscreen to keep the reader from getting burned, a bottle of wine, a large drinking cup and chocolate. All of it is arranged in a fun little tote which can be used anywhere, including poolside.

The second basket is for history lovers and historical romance writers. I've included research books covering different eras including the America Civil War and Shakespeare's London, and one of the best research books for writing or reading about Regency England. Non-book items include passes to the San Diego History Museum and the San Diego Art Museum, two period piece movies and some whimsical drinking glasses imprinted with vintage icons.
It's a lot of stuff to help keep a history buff busy on more than one Saturday afternoon.

Update: The silent auction went great! The orange tote was a popular one, and the history lovers were excited by the history basket. It think the orange tote really caught peoples' attention and I would consider doing an eye-catching one like this again.

A fresh look at historical romance!

Think you know about historical romance? You might be surprised at the variety of stories and time periods available to readers. I've written novels and novellas set in ancient Rome, 1935 Hollywood, and Regency England. A group of talented historical authors have put together a great video highlighting the different eras historical romances explore. 
Take a look. You might be surprised.

History Horror Movies for Halloween

Sometimes, the past can be just as frightening as a post apocalyptic future. Today, I offer a list of scary movies set in the days of yore. Some are gory, some are spooky and some are both. I hope this list helps you find a new favorite flick in time for Halloween!

Snow White: A Tale of Terror
A medieval and creepy take on the Snow White story with a nasty wicked queen played by Sigourney Weaver and a gutsy, heroic Snow White.

The Countess
A Renaissance story of Erzebet Bathory, the original lady Vampire who bathed in the blood of virgins. This is one wicked woman.

Sleepy Hollow
Colonial America with a headless horseman, Johnny Depp and a good bit of gore.

Brotherhood of the Wolf
Spine tingling chills, suspense and intrigue in 18th century France.

The Mummy.
Ancient Egyptian curses and rotting corpses at their best. This movie straddles both the ancient world and the 1920s.

The Victorian era is a popular one for horror films, so here are a few films set in the Victorian England to scare you.

Braham Stoker's Dracula
The creepiness of gothic Victorian England combined with the strange allure of a blood sucker.

The Woman in Black
More spooky Victorian houses to keep you up all night.

More mental thriller than horror film,
it will mess with your mind,

It's Release Day!

Happy October everyone! I'm kicking off a new month with a lot of excitement. 
The Courtesan's Book of Secrets, my third Harlequin Historical is now available! 

The Courtesan's Book of Secrets by Georgie Lee

Uncovered: a list of noblemen's names—each one guilty of treason. 

To save his family legacy, Rafe Densmore must seize a courtesan's infamous register. No one can ever know how his father betrayed his country! One person stands in Rafe's way—the beautiful Cornelia, Comtesse de Vane. 

In the card rooms of Paris, Rafe and Cornelia made an unbeatable…intimate team. Until, convinced of Rafe's desertion, desperate Cornelia married an elderly comte. Now, returning to London an impoverished widow, she'll do anything to possess the register. Even if that means becoming Rafe's partner once again…. 

Barnes &Noble

Cover Reveal - Prince Charming Need Not Apply by Dara Young

Today, the wonderful Dara Young is sharing with us the cover of her new novel Prince Charming Need Not Apply. Check out the blurb and excerpt below for a sneak peak into this sizzling romance. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Reformed party girl and Chief Cosmetics Officer for rising star Swirl Cosmetics, Sabrina Calihan has sworn off men. But when she meets beauty industry colleague Max March, new head of the Christina Max beauty empire, she finds herself struggling to keep him at arm’s length.
Max is determined to have the sexy woman he first met on the red-eye from Los Angeles. Unconcerned about her professed vow of celibacy, he is ruthlessly determined to show her just how good things can be between them.
He wines and dines her despite her assurances that Prince Charming need not apply. But, as love begins to blossom on a personal level corporate issues bubble to the surface and threaten a happy ending. Now Sabrina must discover if she can win her prince charming back, or if all is lost.
Pre-Order Link for Amazon - Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Alone but for the music, they sat and sipped their wine. Despite knowing intellectually that Max would turn on the charm tonight, she could never have been prepared for this onslaught. His full court press was powerful. Seductive.
“So tell me, Sabrina. Why have you sworn off men?” Max threaded his fingers through hers and relaxed back in his chair.
She listened to the instrumental version of Unforgettable and weighed how much to share. “It’s a long story.”
“We have all night.”
“Longer even.” Her mouth dried up which left her tongue stuck inside it like a strip of beef jerky.
“I won’t be distracted. We’ll come back to that comment.”
“You are tenacious. Very well, you should hear the truth at some point.” She took a sip of her wine in need of both the moisture and the fortification. “I got tired of settling for Mr. Wrong-But-Very-Convenient. After a string of horribly shallow and often incredibly dumb men I had to bring it all to a halt. I called a hiatus to give myself some practice at being alone.”
The first course arrived.
“And that was six months ago?”
“Yes. I’ve been working on figuring out what I want.”
“What conclusions have you come to?” He ate his amuse-bouche.
“Abstinence is easy when you aren’t actually tempted.” And that made having dinner with him either the most courageous thing she’d ever done, or the absolute dumbest.
“No list of character traits you’re looking for in a future mate?” His throat worked up and down as he took a swallow of wine. She couldn’t have peeled her gaze from the tantalizing sight if her dress had caught fire.
“I’m a bit more fluid than that. I leave the strategies and obsessive list making to Elle. I’m more of the I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it type.”
“Hhmm…doesn’t give a man much to go on.”
“I don’t need a man who is trying to conform to a detailed list of requirements. I need a man who knows who he is and is willing to learn who I am. I need a man who can live with the realities those truths entail. Prince Charming need not apply.”
“Duly noted. So, what time do you turn into a pumpkin, Cinderella?”
About Dara Young
I was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, one of two children and grew up in Florida and Alabama. I later graduated from Auburn University Montgomery with a BS in Political Science and a minor in History.
My mother once asked me what I would do with a poly sci degree. At that moment I happened to have a romance novel in my hand, the author of which was a poly sci major. I quickly held it up and said, “Well, I can write romance novels!” How prophetic!
I specialize in configuration management, and I pursue my love of writing romance in my spare time. I dream of one day commuting to my living room in my bathrobe for work.
I met my husband my first week living in New York City. While he does not share my love of books, he does support my writing wholeheartedly! We were married in November 2000, and now share a beautiful home in Southern California.

Engagement of Convenience Won the Readers' Choice Heart of Excellence

Engagement of Convenience, my first Harlequin Historical, has won 1st place in the Historical category of the ACRA Readers' Choice Heart of Excellence contest. A special thanks to the Ancient City Romance Authors for organizing this great contest. It is very exciting!

Please visit my website
for more great information on me and my books.