Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Deeanne Gist | Dating Victorian-Style

January 27, 2015

Meeting a guy is so dad-gum complicated. You have to go to a bar, go to church, or go to your computer and fill out a form. And then, once you do manage to go out, your date wants—no, expects—to stay over. Why can’t it be like it was in the olden days? Simple, straight forward and, well, romantic.

But after a little investigation, I found it wasn’t quite as easy to meet a guy “back in the day” as I thought. Your parents had to know his parents. He had to be attending the “right” church. He had to have a livelihood. He had to have a sterling reputation. And that was just to meet him.

Once you’d been introduced, there were a bazillion little rules to adhere to. He had to remove his glove before shaking your hand. He was to remove his hat with the hand farthest from you. He had to wait for you to recognize him first on the street before he was allowed to greet you.

When you got past the introduction, there were rules for conversing. He was not to use a classical quotation before you unless he knew, with absolute certainty, by virtue of a classical education on your part, that you were capable of appreciating the point. (Seriously?) Absentmindedness was “a sin against good manners.” Your voice had to be low and pleasantly modulated, and so on. I will say, though, I did like this rule: “The greatest compliment a man can pay a woman is a respectful, deferential attention to her words.” Um, yeah. That’s a good one.

So maybe it wasn’t simple and straightforward back then either, but it was certainly romantic. The women wore all those pretty dresses. The men dressed like Mr. Darcy. They went to balls and rode in carriages. The young man would come calling to the house and go on a walk with you while he took your elbow, and walked on the side closest to the street so he’d be splattered with mud by the passing conveyances instead of you. And he’d give you gifts, write you poems, draw you pictures.

That is why I write historicals. Why the heroine in my new release, TIFFANY GIRL, wears lovely dresses. Why the hero dances with her in the privacy of his room. Why they go on a walk and he takes her elbow to assist her in circumventing a puddle.

Of course, things start out a bit rough, with her being a “New Woman,” who swoops in to replace men glassworkers at Tiffany’s Glass and Decorating Company. With her moving out of her home—without chaperone—and into his coed boardinghouse. With her going to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair as Tiffany’s representative for the Tiffany Chapel she helped complete. With her slowly worming her way beneath the skin of the handsome boarder next door, even though she stands for everything he’s against.

So I guess dating was complicated for them, too. But there was no texting, no pick-up lines, no pressure for sex on the first date. What do you think? If you could reinstate one custom from back in the day, which would you choose?


From the bestselling author of IT HAPPENED AT THE FAIR and FAIR PLAY comes a compelling historical novel about a progressive “New Woman”—the girl behind Tiffany’s chapel—and the love that threatens it all.

As preparations for the 1893 World’s Fair set Chicago and the nation on fire, Louis Tiffany—heir to the exclusive Fifth Avenue jewelry empire—seizes the opportunity to unveil his state-of-the-art, stained glass, mosaic chapel, the likes of which the world has never seen.

But when Louis’s dream is threatened by a glassworkers’ strike months before the Fair opens, he turns to an unforeseen source for help: the female students at the New York School of Applied Design. Eager for adventure, the young women pick up their skirts, move to boarding houses, take up steel cutters, and assume new identities as the “Tiffany Girls.”

TIFFANY GIRL is the heartwarming story of the impetuous Flossie Jayne, a beautiful, budding artist handpicked by Louis to help complete the Tiffany chapel. Though excited to be an independent “New Woman” when most of the fair sex stayed home, she quickly finds the world less welcoming than anticipated. From a Casanova male, to an unconventional married couple, and a condescending singing master, she takes on a colorful cast of characters to transform the boarding house into a home while racing to complete the Tiffany chapel and make a name for herself in the art world.

As challenges mount, her ambitions become threatened from an unexpected quarter: her own heart. Who will claim victory? Her dreams or the captivating boarder next door?

About Deeanne Gist

Deeanne Gist has rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her original, fun historicals. She has garnered four RITA nominations, two consecutive Christy Awards, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base.

With three-quarters of a million trade books sold, Deeanne has been presented the National Readers’ Choice, Book Buyers’ Best, Golden Quill, Books*A*Million Pick of the Month, Romantic Times Pick of the Month, Award of Excellence, and Laurel Wreath awards

Deeanne has a very active online community on her blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and her YouTube channel.

Deeanne lives in Texas with her husband of thirty-one years and their border collie. They have four grown children.

Deeanne loves to hear from readers, blogs frequently on her website and enjoys posting and reaching out to readers on her Facebook page.

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