I write at a small nineteenth-century desk that I found in a consignment shop called Aunt Teeks. It has a tooled leather top with gold scrolling and two small drawers. The leather is a bit scratched, and the drawers are too small for files, but I love the feel of this desk. When I first saw it in the store, surrounded by larger pieces of furniture from various eras, it called out to me. It had such a nice energy, like something out of a Jane Austen novel. I could see reams of letters being written on that surface in beautiful copperplate handwriting. People in the nineteenth century wrote letters and thank you notes and careful lists of recipes and remedies. They had inkwells and steel pointed pens, blotting paper and wax seals. True, I write on a Mac laptop in bytes and pixels, but I like to think some inspiration seeps through the years and technologies from the old wood to me.
In my latest historical ONCE AGAIN A BRIDE the heroine, Charlotte, discovers how greatly furnishings can affect a person when she moves from a comfortable childhood home to the cold, rigid house of her elderly husband. Henry Wylde is obsessed with Roman antiquities. He’s filled the main floor of the house with display cases full of them. He sleeps, alone, in a room that is a replica of a classical bedchamber. Indeed, he married Charlotte just to get her generous dowry, which becomes totally his property at their marriage, and spend it on expanding his collection. Charlotte goes from being a cherished daughter and mistress of a pleasant household to a kind of limbo. She’s transplanted from an environment where everything was familiar to one where everything is strange. And far from being encourged to put her own stamp on the place, she’s spurned and mistreated by her husband and his servants. It’s no wonder she finds the situation intolerable. Her husband’s murder frees her from his tyranny, but she only fully comes back to life when she makes the house her home.
I think we all need to shape our surroundings, to a greater or lesser extent. Touches like my nineteenth century desk help us really inhabit the spaces where we live. What details in your place do that for you?
ONCE AGAIN A BRIDE BY JANE ASHFORD — IN STORES FEBRUARY 2013
She couldn’t be more alone…
Widowhood has freed Charlotte Wylde from a demoralizing and miserable marriage. But when her husband’s intriguing nephew and heir arrives to take over the estate, Charlotte discovers she’s unsafe in her own home… Alec Wylde was shocked by his uncle’s untimely death, and even more shocked to encounter his uncle’s beautiful young widow. Now clouds of suspicion are gathering, and charges of murder hover over Charlotte’s head.
He could be her only hope…or her next victim…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Jane’s historical and contemporary romances have been published all over the world, and she has been nomined for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. Eighteen of her Regency romances will be published by Sourcebooks in the near future! Born in Ohio, Jane currently lives in Boston. For more information, please visit www.janeashford.com.
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