by Eva Devon
The Holiday season is a time to remember and a time to get lost in the present. For me, I love candles, and sparkling lights, and trees, and the scent of spices in the air. I love the warm sometime melancholy feeling that the weeks after Thanksgiving leading to New Year give us.
Now, we are firmly into the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas which start Christmas Day and continue to Jan. 6th, the day the Wise Men supposedly showed up with their gifts. I love the old traditions of marking those days of celebration, much like the characters in Less Than a Lady would have done.
While we celebrate our various holidays weeks before the actual day, in the time of my hero and heroine, that wouldn’t have happened. Very little celebration would have occurred during the Advent season. But everyone would have been secreting away presents and holly and mistletoe, preparing to party with the best of them once Christmas Day made it’s appearance and none loved a celebration quite so much as those during the Restoration.
Perhaps it’s because before Charles II’s glorious return to the throne, celebration of Christmas in England was outlawed by Oliver Cromwell! What? Outlawed you say? Yes! It seems hard to believe, but there was a several year period in which Christmas was marked only by prayer and mass. There were no revelers or joyful drinking of wine and sharing of friendship. It must have been tough on the fun loving English to relinquish the eating of goose and the gathering around the fire, mulling of wine and pleasure of making merry. But under the rather austere governance of Cromwell and his Republic, such celebrating was considered a mockery of God, and so was forbidden.
When Charles II returned to England he threw open the doors to Christmas so to speak. All revelry returned to England. One might argue he was the original “Go big or go home,” monarch, even outdoing Henry VIII in his excesses which included, love of music, women, and wit. His court reflected his loves. It was full of beautiful women, scientists, poets, and men who’d managed to survive a long period of war then tentative peace.
For those in England who’d known what Christmas was, it must have been truly joyful to be able to return to the ways of old. How they must have loved bringing back the Yule Log and the open celebration of a glorious feast day.
I know that I will be feasting and celebrating this year! What is your favorite Christmas tradition? Or is something you love, something new?
Less Than a Lady
To win a lord, you can’t be a lady…
Darcy Blake, Earl of Chase, is a solider, rogue, and a loyal King’s man. Commanded to spy on the luscious actress Amelia Fox, Darcy must pretend to be her student for a court theatrical. He is certain he can school her in the art of seduction while discovering if she is a traitor. But to his shock, he finds Mrs. Fox teaching him an entirely different kind of lesson.
As London’s most popular actress, Amelia is famous at court, and she doesn’t have a husband to tell her what do. Unfortunately, the king has ordered her to train the rakehell, Lord Chase to act for the court. Before long, the Earl is driving her wild with desire and awakening her heart to love. As an actress, society dictates she can never be more than Lord Chase’s mistress, and Amelia has vowed never to be less than a lady.
When Darcy learns the witty actress is indeed linked to a traitor, he’ll have to decide if love or loyalty will rule the day.