Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mary Balogh: The Last Waltz

The Last Waltz was published by Signet in November 1998. This would make it one of the last books that Allan Kass illustrated and also one of the last Signets from Mary Balogh. This story is about Lady Christina and her struggles turning over her home, Thornwood, to the new owner, Sir Gerard, a past love of hers.

It's sad that Allan Kass quit illustrating in 1998. He mentioned in a letter to me that Signet had asked him to take a pay decrease and that the demands of illustrating regency romances were getting silly. One cover he turned down was to have a pig on the cover! He wanted to keep them elegant and refined.

This cover is interesting because our couple is waltzing and the hero has his back turned away from us. It's Christmas, and you can see the decorations on the fireplace mantel. Our heroine wears a festive green dress and pearls in her hair. This is an amazing piece of art for someone who was 80 years old!

Christmas during regency times was a celebration of family and friends. It was usually celebrated from Christmas Eve to Epiphany, which was a celebration of Christ's manifestation to the Gentiles and held on January 6th. Christmas trees were not used and didn't become in vogue until Victorian times.

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