Thursday, July 30, 2009

Diana Brown: The Emerald Necklace

The Emerald Necklace was published in April 1981 and is the story of Leonora, who is forced to marry a commoner, Etienne, as a marriage of convenience. She becomes prideful and then angry as she spurns but loves her husband.

Allan Kass paints one of my favorite illustrations here with our couple reclining on a sofa with the heroine wearing the mentioned emerald necklace. She is fair and red haired and it suits her. Note her creamy lemon dress and matching slippers. Our hero is handsome and dressed with elegance in a black coat and high cravet. They look so relaxed and falling in love in this pose. I remember that the cover art as being more interesting than the story inside!

Marriages of convenience were still common during the regency and were made for money or social advancement. Georgette Heyer wrote A Civil Contract as her "marriage of convenience" story.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Diana Brown: A Debt of Honour

A Debt of Honour was published in March 1982 by Signet and Diana Brown tells the story of Fiona Guthrie, who incurs a gambling debt that she must pay and ends up putting herself in the power of Lord Peter Chalmsforth to help her procure the money.

Allan Kass paints another of his classic regency pictures for this cover. It shows our dark haired heroine in the arms of her hero and she is beautiful in a pink gown and gold jewelry. Our hero is dashing in a red coat and tender as he holds our heroine. Note the sundial and ornate gate behind them.

Gambling was a problem in the regency with many people wagering their livelihoods on the turn of the cards. Even women were tempted to this vice. It was understood that gambling debts must be paid immediately as a debt of honour, as mentioned in the title of this book.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Diana Brown: Come Be My Love

Come Be My Love by Diana Brown was published by Signet in March 1983 and is the story of Alexandra who loves Darius but he marries another and she moves to London to become an author. What happens when he is widowed and meets Alexandra again is the plot of this romance.

Allan Kass illustrated five books for Diana Brown and this is a classic Kass illustration! It shows our couple in a fire lit ancient room in an embrace. She is beautiful with long flowing red hair and a dark green gown and matching jewels while our hero is elegant in evening wear. Note his hands as he embraces her! The detail of the wall and fireplace are amazing!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Caroline Brooks: A Sea Change

A Sea Change is the last Allan Kass illustrated book I have. It was published by Signet in December 1987. It is the story of Augusta Webb, who fell in love with Robert Darnley when she was a girl, only to have him disappear. She meets him years later and finds that she still has feelings for him.

Allan Kass draws a picture of our couple meeting on a town street. She is dressed in an afternoon dress with matching bonnet and cloak. She carries a reticule, or purse, to hold her money. Her clothes compliment her coloring. The hero wears a many caped riding coat over his clothes. He seems happy to be meeting our heroine.

This book is set near the sea. Many fashionable Londoners went to the seaside in the summer for the summer season. Brighton was a popular watering place! It was cooler near the sea and it offered other amusements that were not available in London, besides a change of place and pace.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Caroline Brooks: An Old Scandal

An Old Scandal was published in April 1985 by Signet. Caroline Brooks writes a story about Leonora Ware, who comes face to face with her husband's killer, Lord Umberto. She finds out that he is not only skilled with weapons, but with a female's heart!

Allan Kass paints a delightful picture for this book! I love the detail in the heroine's hairpiece and her elegant dress and trimmings. Our hero is handsome in evening dress and the room they stand is beautifully decorated. One of Allan's classic regency illustrations!

Dueling was illegal in Britain, but it was a time-honored way to resolve problems or to defend your honor. Usually if you killed your opponent, you went abroad for a year for the scandal to settle down.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Caroline Brooks: Marchman's Lady

Marchman's Lady was written by Caroline Brooks in February 1986 and published by Signet. It is the first of three books that Allan Kass illustrated for Caroline Brooks and is the story of Sarah, an American, who marries a British officer named Peter Marchman. Once she returns with him to England does she realize that her marriage may have more pitfalls than she realized.

Allan Kass paints an interesting picture for this regency. It has our heroine in riding dress walking outdoors on the estate. The hero is dressed similarly in riding dress that in some ways mimics hers. He is handsome in a red coat and carries a crop. It is a pretty cover and done during Allan's height in illustrating regencies.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Jeanne Bowman: Letter from Annette

Letter from Annette was published by Signet in September 1970. It is the story of Annette Weyland whose grandmother needed a life of her own. She decides to find a man for her grandmother by writing letters to a pen pal. How events unfold during this letter writing campaign is the plot of this story.

This is one of Allan Kass's first illustrations. It is #24 under Signet's Rainbow Romance series. I like the simple cover showing Annette and her beau. It's different from the regency illustrations that he ended up doing but you can see similarities. Note her hair and hands. She sits in a grassy spot near a lake. Note the little flowers and grass blades. Our hero wears a sweater and collared shirt, but is as handsome as any Kass hero!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Leonora Blythe: Lady Tara

Lady Tara is the last book by Leonora Blythe illustrated by Allan Kass that I own. It was published by Fawcett in 1978. It is the story of Lady Tara, who is masquerading as a highwayman when she holds up Lord Raven's coach. This embroils him into her dangerous mission!

Allan Kass paints the scene of the holdup and we see our couple in an embrace despite the pistol she holds and her accessory holds in the background! Our hero is dashing in a red long jacket with his hair in a queue, which denotes this to be pre-regency times while she is dressed as a psuedo-highwayman! Note her long red hair which must have escaped her hat! It is an improbable, but fun illustration!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Leonora Blythe: Helene

Helene by Leonora Blythe was published by Fawcett in November 1979. It is #6 in the Coventry Regency line. It is the story of Helene, an adventurous girl who is trying to help her friends, Juliet and Nicholas get married. During this time of intrigue, she meets Captain Longford and wonders if marriage is in the cards for her!

Allan Kass paints an interesting picture for this cover. It shows our couple in an elegant room surrounded by a beautiful oriental screen. Our heroine is pretty in a blue day dress. Note her bracelets and curled hairdo. The hero is handsome in a red jacket and buff trousers. They look comfortable with each other, but pensive.

Coventry began a numbered series of regencies from 1979-1982 after the success of individual books in the past years. Allan Kass illustrated quite a few of them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Audrey Blanshard: A Virginian at Venncombe

A Virginian at Venncombe is the last Audrey Blanshard book illustrated by Allan Kass that I own. It was published in 1976 and is the story of Caroline, who meets Thaddeus Forbes, an American naval surgeon and prisoner of war during the War of 1812. She falls in love with him and nothing or no one is going to keep her from marrying him!

Allan Kass paints an interesting picture of our couple. Our hero is dashing in his American uniform and red hair while our heroine is young and cute in her long black unbound hair and simple purple day dress. The setting is interesting because the estate grounds seem to describe the heroine, but the ocean in the background seems to describe our hero and his home far away.

The War of 1812 was fought mainly because of British impediment of American trade with France and impressment of American citizens into the Royal Navy. One interesting fact is that the American National Anthem was written about a battle in Baltimore that happened during this war.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Audrey Blanshard: Sir Ranulf and the Runaway

Sir Ranulf and the Runaway was published in August 1980 by Fawcett for Audrey Blanshard. Isabella has always admired Sir Ranulf but their fathers have always feuded. She is able to get to know him when a young boy runs off from his estate and to hers to be protected by her younger sister.

Allan Kass paints an outdoor, or alfresco, evening picnic! This is a unique cover and interesting with the silver pieces being used! Our couple is definitely enjoying their time together, but the building behind them looms menacingly! Is there a secret here?

This seems to be a blend between the regency and a gothic story. Jane Austen wrote a spoof of the gothic called Northanger Abbey! Many regency young ladies loved to read gothic novels and scare themselves silly! Nowadays, paranormal and romantic suspense novels are very popular!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Audrey Blanshard: The Shy Young Denbury

The Shy Young Denbury was published in 1977 by Fawcett. Audrey Blanshard writes a story about a shy girl named Merry whose family thinks she would make a perfect minister's wife! However, this shy miss has grand London plans that her family knows nothing about!

Allan Kass draws a cover where the scene is set in an opera house. Our heroine wears a dark green gown and holds a fan and a program of the evening. Our hero is dashing in red and holds out a chair for her in their box.

Opera was popular in regency times and many people rented a box for their private use during the season in London. These boxes usually cost somewhere in the region of 400 pounds!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Audrey Blanshard: Lucetta

Lucetta was published in October 1979 by Fawcett for Audrey Blanshard. Lucetta falls in love with Vere Dalvin, who leaves the house after Lord Wintringham, Lucetta's father, proposes that Vere marry Lucetta! She is not dismayed, however, because she plans to have him!

Allan Kass paints a scene at a horse race for this novel. Our hero is handsome in purple tails and buff trousers while the heroine is beautiful in a mossy green! I love her poke bonnet and the medallion that the hero wears: an award for his horse winning a race? An interesting fact is that there is a small head shot of the couple on the back cover of this book!

Horse racing was becoming a pastime for rich men during the regency. Newmarket was the preferred place to hold races and much betting happened there.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Audrey Blanshard: Granborough's Filly

Granborough's Filly is another early Fawcett book and was published in 1976. It is about Selina, who is shipwrecked off the Cornwell coast with Mr. Rufford. They were in danger from the smugglers and ruffians who preyed on shipwrecks. It's an interesting tale of how 2 dissimilar people fall in love after getting to know one another through diversity.

Allan Kass painted a sailing scene with this cover. Our couple is dressed informally and our heroine has her hair down and a shawl wrapped around her. It is interesting that the hero is wearing a necklace! The sunset is gorgeous and note the details of the ship! This is a very unique regency cover!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Audrey Blanshard: An Affair of Dishonour

An Affair of Dishonour is the first book illustrated by Allan Kass that I have in my collection. It was published by Fawcett in January 1981.

2 men, the Earl of Begbroke and Major Guy Hipsley, are rivals who are competing for the love of Miss Anne Thouvenal, a beautiful girl who is half English and half French.

Allan Kass paints a unique picture for this cover. It has our couple sitting on a chaise lounge with the hero's leg in a cast. Both are in day dress, with our hero very informally attired. What is interesting in this cover is the chaise and fireplace mantel which give the picture some definition.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sheila Bishop: A Speaking Likeness

A Speaking Likeness is the last Sheila Bishop book that Allan Kass illustrated. It was published by Fawcett in 1976 and is the story of widow Diana Pentland, who adopts a little boy born out of wedlock. She is content to raise her son until she visits Brandham Castle and sees a resemblance between him and the heir to Brandham. What happens next is very surprising!

Allan Kass paints a beautiful picture for this book. Our couple is riding in a rowboat and enjoying a nice summers day! Note the casual garb of both though the heroine does carry a sunshade to protect her complexion! She is a pretty redhead and the braid in her hair is unique in his covers along with the lily pads floating in the lake!

It wasn't uncommon for out of wedlock children born to aristocratic people to be adopted out or to be left in the care of a respected family in the country. Many times schooling was provided and the child could grow up in the mileau that his birth required.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sheila Bishop: The Rules of Marriage

The Rules of Marriage was authored by Sheila Bishop and published by Fawcett in 1978. It is the story of the marriage of Charlotte and Lord Brancaster. They marry young and when handsome Gerard, Lord Brancaster's best friend begins paying attention to Charlotte, sparks begin to fly.

Allan Kass illustrated an interesting picture for this cover. We see our hero and heroine sitting outside near a little pond in an idyllic setting. She is leaning back against him and he hovers close to her. She is wearing a purple day dress with a darker sash and straw hat. Note her jewelry! He wears a red coat and buff trousers. I like the swans in the background.

Infidelity was common during the regency times. Many men kept mistresses, even after their marriages. Most women stayed faithful, but some did stray from their marriage vows. The Prince Regent led the way in this behavior. Queen Victoria set a better example after the regency and certain behaviors are still known as "victorian"!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sheila Bishop: The Phantom Garden

The Phantom Garden was written by Sheila Bishop in 1974 and published by Fawcett. It is a Georgian romance and is the story of Celia who is a singer at Vauxhall Gardens and is being pursued by Charles, who wishes her to become his mistress. When she says no, he asks to marry her. She says no to that and what happens next is the plot of our story.

Allan Kass paints an authentic picture for the setting of this story. Georgian England was the period of time before the regency and clothes were fuller and definitely more colorful. Our hero is wearing a suit of gold with a coat of purple. His hair is longer and tied back. It's a different style than the plain black of the regency! Our heroine is beautiful in a low cut aqua dress with a white underdress. Her hair is curled as the fashion stated. She carries a plumed hat. It's interesting that Allan Kass is mentioned on the back cover of this book as the illustrator! The setting is soft and calm with the water behind the couple with green trees and blooming flowers.

Vauxhall Gardens was a place of merriment in London. You could get there by crossing the Thames in a boat or drive a carriage. It was open to anyone who could afford a ticket and was also famous for its dinners of shaved ham and rack punch. Dancing, singing, fireworks, and dark walking paths made this a popular outing site for couples. It was still popular during regency times but closed sometime later in the 1800's. Nowadays, there is a train station called Vauxhall in London!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sheila Bishop: Lucasta

Lucasta was published by Fawcett in 1978 and is the story of Nell and her best friend, Lucasta. They lived in a little village and Lucasta was engaged to Captain Delauney, handsome but with no fortune. Lucasta is also being paid attention to by Alexander, much to Nell's chagrin. Nell is concerned that Lucasta may be falling for Alexander, who she likes.

Allan Kass has drawn a beautiful cover with our hero and heroine at an opera house or concert hall. I don't know which couple is portrayed except that the hero is dashing in regimentals while the heroine is elegant in a white day dress with gold accents. They look to be earnestly talking while stealing a moment away from others.

England was at war with France during most of the regency times and soldiers were stationed all over the country. Many of the officers would mingle with the local society, as portrayed in Pride and Prejudice, and the single girls were given a chance to meet new young men or find potential spouses.