Little Ladies: Victorian Fashion Dolls and the Feminine Ideal

Three doll dresses from Miss Fanchon’s wardrobe, late 1860s-1870s, possibly France. Gift of Gardner H. Nicholas in memory of Mrs. Gardner H. Nicholas, 1922-58-9a—c, 14a,b,3.

In November, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will be presenting a new exhibition titled Little Ladies: Victorian Fashion Dolls and the Feminine Ideal. It features four gorgeous Victorian dolls and their equally gorgeous Victorian wardrobes. The dolls—known as Miss Fanchon, Miss G. Townsend, Miss French Mary, and Marie Antoinette—were all made in France during the 1860s and 1870s. They have painted bisque heads, leather bodies, and measure between 18 and 22 inches in height. The Philadelphia Museum of Art calls them “the ultimate toy for privileged girls of this period.” But these dolls were much more than mere toys. They were models of perfect Victorian womanhood.[…]Continue Reading

Victorian Advice on Civility Toward Women

Quarreling by James Tissot, c. 1874-76.
(Private Collection)

Nobody likes to be shouted at or spoken to in an abusive, combative tone. In the Victorian era, however, such behavior was especially distasteful when engaged in by a man and directed at a woman. Men were generally larger in size and more powerful in position. It was their duty as gentlemen to treat women with respect, whether those women be the lowliest of servants or the grandest of ladies.[…]Continue Reading

A Holiday By Gaslight: Exclusive Cover Reveal at USA Today!

Today, I’m thrilled to be over at USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog with Joyce Lamb for the exclusive cover reveal of my new Victorian Christmas novella A Holiday By Gaslight. This gorgeous cover was designed by James Egan, the same brilliant designer who created the cover for The Matrimonial Advertisement. To see it, you can click through to the USA Today website HERE. I hope you’ll all stop by and have a look! […]Continue Reading

Teeth Whitening in the Victorian Era: From Charcoal Paste to Sulfuric Acid

A dentist looking at a tooth of a very attractive female patient, 19th century.
(Wellcome Collection. CC BY 4.0)

I like to make my historical novels as authentically Victorian as possible. However, when it comes to the subject of dental health, I’m guilty of fudging the facts. The truth is, not everyone in the 19th century had strong white teeth. Rather the opposite. In an era with no Crest Whitestrips, no veneers, and somewhat primitive dentistry, you were more likely to encounter a hero with brown or missing teeth than one with a gleaming white smile.[…]Continue Reading

The Matrimonial Advertisement Release Day: Blog Tour, Giveaway, & More!

It’s release day for my new Victorian romance novel The Matrimonial Advertisement! To celebrate, I’m over at the USA Today Happy-Ever-After Blog for an interview. I’m also embarking on a virtual book tour, complete with reviews, interviews, and a special paperback giveaway. To top it all off, The Matrimonial Advertisement ebook is priced at just $2.99 for the entire week, and my last novel, The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter, has been reduced to $0.99 just to mark the occasion. So, without further ado, let’s get started![…]Continue Reading

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