Beauty and the Beast: From French Folklore to Victorian Romance

An illustration by Warwick Goble for Beauty and the Beast, 1913.

In 1740, French author Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve wrote and published a collection of stories entitled La Jeune Ameriquaine et les Contes Marins. Within, was the fairy tale La Belle et la Bête. Widely viewed as the oldest version of Beauty and Beast, La Belle et la Bête contained all of the now familiar elements of the much beloved story. There was a handsome prince cursed to live out his days as a monstrous beast and a courageous beauty who consents to be his prisoner in order to save her father.

[…]Continue Reading

The Etiquette of Broken Betrothals: Victorian Advice on Ending an Engagement

Jilted by Briton Riviere, 1887.
(Philadelphia Museum of Art)

In the Victorian era, a broken engagement was no small matter. If a gentleman jilted his fiancée, he risked doing untold damage to both her reputation and his own. Even so, if an engaged couple discovered that they were incompatible, Victorian era marriage manuals and books on etiquette strongly advised breaking the engagement rather than embarking on what would surely be a miserable marriage. As The New York Fashion Bazar Book of Etiquette (1887) explains:[…]Continue Reading

The Curious Case of Miss Schwich: A Victorian Girl in Boy’s Clothing

Illustrated Police News, 30 October 1886.
(© British Library Board)

In October of 1886, at the Marlborough Street Police Court in London, a young woman dressed in boy’s clothing was charged with stealing from her employer. Her name was Lois Schwich (sometimes spelled Schwick). She was twenty-one years old and had been wearing male attire since the age of seventeen. According to a 29 October 1886 report in the Herts & Cambs Reporter & Royston Crow:

“[Miss Schwich] had made every effort to obtain employment as a girl but had failed, and in desperation to support her starving mother, who had a young family, she assumed the garb of a boy, and succeeded in obtaining a situation.”

[…]Continue Reading

Companion Dogs as Seers, Healers, and Fairy Steeds

Johnson’s Household Book of Nature, 1880.

When considering dog folklore, we generally think of those stories which feature the Grimm, the Gytrash, or other sinister black dogs roaming the moors in the North of England. But there is more to canine folklore than the ominous black dogs of legend. Companion dogs, such as pugs and corgis, have their place in dog folklore as well.[…]Continue Reading

Audiobook Narrator News!

I’m thrilled to announce that my audio publisher, Tantor Media, has cast Justine Eyre to narrate both The Lost Letter and The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter. Justine has done the narration for some really fantastic historical romance and historical fiction authors, including Amanda Quick, Eloisa James, Sarah MacLean, and Tasha Alexander. She’s the actress I requested and I feel so lucky she’s agreed to narrate my novels. She has a thoughtful, intelligent, and emotionally sensitive voice which I know will be perfect for bringing my stories to life.[…]Continue Reading

This website uses cookies for a better browsing experience and to analyze site traffic to improve site performance. Find out more about how cookies are used on this site and how you can manage cookies in your browser by reading the Cookie Policy