Tag: Novel

Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia: A New Novel by the Creator of Downton Abbey

Belgravia Julian Fellowes 2016As a general rule, I don’t accept books for review here at MimiMatthews.com.  However, when I was approached several months ago to participate in the Progressive Blog Tour for Julian Fellowes’ new novel, Belgravia, I simply could not refuse.  Many of you probably already know Julian Fellowes as the creator, writer, and executive producer of the popular television series Downton Abbey.  He also wrote the screenplay (and won an Oscar!) for one of my favorite movies, Gosford Park.  His other film, television, and print credits are too numerous to list.  Suffice to say that he has been entertaining those of us who love historical drama for a very long time.[…]Continue Reading

Grimalkins, Gothics, & Beware the Cat

“I knewe these things wil seem mervelous to many men, that Cats should understand and speak, have a governour among themselves, and be obedient to their Lawes…” (Beware the Cat by William Baldwin, 1570.)

A Naturalistic Cat by Louis Wain, (1860 – 1939).
A Naturalistic Cat by Louis Wain, (1860–1939).

In the year 1553, during the reign of Edward VI, printer’s assistant William Baldwin penned the first English novel ever written: Beware the Cat.  Before this time, all works of fiction in English of short-story length or longer were not original texts.  They were translations or adaptations from other languages, such as French or Latin.[…]Continue Reading

Austen, Heyer, & the Prince of Orange: Pugs in Literature and History

Pietro Benvenuti Ritratto di Elena Mastiani Brunacci 1809
Portrait of Elena Mastiani Brunacci by Pietro Benvenuti, 1809.
(Palazzo Pitti)

Pugs feature in many of our favorite Regency novels and, in most of them, the cheerful little dog, which currently ranks 32nd most popular breed in the United States, is not portrayed in a very flattering light.  […]Continue Reading

Law Meets Literature: Bleak House and the British Court of Chancery

By the early nineteenth century, the British Court of Chancery had become synonymous with procedural dysfunction and injustice.  This was especially so for the middle classes, who could not afford to bring a claim lest they end up having their entire fortunes swallowed up by the process.

This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.
Court of Chancery, 1808.

However, though “the evils of Chancery were well known and had been exposed over and over again,” the 1852 publication of Charles Dickens’ novel Bleak House shone an even brighter light both on the Court and on the lives ruined by its corruption and dysfunctionality.[…]Continue Reading

Venetia and the Byronic Hero

As romance writers and readers, we are all intimately acquainted with the Byronic hero. That particular brand of brooding, mysterious, misunderstood – and did I mention handsome? – Regency venetiarogue that has stolen the heart of many a sheltered young Regency heroine. He is Captain Conrad in The Corsair, Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, and Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. And as dark and dangerous as he is, he makes the honorable, morally upright gentlemen with whom he shares the page seem downright unappealing.[…]Continue Reading