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Search tags: HP-Mallory
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review 2018-04-07 14:16
A fascinating look into the past and a great source for writers and social history researchers
Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century - James Mallory

Thanks to Alex and the rest of the team at Pen & Sword for providing me a paperback copy of this book that I freely chose to review.

I am a big fan of Pen & Sword books and I have learned a lot on a variety of subjects thanks to their great selection, but I must admit to having a soft spot for social history. Although I love history books and have recently become keen on historical fiction, I think that social history helps us get a better sense of what life was like in the past, not only for the kings, aristocrats, and powerful people but also for the rest of the population. The everyday life of going around one’s usual business, talking to people, working, rarely makes it into the big books, but it is what life is truly about. And those are the details that bring the past to life. As I have mentioned in previous reviews, these books are also great to provide background to writers, filmmakers, and, in general, artists looking to create works set in a particular time in history, as it helps them gain a better understanding of what it would have been like to live then.

This particular volume is a delight. I have read a number of novels set in the era and watched uncountable movies and television series that take place in the XIX century as well, and although I thought I was familiar with the customs, social rules and mores of the time, I was surprised by how truly complicated following proper etiquette was. As the author often explains, rules were not set in stone and they changed throughout the century. What was a must at the beginning of the XIX century would have been out of fashion by the end, and rules were open to interpretation, as sometimes different sources offered completely different advice. Should you eat fish with a fork and bread, two forks, or a fork and a fish knife (the answer depends on at what point of the XIX century we were eating it)? Would it have been proper for you to introduce people you knew, or even greet people you met in the streets even if you had been introduced? What was the best time to go for a walk or to visit your acquaintances? What did it truly mean if somebody was ‘not at home’?

Such topics and many more are discussed in this short volume, and it makes for fascinating reading. The author is skilled at summarising the rules from a large variety of sources (there is a detailed bibliography at the end and footnotes to check where each point can be expanded on), and also at providing practical examples that help clarify matters like how would you address somebody you are introduced to, or in which order would guest enter the dining room. Her turn of phrase is particularly apt, as her own explanations and the quotes and references to texts blend seamlessly, and she manages to write clearly and engagingly in beautiful prose.

The tone of the book is light and there are funny moments, but there are also reminders of how different things were for those who had more serious concerns than following the rules of etiquette. The book includes 11 chapters that deal in a variety of topics, from rank, precedence and title, to what was considered good company, paying calls, dining, ballroom behaviour, conversation, and correspondence, how to treat the service, courtship, and it also offers hints for ladies and gentlemen. The book (I had access to the paperback copy but I know the pictures are available in the digital version as well) contains a number of plates that help illustrate the proper dress etiquette throughout the century for different occasions and there are also pictures of some of the fashion accessories of the period.

I had to share a couple of examples from the book, so you can get a feeling for the writing style and the type of advice it contains:

If a lady or gentleman was plagued by a person saluting them in the street who they did not like, who they did not want to call upon, and who they thought was taking a gross impertinence continually bowing to them, it was still better for the afflicted lady or gentleman to return the recognition. (For some reason, this brought to my mind the nodding bulldogs that used to grace the back windows of cars).

Talking about men’s fashion, the book has this to say:

Similarly, a gentleman would have been restrained in his use of personal ornamentation. After all, a gentleman was a gentleman, not a magpie hankering after shiny trinkets.

Although some of the rules contained in this book might seem too fussy and silly nowadays, there are some about listening to people and being respectful towards others, no matter what their social circumstances (in fact, being more polite and generous the more difficult things are for them) that will make readers nostalgic for those more gentile and kinder times. There are always things we can learn from the past and it is important to learn and remember.

Another great little volume from Pen & Sword and one that I particularly recommend to anybody interested in XIX century history, novels, movies set in the period, and to writers and creators looking for inspiration or researching that era. It is also a fun read for people that study social history or are interested in the origins of some of our customs and on how these have changed. Unmissable.

 

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review 2018-03-22 00:58
The Pirate's Booty (The Plundered Chronicles #1) - DNF @ 19%.
The Pirate's Booty (The Plundered Chronicles Book 1) - Alex Westmore, Designed by Rock Mallory,Rachel Stanfield-Porter

I was promised swashbuckling and crossdressing shenanigans, and there certainly was that. Like, a lot. Almost nonstop really. As soon as any hint of a plot started to take shape, more swashbuckling came along to nip it in the bud. Quinn was fun, even if I couldn't figure out how she could possibly keep her true identity a secret whilst on a pirate ship. Even if you assume pirates don't bathe that often, at some point, someone's got to notice something, right?

 

If all you're looking for is swashbuckling and shenanigans, this is the book for you. I just needed something more.

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review 2018-01-15 15:35
Very Brief Thoughts: Snowbound with the Notorious Rake
Snowbound with the Notorious Rake - Sarah Mallory

Snowbound with the Notorious Rake
by Sarah Mallory

 

 

One wicked Christmas night…

Trapped by a blizzard, the sight of notorious rogue Sir Lawrence Daunton almost makes schoolteacher Rose Westerhill turn back into the snow!  When it becomes apparent she has nowhere else to go Rose accepts his offer of shelter, vowing to remain indifferent to his practiced charm.

But as the temperature outside drops, she finds the wicked rake's sizzling seduction impossible to resist.  For one stolen night Rose abandons her principles—and her body!—to his expert ministrations.  Christmas with the rakish Lawrence promises to be a thoroughly improper yuletide celebration….



This historical romance by Sarah Mallory was written really well, but the actual story and the characters were quite frustrating.  On top of that, I was a little disappointed that the entire "snowbound" scenario really only lasted a couple chapters, then the rest of the book was just a typical romance with a reformed rake and the prudish schoolteacher.  I may or may not have started drifting off, or setting the book aside due to boredom.

As for our couple, they were pretty standard.  I didn't find Sir Lawrence to stand out much, but he was a neutral, good man.  Rose was more likable during the snowbound duration, but afterwards, I feel like she was a bit over-extreme in her prejudice against Sir Lawrence.  I understand that she has a history and can see why she's so cautious, but she went to the point of simply wanting to always believe the worst of Sir Lawrence no matter that he'd been nothing but honorable towards her from the beginning.

In contrast, I found it kind of hard to believe that she would take the word of her fiance, Magnus, and her future sister-in-law, Althea, without really giving it more thought.  She's been around Magnus and Althea enough that you'd think she wouldn't place so much credence in their words or actions.  So it came across as her trying to find any reason possible to discredit Sir Lawrence, even if it hadn't been warranted.

The romance was super frustrating, and I'm not sure there were even any characters I liked.

The background mystery about the sunken ship, and the investigation of it seemed kind of blah.

I may try another Sarah Mallory book, but I DO hope that this one was just a fluke.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2018/01/very-brief-thoughts-snowbound-with.html
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text 2017-12-15 23:15
Square 10 World Peace Day Task
With Every Letter - Sarah Sundin
The Unleashing (Call Of Crows Book 1) - Shelly Laurenston
The Undoing (Call Of Crows) - Shelly Laurenston
The Unyielding - Shelly Laurenston
A Lady for Lord Randall (Brides of Waterloo) - Sarah Mallory
A Mistress for Major Bartlett - Annie Burrows
Persepolis I & II - Marjane Satrapi
The Bull Rider's Homecoming (Blue Thorn Ranch) - Allie Pleiter
Mission of Hope (Love Inspired Historical) - Allie Pleiter
Homefront Hero - Allie Pleiter

5 Books I Appreciated this Year....and yeah I kinda cheated, lol:

 

1. With Every Letter (Wings of the Nightingale #1) by Sarah Sundin

     Finally a book that features a military heroine! I really loved this story of Tom and Mellie falling for each other in both letters and in person. Can't wait to read the other two books in the series.

 

2. Call of Crows series by Shelly Laurenston

     Got to love female rage mixed with Norse mythology and lots of humor. This trilogy is a great read for paranormal romance fans who want actual strong female characters. I refuse to name my favorite, they are all good in their own way. A very cathartic way of dealing with real life news.

 

3. A Lady for Lord Randall by Sarah Mallory/A Mistress for Major Bartlett by Annie Burrows

      These were the first two books in the Waterloo Brides trilogy (the last book stank). I loved that Regency romance left the ballroom and went onto the battlefield - such a departure from the normal Regency romance.

 

4. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

     The artwork was stark and evoked such feelings as Satrapi told her life story, along with giving readers a history and cultural lesson on Iran. I would recommend reading both books to understand her fresh approach to the immigrant story.

 

5. Allie Pleiter

    Not a book, but an author of historical romance. This was the Summer of Allie Pleiter - from contemporary bull rider returning home, to 1906 San Francisco just months after the earthquake, to World War I knitters who get the Spanish flu and finally to an post-WWI orphange. There wasn't a moment of reading Pleiter's works that I did not enjoy.

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review 2017-12-12 00:50
Great Holiday Romance
Her Secret Christmas Hero (Cherry Lake Christmas) - Mallory Kane

Her Secret Christmas Hero by Mallory Kane is a great holiday read.  Ms. Kane has delivered a well-written book.  The characters are fantastic.  Allie and Jake's story is a little sad but loaded with drama, humor and sizzle.  I enjoyed reading Her Secret Christmas Hero and look forward to reading more from Mallory Kane in the future.  Her Secret Christmas Hero is book 6 of the Secrets of Cherry Lake Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.

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