Winter Blogfest: Heidi Wessman Kneale

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win one pre-release ebook copy of my Regency Romance “Currently Unchaperoned” in your choice of .epub, .mobi or .pdf. Official launch date 13 January 2021.

Twelve Days of Christmas in Regency England

During the Regency Era, Christmas celebrations in England lasted for twelve days,  starting on Christmas Eve. The family decorates house in greenery: evergreen boughs (though no Christmas trees; that was a German tradition), holly, ivy and mistletoe of course, but also bay or rosemary–pretty much whatever the family could find. This greenery remained up for the full twelve days of Christmas. 

The Yule Log would be lit, and kept alight as long as possible, hopefully for the full twelve days. Fragments of the Yule Log were kept for kindling next year’s Yule Log, representing the connection from one year to the next.

Christmas Day was considered the First Day of Christmas, and the Twelfth Day of Christmas fell on Epiphany or Three Kings Day, the 6th of January, honouring the visit of the Magi to the Christ Child. In between was a celebration of feasting, gift-giving and games.

The First Day of Christmas was reserved for the Christmas Dinner, with everyone invited to the meal, even servants. Boar’s head and roast goose were traditional.  Parlour games like Snapdragon and Charades were also popular. This was a time for enjoying the company of those around you.

Leftovers were a must! Mince pies of every kind were made from leftovers and everyone enjoyed these pies for the next twelve days.

The Second Day of Christmas was the Feast of St Stephen. Christmas was considered a time of great generosity, with the focus more on the giving, rather than the receiving of gifts. Gifts were given on this day, primarily the wealthier giving boxes of gifts to the poor of the parish. Because of this boxing of gifts, this day is known as Boxing Day.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day were considered part of the Christmas celebration with many games and regional traditions hoping to ensure good luck and prosperity for the coming year.

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Felicity Abbot is frustrated that she is to be denied yet another London Season. Dreadfully unfair. When an opportunity arises to defy both her parents and Society, she sneaks off–unchaperoned–to attend the neighbours' party. Surely no one will notice her amid the crowds and she can finally see what all the fuss is about.

Victor Wyndell has been coerced by his desperate mother to attend the Chesters' crush of a party. She wants her son to find two things: a bride and something called The Agreement. He has no idea what The Agreement is about, only that it could ruin his family and thus his chances for a decent marriage.

The plan is simple–get in, find The Agreement, get out. (Easier said than done, as his mother refuses to part with any more clues.)

Instead, he finds Felicity Abbot, a young lady with a secret who's more than happy to extricate him from a few awkward social encounters in exchange for his help in navigating Society.

Yet for all her greenness and lack of social connexions, Miss Abbot sure has a way of finding trouble.

The Agreement is trouble; maybe she could find it. Or has it found her already?

Scandal abounds and secrets are revealed in this Regency Romance with magic.

Heidi Wessman Kneale is an Australian author of moderate repute. She writes Regency Romance with magic and other fantastical stories. She believes that a key to good health during These Times is to lose oneself in a good book, preferably every day.

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Winter Blogfest: Heidi Wessman Kneale

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win all three books of the Of The Dark series (God of the Dark, Bride of the Dark, House of the Dark) in ebook format (.epub or .mobi).

Your Summer Break: Christmas in Australia

Recently we had a very hot day here in Western Australia. My first thought was, “Gee, it feels like summer.” For my daughter, she excitedly announced, “It feels like Christmas!”

I had to think about that for a moment. See, I grew up in the Northern Hemisphere, where the holiday season meant snow and winter. But for my very dinki-di Aussie-born daughter, Christmas was the epitome of summer. Nothing says Christmas to her like sweltering days at the beach and hot summer nights where the solar Christmas lights make every house on the street sparkle. Christmas dinner consists of seafood quickly cooked on the barbie (barbeque) and cool salads.

Kids still get excited on Christmas Eve. Good luck getting them to bed, though. Being only a few days after the Capricorn Summer Solstice, the sun won’t set until well past littlies’ bedtimes.  The sun also rises at stupid o’clock in the morning. Good luck Mum and Dad getting a sleep-in as well. Nothing guarantees a sleepless kid like the promise of getting “pressies from the rellies at Chrissie” (presents, relatives, Christmas).

The day after Christmas is Boxing Day. While Christmas is for families, Boxing Day is for friends. The more sporting-minded head out for cricket matches. Those who are sick of the heat retreat to the comforts of the air-conditioned cinemas to catch all the Boxing Day releases. The rest of us head out to mates’ Boxing Day parties, and hope they have a swimming pool.

Although I’ve been here more than twenty years, I still can’t get used to a hot Christmas. One of these fine years I’ll take the multitudinous offspring to my folks’ place where they can experience a winter Christmas. I don’t know if they’ll enjoy it the same. After all, a cold, wet winter reminds them of dull, dreary July.

The End

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Adrastea, a simple country healer, is surprised to receive a marriage proposal from the Dark God Mor-Lath. As a devotee of a rival god, of course she turns him down. She was raised on chilling tales of this chthonic being who drags the souls of the unrepentant to Dom-al-gol. Adrastea loves her simple country life of brewing medicines and saving lives. Marriage to Mor-Lath would greatly complicate things. Besides, why would the Dark God propose to her?

Undaunted by her refusal, Mor-Lath insists on courting her. Sometimes he is charming, winning over the other villagers, but other times, she sees him for the dark god he truly is. He refuses to let anyone stand in his way. While he makes it clear he’ll only have her willingly, he’s making it very difficult for her to say no. She wonders, what is he really after?

Adrastea faces a quandary: if she accepts the Dark God’s marriage proposal, she’ll lose her very soul. But if she rejects it, the world itself and everything in it might be at stake. Either way, the price is too high.

About the Author: Heidi Wessman Kneale is an Australian author of moderate repute known for her Fantasy and Romance novels. When not providing escapist fiction to the masses, she can be found composing music and studying the universe.

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