Friday, September 30, 2016

Today's Special - - Lenora Bell

Photo by Alexander Petrenko / alexstudio.ch

I'm delighted to welcome Lenora Bell back to The Romance Dish. I recently read her new book, If I Only Had a Duke and was utterly charmed by this fast-paced road romance. Lenora is a third generation Alaskan and her hometown still has no traffic lights or fast food, but the public library is going strong. An English teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, Lenora has traveled the globe using music to bring smiles to classrooms. She currently lives in Switzerland with her carpenter husband and two naughty tiger-striped kitties. Learn more about Lenora and her books at her website

Welcome, Lenora! 


Hello friends! I’m so excited to be back at the Romance Dish with PJ to celebrate my second Regency romance release, If I Only Had a Duke. Because this book was loosely inspired by The Wizard of Oz I knew it had to feature a road trip—but where to? Then I remembered that Ireland is sometimes referred to as the “emerald isle.” Perfect! But who said it and when?

It turns out that Irish physician and poet Dr. William Drennan coined the phrase in 1795 in the poem “When Erin First Rose.” I was in luck because my book is set in 1819, so by then people were already familiar with the “emerald isle” description. Learning these interesting historical tidbits is part of the reason I love reading and writing historical romance.

Many beloved historical romances feature the tried-and-true road
trip trope with hilarious, sexy, and educational results. Here are four fun facts I learned from reading some of my favorite romances:

·     One of the world’s most influential paleontologists was a woman! Mary Anning made many important fossil discoveries in the cliffs of Dorset in the early 1800’s but as a woman she wasn’t eligible to join the Geological Society of London and never received proper credit for her findings during her lifetime.
- A Week to be Wicked by Tessa Dare

·     Honey can be used as an antibacterial agent to help prevent infection and heal wounds (and if the gentleman applying the honey to said wound is a handsome rogue…so much the better).
- The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean

·     There was a giant stucco elephant in the gardens outside of the Moulin Rouge in Paris in which gentlemen (and daring young ladies on cross continent trips with scoundrels) were entertained by scantily clad dancers.
- Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran

·      The forerunner of the bicycle was called a velocipede and had a huge front wheel that placed the rider so high they were in constant danger of being thrown over the handlebars. The faster you rode, the less danger there was of wobbling (which makes an excellent metaphor for dashing men named Crash to teach sweet, determined ladies to overcome their fears).
- Her Every Wish by Courtney Milan

Have you learned any fun facts from reading historical romance novels?


One randomly chosen person leaving a comment before 11:00 PM, October 1, 2016 will receive: paperback or eBook copies of all three of the following: 

If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell 
A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean
Do You Want to Start a Scandal by Tessa Dare.



If I Only Had a Duke

After three failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family's scheming. She won't domesticate a duke, entangle an earl, or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt's Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.

The duke ruined her plans and he'll just have to fix them.

Dalton, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage--he uses dalliances and public spectacle to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart...and he's losing it to Thea.



47 comments:

  1. Over all the years of reading I have learned a lot of different things. I probably know more about Victorian funeral rites than I need to.

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    1. Hi Mary! Victorian funeral rites, eh? Now I'm curious which author featured those 😊. Cheers! Lenora

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  2. Hi Lenora! One of my favorite TV shows is Jeopardy. I'm always tickled when I know the answer to a historical question because I read about it in one of my romance novels! :)

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    1. How funny! Didn't Julia Quinn win a game show once? Romance novels make you smarter. That's the lesson here :)

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  3. Also, welcome back to the Dish! It's always a fun day when you visit. I love your new book. Road romances are among my favorites and this one is a winner!

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    1. Thanks so much! I'm thrilled to be here!!

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  4. I have learned lots of things from reading historical romance novels. Some of these things are:

    The clothes worn by both men and women
    The manners of the time and what was considered proper or not proper
    The rights of women are so limited in that their husbands can take their children away from them. Gah!
    So many young ladies have a very limited education

    I feel like every time I read a historical novel, I learn something more. I have always said that learning history in school is so dry, but when the facts are imparted in the form of a novel, the "student" pays attention and absorbs the knowledge. Would love to see schools allow students to read novels about the time period they are studying and then discuss what they have learned. Much for fun and students learn more that way. *OK. Off my soapbox* :-)

    Lenora, I read and reviewed "If I Only Had a Duke" last month and loved it. I so look forward to reading more of your novels.

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    1. Connie, so nice to hear from you! And thank you so very much for reviewing the book. This means so much to new authors!! You're absolutely right that learning about history in novels is so not dry and boring! xoxo LB

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  5. Perhaps it's the Alice in Wonderland fan in me, but I am obsessed with all things tea-time. Someday I'll make the effort to make my own clotted cream! I love reading about anything related to eating in historic romance novels, from kippers at breakfast to trifles at tea and sweetbreads at supper.

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    1. Yes! I love reading about historical foods in romance novels! I had so much fun researching the apricot trifle recipe for If I Only Had a Duke. Not sure about kippers though...doesn't sound too tasty :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I've learned so many things, like Elizabeth I owned more than 2,000 dresses.

    I'm currently reading your debut romance, and I'm loving it!

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    1. Hi Jena, really? 2000? Whoah :) I'm so glad you're liking my first book! Cheers, LB

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  7. Oh, goodness, yes. Titles are a good example but I've been reading historicals for a very long time and there's always things I learn in every story.

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    1. Hi catslady, thanks so much for dropping by The Dish. I always love it here :) xoxo LB

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  8. I absolutely adore reading historical romance novels. I've also learned that I love all these "Alpha" rakes, rogues and naughty boys. I've learned a lot about house parties and how to sneak around to find somebody's room. By the way, I love kippers with butter on top. I'm from England, and we had these at least twice a month. I can't find them over here in the USA. :-(

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    1. Hi Diane, tell me more about these kippers...do they taste like sardines? Are they salty? I think I need to try some with butter on top :) So happy to meet a historical romance fan! Thanks for commenting. xoxo LB

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    2. I don't find them salty. They don't taste anything like sardines, which I can't stand. Have you found any kippers over here?

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  9. Oh gosh yes, I'v always been into history. I always though I'd been born in the wrong era. Of course some modern conveniences are a must.

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    1. Absolutely, Shannon. Give me the gorgeous Regency gowns from Vanity Fair (just re-watched that movie - so good!) but not the chamber pots :)

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  10. I learned about all those layers women wore and all the ridiculous rules for behavior they had to follow during the Regency period.

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  11. While I have come across fun facts in reading historical romances, I cannot actually recall a single one at the moment. However, part of the fun of reading these stories is running across unexpected nuggets of information and details of the time period that the story is set in to make it feel real.

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    1. Yes, Lil - part of the magic is experiencing the historical details in the moment while you're reading the story. Thanks for stopping by! xx LB

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  12. I love historical romance because you do learn so much. I can't think of anything right off the top of my head that hasn't already been mentioned though.

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  13. I'm always fascinated by the clothes that people used to wear. Powdered wigs for example, Quizzing glasses for aristocratic men and those corsets and stays for women. The rakes must have had a really tough time unwrapping all that clothing!

    I'm looking forward to more insights on these matters from your books Lenora :)

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Quantum. The unwrapping is the fun part for sure :) xx LB

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    2. Thanks for commenting, Quantum. The unwrapping is the fun part for sure :) xx LB

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  14. I have enjoyed many historical romance novels. I have learned: Women were often treated as objects. I tend to forget that women have worked very hard to become "equal". I have learned that in England, the difference in the classes was HUGE. I can certainly see why the American Revolution was considered such a game changer. I have learned that in reality, people are people and the way human beings relate to one another has not changed too much. Most of all, I have learned that reading historical romance novels is a wonderful way to spend my time.

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    1. Aww...Annette "I have learned that reading historical romance novels is a wonderful way to spend my time" - what a lovely comment. I feel exactly the same way. Hugs!

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  15. I've learned a lot. I never had a class in European history in school, put have picked up a lot thru historical romance novels. I often search for more info online to see what is fact and what is adapted by the author. Wikepedia is a wonderful source about aristocrats and royals. I also get a sense of what it was like to live in different times, the way laws worked, how hard life could be.

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    1. Hi Di! Thanks for your comment and have a great weekend.

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  16. Hi Lenora! I've learned a ton of things from reading historical romances! I learned the honey as antibiotic trick several years ago. A lot about 'society' and expected behaviours during different generations - turns out 'moral behavior' has always been kinda fluid throughout the years. And much more. Many of the things other people have already commented on.

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  17. Hi Lenora! I've learned a ton of things from reading historical romances! I learned the honey as antibiotic trick several years ago. A lot about 'society' and expected behaviours during different generations - turns out 'moral behavior' has always been kinda fluid throughout the years. And much more. Many of the things other people have already commented on.

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    1. Hi Glenda! I like your comment on the fluidity of "moral behavior" - it's very interesting how cultural norms change over the years. Thanks for stopping by!

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  18. I feel like every time I read a historical romance I learn a little bit of interesting history. I have learned about funerals, foods, dress, customs- -and odd stuff like the changes in bathrooms - how those facilities were different and when, depending on who had money. And then there is the social customs. I love the actual history that I learn- and tidbits, like dentures were made from the teeth taken from battlefields. Blechhh! And some of the people weren't quite dead. So lots to learn. Love historicals. Karen Simpson

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    1. Hi Karen - oh my. I had no idea about the teeth. Blech, indeed :) Nice to see you here and have a lovely weekend!

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  19. just that I'm amazed that those ladies could even move with all the layers that they had to wear :) thanks for sharing and congrats on the new release!

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  20. Too many things I've learned reading historical romances/historical fiction :)
    I always want to know,knowledge is never enough :D :)
    Thank you for the lovely post Lenora,enjoyed reading :)

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  21. Hi, PJ and Lenora! It's so great to see you here together: you are two of my favorite people! I can't wait to read your new book, Lenora, and you already know how much I enjoyed your first one.

    I always say that I have learned more history by reading HR than from any class I have ever taken! There are so many examples I could give, but I'll just say, like PJ,that I also enjoy watching Jeopardy with my family, and I LOVE answering an esoteric question because I learned about it from an HR! They always stare at me and wonder how I come up with these correct responses all the time!

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    1. Hi there Flora!! So lovely to see you here. Isn't PJ the cat's pajamas? Now I wonder where that phrase originated...have to go read some 1920's romance ;) Big hugs! LB

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  22. Hi Lenora! *waves* There's always lots of fun facts from romances, the one I remember reading about is that chocolate was a bitter hot drink like coffee and not so much the sweet treat. It was considered very decadent so only the rich could afford it. Thanks for sharing today!

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    1. Hi Anita! *waves back* You are so right! I researched a lot of drinking chocolate for my first historical romance. Thanks for stopping by!

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  23. So many interesting tidbits I've picked up over the years from reading historical romances! I've learned that there were very specific rules for riding hackneys like only four adult passengers were allowed to ride inside and if the driver agreed on taking more passengers, he was then allowed to charge one shilling per each extra person!

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  24. I've been reading for years and when Trivial Pursuit first came out, I could answer many seemingly obscure questions!!!

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  25. It's fun to see the difference in the meaning of a word between the Us and England. For instance, a biscuit is a cookie in the UK, whereas here it's a breakfast item.

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  26. One of the reasons I read historical romance and fiction is for the interesting little tidbits I can learn thanks to the author's research. I learned about honey being used to promote healing, so wasn't surprised when the vet suggested we use it on one of our dogs. I also learned that it was used to preserve bodies. Only a couple of the many interesting things I learned.

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