Lively St. Lemeston
Did you know that I’ve written a series of historical romance novels about Lively St. Lemeston, Miss Oliver’s home at the beginning of the story?
“For the dozenth time, I recounted to Tabby the story of Phoebe Dymond’s whirlwind courtship by a lord’s son. But I really knew very few details, and was forced to draw out such minor points as Mr. Dymond’s gift of a ham…”
Get Nick and Phoebe’s full story in Sweet Disorder!
Lydia Cahill merely watched her husband’s game, arms swallowed by her enormous muff; she would not even blow on his taw for luck until she had demurred for long moments, blushing.
Lydia is much less decorous than she seems, and Ash Cahill’s real name is Cohen. Learn the truth in True Pretenses!
Sukey Toogood’s husband had been a Tassell servant. When the countess had judged him disloyal, she’d sacked him and told all her acquaintance to put him on the black-list. He’d had to take a job in a much smaller home for less pay.
In Listen to the Moon, a maid-of-all-work and a valet of no play marry for convenience!
I twisted open the lid to find a hot cross bun inside. The sweet Easter rolls were lucky, people said…I turned the tin until the cross was only an enigmatic letter X.
Robert and Betsy don’t appear directly in The Wife in the Attic, but they made the hot cross bun! In A Taste of Honey, a perfectionist baker needs his beautiful shop-girl’s help with a big catering order…but she has something sweeter in mind.
If you want to read them all, the boxed set is always the best deal!
View all here, or click an image below to enlarge.
I’ve got several designs up already (including my first onesies!), and more are on their way.
If you have ideas for merch you’d like to see, let me know! I’m also happy to add additional shirt styles, &c., upon request.
Podcasts and videos
- Whoa!mance: Rochesters, ruthless kissing, Charlotte Brontë is queer
- Smart Podcast, Trashy Books: Gothic genre conventions, book recommendations, revenge fantasies
- AMA with Elsa Lepecki Bean, narrator of The Wife in the Attic!! Elsa answers your burning questions, shares her process for creating an ensemble of complementary character voices, and along the way we discuss the social construction of gender, how Elsa’s experience with historical theatrical wardrobe informed her performance, the ambivalence of living with traumatic memories (whether personal or communal), and plans for a spin-off series featuring Elsa’s favorite side character. [WARNING: major major spoilers for the book.]
- The first sentence of Pride & Prejudice in tarot cards: in this highly informal and highly informative video chat, Dr. Angela Toscano and I talk tarot, using the cards to create a narrative, The Wife in the Attic, why Mr. Bingley is the King of Pentacles, plot moppets and bad seeds, fake rakes, hypervigilance, & much, much more!
- The book trailer! Created by Audible. [cw: misogynist slur, antisemitism, EXTREME SPOOKINESS + GOTHIC VIBEZ]
- I read aloud from The Wife in the Attic at Lady Jane’s Salon. (Be prepared for some audio quality issues towards the beginning, sorry about that!)
Watch this space! More coming soon…
You can find ELEVEN deleted scenes at this link! But be warned: HERE BE SPOILERS.
Bibliography coming soon
Patreon posts about my research for Wife:
(All should be public. If any are locked, let me know and I’ll fix it.)
[NOTE: Before it got the title The Wife in the Attic, the book’s working title was The Sea May Burn and before that, Sea Lavender.]
- Women’s trade cards (I also made merch based on Iphigenia’s trade card!)
- A sneak peek at my weather and timeline spreadsheet for Wife
- Scandalous ballads and broadsides
- Growing strawberries in Regency England
- The Rye church (none of this research made it into the final draft, which feels very meta—you’ll understand why when you read the post—but you WILL spot it in one of the deleted scenes 😘)
- Regency names for sea creatures, discovered while researching sea urchins
- Regency guitars and Vulcan harps
- Amulets and good luck charms
Some of my most useful research bookmarks:
- All Things Georgian: “A cup of tea anyone, made the 18th century way?”
- “Sir Hugh of Lincoln — From History to Nursery Rhyme” [pdf] by Karl Heinz Göller [cw: antisemitism, blood libel]
- “Historic window shutters”: article by Linda Hall reproduced from The Building Conservation Directory, 2007
- Video: 18th Century Lighting at Jas Townsend and Son — a demonstration of various types of lamps and lanterns
- All Things Georgian: “Georgian warming pans and foot warmers”
This is just a partial selection. If you have questions about a particular topic or historical element in the book, I’m happy to answer! You can get in touch using the Contact form on this site, or email me directly at [email protected]
Music and sound references
Miss Oliver is a musician, so I thought a lot about music and sounds as I was writing. Here are some songs and audio references I used while writing. Some (like the lullabies, the Bach, and the sound of the sea) I returned to again and again.
- Bach classical guitar music
- Portuguese lullaby with rhythmic knocking/beating like the one Lady Palethorp sings: “Cançao de Embalar”
- Another Portuguese lullaby: “Aurora teve um menino” (Aurora has given birth to a son)
- Music of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue (1960). The description is annoying but the recording is great.
- Joan Baez sings “The Cherry Tree Carol” (a favorite of mine as a child, as well)
- “The Season Round”, a Southern English harvest song, performed by the Young Tradition
- 18th-century Portuguese Love Songs, an album from L’Avventura London, Žak Ozmo (director), by Hyperion Records. #4, “Foi por mim, foi pela sorte” is one that I reference in the book.
- The sound of the ocean on Winchelsea’s shingle beach.
For the final song, I considered a few options including “The Turtle Dove” [lyrics, recording] and “Sprig of Thyme”/“Seeds of Love” [lyrics (scroll down), recording], before settling on “Red Rosey Bush”.
My own favorite recording of “Red Rosey Bush” is by Milt Okun and Ellen Stekert on the album “Traditional American Love Songs” from Riverside, but I can’t find it streaming anywhere. This version by Nancy Rhoades is quite lovely, although it has rather a more cheerful vibe.