Dec 262017
 

Hello, dear readers! I hope all of you who celebrate enjoyed a very Happy Christmas!  Mr. Bingley and I had a lovely holiday break so far – lots of time together, and we enjoyed spending the whole of yesterday with my family! Here is a little after-Christmas treat for you – a lovely guest post from Victoria Kincaid!!  I absolutely adored Ms. Kincaid’s Christmas novella A Very Darcy Christmas last year.  I can’t wait to read her newest release – Christmas at Darcy House.  Victoria is here to share a little about the tradition of mistletoe and an excerpt from Christmas at Darcy House!! 

Thank you for hosting me, Meredith! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and all your readers.

While some Regency Christmas traditions are familiar to us, many of them are not ones we practice today. Few people try to keep a Yule log burning all night, for example. However, one tradition that has survived is mistletoe, although today’s version is likely to be artificial.

The practice of gathering mistletoe began in the second century BC in ancient Britain, when the Druids saw it as a symbol of good fortune and fertility. But mistletoe did not come to be associated with kissing until the 18th century. Balls of mistletoe, tied with ribbon, would be hung in doorways and from ceilings. An unmarried woman could not refuse a kiss if she was underneath the mistletoe.

With every kiss, a man would pluck one of the mistletoe berries, and when there were no more berries, the ball was retired for the year. The superstition was that women who were never kissed could not expect to get married in the coming year. Mistletoe was not readily available in every part of England, so people would frequently send it to relatives or friends in parts of the country where it did not grow.

During the Regency era people also decorated their houses with “kissing boughs,” evergreens bound together (often in a circle) by wire and adorned with apples, candles, and paper flowers—sometimes even wax dolls to represent the nativity.

Both the kissing tradition of mistletoe and the kissing boughs represent a tradition that (to me at least) seems contradictory to many Regency social mores. At a time when an unmarried man and unmarried woman should never be alone together, it seems odd that they would decorate their houses with ornaments that basically demanded that people break these taboos. (Although the tradition does provide useful plot points for Regency romance writers!) I wonder if people during the Regency felt that the rules were so strict that they needed opportunities to loosen up—in socially sanctioned ways.

Whatever the reason, mistletoe was an important part of Regency Christmas celebrations—and intriguingly a tradition that continued from the second century B.C. to today.

~ An Excerpt from Christmas at Darcy House ~

Ordinarily Darcy would have been eager to continue with their plans, but Elizabeth Bennet’s fine eyes drew his gaze like a lodestone. Over the past month he had convinced himself that he had exaggerated her beauty in his memory. That distance and separation would lessen his ardor for the woman. Now he was dismayed to discover he was wrong.

Bingley inquired about a mutual acquaintance. Elizabeth replied, and a conversation was engaged that required the two men to take seats in the drawing room. Miss Bingley made a sour face—she was eager to separate her brother from any of the Bennet family—but Darcy could not have been more pleased.

Elizabeth’s dark curls, her delicate lips, her light and pleasing figure—everything about her was as uniformly charming as always. Not only could Darcy fail to remove his eyes from her person, but he found himself wishing she would occasionally glance at him instead of Bingley.

Naturally she is looking at Bingley; they are conversing about events in Hertfordshire, and she would like to secure him for her sister. But this awareness did not help to dispel Darcy’s disquiet over her persistent attentions to his friend.

Evidently Miss Bingley was also discomfited by the conversation, for she inserted herself into it rather abruptly. “How fortunate you are, Miss Bennet, to be in London during Christmastide. It is delightful. December in Hertfordshire, I would imagine, is rather…brown.”

Elizabeth blinked. Between one moment and the next a cold fury blazed in her eyes. Miss Bingley remained oblivious, but Darcy recognized the danger.

“Is that why your party departed Netherfield so suddenly?” Elizabeth asked in a deceptively innocent tone. “It was excessively brown for your tastes?”

Bingley had already given his sister a quelling glare over her snide tone; now he hastened to respond. “No. Of course not! I-I simply had pressing business back here in town.”

Elizabeth pursed her lips. “I hope it was concluded satisfactorily?”

Bingley relaxed into his chair, believing the disaster averted. “It was.”

Oh no. Bingley cannot see the trap she laid for him. “Then we shall expect the pleasure of your company back in Netherfield soon?” Bingley appeared to choke on his tongue, and his sister’s face turned a sickly red.

She knows. She knows there was something behind our departure beyond the all-purpose excuse of “business.” Darcy should be chagrined that his party had been caught being less than correct. He should be appalled that Elizabeth was drawing attention to it.

Instead he experienced an obscure sense of pride. In effect she had forced Bingley to admit they had lied, twisting the knife effortlessly. Even Caroline Bingley could not best Elizabeth at this game.

Out of loyalty to Bingley—not to mention his own sense of self-preservation—Darcy should not have focused so much attention on Elizabeth Bennet. However, his eyes had too long been starved for the sight of her face; it was like drinking water after a long trek in the desert.

Miss Bingley had recovered a modicum of her composure. “You would not have us leave town at Christmastide, would you?”

“I understood most families preferred to be in the country at Christmas.” Elizabeth remarked with wide, “innocent” eyes.

Darcy experienced a sudden fit of coughing. Elizabeth was quite correct. London at yuletide was not fashionable, although enough families of the ton remained to create some society. The Bingleys no doubt would have preferred Netherfield if not for the desire to separate Bingley from Jane Bennet.

“London has its pleasures as well at this time of year,” Miss Bingley said through gritted teeth. “There are…er…mummers, and clowns at the Drury Lane Theatre, and Astley’s Amphitheatre has a special Christmas show.”

Miss Bingley could not possibly be intending to partake in any of those entertainments. Such low-brow delights were entirely beneath her notice.

“And we have been invited to any number of balls and dinners and card parties,” she concluded with a sniff to remind Elizabeth Bennet that she had not been invited to such events.

“How lovely,” Elizabeth responded brightly. “No doubt you shall pass a happy Christmastide here. Many consider the company in Hertfordshire to be quite confined and unvarying.”

Oh, that was a shot across Darcy’s bow. Her mother had taken exception when Darcy used that phrase to describe Hertfordshire. Elizabeth shot him a sly look, perhaps daring him to object, but he did not even frown at her. Instead, he was too busy suppressing a grin.

“That is not why— We did not leave because— ! I found Netherfield, indeed all of Hertfordshire, quite charming.” Bingley insisted earnestly. “I am eagerly anticipating my return—even if my sisters choose not to accompany me.”

Miss Bingley narrowed her eyes at her brother, but did not respond.

“We would be quite happy to see you there!” Elizabeth exclaimed. “Although, of course, we would miss your sisters exceedingly.” Her tone implied the opposite. “But my whole family would be quite pleased, Mr. Bingley.” Was she deliberately leaving Darcy out of this oblique invitation? No. I am being overly sensitive. She is simply making a point to Bingley’s sisters.

“And what about you, Mr. Darcy?” Miss Bingley inquired. “No doubt you and Georgiana shall be departing for Pemberley ere long.”

Darcy had not, in fact, decided where they would pass Christmastide. Georgiana had been hoping they would stay in London since some of her friends were remaining, but in general he preferred Pemberley during the holidays. London could be bleak and dirty. However, it could offer one thing that Pemberley could not: Elizabeth Bennet.

“We will be remaining in London,” Darcy heard himself saying.

~~~

Thank you so much for sharing, Victoria!  I agree with you that the traditions of kissing boughs and mistletoe do seem a little bit contradictory to the Regency era.  Maybe it is like you said, this is the one allowable time to bend the rules of propriety a little.  It would definitely make the Christmastide season more exciting for young lovers! 😉  I loved this teasing excerpt you shared – Elizabeth is my hero!  I love how she always knows what to say!  And I love that Mr. Darcy admires her for it!  Can’t wait to see what happens next in Christmas at Darcy House!

Connect with Victoria

Website     Blog    ❧    Twitter    ❧    Facebook 

GIVEAWAY TIME!!!

Today, Victoria brings with her ONE copy (paperback or ebook – winner’s choice!) of her newly released novel, Christmas at Darcy House, for me to giveaway to ONE lucky winner!

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment, a question, or some love for Victoria!!

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Victoria!
  • This giveaway ends December 31st!
Follow My Reviews!

No spam guarantee.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )

  50 Responses to “Excerpt + Giveaway with Author Victoria Kincaid!!!”

  1.  

    I am currently reading President Darcy! Enjoying it. Looking forward to reading Christmas at Darcy House.
    Have a great week.
    Becky B.

  2.  

    Loved this excerpt! Elizabeth certainly knows how to ‘twist’ that knife to great effect! I can only imagine how Darcy will be able to redeem himself in her eyes! Maybe he can ‘plan’ being under the mistletoe when Elizabeth is about to leave the room?! Then let’s see the ‘sparks’ that creates!

  3.  

    I love this excerpt, Darcy’s pride in Elizabeth’s wit is wonderful. It’s a shame she doesn’t seem to see it. I’m looking forward to reading this book. I have a list of books to buy as soon as I get the chance and this and President Darcy are definitely included.
    Thank you for sharing. Enjoy the rest of the week and Happy New Year.

  4.  

    I loved all the info about mistletoe and the excerpt! Cannot wait to read this tale!

  5.  

    I enjoyed this captivating excerpt and would love this treasure of a book.

  6.  

    It sounds great, just the book to read to start the new year off right; thanks for the chance 🙂
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  7.  

    Now Elizabeth needs to get Bingley tied down to a date for his return and she will have totally beaten Caroline and Darcy

  8.  

    Enjoyed this excerpt and look forward to reading it all! Thank you for the giveaway.

  9.  

    So glad you had such a great time, Meredith! Thanks for the lovely post and excerpt, Victoria. Best of luck with the new release and wishing you both a wonderful New Year!

  10.  

    Oh yes, Meredith. What a neat little post Christmas treat. Mwahaha….ooooooo…would I EVER love to have the quick wit and perfectly polite put-down abilities that you give Elizabeth here it this excerpt. Wow, gotta read this one. Good luck to everyone in the giveaway, including ME! Excellent tease of an excerpt. Happy Holidays to you too, Victoria.

  11.  

    I have read any number of Victoria’s book and enjoyed them all. (I believe I have read 8.) I plan to read this one – win or not. It sounds delightfully intriguing. Love Elizabeth’s baiting the trap. Thanks for sharing and your lovely review.

  12.  

    Oh, good barbs, Elizabeth. Poor Caroline doesn’t even realize what has just occurred. So, if Darcy stays in town, how will he continue to meet with Elizabeth? Thank you for the excerpt and giveaway.

  13.  

    Thank you for the mini history lesson and excerpt. I have often wondered about the customs when It came to mistletoe. I love the interaction with Elizabeth and Caroline. I wish I was that quick of mind.

  14.  

    I was very much amused by Darcy’s enjoyment and pride in Elizabeth’s well-mannered “attacks” against Miss Bingley, Mr. Bingley, and even himself. A conversation with Elizabeth is rarely boring, especially when she has a goal in mind, such as assisting her dearest Jane in attaining happiness at last.

    Thank you for this lovely excerpt and give-away, Victoria!! And thank you for hosting, Meredith!

  15.  

    Great read / Merry Christmas!

  16.  

    I love seeing Darcy’s conflicted emotions about Elizabeth and Bingley and also seeing Elizabeth putting Caroline subtly down!
    Thank you for the giveaway!

  17.  

    Oh I love watching Elizabeth in action. Poor Bingley and his sister didn’t stand a chance and Mr. Darcy knew it. Yep… they have been found out. Point for Miss Elizabeth. Thanks for this excerpt. I have this on my wish list. I am looking forward to reading it. Blessing on the remainder of the Holiday Season and Happy New Year.

  18.  

    Best of luck with the new book and Happy New Year to you and yours.

  19.  

    Everything to love and enjoy thank you.

  20.  

    Just missed Christmas! Thanks for the excerpt and giveaway

  21.  

    LOL, I can imagine Darcy and Caroline and mistletoe, it would be fun. Caroline should have known better than to challenge Elizabeth. Congratulations Victoria.

  22.  

    such a lovely book cover!

    denise

  23.  

    I love mistletoe, but despite having a (plastic yeah horrible I know) sprig hanging above my door , have yet to be the reason a berry is picked from it. This book sounds lovely and I would be thrilled to be able to read it.

  24.  

    Nice, another chance to win, thanks!
    Happy New Year everyone!

  25.  

    Oh I do enjoy Victoria’s writing. I have quite a few her novels (quick check of my kindle says I have 7!) but this isn’t one of them.
    I enjoy them all but most recently President Darcy made me miss my train stop and even be late for work, so enjoyable was the read.

    Thank you!

  26.  

    Like Meredith, I admire Elizabeth’s wit to turn the conversation around and called out the Bingleys’ white liar. She certainly knows what to say politely without sounding rude. Thank you for offering the giveaway, Victoria.

  27.  

    Thank you for the giveaway and I hope you had a very Happy Christmas! I enjoyed reading your excerpt from the new book as well as the information about mistletoe and kissing boughs. I was vaguely familiar with mistletoe but had not heard about kissing boughs before. Your books always sound so fun and I have loved the ones I have read so far and look forward to reading more of them in the future.

  28.  

    Thank you for the giveaway, Victoria. I enjoyed the excerpt, and look forward to enjoying the whole thing. I hope you enjoyed our token snow yesterday.

Your conversation and participation are always welcome; please feel free to "have your share."

%d bloggers like this: