It is a truth rarely acknowledged—at least in public—that a wealthy widow is free to pursue a great many adventures.
Welcome to the January 24th stop on the blog tour for The Widow Wore Plaid by Jenna Jaxson with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts & interviews, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
Widow’s Weeds: Mourning Dress in Regency England
Having written about widows during the Regency period for many years now, I’ve done quite a bit of research in the period regarding how a woman’s life changed once her husband died. My Widows’ Club books each show the different challenges a widow faced as she was trying to recover from the ultimate life-changing event.
One of the first things a woman did after becoming a widow was to go into a year-long period of mourning for her husband, whether or not she truly mourned him. During that time, she rarely went out in public, wore black crape clothing, and could not marry. In the upper classes, this was in part to show respect for the man she’d been married to, but partly it was to make certain the woman wasn’t pregnant and possibly carrying the heir to a title.
For the first six months of her mourning period, the widow was required to be clothed completely in black (considered “full mourning”), including a veil, to designate her desolation at the loss of her husband. The colloquial term for these garments was “widow’s weeds.” The widow’s gowns must be made of a material called crape, or mourning crape, touted for its dull, matte finish that kept it from having any shine at all. The weight of the fabric was similar to gauze and it was used in multiple layers to swathe the wearer and proclaim her status to anyone who saw her. A cheaper substitute fabric was bombazine, a combination of silk and wool that also had a matte or dull sheen to it.
After six months, a widow was allowed to change to “half mourning” garments, lighter fabrics in lighter colors, and the palette changed over the next six months, so as the widow came closer to the end of mourning, her outward appearance also signaled this change. A deep violet was the first color a widow was allowed to wear, passing after several months to lavender, and finally to gray. After this, the widow was allowed to resume normal clothing, although muted colors were perhaps expected for some little time after the year and a day. And some widow, who genuinely grieved their husband’s loss, would extend their mourning period to eighteen or twenty-four months before returning to society in full.
About the Book
The Widow Wore Plaid
The Widows’ Club Book Six
by Jenna Jaxon
Published 28 December 2021
Genre: Historical Romance
Page Count: 352
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
The Battle of Waterloo made them widows, but each has found new happiness. And Jane, Lady John Tarkington, intends to keep her freedom, even if love—and one particular gentleman—are determined to claim her heart . . .
It is a truth rarely acknowledged—at least in public—that a wealthy widow is free to pursue a great many adventures. For two years, Jane has privately enjoyed her independence. Why should she remarry, even when the gentleman proposing is as wonderful as Gareth, Lord Kinellan? She entreats him never to ask her again. But as her Widows’ Club friends—now all joyfully remarried—gather at Castle Kinellan, Jane begins to wonder if stubbornness has led her to make a terrible mistake . . .
Kinellan needs a wife to give him an heir, and he wants that wife to be Jane. They are perfect together in every way, yet she continually refuses him. Just as he is on the point of convincing her, a series of accidents befall Gareth and point to an enemy in their midst. He has promised Jane a passionate future filled with devotion, but can he keep them both alive long enough to secure it?
Parched, Gareth headed for the refreshment table that had been set up sufficiently far from the dancing to be out of danger. Footmen were stationed at each end to help keep those who might have imbibed too much from crashing into the table. He grabbed a cup of ale and drank thirstily until the tankard was empty. Setting it back on the table, he then took a glass of rich, red wine and sipped more moderately before heading back to the dancing.
He skirted the dancing couples, where Lathbury was heying with Jane, who was now flagging a bit. Two sets of fast-paced Scottish dancing was hardly comparable to the more staid English country dances. One actually had time—and breath—to converse during those. The faster paced Scottish tempos demanded stamina and good wind.
A young couple ran laughing in front of him. Smiling at the gaiety of the pair, Gareth backed out of their way, toward the blazing bonfire, his gaze still on Jane’s entrancing form. She did cut a delightful figure when dancing.
A passerby jostled his elbow, but he managed to save most of his wine. He spun toward the ungraceful lout when someone else shoved him harder.
The jolt propelled Gareth, already off balance, backward, directly into the flames of the roaring bonfire.
Desperately windmilling his arms to regain his balance, Gareth fought the sickening, helpless feeling of falling backward. Searing heat on the back of his head and jacket grew greater with each passing second, telling him his efforts to right himself would be in vain. God help him, but this would be a fiery end.
About the Author
Jenna Jaxon is a best-selling author of historical romance, writing in a variety of time periods because she believes that passion is timeless. She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager. A romantic herself, Jenna has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise. She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories.
She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets–including two vocal cats, one almost silent cat, two curious bunnies, and a Shar-pei beagle mix named Frenchie.
Jenna Jaxon will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B&N gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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