Monday, July 26, 2010

I Want to be Georgette Heyer!

... Or at least I want to be in one of her novels. I don't read multiple works from a single author very often and yet I find myself at the end of a 4th from Ms. Heyer! I can't quite believe it because every time I pick up one of her Regency Romances, I think to myself the same thing "... eh? Am I really in the mood to work this hard?"


I know. It's crazy talk. As if using language that I don't hear every day at the high school where I teach will reveal my illiteracy. I LOVE the books I've read by her so far. Love them. And I find myself in the most fabulous glow when I've finished. Last night, I finished VENETIA.

Venetia is a 25 year old country beauty used to a life of solitude caring for her eccentric father and notoriously brilliant but crippled brother. Worse, she likes this life. However, when the notorious rake, Damerel, takes up residence as her neighbor, she finds their paths crossed and her heart quite lost for the first time in her life. However, it would seem that everyone who has ever cared or even been curious about Venetia is throwing in an iron to make sure that such a horrible mistake is never made. Have I read this plot line before? Of course (I do own every book Julia Quinn ever wrote). So why read this? Because it's LOOOOOOVVVVVVEEELLLY! It is truly romantic in a way most romances routinely miss. Damerel is truly Bryonic and Venetia is a worthy, lovable heroine. I found myself sighing shamelessly to myself.

If you've never read Georgette Heyer, here are five things to remember:

1.) You MUST plow through the first two chapters of "set up". Once you hang in there through Chapter 3, you find yourself trapped.

2.) Be prepared for some serious Regency Romance. Heyer had over 1000 reference books on the period before she died. It never gets in the way of the fun, the jokes or the romance but the woman knows what she's talking about and as a result the characters are characters you take seriously. Even the fools

3.) The newly released soft back covers are beautiful works of art from Romney, Lawrence and other Regency artists. Simply gorgeous.

4.) The women in Heyer's romances are real women, whether they're beautiful, plain, independent or eager to please, you actually like these ladies. They have personalities, strengths and weaknesses. These are girls you can root for. On the flip side -- her men are MEN. They talk like men, react like men and do not, for one minute sound like a WOMAN writing a MAN for her romance novel purposes. Prepare to swoon.

5.) This is my recommendation for starting your journey. Begin with SYLVESTER, then VENETIA,

Follow those with THE FOUNDLING

And end with Bath Tangle. These are the four I've read and I've loved every minute of it! You've got to love authors who take away the real world for just one beautiful moment.

Friday, July 16, 2010

There Still is a Place You Can be the Princess at the Ball

"It was about dusk, one evening during the supreme madness of the carnival season..." -- Cask of Amontillado

Every once in a while, in my responsible life I think... really? This is the most glamourous it's going to get? Don't get me wrong. I love my life. It is the exact reflection of my own choices. I embrace it. But I also embrace the idea of mystery, romance, intrigue and adventure. Not a whole of that going on in the desert.


Now that I'm a grownup, with a real job and my whole life ahead of me... isn't there anywhere we can go to just have a glimpse of total and complete fantasy?

Readers. We can. It's called the Carnival of Venice.

The Carnival of Venice started in the 1300's and was called to a close in the late 1700's by the Austrian government who decided that the dangerous carnival season allowed the Venetians too many privileges. After all, how much trouble can people get into with masks? Well, in the 1300's there was a law passed in Venice stating that people could no longer pretend to be nuns or Priests and enter corresponding abbeys and monasteries. Also, people died during carnival in duels, intrigues, revenge plots. In fact, the Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allen Poe has poor Fortunato being stalked by Montressor. But today's Carnival is no dangerous den of thieves. Every year 30,000 people storm Venice staying in exquisitely glamorous hotels, wearing even more exquisite costumes and masks to participate in week long festivities of Baroque operas, plays and ... the balls! Below is a picture of the Palace of Doge in Venice where the most famous ball takes place. Click on this link for the full details and be prepared to be amazed!

Both men and women go above and beyond fantasy to achieve the perfect Renaissance or Baroque look. Some people spend thousands. Some just rent their costumes at their accommodating hotels prepared for the season.

Below is an example of the most beautiful baroque and renaissance gowns I've found here in the U.S.A, courtesy of Check it out and fall in love!

It's hard to believe a girl can go somewhere so steeped in legend, romance and beauty. It's hard to imagine being able to redefine yourself however you wish for an entire week, divorced of any reality. But, for the right price-- and an extra special dose of adventurous spirit -- it can be ours at the Carnival of Venice.