Saturday, November 16, 2013

Dance Dance Dance the Night Away

Dear readers, thank you for the most fun launch party to date! As promised, here are the photos of fabulousness from the famed Engberg Assembly Rooms.

A Sampling of Our Excellent Company
Costumes were not required to celebrate my new Regency romance The Naturalist, but for those of us who never outgrew dress-up, they added much to the spirit of the occasion. Out came eBay dresses, bridesmaid dresses, Goodwill dresses, church choir dresses, items of clothing found deep in the closet--you name it, we wore it.

And the prize for Best Costume goes to...
Dear C here, who is also one of my beta readers, outdid herself, being a woman of many talents. Not only did she hem my eBay 60s maxi dress, but she ordered a pattern for herself and MADE the evening gown you see here. Purple satin with an overdress of gauzy stuff, printed with gold butterflies! Absolutely lovely, and worth every ounce of effort because you can see she won a copy of the Keira Knightley Pride & Prejudice, in which Darcy appears in the infamous "man Capris."

A runner-up for Best Costume was surely admirable R, who ransacked her closet and came up with...drumroll, please...MR. COLLINS!!!!

"You must give me leave to flatter myself, my dear cousin, that your refusal of my addresses is merely words of course."
The evening began with book business, naturally,

Lady M handles the cold, hard cash
and proceeded to the prize drawing:

For one lucky, lucky reader
I didn't want anyone to go home empty-handed, in case she hated The Naturalist, so we distributed some "vintage romances" to a few fortunate readers, as well as a vintage "Royalty" magazine, and a coveted Jane Austen action figure.

"Hear ye, hear ye! Photos from 1991, when all the royals were still alive and married!"
We followed with a chapter reading, in which I am happy to report, no one dozed off, even after a glass of negus.

"She ran her hand over his throbbing-- etc. etc."

Look closely: the Honorable Miss D has a hold of the action figure

Speaking of negus (mulled wine), I pity the one woman who apparently took a swig of the spicy sugar syrup, unmixed with any wine. That must have been quite the shock. Many tasters agreed with my husband that the recipe wasn't bad, but it could have used more sugar.

The orgeat lemonade was a universal hit, however, and should you like to serve it at your next Regency party, I used this recipe for the orgeat syrup and these proportions for the individual drinks. For those of you who never danced at Almack's, orgeat is an almond-flavored concoction, touched with a little orange.

And speaking of dancing, Mr. Beveridge's Maggot was a BLAST! Thank you to all the brave souls who squeezed onto the dance floor, braving furniture, moving bodies, an uncovered outlet, and the eyes of onlookers to learn this famous Austen-era country dance.

Lining up with partners (and the back of C's prize-winning dress!)

Recognize this four-across formation from the Austen movies?
Ye olde Left Hand Turn
Everyone "casting" various directions
Really. It was SO MUCH FUN. I'm dying for another opportunity to dance and lay awake thinking how I might better have explained what couples at the very top and very bottom of the room knew what to do next. (I thought of it, but I'll probably forget by the next party.) Seriously, if you have an occasion--a book party, a birthday party, whatever--and would like to have a dance lesson, I am all over it. Thank you again to the folks at Stately Steps for their so-helpful DVD. I also lay awake thinking I would love to launch a Regency Dance Party business because there are enough period fanatics to go a long, long way.

For those of you who did dance, here's the P&P clip again. Note how Elizabeth and Darcy start at the Top of the room as a First couple. They work their way down the room. When they are at the very bottom, they sit out one set of figures (when Sir William Lucas speaks with them). Then they rejoin the dance, moving UP the room, but this time performing the steps of a Second couple, with the symbolic distance between them on the four-across.

Anyway, thank you again, dear readers, for a wonderful evening. Hope you enjoy the book. If you do, do me a favor and tell a friend or leave a review or star-rating on Goodreads or Amazon! Thank you, thank you, thank you.


  1. Looks terrific!! Congrats on your launch, Christina!

  2. I had such a delightful time! Thank you ever so for your kind invitation. I am most sincerely pleased to report that I shant again see the above scene without reminiscing over the fine time enjoyed, I daresay, by all last evening.

  3. Still thinking of the dance moves and how my instruction might be improved!

  4. Looks like a great time! And I see old-school hard copy books are available for those of us who still use them!

    1. Absolutely, Rebecca (for now). My faithful readers have not all made the transition to ebooks, and it certainly is delightful (if expensive) to see and hold the beautiful physical artifact.