What Every Regency Miss Needs to Know -
A Letter from Miss Penelope Rose, Regency Matchmaker
I am so glad you have written to me to tell me of your recent arrival in London this chilly December, 1810. It seems London is more occupied than usual for this time of year due to the early opening of Parliament. I remember my first few months in London when my sisters and I arrived two years ago. Such a dizzying array of amusements! Some lessons, though, were painfully learned and I hope you will not reproach me for a few words of advice from your dearest friend as you enter your first London season.
First, your primary aim upon entering the season is to find a husband. Forgive such a blunt assertion, but I believe in plain speaking. You will be judged primarily by two men in your life–your father and your husband. I am not saying it is right, mind you, personally I find it perfectly ridiculous to weigh the worth of a lady by her connections, but this is the world we live in and we must make the best of it. Your excellent father we cannot do anything about, but your husband is entirely up to you.
I know some ladies will recommend you keep a pretty face, say as little as possible, and let the gentlemen decide whether or not to propose. But of course this is all nonsense. Let the men decide? They have had the run of human governance for hundreds of years now and look what a mess they have made of it. No, you must take your own destiny in hand and lead the course of human affection in its proper direction. Not to say that you cannot fall in love. Only take care to fall in love with a man of good character–and if you can manage it– of healthy fortune.
Unfortunately, due to the war, gentlemen are admittedly scarce, and ones of excellent character and modest habits are doubly difficult to find. Fortunately, in the course of providing assistance to my sisters I have augmented my copy of Debrett's Peerage to include much of what you will need to know in choosing a happy mate. The Dowager Duchess of Marchford, for whom I am now employed as her companion, has suggested we go into business using this book as the basis of a matchmaking enterprise under the name of Madam X. I shall rely on your discretion in this matter, for if the haute ton discovered the matchmaker is none other than myself, it should be such a scandal!
Of course you may have noticed that I myself remain unwed. For good or for ill, it seems I can only use my powers of matchmaking for the good of others and not myself. I am completely resigned now to a life of spinsterhood. Perhaps it is best, for my forthright nature may not have made me a good marriage partner for any but the most self-assured of men. This paragon of manhood I have yet to find, or at least if I have found him, he remains beyond my touch. But enough of such maudlin musings!
Might I suggest you come to tea and we can find you a few candidates for the perfect groom? I hope you will not find this too forward a suggestion, but I believe we can have you credibly settled within a few months if we act decisively. Naturally, we must always act with a high regard to decorum, but I have found a gentleman's affection can be directed down a proper path with some assistance. Of course we must allow the gentlemen to believe they actions were entirely of their own decision, otherwise they become obstinate and difficult to manage.
I must dash for the Duke of Marchford is calling for me. You may think it strange, but I have occasionally been of use to him in his investigations with the Foreign Office. I confess I have enjoyed these excursions more than I should, though whether I enjoy the activity or the duke more, it is difficult to say.
Love and affection,
Ps. Please burn this letter upon receipt. I have glanced over it and realize it would be disastrous were it fall into the wrong hands. I shall rely upon your discretion!
Read more about Penelope and Marchford, in A Winter Wedding now available. To get you started in the series, the first book in the trilogy, Wedding in Springtime is being offered FREE for a limited time, and Midsummer Bride is currently only $1.99.
This adventurous duke...
The Duke of Marchford requires a suitable bride, but catching spies for the Foreign Office takes up most of his time. Not wanting to face another London season as an eligible man, he employs the notorious Madame X to find him a match.
Has met his match
Miss Penelope Rose knows the rules of marriage among members of the ton better than most. Her own unsuccessful attempts at matrimony did not stop her from becoming London’s most exclusive matchmaker. Marchford proves to be a difficult client, but as he draws on her social expertise to help him flush out a dangerous traitor, they find that falling in love may be the riskiest adventure of all.
Amanda Forester holds a Ph.D. in psychology and worked for many years in academia before discovering that writing historical romance novels was decidedly more fun. Whether in the Highland hills or a Regency ballroom, Forester’s critically acclaimed novels offer fast-paced adventures filled with wit, intrigue, and romance. She lives with her supportive husband and naturally brilliant children in the Pacific Northwest.
Mahalo, Penelope, for sharing your letter with my gentle readers! Check out my review of A WINTER WEDDING at this link. I am giving away a book choice from my convention stash to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,
1. What do you like about Winter?
2. Comments are open through Saturday, September 27, 10 pm in Baltimore.
3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 28.
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City