The Perfect Gentleman- Guest Post & Giveaway

Good Afternoon everyone,

I’m very happy to receive author Julie Cooper today with a guest post that I absolutely loved! She  has just released a novel called The Perfect Gentleman, and in it Elizabeth Bennet has to travel through England, so Julie Cooper decided to talk to us about travelling in the Regency Era. This is a topic that I find very interesting and every time I go to the UK I try to imagine what it would be like to travel in those days. I try to imagine how inns were run and how the changing of the horses would occur. I imagine how carriages were on the inside and where would they put all their belongings, etc.

I love this topic so much that I actually spend lots of time reading about it online, so you may imagine how much I loved Julie Cooper’s post! I hope you enjoy it too, and that you share your thoughts on it with us.

 


’Tis no secret that Lizzy Bennet has dreams. Uniquely talented, as the daughter of a mother with a certain reputation, Lizzy knows she must make her own way in a world that shuns her.

Fitzwilliam Darcy carries the stains to his family’s honour upon his soul, and only by holding himself to the strictest standards has he reclaimed his place in society. If his fifteen-year-old sister cannot be found quickly, scandal may destroy years of perfect behaviour.

Darcy has Secrets.

Lizzy has Clues.

Lizzy is willing to join the pursuit to get what she wants; Darcy is willing to trust her to get what he needs.

Until the search for Georgiana reveals more than either expected to find.

 

 

You can find The Perfect Gentleman at:

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

 

 

 

.


In my book, The Perfect Gentleman, Elizabeth Bennet finds herself on a Regency road trip across England. During the course of her adventure, she uses several different forms of transportation. She begins the journey in a rented hack; Darcy, who is used to his finely furnished vehicle, looks upon it with contempt, but it was, actually, quite comfortable in comparison to the stagecoach or “post” (referring to the posting inns where transportation could be purchased), and The Royal Mail—Lizzy refers to it simply as “the mail.”

The mail was the fastest form of transport, travelling at a ten mile per hour clip, because they did not have to pay tolls and kept to a rigid timetable. Unsurprisingly the mail it carried was the priority, not the passengers. By law, only four passengers were permitted inside the mail coach—remarkably roomy travelling conditions—but the fast speed and limited stops on early 19th century roads were difficult for many. Travelling by post was cheaper; most coaches held four to six passengers, but atop was a different story, and as many as were willing to brave the elements were allowed. Occasionally coaches overturned due to top-heaviness, and passengers up top were known to freeze or fall to their deaths.

Both post and the mail stopped to change horses every seven to ten miles, and a guard sounded a horn as they neared the inns so that the stableboys would be ready, like race car drivers pulling into the pit! Some sources state that these horse changes could be accomplished in just a few minutes, and especially in the case of the Royal Mail, one to three minutes was expected. I took poetic licence with both the post and the mail, combining the two experiences for Lizzy: she rode “atop” the mail coach and experienced the discomforts of the speed and the crowding of the post. However, at least some of her horse changes took a few minutes longer, so she could accomplish her detective work! But all of the inn names in The Perfect Gentleman existed in the towns as noted, and were actual posting stops.

In Regency times, when even walking alone was frowned upon for a gentlewoman, travelling alone by post was considered “fast” and unacceptable. The most respectable inns would expect a lady to be accompanied by at least a maidservant. Lizzy has to do some fast thinking to gain admission to one such inn, The Talbot, in Stamford!

One turn of the century manuscript, “The Coaching Era” by Violet Wilson, describes commercial travel in this poem:

 

A horn now told the near approach

Of some convenient, rapid coach;

 

And soon a vehicle and four

Appear’d at the Red Lion door:

 

Into his place the Doctor pounc’d:

The Coachman smack’d, and off they bounc’d.

 

A red-faced man, who snor’d and snorted,

A lady, with both eyes distorted,

 

And a young Miss of pleasing mien,

With all the life of gay sixteen.

 

A sudden jolt their slumbers broke;

They started all, and all awoke;

When Surly-boots yawn’d wide, and spoke,

 

“We move,” said he, “confounded slow!”

“La, Sir,” cried Miss, “how fast we go!”

 

While Madam, with a smirking face,

Declar’d it was o’ middling pace,

 

“Pray, what think you, Sir?” — “I agree,”

Said simp’ring Syntax, “with all three.

 

“Uphill, our course is rather slow,

“Down hill, now merrily we go!

 

“But when ’tis neither up nor down.

“It is a middling pace, I own.”

 

“O la!” cried Miss, “the thought’s so pretty!”

“O yes!” growled Red-face, “very witty!”

 

The Lady said, “If I can scan

“The temper of the gentleman,

 

“He’s one of those, I have no doubt.

“Who love to let his temper out.

 

“But we who — these stages roam,

“And leave our coach-and-four at home,

 

“Deserve our lot when thus we talk

“With those who were ordain’d to walk.”

 

My research for The Perfect Gentleman taught me—no matter the means of transport—travelling during the Regency era was no easy ride!


 

Julie Cooper, a California native, lives with her Mr Darcy (without the arrogance or the Pemberley) of nearly forty years, two dogs (one intelligent, one goofball), and Kevin the Cat (smarter than all of them.)  They have four children and three grandchildren, all of whom are brilliant and adorable, with the pictures to prove it. She works as an executive at a gift basket company and her tombstone will read, “Have your Christmas gifts delivered at least four days before the 25th.”  Her hobbies are reading, giving other people good advice, and wondering why no one follows it.


 

You can win a $50 Amazon gift card from Quills & Quartos Publishing! The contest ends on November 13. To be eligible, just comment on any of the blog tour stops and Quills & Quartos will select a random winner from the comments. You need not visit all the stops (one point per stop and comment), however, it does increase your chances of winning by earning more entries. Please check the Quills & Quartos Facebook to find out about winners.

Good Luck Everyone!


45 Comments

October 31, 2019 · 3:12 pm

45 responses to “The Perfect Gentleman- Guest Post & Giveaway

  1. Mary D

    Hi Rita,

    I love the enthusiasm that you so openly display when you speak of a new author or a book you’ve happily stumbled upon. 😊

    I’ve heard great things about this one as the reviews have been glowing.

    Why,I ask, has Lizzy been shunned,what has happened to warrant such scandal and what circumstances have arisen that see her helping Mr Darcy in his hour of need?
    Intriguing,indeed!!!

    I’m looking forward to delving into this book.
    Thank you,Rita,for bringing this book to our attention.
    Best of luck to Ms Cooper in her future writing endeavours. ☘️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rita is so very gracious, isn’t she? Lizzy lives in a VERY different social sphere than Darcy, and yet, she has had at least secondhand access to a lady’s education. Since she is very bright, and very intrepid, she is not one to overlook an opportunity such as Darcy–and his sister–provide.
      Thank you Mary for your kind remarks!

      Like

  2. Glynis

    Thank you Rita and Julie! I’m not sure I would particularly enjoy travelling in Regency times (unless it was with Mr Darcy 🥰)
    However, since they built a new relief road to Manchester Airport, traffic round here is agonisingly slow at times! Last week a twenty minute journey to see my Mum took me an hour and a quarter! I think travelling post would have been faster 😉
    It may have been due to some event that Darcy was hosting as, when I drove past Lyme Park there were signs that the car park was full and a line of cars waiting to turn in when one came out! I’m a little disappointed that he forgot to invite me 🤔😂.
    Anyway, I look forward to reading of Elizabeth’s travels especially if Darcy is with her 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would love to visit England someday! Think how fast that drive would go if we could chat the whole time about our Favorite Couple!!
    Thanks Glynis!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree! This is a brilliant article. I always want to go back to the U.K.—and this entire piece stirred the imagination.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post, Julie, packed with research and a wonderful use of “fast” in all its regency iterations. Thank you for the poem, too. And big thanks to Rita for her gracious hosting!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. alexandrariverstories

    A very interesting post!
    Ten miles per hour by the fastest form of transport? No wonder Elizabeth likes walking!
    Thank you, ladies, for the giveaway!
    Have fun today! (For those who celebrate Halloween 😉 )

    Like

  7. Rose

    Here is a subject that has always interested me!

    Did your research show how horses were returned after being left at a posting station? Example: Darcy leaves Pemberley needing to travel fast. He exchanges his superior team at the post. How does he retrieve his own horses?

    And do the “post” horses need to be returned to the posting station where they were acquired? Are all the post stations owned by the same entity so that horses can just be moved from place to place until they are worn out?

    And who pays if a horse is injured during a rental period? Is the person who rented the horse required to pay the post station for its value?

    As you can see, I’m a horse lover and always concerned for their welfare!

    On another note, I read an ARC of your book and LOVED IT!

    Like

    • I am so happy you liked the book Rose! Horses were always returned–since teams were changed within a dozen miles of the rental, they would never be too far away from home. This is another occasion that I took poetic license–my understanding is that carriage rental horses were nearly always accompanied by a postilion, who had basic responsibility for them. I had no use for a postilion and ignored his necessary presence in The Perfect Gentleman. But basically, I’ve heard the posting system compared to U-haul, with arrangements made between posting inns to get their stock back. The mails had their posting inn arrangements nailed down with multiple inns. Only someone who travelled frequently would actually keep horses staged along his route–mostly one’s own horses took the first leg of the journey and then were kept stabled there until the return (or until a groom was sent for them.) And they had their protocols! There is also plenty of evidence of rental horses. A man named Hobson owned a stable from which people could rent horses. He insisted the renter had to take the next horse due up, no matter the condition, hence the phrase, “Hobson’s Choice.” I think a basic tenet of the system was that it took a certain amount of wealth to have the means to rent horses, which lent a certain amount of trustworthiness to the renter. As for who pays if injured, good question! Anyone out there know the answer??

      Like

      • Rose

        Thanks for the info — it makes sense that the horses never were exchanged very far from their home post. Also, I had no idea about Hobson’s Choice. Very Interesting!

        Like

  8. Josh Cooper

    Very good read!!

    Like

  9. Such an interesting post. Thanks for sharing your research with us. This book sounds wonderful and I’m so happy to be given the chance to win a copy.

    Like

  10. I would want my own carriage with just a maid to see to my comfort and lots of footmen to see to my safety

    Like

  11. Beatrice

    I bought the book because of its positive reviews, although I’d found the novel’s blurb/description on Amazon off-putting. The glowing reviews were if anything too mild in their praise of this wonderful book. I stayed up until 6 am reading it, then thought about it instead of sleeping; IMHO Julie Cooper, not Macbeth, hath murdered sleep. Loved every bit of The Perfect Gentleman; it’s among the very best P&P pastiche.
    Re travel: I once went to Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum, where I was delighted to find a display of postilion boots. They’re really tall, thick & heavy so horses can’t crush the post boy’s feet or legs as he sits on one of the horses pulling the coach. I’ve tried in vain to paste in a picture of the boots. Instead I will post a link for another tale of approximately Regency travel, The Memoirs of Mr Clifford, penned by a young Jane Austen: http://www.jausten.it/jajuv107.html

    Like

    • BAHAHAHA! “I can only remember that he had a Coach, a Chariot, a Chaise, a Landeau, a Landeaulet, a Phaeton, a Gig, a Whisky, an italian Chair, a Buggy, a Curricle and a wheelbarrow.”
      Thank you for your very, very kind words, Beatrice, and I would be extremely grateful if you would say the same on Amazon! And now I am off to research postilion boots…my Pinterest TPG board needs a picture! Thank you for an enlightening post!

      Like

  12. Mary Preston

    I am loving the fact that “Darcy has Secrets.”.

    Like

  13. Great premise and wonderful post! Loved all the information on Regency travel. Not an easy ride by any stretch of the imagination!!

    Loved the intriguing premise too. Congrats on the new release, Julie. Can’t wait to read it!

    Like

  14. Sophia Rose

    I think I’d get ‘coach’ sick riding in or worse, on top of one of the posting coaches, but I guess you gotta do what you gotta do for travel. LOL
    Loved learning all that, Julie, and look forward to reading about Lizzie’s ingenuity on her traveling adventure.

    Like

  15. Lucy S Marin

    Very interesting post. I remember how much you put into figuring out their route etc. way back when! 🙂

    Like

  16. BeckyC

    Great post. I quite intrigued by this unique variation! Enjoying following the tour.

    Like

  17. Lisa Sieck

    I just love your book Julie. I think your writing is superb and the premise of is awesome. It really is a page turner. It sucks you right in and once you start you just can’t stop. So well written. Who needs sleep anyway? It’s so overrated. 🙂 And I love all the regency knowledge you’ve shared in this post. Just fascinating. It’s amazing to think of all the research it takes to get those details just right. And it totally shows in your book. I felt like I was on a real regency road trip! Good stuff from beginning to end!

    Like

  18. KateB

    I loved the post Julie and I’m looking forward to reding this book. Congratulations.

    Like

  19. Charlotte

    Oh I love poetry, what a fun read!! This new book sounds lovely btw 😀 I think it must have been a great adventure to travel back then 🙂

    Like

  20. Buturot

    Enjoyed the poem, thank you for sharing. I guess I am all curiosity how EB retains some respect of she is to travel with FD to find GD. Can’t ait to find out what they’ll do.

    Like

  21. evamedmonds

    It is easy to understand why many people didn’t travel due to the expense and comfort. I cannot imagine riding outside as I would fear falling asleep and rolling off. Thank you for this interesting post.

    Like

  22. Agnes

    I look forward to reading this! Travel romance (at least, getting acquainted during the troubles and discomforts of travel) is a favourite of mine, even without the other unique aspects of this book.

    Like

  23. Although I know some of the ways people in Regency era travel, it is quite refreshing to be reminded about this fact again. Thank goodness we are technologically advanced now and have the comfort and convenience to get from one place to another.

    Like

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