Guest Post A Duel for Christmas by Rosanne E. Lortz

Happy Friday eve, dear readers! Today on the blog I am super excited to be hosting author Rosanne E. Lortz! Rosanne is currently on blog tour for her latest release, A Duel for Christmas, and she stopped here today to talk about the Regency Era.

I hope you enjoy the post! Be sure to read all about A Duel for Christmas and enter to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card.

Age Differences in the Regency Era By Rosanne E. Lortz

Tilbury caught her hand in his as they passed in a chain to the next figure in the dance. His green eyes stared into hers intently. “How shall I ever persuade you, Lady Worlington, that I am not like most young men?”

Maud returned the stare. Even the restrained touch of his fingertips was liquefying her resolve. “How? I do not know, but I am willing to be persuaded.”

--A Duel for Christmas

Everyone has an opinion on age differences in relationships. “A man can date someone half his age plus seven years”… “Men can marry younger women, but not vice versa”… “Women should be able to marry younger partners too!”… “Age differences don’t matter anymore in the twenty-first century.”

In my new holiday Regency, A Duel for Christmas, Lady Maud Worlington is five years older than Geoffrey, the Duke of Tilbury. Having previously been in a May-December marriage with a man decades older than herself, she is determined not to make the same mistake again in the other direction. The young duke would grow tired of her, that she is certain. Throughout the story, resourceful Geoffrey must endeavor to convince Maud that he is more than a jealous youth—he is a man able to love her and protect her interests.

The norm for Regency novels written fifty years ago seems to have a naïve teenage heroine swept off her feet by a much-older man who is experienced in the ways of the world. More recent Regency novels, make the heroine older, in her mid-twenties or almost thirty, an intellectual equal with her romantic partner, though perhaps a bit of a spinster because of her unwed status.

But what was the actual norm for the Regency Era? When did women, particularly aristocratic women, marry?

In the latter part of the eighteenth century, the age of consent for marriage was fourteen for boys and twelve for girls. As this was the minimum age, it does not mean that every marriage was between teenagers. Per historian Lawrence Stone, the median age for a highborn young woman’s first marriage during the early Regency period was 23 or 24 years old. This puts Jane Bennet ahead of the curve with her marriage to Bingley at the age of 22, while Lizzie, who married Darcy at the age of 20, is a babe in the woods compared to the average upper-class bride.

The gentlemen, as might be expected, were older. For young men in line to inherit a title, the median age is 29 or 30. Darcy comes just short of that number, being 28 when he meets Lizzie. Bingley, on the other hand, is a mere 22 when he lets Netherfield, at the same age as Jane herself.
To take a more historical example, Lord Byron was 27 when he contracted his ill-fated marriage with Lady Byron who was then 22.

If we examine the marriages of the patronesses of Almack’s (the most famous watering spot in Regency novels), we see a mix of age differences. Lady Jersey married George Villiers when she was the tender age of 19 and he the ripe old age of 31. Lady Cowper married at age 18 to a man who was 27. Both these ladies united themselves with men much older than themselves.

On the other hand, Mrs. Drummond-Burrell was 21 when she hyphenated her name with her 25 year old husband. Lady Castlereagh was 22 to her husband’s 25 years. Here we see a closer age gap, with both parties in their twenties.

Two of the patronesses married abroad before coming to England, so their marriages are perhaps more reflective of age differences on the continent. Countess Lieven was only 14 when she married her 26 year old husband in Russia. Princess Esterhazy, at age 18, was married to an Austrian diplomat who was then 26.

And then there is Lady Sefton, who like my heroine, is a bit older than the man in her life. At the age of 23, Lady Sefton married a younger man of only age 20.

From this anecdotal swathe of data, we can see that although there might be minimum ages and median ages, in a very real sense, none of this information was binding to individual couples. Marriages for love, marriages for position, and marriages for money had many other considerations besides the age of the proposed partner. And while the norm might have been for a lord to be five or six years older than his lady, the variations to that norm are endless and can play out delightfully in the pages of both history and fiction.

Well, that was fascinating! Thank you, Rosanne!

A Duel for Christmas by Rosanne E. Lortz

Publication Date: October 1, 2018
Madison Street Publishing
Paperback & eBook; 383 Pages

Series: Pevensey Mysteries, #3
Genre: Romantic Suspense/Regency

After seven long years in Devon, Lady Maud Worlington returns to London to reclaim life on her own terms, but a nefarious shadow and the prospect of financial ruin dog her steps. An impulsive and unforgettable kiss under the mistletoe creates a connection with Geoffrey, the handsome, young Duke of Tilbury. Yet as pleasant as it is to have a suitor, Maud is not sure how a boy of one-and-twenty can prove an equal partner in life and the equal of all the forces mounted against her.

The Duke of Tilbury considers himself as adept at managing matters as he is at swordplay, but his beautiful new acquaintance Lady Worlington has other ideas about how to manage her complicated life. Intrigued by their stolen kiss, Geoffrey pursues Lady Worlington's affections, only to be foiled by the lady's own doubts, by rivals for her hand, and by a sudden death that affects both their families. When Jacob Pevensey, the investigator from Bow Street enters the scene, the duke becomes a prime suspect in the murder case. Truths are unearthed that Geoffrey would rather keep hidden, and the twelve days of Christmas race toward a perilous end.

This novel takes the medieval events surrounding the sinking of the White Ship and transposes them to Regency London. It is the third book in the Pevensey series, but can be read as a standalone.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

Rosanne E. Lortz is a writer, editor, teacher, history-lover, and mom to four boys. She loves to read, sing, draw, compose, write, and create. Education is one of her passions, particularly a classical, liberal arts education. She has taught English composition and grammar, Latin, history, music, and various other subjects for ten years at both the elementary and secondary level and is currently the Director of Academics and Admissions at Paideia Classical Christian School in Gladstone, Oregon.

Rosanne’s first book, I Serve: A Novel of the Black Prince, was released in 2009. This book explores the tumultuous landscape surrounding the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Death and is a tale of arms, of death, of love, and of honor. In 2015, Rosanne began her Pevensey mysteries, novels of romantic suspense set during the British Regency (with inspiration from medieval characters and events). The first three titles are: To Wed an Heiress, The Duke’s Last Hunt, and A Duel for Christmas.

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Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, October 1
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Tuesday, October 2
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, October 3
Review at Donna's Book Blog

Thursday, October 4
Guest Post at Passages to the Past

Saturday, October 6
Review at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Monday, October 8
Review at A Darn Good Read

Tuesday, October 9
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $20 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

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– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on October 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US addresses only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

A Duel for Christmas

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