Travelling the roads of Regency England with Louise Allen!

Louise AllenNicola here, and today I am thrilled to welcome Louise Allen back to the Word Wenches! As well as being a hugely popular and award-winning author of historical romance, Louise is a lover of London history and especially the Georgian period, and is the author of Walking Jane Austen's London. Today Louise is talking about how her research has led to her writing two other non-fiction books that are a must for both authors and history-lovers alike: Stagecoach Travel and Following the Great North Road. I can recommend both books very highly indeed and it's a great pleasure to hear from Louise about the background to the books.

Over to Louise:

One of the joys of writing historical romance is the research – and, of course, it is one of the worst temptations as a displacement activity. You look up which inns served the stagecoach route to Bath for one sentence in the novel and the next thing you know it is four hours later, you’ve bought a book of stagecoach timetables (expensive), an 1812 route map (even more expensive) and you are side tracked into wondering what the food was like at the inns in Newbury.

Read more

Ten (fascinating) facts about Gretna Green!

Wedding bellsNicola here, talking today about elopement, Gretna Green and the difference between English and Scottish marriage laws in the Georgian and Regency period.

The Gretna Green marriage is something of a theme in historical romances. A couple from England, desperate to marry, perhaps under 21 years old and opposed by parents or guardians, make a dash for the border. The reason they needed to do this? Under the Marriage Act of 1753 (also known as Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act), clandestine or common-law marriages in England were made illegal. All marriages were required to have an official ceremony performed by a Church of England priest, unless the couple was Jewish or Quaker. The Act also required parental consent for parties under 21 years old and enforced the publication of Banns. This Act also applied in Wales and Ireland. However, it did not apply to Scotland as Scotland was under its own legal system.

Read more