Marissa and I are very pleased to welcome two guest bloggers today, kicking off our week of celebration for the release of Marissa’s Bewitching Season. Ladies?
Priscilla: Perhaps we should start by introducing ourselves to our many fascinated readers. I’m Miss Priscilla Tate, best friend to Lady Emily Southwell, the daughter of the Duke of Emerson, and related to all the finest families in England. Our adventures are chronicled in the book La Petite Four. And you are?
Persephone: My goodness, if you're related to the finest families in England we must be cousins, then. I’m the Honourable Persephone Augusta Caroline Leland. My papa’s Viscount Atherston, and my maternal grandfather is the Duke of Revesby--Mama is his eldest daughter. We live at Mage’s Tutterow, in Hampshire, and I do believe you can learn more about us in Bewitching Season.
Priscilla: And speaking of Seasons, here we are on our first. What did you wear to your debut?
Persephone: Our presentation dresses were white silk…oh, pardon me. When I say ‘our’ I mean my twin sister, Penelope, and me. Mama chose many of our dresses the same but with differing trims so that we wouldn’t be completely alike. They were our first silk dresses...don’t you love the way silk rustles over petticoats?
Priscilla: Absolutely! But a twin sister? What fun! Do tell us what it’s like to have a twin.
Persephone: Only if you can tell me what it’s like not to have one! It must be rather lonely for the rest of you, not to have your best friend near you all the time…and Pen is my best friend, even though we’re often very different. And yes, twins can be completely different…we might have the same hair and eyes and nose and everything, but we’re not the same underneath. Our little brother Chuckles--um, I mean Charles--can always tell us apart, even when we intentionally try to fool him.
Priscilla: What’s your favorite part of the Season?
Persephone: Oh dear…you won’t laugh if I say ‘the end’, will you? I would so much rather stay at home and read and study. Besides, I…well, I don’t much care for all the strangers because I just can’t seem to chat and be sociable, the way my sister can. And besides, they’re dull as ditch water after the tenth or eleventh ball. The one time I tried slipping a book in my reticule before we left for a reception then sneaking into the hostess’s boudoir for the rest of the evening so I could read earned me two scoldings--one from Lady T., whom I surprised in the middle of a rather intimate moment with a gentleman that I’m not entirely sure was Lord T. (he hid his face rather quickly), and one later on from Mama.
But I must admit that I did love the clothes…the dresses and the gloves and slippers and shawls and everything. How can any girl not?
Priscilla: What do you think is the most important thing a young lady should remember on her first Season?
Persephone: There are several things, actually:
a. She should learn how to yawn without opening her mouth.
b. She should practice smiling for months before the Season starts. Do you know how tiring it can be to smile non-stop for two months? My cheeks began to positively cramp after the first few parties.
c. She should be careful about drinking too much brandy punch at the Gilley’s house…or anywhere, for that matter.
Priscilla: Most of us are burdened with practicing the usual pastimes--embroidery, watercolors, singing. You chose something rather unusual--magic. Why?
Persephone: We didn’t choose magic--it chose us. Magic runs in our Papa’s family, but chiefly in the females…and my sister and I were the first Leland daughters in the direct line born since King Henry VIII’s time. We were astoundingly lucky that the governess Mama hired for us, Miss Allardyce, just happened to be a witch as well, though from what I’ve recently learned it may not have been such a coincidence.
And we didn’t just learn magic. Our dear Ally is a very accomplished woman--her father is a bookseller and scholar--so we were taught Latin as well as history and arithmetic and orthography and dancing and drawing. I just wish we could have learned Greek as well. I hope to study it someday. My sister says she wishes we could have been taught to fence, if only to help keep our brother in line.
Priscilla: And I hear you cast love spells. Have you had much success? How would I, er, our readers go about that?
Persephone: My dear Miss Tate, please don’t ask! I didn’t intend to cast that love spell--really I didn’t. But I’d just gotten back from our first party and had consumed rather more of the Gilley’s punch than I should have (Freddy just kept refilling my cup) and I felt so dreadful because I thought Lochinvar Seton was starting to like my sister Pen…not that I’d blame him, because she’s so lively and fun and not at all shy…but I know she wouldn’t care for him in that way, whereas I…well, you know what I mean. And then I found that spell in Ally’s room, and I thought, “Well, why not?” I didn’t understand the “why not” till later: do you want the man of your dreams to love you because he was enchanted into it, or because he really does love you more than anything else in the depths of his soul? Do you see the difference?
Priscilla: Oh, yes! How romantic! And I understand you’re a close personal friend of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. How did that come about?
Persephone: Gracious, I wouldn’t presume that far! But I hope Her Majesty knows how much Pen and I like her as well as revere her. Did you know we all have the same birthday? That’s part of why Pen and I were so fascinated by her, growing up, and were quite excited whenever there was mention of her in the illustrated magazines. And as for how we became friends…it’s not something that I can discuss in public…you see, we all swore mutual silence after the horrifying events and narrowly-averted disaster at Her Majesty’s coming-of-age ball…but Pen and I are thrilled and proud that we were able to be of service to her. I’m sorry to be such a tease, but really, I can’t break my oath.
Priscilla: Well, I for one want to know more! We’ll have to have a little chat another time. And if you all want to know what really happened at Victoria’s birthday ball, how Persy’s love spell ended up, and the other exciting event of the London Season of 1837, you’ll simply have to find a copy of Bewitching Season, available now in bookstores nationwide!
Thank you , my dears! And I quite agree with Priscilla! If you’d like an autographed copy of Bewitching Season, be sure to leave us a comment! Everyone who comments this week will be entered into a drawing for a free copy of Marissa’s delightful debut novel. And she didn’t even wear white silk to write it!