The Regency Storybook by Lesley-Anne McLeod

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England in the early 19th century: a place of extraordinary happenings. War on the continent and political upheavals at home buffeted the lives of ordinary people, while arts and literature flourished under the Prince Regent and a glittering group of aristocrats led high society. It was a period of tumultuous change.

The twelve short stories in this book follow fictional Regency characters facing the challenges of everyday life while brushing up against momentous historical events. Young Miss Phoebe Churcham is unwittingly caught up in the assassination of the prime minister. The publication of a literary classic causes problems for Sir Aubrey Granthorpe. Imogen Rush, Dowager Marchioness of Lavington, visits with an old friend--the Regent's mistress. The tragic death of a princess touches the Newick family as it does the entire nation. And one day, foppish Postumus Enderby is inspired to take radical steps after reading the morning news. These stories and others will draw you into the private lives and wider world of Regency England.

Charming costume illustrations by Shakoriel bring colour to these heroes and heroines, embellishing all twelve of Lesley-Anne McLeod's stories. The Regency Storybook is a collection of lives, loves, and histories--of a time two hundred years ago, but as vivid as yesterday.


Aubrey pulled his arm away. "No, no. You see, I've just hit on the answer. I have to find a book."

"A book, is it?" Jones took the idea without flinching. "For Victoria Elmedone?"

Aubrey nodded vigorously, and without another word set off across Bond Street, dodging carts and wagons, dandies mounted on showy hacks, and ladies in their carriages looking to be set down before their favourite shops. 

Jones caught him up in the middle of the busy thoroughfare. A vast wagon laden with barrels rumbled past and he raised his voice. "And would this be just any book, or some special book, my lad?"

"A special book. A book released just today. Someone--a lady--mentioned it yesterday. Said she was looking forward to it immensely, just the thing every lady should read, bound to be the best book ever. Going to find it..." Aubrey achieved the pavement on the east side of the street.

"And what is the title?" Jones still followed him.

Granthorpe stopped dead in his tracks so that Jones and another passer-by cannoned into him. The passing gentleman made some rude comment, and Jones shoved Aubrey none too gently.

"Don't do that--new coat, don't you know!" Aubrey was indignant. "You already pulled my sleeve."

"Title? Author?" Jones taunted. "You don't know them, do you, dear boy? How are you going to find the book? Walk into Hatchard's and say, 'Excuse me, have you that new book--the popular one for ladies?'" 

"What's Hatchard's?" 

"A book-seller's, you clunch!"

"Where are they?" Aubrey wondered if his friend was gammoning him. The chaps liked to do that to him.


He decided Jones was telling the truth. "I shall go there, after I discover the title."

"You certain you would not rather go to Tattersall's? You've never been in petticoat line before, and you've chosen a Venus to impress." Jones cast another glance at the lowering sky.

"This book'll do it," Granthorpe said with assurance. "I just have to discover the name...Clunbury Hall, Longhope Court, something like that."

"A book named after a house?" It was Jones' turn to stop in the middle of the pavement. A lady murmured in annoyance, and he bowed a graceful apology. "Don't sound like something Victoria Elmedone would like. I would have thought she would be more fond of novels."

"'Tis a novel, that much I know." Aubrey removed his high-crowned beaver hat and, careless of its flawless order, ran his fingers through his curling hair. "Well, I'm off, and you're a fool to spend the day on such a chase. But God speed, my lad, and good fortune in your quest."

Granthorpe watched with relief as Jones strode off. This was a delicate enough task without enduring the jibes and laughter of even his oldest friend. Replacing his hat, he wandered on, more slowly now, as he turned the corner into Piccadilly. He could not go to this Hatchard's, a book-seller, without the title of the book. Books made him nervous at the best of times, and a whole shop full of them could give him palpitations. 

  • Published by: Uncial Press

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