Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day! Free Victorian romance and giveaway

Happy Valentine's Day! The Victorians loved to celebrate this holiday and were actually the ones (both in Britain and stateside) to turn it into an event for celebrating romance with gift giving, notes, and postcards decorated with cherubs, children, couples, and the requisite red heart symbolizing love.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were one of the most publicly revered couples of the era. Their public reputation as a smitten, devoted love match reflected the real attraction and passion they felt for each other. Though their relationship reputedly had its tumultuous moments, the couple were known to be companionable, supportive of one another, and managed to produce nine children during their twenty-one years of marriage. When Albert died in 1861, Victoria was so distraught that she entered a period of mourning that lasted for much of the rest of her life. She was Britain's longest reigning monarch, ruling for another forty years after Albert's death, until 1901.

Of course, Victoria and Albert weren't the only romantics of the era. Romance became a kind of fetish to the Victorians, and romantic stories and poetry, much like in our day, were perennially popular with readers. Another famous love story of the era is that between authors Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. After meeting her future husband, Barrett Browning penned the beautiful poem known as Sonnet 43, expressing her profound love and attraction for Browning.

How do I love thee? 
Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

-from Sonnets from the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

On this day of poetry and love, I am giving away my debut historical romance novella, Scandalous Wager. Get it free at Amazon now!

I'm also taking part in a huge giveaway at the Love Historicals site that I am a part of with thirteen other historical romance authors. Several gift cards, free books, and handmade gifts are included in the giveaway.

Happy Valentine's Day! Read some poetry, kiss your loved ones, and enjoy the celebration of romance today.

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