She’s discovered his secret.
Now the trouble really begins…
After three years of mourning—and turning her dear deceased husband’s gazette into the ton’s sauciest source of fashion and gossip—Hollis Honeycutt feels her life has been strangely bereft of late… Her sister is living abroad, and her best friend moved to the country. What must a young widow of rank and reputation do? Why, transform her society gossip sheets into serious investigative news, starting with a rumored coup…and the rather dashing, mysterious gentleman whom Hollis suspects might be the villain of her first real story, and she is the only one who can write it.
Marek Brendan is investigating terrible rumors of treachery and treason that threaten his home country of Wesloria, but he must proceed with caution. No one can discover the truth. After all, who would ever believe he is Wesloria’s lost crown prince? Only Hollis Honeycutt’s cerulean-blue eyes seem to know more than she’s letting on—and worse, Marek can’t seem to resist her curious charms. But even as betrayal threatens a nation and a throne, nothing is quite so dangerous as the lovely young widow who’s determined to find the truth…and a prince of her own.
|Title:||A Princess by Christmas|
|Series:||Royal Wedding Series (Book 3)|
Mills & Boon
Friends to Lovers
|Point of View:|
|Location:||England and Wesloria (Fictional European Country)|
|Release Date:||13th October, 2020|
Victorian Christmas Traditions
In A Princess by Christmas, Hollis and her family celebrate a Victorian Christmas in London.
When I think about a traditional Christmas celebration, it’s filled with the customs and ideas brought to us by the Victorians, or at the very least, popularised during the Victorian time period.
There’s something about candles on a Christmas tree, carollers wrapped in heavy, woollen dresses while snow falls all around. Retiring round the fire, just the flicker of the candles on the freshly cut and decorated tree to guide the spoon to your mouth as you indulge in some plum pudding or sugared almonds.
Here are some of Britain’s Christmas traditions as enjoyed by the characters in A Princess by Christmas.
Many of Britain’s Christmas traditions were popularised by Queen Victoria through her husband, Prince Albert. Albert was brought up in Germany where, during the Christmas festivities, it was popular to bring in a tree to the home, decorating it with candles, fruits and sweets. He brought the tradition to Britain where it quickly became the fashion.
In 1848 the Illustrated London News published a drawing of the royal family celebrating around a Christmas tree filled with candles, ornaments and with an angel on top.
Although Christmas carols, or Christmas hymns, can be traced as far back as the 4th century, many of our more well-known carols were either written or popularised in the 19th century. This was, in part, to do with the publication of Christmas music books – sheet music that people would buy to play the most up to date music at home. Similarly, the Victorian era saw the first time that Christmas carols were sung in churches, further popularising the festive tunes. It has been suggested that this might be the reason that people went to the streets to sing carols – since they couldn’t do so in church.
Kissing Under the Mistletoe
Mistletoe, in many cultures and religions, has magical properties, offering protection from witches, demons, spirits while also being regarded as a symbol of fertility.
The Romans also associated mistletoe with peace and love, hanging it over their doorways both to bring good favour to the household and also offer protection. They also used mistletoe in the festival of Saturnalia, from which many Christmas traditions take their roots.
Kissing under the mistletoe was immortalised in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in 1843. It is thought that the serving class in Victorian England helped to really cement this tradition in our traditions.
The original mincemeat pie was likely invented in the 13th century. Mincing meat with spices, suet and fruits was an alternative preserving method to salting or smoking.
With the inclusion of meat, mince pies started off as a main course dish. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the inclusion of meat fell out of fashion, and the pies became smaller, rounder and turned into the sweet treat we know today.
They haven’t lost their appeal since Victorian times, either. In 2019, the UK would eat approximately 781,177,935 mince pies during the Christmas season.
The origins of plum pudding are just as unclear as many other Christmas traditions we still hold dear. What’s clear is that plum pudding was definitely being eaten well before the Victorian period, even being served at William IV’s birthday feast.
In 1861, Mrs Beeton included a recipe for Christmas Plum Pudding in her popular cookbook but its popularity was cemented due to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s inclusion of the pudding in their own Christmas day festivities.
Sources and Further Reading
- BBC – Make Your Own Victorian Christmas
- Cinema Live – 5 Fascinating Victorian Christmas Traditions
- History Today – The Englishman’s Plum Pudding
- How Stuff Works – Why do Christmas carolers walk around the neighborhood singing?
- V&A Museum – Victorian Christmas Traditions
- Wikipedia – Mistletoe