Grand Tours and a Giveaway

Grand Tours and a Giveaway

How has your summer been so far? Mine has been amazing and exciting! We had an important milestone come up in our lives, one of those rites of passage that marks family history, and it made me think about a similar rite of passage that happened during regency times. I’d like to tell you about both these things, introduce you to my latest published book, and then have a giveaway!

Our family milestone this summer was this: one of our children living at home has officially flown the nest! Our son decided to go into a specialized training program an hour away from home as soon as he finished high school. And I do mean “as soon as!” He received his diploma on June 5th and then, just ten days later, we packed his things and helped him move into his first apartment. He is now away from our daily supervision, getting his own meals every day, making his way to and from work and school without us, and  just generally being an adult. He will be in his new training program and apartment for fifteen months and after that, he may or may not come back home. He has launched!

Helping our son through this process made me think about young men in regency times and how they were “launched” into society. The capstone of a young man’s education was the grand tour, a lengthy sightseeing trip across Europe. The grand tour was an important event in the life of a young upper class gentleman. It typically marked the end of their minority and the beginning of their duties as an adult, whether nobleman, aristocrat, or gentry. It was undertaken as soon as the young man finished his studies at university, and it could last anywhere from several months to several years.

The purpose of a grand tour was to expose a young man to the culture and history of Europe, especially the renaissance. Since French was the common tongue of Europe, most Englishmen started their tour in France, getting some practice with the language before tackling the rest of the world.

From France the young man would usually travel to Switzerland and then cross into Italy, staying in Naples, Venice, or even Rome. While they were in each country or city, the young men soaked up the culture in every way possible. They frequently called on royalty or nobility in their host country. They toured castles and ruins, went to museums to view the great works of art, and attended concerts to hear the music of the masters in their original settings. Sometimes they enrolled in universities in their destination of choice. They also called on (and sometimes stayed in) the homes of the British envoy in whatever country they were in, becoming exposed to more cosmopolitan views than they would have experienced at home.

What adventures these young men must have had! This was before emails, texts and phone calls. Letters took weeks or months. The young men (and sometimes young women) had guides to smooth their way through each city or country, but they couldn’t rely on their parents for day to day decisions. They were entirely on their own. Memoirs of the time include stories about carriages breaking down and having to find lodgings for the night, meeting unknown travelers on the road, avoiding weather disasters, and getting into scrapes in general. Of course they made lots of friends along the way. There were also romantic liaisons, and surely not all of a young man’s adventures made it into the letters he wrote home!

One thing the young gentlemen typically did not worry about was money. The grand tour was a privilege of the very wealthy, and the young person generally carried letters of credit that he could present to banks in whatever country he went to. With the sky the limit, and being freed from supervision, many young men were probably reluctant to return home.

But of course they did eventually return. At the end of the grand tour the young gentleman’s education was complete. He was polished, sophisticated, and wise in the ways of the world. He came back to his family with trunks full of souvenirs and a head full of memories, ready to recall his adventures to anyone who would listen and prepared to take on his role as a leader in the next generation.

Our son’s launch into the world will not be nearly as dramatic (or expensive, I hope!) but I think it will likely be just as transformative. Hopefully he’ll come back to us after fifteen months away, ready and willing to tackle all the responsibilities of being an adult, with lots of good memories under his belt.

In the meantime I have kept up with my writing and publishing. I am working hard on Margaret of Milton, a story based on North and South, and hope to finish it by the end of this year. I’m also compiling a collection of four or five short stories, mostly based in Pride and Prejudice, and next year I will return to the Jane Austen world with a full length Darcy and Elizabeth story.

Also, I recently compiled the three stories from my Longbourn Unexpected trilogy into one volume. The three books are Mr. Darcy’s Persistent Pursuit; Love’s Fool: The Taming of Lydia Bennet; and An Unexpected Turn of Events. Any one of these books can be read separately but they are best read as a set, so putting them all together made sense. I hope you like it!

And now, a giveaway! If you’ve been wanting to read any of these three stories, this is your big chance! I will pick three people at random to receive a free copy of the Longbourn Unexpected Trilogy ebook. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below by midnight EST on Friday, July 26th. I hope everybody will comment and enter! Good luck and see you next month!



46 Responses to Grand Tours and a Giveaway

  1. I took a bit of a Grand Tour when I graduated from college. My husband and I went to England for three weeks, then spent a week in Washington DC n our way home to California. My grandparents paid for half of the trip, and we had a lovely time! It was over thirty years ago, and I would LOVE to go back someday!!

    Susanne 🙂

  2. Thank you for refreshing my memory on this topic, Elaine. I too would love to be in their shoes and discover the beauty and cultural aspects of Europe. Do young wealthy ladies accompany their brother/cousin on this European grand tour as well? Or is it only reserved to men?

    Btw, I love the series cover. Do you plan to do an overhaul of the cover for earlier titles? I prefer the covers for your latest release as they are beautiful to look at. And thank you for the giveaway.

    • Hi Luthien,
      The grand tour was such an expensive proposition that it was usually reserved for the eldest son of the family. However, there were times when a daughter, especially an only child, would be sent on a grand tour as well. And occasionally other circumstances made a grand tour possible for a young lady even of moderate means. In Little Women, Amy March, who is an American and not even English, is taken on a grand tour by her extremely wealthy maiden aunt. (I always secretly wanted to be Amy!) But most of the time it was a gentleman’s journey. 🙁 In the later 19th century travel became easier and less expensive, and the grand tour more or less faded away.
      I’m glad you like the new cover! I actually did go back and re-do the covers for both One False Step and Mr. Darcy’s Persistent Pursuit within the past year. At some point I’d like to re-do the cover of Love’s Fool, too, but I have had a difficult time finding the right image for that story.

  3. Thank you for sharing about the grand tour. Have read them most in a lot of the variations. Looking forward to your new Darcy and Elizabeth book. Thank you also for tis chance to win a compilation of your boks.

  4. Congratulations on your Sons graduation and your information about the Regency custom of a grand tour was very interesting.

    Thank you for this giveaway as well.

  5. It really was quite a journey for the young men on their Grand Tour. Congratulations on your son’s adulthood. Your goal is accomplished. The cover of the Triology is beautiful. Thank you for the giveaway. I’m glad you will be writing another Elizabeth and Darcy book.

  6. We just returned from vacation so this post was very apropos. I can’t imagine my son doing a grand tour as he grumbled every time we walked somewhere. Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. Oh wow! I would love to read all 3 of these, and the fact that you mentioned my absolute favorite book other than P&P, which is North and South, just lit up my eyes! I can’t wait for all of it 🙂 Thank you!

  8. I loved the historical info on A Grand Tour. I was thinking how many stories I’d read about young ladies being so envious of their brothers going to Oxford or Cambridge, so I can really imagine how much worse it would’ve been for them to be denied the tour simply because they were female.

    I need to go back and reread Margaret of Milton, book one. Am I understanding correctly that you are working on book two? I’m a big N&S variation fan, so this news makes me excited.

    My heart went out to you as you talked about tears leaving your son at his first apartment. I can remember so many things about sending our son off to college. Important milestone, indeed. Best of luck to him. And I’m sending a mental hug your way to use anytime you need it. We all know what it’s like, you’re a Mom, you’re going to worry some days. God bless him and your family. I know you are so proud of him.

    Take me out of the hat for the giveaway. I have books one and two already. But best of luck to everyone else.

  9. I guess you could say I had 2 grand tours…one in middle school and one after graduating college. Stayed with family in Germany but having an uncle who owned a tour company was priceless. Just had to be ready in a moment’s notice…got empty seats on tour buses and hotel rooms at cost.
    My son just finished college and has moved back home as he got a job in avionics 15 minutes from our house. Had to adjust to him moving to school and another adjustment to him moving home.
    Thank you for The generous give away.

  10. Thank you, I enjoyed my Grand Tour. Will be only one I ever take. Thank you for the chance to win the book. Good luck to all who enter.

  11. Enjoying Margaret of Milton and have enjoyed your other stories. What a big step for your son and a major change for those left at home. I wish him all the best, with success and happiness.

    • Thanks Nan! Yes, it has been a major change, but at least he’s close enough to come home on some weekends. There were still many tears when we drove away and left him behind! I can’t imagine how regency mothers fared, being so out of touch for so long in those days! Good luck in the giveaway.

  12. Congratulations on the successful launch of your son. It is an exciting time and a reflection of his raising [proper preparation for real life]. You have to be proud of that.

    This was an interesting post. Many times stories mention that their male characters had taken a grand tour but not a lot was mentioned about what they did and where they went. This was interesting. Especially the part where some attended universities. I immediately thought of a young Mr. Bennet doing Greek studies on his tour. I could see Darcy immersed in books while staying in Paris, Rome or Italy. Blessings on all your plans. Don’t include me in the giveaway. I already have the three individual books.

    • Thank you, J.W. There are a few JAFF’s out there that even feature Darcy on his grand tour, and I think it’s an excellent plot bunny. Hmmm . . . there sprouts another one!!

  13. Thank you for sharing this post! I was very curious to know more about the Grand Tour. Thank you for the generous giveaway as well. 🙂

  14. A “grand tour” would be spectacular! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of this trilogy.

  15. Oh a grand Tour.. always wanted to do that. Have had all four of my children off to College and graduated.. now the fun part.. they are married and now I have grandkids!!!! love your stories and love Margret of Milton.. it is awesome! thanks for sharing these with us.

  16. To have a “grand tour” would be exciting, especially if it was paid for lol.Thank you for the giveaway and the chance to win a copy.

    • Wouldn’t it be great to be a professional travel writer and get paid to basically grand tour through life? Yeah, I could get on board with that!

      Good luck in the giveaway. 🙂

  17. Best wishes for your son and his future! Love it when authors bundled series, makes reading so much easier!

  18. I did a three month “grand tour” of parts of Europe when I was 20, although I had to fund it myself. It was fun!
    Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

  19. I live in a “college town” with a community college and a university available. My boys have stayed home for school. My first is graduated and moved out. This extra time can be both a blessing and a curse lol. Congratulations on your trilogy and thank you for a chance to win.

    • Thanks, BeckyC! We live in the same kind of setting and we always thought he would go the community college route, so this decision was a big surprise. Good luck in the drawing!

  20. Loved the Grand Tour. AND loving Margaret of Milton. Lots of things for you in the works. NO need to include me in the giveaway as I have all of the books. Thanks for your post.

  21. The idea of a grand tour sounds marvelous! best

    Congrats on your son leaving the nest. 🙂

    Thank you for the chance to win a copy of this intriguing trilogy.

Comments are precious!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.