Christmas Carols Blog Tour.
Thank you, Carmen, for your kind offer to help me celebrate the release of my new book Christmas Carols, published by Liquid Silver Books on the 10th of August.
I know readers might think it a little odd to be thinking about Christmas in August but in Victorian England, where my story is set, people were used to starting their Christmas preparations early. One gift that might be made is Eau de Cologne. The oils made from summer flowering plants must be infused when the plants are ready so preparation begins much earlier in the year. Cologne appears in Christmas Carols as Alice has scented handkerchiefs and lavender water she uses on her hair.
This recipe for Eau de Cologne uses a range of oils. If you buy the oils make sure you get them from a reliable source and they are pure.
12 drops of oil of bergamot
12 drops of oil of lemon
20 drops of oil of orange
3 drops of neroli oil
3 drops of oil of rosemary
4 fluid ounce of Vodka
2 tablespoons of spring water
Add the oils to the vodka and stir well. Cover and leave for 48 hours.
Add the spring water and stir again. Leave for another 48 hours or up to 4 weeks if you can wait that long.
Stir and strain through filter paper.
Dilute with a little more water if the scent is too strong.
Bottle and use or present as a gift to a friend.
Alice washed her face. She peered into the mirror above her washstand as she prepared to go out again after taking tea at home. She scrubbed hard with a towel until her cheeks appeared rosy, but her ablutions did nothing to calm her uncertainty. Should she attend the recital tonight? Would people think it quite respectable for her to go unaccompanied? Perhaps she shouldn’t have bought the ticket. The terrible worry people might stare or think her an oddity remained ever present, but the lure of the music gnawed at her soul.
As the vicar had said so many times on his visits to encourage her to rejoin society in some small way, “You can’t stay in for the rest of your days and never go anywhere or meet anyone.”
Surely, it couldn’t be wrong to want to listen to such wonderful playing as that of Mr. Grafton?
She plaited another layered row into her hair and pinned it up with the others, before placing her small black bonnet on top. After she’d tweaked the bonnet to set right, she secured it with a jet hat pin and sighed.
It might be wicked to think it, but she had grown heartily tired of black. She’d worn nothing else since Cyril’s death and some days it seemed such a long time. Using the enamel topped buttonhook to help, she redid the six open buttons on her bodice, put on the short swag-backed jacket, wrapped her black silk scarf around her neck, and picked up her gloves. One last glance in the glass showed a sober and tidy person. Sorrowful, apprehensive eyes stared back. All this fretting must stop. There was no reason she shouldn’t attend a church recital. After all, it wasn’t as if there would be dancing.
She picked up her cologne-scented, initialed handkerchief, and sniffed the lavender fragrance, before putting it into her pocket and strolling through the house. At the door, she put on her coat and gloves, took her umbrella from the stand and hooked the curved handle over her arm. Ready, despite the butterflies in her tummy, for her first outing in more months than she could remember, she glanced to the clock. Six forty-five, and she had plenty of time.
Heels tapping on the blue brick pavement, she walked toward the church that stood at the bottom of the hill from her home. Several carriages passed by in the road, one or two bicycles too, and people on foot. She surmised they all made their way in the same direction. The lure of the organ recitals at Holy Trinity Church drew crowds, or they had done since Mr. Grafton took the post of organist.
Stephen Grafton, the blind organist at Holy Trinity Church, is gaining a reputation for his fine playing and compositions. Alice Broadbrace’s initial venture back into society after years in deep mourning brings her to the notice of the talented organist, and he offers her the opportunity to sing a solo carol to his accompaniment. His courage convinces her to find her own, while her charm entices him into thoughts of romance. A difficult walk in a snow storm is only the beginning of Stephen and Alice’s journey to happiness. Enjoy this sweet Victorian tale of talent and love blossoming.
Thanks for reading
Find Daisy Banks here
Pre-order http://bit.ly/1l0mX2Y with Liquid Silver Books.
Daisy Banks is the author of
Marked for Magic
A Perfect Match
A Gentleman’s Folly
Your Heart My Soul
A Matter of Some Scandal
Daisy’s books are available here
Daisy Banks writes a regular monthly story in the Sexy to Go compilations.