Lord Digby Osgood held tightly to the lady on his arm after she lost her footing on the ice. He gave her a reassuring smile silently telling her he would never let her fall. Lady Constance Whittles murmured a soft thank you and Digby swore his heart flipped end over end when she moved a little closer to his side.
They continued on their way through the stalls of the Frost Fair. It had already been a fun-filled day despite the cold weather. They had enjoyed the Tea Shoppe on the Ice followed by the stall featuring Anna’s Hot Roasted Chestnuts. He had been more than thrilled when they had come upon Wilfred Bagshotts Portraits on Demand and he insisted Lady Constance sit for a drawing. The miniature was now tucked away in his coat and he would see that it was properly framed once he returned home.
But when they came upon The Book Palace on Ice for Imaginative and Curious Minds, a squeal of delight escaped Constance’s lips. Digby could not refuse her plea to take only a small peek at what the stall had to offer. Small peek, indeed. He should have known the lady would become lost in the makeshift bookstore the moment she stepped foot inside. Digby had been waiting for the past twenty minutes. Not that he minded. Constance loved her books and he would deny her nothing as long as she was happy.
“Checking out my sister’s competition, Lord Osgood?” That voice held a hint of sarcasm but still remained civil enough to not offend.
Digby turned and saw none other than Samuel Clemens, the editor and owner of The Teatime Tattler. “Mr. Clemens,” Digby replied with a nod of his head. “What brings you here in such inclement weather?”
“My stall is just around the corner and business has never been better. Not only have I sold more copies of my newspaper than usual, but everyone wants a keepsake from the Frost Fair. We keep running out of paper,” he said before he held out a sheet for Digby to take.
His newspaper was nothing more than a gossip rag, Digby thought but took the offering of the keepsake knowing Constance would like it. “It appears the Frost Fair has been a big success for everyone who has a stall,” he replied before pulling the edges of his coat closer together.
“I could not agree more,” Samuel said before his attention turned to the people in The Book Palace stall. “Ah… I see what keeps you here. Lady Constance has been very helpful to my sister’s business. I hope she does not lose the lady to another store once this is over,” he said with a chuckle.
“I am certain Lady Constance is more than happy to work for your sister as long as Miss Amelia will have her.”
Samuel tipped his hat. “I must be off. I cannot keep the world waiting for the latest news.”
Digby watched the man leave before he noticed Constance reaching for her reticule to make her purchase. He quickly stepped forward. “Allow me, my lady,” Digby said.
“I do not mind paying for the book, my lord.” Constance once more brightened his day with her smile.
“I must insist.” Paying the man, Digby offered his arm again to his lady as they began perusing the other stalls. They came upon the next stall, The Mystical Oracle Madam Amy Quinton. “Do you wish your fortune to be told, Constance?” he asked with a grin.
“Perhaps after we see the elephant? You did promise me you would take me to see it,” she said, her eyes twinkling in delight.
“And so I did. Let us make our way to see the beast then we can return here to see what the oracle has to say about our future.”
Constance gave his arm a squeeze. “I already know our future, Digby,” she replied.
“You do?” he said looking down into her beautiful face. Constance never looked lovelier.
“Of course! We shall live happily ever after!”
Was there really a bookstall at the 1814 Frost Fair?
None of my research found an actual bookstall on the ice but there were nearly a dozen printing presses producing keepsakes and commemorative poems. A printer named George Davis published a 124-page book called Frostiana; or A History of the River Thames In a Frozen State and the Belles referenced this material when we were working on our common theme for Fire & Frost. The entire book was typeset and printed in Davis’s printing stall set up on the frozen Thames.
The 1814 Frost Fair was also it’s last. With the old London Bridge being demolished in 1831, it was replaced with a new bridge with wider arches. This allowed the tide to flow more freely. The river was also embanked during the 19th century causing the river less likely to freeze.
You can read more about printing at the frost fairs here: http://www.letterology.com/2014/02/printing-at-frost-fairs.html
My contribution to Fire & Frost is A Second Chance At Love featuring Lord Digby Osgood and Lady Constance Whittles whom you first met in Under the Mistletoe.
Can the bittersweet frost of lost love be rekindled into a burning flame?
Viscount Digby Osgood returns to London after a two-year absence, planning to avoid the woman he courted and then left. Surely she has moved on with her life; even married by now. A bit of encouragement from a friend, however, pushes him to seek the lady out. Can she ever forgive him and give them a second chance at love?
Lady Constance Whittles has only cared for one man in her life. Even after he broke her heart, it remains fixed on him. Another man tries to replace him, but she soon learns she can never feel for him a shadow of what she still feels for Digby. One brief encounter with Digby confirms it; she is more than willing to forgive him. Can they truly take up where they left off?
Charity projects and a Frost Fair on the Thames bring them together, but another stands in their way. Will he tear them apart?
Fire & Frost:
A Bluestocking Belles Collection
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Preorder for $0.99
In a winter so cold the Thames freezes over, five couples venture onto the ice in pursuit of love to warm their hearts.
Love unexpected, rekindled, brand new or rediscovered—even one that’s a whack on the side of the head—heats up the winter. After weeks of fog and cold all five stories converge on the ice at the 1814 Frost Fair when the ladies’ campaign to help the wounded and unemployed veterans of the Napoleonic wars culminates in a charity auction that shocks the high sticklers of the ton.
In their 2020 collection, join the Bluestocking Belles and their heroes and heroines as The Ladies’ Society For The Care of the Widows and Orphans of Fallen Heroes and the Children of Wounded Veterans pursues justice, charity, and soul-searing romance.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day 2020 with five interconnected Regency romances.
Melting Matilda by Jude Knight – Fire smolders under the frost between them.
My One True Love by Rue Allyn – She vanished into the fog. Will he find his one true love or remain lost, cold and alone forever?
Lord Ethan’s Courage by Caroline Warfield – War may freeze a man’s heart; it takes a woman to melt it.
A Second Chance at Love by Sherry Ewing – Can the bittersweet frost of lost love be rekindled into a burning flame?
The Umbrella Chronicles: Chester and Artemis’s Story by Amy Quinton – Beastly duke seeks confident woman who doesn’t faint at the sight of his scars. Prefers not to leave the house to find her.
Comment to Win
Comment on this post, each of the other four, and the page on the Belles’ website here https://bluestockingbelles.net/frostfairhop/?fbclid=IwAR2qQS4IMhZYgVNvhbfFVmTf6Bm5tFwAJy5bxu21remzDRHzcM5rcRXa1sU to go into the drawing for the main prize in the blog hop, a $50 US Amazon card.
Tell me… what would have piqued your interest at the frost fair? What would you have liked to see? All comments on this post will go in a drawing for an eCopy of one the previous four Bluestocking Belles’ collections, plus a copy of Under the Mistletoe a prequel to A Second Chance At Love found in the Belles’ new box set Fire & Frost.
Did you miss the previous blog hop stop? You can access it here.
And don’t forget you have one more hop that surely you don’t want to miss. Find your way to That Mystical Oracle Madame Amy Quinton here: http://amyquinton.net/?p=2308