photo: Raphael Coffey

photo: Raphael Coffey

Hope all moms (of humans and pets) and honorary moms had a great Mothers’ Day! Mélanie and I had a very fun brunch and dinner with friends. And following up on the blogs about her Regency-era American Girl doll clothes and parlor, we took a trip to the Stanford Mall on Saturday and got several more outfits and accessories for Caroline, the 1812 doll who is soon to be retired (some are put away for future birthday and Christmas, though Mel ended up opening more than I intended). We promptly had a picnic with Laura in her new clothes.


Just a few days until the release of The Mayfair Affair (and the paperback is already available for order). You can download teasers from the ebook version on various platforms. Yesterday I had the fun of doing a guest post on Lauren Willig’s site about governess books (in the course of which I realized that my own Laura shares her name with two other governess characters in favorite books). Today I’m talking about Frozen and The Mayfair Affair and giving away a book on Deanna Raybourn’s blog. And Thursday, JT Ellison will be interviewing me. So great to be hosted by so many writers I admire!



Laura's parlor. Not unlike rooms that feature in The Mayfair Affair.

Laura’s parlor. Not unlike rooms that feature in The Mayfair Affair.

The discussion inspired by Laura the doll’s dark blue pelisse (which resembles Laura Dudley’s pelisse in The Mayfair Affair) was wonderful. The same day we bought the pelisse and hat at the American Girl doll store at the Stanford Mall, we wandered through the rest of the store, drinking in the exquisite doll worlds. In addition to dolls and doll clothes, there were several rooms or other settings to go with different dolls, including a beautifully detailed Regency era parlor. Before we left, I checked the price, so I’d know if it was possibility for a birthday or Christmas. Only to find it was well over half off. Which meant it was affordable and most likely discontinued.

Needless to say, we left the store with the parlor. I was going to keep it for the next gift occasion. But when we got back from the party we were in the area to attend and Mélanie was asleep, I couldn’t resist setting it up. And then I couldn’t resist keeping it up. Mélanie loves it. It’s better than a doll house because can sit down in it herself and play so that it’s almost like a play house. And I can envision scenes from my books happening within those pale blue walls.

A tea party in Laura's parlor

A tea party in Laura’s parlor

Editing The Mayfair Affair, I realized that several of the rooms in different houses in the book have blue walls (including Suzanne and Malcolm’s “small salon”). I was going to change some to different colors, but then I decided it was a nice commentary that the color runs through the lives of different characters, in different social classes The color, as Laura’s parlor demonstrates, seems to go with the period.
On a different note, we just got the official pictures from Merola Benefit Gala by the wonderful Kristen Loken. I love this picture of Mélanie and me and can’t resist sharing.
Have a wonderful weekend! Happy Mother’s Day to moms and honorary moms!
Mélanie's Laura doll in a blue pelisse just like the pelisse Laura Dudley wears in The Mayfair Affair

Mélanie’s Laura doll in a blue pelisse just like the pelisse Laura Dudley wears in The Mayfair Affair

My daughter Mélanie still lets me name most of her toys. Usually I resort of literary characters, my own or others. When she got a Pottery Barn Kids Götz doll for her 2nd birthday, Mélanie and Suzanne (one of our cats) were taken as name options, as was Jessica (the name of Mel’s beloved baby doll). So we named her Laura, after Laura Dudley, governess to the Rannoch/Fraser children and a central character in The Mayfair Affair, which I was writing at the time. Recently we paid our first visit to an American Girl Doll store (at the Stanford shopping mall). Laura is the same size as American Girl dolls and one of the American Girl dolls is from 1812. I couldn’t resist her fabulous collection of Regency clothes. Fortunately, Mélanie was excited when i asked her if she wanted to pick out an outfit for Laura “like the clothes in Mummy’s books.”

Mélanie selected the pelisse and hat above. Which is perfect, because in The Mayfair Affair Laura Dudley wears a dark blue pelisse trimmed with black braid. Laura Dudley is titian-haired and considerably older (35) than Laura the doll, but above is a glimpse of an ensemble not too far off from what she wears in the book.

Have a wonderful weekend! It’s a busy one for us – the annual benefit gala of the Merola Opera Program. A long, fun day, and a chance to wear a ball gown! I’ll post some photos next week.