Thursday, 5 June 2014

Guest post by Sherri Browning + Giveaway

Although in the past couple of years I became enamored with contemporary romances my first and foremost romantic love were historical romances. I loved both reading them as well as watching period dramas. So it goes without saying I am a big Downton Abbey fan, actually I introduced my whole family to it :-) So when I first saw Sherri Browning's Thornbrook Park marketed as "Fans of Downton Abbey will adore this brand-new Edwardian-period romance series set at the grand estate of Thornbrook Park, seat of the Earl of Averford." I immediately cried out: sold! So it is with great pleasure that I welcome to Ex Libris Sherri Browning, who is here to share with you some tips about how to throw the perfect Edwardian dinner party! Leave us a comment and you'll be entered to win 1 of the 3 paperback copies of Thornbrook Park! :-)

Throwing The Perfect Edwardian Dinner Party
by Sherri Browning

My new novel Thornbrook Park was inspired by my love for the popular television drama, Downton Abbey. I wanted to build a world around a grand old house and explore the interactions between the upstairs family and downstairs staff. Gabriel Thorne, the Earl of Averford, and his wife Sophia are the custodians of Thornbrook Park as Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, and his wife Cora are of Downton Abbey.

Like Robert and Cora, Gabriel and Sophia are fond of entertainment and dinner parties are common at Thornbrook Park, where dinner almost every night is a formal event. But you don’t have to be a countess to throw a party like one.

Here are some general rules as well as hints and tips for throwing the perfect Edwardian dinner party:

- A good Edwardian hostess sends invitations three to six weeks prior to the event. For planning purposes, it’s a good idea to give guests plenty of advance notice and time to RSVP.

- A typical Edwardian dinner begins at eight or nine, but expect guests to arrive fifteen minutes prior to the arrival time suggested on the invitation.

- Encourage your friends to dress for dinner! Make it a grand affair. But don’t pout if they fail to impress. Nobody likes a demanding hostess.

- On arrival, greet your guests and take their cloaks to a “cloak room” then gather in the drawing room for light conversation until everyone arrives. Perhaps you can encourage someone to play butler and announce each guest, or do the honors yourself and take care to introduce everyone.

- In Edwardian times, slow, heavy meals fell out of fashion in favor of a number of swift but filling courses, with time for cordials and entertainment after the meal. A truly authentic meal will include:

  • First course: Soup or consommé accompanied by sherry.
  • Second course: Fish followed by a good white wine.
  • Entree course: This might be mutton cutlets, sweetbreads, or a vol-au-vent (pastry shell filled with a savory like seafood or chicken) with champagne or claret.
  • The remove or relevé course: More substantial than an entrée, the remove might be a joint of meat, a meat pie, or filet mignon with potatoes and vegetables, served with a proper accompanying wine, red or white.
  • The roast course: Duck or pheasant with game chips (cottage potatoes), or perhaps Cornish hens, served with a claret.
  • Next course (yes, there’s more!): A series of small dishes known as entremets, which would consist of: a savory like sardines or cheese, a dressed vegetable (perhaps creamed peas), and a fruit tart.

- After dessert, the ladies might retire to the drawing room while the men stay on and smoke. Coffee or cordials can be served in the drawing room once the men join the women again.

- Guests will assume that midnight will be the usual parting hour, however, you can enjoy your evening as late as you like, as long as everyone’s having fun.

- And might I suggest giving your guests a parting gift of Thornbrook Park to devour once they get home?

~ Sherri Browning

Book #1 in the Thronbrook Park series

Fans of Downton Abbey will adore this brand-new Edwardian-period romance series set at the grand estate of Thornbrook Park, seat of the Earl of Averford.

In a world poised for epic change...

Disowned for marrying beneath her, Eve Kendal has returned to England destitute after her husband's death and the mysterious disappearance of their savings. She's looking for survival, not romance. But from London to the Yorkshire countryside to the elegant estate of Thornbrook Park, Eve's path seems destined to cross that of the dashing but violent Captain Marcus Thorne.

Anything can happen...

For Marcus, a return home means facing the demons that drove him to war in the first place. As he and Eve begin a steamy affair, tensions that had been simmering just beneath the surface threaten to explode and shake the very foundations of Thornbrook Park.

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - B&N - iTunes

Exclusive Excerpt

“You didn’t think I would remember you?”

Eve bit her pretty, pink lip and looked down. “I’m sorry. I don’t know what you mean.”

Yet unwilling to give up the game? Marcus slipped a finger under her chin and urged her to lift her face until she met his gaze. For more than a few seconds, they remained as if frozen, looking into each other’s eyes. Hers held a wealth of secrets, he imagined, and he suddenly wished he could uncover them all.

“Sweet mercy, woman, I couldn’t forget you. You stayed with me, a stranger, at my bedside the whole night.”

“Not quite the whole night. It was foolish of me, I know, but you seemed so frantic and—”

“Foolish? It was the kindest thing anyone’s ever done for me. Embarrassed as I am that you’ve seen me at my worst, I’m relieved to have the chance to thank you. Sutton denied you’d even been there. I’d begun to think I’d dreamed you up.”

“I asked Sutton not to mention my presence, just in case our paths ever crossed again. Though, I truly didn’t think they would so soon. I had no idea you would come here, and then Sophia, well…” Her lips curved into a smile that lit her whole face, making the gas-flame blue eyes flare all the brighter. “You’re welcome. Now let’s put it behind us, shall we? Probably best if we never think of it again.”

“But you wrote the letter to bring me back to Thornbrook Park?”

“I wrote it,” she confessed. “Sophia asked me for help. She told me most of what to say. I couldn’t deny her request, though I had no idea that it would actually succeed in enticing you here.”

“I was overdue for a visit. Now I find that I’m meant for Lady Alice. Don’t deny it. I overheard you and Sophia.”

Eve blushed. “She has high hopes for you and Alice.”

“She’s not used to being disappointed, is she?”

She shook her head. “She’s determined to have her way in all things.”

“Then you’ll have to help me. Let’s give her a little scare when I ignore Alice and flirt with you tonight at dinner instead.” He smiled conspiratorially. “Are you game?”

“For flirting?” She laughed. “Sophia won’t like it at all. What kind of friend would I be?”

“Come on,” he urged. “Let’s have some fun with her. No harm done.”

“I don’t know.” She tilted her head, a golden strand falling from her chignon to brush her cheek. He resisted the urge to sweep it aside. “What’s the fun in flirting if you’re guaranteed success?” she asked. “You’ll just have to see what happens if you try.”

She took her hand from the crook of his arm to continue on alone. He trailed after her. “Mrs. Kendal, you minx. I believe you’ve already started.”

Buy at Amazon - Kindle - B&N - iTunes

Sherri Browning Erwin, best known for critically acclaimed classic mash-ups Jane Slayre and Grave Expectations, also writes paranormal romance and historical romance as Sherri Browning. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Sherri has lived in Massachusetts and Michigan, but is now settled with her family in Simsbury, Connecticut. Watch for her return to historical romance with the upcoming Thornbrook Park series.

Her books have been mentioned in People magazine, USA Today, Seventeen, the Huffington Post, the Wall Street Journal blog, UK’s Telegraph and Argus, and once, as the subject of a New York Times cartoon. She remains a diehard Patriots fan, a proud member of Red Sox Nation, an adventurous eater, avid traveler, and a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World.

Connect with Sherri at her website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads


Thanks to the generosity of Sherri THREE lucky winners will each win a paperback copy of Thornbrook Park by Sherri Browning!

To be entered in the giveaway just leave a comment and tell us: which time period is your favourite and why exactly?

Giveaway is open to US/Canada only and ends on 20 June 2014!

Good luck!

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