History: Maybe This Christmas
Note: The purpose of this page is to provide clickable access to the historical information behind the novella, Maybe This Christmas. This content is found in the back of the kindle edition (with links) and in the back of the new paperback edition (without links). This page will allow paperback readers to access the content behind the explanation of the true-to-life Victorian American setting. History: Maybe This Christmas.
My warmest thanks for reading Maybe This Christmas. I do hope you enjoyed watching Gus and Luke decide who would qualify for Effie–only to realize the widow wasn’t interested in either man.
This title is book two in an ever-growing series: Holidays in Mountain Home. You’ll find Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Founder’s Day–much more than Christmas. While writing some of the later titles in this series, I began creating a page on my website about each book. These Description Pages contain links to related blog articles (historical connections!), Pinterest Board link, Goodreads links (how did other readers review it?), “Add to your Goodreads TBR shelf” links, quick access to my new “One Quick Click” review page, and more. You’ll find the Book Description for Maybe This Christmas here. Come see, and enjoy the extras!
You may have noticed that my characters in this novella use the word “OK.” What about “okay”? When did that word begin common usage? Are you surprised to learn the term had been around for decades by the time of this story (end 1899). History: Maybe This Christmas.
Much about Effie was particularly fun to write. Sewing was once a standard household skill little girls were taught to manage from a very young age. By the late nineteenth century, women of means owned sewing machines to speed up the never-ending process of creating, altering, and mending the family’s clothing. Many purchased ready-made clothing constructed in factories. The wealthy often hired seamstresses to come into the home and spend weeks fashioning a new wardrobe for the upcoming season (or event such as a wedding). Dressmaker shops and tailor shops featuring custom work remained popular throughout the century.
The fashions of the 1890s–such as humongous leg-o’-mutton sleeves–were normalizing (thank goodness) by 1899. With trends of the shrinking bustle and balloon sleeves nearly gone, simple and somewhat masculine styles took hold. In the final years of the nineteenth century, women’s day costumes consisted of fitted jackets (only slightly puffy at the sleeve cap) or a simple shirtwaist and walking skirt (an A-line with markedly less adornment and fussy gathers than previous decades). All of this implies the woman has enough money for a new costume or two. History: Maybe This Christmas.
Tailoring at Home
I’m lucky to have had a mother who learned stellar tailoring skills from her grandmother and taught me well. I’ve sewn everything from wedding dresses to baby christening gowns to men’s button-down dress shirts (with plackets at the cuffs). I enjoyed researching the sewing methods of the day, asking my mother a bunch of questions about a treadle sewing machine (as she learned on her grandmother’s treadle machine in its place of honor beneath the bedroom window).
Today’s pinking shears (zig-zag scissors) are still used by tailors, the pinking iron of the late Victorian era was a different and strong visual image (at least for me), so allowing the implement to make an appearance in this novella seemed right. I enjoyed fashioning the scenes of Effie’s actual sewing and garment construction, including the sewing of button holes–the scene wherein we first notice Noelle Finlay (Luke’s little sister and Effie’s employee) for more than her Christmas costume finishing touches she doesn’t want to sew herself in Home for Christmas.
I’m looking forward to introducing you to Noelle in her own POV (point of view). That means we’ll examine the story through her eyes and ears and heart. She’s a newborn in This Noelle, a young woman in trouble in The Witching Eve, and caught in much worse trouble in The Marshal’s Surrender.
It might appear that Noelle has grabbed more than her fair share of the stage or book spines. I’d agree but must clarify that The Usurper is bossy Gus Rose. He’s not only wielded the Halloween short story out of me, he’s convinced me that he and Noelle deserve much more of a love story than presented in The Marshal’s Surrender. I’m not sure I agree with the U.S. Marshal, but the man is beyond persuasive. Once you’ve read The Marshal’s Surrender, perhaps you might let me know if you agree with Gus (more books about Noelle and him) or me (their story is told).
I’d love to hear from you. Did you find a typo (or five) that slipped past several rounds of eagle-eye proof-readers? Please email me! You’re welcome to contact me through my web site OR email me directly: Kristin@KristinHolt.com (correct spelling is essential to receive your note; Kristin is spelled with an i).
You’re invited to visit my website page for the Holidays in Mountain Home series to explore related titles.
Copyright © 2019 Kristin Holt LC