Whatever possessed me me to try an epistolary story about Christmas in 1816 London? The challenge? Perhaps. I had the story all figured out, but it seemed -- well, lacking something. So I started over and put it into letters and diaries, in a truly antique style. Hope you will enjoy trying it out to see if it worked. But as the ads say, act now! The collection is $.99 or free on Kindle Unlimited. It will no longer be available after April 2019. Click on the notice below.
This is the cover image for my short story in the Christmas Ever After Anthology. It is a fashion plate from La Belle Assemblee, April, 1817. Here is a very brief blurb: 'Margaret is a wealthy heiress and Lawrence is a poor doctor . . . or is he?' Below are the portraits best representing how I visualize my primary characters. On the left is Lawrence Lannon, aspiring physician, in the guise of Hart Davis Jr. (1792-1854) painted in 1809 by Sir Thomas Lawrence, from the collection of Eton College. On the right is Thomas Sully's 1810 portrait of Margaret, actually Cornelia Mitchell Chamberlain, from the collection of Amherst College.
Epistolary novels have a very long history. Aphra Behn, (c.1640-1689) often credited as the first professional woman novelist, published the first in a trilogy mostly in letter format, in 1684. Samuel Richardson used the format, as did Jane Austen in several first drafts of her novels, and in Lady Susan as it was eventually published after Austen's death.
Two more recent best-sellers, 84 Charing Cross Road (actually not really fiction), published in 1970 by Helen Hanff, and the 2008 hit The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, were epistolary novels, and both were very successful films as well. You may be able to think of many more.
I am currently finishing up another short story, with the working title of Sarah and Paul, set in rural Sussex and in the town of Worthing on the coast. It should be included in the anthology Summer Escapes, to be an e-book published by Dreamstone Publishing in July 2019. So far it is not written in the form of letters! I'm also looking through my photographs to find a suitable background for the cover image. Not to mention searching for a better title. Below is a dilapidated grotto on the grounds of Calke Abbey, a model for a grotto in the story currently known as Sarah and Paul.
Guess I'll have to get back to you on the progress of these tasks!
Victoria Hinshaw, Author