I enjoy listening to podcasts. They are entertaining and educational.  I wrote about how I use podcasts for research at the Hearts Through History blog, but I’d like to expand on that post here.


History podcasts

BBC Radio 4 creates amazing podcasts. Some of my favorites are Cold War: Stories from the Big Freeze and Germany: Memories of a Nation. My weekly binge listening is History Extra. I’m not sure if it’s part of BBC Radio 4, but it’s well done and the subjects are phenomenal. Just this week, the podcast hosted historian and author Diane Atkinson. She talked about her new book on the suffragette movement. If you love history, History Extra is for you!

Writing podcasts

First Draught Writing is run by three romance writers and they share their knowledge on writing and the publishing world. Their knowledge is vast. They also seem like a super cool group of women I’d really like to hang out with.

How Do You Write is a new find for me, hosted by author Rachael Herron. It’s inspiring to listen to Rachael interview other authors or talk about the writing craft in general.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Smart Podcast Trashy Books. Created for romance readers and writers alike, this podcast is just pure fun. Highly recommended.

Lifestyle podcasts

Tea and Tattle is an absolute gem of a podcast. It’s hosted by two best friends, Miranda and Sophie. They talk about relationships, books, travel and “everything in between.”  There is a new episode every Tuesday and, more recently, a new mini-cast every Friday called Tea Reads. This podcast is a pure joy! Another podcast I really enjoy is The Simple Sophisticate, hosted by Shannon Ables. She talks weekly about “intelligent living paired with signature style.” I love listening to these two podcasts.

There are many more lovely podcasts, but I should probably stop here for now. Let me know if you have any favorites! xoxo, Jane

The Christmas Stocking and other stories by Katie Fforde


The Christmas Stocking and other stories by Katie Fforde is a collection of Christmas-themed, romantic short stories. I know we are long past the holiday season, but I only recently finished reading it and wanted to talk about it while it’s fresh in my mind.

I’ve never read Katie Fforde before, but I certainly will again!! Her frothy stories made me happy. I bought this book in London over Thanksgiving and started it on the flight back to the US. The book contains six fun, romantic short stories. Romance and the holiday season make for a nice mix.

Even though each story is fun and packed with emotion, romance and character development, Katie Fforde saved the best for last, “The Christmas Fairy.” This was by far my favorite because it was the most emotionally-driven story.  Ella, the fairy, is hired to help out a very handsome uncle taking care of his sister’s children while his sister is taking care of their ailing parents.  Ella, who is an out of work actress and a very talented writer and illustrator, works hard to cure everyone’s ailments and to keep the Christmas spirit alive. Over the course of her “fairy” work, she and the dashing uncle begin to fall in love with each other. Sorry for the obvious spoiler, but it’s not really a spoiler because there are a few more surprises that makes this story delightful. Highly recommended for Christmas-time reading (or anytime, really). 🙂

xoxo, Jane

Word of the Year

So, I’ve been noticing these past few years that some people pick a word of the year instead of making resolutions. I’ve been thinking about this lately and decided to pick a word for 2018 too.

My word is productive.

Word of the year

Why? Because this is the year that I’ll make all my dreams come true. No more sitting around and just day-dreaming. Though the day-dreams part is ok, they’ll be backed-up by some action this time around.  I plan to publish one short story, one novel and one non-fiction piece about an interesting woman who lived during the Napoleonic years in Baltimore (intrigued yet?). I’ll also plan my 2019 books and projects, continue to blog and do push-ups at least five days a week. (I’ve already been doing the push-ups and have been pretty faithful. On the rare days I skip them, I do twice the amount the next day.) So, I think productive seems to be a good fit for this year.

What about you? Do you have any goals for 2018? Do you have a word of the year? I’d really like to know.

And last but not least, I’d like to thank you for reading my blog. I’m kind of stunned that a few of you found it and are returning now and again. Thank you!!!

My Two Favorite Novels

I have different favorite novels depending on my mood or what I’m currently reading.  There are, however, two novels that are always my favorites: Persuasion by Jane Austen and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.

Out of all the Austen novels, I find that Persuasion is the most romantic and heart-warming. It’s about love lost and love found. The heroine, Miss Anne Elliott, is older than the usual Austen heroine (27) and we meet her when she has already suffered and endured a broken heart. She is steadfast and strong (as are all Austen heroines), and I love, love, love her rapturously romantic happy ending with the one and only man she has ever loved. (The tall, dashing and handsome Captain Wentworth is my favorite Austen hero.)

“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you.” – Captain Wentworth


Jane Eyre is my other favorite because I can relate with Jane a little bit. I, too, was left without parents at a young age and lived with relatives and older siblings throughout my childhood. I probably wasn’t treated as nicely as children should be treated and I probably wasn’t really wanted and was taken in as an obligation. When I first picked up Jane Eyre at age 16 I felt a kinship with her.

I am so happy with my new editions. They are so beautiful.

Late last year, I donated my older copies of Persuasion and Jane Eyre and replaced them with these beautiful Penguin editions.

I hope you have a great weekend!!

xoxo, Jane


Christmas Gifts: Books


My husband and I have a lovely Christmas gifts tradition. We exchange books for Christmas. It’s fun, stress-free and romantic.

For Christmas 2017, I received these wonderful books: The Court of the Last Tsar, Queen Victoria’s Matchmaking and Polish your Poise with Madame Chic.


I love royal history (more on that another time) and I can’t wait to dig in. I’ve read Greg King before so I know I will enjoy The Court of the Last Tsar. I’ve never read Deborah Cadbury before, but it’s about Queen Victoria’s family so I’m in.

I enjoy Jennifer L. Scott’s blog and books about living well, staying organized and the ten-item wardrobe in her Madame Chic series. I’m pretty excited to read her latest, Polish your Poise with Madame Chic.

This morning’s tea: Harrods Earl Grey No. 42

I’ve decided that for every new book I buy in 2018, I should read two of the ones I already own. It’s a great goal, right? Except I kind of already broke it. I just ordered Twilight of Empire: The Tragedy at Mayerling and the End of the Habsburgs.  Books about the Habsburgs are my catnip and I couldn’t wait to own this one. But I’ll try to do better next time…

xoxo, Jane



What will this blog be about? I want to write about the things I love: royal history, royal jewelry, castles & palaces (I love castles & palaces so much!!), fashion, books and the occasional book review. I’ll also share some of my research tidbits and other writerly things.

Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you come back.

– Jane