Sunday, 12 January 2014

Fashions from the Time of The Phantom of the Opera

I thought I'd share some of the fashions from the era the Phantom of the Opera was written. Some are elegant and some are well, hard to figure out how to get into. Grin. Read on!

By English: House of Rouff Français : Maison Rouff , Paris, France (LACMA Image Library. Photograph LACMA.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Can you imagine having that tiny a waist? It's a beautiful garment, but does question how easily one can have a spur of the moment hot exchange...

By Liberty & Co., London, England (est. 1875) (LACMA Image Library. Photograph LACMA.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Корзун Андрей (Kor!An) (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
This one is gorgeous, too. A beautiful wedding dress that makes it very clear he'd better want you because it's going to be hard as heck to get you out of it.
Men's clothing seems to be easier to handle, but there is still a lot to it.

Adolph Menzel [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The fashions aren't so bad, but complicated. What do you think? I kind of like them. 

Here's the blurb:
The Classics Exposed…

A chance sighting at the Opera, fated love, and three lives in turmoil.

One man pledges to own her, while another wants her heart. The Opera sets the stage for romance and intrigue. In the catacombs below the building lives a man rife with sorrow and passion. The Phantom. But he’s not content to live alone. He wants to possess the one woman who can set him free.

His Christine.

Viscount Raoul de Chagny doesn’t believe the rumours of a Ghost living below the Opera. He only has eyes for Christine, his childhood friend and first love. Together they embark on a sensual journey of discovery and fiery desire.

But she can only have one man. Will love raise her up or tear their world apart?
Available here!

Teasers are so great, aren't they? I'd love to share a snippet from Phantom with you! Happy Holidays!!!

“What are you asking of me?”

“Your submission. Allow me to direct you as if I were the composer of one of your songs. Do you trust me?” Raoul smoothed a lock of her hair between his fingers. She smelt of flowers, a most intoxicating scent. Although she trembled in his arms, she met him for a kiss. Christine whimpered. Damn the blanket and the layers of fabric between them. He longed to feel her body next to his. He parted her robe and shoved the garment from her shoulders, leaving her in her nightgown. He swiped his tongue along her bottom lip and palmed her breast.

“Raoul,” she gasped, but didn’t swat him away. “I trust you.”

“Let me make you feel the magic.”

Christine stared at him a moment. “What do you want me to do?”

“Give me what I want. Can you do that?” He unbuttoned the top button on her nightgown. “Show me the depths of your soul.”

“I can.” She whipped her nightgown up over her head, exposing her body to him. Her rosy nipples peaked and the flush spread across her entire chest.

Raoul shrugged out of his nightshirt and tugged her back onto his lap. Skin to skin, mouth to mouth, he lost himself in her sweetness. His desire to conquer her took over. Christine slid her hands up his chest and twined them behind his head.

“Do you still wish to learn? This will not be what you expect.”

“I do.”

He sat back on his heels and hazarded a glance to the door to reassure himself it was locked.


“I do not wish to be interrupted.” He grabbed the chair at the small table and dragged it to the couch. “Sit.”

Christine hesitated, then moved from his lap to the edge of the bed. Raoul eased her onto her back. He crawled between her thighs. “I will pull out so I don’t leave my seed inside you, but I cannot guarantee this won’t hurt.”

She nodded, but didn’t look particularly agreeable. He braced himself on his knees and one hand. With his free hand, he stroked her cheek. “I will make you feel precious when I’m done.”

“I’m yours.”

@Copyright 2012 Wendi Zwaduk and Gaston Leroux

Monday, 6 January 2014

The real scoop on Northanger abbey

With a great deal of thanks to Schmoop.

I hope by now you have read Northanger Abbey with my “spice” sprinkled through it. Actually all of the Clandestine Classics will heat you up, especially is you’re in the frozen north now.

Northanger Abbey was Jane Austen's first novel and was written between 1798 and 1803. The novel is a coming of age tale, focusing on the comedic adventures of a sheltered seventeen-year-old girl who learns to navigate the polite society of Bath (a popular English resort town) and Northanger Abbey (the fancy home of one of the book's wealthiest families). Her travels are full of mishaps with new friends and love interests.

Though this was Austen's first novel, it actually wasn't published until 1818, after her death. Oddly enough, it was published along with her last novel Persuasion, a much more mature work than the often screwball Northanger Abbey. What was the hold up with Northanger Abbey? Well, publishing was pretty different back in the day. No one had contracts or anything like that. And publishing was also very expensive. So Austen's publisher bought Northanger Abbey in 1803 and then sat on it for ten years since he didn't think he could make any money from it. Austen bought the book back in 1813 with something along the lines of a 'thanks a lot, jerk' to her reluctant publisher. OK, so Jane Austen was more polite about it. We bet she was thinking that, though.

What's ironic about this publishing delay is that, out of all of Austen's novels, Northanger Abbey has one of the most specific historical contexts and agendas. The agenda here was satire and the targets were the Gothic novels that were hugely popular in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. What on earth is a Gothic novel? Well, this type of novel is a romantic adventure riddled with soap-opera plot twists, dramatic emotions, over-the-top narratives, and supernatural elements. A good example of a Gothic novel would be Frankenstein. However, Austen was mocking somewhat more low-brow Gothic novels, the kind that aren't taught in English classes today. Basically, Northanger Abbey is the equivalent of a novel that decided to spoof a popular book like Twilight today.

Austen also mocks the conservative social commentary surrounding Gothic novels. These commentators railed about the damaging effects novels had on impressionable young (and female) minds. Out of all of Austen's novels, Northanger Abbey is the most outrageously comedic.

Northanger Abbey is also firmly rooted in a specific historical context. It was totally possible to read and enjoy this book when it was actually published in 1818 (just like it's very easy to read and like this book today). But a lot of the book's "contemporary" references to other authors and novels were a bit dated by 1818, which is something Austen actually brings up in her preface. Nearly all of the novels that are name-dropped here were published in the 1790s. Aside from its historically specific references, the novel overall is pretty universal. It looks at things like love, friendship, and growing up. Like Austen's later novels, Northanger Abbey humorously focuses on human behavior. This timeless element is a reason why Austen's novels are all still so widely read today.

Northanger Abbey is available in both print and digital. If you haven’t tries it yet, come on. Be adventurous.