Guest Author: Leigh LaValle

I have a debut author guest blogging with me today, and that’s always an exciting event.  She’s historical romance writer Leigh LaValle, and her first book, The Runaway Countess is now out.  This is the book that USA Today bestselling author Tessa Dare called “an enchanting tale of passion and deception, laced with charm and wit.”  Hooray!

Without any further ado, I’ll turn the blog over to Leigh.

Virtual Shopping Historical Style

It’s Friday! Time to kick up our feet and do something fun and extravagant, like virtual shopping historical style.

Empire waists, corseted waists, drop waists… there is much to explore. Let’s begin with a little fashion show, shall we? Unfortunately, I have to limit my selections to the 19th century; otherwise we would be here all weekend!

To begin, the classic early Regency muslin that molded to the natural female form.

 1802 Morning Dress

Look at those lovely legs!

1808 Evening Dress

Some daring Regency cleavage. Always good for the heroine.

 1815 Walking Dress

I love this walking dress! I am going to ditch my fleece and spandex and go for this style on my next outing.

  1820 Evening Dress

My debut novel, THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS, takes place during the late Regency (1821 to be exact). My heroine, Mazie, might dress in something like this. Notice the waist is dropping and sleeves are puffing out for an exaggerated figure.

 1831 Ball Gown

The 1830’s were a crazy time in fashion. Let’s call it the 1980’s and move on before someone gets hurt, shall we?

  A toned down hourglass figure is all the rage during the Victorian era.

 1849 Ball Gown

Waist courtesy of the Victorian corset.

 Fashions keep getting narrower and wider at once.

 Ball Gown 1865

Scarlett O’Hara would shop from this fashion plate.

 Later in the Victorian Era, gowns take a new shape.

Skirts come in, patootie’s stay out.

 Always a favorite. The infamous bustle:

1876 Dinner Dress


1880 Ball Gown

I love these dresses myself. The hairstyles, too.

 We shall end our fashion show today with the beginning of La Belle Epoque:

 1893 Ball Gown


What about you, Dear Reader, which is your favorite style? Comment and enter to win a digital copy of THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS, which features lots of interesting fashion choices!



“Exciting and action packed, with a hero and heroine who play well off each other.”RT Book Reviews 4 stars

“The characters are, indeed, so empathetic, with shifting first-person throughout the story, that you honestly feel like you are watching your two best friends fall in love.” TOP PICK Night Owl Reviews

Once the darling of high society, Mazie Chetwyn knows firsthand how quickly the rich and powerful turn their backs on the less fortunate. Orphaned, penniless and determined to defy their ruthless whims, she joins forces with a local highwayman who steals from the rich to give to the poor.

Then the pawn broker snitches, and Mazie is captured by the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. A man who is far too handsome, far too observant…and surely as corrupt as his father once was.

Sensible, rule-driven Trent Carthwick, twelfth Earl of Radford, is certain the threat of the gallows will prompt the villagers’ beloved Angel of Kindness to reveal the highwayman’s identity. But his bewitching captive volunteers nothing—except a sultry, bewildering kiss.

And so the games begin. Trent feints, Mazie parries. He threatens, she pretends nonchalance. He cajoles, she rebuffs. Thwarted at every turn, Trent probes deep into her one vulnerability—her past. There he finds the leverage he needs and a searing truth that challenges all he believes about right and wrong.

Leigh, Thanks so much for joining us.  Your book sounds fantastic, and I can’t wait to read it!  Readers, you can find Leigh at Facebook and Twitter, or visit her website at

And which is your favorite style of the 19th century?  Tell us which picture appeals to you the most.  One person who comments will win a copy of Leigh’s debut.


31 thoughts on “Guest Author: Leigh LaValle”

  1. I like all of the 19th century fashions but I love the Regency period best. I think becaust of the basic simplicity of the fashions. Certainly, some gowns had lots of frilly stuff attached, but for the most part, the plainer, the better. Let the beautiful fabrics speak for themselves!

  2. The gowns are beautiful but I don’t think I could wear those big ball gowns. They look like they would be heavy. The dresses that are simple looking look much better and they look like they might be comfortable (but may be not)who knows.

  3. Well, I’m a big fans of Scarlet O’hara. So I choose that dress. For me, the dress has many layers and it looks floating on the floor. If you have a slender body, then it’s good for you. It’ll make you look plum.

  4. I like the blue dress… the one where the lady is holding the fan… always love fancy and big dresses…. at least looking at them anyways…

  5. I liked the 1876 dinner dresses and the 1880 ball gowns. Thanks for the fashion show, I loved it! Have a great weekend.

  6. I have always loved the bustle. The corseted tops, more fitted dresses and showing a little of the upper back and all that neck…beautiful 🙂
    I could never do the large hoop skirt. I just picture myself sitting down and the dress just flipping right up lol

  7. The 1802-1808 styles – light, flowing…as sleek and body conscious possible for the world before spandex and without dampening the down. Also the still look comfortable and not in danger of body parts spilling out!

  8. Hi Leigh and Vanessa!
    Happy Friday!

    Of course, I will be more than happy to join in on some Virtual Shopping Historical Style.
    What else do we gals do, we shop!! 🙂

    I’m not sure which is one of my favorites, I do like all styles of dress, but I will have to pick the 1876 Dinner Dress. I think they just look so classy, very lady-like.

    Have a great evening ladies!


Leave a Comment