Easter is very much a family holiday in Austria. On Easter Sunday, families get together for a lunch that includes ham (lots and lots of ham, served with plenty of horseradish), hard-boiled, colored Easter eggs (before you can eat an egg, you have to knock it against someone else’s egg, and only the one whose egg gets broken gets to eat it), and a sweet Easter bread with raisins.
Everyone brings Easter candy and chocolate and distributes it to the other family members.
In many parts of Austria, Easter fires are lit on Saturday night before Easter Sunday. This is a tradition that dates back to pagan times when fires were lit to welcome spring.
One of my favorite things about Easter doesn’t really have anything to do with Easter at all. It’s the forsythias that usually flower around Easter time, even if Easter comes early and the weather is still cold. These bright yellow bushes are so lovely at a time of the year when not much else is blooming.
I love researching history and exploring past centuries, so it’s no surprise I was drawn to write historical romance. These lush romantic sagas are the perfect foil for the drama, excitement, and adventure of momentous historical events.
Sapphire Magic, book 1 in my Fearless Women Historical Romance Series, is set against the Congress of Vienna. If you are not familiar with this international conference, let me tell you about it.
The Congress of Vienna did some serious business, but it was also the biggest and longest party Europe has ever had.
Congress of Vienna in 1814 by engraving Jean Godefroy on drawing Jean-Baptiste Isabey. Publication of the book “A Century in the text and pictures”, Berlin, Germany, 1899
From September 1814 to June 1815, Vienna became the hub of European politics (and social life) as multitudes converged on the city—monarchs, heads of state, diplomats, ambassadors, military men, secretaries, beautiful women, and spies, lots and lots of spies.
With so many participants, negotiations were long and complicated. To make the time they spent in Vienna more pleasant, there was a profusion of opportunities for diversion—balls, soirées, salons, fancy events, such as the recreation of a medieval tournament, and plenty of love affairs.
Despite being the loser, France had a seat at the table. It was represented by Prince Talleyrand, the ultimate survivor. This sly genius had managed to serve Louis XVI, the Revolution, the Directoire, Napoleon, and after Napoleon’s fall, he went back to serving Louis XVIII without missing a beat. While Napoleon had used Talleyrand, the Emperor always despised him for his ease in changing loyalties and is reputed to have once said to him, “Monsieur, vous êtes une merde dans un bas de soie,” which translates as “Sir, you are a piece of s–t in a silk stocking.”
Despite its frivolous reputation, many accomplishments of the Congress of Vienna lasted almost a century until the outbreak of World War I.
Gutsy heroines and dashing heroes. Love, passion, and sensuality. Intrigue, rebellion, and revolution. A thrilling journey through 19th century Europe, packed with vivid, true-to-life historical detail.