Monday, May 16, 2011

Four weeks to THE REVENANT -- Victorian giveaway (NOW CLOSED)

Preliminary note #1: Apparently, I can't add. This is why I write books instead of being an accountant. Last week was actually five weeks until the release of The Revenant. I will endeavor to keep my figures straight from here on out!

Preliminary note #2: Before we get to this week's theme, I must announce the winner of Tessa Gratton's BLOOD MAGIC, as selected by That lucky person is Jynn Morgan, who won by entering on Livejournal. Huzzah!

NOTE: The rest who entered are still in the running for the two finished copies of The Revenant -- these winners will be announced on the book's release date. FYI - if you comment on each week's post, that's five entries!

Now, without further ado . . . This week's theme is the Victorian period!

What do I love about it?

D.L. King asked me about this recently, and I had some trouble answering -- even though the Victorians idealized everything feminine, female empowerment outside of the domestic sphere was not much promoted. Still (and I'm cribbing my own response to D.L. here), there were women who worked around the rules, such as those who published novels, were professional artists or photographers, or who fought for educational reform and women’s suffrage. I'm particularly drawn to stories of Victorian ladies who flouted convention in small but effective ways, pursuing their passions without thoroughly forfeiting their social standing.

On a lighter note, I confess to loving the elaborate and often mystifying rules of social ettiquette in the Victorian period. Even the prudishness is interesting to me! The restrictions on physical intimacy between ladies and gentlemen work particularly well for romantic stories -- in this setting a mere kiss on the inside of a wrist becomes a transgressive and potentially swoon-worthy event. You gotta love that!

And the clothes! I'm so obsessed that I even joined my bestie Michelle Lunsford in dressing up for the Athenaeum Girls' School -- a summer program in which teen girls learn about young ladyhood in 1861 Columbia, Tennessee. Michelle teaches courses on the rituals of mourning (note her full mourning gear above) and afternoon tea.

There's something so seductively refined about negotiating the events of the day in a corset and hoop. It's almost as though the wide skirt creates a forcefield of awesome around your body -- you are literally untouchable in your elegance!

What does it have to do with The Revenant?

The novel is set in 1896 Indian Territory (what is now eastern Oklahoma), and though this may seem a far cry from Victorian England, the ladies of the Cherokee Female Seminary endeavored to embody the ideals of Victorian womanhood.

The Cherokee founders of the school envisioned the students having the same values and opportunities as wealthy students in east coast boarding schools. (The Cherokee Female Seminary was modeled after Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, after all.) Some scholars argue that when the school began to admit charity students from poorer homes, tension arose between the wealthy "progressive" students and their more "traditional" counterparts who weren't necessarily reared to emulate the Victorian ideal of womanhood. This tension became part of the conflict in The Revenant.

What am I giving away?

Dark and luxurious with rich, compelling characters and a perfect blend of the mysterious and the fantastic, Saundra Mitchell's THE VESPERTINE is Victorian gothic at its finest—at once evoking the lyricism of Bronte, the heart-pounding of Poe and a vivid, enticing voice that is entirely her own.

So sayeth Sarah MacLean, Author of The Season and 9 Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, and I agree with every word of her praise. The Vespertine haunted me so much that I've already given one copy away, and now it seems the perfect fit for my Victorian giveaway! This story of a girl who experiences prophetic visions at twilight is so gorgeously written and lushly atmospheric that any fan of the Victorian period is sure to enjoy it. For more about The Vespertine, please see my review of the book at Book End Babes and my interview with Saundra here at my blog. The winner will receive the book, a matching bookmark and a signed bookplate, along with an assortment of Revenant and Elevensies swag.

The weekly giveaways are open to residents of North America only. International readers may still comment to enter the drawing for a finished copy of The Revenant.

How does one enter?

1. Leave a comment that includes a name and some way to contact you. This is really all you have to do to be entered for the weekly giveaway AND to put your name in the drawing for one of two finished copies of The Revenant. (Of course, I'd love for you to expound on your favorite things about the Victorian era in your comment, but this is not required.)

2. If you'd like an extra entry, please tweet a link to this contest. Something like: Win a copy of THE VESPERTINE at @soniagensler's Four Weeks to THE REVENANT Giveaway!

You have until 11:59 pm (CDT) Saturday the 21st to enter -- good luck!

[Cross-posted from Livejournal]


  1. I cannot wait to read The Vespertine or The Revenant! I love the Victorian era!

    Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  2. Yay!!/memoryofagldfsh


  3. I want to read both so bad!


  4. I would love to read this!


  5. I read THE VESPERTINE as an e-galley but would love to have it in hardcover! Would also love to read THE REVENANT!!



  6. i just love the dresses thankyou so much for the contest!!!


    +1 TWEETED-!/Holt9102/status/70125709674299394

  7. "the wide skirt creates a forcefield of awesome around your body" Love it!

    If I'd have known of the Athenaeum Girls' School when I was in high school, I would have begged my parents to send me. What fun!

  8. I love the "attitude" that accompanies the dresses!

  9. Great giveaway! Thanks so much!

  10. Yes please, count me in! Thank you for the giveaway :)


  11. I love reading about the Victorian period, the dresses and the manners, but for a modern girl like me I'm very glad I don't live in that era. Actually I wouldn't have even existed since my mom is white and my dad is Mexican.

    I do still love reading about it all
    Thanks for the giveaway and I did tweet about it from Kr15tina

    myworldofbooks18 at hotmail dot com

  12. Wow, look at you all lovely in lavender! That is fantastic. I was just wishing the other day there were more balls & whatnot for me to attend so I could wear crinoline. And of course the books sound fantastic as well. Sign me up. edithcohn(at)gmail(dot) com

  13. Their clothes are lovely. Especially the one that they used in the movie

    Please enter me for The Revenant.

    I tweet at gmail dot com

    Thanks for the chance

  14. I really enjoy the Victorian era. The dresses are my favorite part. I was named after Vivien Leigh from Gone with the Wind. She played the infamous Scarlett O'Hara. Corsets are just crazy and awesome wrapped in one.

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  15. I love the corset and hoops, but at the same time they're so constricting :-)

    My tweet:!/safaripoet/status/70192661985902592


    Just wanted to point out that I'm not in the US. Fingers crossed for The Revenant!

  16. *dies*

    Nice! I know we get excited about thinks like release dates, but saying they're closer than they are isn't going to help in the long run. :) It's still exciting though.


    brenna dot braaten at gmail dot com

    (Oh, and I tweeted about this too.)

  17. Both these books are on my TBR list, and am pining away to read them both. Thank you for this amazingly generous giveaway - as a reader/blogger, I really appreciate the opportunity. I love historical fiction, so it would be a delight to win.

    I tweeted the giveaway:!/inluvwithbookz/status/70212177524555776

    GFC Follower: ~Enamored Soul~
    Email: Enamoredsoul(at)gmail(dot)com
    Twitter: @inluvwithbookz

  18. Thank you for the giveaway!

  19. Of course I had to enter this, having devoted my life to Things Victorian (including big skirts, gender roles, and unnecessary capitalization). Needless to say, I love your theme this week!

    -Christiana S.

    P.S. If I had a copy of The Vespertine I'd be tempted to keep it propped up at the back of my desk all the time - what a gorgeous cover.

  20. Okay, so you have the coolest name EVER.

    Anyways. Forcefield skirts! Yeah, that's probably my favourite part as well :) Not so sure I'd like to live in a time where I had virtually no rights, but whatever.


    Thank you! :)

  21. Thanks for the giveaway :D
    I also tweeted:!/ramen_addict/status/70251305549053952

  22. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Tweeted -!/darkangel231988/status/70253128297091072



  23. Thanks so much for the giveaway!

  24. This is an awesome giveaway! I'm excited to read The Revenant. The Victorian era was such an elaborate and gorgeous time in English history for the Ton. Of course is was also a time of extreme poverty due to the massive population boom for the common people. But the gowns and societal procedures were so grand and so far removed from today's time that it is easy to romanticize things, especially given the lovely romance of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Another book that is an interesting look at Victorian times set in London is Mary Hooper's Fallen Grace. I just finished it and it was fantastic. Another Victorian book to add to your list!

    Okay now that I'm done rambling....

    Email: eliweibley AT gmail DOT com


  25. I love the Victorian Era. The clothes, the music, the art, the literature, everything about it screams class!


  26. So I am sure it's been said, but the dresses. I have always wanted to wear one just to see what it would be like. I don't understand how Victorian women did it!

    thegirlofire27 at gmail dot com

  27. Thanks for the great giveaway!



  28. Vespertine is the next in my TBR stack! I'm very excited. :) Thanks for doing this giveaway!

    What to love about the Victorian period? The CLOTHES! And the detail given to constructing every day objects.

    lunanshee (at) gmail (dot) com

  29. Awesome giveaway! I can't wait to read this book.

  30. Oooh, I`ve heard good things about this book. And I love the Victorian era... Enter me! Like you, I love the dresses and the etiquette of the Victorians. I love how, in stories, everything seems so civilized and calm, but there can still be so much tension beneath the surface.

    A tweet:!/ElanorLawrence/status/70938239313256448

    elanor_gamgee (at) yahoo (dot) com

  31. This looks great!

    Michelle D. starlightgirl678 at aol dot com

    The Victorian Era is so beautiful and charming, but also dark and dangerous! The fashion and architecture are amazing!

  32. You've covered my two favorite things about the Victorian Era, clothing and ettiquette. I love the fashions but always wondered how they could keep from passing out in the heat of summer wearing all that clothing! I've always been fascinated by the ettiquette of the period, especially the mourning ettiquette.

    Mary Ellen

  33. I can't wait to read both books :)
    I love the clothes! I wish we dressed that way today!

  34. oh and I tweeted:!/jlhsperry624/status/71568233597108224

  35. I cannot wait to read BOTH of these books, I absolutely love the Victorian ages. *g* So, definitely put in the running for the giveaway.

    Suz @ A Soul Unsung


    You'll have to request to follow me though, tweets are protected. :)

  36. I love the Victorian era. I love watching movies and reading books about the era. I like seeing the outfits they wore and the way they acted that is so different than they way it is today. Times were so much more simpler then.

  37. Like most other girls, I adore the dresses from the Victorian era! Thanks for the awesome contest. :)


  38. Wow what a great giveaway! I'm really excited about both books!

    wolfluvr420 at yahoo dot com!/wolfluvr420/status/71991510563954688

  39. Fab giveaway!

    My favourite thing about the Victorian period would have to be the fact that everyone was obsessed with sexy-time, but nobody admitted it. I always feel sorry for the ladies who had to "lie back and think of England." Bless their cotton underthings!

    Twitter = scattered_laura. Link posted!

  40. I love that picture of you in a hoop skirt, Sonia!