Romancing History

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Excerpt from Peyton’s Promise & a Giveaway

I’m thrilled to welcome author Susan G. Mathis to Romancing History today. Not only is Susan a multi award-winning author, she also writes both fiction (historical romance, children’s picture books) and non-fiction books (premarital books) and articles. That is truly a wonderful accomplishment!

Her latest release, Peyton’s Promise, is book three in the Thousand Islands Gilded Age series which gets its name from that beautiful part of upstate New York where her stories are set.

I hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt from Peyton’s Promise and don’t forget to visit the Giveaway section at the bottom of the post to enter the giveaway to win an eBook copy of the book!


About the Book

Title: Peyton’s Promise
Series Info: Thousand Islands Gilded Age book three
Author: Susan G Mathis
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Info: 
Iron Stream Fiction, 264 pages

ABOUT PEYTON’S PROMISE:

Summer 1902

Peyton Quinn is tasked with preparing the grand Calumet Castle ballroom for a spectacular two-hundred-guest summer gala. As she works in a male-dominated position of upholsterer and fights for women’s equality, she’s persecuted for her unorthodox ways. But when her pyrotechnics-engineer father is seriously hurt, she takes over the plans for the fireworks display despite being socially ostracized.

Patrick Taylor, Calumet’s carpenter and Peyton’s childhood chum, hopes to win her heart, but her unconventional undertakings cause a rift. Peyton has to ignore the prejudices and persevere or she could lose her job, forfeit Patrick’s love and respect, and forever become the talk of local gossips.


Excerpt from Peyton’s Promise

Patrick chewed on the inside of his cheek as he concentrated on the intricate touchup work he’d accomplished so well before Peyton appeared like a ghost from his past. She’d haunted his dreams for nearly three years, and now she was here. Some of those dreams were sweet—of walking along the shore of the St. Lawrence arm in arm with the girl he’d loved ever since he was knee-high to a Daddy Longlegs.

As childhood best friends, they’d shared everything together. Their favorite fishing and swimming hole in a little cattail-sheltered inlet of French Bay just blocks from their homes. Studying in the same one-room schoolhouse, albeit he was a year ahead of her, and she was much smarter than he. Secrets and tears and laughs—oh, so many laughs. He’d quoted the Irish saying to her time and again, “A best friend is like a four-leaf clover; hard to find and lucky to have.” Indeed, he was a lucky young lad.

He loved to make her laugh, to hear that captivating little snicker. Not quite a laugh. Not quite a giggle. A fanciful pixie sound he called a liggle. Oh, how he loved—and missed—that sound!

Really, he couldn’t ever remember not loving her, not dreaming of growing old with the flaxen-haired lass with her haunting green eyes and soft, sweet lips. He’d kissed those lips once. His body quivered at the innocence of that childish moment.

While he fished on one hot summer’s day, Peyton had fallen asleep in the sunshine, beads of moisture wetting her brow, yet her placid features didn’t flinch in the heat. He’d probably been about eleven years old and just couldn’t help himself. Studying her angelic face, he’d bent down and touched his lips to hers. Barely. She didn’t even stir, but that stolen kiss became a golden badge of courage to him. He’d never told her—or anyone—about it. But it rarely left the recesses of his memories for long. And he’d never kissed anyone since.

Lighthouse Publishing     Amazon


About the Author

Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. She has been published more than twenty times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books. Susan has seven in her fiction line including, The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, Katelyn’s Choice, Devyn’s Dilemma, Sara’s Surprise, Reagan’s Reward, and her newest, Colleen’s Confession. Peyton’s Promise and Rachel’s Reunion release in 2022 and she just finished book ten, Mary’s Moment. Her book awards include two Illumination Book Awards, three American Fiction Awards, two Indie Excellence Book Awards, and two Literary Titan Book Awards. Reagan’s Reward is a Selah Awards finalist.

Susan is also a published author of two premarital books, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling around the world but returns each summer to enjoy the Thousand Islands. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com/fiction for more.


Giveaway*

To enter the giveaway for a Kindle copy of Peyton’s Promise, tell me if you’ve visited the Thousand Island area of New York. What did you think? If you haven’t been there yet, what is your favorite New York destination?

*Giveaway ends at midnight, June 1st.

Perilous Beauty

From the Harvard Art Museum collection: Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour, circa 1750

Unlike the tanned skin I desired in the 1980s, throughout much of history, pale skin was considered the highest standard of beauty. A woman with porcelain skin announced to the world that she came from wealth and privilege and didn’t  have to work in the fields like a common peasant.

However, many who sought a prized alabaster complexion unwittingly poisoned themselves with a lead based make-up paste known as ceruse that was mixed with vinegar. The paste would be applied to their skin in an even layer with a damp cloth. Oftentimes, the paste was mixed with egg whites to make it last longer. Because hygiene regiments weren’t exactly the same standard as today, it would be common for the ceruse paste to remain on a woman’s skin for weeks at a time. The egg whites would stiffen against their skin, so smiling was strictly off limits as the egg white had a tendency to crack.

Beginning in the 1500s, wealthy women used ceruse to lighten their skin. Made with white lead, ceruse was also used in making paint. It was highly toxic to humans and often caused skin irritations and insomnia, the evidence of which would be hidden by, you guessed it, applying more ceruse paste. Women who wore the toxic make-up often suffered from lead poisoning with symptoms ranging from gastrointestinal problems, nausea, and kidney issues to cardiovascular and nervous system troubles, muscle pain, and even hearing loss. Wearers often lost their eyebrows and compensated by applying fake ones made from moose fur.

Ceruse was still available in France throughout the 1700s. While American women of the same time period also esteemed pale skin, they typically wore less makeup than their European counterparts. There is no evidence that American women applied ceruse to their faces.

Maria Gunning, Countess of Coventry; Wallace Collection London

But ceruse wasn’t the only toxin women of the era applied to their skin. Cinnabar, known today as mercury sulfide, was a pigment used for painting pottery and would be applied to the cheeks as rouge to give women a healthy, rosy appearance. Wearers often suffered neurological disorders, emotional problems, and peeling skin. The latter causing the afflicted to apply even more makeup to cover up the skin irritation.

England’s Queen Elizabeth I used ceruse to hide her facial scars after contracting small pox. Prolonged use of the poisonous paste is generally believed to have caused her death in 1603. Renowned for her beauty, Maria Gunning, the famed countess of Coventry, also wore ceruse regularly. As it gradually ate away at her skin, she wore even more. She died of lead and mercury poisoning in 1760 at the tender age of twenty-seven.

While it can be easy to judge these cosmetic rituals of the past as preposterous, ore even farcical, many people today turn to injections of Botox, botulinum toxin, a neurotoxic protein produced by the bacterium clostridium botulinum. Botox paralyses facial muscles to diminish the appearance of wrinkles. Use of these products could cause respiratory failure and death. Some studies show a link between these injected toxins and autoimmune diseases, yet according to industry data, more than 6 million Botox treatments are administered each year.

Perhaps we still haven’t learned our lesson.

Join the conversation: What crazy beauty regimens (hopefully not toxic ones) do you subscribe to?

 

 

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