Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Elusive Earl

The Elusive Earl is #36 in the Bantam series and was published in April 1976. It is the story of Calista, whose mother is trying to trick the Earl of Helstone into marriage with Calista. She warns him ahead of time, but he chooses not to listen to her and wanders towards a trap!

Francis Marshall painted 2 different covers for this story. Both are set at a circus or fair, but the Pan version shows our heroine as a horsewoman and elegantly attired in a red riding habit. The Bantam version has her running away from the hero with the crowd watching a balloon ascension. Note the difference in dress from the regency lines that were Grecian to her full day dress, which is more Victorian in style and design. Her hairstyle is also Victorian with the top knot and sausage curls!

This book is set in 1838 and horse racing and breeding was a popular sport for the very wealthy. Matches were held at Newmarket and attracted all sorts of people because gambling was allowed. Owners studied the breeding of horses to create a fast racer and modern horse racing is still a popular sport.

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