The Inspiration Behind Holland’s Writing

In 1870, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, and Hungary/Austria allied and threatened reigning England for power. Edwardian period was full of political turbulence. The parliament wanted to dominate the liberals, liberals trying to overpower the parliament, and fight for unemployment benefits, old-age pensions, death duties, shorten work hours, and financial support for the old and sick were all affecting the political environment.

In a blog post, Holland shared that not only she loves writing historical fiction, she also watches classic movies, and sew and wear vintage clothes. In short, she breathes and lives history daily. She loves the Edwardian era because of its opulence and rich history. She enjoys imagining the characters and their lifestyle that is naturally rich in drama. She felt part of history whenever she researches and writes about the Gettysburg or Waterloo wars, the sinking of Titanic, and the rise of militant suffrage. In the post, she mentioned that she understands the restrictions of writing about history but being a fiction writer, she enjoys the freedom and lets her imagination go wild. She revealed enjoying the television series Downtown Abbey, a historical drama set between the years 1912-1926. The show won a Golden Globe Award and an Emmy Award. In 2019, the television series was made into a historical drama film that continues the storyline from the series. The movie grossed $194 million against a budget of $13 to $20 million. The film received a generally positive review.

Holland is the author of the Bledington Park series. The first book on the series, An Ideal Duchess published in 2013 is a story of an American duchess married to the 9th Duke of Malvern and her struggle for her husband to love her. The second book of the series, A Duchess Heart published in 2014 is a continuation of the duchess quest for love. When the Duke of Malvern was rescued after a battle, he is suffering from amnesia, and his estranged wife, the duchess, is there to take care him, risking that she might fall in love with him again. The second book of the duchess saga received better reviews than the first.

Holland was also one of the authors who contributed to the Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War which is a collection of stories set after World War I. Another popular book written by Holland was the 2012 novel, Lady Myddelton’s Lover. Aline, the Countess of Myddleton was gifted a lover by her friends who thought she grieved long enough. The saucy storyline revolves around the countess resistance to fall for the guy who is her husband’s heir.

Evangeline Holland also published several pocket guides to the Edwardian era:

Pocket Guide to Edwardian England was published in June 2012 and is a collection of her blog posts at Edwardian Promenade. This pocket guide received good reviews at GoodReads.com for having a good summary of the Edwardian era. It covers various aspects of the era, from the food and weather to suffragette movement and politics.

Pocket Guide to Historical Research was published in January 2013 and is a collection of research and studies that Holland collated within five years of researching about it. She wrote it with the intention of other writers to use it as a guide when researching about the Edwardian and Victorian era.

Edwardian England: A Guide to Everyday Life, 1900-1914 was published in January 2014 which was the second, expanded, and revised edition of The Pocket Guide to Edwardian England. The book is a straightforward guide to the era and not intended as an academic guide nor draws a conclusion.

Evangeline Holland has a degree in Public History & American Studies and currently enrolled in a doctoral program in the Midwest. She also owns Plum Bun Media company which is the first history media company. Holland provides historical research for assignments, term papers, and family or local research. She also provides archival services wherein she helps clients to conserve and preserve any important documents such as photographs, corporate documents, or family heirlooms.

Holland is currently based in California.

Understanding “La Belle Epoque”

La Belle Epoque was a period of great social change and when influences of aristocracy and monarchies prevailed. The kings and queens had complete and unconditional power and control of top government offices and their authority was supreme. Although it was an era of hope and optimism, it was also ridden with pessimism and corruption with a great divide between the rich and the poor. During this period, Britain was considered the most dominant nation in the world. It was considered the Golden Age and the time when the sun never sets for the British people. With the death and destruction that World War 1 caused, many people who lived during the Edwardian and Victorian periods recalled these eras with fond memories.

In terms of religion, Darwinism concept got more support during the Edwardian period as advancement in sciences and technology progressed. The Catholic church’s grip on the daily lives of Edwardians reduced over time as the acceptance of Charles Darwin’s concept, including his predecessors’ work, gained acceptance. As per Charles Darwin, all organisms came from atoms or cells and depending on the organism’s characteristics, can mutate and undergo biological evolution. This was against the teachings of the Catholic church whom humans and other creatures were created by a Divine Being called God.

All composers, artists, and writers we considered today as “modern” had their roots in the Edwardian era. Watercolor and oil on canvas were the preferred choices of medium by Edwardian artists. Paintings of this era are more of portraits commissioned by wealthy people. Kenneth Graham (Wind in the Willows), George Bernard Shaw (Man and Superman), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (The Hound of the Baskervilles), Beatrix Potter (Tales of Peter Rabbit) were famous writers of that time.

In Science and Technology, the Edwardian period had seen so many inventions – airplanes, sewing machines, typewriters, mattresses, and the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell. These inventions not only brought convenience but proved how advanced the La Belle Époque period was. Other popular scientists prominent during the Edwardian era were Marie Curie and Albert Einstein.

The way King Edward VII carried himself was copied by everyone who wanted to befriend him. The way King Edward VII presented himself – the way he dressed and talked was copied by many who wanted to be perceived as noble and intelligent. The Edwardian era also allowed other nations to gain wealth, and benefit from Britain’s Golden Era. Many families became millionaires because of Britain’s influence.

The Edwardian period was equivalent to the Progressive age of America. This was the time that the United States went on a journey to colonized lands and islands for possession such as the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam, and Hawaii. This was the period when the charismatic Theodore Roosevelt aggressively opposed the intervention of Europeans in its domestic affairs.

Who Is Evangeline Holland?

Evangeline Holland is the editor and founder of www.EdwardianPromenade.com. Her site enjoys nearly half a million unique viewers a year and considered the number one go-to place for lovers of the Gilded Age, World War I, and La Belle Époque. La Belle Époque was a period of Western and French history between the years 1871 to 1914. The era was associated with a time of peace, prosperity, and optimism. It was also the time of cultural innovations, scientific and technological advancements, and when arts (music, literature, and visual) flourished.

In her biography, Holland credits Victoria Holt, Roberta Gellis, Edith Wharton, and Jane Feather as her influences. Edith Wharton (1862-1937) is a novelist famous for her novels and stories about the wealthy society which she was a part with. Born in America, her work The Age of Innocence won her a Pulitzer award. Eleanor Alice Burford Hibbert was also known as Victoria Holt, Philippa Carr, Eleanor Burford, and many more other pseudonyms. She had different monikers for every different genre she wrote. She used the name Victoria Holt for gothic romances, Jean Plaidy for her European royalty stories, and Philippa Carr for family stories. Her books were sold more than 100 million copies and translated into twenty languages. Another of Holland’s influence, Jane Feather, was an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author that has more than ten million romance novels printed.

Following the popularity of television series Downtown Abbey in 2010, Holland found an opportunity to promote her love for the Edwardian era through writing. She contacted a literary agent Kevin Lyon, who donned the Twitter bio, “historical fiction fanatic”. Lyon noticed that his pool of writers was either retweeting or sharing Holland’s blog and that made him decide to reach out and work with her.

Holland’s blog, www.EdwardianPromenade.com, was created in 2007 and the number one site for Edwardian history. The Edwardian era was a period of British history known for luxury and elegance and ended due to World War 1. In Holland’s blog, she rounded up the period from 1880 to 1914 (around 35 years) although factually it was from 1901 to 1914. Being an aficionado of the Edwardian era, she created the blog to share her enthusiasm with others.