Review: Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century

This book was sent to me by Pen and Sword Books in exchange for an honest review.

Elegant Etiquette in the Nineteenth Century by Mallory James is a compact little book published last month. (To be published in the US in March.)

This book covers the do’s and don’ts of living in high society during the 1800s and features handy examples of social situations in every chapter. The eleven chapters cover behavior at dinner and balls, writing correspondence, tips exclusively for ladies and tips for the gents and more.

This book is a must-have reference for novelists new to writing historical romance based in the Regency or Victorian era, particularly if their characters are socializing with the upper crust members of society.

The book is obviously well-researched, citing several etiquette guides published during the 19th century, used by the very people who followed the rules within them.

Elegant Etiquette also features several glossy black and white photos of 19th century garments and accessories, a perfect addition to the chapter on etiquette relating to fashion.

My one criticism of this book is the formatting. Since this book is likely to be used as a reference guide for many, I would like to have seen the content divided by bold headers in order to make certain content easier to find. Thankfully, the index is well-stocked with key words so historical fiction authors will make good use of it.


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jillianne hamilton headshotJillianne Hamilton is an author, history enthusiast, book lover and graphic designer. Her debut novel, Molly Miranda: Thief for Hire, was shortlisted for the 2016 Prince Edward Island Book Award. She is currently working on her first non-fiction book. She lives in Charlottetown on Canada's beautiful east coast.
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