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Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Heather Moll to Diary of an Eccentric to celebrate the release of her new Pride and Prejudice variation, His Choice of an Wife. I hope you find her research on Regency-era sleeve buttons as interesting as I did. Please give Heather a warm welcome!

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“My aunt and uncle Gardiner undertook a commission in town on my behalf since I could find nothing in Meryton that would suit. I had not planned to give these to you so soon, but I want you to have them before you must leave me again.”

He gave her a bemused look before opening the box to see the four bright-green oval sleeve buttons set in silver. He picked up one linked pair and held the delicate stones between his finger and thumb.  

Thank you for hosting me today, Anna! I’m pleased and proud to be able to share His Choice of a Wife with your readers and talk about something I incorporate into every JAFF I write: jewelry.  If anyone follows me on social media, you’ll see me post about #GeorgianJewelry. As much as I love all historical detail, I know I have too much fun searching for unique and gorgeous pieces.

Who doesn’t love jewelry … and a sharp-dressed man? We tend to think of Regency-era women decked out in garnets, topazes, and emeralds, but let’s not forget the gentlemen.

Since the 17th century, sleeve buttons were used to keep closed the large cuffs on gentlemen’s coats. Often they were bespoke and made from either silver or gold, or alloys that had the look of precious metals. They were meant to be swapped out to wear with different coats. They were a pair of matching buttons joined at the shank to be put through the sleeves of the coat.

Notice the gold buttons on the coat sleeve of the man in red (1791)

Men’s shirts were an undergarment and only the collar and long lace cuffs were meant to be seen. The lacy trim disappeared by the 19th century—good style choice, gentlemen. With the long frilly lace cuffs gone, coat sleeves narrowed and the plain shirt cuff now extended beyond the coat sleeve and needed to be held closed.

Note those narrow cuffs with the button hole. Circa 1800

What is a sharp-dressed young man to do? A ribbon or plain button won’t do when everyone can see it. He moved his decorative sleeve buttons from his coat to his shirt. Large cuffs on coat sleeves fell out of fashion, but 2 or 3 fabric or gilt buttons remained on the sleeve, and that’s still seen in men’s suits today.

Not that any man rolls up his suit sleeve any more…

By the time of the Regency, these sleeve buttons were made of metals, enamel, or paste as well as precious stones and gems. They were a way to convey personal style and could be either plain or more ornate for formal dress. Around this time these linked sleeve buttons—now only used to secure shirt cuffs— began to be called cufflinks.

The first set is a smoky quartz circa 1760 and the second are moss agate and ruby circa 1800.

Darcy’s gift in His Choice of a Wife is a nice transition from lacy sleeves with coat sleeve buttons…

and the men’s cufflinks we’re more familiar with.

What kind of sleeve buttons did Darcy get? What was the reason for the gift? And why does he have to leave Elizabeth again?

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About His Choice of Wife

When a man’s honor is at stake, what is he willing to risk for the woman he loves?

After a disastrous marriage proposal and the delivery of an illuminating letter, Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet hope never to lay eyes on one another again. When a chance meeting in Hunsford immediately throws them in each other’s way, Darcy realizes his behavior needs correcting, and Elizabeth starts to appreciate his redeeming qualities. But is it enough to forgive the past and overcome their prejudices?

Jane and Bingley’s possible reconciliation and Lydia’s ill-conceived trip to Brighton pose their own challenges for two people struggling to find their way to love. When scandalous news threatens their chance at happiness, will Darcy and Elizabeth’s new bond be shattered, or will their growing affection hold steadfast?

Buy on Amazon

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About the Author

Heather Moll

Heather Moll is an avid reader with a B.A. in European history and a M.A. in library science, so it is astonishing that she did not discover Jane Austen until her late-twenties. Making up for lost time, she devoured all of Austen’s novels, her letters, and unpublished works, joined JASNA, and spent far too much time researching the Regency era. She is thrilled to have found fellow Janeites and the JAFF community, if only to prove that her interests aren’t so strange after all. Heather is a former librarian turned stay-at-home mother who struggles to find time for all of the important things, like reading and writing.

Connect with Heather: Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page | Goodreads

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Giveaway

Meryton Press is giving away 8 eBooks of Heather Moll’s His Choice of a Wife. You must enter through the Rafflecopter link. Good luck!

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