The Grand Tour
By Mia Marlowe, Author of The Singular Mr. Sinclair
“A man who has not been in Italy is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see.”
—Dr. Samuel Johnson, poet and essayist
One might imagine that graduating from Oxford or Cambridge would be sufficient for a young gentleman’s education. Not so for Englishmen from the mid-1700s to about 1850 (with a brief hiatus during the Napoleonic Wars when travel around Europe was considered unsafe, of course!) No matter how well a fellow distinguished himself at university, unless he had made an extensive tour of the Continent that might last from two to four years, he had cause to hold his education incomplete.
Traveling with large amounts of money was as unwise then as it is now. During the Regency era, there were no such things as travelers’ checks or credit cards. So the young man would set off with a pocket full of letters of credit from his family’s London bank. Networking is a custom that has always been with us. He would also possess letters of introduction to influential people in the towns he expected to visit. The gentleman would likely be accompanied by a tutor, who would make sure he saw all the sights, visited the requisite museums, and acquired an appreciation for French and Italian art. The grand tourist was expected to collect a number of artistic souvenirs during his travels and often, to sit for a portrait near the end of his journey.
French was the second language most often spoken by the English aristocracy, so spending enough time around Paris to develop fluency was a must. Whatever was lacking from a gentleman’s formal education was to be filled in with practical experiences. This is where the right tutor made all the difference.
However, the tutor was sometimes known as a “bear-leader,” which hints that his charge was not strictly interested in acquiring a patina of sophistication. A young gentleman with plenty of credit who was also a long way from home was likely to find trouble while drinking, gambling or engaging in (ahem!) unsuitable romantic liaisons.
In my new release, The Singular Mr. Sinclair, my hero, Lawrence, being only on the fringes of polite society as the estranged nephew of an earl, is not gadding about Europe on a lark. Nor is he trying to acquire a gentleman’s polish. A former officer who distinguished himself at Waterloo, Lawrence has sold his commission, but hasn’t returned home because he knows he’d receive no welcome there. However, Lawrence meets and befriends the heroine’s brother who is on his grand tour. Unfortunately, their friendship begins when they find themselves in the same Italian jail!
Lord and Lady Chatham were blessed with five sons and only one daughter. But when it comes to Caroline, one is more than enough . . .
Caroline is about to embark on her third Season, and her parents fear she’ll be permanently on the shelf if she fails to make a match this time. Unfortunately for them, that is precisely what Caroline wants! Curious and adventuresome, Caroline longs for a life of travel, excitement, and perhaps even a touch of danger.
If only she can remain unmarried until she turns twenty-one, Caroline will inherit her grandmother’s bequest and gain her freedom. It’s not a staggering amount, but it’s enough to fund her dreams without a husband’s permission. She has her future all planned out—until Lawrence Sinclair appears on the scene.
Intense, intriguing, and handsome, the man reminds Caroline of a caged lion. In fact, the more she knows of him, the more questions she has. And when she learns how dangerous he really is, he may just become her new fascination—the one she can’t resist.
About the Author
Mia Marlowe learned much of what she knows about storytelling from singing. A classically trained soprano, Mia won the District Metropolitan Opera Auditions after graduating summa cum laude from the University of Northern Iowa. She adores history, art, travel and new experiences. She and her family have lived in nine different states and four time zones, but she now calls the beautiful Ozarks home. Learn more about Mia at www.miamarlowe.com or on the social media platforms below.