Five jokes in Six Weeks with a Lord that only British readers will get
I love historical details, but I also like to make little puns and jokes in my stories that refer to modern things, to delight the diligent reader. When you read Six Weeks with a Lord, you’ll easily catch the jokes about how many Dukes there are in London and the endless puns on Grace’s name. But there are more!
British readers will see in six weeks with a Lord some little jokes that they’ll wonder whether they’re deliberate. The reference will be just a little bit obscure. So I’m going to tell you about some here and hopefully American and other non-UK readers will be able to share the joke. Though bearing in mind that if you have to explain a joke, it’s not that funny. Please expect very mild spoilers.
And I’m not saying these are good jokes. They’re not really. More like puns. Or references.
Alright. Now I’ve raised and then dashed your expectations, here goes.
“I’ll ask Mama about Grace coming to Lord and Lady Morrison’s ball with us tonight.” Caroline halted next to Grace. “Do you have anything to wear to a ball, suitable for catching a lord?”
Grace, the heroine, is the daughter of the owners of Alnott Stores, a chain of grocers. It’s loosely modelled on Sainsbury’s, a chain of supermarkets in the UK, originally set up in the mid-Victorian period (see image of one the original shop fronts, now in Beauli museum). One of the Sainsbury’s was a liberal politician and was actually made a Lord. Morrisons is a supermarket chain in Britain, just a bit smaller than Sainsbury’s, founded at the end of the Victorian period. Grace and Everett meet at the Morrisons’ ball. So it’s like making a story about Miss Walmart and having Lady Safeway do her a favour. ;D Also, Morrisons is a decidedly mid-range supermarket. It’s like the most mid-range of the mid-range. It’s not cheap, but it’s a long way from expensive. And that’s what Alnott Stores are, they provide really well priced goods to middle-class and working-class families. So Alnott Stores are Morrisons, and Morrisons is where Grace meets her future husband. It’s got a nice circular feel to it. 🙂
Everett swallowed. He had six weeks to save Larksview by winning over Grace. He had to be captivating enough to mitigate against a crumbling estate, dying cattle, the burdens of being a countess, west-country rain, his brother’s debts, and the haughty dowager.
The name of the hero’s estate, Larksview, is a nod to Larksrise to Candleford, a historical TV series. It ran from 2008 to 2011 on our beloved BBC, was set in the mid-late 19th Century and was just awesome. Larksrise was a little village, Candleford a small town. I blame L to C in great part for reigniting my interest in historical romance and eventually back to attempting to write a historical romance. I almost called Larksview Larksrise, and I genuinely am surprised no-one has asked me to change the name Larksview, or commented upon it, as it seems such an obvious reference to me.
The dowager, tilted her head at her, sneering slightly, then turned to Everett. “How is Lord Osborne? Presumably, he has resisted the temptation of commerce?”
At the time I wrote this, George Osborne was the Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer (the person in government responsible for all economic and financial affairs). He’s also a very posh, entitled person. So it amused me that when the dowager wants to ignore Grace and put her down because she’s from trade, she invokes the name of Osborne. It’s made an even sweeter pun by the fact that when he quit politics, he didn’t resist the temptation of trade and is now a newspaper editor.
At the solicitor’s office, Mr. Salcombe politely listened to Everett’s request for Grace’s dowry, all the time sneaking sideways looks at Grace with narrowed eyes.
Salcombe is a very posh little sailing village in Devon. Really expensive. Beautiful, but only a very rich solicitor (aka lawyer) could afford to live there these days. So Mr. Salcombe, who is a truculent solicitor at best, is given the name of a wealthy village.