I am delighted to welcome Katherine Woodfine to the blog today. Whilst Katherine was writing The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth she did some amazing research about the London Season. In today’s post she provides us with an introduction in this post ‘Welcome to the London Season.’
- Welcome to the London Season!
‘All the way across the smoky city of spires and slums, in the heart of the West End… London’s most fashionable department store was crowded with people: the London Season was now in full swing, and anyone who was anyone simply had to be seen at Sinclair’s.’
– The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth
Each year, from the mid-nineteenth century until the Second World War, the focal point of Britain’s social calendar was ‘The London Season’. Every May, well-heeled and wealthy society folk would leave their country houses behind and travel to their London residences for a three-month social whirl of balls, parties and events that lasted until the end of July.
Highlights of the Edwardian Season included the opening of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, visits to the Royal Opera House, the Chelsea Flower Show, the Henley Regatta, Ascot – as well as of course, shopping for the latest fashions at glamorous department stores like Sinclair’s.
During this period, there were dozens of balls, parties and dinners at which members of the aristocracy could meet, mingle and show off. Most important of all was the ceremony to present the debutantes (young ladies making their very first appearances in society) at Court for the first time.
Today, the rituals and traditions of the London Season may seem incredibly archaic – and sometimes just plain funny – but to the Edwardian upper classes, they were hugely important. I couldn’t think of a better backdrop to my latest book, The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth, which is the sequel to The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow, and follows Sophie, Lil and the gang on a new adventure.
In Clockwork Sparrow, we have already had a few glimpses of London high society, through the wealthy customers who come to shop at Sinclair’s department store. We peep at them eating in the elegant restaurant, and celebrating at the party to mark the opening of the new store – which so nearly ends in disaster.
But in this sequel, I wanted to take a closer look. The Edwardian era was a time of extraordinary social divisions, with the very rich living lives of incredible luxury, just a few miles away from many Londoners who existed in extreme poverty. The London Season offered the perfect way to introduce readers to a whole new group of characters that exemplified London’s very wealthiest social group. At its centre is Miss Veronica Whiteley, a debutante embarking on her first Season.
When Veronica asks for Sophie and Lil’s help to find her lost brooch, they too find themselves swept up with the events of Season – and must go undercover in Veronica’s high society circle to find out the truth. But all is not what it seems, and it soon becomes obvious that danger is lurking beneath the glitter and glamour of the London Season…
The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth
Sophie and Lil have been commissioned to find a missing brooch – the Jewelled Moth!
Illustration © Júlia Sardà
I was absolutely enchanted by The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth’. This is a truly marvellous adventure which will keep you turning the pages and I was totally gripped throughout. You can read my review here