Friday, May 7, 2010

Guest Blog from Steph Burkhart - "The Hungarian" Blog Tour

What was life like in 1901?

I'm excited to be here at Nicole's blog, the sixth and last stop on my blog tour for "The Hungarian." My thanks to Nicole for having me today.

"The Hungarian" is set in 1901 in England and Hungary. So, what was life like in 1901? It was an interesting blend of old and new and a time of quick change.


Motor cars, or autos, as I refer them to them in novel, were beginning to make an impact, but most of the transport on the roads were horse and buggy. Mercedes was a popular model of car. Daimler and Benz each built autos in the mid 1880's. The Benz Velo and Mercedes became popular European model cars. During this time, it was usually the nobility who had motor cars, and those who couldn't afford it used the horse and buggy.

In London, 1901, all bus services were provided by horse and it led to a lot of congestion. Contemporaries at the time thought motor transport would help.


Married women stayed at home with their families. It was acceptable for single women to work. Poor married women usually worked. Households that could afford employed domestic servants, even a modest household, had a maid.


Interestingly, a lot of people did have indoor plumbing. Flush toilets had been invented in the 1880's, but most people did not have adequate drainage, and outdoor facilities were still popular.

Electric lights and telephones were also available, but not everyone had them. In fact, only two percent of homes had electricity. Usually the nobility did and those who made a modest living. There were phonographs, but there were no airplanes, radios, or washing machines.


The movies were in their infancy. Usually the films were short and silent. Berlin, Germany had a burgeoning film industry, as did Hungary.


Over the counter remedies were popular in 1901. They included laudanum, which was opium based. In fact, there were a lot of opiate based pain killers, much more so than there are today. Working people relied on herbs and roots to help them.


This was a monarchic union between the crowns of Austria and Hungary. It was formed in 1867 and lasted until the end of World War I. There were two capitols, Vienna and Budapest. The two nations maintained separate parliaments with their own prime ministers.


He was a Hungarian pianist who lived between 1811-1886. He was well known for his skill and his contemporizes thought he was a technically advanced pianist. In "The Hungarian," Matthias admires his skill.

In the story, you'll see Matthias use an auto, the telephone, and Resa using herbs and roots in a medicinal setting. You'll see electricity and central heating used in the story as well as trains.

This reference link, has a video of a London street in 1902. Note the mix of autos and horse and buggys.

We've come a long way since 1901, haven't we?

Excerpt from The Hungarian:

Matthias gave her a quick tour around the castle. It had been fitted with electricity, plumbing, and central heating. Her husband was very proud of his upgrades. He had never been one to brag, but she could tell from the tone in his voice that he was proud of his home. Then they went to eat dinner.

Sofia was just as good a cook as János. As Matthias, Emily, and Katherine finished their meal, Lazlo approached, holding a letter.

"It's for you, My Lady."

"Oh?" She raised a curious eyebrow.

Lazlo handed it to her. She opened it up and read it out loud. "Dear Lady Duma, Please forgive the sudden arrival of this correspondence, but your sister, Lady Seston, has sent me a letter asking me to expect your arrival in Budapest. I don't know if you remember me -- I was Amelia Gentry, your sister's piano teacher. I'm now Amelia Andrássy, Archduchess of Györ. My husband and I have a residence here in Budapest,
and if you would like to call, I've enclosed my contact information. Welcome to Hungary. Signed, Amelia."

Matthias smiled. "You have a friend already, Kate."

"Liz arranged it."

"It's good that your sister did that. I know the Archduchess's husband, Mikel Andrássy. We share similar views on many topics, including politics. You should call on her tomorrow."

"I will."

After their meal, Lazlo herded Matthias into his study to discuss business, leaving Katherine with Emily. Katherine stayed in the kitchen for a while getting to know Sofia. János helped as well. Like her husband, he had a look of contentment about him. Katherine could tell he was happy to be home.

Josef was a rambunctious little boy full of energy and needing direction. He played well with Emily. Katherine would have to ask Matthias if it would be appropriate to arrange for schooling with him as well as Emily. When it was time for Emily to go to bed, Katherine went through her routines. Emily's sweet smile of satisfaction warmed Katherine's heart.

It was the first time Katherine was alone in the castle. Unsure of what to do or where to go, she went to her new bedroom. The room was encompassed in dark shadows from the setting sun. There were three windows facing west, the curtains half- opened. The bed was against the north wall, made of maple wood with a headboard and a sturdy footboard. There were two matching bureaus and nightstands. A small bath area was off to the side, easily accessible. On Matthias's bureau rested a mirror as wide as the bureau, giving the observer a wide view of the room. Katherine ran her hand over her dresser. It was free of dust. The servants had done well cleaning, but where were the maids? She hadn't met any. Was there a butler? Katherine still had a lot to learn about her new home.

Matthias swung the door open, making her startle, and walked in. He wore a white shirt with the top two buttons undone. His sensual smile made her body tense up.

"Ah, there you are. I was in the study with Lazlo. I didn't mean to miss Emily's routine, but I had some pressing matters that I had to attend to."

"I understand."

He stopped directly in front of her, taking her hand in his. "Can you be patient with me? My affairs have been neglected. I'll need to spend several days on them to put them in order."

"Of course."

"Thank you. I want to show you something."

"Oh? What?"

"Follow me."

He led her down the stairs to his study. It was on the east side of the castle, near the main entrance. Several candles were lit, placed strategically to provide just enough light to see and the furniture was dark. It was hard to make out the style or the wood. He escorted her up to the bay window and motioned for her to look out of it.

There was a small walkway next to a steep cliff and then the land dropped off. The Danube was several hundred feet below them. On the other side of the river, the city was aglow in lights, but there was one building beaming like a rare diamond through the blackness of the night. It was tall, with long steeples and spires placed in proportionate distances from the center. In the center was a raised golden dome.

"Our Parliament building," said Matthias. He walked up behind her, placing his hands on her shoulders. "It was just recently finished and is the jewel of our country."

"It's mesmerizing."

"As are you."

Check out "The Hungarian's" Book Trailer

Goodie Time:

I'll pick two winners out of those who post on today's blog to receive an autographed postcard of "The Hungarian's" Cover.

To qualify for the GRAND prize: You have to post on every blog in the tour. I'll put your name into the "hat." Then I'll pick the Grand Prize Winner's name out of the

The GRAND prize: A coffee mug with "The Hungarian's" cover, a mousepad with the cover, magnets, and a set of autographed postcards.

The Hungarian is available 1 MAY 2010 with Desert Breeze Publishing.


Nicole Zoltack said...

What a lovely guest blog, Steph! I know I enjoyed the peek into life in 1901, and I'm sure my blog readers will too. Good luck with your new release and wishing you many sales! :)


Stephanie Burkhart said...

Thanks for having me, Nicole. Doing the research was fasinating. I love the video of the London streets in 1902. Smiles to all,


kerribookwriter said...

Well, it is my lucky day! Two of my fave authors in one place? What a stroke of luck! :-D

Steph, hope you are enjoying your new trailers and it was my honor and joy to produce them for you. I particularly love the way the one for the Hungarian turned out! Wishing you many sales! xoxo

Nicole, oh Nicole! I've nominated you for a blogger award. Read all about it here:

Hugs to ya both,

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Kerri, I love your book trailers. They rock. *waves* Hi.


Sandra Sookoo said...

I always love doing research for my pieces, too! Congrats on the release and best wishes for it!

Maggie Toussaint said...

Hi Steph and Nicole,
Steph I very much enjoyed the snapshot of history in 1901. It is interesting to think of the different layers of society having this or not having that. Today it seems even the poorest person has a cell phone, electricity, and plumbing. And yet we still have abject poverty. We've come so far in some ways but made no progress in others. Very thought provoking!

Wishing you all the best with The Hungarian.

Erotic Horizon said...

Another great excerpt..and journey through how it was in the auto era..

In the Transport Museum in London - It's a fantastic sight to see all the carriages and autos lined up - makes for a longing for a slower time..

Cool post - thank you.


Mona Risk said...

A great excerpt, Steph. I love your posts and always learn something from them. Litz is one of my favorite composers. Wasn't he the lover of French writer George Sand after she dumped Chopin? George Sand is a female writer who took a male penname to avoid discrimination.

Shawna K. Williams said...

Hi Steph! Great interview.

Stephanie Burkhart said...

*waves hi to all!*
Mona, I didn't know that about Liszt's lover. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I'd love to see that transporation museum. Thanks for the head's up on in. EH.


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Liana Laverentz said...

Sigh. Even modest homes had a maid. I'm so envious. I wish I'd read this yesterday before I posted the link on my blog. I could have been more informative :(

All the best to you, Steph, with The Hungarian.

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Congrats to Shawna and Maggie on winning the postcards!! Send me an email with your snail mail and I'll get those postcards in the mail to you.

My Thanks to everyone who popped into my blog tour. It was great to see you. I'll announce my winner for the GRAND prize tomorrow.

For those who posted on 4 or 5 blogs but missed one - you have today to catch up to be eligable. *grin*

Visit my blog, "Romance Under the Moonlight," Tomorrow where I will announce the GRAND prize winner.

Also - throughout the month, I'll still continue to visit blogs and I'll be offering prizes so don't be a stranger. Slide on in and say "Hi."