Friday, September 22, 2017

FROU-FROU HAIR by Zina Abbott


What, you say? 

This is a Western blog. Out west, people, including the ladies, weren't big into frou-frou like they were back east. 
1880's Fall Outdoors Fashion Plate

In the West, women had to be tough. They had to work hard. They had to be practical.

They also were the civilizers of the West. Many of them came from the East. They brought their religious and character values, and their social skills, and their fashions with them.

In the 1870's and 1880's, that included not only bustles, but frou-frou.

Frou-frou, as in lace and buttons and ribbons and feathers and ruffles and ruching and pleats and fancy hair combs and a host of other gew-gaws -- personal decorations to boggle the Western male mind.

In the 1870's and 1880's, they brought frou-frou hair. Not just hair piled up on their head in curls or braids, but also covered with a hat intended to entertain the eye of the beholder for hours. Please notice the hair curled in a high chignon behind the lovely bonnet:

And for special occasions, such as a dinner with the town mayor--whether he wore a stylish plaid business suit and derby, or dusty cowboy boots and a Stetson--the piled-up hair of the hostess emulated Eastern designs found in the latest issue of Godey's Magazine, and was decorated with frou-frou. 

What prompted my interest in hair and all its frou-frou was the cover reveal of my latest novel that will be released next week, Dead Set Delphinia:

I received many positive comments about the cover, although a couple of readers noted the dress looks like it is from the 60's. Actually, as a ballroom gown, it's not far off for being typical of either the 1860's or 1960's. Yes, it is on the cover of a book set in 1881. However, in order for an author to not use an image of the same model wearing the same outfit you see on every other historical western romance book, sometimes an author has to fudge a little.

The hair drew the most negative comments: "Disconcerting." 
"Helmet hair."

Yup! It does look a little like the good ol' beehive of my salad years. Not really late 1870's-early 1880's style. 

Or is it? 
1870-1880 hair accessories

Add some frou-frou, and whallah! Period-correct hair.

I pay attention to constructive criticism. After doing a little photoshopping and pulling from the frou-frou on my heroine's skirt, here is my REVISED cover reveal:

No more helmet hair. No more looking like a football landed on her head.

This fancy outfit, complete with frou-frou from her hair to her toes, is just right for my recently "from back East" Delphinia who shows up at the harvest dance held in Jubilee Springs, a backwoods Western mining town, especially when she thinks she has deliberately worn an outdated and understated gown to the event.

Dead Set Delphinia is not on preorder, but is scheduled to be released next Tuesday, September 26th. On that day it will be available at the release day price of $.99. After release day, the price will be raised to its usual amount. It will also be available for Kindle Unlimited. This is Book 11, and my fourth book, in the Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs series.

Here is an excerpt:

         Bennett raised his eyes from her boots with their two inch high heels to her face only to discover her attention had focused on him. “Good morning, ma’am. May I help you with something?”
         “It’s Miss. This store has some lovely pieces. Too bad your employer has not required you to better maintain the showroom. These sets would be far more appealing to potential buyers if they were arranged by wood type and style in a manner that would allow a person to visualize them in a home setting. And although I’ve noticed there is an inordinate amount of dust in this town, perhaps more frequent use of a broom and dusting cloth would also help.”
         Bennett tipped his head and raised an eyebrow as he watched her once again focus on a dining room sideboard made of walnut and stained dark. He knew all these things. He had particularly been painfully aware of every failing she had mentioned, especially once Gerald Shumaker had warned him he would be bringing in his wife to look at dining sets in the next few days. However, who did this woman he had never seen around town until now think she was, waltzing into his store and telling him how to manage this showroom?
         “I’m not the clerk; I’m the owner, Bennett Nighy.

I have three novellas in the Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs series available.

Book 6:  Cat's Meow
Book 7:  Bargain Bessie
To read and enjoy all of the books in the Sweethearts of Jubilee Springs series, please sign up and follow us on Amazon by CLICKING HERE.

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