Monday, March 27, 2023

Afternoon Tea in Elm Ridge—1851 Style by Ellen Parker (@eparkerwrites) #NewRelease #HistoricalRomance


Enjoy the guest post today with Ellen Parker as she takes us back to the middle of the nineteenth century.

The Deutsch immigrants in New Dreams are on their way to Elm Ridge, Illinois. I hope you enjoy this introduction to furnishings and customs of 1851.


After a flurry of greetings, Mrs. King leads us to the large kitchen at the rear of the house.

“I am so glad you came for tea.” Our hostess smiles.

I remove my shawl and drape it over a chair back. The table, covered with a white cloth, is set for three. The plates are blue-and-white, the cups dainty, and the saucers deep. A lidded sugar bowl and matching cream pitcher are in the center. 

“Please, take a seat. The water is almost at a boil.” Mrs. King adds tea leaves to the pot waiting on the corner cupboard. A moment later, she lifts the teakettle from the stove and adds steaming water. “Do you like cherries?”

“Yes, very much.” Geraldine, my mother-in-law, and I respond almost in unison.

Mrs. King sets the teapot on the table. A moment later, she opens a tin box on one of the deep shelves. “I went to Keil’s Bakery this morning. Do you trade with them?”

“Not often, Geraldine responds.

“I went for rye bread last week. The scents are always so enticing.”

“The baker’s wife called this a Kuchen. She said they make them with several different fruits—apple, plum, and apricot—in addition to cherry.”

“Please, Mrs. King, sit, relax, and enjoy afternoon tea. Tell us how you managed with the language at Keil’s Bakery.


America beckons with opportunity during the 1850’s.


Louisa Mueller, a baker’s daughter, arrives in Elm Ridge, Illinois with determination to learn English and work as a baker. Since the death of her sweetheart a year ago, she pushes aside thoughts of marriage. However, she’s intrigued by a fellow passenger who tells the most interesting stories.


Desperate for a fresh start, a young thief takes the name Hans Hoffmann when a look-alike passenger dies during the trans-Atlantic passage. Vowing to be an honest man in America, Hans discovers temptation wears many disguises. Will the pair be rewarded as they attempt their new dreams in a strange land? 




Hans shook his head. He ignored the stifling air and stepped toward Louisa. “Welcome, Fraulein Mueller. Did you enjoy the lecture?”

Ja. Danke.” She hid her hands in the folds of her skirt.

“May I be bold and ask you a question?” He waited for her slight nod. “Where are you going after we leave the ship in New Orleans?”

“I travel to join my cousin.” She moistened her lips and shifted her gaze to the floor.

Polite conversation is difficult. He searched for proper phrases among the crude remarks common in the cheap taverns he frequented. “I…I would like to become acquainted. May I speak with you again?” 


Raised in a household filled with books, it was only natural that Ellen Parker grew into an avid reader. She turned to writing as a second career and enjoys spinning the type of story which appeals to multiple generations. She encourages her readers to share her work with mother or daughter – or both.

Ellen currently lives in St. Louis. When not guiding characters to “happily ever after” she’s apt to be reading, walking in the neighborhood, or tending her tiny garden. You can find her on the web at and 

Ellen’s website:


Buy links for New Dreams: