Best-selling and acclaimed novelists from Kensington Publishing share intriguing historical facts unearthed during their research, offering readers glimpses of society, culture, and life during their novels’ time periods.
We like to think of women from the Victorian era as ladies. Their posture was perfect, their movements graceful, their voices dulcet and charming. When they sat, they never crossed their legs but did,on occasion, cross their ankles. They wore pris- tine gloves and fanciful hats, used parasols in the sun, and shawls when it was chilly. They were unfailingly kind and hospitable and confident in their graces … the very epitome of what a lady should be.
That image of the lady is drawn so indelibly in our minds that sometimes we forget that the females of the age were real women with real determination, opinions, failings, quirks, and strengths.
We tend to dismiss the lot of the average woman, preferring to concentrate instead on the privileged lives of the upper classes. Only a small percentage of the female population hosted musicales in drawing rooms, took lessons in flower arranging, and hired dancing masters to teach their daughters the latest steps. Fewer still spent their mornings in frothy dressing gowns while perusing stacks of engraved invitations, and their evenings robed in the latest Parisian dinner gowns while chatting with guests and sizing up well-to-do bachelors.
Victorian women—even those wealthy enough to be able to escape the complexities of household management and child-rearing—had to deal with the same things modern women must contend with: societal expectations, “female complaints,” the uncertainty of childbirth, the burdens of family illnesses and tending to aged relatives, and, of course, the ever-present expectations of the other sex. Their worth was often measured by their connection to the males in their lives: fathers, husbands, sons, uncles, guardians, employers, pastors, suitors, or other associations.
But during this time period, women were beginning to understand that they had value and were entitled to dreams and accomplishments. They were the first to work outside the home in large numbers, to demand dignity and respect in public, to meet male privilege with demands for respect for their unique contributions to society. They were, first and foremost, women of strength, ingenuity, and vision. The freedoms and improvements that we enjoy in our own lives all began with the ladies of the Victorian era.
About Hero Wanted
When dashing, determined bachelor Rafe Townsend, and beautiful, impetuous Lauren Alcott are trapped into an engagement by their powerful business magnate fathers, their attraction suggests there may be pleasurable compensations to matrimony after all. Until an outing together puts a damper on their future.
Lauren is appalled when Rafe refuses to help two women whose boat has overturned on a river. Stripping her outer clothing, she dives in to rescue them herself–delighting a nearby reporter. Soon newspapers and scandal sheets have labeled Rafe as “less than heroic,” for all of London to see, while Lauren is viewed by many as brazen. Besieged by scandalous rumors, and with both their reputations in the balance, what ensues is a prickly scheme that will either forge a partnership of deception–or blaze a path to true love.
Betina Krahn is a New York Times best-selling author of more than thirty contemporary and historical romances. Her works have won numerous industry awards, including the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Historical Love & Laughter. Visit her on the web at BetinaKrahn.com.