The Mating Game
By Mary Jo Putney, Author of Once A Scoundrel
Finding a good mate has never been easy!
While the modern view is that marriage should rst be about love, historically it was very much about family, because family meant security.
Competition in the Regency high society for a suitable marriage was fierce. Wealthy men and heiresses were the big prizes, and to have a chance at such a good marriage, one needed access to eligible candidates. In Britain during the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries, that meant visiting London during the season—the social whirl that coincided with Parliamentary sessions.
The most exclusive balls and musicales and other events took place in the great aristocratic mansions, so gaining access was the first step. This is where family could come into play. Your family might not be quite top-drawer, but perhaps your cousin’s godmother is a countess, and she might help you gain invitations to more exclusive events.
After that, well, beauty is always a wild card. Rich men have been marrying beautiful women for ages. In the mid-eighteenth century, the beautiful Irish Gunning sisters, who came from the outer edges of society, became famous when they took London by storm and became celebrities. Maria became a countess and her younger sister, Elizabeth, married two different dukes over the course of her life.
The marriage contracts, called settlements, between two aristocratic families could rival the complexity of treaties between small nations. The bride’s portion (dowry) would be spelled out, the amount of pin money (spending money) she would be allocated, and many other things.
Of course, when it comes to writing historical romance, things can be much more colorful. In my new book, Once a Scoundrel, my heroine is the eighth child of an earl, so the family resources are stretched thin. The hero was disowned by his family after being tossed out of the Royal Navy. He is hired to rescue her from an unfortunate incident on the high seas. Will these two find a happy ending together?
About Once a Scoundrel
An Outcast On The High Seas . . .
The son of a proud naval dynasty, Gabriel Hawkins was born to command the sea, until he leaves the Royal Navy in disgrace and is disowned by his family. As captain of his own ship, he’s earned his living in ways both legal and illegal, and his experience makes him the best choice to ransom an aristocratic beauty captured by Barbary pirates.
Having avoided the traps of convention and marriage, Lady Aurora Lawrence is horrified by the prospect of spending her life as a harem slave. Her only hope of escape is a quiet, steely captain who has a history with her captor—and who will do anything to free Rory. Together they undertake a dangerous mission through troubled waters—and encounter another kind of danger as attraction burns hot within the close confines of his ship.
But even if they endure the perils of the sea and enemy lands, can their love survive a return to England, where the distance between a disgraced captain and an earl’s daughter is wider than the ocean?
About the Author
Mary Jo Putney is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has written over sixty novels and novellas. A ten-time nalist for the Romance Writers of America (RWA) RITA Award, she has won the honor twice and is on the RWA Honor Roll for best-selling authors. In 2013, she was awarded the RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. Though most of her books have been historical romances, she has also published contemporary romances, historical fantasy, and young adult paranormal historical ction. She lives in Maryland with her kin, both two- and four-footed. Learn more about Mary Jo at www.maryjoputney.com.