Georgian and Regency women had it tough
I've never been satisfied only to write about heroines endowed with social position or rank. A sucker for fairytales, I love the recurring theme about the ordinary or disadvantaged girl who wins the prince. But it's not all Cinderella. The ugly sisters and the wicked stepmother, as a problem, take many forms.
Women in the 18th and early 19th century were restricted, especially if they were born genteel. There was no freedom such as we now enjoy. Unmarried, your sole object was to find a husband if you could. Married, you stayed home and had babies. Your husband ruled you, with the rod if he so chose, and you couldn't just walk away.
Separation or divorce were scandalous. Running away put you in disgrace, and your parents or friends would probably send you back to your husband. Running off with another man was the end of everything. If he left you, there was nothing for you but prostitution, penury and eventual death.
Many such scandals were hushed up. But if not, what of the betrayed husband and his relatives? How did they cope? Did they, like my hero Jerome, Lord Langriville, turn into a bad-tempered recluse?
But let's return to the unmarried, the girl who never hopes to marry, whose situation forces her into working for a living. She's of the gentry. Unless she drops down the social scale, she can only choose to be either a governess or a companion. What if she has a dependent younger sister, like my heroine Florence Petrie? She must find a position which enables her to support someone else too.
Let's pile on the difficulties, shall we? What if Flo's mother was poor too? What if she gave in to pressure to be "kind" to the relative who took her in? The stigma of scandal now sticks to our heroine, as well as her young sister.
And if chance should throw Florence into the path of the reclusive Lord Langriville? If a violent attraction springs up between them? Is Flo destined for disaster? Will history repeat itself?
I love to use the mores of the era to shake things up. It's fascinating to try to find a way through the truth of the morality of the times to the essential happy ending. It makes for an unusual story and a journey of discovery for me as the author.
An Undesirable Liaison
A jewel. An abandoned wife. An honest woman.
Scandals past and present unravel in the path of destiny.
Caught by an overwhelming attraction to her new employer, Florence struggles against temptation. Can Jerome withstand Florence’s allure, when his desire can only mean her ruin?