Monday, January 10, 2011

The Good, the Bad, and the Sooty

Most of my writing takes place in England during the nineteenth century and as a historian I can't help but love it when I dive into the research and find something new that I didn't expect. I use a romantic view of the era for my books, you won't find many who want to discuss just how filthy and grimy everything was at that time. Yet there are also amazing things that happened during those hundred short years that changed peoples lives and the future of our world forever. Things were becoming globally distributed, even before Prince Albert's Great Exhibition of 1851 and there were great leaps in technology that almost overnight altered the modern households. When possible I'd like to start sharing what would have been the good, the bad, and the just plain sooty parts of life had I lived during that tumultuous time frame.

The Good:
Today is something I love because it combines history and a bit of romance. You might be so old fashioned as to think that a woman should never propose to a man and that it is only a modern practice followed by a few feminists. Luckily we have the example of Queen Victoria to look back on. Owing to the fact that she was already the Queen of England it was considered proper that she should choose her husband and be in the position of offering him a marriage instead of it being the other way around. It is clear that this somewhat annoyed her future husband as it put him in a weakened position. Prince Albert had to wait around in Germany for several years to see if she would propose even though he had decided that he wanted to marry her. While this custom did not take hold, another from their 1840 wedding did become common place. Queen Victoria is accredited as having started the tradition of wearing white wedding dresses.


  1. I enjoyed reading the second chapter of Sense and Sensibility as the wife talks her husband out of giving any inheritance to his step-mother and three half-sisters. That was delightfully written. I'm now on chapter nine. I may have to see the movie.

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  3. That scene in chapter two made me fall in love with the book. Not many women want to admit how much influence a wife can have over her husband. The movie is sort of a cliff notes to the book in some ways and very fun. The actress who plays Fanny is perfect and how they represent that part is very funny. Happy to hear that you had a good trip and are enjoying the book so far!

  4. We watched the movie this afternoon and I have to agree that the actress playing Fanny did a terrific job. Still, I had a hard time reading the book (slow paced and archaic language) and I had a hard time understanding the British accent. But given a choice, I'll take the movie.