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Have You Heard of the Hellfire Club? The Lot of Women in Georgian England (Guest Post)

Here with me today is historical romance author Shehanne Moore. We go back a ways, Shey and I, so when I heard about her new book The Writer and the Rake, I asked her to come visit the blog. She kindly agreed to write a guest post, and, wow, she has provided quite a read about Georgian England, women, and the writing process. Now, let’s give Shehanne Moore the stage.

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Let’s be clear here, this is not a paean of praise to Francis Dashwood’s exclusive club for high society rakes.  When meetings often included mock rituals, items of a pornographic nature, much drinking, wenching and banqueting, what kind of a person do you think I am? And while the hero of my latest book has every selfish reason to appear enlightened about women, he has a point. Women were not able to walk into a tavern and drink in these days, the way they do now. In fact, a woman’s lot in 1765 was one to die for and not as we have come to know that term either.

Firstly, let me thank this very special woman, Christy Birmingham, for asking me, a romance author, to her blog today.  It’s a great pleasure to be here and to know Christy, one of the most supportive women I know, a tremendous poet and an intelligent advocate for us ladies.  My home town, Dundee, gave the U.S. Fanny Wright, lecturer, writer, freethinker, feminist, abolitionist, and social reformer, born here in 1795.

From Dundee to the U.S., Meet Francis Wright

Talking about feminist Francis Wright.

Where the lot of Georgian women was concerned it’s a pity she hadn’t been born a bit earlier and hadn’t been lost to across the pond.

My idea in writing this latest book was to take Brittany, a young woman from today’s world and have her flit between Georgian England and the present day. You know ,I even thought how nice, gracious  and sedate that Jane Austenish world would be, that within hours of arriving, she’d be so calmed by the green-fielded pleasantry and ladies in rustic bonnets everywhere,  she’d fall totally in love with this charming world. DUH.  What is it they say about the best laid plans? The more I looked into this alien galaxy and the lot of women, the clashier, not classier, this became. And not just between my hero and heroine either. What was interesting was the things I had to go to bat for re this book.

The hero is a rake but before anyone thinks too badly of him, a lot of upper crust men from that era were because most society marriages were arranged. Sometimes affection grew but not for my hero, whose shy, awkward, naïve, young wife, he was railroaded into marrying at sixteen,  hated him on sight, so he joined the ranks of men who went elsewhere. At least he didn’t force the issue which he would have been perfectly within his rights to do.

If, as a woman, you think you would have been free to say no, or choose your spouse, think again. You and your belongings, all these nice shoes, bags, books, everything in fact you thought were yours, were, in fact,  your hubby’s. Take the case of rich heiress, Lady Continue reading

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