The battle between the sexes

Blue2Hi, Jo here. I was at the British Romantic Novelists Association conference last weekend, which was fun and friendly, but also stirred some interesting ideas.

One speaker talked about how romances are rooted in women's struggles in a man's world. That's true, but it triggered some questions and thoughts about that and historical romance. I'm going to toss them out and I hope you'll argue, expand, spin off them and have fun.

If romance is all about women's struggle in a man's world, then it seems clear that the struggle is more vivid in historicals, where most women in most times and places had far fewer rights, powers, and opportunities than today.  C7371w 'Dark Champion' Avon, front cover

But then, why is the 19th century more popular than earlier ones, such as medieval, when the situation was more dramatically unequal before the law?

(I always think in that cover it looks as if he's doing a push up off her ribs!)


One possible, but wacky, answer came to me — that the more dramatically turbulent times actually gave some women great power. For example, a medieval countess could have opportunities for greater power and independence than her Regency counterpart. The complexity of running medieval estates was demanding and she could be left entirely in charge when her husband went to war.

LwbnewsmA Regency earl was unlikely to go to war. If he went abroad as a diplomat she would probably go with him. Though she would be running estates, she would delegate a lot to senior servants. SweetSavageLove

Did the writhing clinch cover, where the heroine seems to be attempting to escape the domineering male, send a message about that elemental stuggle? If so, why is it less common now, and what about all the heroine comfortably alone covers? No male dominance implied there.

AncountsmrDo you have any other thoughts about this?

So, is it possible that the increased popularity of historical romances set in quite modern times, but before anything close to equality is because women were at their least powerful then? Go ahead, attack the idea. It's just off the top of my head!

Working on from that, is historical romance weakened the further into the age of women's rights it goes?

The woman's struggle in a man's world is harder if she's deprived of a support group such as friends and family. It used to be that many contemporary romances had orphan heroines, then later the heroines were isolated by some plot device, such as going to work on a remote island, (owned of course by a dark and dangerous billionaire.) This is the element of the gothic, whatever its form. Gothic heroines are always isolated.

But it seems to me that many romances now give heroines friends and family. Some historical romance series are based around families and friends. After all, isn't a heroine who hasn't made friends a bit strange? The plot can take her away, but….

Are books in which the heroine has friends and family still about women struggling against the man's world? If so, how is the struggle affected by the support group? Perhaps you can think of a particular title or series like this.

Is my off-the-top-of-my-head thought true, that there are more historical romances about groups of male friends than about groups of women friends?

I know, this is beginning to sound a bit like an exam, but I'd love to read any ideas about how women's struggles in a man's world play out in historical romances of all types. Dj3014

My book Dangerous Joy has just been reissued. It is all about the battle between the sexes because it's a guardian/ward story, and looking back I don't know why Felicity doesn't have close friends, but it emphasizes the plot. By the way, the heroine is not Spanish!

Next week I'll be in San Antonio for the RWA conference, so if you're in that area why not come to the ginormous signing in aid of literacy and say hello. Wenches Nicola, Anne, and Mary Jo will also be there. Wednesday, July 23, 2014 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter Hotel in the 3rd floor ballroom.

Cheers,

Jo

110 thoughts on “The battle between the sexes”

  1. The authors I love are those who stay period-appropriate while showing how difficult life could be for a woman of the times. Those books where the heroine acts like she’s from the 21st century and everyone thinks she’s adorable for doing so? I just don’t see the point.
    Some books have heroines with lots of friends, some not so much. I’m not that picky either way. The only time I have an issue with an isolated heroine is when it’s shown she has no female friends because all the other women are vain and nasty. The “I prefer male company” heroines (in ALL romance subgenres) are a leftover from the romance genre’s misogynistic past.
    Madeline Hunter’s current Fairbourne Quartet series shows strong female *and* male friendships. What I love about it is that the women aren’t anachronistic, but they struggle for independence and recognition. I like that the heroes are good people, but they’re also products of their time.
    Even contemporary romances can – and should – deal with feminist issues. I read a contemporary a few months ago where the hero said something like, “I almost support feminists after that” after seeing the heroine discriminated against for her gender. And I thought, *almost??!!*. That’s not sexy to me!

    Reply
  2. The authors I love are those who stay period-appropriate while showing how difficult life could be for a woman of the times. Those books where the heroine acts like she’s from the 21st century and everyone thinks she’s adorable for doing so? I just don’t see the point.
    Some books have heroines with lots of friends, some not so much. I’m not that picky either way. The only time I have an issue with an isolated heroine is when it’s shown she has no female friends because all the other women are vain and nasty. The “I prefer male company” heroines (in ALL romance subgenres) are a leftover from the romance genre’s misogynistic past.
    Madeline Hunter’s current Fairbourne Quartet series shows strong female *and* male friendships. What I love about it is that the women aren’t anachronistic, but they struggle for independence and recognition. I like that the heroes are good people, but they’re also products of their time.
    Even contemporary romances can – and should – deal with feminist issues. I read a contemporary a few months ago where the hero said something like, “I almost support feminists after that” after seeing the heroine discriminated against for her gender. And I thought, *almost??!!*. That’s not sexy to me!

    Reply
  3. The authors I love are those who stay period-appropriate while showing how difficult life could be for a woman of the times. Those books where the heroine acts like she’s from the 21st century and everyone thinks she’s adorable for doing so? I just don’t see the point.
    Some books have heroines with lots of friends, some not so much. I’m not that picky either way. The only time I have an issue with an isolated heroine is when it’s shown she has no female friends because all the other women are vain and nasty. The “I prefer male company” heroines (in ALL romance subgenres) are a leftover from the romance genre’s misogynistic past.
    Madeline Hunter’s current Fairbourne Quartet series shows strong female *and* male friendships. What I love about it is that the women aren’t anachronistic, but they struggle for independence and recognition. I like that the heroes are good people, but they’re also products of their time.
    Even contemporary romances can – and should – deal with feminist issues. I read a contemporary a few months ago where the hero said something like, “I almost support feminists after that” after seeing the heroine discriminated against for her gender. And I thought, *almost??!!*. That’s not sexy to me!

    Reply
  4. The authors I love are those who stay period-appropriate while showing how difficult life could be for a woman of the times. Those books where the heroine acts like she’s from the 21st century and everyone thinks she’s adorable for doing so? I just don’t see the point.
    Some books have heroines with lots of friends, some not so much. I’m not that picky either way. The only time I have an issue with an isolated heroine is when it’s shown she has no female friends because all the other women are vain and nasty. The “I prefer male company” heroines (in ALL romance subgenres) are a leftover from the romance genre’s misogynistic past.
    Madeline Hunter’s current Fairbourne Quartet series shows strong female *and* male friendships. What I love about it is that the women aren’t anachronistic, but they struggle for independence and recognition. I like that the heroes are good people, but they’re also products of their time.
    Even contemporary romances can – and should – deal with feminist issues. I read a contemporary a few months ago where the hero said something like, “I almost support feminists after that” after seeing the heroine discriminated against for her gender. And I thought, *almost??!!*. That’s not sexy to me!

    Reply
  5. The authors I love are those who stay period-appropriate while showing how difficult life could be for a woman of the times. Those books where the heroine acts like she’s from the 21st century and everyone thinks she’s adorable for doing so? I just don’t see the point.
    Some books have heroines with lots of friends, some not so much. I’m not that picky either way. The only time I have an issue with an isolated heroine is when it’s shown she has no female friends because all the other women are vain and nasty. The “I prefer male company” heroines (in ALL romance subgenres) are a leftover from the romance genre’s misogynistic past.
    Madeline Hunter’s current Fairbourne Quartet series shows strong female *and* male friendships. What I love about it is that the women aren’t anachronistic, but they struggle for independence and recognition. I like that the heroes are good people, but they’re also products of their time.
    Even contemporary romances can – and should – deal with feminist issues. I read a contemporary a few months ago where the hero said something like, “I almost support feminists after that” after seeing the heroine discriminated against for her gender. And I thought, *almost??!!*. That’s not sexy to me!

    Reply
  6. But then, why is the 19th century more popular than earlier ones, such as medieval, when the situation was more dramatically unequal before the law?
    —-
    I’ve wondered why I choose 19th century Regency, or occasionally Victorian, over medieval, and why I don’t much care for modern (1990’s-2000’s)romances or mysteries. I think it’s simply because I grew up on Jane Austen(!) so I think of Regencies as Austen world “expanded” and Victorians as Austen grandchildren. Also, the 19th century is truly not that far back to someone like me, late middle aged. My grandmother was born in 1890 and I knew her and her stories well, so I can “think” myself back to over a century ago.
    Another thought is that when I go to England and Scotland I see the houses and gardens and towns that still exist, whereas medieval castles are mostly ruins, so I can imagine the lives of Regency and Victorian people. When I go to Kent or Sussex or the coast of southern England it isn’t difficult for me to imagine, for example, David Kerslake dealing with smugglers. It’s as if he’s just in the next village. Or Nicholas Delaney lives in the next county with Eleanor and they might ride in for a visit!
    The issue of women’s lack of equality or struggles in a male dominant world is more relatable to me as well in the 19th century than in the medieval era. I’ve had my own issues with self-determination and financial equality and think of the 19th century women as my great great grandmothers who helped make my life possible. The medieval period would have been simply hopeless since I would have been a peasant for sure and would have had to go be a nun, I suppose, in order to have any control over my own body.
    Finally (beause I am babbling on too long, I realize), in a good 19th century historical, I find the relationship issues and struggles compelling and easy to relate to. Yes, although that era was obviously quite distinct from today in control over one’s finances, women as educated professionals, the creation of a true marriage, an emotional/spiritual partnership of equals, is still a difficult challenge.
    In other words, for me, the 19th century is “comfortably” far off and dramatic (great clothes too), but not completely alien. I can easily imagine myself as one of the women in the Rogue series of stories and it’s always fun to think how one would have done oneself in such a situation.
    Enjoy San Antonio.
    Jeannette Halpin

    Reply
  7. But then, why is the 19th century more popular than earlier ones, such as medieval, when the situation was more dramatically unequal before the law?
    —-
    I’ve wondered why I choose 19th century Regency, or occasionally Victorian, over medieval, and why I don’t much care for modern (1990’s-2000’s)romances or mysteries. I think it’s simply because I grew up on Jane Austen(!) so I think of Regencies as Austen world “expanded” and Victorians as Austen grandchildren. Also, the 19th century is truly not that far back to someone like me, late middle aged. My grandmother was born in 1890 and I knew her and her stories well, so I can “think” myself back to over a century ago.
    Another thought is that when I go to England and Scotland I see the houses and gardens and towns that still exist, whereas medieval castles are mostly ruins, so I can imagine the lives of Regency and Victorian people. When I go to Kent or Sussex or the coast of southern England it isn’t difficult for me to imagine, for example, David Kerslake dealing with smugglers. It’s as if he’s just in the next village. Or Nicholas Delaney lives in the next county with Eleanor and they might ride in for a visit!
    The issue of women’s lack of equality or struggles in a male dominant world is more relatable to me as well in the 19th century than in the medieval era. I’ve had my own issues with self-determination and financial equality and think of the 19th century women as my great great grandmothers who helped make my life possible. The medieval period would have been simply hopeless since I would have been a peasant for sure and would have had to go be a nun, I suppose, in order to have any control over my own body.
    Finally (beause I am babbling on too long, I realize), in a good 19th century historical, I find the relationship issues and struggles compelling and easy to relate to. Yes, although that era was obviously quite distinct from today in control over one’s finances, women as educated professionals, the creation of a true marriage, an emotional/spiritual partnership of equals, is still a difficult challenge.
    In other words, for me, the 19th century is “comfortably” far off and dramatic (great clothes too), but not completely alien. I can easily imagine myself as one of the women in the Rogue series of stories and it’s always fun to think how one would have done oneself in such a situation.
    Enjoy San Antonio.
    Jeannette Halpin

    Reply
  8. But then, why is the 19th century more popular than earlier ones, such as medieval, when the situation was more dramatically unequal before the law?
    —-
    I’ve wondered why I choose 19th century Regency, or occasionally Victorian, over medieval, and why I don’t much care for modern (1990’s-2000’s)romances or mysteries. I think it’s simply because I grew up on Jane Austen(!) so I think of Regencies as Austen world “expanded” and Victorians as Austen grandchildren. Also, the 19th century is truly not that far back to someone like me, late middle aged. My grandmother was born in 1890 and I knew her and her stories well, so I can “think” myself back to over a century ago.
    Another thought is that when I go to England and Scotland I see the houses and gardens and towns that still exist, whereas medieval castles are mostly ruins, so I can imagine the lives of Regency and Victorian people. When I go to Kent or Sussex or the coast of southern England it isn’t difficult for me to imagine, for example, David Kerslake dealing with smugglers. It’s as if he’s just in the next village. Or Nicholas Delaney lives in the next county with Eleanor and they might ride in for a visit!
    The issue of women’s lack of equality or struggles in a male dominant world is more relatable to me as well in the 19th century than in the medieval era. I’ve had my own issues with self-determination and financial equality and think of the 19th century women as my great great grandmothers who helped make my life possible. The medieval period would have been simply hopeless since I would have been a peasant for sure and would have had to go be a nun, I suppose, in order to have any control over my own body.
    Finally (beause I am babbling on too long, I realize), in a good 19th century historical, I find the relationship issues and struggles compelling and easy to relate to. Yes, although that era was obviously quite distinct from today in control over one’s finances, women as educated professionals, the creation of a true marriage, an emotional/spiritual partnership of equals, is still a difficult challenge.
    In other words, for me, the 19th century is “comfortably” far off and dramatic (great clothes too), but not completely alien. I can easily imagine myself as one of the women in the Rogue series of stories and it’s always fun to think how one would have done oneself in such a situation.
    Enjoy San Antonio.
    Jeannette Halpin

    Reply
  9. But then, why is the 19th century more popular than earlier ones, such as medieval, when the situation was more dramatically unequal before the law?
    —-
    I’ve wondered why I choose 19th century Regency, or occasionally Victorian, over medieval, and why I don’t much care for modern (1990’s-2000’s)romances or mysteries. I think it’s simply because I grew up on Jane Austen(!) so I think of Regencies as Austen world “expanded” and Victorians as Austen grandchildren. Also, the 19th century is truly not that far back to someone like me, late middle aged. My grandmother was born in 1890 and I knew her and her stories well, so I can “think” myself back to over a century ago.
    Another thought is that when I go to England and Scotland I see the houses and gardens and towns that still exist, whereas medieval castles are mostly ruins, so I can imagine the lives of Regency and Victorian people. When I go to Kent or Sussex or the coast of southern England it isn’t difficult for me to imagine, for example, David Kerslake dealing with smugglers. It’s as if he’s just in the next village. Or Nicholas Delaney lives in the next county with Eleanor and they might ride in for a visit!
    The issue of women’s lack of equality or struggles in a male dominant world is more relatable to me as well in the 19th century than in the medieval era. I’ve had my own issues with self-determination and financial equality and think of the 19th century women as my great great grandmothers who helped make my life possible. The medieval period would have been simply hopeless since I would have been a peasant for sure and would have had to go be a nun, I suppose, in order to have any control over my own body.
    Finally (beause I am babbling on too long, I realize), in a good 19th century historical, I find the relationship issues and struggles compelling and easy to relate to. Yes, although that era was obviously quite distinct from today in control over one’s finances, women as educated professionals, the creation of a true marriage, an emotional/spiritual partnership of equals, is still a difficult challenge.
    In other words, for me, the 19th century is “comfortably” far off and dramatic (great clothes too), but not completely alien. I can easily imagine myself as one of the women in the Rogue series of stories and it’s always fun to think how one would have done oneself in such a situation.
    Enjoy San Antonio.
    Jeannette Halpin

    Reply
  10. But then, why is the 19th century more popular than earlier ones, such as medieval, when the situation was more dramatically unequal before the law?
    —-
    I’ve wondered why I choose 19th century Regency, or occasionally Victorian, over medieval, and why I don’t much care for modern (1990’s-2000’s)romances or mysteries. I think it’s simply because I grew up on Jane Austen(!) so I think of Regencies as Austen world “expanded” and Victorians as Austen grandchildren. Also, the 19th century is truly not that far back to someone like me, late middle aged. My grandmother was born in 1890 and I knew her and her stories well, so I can “think” myself back to over a century ago.
    Another thought is that when I go to England and Scotland I see the houses and gardens and towns that still exist, whereas medieval castles are mostly ruins, so I can imagine the lives of Regency and Victorian people. When I go to Kent or Sussex or the coast of southern England it isn’t difficult for me to imagine, for example, David Kerslake dealing with smugglers. It’s as if he’s just in the next village. Or Nicholas Delaney lives in the next county with Eleanor and they might ride in for a visit!
    The issue of women’s lack of equality or struggles in a male dominant world is more relatable to me as well in the 19th century than in the medieval era. I’ve had my own issues with self-determination and financial equality and think of the 19th century women as my great great grandmothers who helped make my life possible. The medieval period would have been simply hopeless since I would have been a peasant for sure and would have had to go be a nun, I suppose, in order to have any control over my own body.
    Finally (beause I am babbling on too long, I realize), in a good 19th century historical, I find the relationship issues and struggles compelling and easy to relate to. Yes, although that era was obviously quite distinct from today in control over one’s finances, women as educated professionals, the creation of a true marriage, an emotional/spiritual partnership of equals, is still a difficult challenge.
    In other words, for me, the 19th century is “comfortably” far off and dramatic (great clothes too), but not completely alien. I can easily imagine myself as one of the women in the Rogue series of stories and it’s always fun to think how one would have done oneself in such a situation.
    Enjoy San Antonio.
    Jeannette Halpin

    Reply
  11. “In other words, for me, the 19th century is “comfortably” far off and dramatic (great clothes too), but not completely alien.”
    Definitely. A lot of readers seem to see the 19th century as their “cut-off” time. Before that, and just the way people think was so different we can hardly identify with it.
    However, my current love is a series set in the 1790s – but I guess that’s almost the 1800s!

    Reply
  12. “In other words, for me, the 19th century is “comfortably” far off and dramatic (great clothes too), but not completely alien.”
    Definitely. A lot of readers seem to see the 19th century as their “cut-off” time. Before that, and just the way people think was so different we can hardly identify with it.
    However, my current love is a series set in the 1790s – but I guess that’s almost the 1800s!

    Reply
  13. “In other words, for me, the 19th century is “comfortably” far off and dramatic (great clothes too), but not completely alien.”
    Definitely. A lot of readers seem to see the 19th century as their “cut-off” time. Before that, and just the way people think was so different we can hardly identify with it.
    However, my current love is a series set in the 1790s – but I guess that’s almost the 1800s!

    Reply
  14. “In other words, for me, the 19th century is “comfortably” far off and dramatic (great clothes too), but not completely alien.”
    Definitely. A lot of readers seem to see the 19th century as their “cut-off” time. Before that, and just the way people think was so different we can hardly identify with it.
    However, my current love is a series set in the 1790s – but I guess that’s almost the 1800s!

    Reply
  15. “In other words, for me, the 19th century is “comfortably” far off and dramatic (great clothes too), but not completely alien.”
    Definitely. A lot of readers seem to see the 19th century as their “cut-off” time. Before that, and just the way people think was so different we can hardly identify with it.
    However, my current love is a series set in the 1790s – but I guess that’s almost the 1800s!

    Reply
  16. Thanks, Sonya. I agree that the gender balance in historicals needs to be right for the period, but there always have been women who broke the rules and got away with it!
    Right on about the “almost.”
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  17. Thanks, Sonya. I agree that the gender balance in historicals needs to be right for the period, but there always have been women who broke the rules and got away with it!
    Right on about the “almost.”
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  18. Thanks, Sonya. I agree that the gender balance in historicals needs to be right for the period, but there always have been women who broke the rules and got away with it!
    Right on about the “almost.”
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  19. Thanks, Sonya. I agree that the gender balance in historicals needs to be right for the period, but there always have been women who broke the rules and got away with it!
    Right on about the “almost.”
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  20. Thanks, Sonya. I agree that the gender balance in historicals needs to be right for the period, but there always have been women who broke the rules and got away with it!
    Right on about the “almost.”
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  21. Jeannette, I think the Regency period is on a sort of comfort tipping point, yes.We can relate better to the problems then.
    I do think, however, that most women’s ability to rebel was lessened by a strong imposition of propriety. There was less of that in the 18th century, and the situation got worse as the 19th century progressed.
    So yes, a tripping point again.

    Reply
  22. Jeannette, I think the Regency period is on a sort of comfort tipping point, yes.We can relate better to the problems then.
    I do think, however, that most women’s ability to rebel was lessened by a strong imposition of propriety. There was less of that in the 18th century, and the situation got worse as the 19th century progressed.
    So yes, a tripping point again.

    Reply
  23. Jeannette, I think the Regency period is on a sort of comfort tipping point, yes.We can relate better to the problems then.
    I do think, however, that most women’s ability to rebel was lessened by a strong imposition of propriety. There was less of that in the 18th century, and the situation got worse as the 19th century progressed.
    So yes, a tripping point again.

    Reply
  24. Jeannette, I think the Regency period is on a sort of comfort tipping point, yes.We can relate better to the problems then.
    I do think, however, that most women’s ability to rebel was lessened by a strong imposition of propriety. There was less of that in the 18th century, and the situation got worse as the 19th century progressed.
    So yes, a tripping point again.

    Reply
  25. Jeannette, I think the Regency period is on a sort of comfort tipping point, yes.We can relate better to the problems then.
    I do think, however, that most women’s ability to rebel was lessened by a strong imposition of propriety. There was less of that in the 18th century, and the situation got worse as the 19th century progressed.
    So yes, a tripping point again.

    Reply
  26. I love this topic about romantic fiction being about women in a man’s world. I’m also intrigued by the question of time.
    First on time. I think late Georgian, Regency, and Victorian are more accessible because of a couple of factors. The enlightenment has become a part of how people thought. Innovation, invention, science, art, and history were part of intellectual life and more and more in ordinary life. The other thing that makes its accessible and acceptable is that we can go to memoirs and novels from that periods, many of which are written by women. We know that fiction has it basis in truth.
    Second about series about men vs. women. I love series! While there are quite a few about bands of men, I also have found memories about families, about bands of wallflowers, and teachers from a given school. One of the neatest premises was three girls at a party discussed how each wanted to be a poet, a scholar and a soldier. In different books, each achieved her version of what she dreamed of.
    Third about women in a man’s world in general. I’m reading a Victorian novel about a suffragette who has her own newspaper written by women for women. It so clearly lays out her very real challenges. A friend directed me to an ed-op by a former White House advisor who has taken a job with a women’s magazine. A lot of people are saying she’s not serious since the magazine’s main focus is fashion. She basically says it ridiculous to think that women can’t do both–dress well and be a serious person. She points out that men’s magazines can write about golf and beer breweries and still be considered serious. The good part of fiction is that it says women can face challenges, gain greater understanding of themselves, and make a place in a world that is mostly defined by men. Just remember it was women who really ran Almack’s–they decided who could come and the time they could arrive.

    Reply
  27. I love this topic about romantic fiction being about women in a man’s world. I’m also intrigued by the question of time.
    First on time. I think late Georgian, Regency, and Victorian are more accessible because of a couple of factors. The enlightenment has become a part of how people thought. Innovation, invention, science, art, and history were part of intellectual life and more and more in ordinary life. The other thing that makes its accessible and acceptable is that we can go to memoirs and novels from that periods, many of which are written by women. We know that fiction has it basis in truth.
    Second about series about men vs. women. I love series! While there are quite a few about bands of men, I also have found memories about families, about bands of wallflowers, and teachers from a given school. One of the neatest premises was three girls at a party discussed how each wanted to be a poet, a scholar and a soldier. In different books, each achieved her version of what she dreamed of.
    Third about women in a man’s world in general. I’m reading a Victorian novel about a suffragette who has her own newspaper written by women for women. It so clearly lays out her very real challenges. A friend directed me to an ed-op by a former White House advisor who has taken a job with a women’s magazine. A lot of people are saying she’s not serious since the magazine’s main focus is fashion. She basically says it ridiculous to think that women can’t do both–dress well and be a serious person. She points out that men’s magazines can write about golf and beer breweries and still be considered serious. The good part of fiction is that it says women can face challenges, gain greater understanding of themselves, and make a place in a world that is mostly defined by men. Just remember it was women who really ran Almack’s–they decided who could come and the time they could arrive.

    Reply
  28. I love this topic about romantic fiction being about women in a man’s world. I’m also intrigued by the question of time.
    First on time. I think late Georgian, Regency, and Victorian are more accessible because of a couple of factors. The enlightenment has become a part of how people thought. Innovation, invention, science, art, and history were part of intellectual life and more and more in ordinary life. The other thing that makes its accessible and acceptable is that we can go to memoirs and novels from that periods, many of which are written by women. We know that fiction has it basis in truth.
    Second about series about men vs. women. I love series! While there are quite a few about bands of men, I also have found memories about families, about bands of wallflowers, and teachers from a given school. One of the neatest premises was three girls at a party discussed how each wanted to be a poet, a scholar and a soldier. In different books, each achieved her version of what she dreamed of.
    Third about women in a man’s world in general. I’m reading a Victorian novel about a suffragette who has her own newspaper written by women for women. It so clearly lays out her very real challenges. A friend directed me to an ed-op by a former White House advisor who has taken a job with a women’s magazine. A lot of people are saying she’s not serious since the magazine’s main focus is fashion. She basically says it ridiculous to think that women can’t do both–dress well and be a serious person. She points out that men’s magazines can write about golf and beer breweries and still be considered serious. The good part of fiction is that it says women can face challenges, gain greater understanding of themselves, and make a place in a world that is mostly defined by men. Just remember it was women who really ran Almack’s–they decided who could come and the time they could arrive.

    Reply
  29. I love this topic about romantic fiction being about women in a man’s world. I’m also intrigued by the question of time.
    First on time. I think late Georgian, Regency, and Victorian are more accessible because of a couple of factors. The enlightenment has become a part of how people thought. Innovation, invention, science, art, and history were part of intellectual life and more and more in ordinary life. The other thing that makes its accessible and acceptable is that we can go to memoirs and novels from that periods, many of which are written by women. We know that fiction has it basis in truth.
    Second about series about men vs. women. I love series! While there are quite a few about bands of men, I also have found memories about families, about bands of wallflowers, and teachers from a given school. One of the neatest premises was three girls at a party discussed how each wanted to be a poet, a scholar and a soldier. In different books, each achieved her version of what she dreamed of.
    Third about women in a man’s world in general. I’m reading a Victorian novel about a suffragette who has her own newspaper written by women for women. It so clearly lays out her very real challenges. A friend directed me to an ed-op by a former White House advisor who has taken a job with a women’s magazine. A lot of people are saying she’s not serious since the magazine’s main focus is fashion. She basically says it ridiculous to think that women can’t do both–dress well and be a serious person. She points out that men’s magazines can write about golf and beer breweries and still be considered serious. The good part of fiction is that it says women can face challenges, gain greater understanding of themselves, and make a place in a world that is mostly defined by men. Just remember it was women who really ran Almack’s–they decided who could come and the time they could arrive.

    Reply
  30. I love this topic about romantic fiction being about women in a man’s world. I’m also intrigued by the question of time.
    First on time. I think late Georgian, Regency, and Victorian are more accessible because of a couple of factors. The enlightenment has become a part of how people thought. Innovation, invention, science, art, and history were part of intellectual life and more and more in ordinary life. The other thing that makes its accessible and acceptable is that we can go to memoirs and novels from that periods, many of which are written by women. We know that fiction has it basis in truth.
    Second about series about men vs. women. I love series! While there are quite a few about bands of men, I also have found memories about families, about bands of wallflowers, and teachers from a given school. One of the neatest premises was three girls at a party discussed how each wanted to be a poet, a scholar and a soldier. In different books, each achieved her version of what she dreamed of.
    Third about women in a man’s world in general. I’m reading a Victorian novel about a suffragette who has her own newspaper written by women for women. It so clearly lays out her very real challenges. A friend directed me to an ed-op by a former White House advisor who has taken a job with a women’s magazine. A lot of people are saying she’s not serious since the magazine’s main focus is fashion. She basically says it ridiculous to think that women can’t do both–dress well and be a serious person. She points out that men’s magazines can write about golf and beer breweries and still be considered serious. The good part of fiction is that it says women can face challenges, gain greater understanding of themselves, and make a place in a world that is mostly defined by men. Just remember it was women who really ran Almack’s–they decided who could come and the time they could arrive.

    Reply
  31. I don’t look at romances as men against women as much as one woman against one man. I like some Georgian Regency, Victorian and Contemporary set romances and mysteries. I like historical books to be set in the historic period and not be modern stories in costume.
    I think going the feminist route sometimes distorts the historical accuracy of a work. Very few regency women were worried about going to university or voting. They were more likely to be concerned with primary education and property rights, and the loss of rights and privileges when a woman married. Some raged about primogeniture.
    I have often wondered what Maria Edgeworth thought about the fact that though she was the one with the knowledge and ability to run her father’s estate– which she did– her brothers and then her nephew actually owned it.
    I like stories of capable women– I think women have been more than capable throughout history or else the human race would have come to an end.
    I like series as long as the hero and heroine of previous books are having a happily ever after. I dislike reading a subsequent book and being told that the couple I cheered through to the end were now having trouble. unless the trouble comes from outside the marriage and draws them and their friends closer together to fight it.

    Reply
  32. I don’t look at romances as men against women as much as one woman against one man. I like some Georgian Regency, Victorian and Contemporary set romances and mysteries. I like historical books to be set in the historic period and not be modern stories in costume.
    I think going the feminist route sometimes distorts the historical accuracy of a work. Very few regency women were worried about going to university or voting. They were more likely to be concerned with primary education and property rights, and the loss of rights and privileges when a woman married. Some raged about primogeniture.
    I have often wondered what Maria Edgeworth thought about the fact that though she was the one with the knowledge and ability to run her father’s estate– which she did– her brothers and then her nephew actually owned it.
    I like stories of capable women– I think women have been more than capable throughout history or else the human race would have come to an end.
    I like series as long as the hero and heroine of previous books are having a happily ever after. I dislike reading a subsequent book and being told that the couple I cheered through to the end were now having trouble. unless the trouble comes from outside the marriage and draws them and their friends closer together to fight it.

    Reply
  33. I don’t look at romances as men against women as much as one woman against one man. I like some Georgian Regency, Victorian and Contemporary set romances and mysteries. I like historical books to be set in the historic period and not be modern stories in costume.
    I think going the feminist route sometimes distorts the historical accuracy of a work. Very few regency women were worried about going to university or voting. They were more likely to be concerned with primary education and property rights, and the loss of rights and privileges when a woman married. Some raged about primogeniture.
    I have often wondered what Maria Edgeworth thought about the fact that though she was the one with the knowledge and ability to run her father’s estate– which she did– her brothers and then her nephew actually owned it.
    I like stories of capable women– I think women have been more than capable throughout history or else the human race would have come to an end.
    I like series as long as the hero and heroine of previous books are having a happily ever after. I dislike reading a subsequent book and being told that the couple I cheered through to the end were now having trouble. unless the trouble comes from outside the marriage and draws them and their friends closer together to fight it.

    Reply
  34. I don’t look at romances as men against women as much as one woman against one man. I like some Georgian Regency, Victorian and Contemporary set romances and mysteries. I like historical books to be set in the historic period and not be modern stories in costume.
    I think going the feminist route sometimes distorts the historical accuracy of a work. Very few regency women were worried about going to university or voting. They were more likely to be concerned with primary education and property rights, and the loss of rights and privileges when a woman married. Some raged about primogeniture.
    I have often wondered what Maria Edgeworth thought about the fact that though she was the one with the knowledge and ability to run her father’s estate– which she did– her brothers and then her nephew actually owned it.
    I like stories of capable women– I think women have been more than capable throughout history or else the human race would have come to an end.
    I like series as long as the hero and heroine of previous books are having a happily ever after. I dislike reading a subsequent book and being told that the couple I cheered through to the end were now having trouble. unless the trouble comes from outside the marriage and draws them and their friends closer together to fight it.

    Reply
  35. I don’t look at romances as men against women as much as one woman against one man. I like some Georgian Regency, Victorian and Contemporary set romances and mysteries. I like historical books to be set in the historic period and not be modern stories in costume.
    I think going the feminist route sometimes distorts the historical accuracy of a work. Very few regency women were worried about going to university or voting. They were more likely to be concerned with primary education and property rights, and the loss of rights and privileges when a woman married. Some raged about primogeniture.
    I have often wondered what Maria Edgeworth thought about the fact that though she was the one with the knowledge and ability to run her father’s estate– which she did– her brothers and then her nephew actually owned it.
    I like stories of capable women– I think women have been more than capable throughout history or else the human race would have come to an end.
    I like series as long as the hero and heroine of previous books are having a happily ever after. I dislike reading a subsequent book and being told that the couple I cheered through to the end were now having trouble. unless the trouble comes from outside the marriage and draws them and their friends closer together to fight it.

    Reply
  36. I am not too certain about the Women struggling theory. I think I agree with Nancy, when I read it is generally about a woman dealing with a man and eventually finding respect for their differences and understanding of issues pertaining to the other person. I understand the difficulties – the lack of rights available – but when the book tells a story of a man who because of his infinite wisdom, or his opening up to love – finds a way to provide a path for the women in his life I am into that book. I enjoy series – and I have found some which follow groups of women who share an interest or a family background, I generally have liked to follow the characters. I want to read books that allow people to learn to care for one another. And no matter the time period, if that happens in a story, I will enjoy it. I do read a romance for the escape factor. I want happy endings.

    Reply
  37. I am not too certain about the Women struggling theory. I think I agree with Nancy, when I read it is generally about a woman dealing with a man and eventually finding respect for their differences and understanding of issues pertaining to the other person. I understand the difficulties – the lack of rights available – but when the book tells a story of a man who because of his infinite wisdom, or his opening up to love – finds a way to provide a path for the women in his life I am into that book. I enjoy series – and I have found some which follow groups of women who share an interest or a family background, I generally have liked to follow the characters. I want to read books that allow people to learn to care for one another. And no matter the time period, if that happens in a story, I will enjoy it. I do read a romance for the escape factor. I want happy endings.

    Reply
  38. I am not too certain about the Women struggling theory. I think I agree with Nancy, when I read it is generally about a woman dealing with a man and eventually finding respect for their differences and understanding of issues pertaining to the other person. I understand the difficulties – the lack of rights available – but when the book tells a story of a man who because of his infinite wisdom, or his opening up to love – finds a way to provide a path for the women in his life I am into that book. I enjoy series – and I have found some which follow groups of women who share an interest or a family background, I generally have liked to follow the characters. I want to read books that allow people to learn to care for one another. And no matter the time period, if that happens in a story, I will enjoy it. I do read a romance for the escape factor. I want happy endings.

    Reply
  39. I am not too certain about the Women struggling theory. I think I agree with Nancy, when I read it is generally about a woman dealing with a man and eventually finding respect for their differences and understanding of issues pertaining to the other person. I understand the difficulties – the lack of rights available – but when the book tells a story of a man who because of his infinite wisdom, or his opening up to love – finds a way to provide a path for the women in his life I am into that book. I enjoy series – and I have found some which follow groups of women who share an interest or a family background, I generally have liked to follow the characters. I want to read books that allow people to learn to care for one another. And no matter the time period, if that happens in a story, I will enjoy it. I do read a romance for the escape factor. I want happy endings.

    Reply
  40. I am not too certain about the Women struggling theory. I think I agree with Nancy, when I read it is generally about a woman dealing with a man and eventually finding respect for their differences and understanding of issues pertaining to the other person. I understand the difficulties – the lack of rights available – but when the book tells a story of a man who because of his infinite wisdom, or his opening up to love – finds a way to provide a path for the women in his life I am into that book. I enjoy series – and I have found some which follow groups of women who share an interest or a family background, I generally have liked to follow the characters. I want to read books that allow people to learn to care for one another. And no matter the time period, if that happens in a story, I will enjoy it. I do read a romance for the escape factor. I want happy endings.

    Reply
  41. The Regency period (and subsequent Victorian) has the Industrial Revolution, the beginnings of modern science, a great (and understandable) war, naval power (and pirates!), international travel and intrigue, political and social turmoil, Town and country, a glittering society scene contrasted with incredible poverty and a rising merchant class …
    The Medieval period has … war, usually on a small, even petty, scale.
    No contest for me.

    Reply
  42. The Regency period (and subsequent Victorian) has the Industrial Revolution, the beginnings of modern science, a great (and understandable) war, naval power (and pirates!), international travel and intrigue, political and social turmoil, Town and country, a glittering society scene contrasted with incredible poverty and a rising merchant class …
    The Medieval period has … war, usually on a small, even petty, scale.
    No contest for me.

    Reply
  43. The Regency period (and subsequent Victorian) has the Industrial Revolution, the beginnings of modern science, a great (and understandable) war, naval power (and pirates!), international travel and intrigue, political and social turmoil, Town and country, a glittering society scene contrasted with incredible poverty and a rising merchant class …
    The Medieval period has … war, usually on a small, even petty, scale.
    No contest for me.

    Reply
  44. The Regency period (and subsequent Victorian) has the Industrial Revolution, the beginnings of modern science, a great (and understandable) war, naval power (and pirates!), international travel and intrigue, political and social turmoil, Town and country, a glittering society scene contrasted with incredible poverty and a rising merchant class …
    The Medieval period has … war, usually on a small, even petty, scale.
    No contest for me.

    Reply
  45. The Regency period (and subsequent Victorian) has the Industrial Revolution, the beginnings of modern science, a great (and understandable) war, naval power (and pirates!), international travel and intrigue, political and social turmoil, Town and country, a glittering society scene contrasted with incredible poverty and a rising merchant class …
    The Medieval period has … war, usually on a small, even petty, scale.
    No contest for me.

    Reply
  46. I like a story that shows a heroine finding ways around the strictures women suffered during the Regency. But I also like the era for it’s beauty, fashions and architecture, its fascinating and diverse history, from spies, Napoleonic wars, politics and the royalty, and its larger than life characters. Medieval doesn’t appeal to me because it’s a world so far removed from my own. Georgette Heyer first spiked my interest and then Jane Austen.

    Reply
  47. I like a story that shows a heroine finding ways around the strictures women suffered during the Regency. But I also like the era for it’s beauty, fashions and architecture, its fascinating and diverse history, from spies, Napoleonic wars, politics and the royalty, and its larger than life characters. Medieval doesn’t appeal to me because it’s a world so far removed from my own. Georgette Heyer first spiked my interest and then Jane Austen.

    Reply
  48. I like a story that shows a heroine finding ways around the strictures women suffered during the Regency. But I also like the era for it’s beauty, fashions and architecture, its fascinating and diverse history, from spies, Napoleonic wars, politics and the royalty, and its larger than life characters. Medieval doesn’t appeal to me because it’s a world so far removed from my own. Georgette Heyer first spiked my interest and then Jane Austen.

    Reply
  49. I like a story that shows a heroine finding ways around the strictures women suffered during the Regency. But I also like the era for it’s beauty, fashions and architecture, its fascinating and diverse history, from spies, Napoleonic wars, politics and the royalty, and its larger than life characters. Medieval doesn’t appeal to me because it’s a world so far removed from my own. Georgette Heyer first spiked my interest and then Jane Austen.

    Reply
  50. I like a story that shows a heroine finding ways around the strictures women suffered during the Regency. But I also like the era for it’s beauty, fashions and architecture, its fascinating and diverse history, from spies, Napoleonic wars, politics and the royalty, and its larger than life characters. Medieval doesn’t appeal to me because it’s a world so far removed from my own. Georgette Heyer first spiked my interest and then Jane Austen.

    Reply
  51. Jo, I like your point that the Regency is a kind of tippy point for relatability. When I’m asked why I prefer the Regency, it usually takes me at least three long paragraphs to say the same thing. *G*
    I think a lot “soft romance” books with small towns and lots of family are the off-spring of romance and women’s fiction. They can present a range of problems in a woman’s life, which each individual story can center on a romance with a satisfying ending.
    As for historical series focused on male friendships–hmm. Maybe because men had more interesting lives?

    Reply
  52. Jo, I like your point that the Regency is a kind of tippy point for relatability. When I’m asked why I prefer the Regency, it usually takes me at least three long paragraphs to say the same thing. *G*
    I think a lot “soft romance” books with small towns and lots of family are the off-spring of romance and women’s fiction. They can present a range of problems in a woman’s life, which each individual story can center on a romance with a satisfying ending.
    As for historical series focused on male friendships–hmm. Maybe because men had more interesting lives?

    Reply
  53. Jo, I like your point that the Regency is a kind of tippy point for relatability. When I’m asked why I prefer the Regency, it usually takes me at least three long paragraphs to say the same thing. *G*
    I think a lot “soft romance” books with small towns and lots of family are the off-spring of romance and women’s fiction. They can present a range of problems in a woman’s life, which each individual story can center on a romance with a satisfying ending.
    As for historical series focused on male friendships–hmm. Maybe because men had more interesting lives?

    Reply
  54. Jo, I like your point that the Regency is a kind of tippy point for relatability. When I’m asked why I prefer the Regency, it usually takes me at least three long paragraphs to say the same thing. *G*
    I think a lot “soft romance” books with small towns and lots of family are the off-spring of romance and women’s fiction. They can present a range of problems in a woman’s life, which each individual story can center on a romance with a satisfying ending.
    As for historical series focused on male friendships–hmm. Maybe because men had more interesting lives?

    Reply
  55. Jo, I like your point that the Regency is a kind of tippy point for relatability. When I’m asked why I prefer the Regency, it usually takes me at least three long paragraphs to say the same thing. *G*
    I think a lot “soft romance” books with small towns and lots of family are the off-spring of romance and women’s fiction. They can present a range of problems in a woman’s life, which each individual story can center on a romance with a satisfying ending.
    As for historical series focused on male friendships–hmm. Maybe because men had more interesting lives?

    Reply
  56. Good points, Shannon.
    Another is that Almack pinched the idea of exclusive assemblies from a woman — Teresa Cornelys, who began them in London in the 18th century. (She’s a character in my book A Lady’s Secret.)
    She came up with the idea of making them exclusive and recruiting some high ranking ladies to vet applicants. She wasn’t a great businesswoman, however, and Almack’s saw, copied, and made a better go of it.
    She did, however, have Casanova as one of her lovers.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    Reply
  57. Good points, Shannon.
    Another is that Almack pinched the idea of exclusive assemblies from a woman — Teresa Cornelys, who began them in London in the 18th century. (She’s a character in my book A Lady’s Secret.)
    She came up with the idea of making them exclusive and recruiting some high ranking ladies to vet applicants. She wasn’t a great businesswoman, however, and Almack’s saw, copied, and made a better go of it.
    She did, however, have Casanova as one of her lovers.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    Reply
  58. Good points, Shannon.
    Another is that Almack pinched the idea of exclusive assemblies from a woman — Teresa Cornelys, who began them in London in the 18th century. (She’s a character in my book A Lady’s Secret.)
    She came up with the idea of making them exclusive and recruiting some high ranking ladies to vet applicants. She wasn’t a great businesswoman, however, and Almack’s saw, copied, and made a better go of it.
    She did, however, have Casanova as one of her lovers.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    Reply
  59. Good points, Shannon.
    Another is that Almack pinched the idea of exclusive assemblies from a woman — Teresa Cornelys, who began them in London in the 18th century. (She’s a character in my book A Lady’s Secret.)
    She came up with the idea of making them exclusive and recruiting some high ranking ladies to vet applicants. She wasn’t a great businesswoman, however, and Almack’s saw, copied, and made a better go of it.
    She did, however, have Casanova as one of her lovers.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    Reply
  60. Good points, Shannon.
    Another is that Almack pinched the idea of exclusive assemblies from a woman — Teresa Cornelys, who began them in London in the 18th century. (She’s a character in my book A Lady’s Secret.)
    She came up with the idea of making them exclusive and recruiting some high ranking ladies to vet applicants. She wasn’t a great businesswoman, however, and Almack’s saw, copied, and made a better go of it.
    She did, however, have Casanova as one of her lovers.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    Reply
  61. Good point, Nancy, about the interests of the woman in the period. I agree that we see too many heroines pining for careers. Some did, but most wanted more rights and powers within traditional women’s roles.
    Jo

    Reply
  62. Good point, Nancy, about the interests of the woman in the period. I agree that we see too many heroines pining for careers. Some did, but most wanted more rights and powers within traditional women’s roles.
    Jo

    Reply
  63. Good point, Nancy, about the interests of the woman in the period. I agree that we see too many heroines pining for careers. Some did, but most wanted more rights and powers within traditional women’s roles.
    Jo

    Reply
  64. Good point, Nancy, about the interests of the woman in the period. I agree that we see too many heroines pining for careers. Some did, but most wanted more rights and powers within traditional women’s roles.
    Jo

    Reply
  65. Good point, Nancy, about the interests of the woman in the period. I agree that we see too many heroines pining for careers. Some did, but most wanted more rights and powers within traditional women’s roles.
    Jo

    Reply
  66. Hmmm, Mary, I have to quibble a bit. The middle ages had a lot of learning, philosophy, politics, intrigue and travel, as well cathedrals, beautiful music, and illuminated manuscripts. It was a complex world, though I agree — less safe.
    Jo

    Reply
  67. Hmmm, Mary, I have to quibble a bit. The middle ages had a lot of learning, philosophy, politics, intrigue and travel, as well cathedrals, beautiful music, and illuminated manuscripts. It was a complex world, though I agree — less safe.
    Jo

    Reply
  68. Hmmm, Mary, I have to quibble a bit. The middle ages had a lot of learning, philosophy, politics, intrigue and travel, as well cathedrals, beautiful music, and illuminated manuscripts. It was a complex world, though I agree — less safe.
    Jo

    Reply
  69. Hmmm, Mary, I have to quibble a bit. The middle ages had a lot of learning, philosophy, politics, intrigue and travel, as well cathedrals, beautiful music, and illuminated manuscripts. It was a complex world, though I agree — less safe.
    Jo

    Reply
  70. Hmmm, Mary, I have to quibble a bit. The middle ages had a lot of learning, philosophy, politics, intrigue and travel, as well cathedrals, beautiful music, and illuminated manuscripts. It was a complex world, though I agree — less safe.
    Jo

    Reply
  71. “As for historical series focused on male friendships–hmm. Maybe because men had more interesting lives?”
    They could do a lot more things, but perhaps interest is in the details? Drama in a village as opposed to across Europe? It could be a matter of taste.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    Reply
  72. “As for historical series focused on male friendships–hmm. Maybe because men had more interesting lives?”
    They could do a lot more things, but perhaps interest is in the details? Drama in a village as opposed to across Europe? It could be a matter of taste.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    Reply
  73. “As for historical series focused on male friendships–hmm. Maybe because men had more interesting lives?”
    They could do a lot more things, but perhaps interest is in the details? Drama in a village as opposed to across Europe? It could be a matter of taste.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    Reply
  74. “As for historical series focused on male friendships–hmm. Maybe because men had more interesting lives?”
    They could do a lot more things, but perhaps interest is in the details? Drama in a village as opposed to across Europe? It could be a matter of taste.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    Reply
  75. “As for historical series focused on male friendships–hmm. Maybe because men had more interesting lives?”
    They could do a lot more things, but perhaps interest is in the details? Drama in a village as opposed to across Europe? It could be a matter of taste.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    Reply
  76. Funny you should mention the Hunter series, because I’m annoyed particularly by the latest one. The heroines from previous books reappear, and it seems like they are frequently dealing with an overdominating husband by sneaking around doing things behind his back. Maybe that was the only way they could maintain some independence, but it doesn’t seem like much of an HEA. The heroine of the current book also stupidly keeps too many secrets from the hero, even after they’re married, which just gets her in deeper trouble.

    Reply
  77. Funny you should mention the Hunter series, because I’m annoyed particularly by the latest one. The heroines from previous books reappear, and it seems like they are frequently dealing with an overdominating husband by sneaking around doing things behind his back. Maybe that was the only way they could maintain some independence, but it doesn’t seem like much of an HEA. The heroine of the current book also stupidly keeps too many secrets from the hero, even after they’re married, which just gets her in deeper trouble.

    Reply
  78. Funny you should mention the Hunter series, because I’m annoyed particularly by the latest one. The heroines from previous books reappear, and it seems like they are frequently dealing with an overdominating husband by sneaking around doing things behind his back. Maybe that was the only way they could maintain some independence, but it doesn’t seem like much of an HEA. The heroine of the current book also stupidly keeps too many secrets from the hero, even after they’re married, which just gets her in deeper trouble.

    Reply
  79. Funny you should mention the Hunter series, because I’m annoyed particularly by the latest one. The heroines from previous books reappear, and it seems like they are frequently dealing with an overdominating husband by sneaking around doing things behind his back. Maybe that was the only way they could maintain some independence, but it doesn’t seem like much of an HEA. The heroine of the current book also stupidly keeps too many secrets from the hero, even after they’re married, which just gets her in deeper trouble.

    Reply
  80. Funny you should mention the Hunter series, because I’m annoyed particularly by the latest one. The heroines from previous books reappear, and it seems like they are frequently dealing with an overdominating husband by sneaking around doing things behind his back. Maybe that was the only way they could maintain some independence, but it doesn’t seem like much of an HEA. The heroine of the current book also stupidly keeps too many secrets from the hero, even after they’re married, which just gets her in deeper trouble.

    Reply
  81. I think the popularity of the Regency era is due to Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. Thanks to them, we know about the clothes, the social scene, the way people talked, the Napoleonic Wars, etc., so readers already have a comfort level. I have no problem with earlier eras, but I think medievals were more popular a couple of decades ago, when romance novels were *literally* bodice rippers. I enjoy reading about the power women had as chateleines of a castle. Of course it’s not as much fun reading about the serfs! I don’t care as much for the Victorian era, because it seems so restrictive, in the clothing they wore and the prudishness and strictness of social mores, at least among the upper classes.
    Lately I see lots of books where the heroines have a circle of friends, as much as men do, but I don’t know how realistic that is. Men were more likely to make friends outside their neighborhood or family circle because they got opportunities to meet people at school, in the army, at their clubs, in their travels or via business interests. Women were more likely to be best friends with their own sisters or close neighbors, because how much of a chance did they get to meet anyone else? Look at Elizabeth Bennett, her two closest friends were her sister Jane and her neighbor Charlotte.

    Reply
  82. I think the popularity of the Regency era is due to Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. Thanks to them, we know about the clothes, the social scene, the way people talked, the Napoleonic Wars, etc., so readers already have a comfort level. I have no problem with earlier eras, but I think medievals were more popular a couple of decades ago, when romance novels were *literally* bodice rippers. I enjoy reading about the power women had as chateleines of a castle. Of course it’s not as much fun reading about the serfs! I don’t care as much for the Victorian era, because it seems so restrictive, in the clothing they wore and the prudishness and strictness of social mores, at least among the upper classes.
    Lately I see lots of books where the heroines have a circle of friends, as much as men do, but I don’t know how realistic that is. Men were more likely to make friends outside their neighborhood or family circle because they got opportunities to meet people at school, in the army, at their clubs, in their travels or via business interests. Women were more likely to be best friends with their own sisters or close neighbors, because how much of a chance did they get to meet anyone else? Look at Elizabeth Bennett, her two closest friends were her sister Jane and her neighbor Charlotte.

    Reply
  83. I think the popularity of the Regency era is due to Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. Thanks to them, we know about the clothes, the social scene, the way people talked, the Napoleonic Wars, etc., so readers already have a comfort level. I have no problem with earlier eras, but I think medievals were more popular a couple of decades ago, when romance novels were *literally* bodice rippers. I enjoy reading about the power women had as chateleines of a castle. Of course it’s not as much fun reading about the serfs! I don’t care as much for the Victorian era, because it seems so restrictive, in the clothing they wore and the prudishness and strictness of social mores, at least among the upper classes.
    Lately I see lots of books where the heroines have a circle of friends, as much as men do, but I don’t know how realistic that is. Men were more likely to make friends outside their neighborhood or family circle because they got opportunities to meet people at school, in the army, at their clubs, in their travels or via business interests. Women were more likely to be best friends with their own sisters or close neighbors, because how much of a chance did they get to meet anyone else? Look at Elizabeth Bennett, her two closest friends were her sister Jane and her neighbor Charlotte.

    Reply
  84. I think the popularity of the Regency era is due to Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. Thanks to them, we know about the clothes, the social scene, the way people talked, the Napoleonic Wars, etc., so readers already have a comfort level. I have no problem with earlier eras, but I think medievals were more popular a couple of decades ago, when romance novels were *literally* bodice rippers. I enjoy reading about the power women had as chateleines of a castle. Of course it’s not as much fun reading about the serfs! I don’t care as much for the Victorian era, because it seems so restrictive, in the clothing they wore and the prudishness and strictness of social mores, at least among the upper classes.
    Lately I see lots of books where the heroines have a circle of friends, as much as men do, but I don’t know how realistic that is. Men were more likely to make friends outside their neighborhood or family circle because they got opportunities to meet people at school, in the army, at their clubs, in their travels or via business interests. Women were more likely to be best friends with their own sisters or close neighbors, because how much of a chance did they get to meet anyone else? Look at Elizabeth Bennett, her two closest friends were her sister Jane and her neighbor Charlotte.

    Reply
  85. I think the popularity of the Regency era is due to Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. Thanks to them, we know about the clothes, the social scene, the way people talked, the Napoleonic Wars, etc., so readers already have a comfort level. I have no problem with earlier eras, but I think medievals were more popular a couple of decades ago, when romance novels were *literally* bodice rippers. I enjoy reading about the power women had as chateleines of a castle. Of course it’s not as much fun reading about the serfs! I don’t care as much for the Victorian era, because it seems so restrictive, in the clothing they wore and the prudishness and strictness of social mores, at least among the upper classes.
    Lately I see lots of books where the heroines have a circle of friends, as much as men do, but I don’t know how realistic that is. Men were more likely to make friends outside their neighborhood or family circle because they got opportunities to meet people at school, in the army, at their clubs, in their travels or via business interests. Women were more likely to be best friends with their own sisters or close neighbors, because how much of a chance did they get to meet anyone else? Look at Elizabeth Bennett, her two closest friends were her sister Jane and her neighbor Charlotte.

    Reply
  86. “Look at Elizabeth Bennett, her two closest friends were her sister Jane and her neighbor Charlotte.”
    Good point, Karin, and of course Jane’s closest friend seems to have been her sister Cassandra.
    Many people had friends by correspondence, often writing daily, which is a bit like e-mail, really!
    Quite a lot of girls went to school, at least for a while, so I assume they made friends, but unless they happened to end up living close by, or went to London every year, or were keen correspondents, the friendship probably dwindled and they made new one after they married. The governess was the one who could easily end up friendless.
    However, the same thing could be said of men, especially younger sons, who probably wouldn’t live at home or nearby and could wander a lot in their careers.
    Interesting to think about, really.
    Jo

    Reply
  87. “Look at Elizabeth Bennett, her two closest friends were her sister Jane and her neighbor Charlotte.”
    Good point, Karin, and of course Jane’s closest friend seems to have been her sister Cassandra.
    Many people had friends by correspondence, often writing daily, which is a bit like e-mail, really!
    Quite a lot of girls went to school, at least for a while, so I assume they made friends, but unless they happened to end up living close by, or went to London every year, or were keen correspondents, the friendship probably dwindled and they made new one after they married. The governess was the one who could easily end up friendless.
    However, the same thing could be said of men, especially younger sons, who probably wouldn’t live at home or nearby and could wander a lot in their careers.
    Interesting to think about, really.
    Jo

    Reply
  88. “Look at Elizabeth Bennett, her two closest friends were her sister Jane and her neighbor Charlotte.”
    Good point, Karin, and of course Jane’s closest friend seems to have been her sister Cassandra.
    Many people had friends by correspondence, often writing daily, which is a bit like e-mail, really!
    Quite a lot of girls went to school, at least for a while, so I assume they made friends, but unless they happened to end up living close by, or went to London every year, or were keen correspondents, the friendship probably dwindled and they made new one after they married. The governess was the one who could easily end up friendless.
    However, the same thing could be said of men, especially younger sons, who probably wouldn’t live at home or nearby and could wander a lot in their careers.
    Interesting to think about, really.
    Jo

    Reply
  89. “Look at Elizabeth Bennett, her two closest friends were her sister Jane and her neighbor Charlotte.”
    Good point, Karin, and of course Jane’s closest friend seems to have been her sister Cassandra.
    Many people had friends by correspondence, often writing daily, which is a bit like e-mail, really!
    Quite a lot of girls went to school, at least for a while, so I assume they made friends, but unless they happened to end up living close by, or went to London every year, or were keen correspondents, the friendship probably dwindled and they made new one after they married. The governess was the one who could easily end up friendless.
    However, the same thing could be said of men, especially younger sons, who probably wouldn’t live at home or nearby and could wander a lot in their careers.
    Interesting to think about, really.
    Jo

    Reply
  90. “Look at Elizabeth Bennett, her two closest friends were her sister Jane and her neighbor Charlotte.”
    Good point, Karin, and of course Jane’s closest friend seems to have been her sister Cassandra.
    Many people had friends by correspondence, often writing daily, which is a bit like e-mail, really!
    Quite a lot of girls went to school, at least for a while, so I assume they made friends, but unless they happened to end up living close by, or went to London every year, or were keen correspondents, the friendship probably dwindled and they made new one after they married. The governess was the one who could easily end up friendless.
    However, the same thing could be said of men, especially younger sons, who probably wouldn’t live at home or nearby and could wander a lot in their careers.
    Interesting to think about, really.
    Jo

    Reply
  91. When I was looking into something called “female anthropology” for a series of columns I wrote (long ago and far away), I learned that women are culturally conditioned to mistrust each other. Every other female is considered a potential competitor for the male, consciously or not. The competition has been extended to the workplace, and the male might not be a husband but the manager.
    I think women who have the same circle of friends from girlhood to old age are incredibly lucky. I have lost women friends to death, distance, and dog-in-the-manger husbands.
    Somewhere in my quotebook I have the following (not exact): “What women do is survive. We live by ones and twos in the chinks of your world machine.”
    I always thought Jo’s book Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed was a good example. One of the criteria for the match was how good a manager she would be.

    Reply
  92. When I was looking into something called “female anthropology” for a series of columns I wrote (long ago and far away), I learned that women are culturally conditioned to mistrust each other. Every other female is considered a potential competitor for the male, consciously or not. The competition has been extended to the workplace, and the male might not be a husband but the manager.
    I think women who have the same circle of friends from girlhood to old age are incredibly lucky. I have lost women friends to death, distance, and dog-in-the-manger husbands.
    Somewhere in my quotebook I have the following (not exact): “What women do is survive. We live by ones and twos in the chinks of your world machine.”
    I always thought Jo’s book Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed was a good example. One of the criteria for the match was how good a manager she would be.

    Reply
  93. When I was looking into something called “female anthropology” for a series of columns I wrote (long ago and far away), I learned that women are culturally conditioned to mistrust each other. Every other female is considered a potential competitor for the male, consciously or not. The competition has been extended to the workplace, and the male might not be a husband but the manager.
    I think women who have the same circle of friends from girlhood to old age are incredibly lucky. I have lost women friends to death, distance, and dog-in-the-manger husbands.
    Somewhere in my quotebook I have the following (not exact): “What women do is survive. We live by ones and twos in the chinks of your world machine.”
    I always thought Jo’s book Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed was a good example. One of the criteria for the match was how good a manager she would be.

    Reply
  94. When I was looking into something called “female anthropology” for a series of columns I wrote (long ago and far away), I learned that women are culturally conditioned to mistrust each other. Every other female is considered a potential competitor for the male, consciously or not. The competition has been extended to the workplace, and the male might not be a husband but the manager.
    I think women who have the same circle of friends from girlhood to old age are incredibly lucky. I have lost women friends to death, distance, and dog-in-the-manger husbands.
    Somewhere in my quotebook I have the following (not exact): “What women do is survive. We live by ones and twos in the chinks of your world machine.”
    I always thought Jo’s book Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed was a good example. One of the criteria for the match was how good a manager she would be.

    Reply
  95. When I was looking into something called “female anthropology” for a series of columns I wrote (long ago and far away), I learned that women are culturally conditioned to mistrust each other. Every other female is considered a potential competitor for the male, consciously or not. The competition has been extended to the workplace, and the male might not be a husband but the manager.
    I think women who have the same circle of friends from girlhood to old age are incredibly lucky. I have lost women friends to death, distance, and dog-in-the-manger husbands.
    Somewhere in my quotebook I have the following (not exact): “What women do is survive. We live by ones and twos in the chinks of your world machine.”
    I always thought Jo’s book Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed was a good example. One of the criteria for the match was how good a manager she would be.

    Reply
  96. Most medieval romances focus only on the war aspect, better to show off the alpha male hero I guess, and as a result convey a very distorted view of those ages. This is rather unfortunate, since I agree completely with you, Jo, that there was much, much to be admired about the Middle Ages.

    Reply
  97. Most medieval romances focus only on the war aspect, better to show off the alpha male hero I guess, and as a result convey a very distorted view of those ages. This is rather unfortunate, since I agree completely with you, Jo, that there was much, much to be admired about the Middle Ages.

    Reply
  98. Most medieval romances focus only on the war aspect, better to show off the alpha male hero I guess, and as a result convey a very distorted view of those ages. This is rather unfortunate, since I agree completely with you, Jo, that there was much, much to be admired about the Middle Ages.

    Reply
  99. Most medieval romances focus only on the war aspect, better to show off the alpha male hero I guess, and as a result convey a very distorted view of those ages. This is rather unfortunate, since I agree completely with you, Jo, that there was much, much to be admired about the Middle Ages.

    Reply
  100. Most medieval romances focus only on the war aspect, better to show off the alpha male hero I guess, and as a result convey a very distorted view of those ages. This is rather unfortunate, since I agree completely with you, Jo, that there was much, much to be admired about the Middle Ages.

    Reply

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