Compared to the late Georgian era I’ve been mucking around in for The Keegans of Banner’s Edge or the Regency era which I loll around in when I’m reading my preferred time period of historical romance or the Edwardian period of Downton Abbey or Revolutionary America (when watching TURN), I’ve always been scared of the Victorian era.
Why? A few reasons. First of all, there was this woman, Queen Victoria, after whom the era is named:
|We are not amused.
Then there are the clothes:
|Victoria and Albert.
Does that seem like a comfortable dress to you? And then there’s the facial hair, the Dickensian plight of the poor, the Industrial Revolution, the repression, the prudishness, the unsmiling photographs, the general stern air of the times, the patriarchal attitude, the colonialism…
So, of course, my next historical story idea takes place in the late Victorian era. I’m thinking the late 1880s/1890s, but I’m not sure yet.
Because you see, a portion of Victorian and Edwardian history that I find fascinating and not too frightening is that of the Dollar Princesses, the Buccaneers. They were young wealthy women whose families were considered “New Money” by the already-rich and socially-established families of the United States. So these wealthy women made the rounds in Europe in droves and married into various European noble families.
Many American heiresses married British aristocrats, who were losing their lands, houses, and money as their estates no longer supported their lavish lifestyles. So the British aristocrats married American heiresses—a title in exchange for money. This is how Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, and his wife Cora, Countess of Grantham, are married in the backstory of Downton Abbey.
But this made me wonder about the perfectly nice, decently pedigreed but impoverished English girls who didn’t get to snag that there man with that there title. What did they do? That’s the basic seed of the next story idea, currently in the earliest of early planning stages in my head.
The answer to that “what if” question is, obviously, “She goes off and does cool things.”
There are also cool things about the Victorian era, else I would avoid it like The Plague. That’s another post.
Back to the Georgian era. Over and out.