Monday, July 7, 2014

The Victorian Era

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:

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1861
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...

In AP History, we read Rudyard Kipling's poem "The White Man's Burden." It makes me shudder. 

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. 




6 comments:

  1. Dollar Princesses! Yes! I have to say, I really love this new idea! I also love the Victorian Era and have a little shout out to it in my story. :) Okay, so I'm going to be weird, I like those dresses. Lol! I don't think anything from before 1940 really looks all that comfortable, I just find them romantic. I like the "idea" of a dress that looks like that, I guess you could say. ^_^

    Don't we always end up with ideas with elements that scare us? The universe must want us to grow as writers. ^_^

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    1. I think I like the "idea" of most clothes before 1920--but wouldn't want to wear them! I think my subconscious went, "Ooh, Dollar Princesses!" And then I went, "Ugh, isn't that Victorian?!"

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  2. They became mistresses the titled men lusted after. The passion driven philandering husbands can't keep a respectable level of discretion and wind up getting taken for all the money they had. AHA!

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    1. In some cases, I think that's exactly what happened. I'm still literally in the "what happened in this year?" phase though. I don't have the references in Victorian years that I did with Regency and pre-Regency.

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  3. lmao! this was cute.
    I alwasy thought it'd be fun to live in those times (if I was white and wealthy, otherwise, uh...not much freedom). Guess next best thing = books!
    I'm excited to see where your idea takes you :)

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    1. Yeah, I have no idea beyond the basic premise and some basic characters where I'm going with this, so I'm doing a little light research while I revise the other one.

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