Balls in the Victorian Era

“The advantage of the ball in the upper classes is, that it brings young people together for a sensible and innocent recreation, and takes them away from the silly, if not bad ones; that it gives them exercise, and that the general effect of the beauty, elegance, and brilliance of a ball is to elevate rather than deprave the mind.” The quote above comes from my favorite discovery, which is a book entitled, “The Habits of Good Society: A Handbook for Ladies and Gentlemen” by an unknown author, originally published 1872. Frankly, it’s a hoot to read, filled with, “thoughts, hints, and anecdotes concerning social observances, nice points of taste and good manners, and the art of making one’s self agreeable.“ Because of the information about life in Victorian times, I thought that I would occasionally write a post about the tidbits found between its pages.  If you’re interested in Read More

Breach of Promise of Marriage

One of my hobbies is searching my British ancestry on my mother’s side of the family. Part of my research includes reading British newspapers in search of articles on my ancestors. My third great uncle was a Justice of the Peace, Alderman, and successful businessman, so I’m always looking for articles regarding his life and have found quite a few (over thirty thus far). Anyway, I have stumbled across another fascinating area in the lives of men and women from 1800-1850 in regards to lawsuits for the “breach of promise of marriage.” My search has uncovered over 6,000 links to articles in newspapers across England regarding such cases. I thought I would share with you what I noted but must do so in generic terms. Unfortunately, I cannot quote any of the articles due to copyright restrictions. I imagine, however, the situations were common. What I love most about reading Read More

Marriage & Divorce in the 19th Century

While writing The Legacy Series, I needed to extensively research the reality of marriage and divorce in the 19th century. It’s fascinating reading when you take romance out of the equation and check back into reality. Truth be told, marriage and divorce was nothing like it is today. Marriages in the Victorian era were described as being three kinds: those contracted for convenience, those produced by sympathy or love, and those entered into from duty. The aristocracy put great importance on the antiquity and nobility of families. Not only was the future bride or groom’s bloodline of importance but also their wealth. Though love in marriage might be ideal, it was not a practical reality, and people were told not to expect too much from marriage. If you found an ounce of happiness in your union, be thankful. What about unhappy marriages? Divorce was not easily obtained. Extramarital sexual relations Read More

The Victorian Wedding

While writing my award-winning novel, Dark Persuasion, I spent a fair amount of time researching Victorian courting, engagement periods, wedding preparations, marriage ceremonies, and honeymoons. The entire process felt so romantic to me that I focused quite a bit on the wedding between my heroine and hero. The Wedding Trousseau In Dark Persuasion, because my heroine is blind, her sister is actively involved in preparations for the wedding. One task is helping prepare Charlotte’s wedding trousseau. The French word trousseau refers, of course, to a bride’s bundle of personal possessions amassed prior to the wedding that include undergarments and clothing. Late in the 19th and early 20th century a collection of household wares (tablecloths, towels, linens, etc.) were also included. My story is set roughly around the 1885-1890, so Charlotte’s collection of personal items deal mainly with fine undergarments and clothing. Below is an excerpt from Vintage Connection describing a Read More