by Alison Goodman
Genres: Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Published by HarperColins Australia
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Hi everyone! So I have a very special guest on the blog today, and you probably would have heard of her and her awesome Eon duology.
*drum roll please*
With thanks to HarperCollins Australia, the lovely Alison will be sharing some interesting regency facts, which she discovered while researching for her new book Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1).
There are definitely some interesting facts below, and it really makes you feel grateful for all the privileges that women have today.
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While I was researching the Regency era for my new Lady Helen series, I was constantly amazed by the cumbersome and sometimes odd constraints placed on the behaviour of young women.
So, here is my top ten list of Everyday Things That You Can Do But A Regency Lady Was Not Allowed To Do:
- Wear underpants. Drawers were considered to be masculine and therefore immodest. It was commando all the way for genteel young ladies, except when riding a horse—knitted underpants were sometimes worn in case one fell inelegantly off one’s horse.
- Dance more than two dances with one man. More than two dances and you were practically engaged!
- Drive on the open road or drive alone. You could take your horse and gig out around your estate, or even around certain safe areas of London with a footman or groom, but you must never, ever drive on the open road, even with a servant. If you did, you would be considered “fast” and your reputation would be ruined. No respectable man would consider marrying such a hoyden!
- Laugh too hard. Laughter had to be moderated in polite company. Too much mirth was considered ill-bred. That goes for physical expression as well—no extravagant hand gestures, please!
- Walk alone. A young lady could never go out in public alone; a maidservant, footman, or chaperone must always accompany her out in the world. Part of that was for protection—the Regency was a very violent time—but mostly it was to preserve her reputation.
- Go to a bank or engage in any form of business. Dealing with money was considered far too vulgar for a young lady. A male relative would conduct any business or financial transactions on her behalf.
- Own anything other than personal belongings (and sometimes not even those). When a young lady married—the only real “career” option for a genteel woman in the Regency—she became the property (chattel) of her husband. All her wealth and possessions became his property and she had absolutely no legal standing, not even any claim on her own children.
- Voting—the very idea of women having an official voice in politics was laughable in the Regency and continued to be laughable for a hundred years beyond it as well: after all, “property” can’t vote, nor can it form a valid political opinion. It was not until 1928 that all women over the age of 21 were able to vote in England. The vote came a little bit earlier in Australia: 1902.
- Go to University, or get a decent formal education. Many men (and women) opposed the education of women beyond the basics of reading and writing—apparently it was a waste of time to educate a female mind.
- Go out to dinner in a restaurant. Eating out in restaurants was for men only. A lady could, if a gentleman accompanied her, eat in a private dining room, but never in a public room. There were two exceptions: a woman could go to confectioners to eat ice cream and cakes, and she could dine in the supper boxes at Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. There, men and women of all classes mixed together—one of the titillating attractions of the famous Gardens.
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So the underwear fact really shocked me! Who would have thought that underwear would be considered immodest?! How the times have changed…:P
Was there anything that shocked you?
Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club is available in Australia on the 14th of December 2015. Make sure you pick up a copy!
Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
Published by HarperCollins Australia on December 14th 2015
London, April 1812. Lady Helen Wrexhall is set to make her debut at the court of Queen Charlotte and officially step into polite Regency society and the marriage mart. Little does Helen know that step will take her from the opulent drawing rooms of Mayfair and the bright lights of Vauxhall Gardens into a shadowy world of missing housemaids and demonic conspiracies.
Standing between those two worlds is Lord Carlston, a man of ruined reputation and brusque manners. He believes Helen has a destiny beyond the ballroom; a sacred and secret duty. Helen is not so sure, especially when she discovers that nothing around her is quite as it seems, including the enigmatic Lord Carlston.
Against a backdrop of whispered secrets in St James’s Palace, soirees with Lord Byron and morning calls from Beau Brummell, Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club is a delightfully dangerous adventure of self-discovery and dark choices that must be made … whatever the consequences.
Author bio: Alison Goodman is the author of the Lady Helen series, a rip-roaring trilogy of Regency adventures. Alison is best known for her New York Times bestselling fantasy duololgy EON and EONA, and her ability to dance a mean English contra-dance. She also writes award winning science fiction and crime fiction, and lives with her lovely husband and their machiavellian Jack Russell Terrier in Melbourne, Australia.
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