My favorite things are anything vintage.
Stuffed away in my closet I have a blue parasol trimmed with white lace, a pair of old lace-up, pointy boots.
And a hoop skirt.
As flighty and unpredictable as any belle from the Civil War.
But the reality of the role of women during the War Between the States is more than flirty belles twirling a pretty parasol. Women worked as nurses, volunteered as soldiers, risked their lives as spies. They were The Women of the Civil War: North and South.
This is the 150th Anniversary of the end of the Civil War. I’ve always loved this era since I first saw Scarlett sitting on the front porch at Tara with the Tarleton Twins and pooh-poohing the idea of war coming. So I’ve just finished my own Civil War novel–a time travel…more about that coming up. I’ll update as things progress.
One thing the women of the North and South had in common was their love for the men fighting. They became nurses, took wounded into their homes, sewed blankets and uniforms, baked breads and jellies, and fought beside them. They did everything they could to help their cause.
Can you imagine living in a time when wearing a corset day and night was required? Women found themselves not only hampered by stays, but petticoats and those hoop skirts. I got my hoop skirt from the costume department in a theater where I worked years ago…they were throwing it away!! No, I couldn’t have that. I was thrilled to take it off their hands. Since then, I’ve worn it under a Civil War era gown to commemorative events, book signings, and costume parties.
When I was writing my CW time travel, I put it on again. Just to get the feel of what it was like.
Floating…is how I would describe it.
It’s so important to walk the walk, talk the talk of the time. I’m fascinated with the women who fought as soldiers. Imagine trying to keep your identity secret among a bunch of rowdy troops. Not easy. According to reports, many women signed up to get a regular paycheck. How about being a nurse? You had to be over thirty and plain.
And what about being a spy? Sounds glamorous…but dangerous. Imagine hiding a letter written in cipher in your pantaloons.
Thanks for stopping by…and as I mentioned, more about my Civil War time travel when I have news!
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LOVE ME FOREVER on Kindle Scout — you can read the first 5,000 words HERE. You’ll meet both my heroines and both my heroes in the excerpt. If you nominate my story and it’s published by Kindle Scout, then you’ll receive a free copy! It’s a saga of love and romance and war of more than 500 pages. Believe me, I walked every road, fought every battle with my characters, even walked around in a hoop skirt to “get it right.” This is a book of the heart…any questions? Please ask!!
Meet EVELYN Q. DARLING, Romance Reporter at Large, in her first blog today:
In the past, creating a job for a romantic heroine usually meant she was either a governess, a nurse, or in the early twentieth century, a â€œtypewriter,â€ better known as a secretary.
Take a letter, Miss Jonesâ€¦
To all writers of romance novels.
Dear Miss, Ms. or Madam:
It has come to this reporterâ€™s attention that several of you have veered away from writing about governesses in dark, gloomy manor houses and pert, red-cheeked nurses and turned to writing about heroines who carry guns, sport black leather and can take a man down in fifty seconds flat.
What happened to the days when all a heroine had to do to get her man was flutter her black lace fan and bat her soot-caked eyelashes? (Ample cleavage didnâ€™t hurt either.)
It was so much easier when all a writer had to worry about was how many flounces graced her heroineâ€™s gown or the number of hooks on a corset. (A heroineâ€™s age at marriage also determined the size of her waist: if she wed at 18, she aspired that her waist remained at 18 inches.)
And if all else failed, there was always the â€œsmartâ€ heroine who wrote novels, solved mysteries or planted her delicate boots on foreign soil and showed her moxie by becoming a globe-trotting adventuress.
Sigh. Ah, for the good ole days before our heroines decided they wanted equal rights between the sheets. And on the job.
Now to create the modern heroine, a romance writer has to know the difference between a Glock and a Sig Sauer (the latter sounds like a deli sandwich).
Be able to â€œstreet speakâ€ in urban fantasies, suck blood without smudging her lipstick in vampire thrillers and shape-shift into an exotic creature with all her parts intact.
So Iâ€™m asking all you romance writers to drop me a line and tell me what â€œdangerous professionsâ€ for a heroine youâ€™ve seen in recent novels or in a novel youâ€™re writing.
Whatâ€™s new for a heroine in the 21st century in the world of â€œ9 to 5â€ that you havenâ€™t seen or written about before?
Iâ€™ll be eagerly awaiting your answers.
Maybe we can start a new trend: Dangerous heroines in tight corsets and red high heels who live in an abandoned subway tunnel and belong to a secret society of lusty Victorian vampires who feed on handsome firefighters.
Then again, maybe not.
Evelyn Q. Darling
Romance Reporter At Large
The Blonde Samurai: â€œShe embraced the way of the warrior. Two swords. Two loves.â€
visit my website: http://www.jinabacarr.com/
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