Today author Jeanette Watts and her book Brains and Beauty are featured. Jeanette will be awarding a Victorian cameo necklace to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Be sure to follow the tour sites for more chances to win. Goddess Fish Promotions.
In Brains and Beauty her character plays a role in life, one that she’s decided suits her survival goals. Jeanette compares and contrasts women’s roles in Victorian times to today. Take it away, Jeanette!
It is fairly staggering to look at the differences between a woman’s role in Victorian times vs. today. While we still debate issues of pay equity between genders, and discuss the War on Women, we are still leagues ahead of a woman in the 1800s. Here are a few examples.
1) Voting. Any woman who doesn’t go to the polls is dishonoring the generations of women who fought, and suffered, and were even jailed and tortured to be able to cast a ballot. Just think – a woman was expected to obey the laws of the land, but she had no power to shape those laws, or select the people who made them. And the laws almost always denied that she had any of what we would call human rights.
2) Reproduction. Birth control did exist. But you had to know about it. During the late 1800s, the Comstock Laws were suppressing information on how to space children apart. Even a medical school textbook with a chapter on reproductive organs was considered obscene. Women were just supposed to breed and breed until they died. Which they did – frequently, while wishing they could have ten children instead of fifteen. And their doctors couldn’t even help them if they couldn’t get access to information, either!
3) Property rights. You didn’t have any. Everything you owned belonged to your father until he gave you away to your husband. Then everything you owned belonged to your husband. Only when your husband died did you have the right to your property – as long as it wasn’t passed down to your son. If you were widowed and remarried, your first husband’s property became your second husband’s property.
4) Clothes. This is where Victorian women have us modern women dead to rights. We starve ourselves and join gyms and go jogging and obsess about the size of our butts. They ate everything cooked in butter, hid their backsides under hoopskirts and bustles, and looked FABULOUS. But if you prefer getting dressed in less than five minutes, well, you’d be out of luck back then.
Book Blurb: Regina Waring seems to have it all. A loving husband, a successful business, and the most expensive wardrobe in town. But nothing is what it appears to be. Her husband is critical and demanding, the business teeters on ruin, even the opulent wardrobe is a clever illusion.
Regina’s life is one long tiptoe through a minefield; one wrong step and her entire life is going to blow up and destroy her. Attempting to hold it all together, she appeases the husband, dresses the part, and never, never says what she is really thinking. That would get in the way of getting things done. And, if there’s one thing Regina did really well, it was getting things done.
Enter Thomas Baldwin. Young and handsome and completely off limits, Regina is smitten at first sight. Then, to her great astonishment, he slowly becomes her best friend. He’s the one person in her life who never lets her down. Torn between her fascination with him and her desire not to ruin a marvelous friendship, she tries to enjoy each moment with him as it comes.
If only that were enough.
Excerpt: There was grunting, and the sound of wood groaning, and then a wet thump as they lifted and threw something. Regina could tell that there was a little more room behind her shoulder blades. There was more grunting and dragging and thumping. Then she heard them both groan.
“What’s going on back there? Have I been cut off at the waist?” she asked. Not being able to see what was wrong, or the progress they were having, was making her anxious.
“The next layer is completely wedged in. We can’t do this without tools,” Isaac told her.
Both men hurried away from her, making her worry for their safety. She had also found their company reassuring. What if neither one of them was able to find her again?
That’s when she saw the flickering orange glow in the distance. “No.”
Yes. It didn’t seem possible – but in the midst of water floating below, and pouring from above, something had caught on fire.
Regina started listing in her head all the accelerants that might be contained in a single drygoods store: tar, pitch, turpentine, kerosene. How many homes used all of them? How many gas lines were ruptured all over the city? How many wood stoves were knocked into them? There was no way this heap would NOT be set on fire.
And here she was, stuck, in the middle of it. No doubt about it, she was about to die in the same town in which she was born. It was a shame, really. She had such high aspirations.
Author Bio and Links:
Jeanette Watts only lived in Pittsburgh for four years, but in her heart, she will always be a Pittsburgher. She missed the city so much after her move to Ohio, she had to write a love story about it.
She has written television commercials, marketing newspapers, stage melodramas, four screenplays, three novels, and a textbook on waltzing. When she isn’t writing, she teaches social ballroom dances, refinishes various parts of her house, and sews historical costumes and dance costumes for her Cancan troupe.
Buy Link: Amazon