I don’t know why they never do. It just never comes up. My characters have other things to keep them busy. And I guess I have never read anything about that “must do” social site and ritual that appealed to me. When I imagine those assemblies I see desperate mothers and hopeful daughters and bored gentlemen. I also see those patronesses who gave out the attendance vouchers wielding their power far too forcefully for my taste. I just don’t care for the notion of a small group of women forcing people to toe their line.
At least I don’t have any characters making fun of Almack’s in my books now, the way I did in my first Regency, The Seducer. But I still prefer my heroines to refuse to be hen-pecked by patronesses and social rules and all the “must dos” of the day.
I much prefer heroines like Clara in The Most Dangerous Duke in London. I think that no matter what her situation she would have never been cowed by society, but since she is independently wealthy she has a lot of options in her life. She knows that if she marries she will lose that independence, and control of her fortune. That is not why she refuses to marry, however. Rather she observes most clearly how marriage could have a way of infantilizing a woman. She explains this to the hero at one point, and he is hard pressed to disagree with her. Needless to say, he does not hold out much hope of ever marrying her.
Clara surrounds herself with other interesting women, none of whom care much about Almack’s either, although one of these women probably attends. One of Clara’s goals is to establish a place where women can hang out together, a club for socializing , conversation, and study, or just for relaxing away from their families. Men have such clubs, she reasons, so why can’t women? As the story progresses, in the background she quietly puts the pieces into place for this club, and for the expansion of the women’s journal that she publishes.
Is Clara unusual? I don’t think she is as much as the general histories of the period would have us believe. If a woman could choose to refuse to play society’s game, she could have a lot more freedom than we think.
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Madeline Hunter’s most recent book, The Most Dangerous Duke in London, was published on May 30, 2017. Readers are invited to enter her publisher’s contest for 6 crystal cordial glasses and a horseshoe pendant at http://ow.ly/wqEo30bJu4v
Three sinfully handsome dukes, three scores to settle, three hearts about to meet their matches. All in one thrilling new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Madeline Hunter . . .
NOTORIOUS NOBLEMAN SEEKS REVENGE
Name and title: Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton. Affiliation: London’s elite Society of Decadent Dukes. Family history: Scandalous. Personality traits: Dark and brooding, with a thirst for revenge. Ideal romantic partner: A woman of means, with beauty and brains, willing to live with reckless abandon. Desire: Clara Cheswick, gorgeous daughter of his family’s sworn enemy.
FAINT OF HEART NEED NOT APPLY
Clara may be the woman Adam wants, but there’s one problem: she’s far more interested in publishing her women’s journal than getting married—especially to a man said to be dead-set on vengeance. Though, with her nose for a story, Clara wonders if his desire for justice is sincere—along with his incredibly unnerving intention to be her husband. If her weak-kneed response to his kiss is any indication, falling for Adam clearly comes with a cost. But who knew courting danger could be such exhilarating fun?