It’s my pleasure to host author Merry Farmer on the blog today. Merry writes historical romances set during one of my favorite time periods, the 1890s. Welcome, Merry.
If I had a dime for every time I sighed and thought that I was born about 125 years too late, I would be wealthy right now. There’s just something about the 1880s and 1890s that sings to my soul. It was an exciting time to be alive, full of innovation, invention, and progress. People of the twenty-first century don’t realize how advanced and comfortable life really was at the end of the nineteenth century. That’s one of the reasons I was inspired to write the Montana Romance series.
There are a lot of misconceptions about how exactly people lived in the 1890s. Those who haven’t studied history tend to think it was a backwards time of ignorance, repression, and inconvenience. The truth couldn’t be further from that notion.
By the 1890s advances in transportation had opened up not only the American West, but the whole world. People could travel from coast to coast in a matter of days, and across the ocean in just over a week. Fool for Love begins in London, and three weeks later the characters are in Cold Springs, Montana. Yes! You could do that. Furthermore, by 1896, when this novel is set, not only were ships constructed that could travel that fast, many of them were equipped with refrigeration. We think of imported food as a modern concept, but by the 1890s it was already a reality.
You know what else existed by the 1890s? Electricity. Yep. The proverbial light bulb was able to go off over someone’s head when they had a good idea because Edison had invented the first successful incandescent light bulb in 1879. By 1896 they were a household item. Well, if the town in which you lived had the infrastructure to support all of the new technology.
Granted, just because the technology for a wealth of new inventions – ready-made clothing, automobiles, typewriters, elevators, etc. – existed, that didn’t mean it could be found everywhere. One of the things that appeals to me so much about the 1890s is that while so much of the world was moving faster and achieving more, life still had a slower pace. People read books. They visited while playing cards or sewing. Meals were prepared with care and savored at the table instead of in front of the television.
Not everything was perfect and rosy. A woman’s work was still never done and most modern appliances with which to do it automatically were still a few decades away. Cooking, cleaning, and laundry all still had to be done by hand with rudimentary machines. But by this era women’s rights had already come a long way. Women could hold professions, like teaching, working in business, or even as doctors, and more opportunities were opening every year. By the beginning of the twentieth century some states in the US had already given women the vote.
Yes, I have a special place in my heart for this era of our history. I hope it shines through in the lives that my characters live. Michael and Charlie, the hero and heroine of the first Montana Romance book, Our Little Secrets, are quite advanced for their time – Charlie has graduated from college and Michael imports goods for his general store from all across the country – but they are still a part of their time. Eric’s trip to London in Fool for Love would have been unthinkable a few decades earlier, but by the 1890s he could have made that trip several times in his lifetime.
I may run the risk of my readers scratching their heads and wondering if the things I write about in Our Little Secrets and Fool for Love could really happen, but with a little research they’ll be able to see that yes, they could. I love the 1890s and enjoy giving people a glimpse into a world that is not as unfamiliar as they might first imagine.
To learn more about Merry and her books, check out these links:
Social Networking links:
The Loyal Heart
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005R4K75W
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005R4K75W
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/92993
The Faithful Heart
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006PUDD44
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B006PUDD44
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/117240
The Courageous Heart
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009Z1AATQ
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B009Z1AATQ
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/250038
Our Little Secrets
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0087KI4T4
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0087KI4T4
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/167282