Bronwen here, waving from New Zealand. I love writing strong heroines and there were strong women pushing the boundaries during the Regency just as there are today. Book three in my USA Today Bestselling Regency Disgraced Lords series, A Touch of Passion, (24 March 2015 $2.99) has a heroine well ahead of her time.
Lady Portia Flagstaff set up a successful cider business and is able to help fund a nearby orphanage.
Cider has been a staple of the British hearth for nearly a thousand years, if not more. In 55 BC, the Romans upon their first travels to what they called Britannia found the native population already living there making a type of cider in what is present day Kent from the apples they already had. In the present day, the United Kingdom drinks the most cider in the world. It is very common to find on tap in pubs and at the local liquor shop as well as available from smaller labels.
With such a successful business behind her, Portia doesn’t wish to marry unless it’s for love, and unlike most women of her class, she doesn’t need to. Therein lies the reason why women still struggle for equality, even today. Financial security.
In the Regency period woman were purposely kept financially dependent. Those in the upper classes could not work even though they were usually better educated. They were expected to remain financially dependent on fathers, brothers, husbands etc.
People laugh at the saying that prostitution is the oldest profession, but usually that’s all that poorly educated women could do. This is why women were not encouraged or allowed (unfortunately, in some regions of the world this is still true) to be educated.
Look at these appalling stats:
- Over half a million women continue to die each year from pregnancy and childbirth-related causes. Usually in poverty ridden areas.
- Rates of HIV infection among women are rapidly increasing. Among those 15-24 years of age, young women now constitute the majority of those newly infected, in part because of their economic and social vulnerability.
- Gender-based violence kills and disables as many women between the ages of 15 and 44 as cancer. More often than not, perpetrators go unpunished.
- Worldwide, women are twice as likely as men to be illiterate. As a consequence of their working conditions and characteristics, a disproportionate number of women are impoverished in both developing and developed countries.
- Despite some progress in women’s wages in the 1990s, women still earn less than men, even for similar kinds of work.
- Many of the countries that have ratified CEDAW still have discriminatory laws governing marriage, land, property and inheritance.
Often I’m critized for writing such ‘modern’ type heroines, but I want to show that strong women can make a difference. After all, that is what women have been doing all through the centuries. Each era has had their trailblazers or women would not be where we are today.
Yes, we still have a long way to go, in some areas of the world more than others, but I’d like to think it is women like Portia who make the world think about things like inequalities.
USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans, a vivacious thrill seeker clashes with her dutiful defender—causing irresistible sparks to fly.
Independent and high-spirited, Lady Portia Flagstaff has never been afraid to take a risk, especially if it involves excitement and danger. But this time, being kidnapped and sold into an Arab harem is the outcome of one risk too many. Now, in order to regain her freedom, she has to rely on the deliciously packaged Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, a man who despises her reckless ways—and stirs in her a thirst for passion.
After losing his mother and two siblings in a carriage accident years ago, Grayson Devlin promised Portia’s dying brother that he’d always watch over his wayward sister. But having to travel to Egypt to rescue the foolhardy girl has made his blood boil. Grayson already has his hands full trying to clear his best friend and fellow Libertine Scholar of a crime he didn’t commit. Worse still, his dashing rescue has unleashed an unforeseen and undesired consequence: marriage. Now it’s more than Portia he has to protect . . . it’s his battered heart.
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