Welcome back to my blog. Today I have Sarah Cass talking about the misconception of repression during the Victorian era.
I’d like you to meet Jane Doe.
She’s the heroine of my historical western romance series – The Dominion Falls Series (Changing Tracks-book 1, Derailed-book 2, Dark Territory- book 3).
At first glance, she’s a right-proper woman. “Properly” repressed. Dresses like a schoolmarm with her high collars, layers of petticoats, corsets and such.
But Jane is sort of the epitome of the great lie of the Victorian era.
She is proud of her sexuality (and a bit of an exhibitionist). It causes great scandal and rumors in the town, but she has no qualms about her very hot relationship with the owner of the local saloon/brothel.
At the same time, she goes to church on Sunday, performs charitable acts across the board, and is well liked by most of the town. She doesn’t let herself be ostracized by it, because she accepts what she is.
There’s a great rumor that people have tried to call me out on, that the Victorian era is ripe with sexual repression. That my ‘proper’ woman wouldn’t be so open about what she’s doing. That the brothel would be frowned on far more than it is, especially by Jane – who is, by all accounts, a strong and intelligent woman. Why would she take up with a man that ‘owns’ women?
First off, the Victorians might have liked and appreciated that we think they were so repressed. Holy cow, they weren’t. It’s all about keeping up appearances, but porn was rampant back then. With the invention of the camera especially.
Did you know that back then men were expected to “ease” themselves? It was rather expected of them because men’s needs were supposedly greater than women (pffft, whatever, right?). Brothels were a staple, especially in mining towns like Dominion Falls.
Does Jane like that there are whores? Well, no…but she also is smart enough to know that they are a fact of life in the town. She might rather her man didn’t ‘own’ the contracts of so many women, and she might, over time, work him over – but she can barely admit they have a relationship, why on earth would she demand he change his business?
Also – some of the literature. Jane is a huge fan of Whitman, Leaves of Grass is always on her bedside table. If you have a chance, read “I sing the body electric” and tell me Victorian era people were repressed.
Do you like your Western women, or Victorian era women proper? Or do you like them a little naughty like Jane?
Derailed (Dominion Falls Book 2)
The sins of a past she can’t remember could destroy a present she’ll never forget.
The crimes of her forgotten past threaten the very life Jane Doe has learned to cherish.
Jane is out of time. With a warrant on her head, a maniac out for her blood, and a secret baby on the way, something has to give.
Without Cole Mitchell’s help to find the answers, there may be no hope left.
Cole has nowhere left to hide. He unwittingly let Jane into his heart, and is ready to share the secret of his dark past.
Fate has a way of playing its hand, and tragedy strikes. With the world crumbling around them, it’s easy to lose faith. If they can’t forgive past sins, they have no hope for the future.
Because the noose waits for no man or woman.
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Sarah Cass’s world is regularly turned upside down by her three special-needs kids and loving mate, so she breaks genre barriers, dabbling in horror, straight fiction, and urban fantasy. An ADD tendency leaves her with a variety of interests that include singing, dancing, crafting, cooking, and being a photographer. She fights through the struggles of the day, knowing the battles are her crucible and though she may emerge scarred, she’s also stronger. While busy creating worlds and characters as real to her as her own family, she leads an active online life with her blog, Redefining Perfect, which gives a real and sometimes raw glimpses into her life and art.
Where to find me:
Redefining Perfect – http://redefiningperfect.com
Sarah’s StoryLines – http://authorsarahcass.com
Twitter – http://twitter.com/sadiecass
Facebook – http://facebook.com/SarahCass.Author
She slowed in the middle of the street and turned to face him. Every pain surged to the front again, beating on her good intentions. She snapped, “Yes?”
“Thought you might be tryin’ to get my attention.”
“It seems I have.”
Every inch of her was shivering, but she held out her shaky hand toward him. When his hand closed over hers, her whole body stilled. Closing her eyes, she sighed and reveled in the contact. “I was wrong. About so many things.”
He yanked her close, chucking a finger under her chin to make her open her eyes again. A leer curled up his lips. “I ain’t gonna—”
The last thing she was going to do was let him bark at her, deserved or not. She grabbed his shirt and closed the distance. Her lips caressed his until he started to respond, and then she shoved him away. Already aching from the loss of contact, she stepped back.
“What the hell?”
A smirk tugged at her lips, and she took a few more steps backward. Frustration, confusion, maybe even a hint of relief. That’s what she’d hoped to see, and he hadn’t disappointed. The rest would have to wait for quiet. Would he follow?
The sound of a step after her confirmed that he would, so she turned. Her hands were still shaking, but she managed to unlock the door and step inside. Fighting the nervous flutter of her stomach, she grabbed some books to shelve.
She had so much to say, and she had no idea how he’d react. He might just walk away again. If that was the case, she’d have to accept it. She couldn’t keep putting herself through this. It was just as likely he didn’t feel the same.
One footstep. Two. The door clicked shut. Silence.
The book she held trembled as she shoved it into place. She couldn’t let him speak first. She had to get this out. “I thought it had to be without attachment. I thought I was honest with myself. With you. But it was all such a lie.”
“What was a lie?”
“All of it. I fooled myself into thinking that I could do things how I thought you wanted. But I couldn’t. I was happy. With you. It wasn’t just having you in my bed…it was all of it.”
Her eyes closed, and she pressed her forehead into the shelf in front of her. “I was happy when I realized I was carrying your child. Maybe it was stupid to feel that way, but I was. But I couldn’t show you. I couldn’t show you that you—you were the only one that made me feel.” A hollow laugh escaped. “The one man that made me feel everything and I could show you nothing.”
A tear slipped down her cheek at the lack of response, and she pulled back from the shelf. Taking a deep breath and exhaling slowly, she finally let herself turn toward him, trying to prepare herself for anything. “Are you going to say anything?”
Right up until that very moment she’d had hope. Hope that Cole would feel the same. That she wouldn’t have to live with the gaping wound.
Crazy bitch. The words rolled through her head over and over. That was it. It was all gone. Her knees trembled, threatening to give out. She turned and gripped the bookshelf, struggling to find her voice.
She croaked like a frog, her throat was so thick with emotion. “Oh. I see. That answers my question.” She pushed off the shelf, but didn’t make it a step.
His hand clamped on her shoulder, and he turned her toward him. He tugged her close and assaulted her lips.
She gripped his coat and pulled him close. A soft whimper of relief escaped her mouth as it opened under his unrelenting demands.
Fear, desire, longing, missing, searching.
Oh, how she’d missed his touch. Every muscle turned to jelly, quivering under his strong hands. He cupped her buttocks and started to lift, and she gasped.
Keira here again!
Thanks for being here, Sarah. I don’t think they were as repressed as people thought they were either.
Sweet, sexy dreams.