Book Blogs, Breach of Promise of Marriage, Historical Romance, Vicki Hopkins

"Breach of Promise of Marriage" Guest Post by Vicki Hopkins

One of my hobbies is researching my British ancestry on my mother’s side of the family. Part of that process includes reading British newspapers in search of articles on my ancestors. My second grand uncle was a Justice of the Peace, Alderman, and successful businessman, so I’m always looking for articles regarding his life and have found quite a few (over thirty thus far).

While doing so, I stumbled across another fascinating area in the lives of men and women from 1800-1850 in regards to lawsuits for the “breach of promise of marriage.” My search has uncovered over 6,000 links to articles in newspapers across England regarding such cases.

I thought I would share with you what I noted but must do so in generic terms. Unfortunately, I cannot quote any of the articles due to copyright restrictions.  I imagine, however, the situations were common.  What I love most about reading these articles is the language used that is so “Jane Austen” in prose. In addition, the evidence of love letters are printed in the newspapers sometimes just referencing the content but other times printing the entire letter. Juicy indeed!

As far as jury settlements, the poor received much less, while the wealthy were assessed large sums of money.  The jury deliberations were usually under an hour. The highest I have discovered out of a sampling of ten articles is £4,000 and the smallest £60.  Surprisingly, not only women filed cases, but also men sued women for breach of marriage. Marriage was big business, and both parties had much to lose if one broke the engagement. Losses did not involve mere matters of the heart but the promise of fortunes gained and lost.

Here are few generalizations of what I have read:

 

  • The ages of the parties varied. Girls as young as eighteen accepted proposals from men over the age of fifty.
  • First cousins married, sometimes knowing each other from infancy and later forming attachments. This scenario reminded me of Mr. Knightly and Emma since he was sixteen years of age when she was born.
  • Men courted for the purpose of seduction. Tsk. Tsk. And yes, once they got what they wanted, they abandoned the young lady breaking their promise of marriage. The court, apparently, did not look kindly upon such instances. Unfortunately, the inevitable pregnancy happened, too, and the lady was left without support.
  • Men or women could be of humble means or possess considerable property being independently wealthy. It appeared the men pursued women for money (think Willoughby), and when the engagement fell through, they sued for damages.
  • Those in service together with the same employer (think Downton Abbey) fell in love but broke engagements.
  • The few reasons I noted for the “breach of promise of marriage” were as follows:  a) the family objected to the match (seemed to be common); b) inability to provide for both immediate family (parents) and wives at the same time; c) immoral gain of seduction without love; and d) change of heart with no other particular reason given.  Solicitors painted pictures of ruined ladies who were downcast, depressed, and in ill-health both physically and mentally due to abandonment.
These articles are a goldmine of fascinating reading. The language used is priceless, and the situations typical of those in want of a wife or husband in the early 19th century. It’s a soap opera of epic proportions that I will probably enjoy reading for months to come. No doubt, they will inspire a few stories.


Vicki

Articles, Book Blogs, Breach of Promise of Marriage, Historical Romance, Vicki Hopkins

“Breach of Promise of Marriage” Guest Post by Vicki Hopkins

One of my hobbies is researching my British ancestry on my mother’s side of the family. Part of that process includes reading British newspapers in search of articles on my ancestors. My second great uncle was a Justice of the Peace, Alderman, and successful businessman, so I’m always looking for articles regarding his life and have found quite a few (over thirty thus far).

While doing so, I stumbled across another fascinating area in the lives of men and women from 1800-1850 in regards to lawsuits for the “breach of promise of marriage.” My search has uncovered over 6,000 links to articles in newspapers across England regarding such cases.

I thought I would share with you what I noted but must do so in generic terms. Unfortunately, I cannot quote any of the articles due to copyright restrictions.  I imagine, however, the situations were common.  What I love most about reading these articles is the language used that is so “Jane Austen” in prose. In addition, the evidence of love letters are printed in the newspapers sometimes just referencing the content but other times printing the entire letter. Juicy indeed!

As far as jury settlements, the poor received much less, while the wealthy were assessed large sums of money.  The jury deliberations were usually under an hour. The highest I have discovered out of a sampling of ten articles is £4,000 and the smallest £60.  Surprisingly, not only women filed cases, but also men sued women for breach of marriage. Marriage was big business, and both parties had much to lose if one broke the engagement. Losses did not involve mere matters of the heart but the promise of fortunes gained and lost.

Here are few generalizations of what I have read:

  • The ages of the parties varied. Girls as young as eighteen accepted proposals from men over the age of fifty.
  • First cousins married, sometimes knowing each other from infancy and later forming attachments. This scenario reminded me of Mr. Knightly and Emma since he was sixteen years of age when she was born.
  • Men courted for the purpose of seduction. Tsk. Tsk. And yes, once they got what they wanted, they abandoned the young lady breaking their promise of marriage. The court, apparently, did not look kindly upon such instances. Unfortunately, the inevitable pregnancy happened, too, and the lady was left without support.
  • Men or women could be of humble means or possess considerable property being independently wealthy. It appeared the men pursued women for money (think Willoughby), and when the engagement fell through, they sued for damages.
  • Those in service together with the same employer (think Downton Abbey) fell in love but broke engagements.
  • The few reasons I noted for the “breach of promise of marriage” were as follows:  a) the family objected to the match (seemed to be common); b) inability to provide for both immediate family (parents) and wives at the same time; c) immoral gain of seduction without love; and d) change of heart with no other particular reason given. Solicitors painted pictures of ruined ladies who were downcast, depressed, and in ill-health both physically and mentally due to abandonment.
These articles are a goldmine of fascinating reading. The language used is priceless, and the situations typical of those in want of a wife or husband in the early 19th century. It’s a soap opera of epic proportions that I will probably enjoy reading for months to come. No doubt, they will inspire a few stories.

Vicki

Audible.com, Dark Persuasion, The Price of Deception, The Price of Innocence, Vicki Hopkins

On Hiatus

We are on a slight hiatus while I get all my books on audio. They are in production, but since I’m a one-lady-author show for this promo site, I will have to step away occasionally to take care of personal and business matters.  Look for promo for other historical romance authors to return in mid-March.
For more information about my own books, these are coming to audio in February and March of 2014 and will be available on Amazon, Audible.com, and iTunes. A group of talented voice artists who have been on stage, television, and/or narrated documentaries or commercials have agreed to bring my stories to life.

Authors, if you haven’t looked into putting your books on audio, I encourage you to visit Audible.com (an Amazon company).  The entire process turned out to be easier than I thought.

Thank you for your understanding,

Vicki

Historical Romance, 
Victorian Era
(Lorna Bennett, Narrator)

Historical Romance
 Gothic & Suspense
(Keith O’Brien, Narrator)


Historical Fiction/Family Saga
with Romantic Elements 
(Stevie Zimmerman,
Narrator)

Historical Fiction/Family Saga
with Romantic Elements
(Steve Marvel, Narrator)

Box Set Historical Romance, Family Saga, Historical Fiction, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, The Price of Deception, The Price of Innocence, The Price of Love, Vicki Hopkins

Book Promo: "The Legacy Series" by Vicki Hopkins

Synopsis:

Book One – The Price of Innocence (Historical Fiction w/Romantic Elements)

Follow the story of one young woman who suddenly finds herself destitute on the streets of Paris in 1878. Faced with the need to survive, she agrees to become a prostitute in one of the most infamous brothels in Paris. Ashamed of her choice and fearful for her future, she meets a handsome lord who has paid a hefty price to take her virginity. Little does she know that the man chosen to deflower her innocence will change her life forever.

Book Two – The Price of Deception (Historical Fiction w/Romantic Elements/Family Saga)

Five years after releasing the love of his life to another man, the Duke of Surrey struggles with deep remorse about his past decisions. Chained in a loveless marriage of convenience and strangled by duty, he wallows in regret and drink. Everything in his life changes, when on holiday in Paris, he meets a young boy and his former rival. Suddenly, he finds himself thrown into a whirlwind of deceit and lies as he searches for the meaning of truth and love. Just like innocence, deception carries a price. Book Two of the Legacy Series weaves a tangled web of deceit and dire consequences, which in the end rearranges everyone’s life on a path of either good or evil.

Book Three – The Price of Love  (Historical Fiction/Family Saga)

At the age of eighteen, Angelique Jolene von Lamberg felt secure in life. After all, her stepfather was an Austrian count, and she inherited his wealth and the title of komtesse. But when a letter arrives claiming she was kidnapped as a baby, suddenly everything changes. Unable to dismiss the accusations, she embarks on a journey to London and Paris to seek out the truth. When she discovers that her life has been played like a pawn in a chess game of deceit, adultery, and vengeance, she decides to take matters into her own hands. Will she continue to be the victim of the price of love, or will she become the only person able to heal a broken family from the pain of the past?

 The Price of Deception

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) 
 “Gentlemen, you may choose your weapons. Monsieur Moreau, because this duel is your challenge, you will have first choice.”
Philippe studied both pistols and grabbed the gun on the right. Robert reached over and retrieved the gun on the left. Pelletier snapped shut the lid of the case and shoved it under his arm.
Robert’s heart pounded in his ears as he waited for the instructions to stand back-to-back with Philippe Moreau and then pace off, turn, and shoot. For a quick moment, he thought himself quite insane for agreeing to accept the challenge. He had put his life on the line to win his cherished Suzette and the son he loved. The stakes were high. In the next few minutes, he could very well be dead.
He held the pistol in his right hand and looked at the maker’s engraved name on the stock, feeling the weight, and gauging its handling. Made by a French gunnery, it felt somewhat different than the English pistols he had been accustomed to holding. He prayed the use of a foreign weapon would not hamper the accuracy of his aim, even though he was a first-rate shot.
Pelletier announced the conditions to them both in a gruff, loud voice.
“Monsieur Moreau has requested that the duel be to first blood, in which case the matter will be settled upon one man being wounded. However, if one man is severely wounded, and that wound leads to death, Monsieur Moreau will receive full and complete satisfaction of the disrespect done to his name.”
Robert knew then his nemesis intended to shoot to kill. His gut turned into a hard knot, as the moments slipped precariously toward battle.
“Gentlemen, please proceed to the clearing, stand back to back, with pistols in hand. I shall count to twenty paces, upon which you will stop upon the number twenty, turn, and fire your weapons. Do you understand my instructions?”
Robert nodded affirmatively. Philippe called out a confident “yes” in response.
“Very well then.”
Quickly, Robert glanced over at Giles who stood on the sidelines watching. The man looked pale as the moon, and Robert lifted his lips in a forced smile. He gave him a quick wink for an ounce of reassurance that all would be well.
“One, two, three…”
Robert moved his booted right foot in front of him and stepped in cadence with the numbers that were spoken. Twenty paces—it seemed like such a long distance, which would indeed make it a more difficult aim. He wondered why Philippe hadn’t chosen a lesser number to do him in at point blank range and be done with it. “Seven, eight, nine…”
Robert faced his countdown to eternity. He focused upon Suzette and his beautiful son, who looked so much like him.
“Twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen…”
In a few more seconds, it would be over. One way or the other.
“Eighteen, nineteen, twenty…”
Robert turned on his heel, lifted the gun to aim, and heard Philippe’s pistol discharge. He pulled the trigger almost instantaneously in return, and waited for the bullet from Philippe’s pistol to lodge in his heart.

Buy Links for Box Set $4.99:    Amazon | Barnes & Noble (Coming soon to other venues)

If Purchased Separately: (Available Worldwide)

The Price of Innocence – 99 cents
The Price of Deception – $1.99
The Price of Love – $2.99

Author Links:  Website | Facebook |Twitter

Historical Romance Books, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Long Ago Love, Vicki Hopkins

On A Personal Note . . .

As an author myself, there are times in my own career I become consumed with my work.  Currently,  I’m at the end of my first draft for The Price of Love, which is third in a series that I have written (The Legacy Series).

If you are an author, you know how very time consuming this process can be for a writer.  I’ll be revising and editing in the months ahead, which will need my full attention.  Due to that heavy schedule, I may not be promoting very much in August or September on Long Ago Love until after my own book is released and I can relax.
In the future, I am dedicated to supporting the works of others. However, I need to prioritize my own work in the process.

Nevertheless, you will still see occasional posts and reviews in the months ahead, but the blog will not be as active.

Thank you for your understanding!
Sincerely,
Vicki
“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.” ― George Orwell
Dark Persuasion, Historical Romance Books, Historical Tidbits, Long Ago Love Blog, Vicki Hopkins, Victorian Fashion, Victorian Trousseau, Victorian Wedding, Wedding Carriages

Historical Tidbit: "The Victorian Wedding" by Vicki Hopkins

While writing my award-winning novel, Dark Persuasion, I spent a fair amount of time researching Victorian courting, wedding preparations, weddings, and honeymoons.  The entire process felt so romantic to me that I focused quite a bit about the wedding between my heroine and hero.

Below are a few excerpts from previous blogs that I’ve written regarding that research.  I hope you enjoy!

The Wedding Trousseau

In Dark Persuasion, because my heroine is blind, her sister is actively involved in preparations for the wedding. One task is helping prepare Charlotte’s wedding trousseau.

The French word trousseau refers, of course, to a bride’s bundle of personal possessions amassed prior to the wedding that include undergarments and clothing. Late in the 19th and early 20th century a collection of household wares (tablecloths, towels, linens, etc.) were also included.

My story is set roughly around the 1885-1890, so Charlotte’s collection of personal items deal mainly with fine undergarments and clothing. Below is an excerpt from Vintage Connection describing a typical trousseau around 1884. It would include the following:

“… a dozen chemises trimmed with embroidery or insertions, a dozen nightdresses, six well-trimmed combinations, a dozen drawers, nine trimmed petticoats, one French petticoat, nine camisoles, six vests, five flannel petticoats, two dressing gowns, three bed jackets, a dozen pairs of fine-quality Lisle stockings, three pairs of silk stockings, two dozen handkerchiefs, a pair of French corsets, a bustle, a satin nightdress and a lace-trimmed sachet.”

The Wedding

Everything in the Victorian era seemed to be dictated by proper etiquette. Weddings were no different. There were rules about fashion, the time to wed, and the reception. It was quite an interesting read doing research about the subject. I tried to incorporate as much as I could within my text in hopes of ducking any criticism about getting it all wrong.  Here are a few short, but interesting facts.

If the bride married in a church, a gown with a long train and a veil of the same length was the style of the era. The veil remained over the bride’s face until after the wedding ceremony. I’ve read conflicting statements regarding kissing at the altar, but I allowed a smooch anyway for my characters.

Pure white had not yet become the standard of choice in wedding dresses. Colors varied. The dress pictured in this post is from roughly 1890. I like to visualize it as Charlotte’s dress, my blind heroine, in the story. I love the detailed bodice, the fabric, and the long train (not shown here). Bridesmaids often wore the same color of dress as the bride.

Superstitions abounded. There were rhymes about what day of the week was best to wed, the color of a bride’s dress, and, of course, the famous saying: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a lucky sixpence in your shoe.”  Each item had a meaning and purpose like the sixpence, which was meant to bless the wedding with wealth and prosperity.  No one married on Sunday, but the other days all had meaning:
Marry on Monday for health
 Tuesday for wealth
 Wednesday the best day of all
 Thursday for crosses
 Friday for losses
Saturday for no luck at all.

(Obtained from The Victorian Wedding)

After the service, the tossing of rice, grain, or birdseed was used for good luck when it came to fertility. If it were a wealthy couple, a carriage drawn by four white horses waited for the bride and groom after the service to take them to the reception. The reception was usually held at the bride’s home. Weddings took place in the morning around 11 o’clock, and the reception consisted of a wedding breakfast.

An area for a receiving line would have been set up for the bride and groom at the reception. Brides were addressed first, unless the guest only knew the groom. In that instance, the groom would introduce the bride. I must laugh when I discovered that the bride was never congratulated, as the honor of marriage was conferred upon her already for agreeing to marry the groom. (Lucky spinster finally finds a husband, I guess.)

Guests enjoyed their breakfast, but there was no entertainment at the reception. Evening receptions, with dancing, only occurred at lavish wedding affairs.

After the reception, the bride changed into another dress for her honeymoon journey. Only the groom and the best man knew the location, which by tradition was a well-kept secret.

There are many websites regarding Victorian-era weddings. The link in this post has quite a bit of detail. However, the Victorian era spanned many years, as you know, so traditions changed somewhat as the years progressed.

Such is the romance of the Victorian ages.

Vicki

Articles, Dark Persuasion, Historical Romance Books, Historical Tidbits, Long Ago Love Blog, Vicki Hopkins, Victorian Fashion, Victorian Trousseau, Victorian Wedding, Wedding Carriages

Historical Tidbit: “The Victorian Wedding” by Vicki Hopkins

While writing my award-winning novel, Dark Persuasion, I spent a fair amount of time researching Victorian courting, wedding preparations, weddings, and honeymoons.  The entire process felt so romantic to me that I focused quite a bit about the wedding between my heroine and hero.

Below are a few excerpts from previous blogs that I’ve written regarding that research.  I hope you enjoy!

The Wedding Trousseau

In Dark Persuasion, because my heroine is blind, her sister is actively involved in preparations for the wedding. One task is helping prepare Charlotte’s wedding trousseau.

The French word trousseau refers, of course, to a bride’s bundle of personal possessions amassed prior to the wedding that include undergarments and clothing. Late in the 19th and early 20th century a collection of household wares (tablecloths, towels, linens, etc.) were also included.

My story is set roughly around the 1885-1890, so Charlotte’s collection of personal items deal mainly with fine undergarments and clothing. Below is an excerpt from Vintage Connection describing a typical trousseau around 1884. It would include the following:

“… a dozen chemises trimmed with embroidery or insertions, a dozen nightdresses, six well-trimmed combinations, a dozen drawers, nine trimmed petticoats, one French petticoat, nine camisoles, six vests, five flannel petticoats, two dressing gowns, three bed jackets, a dozen pairs of fine-quality Lisle stockings, three pairs of silk stockings, two dozen handkerchiefs, a pair of French corsets, a bustle, a satin nightdress and a lace-trimmed sachet.”

The Wedding

Everything in the Victorian era seemed to be dictated by proper etiquette. Weddings were no different. There were rules about fashion, the time to wed, and the reception. It was quite an interesting read doing research about the subject. I tried to incorporate as much as I could within my text in hopes of ducking any criticism about getting it all wrong.  Here are a few short, but interesting facts.

If the bride married in a church, a gown with a long train and a veil of the same length was the style of the era. The veil remained over the bride’s face until after the wedding ceremony. I’ve read conflicting statements regarding kissing at the altar, but I allowed a smooch anyway for my characters.

Pure white had not yet become the standard of choice in wedding dresses. Colors varied. The dress pictured in this post is from roughly 1890. I like to visualize it as Charlotte’s dress, my blind heroine, in the story. I love the detailed bodice, the fabric, and the long train (not shown here). Bridesmaids often wore the same color of dress as the bride.

Superstitions abounded. There were rhymes about what day of the week was best to wed, the color of a bride’s dress, and, of course, the famous saying: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a lucky sixpence in your shoe.”  Each item had a meaning and purpose like the sixpence, which was meant to bless the wedding with wealth and prosperity.  No one married on Sunday, but the other days all had meaning:
Marry on Monday for health
 Tuesday for wealth
 Wednesday the best day of all
 Thursday for crosses
 Friday for losses
Saturday for no luck at all.

(Obtained from The Victorian Wedding)

After the service, the tossing of rice, grain, or birdseed was used for good luck when it came to fertility. If it were a wealthy couple, a carriage drawn by four white horses waited for the bride and groom after the service to take them to the reception. The reception was usually held at the bride’s home. Weddings took place in the morning around 11 o’clock, and the reception consisted of a wedding breakfast.

An area for a receiving line would have been set up for the bride and groom at the reception. Brides were addressed first, unless the guest only knew the groom. In that instance, the groom would introduce the bride. I must laugh when I discovered that the bride was never congratulated, as the honor of marriage was conferred upon her already for agreeing to marry the groom. (Lucky spinster finally finds a husband, I guess.)

Guests enjoyed their breakfast, but there was no entertainment at the reception. Evening receptions, with dancing, only occurred at lavish wedding affairs.

After the reception, the bride changed into another dress for her honeymoon journey. Only the groom and the best man knew the location, which by tradition was a well-kept secret.

There are many websites regarding Victorian-era weddings. The link in this post has quite a bit of detail. However, the Victorian era spanned many years, as you know, so traditions changed somewhat as the years progressed.

Such is the romance of the Victorian ages.

Vicki