We often romanticize the Old West, or any era of time, even though we know living in a certain day and age wasn't anywhere as glamorous as we want to believe. Why is that, I wonder? Because sometimes we need a break from our own reality? Or is it a "grass is greener on the other side" kind of thing?
I'll leave the philosophizing to you, but one I know for sure - for a woman, living in the 1800s wasn't nearly as wonderful as we kid ourselves into thinking. First and foremost, women had few choices. They couldn't own property except in special circumstances like homesteading, etc., they couldn't vote, sometimes they had their fathers arrange marriages for them to a man not of their choosing, and then once they did marry, their work pile doubled, then quickly quadrupled when babies came along, as they inevitably did.
That isn't to say this way of life wasn't a welcome one. The women were used to these situations, and being the nurturers that God made them, they found joy in starting families of their own and caring for their loved ones. But because of the societal rules of the day, women who didn't find husbands right away were faced with bleak futures. Yes, there were exceptions such as suffragettes, or women who decided to pursue academic interests, but most single young ladies during this time were quickly labeled as "spinsters" if the men of their station didn't show an interest in them. And if a single woman's father died, her care fell on the her brother's shoulders until she found a husband. Of course, other less favorable scenarios existed, but I don't like to think of those.
The heroine in a sweet romance I'm writing in the Broad Street Boarding House multi-author series is faced with such a dilemma. In Grace's Gift, Grace Lancaster's parents have left her older brother, Howard, to finish raising her after they die from illness. Grace loves her brother and appreciates what he's done for her, but living with him and caring for him, cooking and cleaning, etc., have become routine. She doesn't even realize that it is time for her to think beyond the little house they live in, or consider the possibility that Howard might want to find a bride of his own--until she accidentally interrupts a bit of courting Howard and a woman in town are engaging in.
That's when Grace decides to find a husband for herself. Which leads her to Denver, Colorado, where spinster sisters Sybil and Sophie Cartwright own a boarding house. (They were fortunate - their father, first a sea captain and then an entrepreneur in the West, left them oodles of money when he died.) It isn't just any boarding house, however. It's rumored that females who stay in the Cartwright sisters' establishment (there are no male boarders allowed) become brides, usually to a man who is staying at the Palmers' boarding house next door. Many a couple have courted at the gate that connects the two lots. Grace, however, won't find her husband at the Palmers' establishment. Her future husband is hiding in the shadows of his more flamboyant cousin--the man whom Grace has already agreed to marry.
Grace's Gift releases on January 11, 2022. I'm enjoying writing this story so much! The characters are fun, and there's a fair amount of intrigue on the part of Grace's betrothed, Phineas Northcott. Can Ephraim Kempton help Grace to see the truth about Phineas before it's too late, or will she resent him interfering in what should be the happiest event in her life?
Although this book isn't available as a pre-order, I'd like to invite you to take a look at the other books in this series. Here is the series link, and two more books, Callie's Calamity and Mary Hannah's Misgivings, released yesterday. I'm grateful to have been asked to contribute to this wonderful series and be able to work with such talented authors!