Monday, April 8, 2013

The Victorian Era-"Too Much is Not Enough"

The Victorian Era in America-1837-1901

By Celia Yeary

 After the Civil War to the turn of the century, wealth increased all across America. By 1870, an enormous building boom increased the number of millionaires to one hundred. With the advent of new money, the call for more of everything reigned among the wealthy.
“Too much is not enough” became the mantra, as the rich constantly sought out new ways to display their prominence in society.
From New York to the West coast, a woman of means threw her heart and soul into creating a home befitting her status. This meant building a home that was as festooned as a Christmas tree—inside and out.
She stuffed every room with spindly, feminine furniture, until it overflowed with excess. She decorated with abandon, creating grossly decorated rooms, filled with every knickknack and gimcrack imaginable. A person might feel stifled and claustrophobic in the room.

The ladies, young and old, dressed in the fashions of the day. The outfits were as ornate as the homes in which they lived. Pronounced bustles, unnecessary and odd-looking, was part of every well-to-do lady’s dress. One dress might contain as many as twenty yards of silk and satin, and rows and rows of lace and fringe and ruffles decorated the necklines, hems, and bustles.

A lady strived for the most extravagant hairdo she could manage. She piled it high on her head, tortured it into masses of curls and ringlets, and above all, draped it with all manner of gewgaws to frame her face. All in the name of elegance.

In my first release, All My Hopes and Dreams, a Western Historical set in the Victorian era, 1880 Texas, Miss Cynthia Harrington lives in a big, white fancy house in Nacogdoches, Texas with her banker father.

As she says in the novel, “Nacogdoches is not exactly the social and fashion center of Texas.” However, she strives to be the best-dressed young lady of the small East Texas town. With her loveliness and poise, she manages to attract the attention of visiting horse-buyer, Ricardo Romero.
Of course, they marry, and she soon learns that the Romero ranch on the far Western edge of the Texas Frontier most certainly differs in all ways from her usual lifestyle—and that includes dress. By the third day, she finds herself wearing boots, split skirt, blouse, and gaucho hat.

Read about their adventures and how they fall in love...


To escape an arranged marriage, beautiful, proper Cynthia Harrington from East Texas impulsively marries Ricardo Romero, a striking, sensual Spaniard who ranches on the far western edge of the Texas frontier. Innocently, she steps into a hotbed of anger, rivalry, and strong wills. As she struggles to gain a foothold in the hostile household and foreign ranch community, she finds that her biggest challenge is to make her husband love her.

 Ricardo creates his own problems by marrying an outsider, angering his mother, father, and his jealous ex-lady friend. Then, the Texas Rangers arrive looking for a killer, and Cynthia saves Ricardo’s mother in a confrontation with the wanted man. Ricardo realizes that his delicate bride has more grit and spunk than he thought, and his greatest trial becomes a race to pursue his own wife and persuade her to stay with him.


“A ranch? I know nothing of ranching or the West. I would like to live in a city. But you live…”

“Not far from San Antonio,” Ricardo hastened to say. “But it is far enough away that we only go twice a year for a holiday.”

Cynthia lowered her head and looked at her hands. “I don’t know. That seems far out of my realm of expertise. I’m not certain I could do that.”

“Answer this, Cynthia. Would you rather live here until your father finds another husband for you, or would you rather make your own decision? I’m giving you a choice.”

At that moment, they heard heavy, hurried footsteps on the porch. Both knew it was the master of the house. Just as he opened the door, stepped in, and turned toward the parlor, Ricardo gathered Cynthia into his arms. He turned her just so, placed his sculptured lips on her soft, feminine ones, and kissed her with all the passion he could muster. For good measure, he moved one hand to one breast. Instead of fighting, she responded as though she hadn’t heard her father.

“Cynthia Louise Harrington! What the devil are you up to?”

Ricardo and Cynthia pulled back, but they did not jerk apart. Instead, they gazed into each other’s eyes and parted slowly. Without caring if the man was in the room or not, Ricardo placed his palm on her cheek, and kissed her on the other, ever so sweetly and gently. Before he let her go, he whispered, “Will you marry me?”

She nodded and whispered in return, “Yes, I will marry you.”

 My First Published Book
Now, $2.99, reduced by The Wild Rose Press
because it is now six years old.
Happy Birthday, All My Hopes and Dreams!
Please visit Amazon:

Barnes and Noble

 Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas


  1. I loved this book, Celia. Both characters were people to remember.

    Of all the eras, the Victorian is my favorite. However, I don't think I could live in a house with all those gee-gaws. A modest amount of Gingerbread would be beautiful to me.

    A interesting concept about money and women's fashion--skirts as shorter during times of affluence and longer during times of depression. You'd think it would be jus the opposite, especially when considering the yardage for a longer skirt, but it is based more on the mood of people. Who wants to be gay and happy when they have no money?

    Great post!

  2. Celia, that first published book remains special, doesn't it? Like Linda, this time period is my favorite. I used to want a Victorian home, but now that I realize how time-consuming and costly it is the maintain one, I've changed my mind. I love looking at them, though. Loved your post.

  3. Celia, All My Hopes and Dreams was the first of your books that I ever read and I became a fan and have read every one since. I think I was born in the wrong century and I love the Civil War period, the clothes, the homes, the manners, and most of all Rhett Butler! (and Philip Burke )

  4. I love looking at those restored Victorian homes. They are so beautiful, but take a lot of upkeep!

    Morgan Mandel

  5. Delightful excerpt, Celia! Her daddy must had apoplexy!

    I love old Victorian homes. Not that I'd want to live in one and be smothered by all the knick-knacks. But the outsides are fabulous, so fanciful and pretty.

  6. I like this story idea. A young lady who seems delicate and fashionable that turns out to be courageous and willing to dress in comfort rather than society's idea of fashion. I'm just think a Spaniard has got to be soooo sexy. LOL

  7. Linda L.--your statement makes me realize how long we've known each other, brought together with TWRP. That's where I got my feet wet, and I'm still in contact and watch for those authors I have known for many years.
    You're right about the length of women's skirts. And it is interesting as to why.
    However, many of us were raised with no money...and look how happy we are!
    Thank you.

  8. Thanks, Caroline. Yes, that first contract and the first book cover. I cried with both, and even though I haven't cried since over such things, I do still have that rush of emotions and happiness.
    I've never, ever wanted a Victorian home.Like you, I love to tour them, and all I can think of is how many things there are to dust.

  9. Oh, thank you, thank you, Linda! I know Philip Burke--you wouldn't think I'd forget, would you?
    The Civil War era belongs to you. Your Civil war novel is excellent. Since you have seen many of the sites, the book came alive.
    Thank you, dear friend.

  10. Morgan--yes,that's all I can think of--how much stuff to keep clean. Ugh.

  11. Lyn-he did! After this excerpt, the reader learns just how angry the father is. But, he loses out in the end. Cynthia gets her way.

  12. Great post, Celia. I like the outdoor looks of gingerbread Victorian of my college years, I lived in a witch's hat tower in a Vic home. But I could never do with all the nonsense inside. And dragging along 20 plus yard of cloth while wearing a bustle. Nightmare. xo

  13. Sarah--this first book of mine captured a lot of attention, mainly because of the Spanish MIL. Everyone "loved to hate her." After a few months, I worried that Felicitas--the MIL--had stolen the show.She is devious, that's for sure.Tries every way she can to break up her darling son Ricardo from the Anglo interloper.

  14. TANYA--to all those Victorian women, don't you just want to say, "What were you thinking???"
    Did you know I read that many women of those days developed serious bladder and kidney problems because they did not use the bathroom often enough. Why? Too much trouble with all those clothes, petticoats, and tied pantalets, etc. Now, that's pathetic.

  15. Great post, Celia! I love the Victorian era and have set all of my stories in the time period. In my first time travel romance, the heroine, a woman from our time, encounters a Victorian parlor and can't believe how cluttered the room is with knicknacks, heavy draperies and fringe. lol

  16. Susan--that is so funny! I can imagine one of us traveling back in time and landing in a Victorian parlor.I'm like your heroine--I would just hate all that stuff.
    22 years ago, we built this house we live in.I designed it, drew it out on graph paper,and took it to a draftsman. Friends would ask:
    "What style is your house, what period will it be,etc."
    My answer was: "Generic."
    I like clean, uncluttered rooms.
    Thanks for the note--I enjoyed your visit.

  17. I love Victorian houses! There are so many here in my town and it makes the town so charming. I wouldn't want anything to do with all that elegant body covering, though. I can feel for Cynthia's need to ditch that restriction.


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