By Celia Yeary
The recent 2017 PBS series titled “Victoria” has brought the rise of interest in Queen Victoria to America. In 1837, a diminutive, neglected teenager is crowned Queen Victoria. She navigates the scandal, corruption, and political intrigues of the Court, and soon rises to become the most powerful woman in the world. Victoria stars Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who) as Queen Victoria in a highly anticipated series that follows the drama of the candid, spirited monarch who was perhaps the first woman to seem to have it all.
Following Victoria from the time she becomes Queen through her passionate courtship and marriage to Prince Albert, the lavish premiere season of Victoria dramatizes the romance and reign of the girl behind the famous monarch.
American Victorianism was an offshoot of this period and
lifestyle that occurred in the United States, chiefly in heavily populated
regions such as New England and the Deep South. The name was derived from the
reign of Queen Victoria, which reflected the heavy British cultural influence
on the nation during the time.
Young Queen Victoria
Born 1819-Died 1901
As American business people of the Second Industrial Revolution created sprawling industrial towns and cities in the Northeast, the growing upper class of the Gilded Age mimicked the high society of their former mother country in dress, morality, and mannerisms. The period included various activities: the Second Industrial Revolution, the Women's suffrage movement, and Republican political domination.
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 All My Hopes and Dreams, a Western Historical set in the Victorian era, 1880 Texas, Miss Cynthia Harrington lives in a big, white Victorian 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 in ALL MY HOPES AND DREAMS.
ONE PROPER LADY...ONE SENSUAL SPANIARD...
AND A HOTBED OF ANGER AND RIVALRY
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Celia Yeary…Romance, and a little bit of Texas