I listened to The Great Course’s 12-hour production: America in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. This audio book title rates a full five stars and I recommend it to all fans of late nineteenth century American life–including those who enjoy it as a backdrop to their favorite fictional tales.
While researching dentistry in 1890 for an accurate setting for my title, Isabella’s Calico Groom, I was quite surprised by how advanced and “modern” (by today’s standards) dentistry was. Significant advances in dentistry had occurred in the previous decades, making dentistry truly “modern” compared to patients’ previous experiences. The sheer quantity and magnitude of improvements in dentistry qualify dentists of the 1890s to claim “Modern Dentistry” in their advertisements.
Though American Victorian women took to the safety bicycle in droves, newspaper and public notices of the day show that women on bicycles were not widely accepted. A public service announcement from The Woman’s Rescue League proclaimed that women on bicycles were immoral, vulgar, disease-ridden, and unwomanly. Such attitudes didn’t keep women from their bicycles, and with the advent of the new Safety Bicycle, women such as my character, Sophia Sorensen (Sophia’s Leap-Year Courtship), took to cycling and had no interest in forfeiting the exercise and transportation.
Pleasance. That’s an unusual name for a heroine… even for a story set in 1879. Where did it come from? Did you make it up?
GRANDMA’S WEDDING QUILTS Series debuts today with the release of THE PREQUEL, a short introduction title by Kate Cambridge. My contribution to this 12-volume series (including the prequel) is Pleasance’s First Love. In this article, I share the gem of an idea, true-to-history, that came from researching quilts in Colorado in the 19th century. Who knew a quilt could have two “tops”?