Friday, August 9, 2013

Carola Dunn

"Why the 1920s? I'd been writing books set in the Regency (early 1800s) for 15 years before I started writing mysteries. I wanted a change of period and I saw certain parallels between the Regency and the 1920s that intrigued me. Both were periods of great changes, especially for women. 

For a start, consider clothes. Around 1800, the enormous hoops and tight lacing of the 18th century gave way to the Empire gown. The clothes allowed women to move more freely--There's a charming picture from the Regency of young women playing badminton. Of course, Victorian fashion regressed to crinolines and bustles and tight lacing. Worse followed, the Edwardian "Grecian Bend," corsetted to make the bosom stick out in one direction and the bottom in the other. Then came World War I, truly a liberating event for women however catastrophic otherwise. Because of the shortage of men during and after the war (about 1 million British soldiers killed), women were able and needed to work at jobs they'd never aspired to before. Land Girls even wore trousers! 

Another revolution was in transportation. Again around 1800, roads were improving, highwaymen and footpads were much reduced in numbers, and someone invented springs for carriages. Travel was so much easier that gentlemen going up to London for Parliament and the court took their wives and daughters along, and the London Season was born. Later came the railways, but still a respectable young lady would not travel without a male or older female relative for chaperon. World War I and the automobile age put an end to that. By the 1920s, a young woman who had driven generals about during the war were not about to be satisfied with sitting meekly behind the chauffeur. They owned and drove their own motor cars. 

By 1919, women over 30 could even vote in national elections and graduate from Oxford University (though not from Cambridge for another 30+ years!). 

For Daisy Dalrymple, finding her way in a swiftly changing world is as much of a challenge as solving any of the crimes she just happens to stumble upon." - Carola Dunn

Carola Dunn started out her writing career with historical romances set in that most favorite period of mine, Regency England. But it was her mysteries staring the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple that really caught the reading public, me included. The series now spans to twenty volumes, with the twenty-first coming out later this year. What I love about this series is that it has the Golden Age mystique, but there's a modern sensibility to Daisy that gives you an immediate connection to the narrative. I am so happy to include Carola in my Golden Summer and I hope you'll check out her wonderful books... if I haven't tempted you yet, hopefully my reviews over the next few days will.


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