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Books about Luxury
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Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something someone said on another thread made me realise that Danielle Steele is all about luxury, too! Laughing

So it's time to review all my mother's old Steele and Barbara Taylor Bradford paperbacks . . . Rolling Eyes

I also want to include children's stories, so Frances Hogdson Burnett is in, too. Nobody does rags-to-riches-to-rags-to-riches like Burnett! Laughing
"To be in a romance is to be in uncongenial surroundings. To be born into this earth is to be born into uncongenial surroundings, hence to be born into a romance." (G.K. Chesterton)
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Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 374
Location: Houston, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Jul 14, 2008 11:00 am    Post subject: Historical novels about luxury Reply with quote

There are rafts of historical novels about titled folks with lots of luxuries appropriate to the time period, but many of them are inaccurate in many ways.

I'm thinking about The Grand Sophy, Heyer's novel as an example of the Other Kind. Sophy is the daughter of a well-to-do man involved in the military, IIRC, and she arrives to stay with relatives with her own horse, bodyguard/old retainer, maid, rafts of clothes and many other evidences of wealth. And throughout the novel, she behaves with the confidence and freedom of a person whose whole life has been privileged.

Another example of quite realistic portrayal of wealth and privilege in the Regency period is Devil's Bride, by Stephanie Laurens. She makes it clear that being a Duke doesn't just mean swanking around in ermine vestments, or spending the afternoon hunting foxes or practicing your pistol skills at Manton's gallery. Being a Duke meant that you were the Chief Executive of vast lands and financial responsibilities. Sure, if you ran your properties responsibly and profitably, you had a lot of luxury and power. But you had to work at it, regularly and for hours at a time. Your greatest luxury, then as now, was to have command of your time and how you spent it. If you frittered time away, your lands and estates quickly headed toward non-profit territory, and then toward "dun territory."

Laurens, over the course of the novel, makes it clear that the freedoms offered by wealth can only be enjoyed over the long run if those who own the wealth husband it responsibly. Heyer does this too, in all of her novels about the Regency period.

Actually, that still holds true, doesn't it?

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