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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another point would be that a women dealing with infidelity before the 1970's may have chosen to stay with that partner because of lack of funds. I think it is much easier for a woman to leave in the present time because we now have jobs and a means to support ourselves and our children. Maybe women back then didn't want to forgive, but they couldn't leave because, where would they go? The aunt I mentioned in my past post had money of her own. She divorced him, took her two children and lived with her parents until she got on her feet again.
As for infidelity in fiction, it is hard for me to read whether or not I am reading a romance novel. I am now just finishing The Summer Garden by Paullina and while it's not precisely a romance novel, many romance readers have embraced this series. This novel is set in the 1930's (at least the infidelity part is) and Alexander cheats in the Bill Clinton way...ahem, you know what I mean. When Tatiana finds out there is a huge, huge fight and he repeats over and over...I did not have sex with her. Still, the situation was intimate. She eventually forgives him because their relationship is so important to them. Reading this chapter and what dealt with his cheating, I know that he loves his wife, but he does it anyway. It's a shot of reality in otherwise a fantastic love story. Hmmm...I put off reading this part of the book for the longest time. I'm glad it over. Infidelity saddens me.
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veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
Posts: 2064

PostPosted: Sat Aug 09, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynda X wrote:
In the past the scandal (let alone, the difficulty of obtaining) a divorce, meant that a mistress/girl friend did not threaten the stability of the family as much as now, [snipped]


It depended on the state. In Missouri in the late 19th and early 20th century, there were a lot of divorces. Records for most counties start in the 1820s and 1830s, filed in the Circuit Court ledgers. See, for example:

http://thelibrary.springfield.missouri.org/lochist/records/d1903.htm

You can access the Greene Co., MO, list 1837-1900 from here:

http://thelibrary.springfield.missouri.org/lochist/records/1837toc.htm

A high proportion of the plaintiffs were female. Any resemblance between English divorce law and American divorce law in the midwestern and western states in the 19th century is purely coincidental.

My husband's great-grandmother, at age 16, was traded to a man by her father for a horse. That was in the early 1880s in Wisconsin. When she reached 21, she went into court and divorced him on the grounds of coercion, later remarrying to my husband's great-grandfather. She was a perfectly respectable member of a Methodist church and no one was particularly scandalized.

The newspaper in my home county (Boone Co., MO) in the early 1900s had an article about a local woman who had married and divorced five times (her second and fourth husbands being the same man) and was only in her thirties. Of course, I doubt she was interested in being accepted socially by whatever the local equivalent of "the ton" might have been.

For an introduction, I recommend the following article: Law, Sex, Cruelty, and Divorce in Victorian America, 1840-1900, by Robert L. Griswold.
American Quarterly, Vol. 38, No. 5 (Winter, 1986), pp. 721-745 (article consists of 25 pages)
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press

For a more thorough discussion, see: Glenda Riley, Divorce: An American Tradition. University of Nebraska Press, 1997. Especially good is the chapter on "Divorce and Divorce Mills in the American West."
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Susan/DC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1669

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 8:01 am    Post subject: Divorce Reply with quote

veasleyd1 wrote:

It depended on the state. In Missouri in the late 19th and early 20th century, there were a lot of divorces. Records for most counties start in the 1820s and 1830s, filed in the Circuit Court ledgers. See, for example:

http://thelibrary.springfield.missouri.org/lochist/records/d1903.htm

You can access the Greene Co., MO, list 1837-1900 from here:

http://thelibrary.springfield.missouri.org/lochist/records/1837toc.htm

A high proportion of the plaintiffs were female. Any resemblance between English divorce law and American divorce law in the midwestern and western states in the 19th century is purely coincidental.


Some of these were interesting. I noted that it was not unknown for the husband, if the plaintiff, to get custody of any children. It does make you wonder about the stories behind this list of bare facts. You could take Loretta Chase's Your Scandalous Ways as an example of what happens when a talented author takes a simple fact, a divorce, and creates the world and people that make a three-dimensional world around the skeleton of a single event.
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Terese



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 250

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 9:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post, veasleyd1! As someone who earned a BA in history I always appreciate being given sources to back up facts. And Susan/DC, it does make me wonder about what really went on behind the bare facts of these accounts. Probably nothing earth shattering, since these people weren't Dukes or Earls, but everyday people have lives too, and what happens in their lives affects the people around them. That would be the sort of thing that someone like Pamela Morsi could write a great book about. Sigh. Think I'll go back and re-read Marrying Stone or Simple Jess.
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veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
Posts: 2064

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2008 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is also interesting reading for perspective:

Searching the Heart
Women, Men, and Romantic Love in Nineteenth-Century America (Oxford University Press, 1992)
Karen Lystra
paper, 352 pages
ISBN13: 9780195074765
ISBN10: 0195074769

It's based on a large collection of love letters.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
Question for Schola: What instances in Beverley's The Arranged Marriage lead you to the conclusion that Nicholas will eventually stray? Just curious!


Answer for Dick: It was not so much the things that Nicholas does, but the way the book was written. Beverley doesn't show us what he is like without Eleanor that much; and when she does, it is often filtered through the point of view of his brother or his friends--and both of them more or less hold him in awe. They wouldn't disapprove if he strayed. In a sense, they already haven't, and have even helped "distract" his wife so that she wouldn't feel his absence.

Then there is Eleanor's initial tolerance of adultery--or what she thought was adultery, but was actually spying. She has shown herself willing to overlook indiscretions. It seems to me that she wouldn't have said anything at all, had she not been kidnapped.

So we start the story with someone who has already "cheated" and someone who thinks that ignoring "cheating" is the least that a dutiful wife could do in an arranged marriage, especially when her husband is so kind. I can see how she falls in love with him and decides that cheating has become unacceptable, but I can't see how he falls in love with her at all--or even if he does.

During the so-called "grand exoneration" at the end of the novel, I saying to Eleanor in my head: "Oh, you just want to believe that he didn't have another affair with that girl he met on the boat."

Then there are impressions I've picked up from later books in the series, which I read first . . . but I guess they don't count?
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dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2510

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

to Schola: But all the things that point to his character--character in the sense of what he believes and does--suggest otherwise, don't they?
The very loyalty of his friends that you point out, their "awe" of him, the actions that led him to form the "rogues" in the first place, the reason he married her, his wish that Eleanor be "distracted" when he must perform his duty--don't all these suggest that he would be as faithful to a wife as he has been loyal to friends and duty? IIRC, at some point in the book, he speaks himself of how distasteful performing his "duty" has become. One of the impressive things about Beverley's characters is that they nearly always have "character."
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Terese



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 250

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 1:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
[b] IIRC, at some point in the book, he speaks himself of how distasteful performing his "duty" has become. One of the impressive things about Beverley's characters is that they nearly always have "character."


Good point, Dick! What I love so very much about this author is that her characters are usually distinct people. I mean they are 3 dimensional people who behave in human ways. It's not every character who can generate in depth discussion about their future behavior!
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Kass



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 722
Location: under a cockatiel

PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2008 2:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The very loyalty of his friends that you point out, their "awe" of him, the actions that led him to form the "rogues" in the first place, the reason he married her, his wish that Eleanor be "distracted" when he must perform his duty--don't all these suggest that he would be as faithful to a wife as he has been loyal to friends and duty?

No, actually. I've seen many people in general who have no problem being hypocrites in this fashion. Just look at Bruce Ivens for a modern-day example. Everyone he worked with was loyal to him, in awe of him, thought he did his duty...and he was busy working to murder people.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
to Schola: But all the things that point to his character--character in the sense of what he believes and does--suggest otherwise, don't they?
The very loyalty of his friends that you point out, their "awe" of him, the actions that led him to form the "rogues" in the first place, the reason he married her, his wish that Eleanor be "distracted" when he must perform his duty--don't all these suggest that he would be as faithful to a wife as he has been loyal to friends and duty? IIRC, at some point in the book, he speaks himself of how distasteful performing his "duty" has become. One of the impressive things about Beverley's characters is that they nearly always have "character."


I know what you mean about Beverley's characters, Dick. (She's my favourite Romance writer, for what it's worth.) So even I know that Nicholas has to be completely faithful, as he is a Romance hero after all, and I'll admit that my reaction to him must be mostly subjective. Confused

Something that keeps coming back to me is a line from Forbidden, the third book in the Company of Rogues series. I can't remember it exactly, but Francis has just complained about "whores" and Nicholas says (in what I read as a warning tone), "I see no problem with whores in their place. Do you?"

We know that he hated sleeping with Therese because she was so controlling and he didn't really care for her, but was just doing it for his country. Well, what if he met a woman he'd classify as a "whore" but whom he'd find attractive and want in his life?
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Allyson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 567

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, interesting the different reactions we have. 'An Arranged Marriage' is one of my favourites, but then I pretty much just love Jo Beverley in general, with a few exceptions. I never had a particular problem viewing Nicholas as going to be faithful to Eleanor--I have more of a problem with relationships based entirely on lust (the love/hate thing, I tend to think, when the lust burns out the guy will go look for a hot 'new thing'). The adultery in 'An Arranged Marriage' didn't bother me because of how it was presented, but I bought into the premise. I'm also not one of the readers for whom adultery is a hot button. And, I could see Nicholas' reasoning for doing what he did.

As for 'On The Way to the Wedding', it was cute and light and fine, not a favourite. However I never once thought Lucy would cheat. I didn't like the epilogue because WOW is nine children ever not my HEA, but I didn't have a problem with Lucy...she was, what, nineteen in a pretty bad situation. I'd have liked her to have more spine, but I didn't see her as a hopeless case--nor do I see spinelessness as necessarily leading to adultery.

There *have* definitely been books where I question the HEA, though. Julia Quinn's latest I found pretty unbelievable overall, because the characters really didn't seem to know each other well at all and the romance was too 'rushed'. But then I tend not to have much patience for whirlwind courtship stories. There have been exceptions, but they do pull me back into reality and make me think 'really? but why?' when these characters are declaring their love for one another based on so little.
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willaful



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
Posts: 1557

PostPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2008 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:

We know that he hated sleeping with Therese because she was so controlling and he didn't really care for her, but was just doing it for his country. Well, what if he met a woman he'd classify as a "whore" but whom he'd find attractive and want in his life?


But it's also clear that a big reason he hated sleeping with her was because he wants to sleep with his wife and found it very distasteful to go from one to the other. Here's the quote: "There's something repugnant in going from a mistress' bed to a wife's." So that argues that he does feel strongly about fidelity.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, given how long this topic has lain dormant, I have given your arguments for Nicholas' fidelity a lot of thought . . . and there's something still bothering me, I'm afraid.

You know how the rule becomes that all wives and mistresses become automatic Rogues? In Forbidden, Francis naturally wonders how that will work out if he marries Lady Anne but keeps Serena for his mistress. Nobody seems to mind that Blanche, Lucien's former mistress, is a Rogue, because she becomes another Rogue's mistress afterwards and Beth really likes her.

Anyway, it seems like Nicholas' loophole--if not for himself, than for his friends. Then the wives would have to think of the mistresses as fellow Rogues, comrades rather than rivals.
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Elizabeth Rolls



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 1088
Location: Australia

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Nobody seems to mind that Blanche, Lucien's former mistress, is a Rogue, because she becomes another Rogue's mistress afterwards and Beth really likes her.


Yeah . . . but Blanche doesn't just "become" Hal's mistress. He asks her to marry him. Straight up. She's only his mistress because initially she refuses marriage. And the fact that she is acceptable to the Rogues as a friend to their wives really bucks the usual societal double standard. Which I don't have a problem with because Beverley is fully aware of the issues and she uses it to create tension and a sense of the realities of the society. Other authors seem not to quite understand that for a man to introduce his mistress to his female relatives was a somewhat startling thing to do.

Elizabeth
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elizabeth Rolls wrote:
Yeah . . . but Blanche doesn't just "become" Hal's mistress. He asks her to marry him. Straight up. She's only his mistress because initially she refuses marriage. And the fact that she is acceptable to the Rogues as a friend to their wives really bucks the usual societal double standard.


I'll admit that I haven't read An Unwilling Bride yet, so I don't exactly know how Lucien broke up with Blanche and she became involved with Hal. Embarassed So did Hal really ask her, as early as that, to be his wife? He was in love with her even while she was with Lucien?

Now that you've brought that up, Elizabeth . . . yeah, I can see how the acceptance of Blanche was the Rogues' own way of "anticipating the wedding." Laughing

Yet having Nicholas lead them in bucking one societal standard is hardly reassuring, either.

Elizabeth Rolls wrote:
Which I don't have a problem with because Beverley is fully aware of the issues and she uses it to create tension and a sense of the realities of the society. Other authors seem not to quite understand that for a man to introduce his mistress to his female relatives was a somewhat startling thing to do.


We do see some of the tension in The Rogue's Return, when Simon wonders whether he should introduce Jane to Blanche.

There's a lot of "Man vs. Society" in Beverley's novels, and the characters often have to go through the most tangled plots so that they can marry without scandalising the world at the end of their respective books. (I'm thinking of St. Raven and the Georgian Tempting Fortune in particular.)

In Nicholas' case, however, he seems to be both ahead of his time and comfortably in his age. I remember saying in another thread that I didn't like how inflexible he sounded in Forbidden, when he told Francis, "I don't see anything wrong with a well-trained whore in her place," because it was as if he was dividing women into virgins/wives and whores. Another user defended him by saying that it was how people in general thought during Nicholas' time. Well, fair enough, if that's all there is to it; but he's clearly "progressive" in other ways. He seems to play life by ear, and the only thing I can see him totally ruling out is another relationship with the psycho Therese.
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