Why the Edwardian Era?
Hypothetically, being born in 1892, Linley could have lived through the rise of the automobile, to the birth of flight, and all the way up to seeing a man land on the moon. In her lifetime, she could have listened to jazz, the Swinging Sixties, and even punk rock! Wow! The early Twentieth Century was an amazingly brief moment in history to be a part of. I can’t think of another era where so much happened so rapidly. Nor can I think of a time in our history where such advancements were available to people of all classes.
A shop girl could buy a gramophone and listen to the exact same records as a duke’s daughter. Princes took flying lessons, and so did commoners. One might have even found oneself sharing the road with the King of Spain in a motorcar! For perhaps the very first time, a person did not have to belong to a certain social class to enjoy the “finer” things in life. Essentially, if one worked hard, the opportunities were endless.
This wide-open view of the world is what I love so much about the Edwardian Era. Women had more freedom than ever before—they could go out in public unescorted, go to school, and even hold a job without suffering from social stigma. They were reaching for goals outside their home, outside of marriage and childbearing.
Yes, women were becoming more liberated, but at the same time, they were still stuck in the Victorian Era by way of corsets and hobble skirts, etc. That duality is another reason I love the Edwardian Era. In the field, Linley could get away with wearing trousers and boots. Yet when the workday was over, she still got to put on pretty dresses and waltz with handsome gentlemen. (In today’s age of yoga pants and tank tops, I can’t help but envy Edwardians and their fantastic sense of fashion!)
Looking back a hundred years, it’s easy to view that Edwardian heyday through rose-colored glasses, but it wasn’t all one big happy party. The world was in an upheaval from all that rapid change and struggling to keep up. In England, Suffragettes marched through the streets and terrorized lawmakers. As you’ll read in the novel, when the Women’s Social and Political Union decided to make a point, things got pretty dangerous—even for bystanders.
For me, A LOVE THAT NEVER TIRES captures both the good and bad aspects of life in the Edwardian Era. Sure, Linley & Patrick have it pretty good being members of the upper-middle class and aristocracy, but my hope is that I’ve portrayed Edwardian life as they would have witnessed it.