Monday, August 10, 2015
The Annex Mail-Order Brides Series by Elaine Manders ends August 17 #bookgiveaway
A Woman’s Place in History
Thank you for this opportunity to share a subject near to my heart, improving the status of women in the world. Oh, I know opportunities have never been greater in the Western world, but that hasn’t always been the case, and as with the advancement of all oppressed people, there were trail-blazers.
I’ve been writing historical romance for over twenty years, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized I write about the exceptional women of history, those who step outside society’s norm in their relationships, in their goals, in their pursuit of love.
Have you ever wondered why women are so poorly represented in the great achievements in history? Some might say—and rightly so—there is no greater achievement than to bear and nurture a child. But what of those women who never marry? Or live beyond child-bearing years? Or feel God has another purpose for them?
Cultural norms surely have played a role in keeping a woman in her place. And still do. Property laws and lack of education are the greatest handicaps to women’s equality.
In the American Northeast during the late 19th century, culture was shifting. Nowhere was this more evident than in women’s changing role. The suffragist sought equality through the vote, but other minds knew equal education was the only way to truly elevate any suppressed people.
Then, as now, women didn’t want to give up love for an equal place in society.
Annex Mail-Order Brides, my debut novella series, follows three strong, capable women who go to the best college of the day for various reasons, but seek love through the mail. The characters are representative of every woman, from the one who wants nothing more than to be a wife and mother (Adela’s Prairie Suitor), to the one who wants to use her extraordinary talent to make a name for herself (Ramee’s Fugitive Cowboy), to the one who wants to build a business empire (Prudie’s Mountain Man).
Times were changing in the late 1800s. In 1879, women had the opportunity to attend Harvard College for the first time. The women students didn’t attend classes with the men, but were relegated to a separate building called the Annex.
In many areas of the world, women are still considered the property of men and have few rights in society. Education is still considered wasted on females. In western civilized countries, however, the opportunities have never been greater for women. In fact, American women earned 58 percent of the bachelor degrees and 60 percent of the master degrees in colleges last year. But some believe these new opportunities have exacted a price on the American family.
Do you think the role of women was better in the United States during the 1880s or today? Leave your comment for a chance to win all three of the Annex Mail-Order Brides novellas.
Adela’s Prairie Suitor
In 1881, the women of the Harvard Annex must prove women are as smart as men, but after one season, Adela Mason knows she doesn’t fit in with elite society. All she really wants is a husband—even if she has to pick one through the mail. After corresponding with Byron Calhoun, a Kansas farmer, for several months, she’s convinced he’s the man God has chosen for her. She accepts his invitation to visit the farm so he can “court her properly,” but before she arrives at her destination, she learns Byron already has a fiancé. What else has he failed to tell her?
Ramee’s Fugitive Cowboy
Ramee Abbott gains acclaim as a dress designer and attracts the interest of a textile tycoon she foolishly agrees to marry. She doesn’t recognize her dilemma until he sells her designs as his own and gives her an ultimatum—marry him immediately and move to New York or face social ruin. Her only choice is to find another man to marry and quickly.
Although Josh Volker has recently turned his life around and become a Christian, a bad reputation hounds him. He hardly dares hope any decent woman will marry him, least of all one as well-to-do as Ramee. But will she stay when she learns the truth about his past?
Harvard Annex graduate, Prudie Walsh, has lost her home and family merchandising business. She answers a mail-order bride ad for one reason—Erich Stafford’s dry-goods store.
Scarred by a cougar attack as a child, Erich has spent his entire adult life living as a hermit in the Wyoming mountains. After inheriting a dry-goods store in the nearby frontier town, he leaves his mountain cabin and eagerly awaits his mail-order bride, a woman who will be the perfect helpmate in his new business. He soon realizes the beautiful, ambitious Prudie carries scars of her own. It’ll take a lot of patience and faith to turn their business arrangement into a real marriage.
About Elaine Manders:
Elaine Manders writes historical romance to inspire and intrigue. She began her writing journey with feature articles for a Christian newspaper and turned to fiction in 1992. Her debut novella series, The Annex Mail-Order Brides, was published July 8, 2015, and serves as prequels to her long historical novel series, Under Cerulean Skies, scheduled for release in December. Her greatest joy is to create endearing characters and intriguing plots with humor and faith woven throughout, and her fondest hope is that these books will entertain the reader and bring glory to God. She lives in central Georgia with the love of her life, her husband, Robert.