Highlighting Historical Romance presents Kelly McClymer
Hi, I’m Kelly McClymer and I want to thank Caroline for giving me a chance to talk about my favorite intersection of topics — history and women.
You may have heard that women in the past couldn’t do many things that men could do. While that is true, it is also true that women didn’t find an open path to independence and strength one day late in nineteenth century when they began to win the legal right to own property, run for office, and vote. No, there were women fighting for those rights all along. Many of whom never lived to see their dreams come true, but who never stopped believing that they could come true. Like those women, all of the heroines in my Once Upon a Wedding series believe women are equal to men in every way, no matter what the law says. After all, isn’t England ruled by a Queen?
Even among those women, however, there were the outliers — women who found a way to live a scandalously independent life outside the rules of society. I have a secret fondness for those women. In my Victorian historical romance Once Upon a Wedding series, I had a dilemma when creating a story strong enough for the scandalously independent Rosaline Fenster. While her sisters are strong women, they are content to be independent mostly within the confines of proper London society vision of a lady. Ros is so averse to this fate that in The Next-Best Bride she actually finagles her twin sister Helena into taking Ros’s place at the altar so that Ros can run away to America.
I loved Ros’s independence…until it came time to write her book, The Impetuous Bride. What could I do with the Duchess’s sister who dressed as a man to gamble and go about the streets unmolested by anyone who wanted to tell her what she could not do? I had let her escape to America in her sister’s book, but where had she landed? Certainly not proper Boston with her sister Juliet. But then my own past (I was born in Charleston, South Carolina and had a mad fondness for westerns and TV shows like Wagon Train and Bonanza growing up) collided with Ros’s time period (the Antebellum South, right before the Civil War).
We all know those times from Gone With the Wind, right? Big skirts, mint juleps, dashing men and tightly corseted women trying not to melt in the humid summer air. We tend to forget the slaves that worked hard to maintain that lifestyle. Of course, Roz would not be wearing hoop skirts and batting her eyes at the Rhett Butlers of her social circle. No, Roz continues to dress as a man when it suits her — especially when it allows her to be part of the Underground Railroad. And naturally, when the underground job get heated and she needs to join a wagon train to head west for safety, she’s not going to want to follow the rules Wagonmaster Rob Lewis has set out for the ladies on his wagon train. The only real question is whether or not even the Wild West is able to handle Ros’s independent, impetuous spirit.
I had a lot of fun combining my love of several historical cultures. Victorian England and Antebellum America had a lot in common, but America with its wild push for independence and freedom was the right place for Rosaline (even Rob eventually agrees). If that sounds interesting to you, you can find The Impetuous Bride at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks. Google Play, and Kobo. (Links are at the bottom)
For those of you who enjoy Victorian historical romance, the first book in the Once Upon a Wedding series, The Fairy Tale Bride ebook, is free to read at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks. Google Play, and Kobo. (Links are at the bottom)
If you want to know more, you can find me here and there on the web:
Reader List (for Victorian and fairytale trivia, as well as sneak peeks and breaking news):
Drop me a line in the comments and let me know your favorite historical period, if you have one.
Rosaline Fenster has always been the black sheep of her proper Victorian family. Ros prefers to chart her own path, even if she must dress as a man on occasion to do what must be done. Escaping her life as an English lady by emigrating to America, Ros has found adventure helping runaway slaves find freedom. But now her path west has set her on a collision course with Wagonmaster Rob Lewis. Rob doesn’t want anything to disrupt his wagon train’s journey west. Not escaped slaves. Not his own daughter. And especially not his late wife’s cousin — a woman who dares to do what she thinks right, and damn the consequences.
USA Today Bestselling Author Kelly McClymer fell in love with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White as a child. Her most prized possession is her copy of The Complete Tales of the Brothers Grimm. These are the stories which gripped our ancestors as they huddled around the fire at night, which taught countless children to persevere through hardship and succeed against the odds. Her favorite fairytale remains “The Six Swans” — where a young sister must not speak a word for six years in order to save her brothers from their stepmother’s evil spell.
Links to The Impetuous Bride:
Links to The Fairy Tale Bride (first in series FREE):