Highlighting Facts About Education in the Nineteenth Century and in Her Novel Tempting Fate with Michelle Jean Marie
In this day and age of Primary, Secondary, Further and Higher Education in England, it’s difficult to believe that a little over 150 years ago, education for children wasn’t even mandatory in the country. In a United Kingdom Census of 1861, it was observed that 2 million children of the 4.3 million in England and Wales had no schooling. That’s almost half the population!
A primary cause of this was the disparity in income. The aristocracy and upper classes could afford, and sent their children to, public schools, while the lower classes relied on their children to bring home a wage. In 1821, approximately 49% of the workforce was under 20. Children in rural areas often began working as young as five or six. And up until 1867, children under eight years of age still worked in factories and workshops. By 1867, legislation was passed requiring at least ten hours of education per week (two hours per day) for children between eight and thirteen years of age who were working in factories.
Still, many people remained hostile against mass education, fearing it would make the working class ‘think’, and thus attain class consciousness. It could even lead to revolt. Some feared it could lead to indoctrination, some that it could lead to fraud or other misleading scams. Even the church opposed mass education for all because they were being funded by the state with public money for the purpose of educating the poor. With mass education, they would lose their influence over these youths.
It wasn’t until the Elementary Education Act of 1870, also known as Forster’s Education Act, that the framework for schooling for all children between the ages of five and twelve began. Local authorities were given powers to allocate public funds to improve and grow local schools. Under this act, authorities were required to report the number of children in their area and the existing education provision for them. This was compared to the most recent census for their area. If there was a shortfall in the number of children attending schools, a school board was created for the district to address the disparity.
About the Book
In TEMPTING FATE, set in 1851, the heroine, Lady Alanna Clayton, takes it upon herself to educate the children in a workhouse in St. Giles. This setting is two decades before the Education Act, but it sets forth a series of events that will become evident in TEMPTING HONOR, set 20 years later.
TEMPTING HONOR is a work in progress, but you’ll recognize the hero from TEMPTING FATE. We catch up with Timothy, whose journey takes him from orphan in TEMPTING FATE to headmaster at Lady Alanna’s Clarington School for Boys in TEMPTING HONOR.
Here’s a sneak peek:
Sold at Birth – Letitia Mary Lyndon was sold by her parents at birth in exchange for the promise of a prestigious title and vast estate. Her blighted past hangs like a shadow over her head, following her from the nursery to the ballroom. She curses her mother’s decision, but will Letitia’s own actions cause her to become her mother – a fate she compares to death?
Abandoned at Birth – Timothy Winters was left on the doorstep of a workhouse and destined for factory work until his rescue by the woman who would become his guardian. Learning the value of an education, he makes it his life mission to ensure all children receive schooling. But his grand plans are derailed when Letitia approaches him with a proposal.
United by Birth – Will an unexpected birth challenge Timothy’s honor as he fights to convince Letitia of her worth as a woman?
TMEPTING HONOR isn’t available yet, but you can read more about Timothy in TEMPTING FATE.
About TEMPTING FATE
When Lady Alanna Clayton discovers her fiancé’s infidelity, she stuns Society and breaks off their engagement. Her reputation in ruins, she devotes her time to improving the lives of orphans at the workhouse. When Alanna realizes the children’s futures are in danger, she vows to save them from early death, even if it means having to kidnap them.
Abandoning his responsibility to his station for a career in the cavalry, Lieutenant-Colonel Kellen Harrington, Marquess of Aldwich, fled a life of abuse for a life of war. A dire summons brings him back to London and the estate he swore to never set foot on again.
Bonded by an old secret, fate reunites Alanna and Kellen in order to keep another. Deceit, blackmail, and revenge challenge their every step as they navigate the dark alleys of London. And traverse the corners of their hearts.
Can Alanna tempt fate and save Kellen from his biggest danger—himself?
About The Author
After years of working in the Health Information Management field, Michelle became a stay-at-home mom to raise two adorable daughters and took advantage of her time at home to pursue a life-long passion—writing.
While attending a romance writing workshop at a local library, Michelle was hooked. She cracked open the research books, turned on the computer, and started cranking out historical romances. In her early efforts, she was an RWA Golden Heart finalist with TEMPTING FATE, and a winner/finalist in many RWA sponsored contests.
After ending one marriage, seeing her daughters through college, opening her own business, and finally happily marrying her soul mate, she opened those old computer files and did some serious editing. She signed her first publishing contract for TEMPTING FATE with Soul Mate Publishing, more than twenty years after writing it. Perseverance does pay off!
Michelle lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Steve, and their insane pups – Belde and Juno. By day, she runs a virtual/author assistant business (virtual-liaisons.com), and a research web site (literary-liaisons.com). Her favorite clients are authors!
By night, she writes. She self-published Researching the British Historical: The Victorian Era, 101 Organizing Tips for Writers, I’m Moving!! Now What? and Nine Journeys: Stories of Women Who Found Their Own Paths to Success.
For more information about Michelle and her endeavors, find her online: