All In Good Time

 Maureen Lang


 
During the Gilded Age women were extolled for their virtues and depended upon to “civilize” society—to soften or make genteel the coarse tendencies of their male contemporaries by bringing grace and beauty to a sometimes harsh world. It was an age when women trusted husbands or fathers to take care of them, and it was no less than a man’s duty to carry out this noble mission.

Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? The Victorian virtues of female piety and male chivalry weren’t just for the fairy tales; it was widely accepted in polite 1800s society. Women were to bear and rear the children, oversee the household, but beyond deciding what to serve for dinner they weren’t to trouble their little head.

 That’s only part of what’s beneath the romantic veneer of the Gilded Age. What happened when men were less than gentlemen or women less than pure? If a young woman lost her virtue, her entire future could be compromised, regardless of being rich or poor. Her father might disown her, and no beaus would come calling. Unfortunately she had few options for making a living without someone to vouch for her integrity.

 In my book, All In Good Time, part of my research covered what often happened to such a woman. Young women who were seduced by charming men or, lacking that, a spiked drink. Women who were properly married but whose husband turned out to be a less than honorable, who couldn’t or wouldn’t provide for them or deserted them without a penny. Young women who wanted an honest job, only to find out the only way to fully support themselves was to “supplement” their wages with a few indiscriminate assignations on the side. All of these scenarios, and more, provided the slippery slope to full time prostitution.

 Here are a few facts I learned about the world’s oldest profession from an 1858 statistical study of American prostitution. It revealed the three leading causes behind the choice of prostitute:

Inclination

Destitution

Seduced and abandoned

At a glance you’d think “Inclination” meant they chose such a job because they thought they’d enjoy it. Easy work, right? The text quickly explained that if women had an appetite equal to men, illegitimacy and prostitution would be rife—even in “proper” Victorian society.

 So what did “Inclination” really mean? Most of the time it meant that while they weren’t forced into such a life, they made the choice willingly because they didn’t seem to have any alternative. Most women who chose prostitution willingly did so as a sequel to some other circumstance. Some were unchaste already, and not always by choice. Others were deceived into thinking it would be a prosperous, easy life, and still others simply hoped to have regular access to alcohol, since a desire to drink was also listed as one of the reasons women fell into the business. Very few of those who stated Inclination as the reason they became prostitutes admitted an overwhelming desire for the actual work they were signing on to do.

 Other categories included:

 Expectation of an easy life

Fell into bad company

Persuaded by prostitutes

Too idle to work

Violated

Seduced on board an emigrant ship or in a boarding house

Ever since the kind-hearted prostitute in Gone With The Wind, novels have often included “soiled doves” as women neither all good nor all bad. It’s likely true no one is all good or all bad, but to portray girls who lived in such a harsh market as delicate, kind, and sensitive might be a stretch, considering the way society treated them. Even in today’s much more permissive society, prostitution is illegal almost everywhere. It’s hard to imagine a woman maintaining a soft spot for humanity if she’s forced into a role the rest of society, at best, would ignore if not outlaw altogether.

And yet there is no person, no corner of the world, whom God doesn’t love. That’s why I wrote All In Good Time, about a woman who wanted to share God’s love and give women choices—because even my heroine made a mistake. She was never a prostitute herself, but knows the saying all too well “There but by the grace of God, go I.”

All of us make mistakes of one sort or another. Some aren’t quite as visible as others, but a stain is still a stain and we all carry them of one size or another. Writing this book reminded me of how thorough was God’s work on the cross, something I’m always happy to share with others!

I’m also reminded that the Bible itself offers some very colorful characters in its pages. How do you feel about a book that reminds us that history had some rough edges to it?

 One final note: I’d be thrilled to give away a free print copy of All In Good Time to anyone living in the US who comments, or an e-book version to anyone outside the US. If you already have a copy of All In Good Time, I’d be happy to extend this offer to any one of my other titles. Just visit Amazon or my website to see your choices.

www.maureenlang.com

 

 

To order, click on cover

 

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22 thoughts on “All In Good Time”

  1. Great post! All In Good Time sounds like a very interesting story. I enjoy reading a story that reminds us that history had some rough edges to it. Sometimes depending on the history mention in the book, I will do some more research on it if makes me wonder about some other aspects of it.

  2. Interesting post. This sounds like a good book. I love a story that “There but by the grace of God, go I.”

  3. Welcome to the Junction, Maureen! We’re thrilled you could join us today.

    I imagine a woman who had to “choose” this life had to have some hard edges. She would never survive otherwise. Thanks for the interesting look into the profession.

  4. Great post, Maureen. It gives us all, as women, something to think about. How sad that many or maybe most of these women, really had no other options. We are certainly blessed in this day. However, I do think that today, some of these reasons are still valid for those in prostitution. Then, there is the whole other situation of sex slavery. Thank you for offering a copy of you book. I’m sure that I’d enjoy reading it.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing a very interesting post with us Maureen! I enjoy learning about little pieces of history from posts and books… even if they are not pleasant… Choices & mistakes… seeing what paths we choose in life and if we can move on from them or improve on them…

  6. This sounds like an amazing story! I would be honored to read it! I was always told I would go to hell because I got pregnant at 16 and unwed! I married the father and we will celebrate our 30th anniversary this year! I am still in love with him as much as was way back! He is my life! We have 2 handsome sons 28 &22! I wouldn’t trade my life for a thing and I have made peace with God and live a wonderful life! Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. Welome,an I too enjoyed the post,,very interesting,,some women had to whatever to survive,,women have sure come a long way to be able to make a honest living without depending on a man to do it for her,,thanks for sharing this with us

  8. It’s such a pleasure to be visiting here! I love this blog, it’s filled with so many historical tidbits and wonderful information.

    I’m especially enjoying the comments – and agree with those who’ve already stated how glad they are to be living in this day and age instead of the 1800s when women had far fewer choices. I always enjoy visiting history, at least by way of the romantic stories I write and read, but I’m always relieved to “wake up” in the present day and age. 🙂

    Also wanted to extend a big congratulations to Kim on her upcoming 30th wedding anniversary – thanks for sharing a bit of your story. Happy endings are always welcome!

  9. Maureen, welcome to our little corner of the world. We’re so glad to have you. I love historical fiction stories of fallen women. In fact, my third published book was about just such a woman right after the Civil War. She’d been kidnapped and forced into the profession. So it wasn’t by her choice.

    Your new book looks wonderful! I love that model on the cover. Her expression is priceless. And that dress is very lovely. Wishing you much success with it.

  10. Maureen, I really enjoyed your information on this topic.n So glad to live at a time when there are so many choices for women. Looking forward to reading your novel.

  11. I believe some young girls today think they must have sex because that’s what everyone else is doing. They are seduced by what they see in media etc. That might also lead them into thinking they’ve already gone that way, so why not make some money? Just a thought. This profession has always seemed so sad to me. Once you get in, how do you get out?

  12. Hello Maureen. Love the cover of new book. Sounds like a good book. I believe this was also a reason for so many Mail-order Brides. I have tho’t I couldn’t do that, but if it meant prostitution, it would be a better choice. I can’t even imagine sleeping with just anyone and never knowing what to expect. Lots of times the dads picked a husband that his daughter didn’t like anyway. I would love to win your book. Please enter me. Glad you were here to visit. I love this blog. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  13. It’s hard to imagine a time when woman had so few choices in life and then those were usually choices determined by a man. We’ve come a long way.

    I feel for anyone who is forced to sell their body and soul to survive. I admire people who persevere when times are tough. People do what they have to do to survive. I don’t look down on these people. However, I can’t imagine going to bed with someone I didn’t know or love.

    I’d love to read how you showcase a woman struggling to survive ad helping other woman along the way in ALL IN GOOD TIME.

    johnslake at usa dot com

  14. This sounds like a great book… and I can’t imagine what those “Gilded Lilly’s” went through to earn a living..

  15. Thanks very much for the wonderful comments! I certainly enjoyed visiting here, and hope to do so again some time in the future. 🙂

    And my hearty Congratulations to the book winner!

  16. Since I’m not much of a homemaker… it’s a good thing I don’t live back then… But there are still the dual standards in many instances today.

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