A bit of news for your Friday morning. On Tuesday, The Lady Taken: Part 2 went live at all major ebook retailers. I’m thrilled that I’m getting the chance to share the next installment of Lady Killane and Wolf’s story with you (and I promise that you’ll be excited for what I have in store for part 3).
In the midst of releasing The Lady Taken: Part 2, I just happened to sit down at the Romance Writers of America national conference with a PhD candidate who is researching romance, community, and feminism. In her last interview question, she asked me if she thought there was a direct, positive link between romance and feminism. Easy answer. I said yes without hesitating. In my eyes, reading romance and writing romance are feminists acts. In fact, I would argue that romance itself is inherently, unashamedly feminist.
Here’s a simple definition for you. Feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal social, political, and economic power. That power gives women that ability to choose how they live their lives without having to rely on a man to give them social or economic status. They can choose if they work, if they get an education, if they want to marry, if they want to have kids.
In modern romance novels, most heroines own their decisions. They choose to enter into a relationship with the hero. They allow that relationship to deepen both emotionally and sexually. They are shaping their own lives. The content of the books is feminist, and I believe that reading and writing books where women’s opinions and feelings matter (not to mention their sexual and romantic satisfaction) is an incredibly feminist act.
My The Lady Taken serial is set in England during 1882. In some ways, things were never better for women during Victoria’s reign. The old divorce laws that required women to provide two reasons (such as adultery or abandonment) for dissolving a marriage as well as an extremely expensive and embarrassing legal battle (think an act of Parliament) had loosened. There was still a strong social stigma about it, but more and more people could get divorced and leave unhappy or abusive marriages. Thanks to several Married Women’s Property Acts, married women could also hold property and earn wages because that property was no longer automatically their husband’s upon marriage. The suffrage movement was solidifying during this time too, although the militant suffragettes we associate with the fight for the right to vote weren’t yet chaining themselves to fences and destroying factories.
Lady Killane is very much a product of her time. If she had been born twenty years earlier, she probably would have been unable to inherit her husband’s money. Instead, Charles leaves her with enough money to begin investing, and in five years she manages to grow that into a little empire of factories. She is a business woman in a time when business women were rare but it is legally possible. In many ways, she’s one of my favorite types of heroines–the ones who defy what was expected of them at the time.
When I started this serial, I knew that I wanted to write about a woman who would grab exactly what she wants while also dealing with the inherent vulnerability that all of us have when we start to develop an emotional attachment to someone. I wanted her to be as confident in business as she was in the bedroom but also a great fit for Wolf. She needed to be the kind of heroine who could go toe to toe with an alpha who has a secret beta side. Lady Killane makes choices about who she has sex with, when, and why. Since she has money, she’d able to build a life without being forced to marry again (even if she does still have to contend with society’s perceptions of widowhood). She governs her own life. For all of these reasons, I thin she’s more than a match for Wolf.
When I sat down to write The Lady Taken, I had a couple rules for myself. I never wanted Wolf to sexually threaten Lady Killane (their relationship had to be built on consent), and I never wanted her to feel as though he was judging her because of her sexual appetite. Romance novels are one of the few books that don’t just focus on a woman’s sexual experience, they tell readers that experience is important and valuable. No matter how sweet or kinky the book winds up being, the heroine’s pleasure is a major focus. I wanted to be sure that Wolf was 100% on board with satisfying this woman for no other reason than it’s what she wants and what she deserves.
I hope that you continue to enjoy Wolf and Lady Killane’s story. You can pick up your copy of The Lady Taken: Part 2 from all major ebook retailers.
And if you’ve got thoughts on feminism and romance, I’d love to hear them!