Courting in America during the Victorian era was bound by many rules. The purpose was marriage, plain and simple. Unlike dating as we know it today – or as it was even decades ago – courtship wasn’t really for fun and socialization. Some of the customs involved parties and social events, but the role of courting had nothing to do with those, really. Courtship normally came from negotiation and arrangements made by parents.
Things changed during the Gilded Age which lasted from 1870 through 1900. The American economy grew and people had more money. Industrialization gave people more free time and many chose to expand their social networks since they now had more time for parties and the like. The rigid rules of the Victorian era were cast aside. A step toward dating as we now know it came here.
In the old west, much of the formality of the east was impractical. This was true in all social situations, not just courtship. There were fewer people and the lifestyle was far less elegant. A woman still needed to behave appropriately to maintain a good reputation, but life was more relaxed.
Finding a wife was difficult for many men in the old west. Women who would make good wives were fairly scarce. Many marriages in the Western America happened because of the mail order bride movement. Small businesses developed over time to help bring couples together. Many of these were agencies running ads to help the ones looking find each other.
Matchmaking has been around for centuries and there were matchmakers in the old west, too. The process was less formal, but the principles were the same. A match would be made based on many factors – usually the least of those factors was the chance of love.
In the Colorado Matchmaker Series, Susannah Jessup becomes a matchmaker. She met her husband, Lucas, when she answered his ad for a wife. During their first few years of marriage, she needed to fill a void in her life as she found out she was barren. She and Lucas had wanted children, but that wasn’t meant to be. So, she started matching women who had difficulty finding a man with men who needed good wives.
This is a romance series, so all Susannah’s matched couples fall in love. While this may not have been typical for matched couples during the late 1800s in the old west, most of them developed very strong feelings of loyalty and respect for each other. Isn’t that love? Why can’t a couple in a romance story develop those feelings early and recognize them as love? Of course they can! That’s what makes romance in true to life situations so wonderful.
I hope you’ll take a look at the Colorado Matchmaker Series and fall in love with the couples in Rocky Ridge. The stories stand alone inside the series and can be read in any order. The latest story is about Olivia and Simon.
Annie Boone writes sweet western historical romance with a happy ending guaranteed in every single story. Inspiration comes in many forms and Annie finds more than one way to make her stories entertain and inspire.
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