Local author, Stephanie Patterson released the second installment of her historical romance series, “Season of the Furies,” in early June.
Patterson’s first book in the series, “A Terrible Beauty,” debuted in March of 2016, garnering acclaim from her readers. “Mrs. Lady,” the second book, was met with equal enthusiasm. The series is set in Victorian England and features three, strong-willed and distinctive heroines who are basically the “mean girls” of the London’s wintertime social phenomena known historically as “The Season.”
“The overall theme of the books,” Patterson said, “is that people can choose to change and reinvent themselves. We’ve all known people who peaked early in life and often not in a good way. This series explains that it is individual choice on whether or not someone maintains the status quo of eighteen for the rest of their lives, or grows and develops into a fulfilled and engaged individual.”
The first book in the series dealt with the horrors of the Crimean War as seen through the eyes of nurse, Belle Winslow. The second book, “Mrs. Lady,” takes on many matters of Victorian social conscience that remain relevant today, among them pollution, worker’s rights and woman’s emancipation. In book two, the heroine, Lady Katherine, finds herself stripped of her privilege, her title and possessions because she has angered her husband. “Until 1882, women who married under British law surrendered everything they brought with them into the marriage. It all became the sole property of their husbands as woman after marriage legally ceased to exist as an individual, or feme sole. Women didn’t even have rights to their own children before 1839.” Patterson explained.
Historical novels allow her to introduce lesser-known historical figures to readers. Sir Titus Salt, a real life British industrialist featured in Patterson’s book, felt morally bound to improve the living conditions of his workers thereby making them happier and more productive. In 1851 he decided to relocate his woolen mills outside the city of Bradford in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Pollution, disease and poor food had reduced the average life expectancy in Bradford to a mere twenty years. Salt built the first planned mill community geared towards improving the living conditions of his employees. “He built row houses for them with running water, schools, and infirmaries – things that where unheard of for most factory workers during the industrial revolution.” Salt also worked to reduce factory emissions and worked to improve working conditions for England’s large pool of child laborers.