Don’t you love charity shops for books? All sorts of unexpected treasures and out-of-print gems – and all costing less than an ebook.
Attitudes don’t magically change when a monarch changes, and a lot of the characters in my Victorian m/m romances were children or young people during the Regency. Having a much-reviled libertine leech like George IV on the throne would have shaped their attitudes. Books like The First Four Georges by JH Plumb help me understand the wider social situation that helped mould the people and institutions in my stories.
If I’m interested in where the Victorians came from, I’m also interested in where they went.
The Edwardians, by Vita Sackville-West is a 1930 novel about the ‘smart set’ in 1905.
I read the blurb, which said they were ‘cold, extravagant, scandalous, yet with a strong sense of keeping up appearances’. Sounded promising, so I dipped in at random, as you do, to find this sentence:
“She drew herself up, so that a diamond in her tiara came into line with a sconce and flashed a prismatic spot of light into the eye of beef-eater and made him blink.”
I also love the 1950s cover art, which doesn’t even look Edwardian if you squint. I bet the woman in the foreground is wearing ‘Evening in Paris’ and her beau probably listens to Elvis!