Today is my last stop on the virtual blog tour for MUSIC FOR MY SOUL. I visited Jen at The Crafty Cauldron. Here is my guest blog for her.
Dare With Flair: How My Heroines Lose the Victim Label While Finding Their Happily Ever After
by Lauren Linwood
When I was invited to blog at The Crafty Cauldron, Jen’s requested topic choice threw me for a loop. She asked that I write about how my characters are victims without making them seem weak.
As a former history teacher and modern, independent (thinking and acting) woman, it is difficult for me at times to reflect upon how women have been treated as victims throughout history. Since I write historical romances, whether I like or not, that’s part of the journey I must go on with my heroines. I must move them from being a victim (or “unfortunate person” as my thesaurus calls them) to women who courageously take charge of their own destinies.
Victims can be defined in different ways, at least according to Merriam-Webster. Fortunately, none of my heroines belong to the “living beings sacrificed to a deity or in the performance of a religious rite” category. They haven’t been swindled by a con man or adversely affected by cancer or a car crash.
But they have experienced harsh circumstances. Sometimes these have been beyond their control, yet as they grow and change, these heroines discover the fortitude not only to endure … but to do something about their condition or status.
In my upcoming western historical Outlaw Muse, out in November, Serena Sullivan is a victim of poverty and a dying mother. She and her brother are forced into the Orphan Train welfare program, which transports children from the east coast out west, hoping to give them a fresh start with families who will adopt them. Serena is separated from her beloved younger brother, but she never forgets him. She grows up and becomes a schoolmarm, traveling each year to teach in a new place, always searching for clues in order to reunite with him. Serena could have written her brother off and moved on with her life, but she actively looks for him. Even when she’s railroaded for a murder she didn’t commit and is saved by a handsome stranger moments before she’s hanged, the entire time they are on the run from the law, Serena still holds hope she will find her missing brother. And she does, along with love from the very proper British hero who rescued her from the hangman’s noose.
In A Game of Chance, my western historical due in 2014, Lily Frontiere learns her dying mother has racked up huge gambling debts, putting the family business in jeopardy. Though she’s lived most of her life away at boarding school and traveled throughout Europe, Lily knows it’s up to her to keep things afloat. Lily wanted to go on the stage, but her mother forbid her involvement in such a risqué career. Now Lily finds herself in the acting role of a lifetime, in a raven-haired wig with heavy make-up, assuming the role of her mother-who just happens to be the madam of the most famous whorehouse in San Francisco! Lily knows little of this world, but she’s determined to get the books back in order, keep the clients coming through the doors, and pay off the debts owed, all while trying to nurse her mother back to good health. A shrinking violet would abandon her mother and the girls of the house, but Lily marches in like the suffragette she is and turns things around-all while falling in love with a pretty terrific guy.
In my debut release out now, entitled Music For My Soul, Madeleine Bouchard is the third wife of a religious fanatic. Her abusive husband has already lost two wives to mysterious circumstances when they didn’t produce the required heir, and Madeleine feels her life is now in danger since no babe has made an appearance. Though women of 1346 were tremendously subservient to their husbands, Madeleine gathers her courage (along with her favorite lute) and strikes out on her own. She plans to seek sanctuary in a convent, but when that plan falls through, she reinvents herself as the only woman troubadour in all of England, captivating audiences through story and song. No waiting around for this heroine to allow her crazy, evil husband to knock her off and move on to Wife #4. Madeleine shows tremendous bravery, along with a dash of spunk, and escapes from an impossible situation. And yes, since it’s a romance? She happens to fall in love with a dashing lord .. who also has a few secrets of his own.
So it’s true that while the women I write about may appear to be victims at the start of my story due to loss, suffering, injury, or separation, by the end they have displayed courage and daring action in order to achieve happiness and love.