Love Never Fails: Romance in the 1800s, Part One

(Congratulations to our winner from last week’s post, Hannah Brown! Hannah, please email your mailing address to me, Amy, at agreen@bethanyhouse.com so I can send you a copy of Rebellious Heart. I loved reading all of your thoughts about the best aspects of life and love during the Revolutionary War.)

Now we move from the era of tea taxes and revolution to the frontier of America in the 1800s. The rules for love and romance have changed a bit, adding interesting features like mail-order brides and women who have to put in long, hard hours of labor on farms and ranches. It’s Valentine’s Day, the perfect time to see what our sisters from a century or so in the past thought about love and romance.

The first to represent the West, Mary Connealy shares some perspective on finding love in Texas in the late 1800s.

Match Made in Texas

Book Title and Setting: Meeting Her Match, from the A Match Made in Texas novella collection, 1893 Texas

My Question:
What was an interesting courtship tradition of this time?

Mary’s Answer:
One of the things I found most interesting was that as the school marm at that time, to have any scandal attached to her name meant being fired immediately. Even if everyone in town was quite sure you were innocent, it was just unthinkable that even a hint of wrongdoing could swirl around the teacher—that’s how high her moral standards had to be. And once that bit of scandal was attached to my heroine, Hannah, she was forced to marry.

The flip side of that was that no married woman was allowed to teach school. There might have been exceptions, but they were rare. It was considered an insult to the husband for his wife to work, as if saying he wasn’t able to take care of her.

Hannah and Mark

My Question:
What about the relationship in your story was typical of the time period, and what was atypical?

Mary’s Answer:
The thing that was not typical between Hannah and Marcus was their ages. Hannah was over twenty. In her mind she was firmly a spinster at that terribly old age. The chance for marriage had passed her by. Today if a twenty-year-old gets married, we are all very nervous because they are so young. It was also far less typical that Hannah was a working woman; most women lived at home until they married.

Connealy_MaryConnect with Mary on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

Next, Regina Jennings, one of the other novella contributors, describes an entirely different scenario between her two characters.

Book Title and Setting: An Unforeseen Match, from the A Match Made in Texas novella collection, 1893 Texas

My Question:
Describe your main characters’ relationship.

Regina’s Answer:
Because she’s going blind, Grace is forced away from her responsibilities as a school teacher and from society in general. Clayton realizes how much she values her independence, and he wants to help her maintain it, although he’d prefer that she’d learn to trust him instead. He’s torn between showing her that he can take care of her and teaching her how to take care of herself.

Palo Duro Canyon, the book's setting, via the A Match Made in Texas Pinterest Board.

Palo Duro Canyon, the book’s setting, via the A Match Made in Texas Pinterest Board.

My Question:
What about the relationship in your book was typical of the time period and what was not typical?

Regina’s Answer:
In the West it wasn’t unheard of for a single woman who owned a homestead to have a hired hand. There was plenty of work to go around, and the role was clearly defined. In An Unforeseen Match, however, Grace’s blindness blurs the lines. Clayton shouldn’t come inside the house, but who is going to cook? How can he guide her around the ranch without touching her? They constantly find themselves in unconventional situations.

Jennings, ReginaConnect with Regina on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

In Tracie Peterson’s new book, the heroine doesn’t meet her intended husband until their wedding day, something quite different from dating and marriage today.

A Sensible Arrangement

Book Title and Setting: A Sensible Arrangement, 1893 Texas and Colorado

My Question:
Describe your main characters’ relationship:

Tracie’s Answer:
Marty Dandridge Olson—originally from the LAND OF THE LONE STAR series is a widow who wants to get out of Texas and answers a newspaper advertisement for a Lone Star Bride. Jake Wythe is originally from the STRIKING A MATCH series. When his Colorado banking job insists he have a wife, he looks for a platonic mate with whom he doesn’t have to risk his heart.

My Question:
What about the relationship in your book was typical of the time period and what was not typical?

Tracie’s Answer:
Advertising in the newspaper for a wife wasn’t all that unusual in the 1800s, but in truth it was probably done less in the later years of the century. However, for my rural ranch characters who lost mates and have no desire to fall in love again, a platonic, arranged sort of mail-order marriage works well. Today we have the Internet, but in the 1800s it was newspapers if you wanted to advertise for a wife or husband.

Peterson, TracieConnect with Tracie on Facebook and her website.

More giveaway fun for you, readers! This time, you have a chance to win A Match Made in Texas. To enter, just comment on the blog with an answer to this question: if you were writing an advertisement for a spouse who you would marry sight unseen, what three characteristics would be most important to you? (If you’re already married, pretend you’re writing the advertisement for your son or daughter.) The winner will be announced in next Friday’s post!

76 thoughts on “Love Never Fails: Romance in the 1800s, Part One

  1. Tough question!
    1) He would need to be a saved godly man.
    2) I would want him to be around my age.
    3) I would want him to love chicken and rice because those are foods I cook regularly. Haha!
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  2. I’ve already purchased & read this book but I would love to pass it along to someone else who would enjoy it! Great book – some of my favorite authors!

    • Sorry, I didn’t read the question fully! I’m almost 40 & single so my requirement list has shrunk since I was in my twenties.

      1. Love The Lord
      2. Hard worker
      3. Responsible
      4. Breathing!!

  3. Love the comments from the authors today…and would really like to read this story. I would say my three things for a spouse never before met…

    1. Christian man
    2. well respected in community
    3. Loving person

  4. Honest hard working man wanted to support wife and young family.
    In return for kind treatment, housekeeping and delicious meals will be provided. Companionship and a good listener. Proven breeder.
    You must respect women and believe physical discipline for children is a last resort.
    Prefer a husband with musical talent and a love of education and reading.

  5. Recently, my elementary school-age daughter told me she liked muscular men, I don’t even know where that came from. For her, I’d say the guy would have to be a true Christian, have a sense of humor, and be muscular!

  6. God-fearing
    gentle-hearted
    and most importantly patient( must have patience because with patience comes understanding of my plight and that means they truly care for me and want to stick it out even though the obstacles will be big considering i would not be able to see them)

  7. I am married to the man of my dreams…so for my daughter I would want him to be:
    1. A Godly man
    2. Loving to those around him
    3. A hardworker

  8. This question actually made me think! I could write down a whole list but narrowing it down to three is a little harder but i enjoyed it!
    •above all, a man who has a strong faith in God
    •a man who is not scared to face everything life has to offer with me by his side.
    •A man who will stand by me through both of life’s good and bad times.

  9. I would love to win these books. First of all I love historical fiction. I already read and follow some of these ladies and love their books! Their research is fantastic. I always feel like I am there!

  10. Tough but interesting question! Thanks for hosting this giveaway and the awesome blog post! 🙂

    1) A Christian who loves the Lord with all his heart, soul, and mind
    2) Hard working
    3) Virtuous

  11. That’s a hard question but I guess the three top traits would be: 1) a Christian man who loves the Lord first and foremost, 2) respectful and 3) loves children and cherishes family. Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. I would say the three most important requirements for a mate would be: A strong Christian , A hard worker , Someone with a lot of patience to deal with all of my physical problems.

  13. What we see and read about the times then are quite different in many ways to our current age. That was a time with definite parameters. A time when women were really women, and men were really men, and permitted to be men. I love that time period for those reasons, and many others as well. Many don’t care about values, don’t care about spiritual things. We are living in the 21st century, but we have lost so much in values, integrity, faith, and more.

  14. I was married for 22 years until my husband died, but if I were looking for another (which I am not!) here are the things I would require (based on things I found out about my husband after we were married): 1) employed/hard worker, 2) able to read and write, 3) does not drink, swear, or abuse women and children, 4) and not gay!

  15. Only three? How about 4? 🙂
    1. Must be saved and living for God.
    2. Allows God to love others through him.
    3. Hard Working and rugged
    4. Wise and understanding.

  16. These are the most important things but I have a few other things I would like.
    1. A real Christian Man-not just say you are but to live it
    2. One who doesn’t drink or smoke-no smoking at all and little drinking-one drink won’t send you on a binge or need more
    3. After taking care of things he needs a sense of humor.

  17. This would be for my son
    1 – A girl who loves the Lord with all her heart, mind and strength
    2 – She needs to have a great deal of patience and compassion
    3 – Be able to be content in what God has blessed you with

  18. My husband is the perfect guy so any guy that comes into my daughters lives has big shoes to fill. Wanted a guy who puts his family first, is a Christian, hard working, honest man who has a good sense of humor, communication skills a must as well as be able to LISTEN, and is intelligent. Smokers and drinkers may not apply!

  19. A real Christian – not just go to church when it is convenient – bible reading and lives God’s word. A family man. Even tempered and honest.

  20. Love reading all the comments!
    There are so many qualities that I’d prefer, and narrowing down to 3 is rather difficult. But here goes:
    1. Devoted Christian man
    2. Servant heart
    3. Talent in music, or at least an appreciation of music (I am a musician, after all)

    Can’t wait to read these books! 🙂

  21. ~ Wanted, a man willing to marry me sight unseen. I am a woman of good Christian standing. I would expect you to be a man of the same. You must be willing to for me to a reasonable standard. I will in turn keep your house, mend your clothes and keep your belly full ( I can cook and bake). I am also hoping that you have a kind heart and be willing to let me share mine. Please send a letter of reference from your pastor with your reply.
    This was fun to think about 🙂

  22. Since I’m not married, I’ll do for my self:
    1.) Must be a strong faith, Christian- I want to grow in my Faith in marriage..it would be cool if we could do a Bible Study everyday together!
    2.) Must be willing to adopt- The Lord has given me a heart for sweet little Asian children with special needs… I want around 20 of them!
    3.) No more than five years older than me. (The cut off age for adopting in China is 50, so I would still be five years of adopting left in me, Lord willin’!)

    Heehee! That was fun!

  23. 1. Must be a strong Christian man. Who loves and fears the Lord God All Mighty.
    2. Have a sense of humor, and can make me laugh.
    3. Compassionate, caring, and Patient.

  24. Would be willing to live with younger siblings, work with me side by side including riding and enjoy reading from the bible and singing for the Lord.

  25. I am of the elderly persuasion (seems to have happened overnight) and would like to find a man who is “older.” You must know the Lord…and not just know Him, but live according to his principles. I love to cook–so it is essential that you like to eat. And…reading is essential–you must enjoy reading or at least not mind if I read.

  26. That the parents would know the person their child is dating.
    That they have a solid fundamental basis for beginning a relationship.
    That they did prepare themselves for marriage.
    That you leave and cleave when you marry this person.
    But most importantly, that you share common values of Christianity, honesty, and more.

  27. A man that loves and respects God.
    A man that has a wonderful laugh and gives it freely.
    A man that respects and treats a lady with gentleness and love.

  28. Since I’m married, for my son:
    Wanted: a woman of Faith with a sense of humor who is not lacking in the area of Common Sense and intelligence (two completely different things, trust me). If you posses such qualities, your inner beauty will mesmerize and enchant.

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