Wednesday 15 July 2015

Victorian Era Etiquette

Not Mary Poppins, just Rita in costume.
As much as I enjoy researching the Victorian Era, I believe I'd much rather keep our twenty - first century guidelines for acceptably good behaviour in our Australian society.

Since I set most of my novels in this fascinating period of history I thought it appropriate to dress as a governess while addressing my audiences about all the weird and wonderful customs and strict etiquette.

I speak in a upper class English accent ( quite posh) and engage my audience by explaining the times which govern the characters of my novels. I also use audience participation. Here I am in a living room, unable to keep a straight face  when I lectured ladies on the matter of a feminine laugh. Not loud, not a chuckle nor a cackle, but a melodic cadence. I demonstrated then after the count of three, it was their turn. Oh, my. The strange sounds I heard. The men present didn't get off lightly either, but joined in when I explained rules concerning them, especially during the mourning period. Oh, those wonderful Victorians!

The governess is mainly a 'behind-the-scenes' person. It's an interesting fact that the members of a well-to-do family didn't quite know how to treat her. She wasn't a relative, nor a guest, not a mistress, neither was she a servant. Sometimes she was ignored, sometimes treated as a confidante, and usually saw things that should never go beyond the family circle. Some felt they were in a precarious position as the master often treated her warmly whereas the mistress displayed undue suspicion.

I thought this was one way to enjoy a presentation and a vehicle for selling my books. At ladies or seniors f/ships, or a coffee evening, I give my spiel followed by a short inspirational talk about God being the greatest Author of all time. And showing how Jesus used stories to great effect. After all, stories are our history. Stories have the power to change the way we view the world.

View The Tie That Binds trailer at

It is a stand alone sequel to Signed Sealed Delivered, Book I of the Victoriana Series. Since becoming an Indy publisher, Rita is enjoying the ride! Choosing the cover and the title is a blessing.

A Parcel of Promises, Book III is on its way. This historical romance reveals the gulf between the aristocracy and those in service.

Rita is a co-speaker on a Christian radio program. Her website:


  1. Hi Rita,
    I'd love to attend one of your presentations. You look quite the part in the photo :) what a difficult era in which to live. We talk about modern girls wanting to become clones of each other, but in the Victorian era, even their laughs had to uniform. Perhaps we don't realise what opportunity we have to be individuals in the twenty first century.

  2. Oh yes, Paula. It must have been difficult to just 'be themselves'. I guess that's why I like writing about feisty girls who baulk at such restrictive regulations.


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