What people expect from a marriage changes with the times. Although back in the Victorian Age men and women certainly married for love, they saw the resulting marriage as a partnership in an enterprise. He would work out in the world, she would handle the home and children. What little time they spent together was precious because so rare, given the long hours men worked in those days.
By the time that Violet Winters, the protagonist of FLICKERS, is getting married, that expectation is changing. In 1913, when her wedding takes place, affluent women were already reading women’s magazines that held up a different ideal of marriage: a love-match that would provide affection and companionship, not just a business arrangement. Unfortunately for Violet, her husband, Maury Rediston, hasn’t read those articles. During a visit to show her family her new baby, Violet talks about the problem with her Aunt Eustacia, a formidable old-school matron.
“It was lovely of you to invite his brother for dinner tonight,” Violet said. “Maury’s so pleased at the chance to see him.”
“I thought he would be,” Eustacia said. “He can be quite charming, Tip, I mean, though Maury has his moments.”
“When he wants to have them, yes.”
Eustacia raised one eyebrow in concern.
“How are things with you, dear?” Eustacia said.
“Well, now that I have Leslie, everything’s different again. But I suppose it’s fine.”
“Children do that to your life. You’ll have to find a new routine, but it’s awkward at first.”
“Here I thought it was just me.”
“Hardly, dear. And your Leslie is such a darling. Such a nice name, too. I was hoping that you’d avoid calling him Josiah. So old-fashioned.”
“Maury likes it, too.”
“Good. One of his more modern ideas?” Eustacia’s smile turned a bit wry. “Oh well, there’s a lot to be said for Maury, really. He’s too busy to be a bully, the way some men are. The poor dears, it’s in their training, so I suppose one can’t really blame them, but it’s very trying on the woman who’s married one.”
“It would be.” Violet heard the bitterness creeping into her voice. “But then Maury’s not home enough to bother.”
Eustacia considered her for a moment.
“You know, dear,” Eustacia said. “It’s just as well to marry a man you’re fond of, but aren’t head over heels in love with. I’ve seen so many girls marry the man they love madly, only to have him use it against them. There’s so much modern talk these days about marrying for love alone, but I have my doubts, for all that it sounds so romantic.”
Caught off-guard, Violet could think of no reply.
Set in the dynamic years leading up to the Roaring Twenties, Flickers turns its lens on California’s glamorous silent film era, as Victorian civilities are swept away by a bold new century . . .
Violet Winters is the daughter of one of California’s wealthy robber barons. Jack Sutter is the gardener’s son. In their youth, the two were inseparable. But in 1913 everything is changing, and despite their feelings for each other, adulthood has come between them. Their vastly different social positions leads Violet to marry the aloof but socially perfect Maury Rediston. Jack vows to win Violet back while carving out a new life for himself in the burgeoning motion picture industry. Tip Rediston, Violet’s brother-in-law, also gets drawn into the bohemian world of the flickers. As handsome as he is troubled, Tip starts his climb to stardom despite his family’s disapproval. But as social changes, political upheaval, and war change the world around them, Violet, Jack, and Tip learn that things are never as easy as they seem on the silver screen. . .
Kathryn Jordan lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two cats, and a vagrant skunk. Although she spent her childhood in a Great Lakes industrial city, she became a confirmed Californian at age nine, when her family relocated to Santa Barbara, the “Santa Luisa” of the novel. All it took was one winter without five feet of snow turning into black urban slush to convince her that the move had been worthwhile. FLICKERS, her first historical novel, is a new departure for her career. Under the name of Katharine Kerr, she’s also the author of the Nola O’Grady series of light-hearted urban fantasy novels.