I’m as happy as England and the rest of the fictional world that WWI is over! Unfortunately, there is aftermath in the form of hunger, strikes, unemployment, and general shell-shock. Nowadays we know what actual shell-shock is, it must have been horrible for the men and women back then to make sense of a world gone mad.
The war was over sure, but now what? People looked around and wondered what it was all for. Thus began the roaring twenties. The role of men and women in society had been thoroughly shook up and stood upside down, and especially for Georgian England which was really still quite draconian in its attitudes. Women finally got the vote after WWI and not because the government thought they deserved it per se, but because they couldn’t see a way around it any longer!
Women tilled the fields, ran husband’s businesses, nursed in hospitals seeing deplorable things, ran ambulances and much more. Shockingly, a well-to-do girl might set up a house of her own, alone or go to a restaurant with a female friend, or a male friend and no one would think twice. The war changed a great many things, and left the vast majority of people with an empty hole to fill on the inside.
With the new lax rules, dance clubs sprung up everywhere, prohibition in America only ensured the wealthy would drink more. Young girls over age 21 no longer had to have a guardian they were in charge of their own lives for once. Young men and women drank champagne, embarked upon wild flings with without passion, and danced. Danced and danced and danced.
It’s time of change for Polly Morland, Uncle Teddy’s daughter as she goes to New York to seek her fortune. Her heart has been broken and her father doesn’t take her seriously enough when it comes to the business she’ll inherit. I got pretty excited reading this, because New York in the twenties must have been a crazy time, and placed at the top of society as the Morlands generally are, the setting is right for all kinds of fun.
Mostly this book was a long breath out to try to look around and sort ones self out after the war. Things are changing and you can feel it. In the meantime, they shut their minds to future fortunes, and dance.