What I’m reading
The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England by Amanda Vickery is a little bit of a slog for me. I’ve found the first chapter interesting as it makes it plain that a rigid delineation of the gentry and those in trade is not possible. Several families the author has investigated moved back and forth, with members marrying “up” into the gentry and “down” into the trades — albeit trade meaning you were an importer/exporter. It’s clear that fortunes rose and fell and many women maintained close ties with people who worked for a living or who lived off the income from their lands. There is not the horror of the trades we might imagine.
From the Barnes & Noble website: What was the life of an eighteenth-century British genteel woman like? This lively book, based on letters, diaries, and account books of over one hundred middle class women, transforms our understanding of the position of women in Georgian England. These women were not confined in their homes but enjoyed expanding horizons and an array of emerging public arenas, the author shows.