Daniel J. Watkins, my antihero in The Gilded Age is a deeply troubled 1890s man, having suffered a childhood trauma not uncommon for the period. He learns to overcome his typical derogatory male attitudes toward women with the help of Zhu Wong, my far future time traveler. He’s got serious substance abuse problems stemming from his childhood trauma, and Zhu literally saves him from himself, but not without a struggle.
If you’re curious about men’s attitudes toward women during the turn of the century, many of which linger to this day, I highly recommend Bram Dikstra’s amazing book, Idols of Perversity, to which I gave five stars on Goodreads. Partial chapter titles include such gems as “Raptures of Submission and the Cult of the Household Nun,” “The Nymph with the Broken Back and the Mythology of Therapeutic Rape,” “Women of Moonlight and Wax,” “Gold and the Virgin Whores of Babylon, the Priestesses of Man’s Severed Head,” and “Clinging Vines and the Dangers of Degeneration.” You get the idea.
For my fin de siècle romantic suspense, I wanted a true hero, Jackson Tremaine, who represents the best of what men had to offer during that period—fascination with new technologies and developments in medicine, an appreciation of art and literature, strength and courage, and a protective, positive attitude toward women and children. (The typical fin de siècle patriarch regarded children as pretty much gender-neutral. A child would be referred to as “it.”) Men like the philosopher John Stuart Mill supported the vote for women and women’s empowerment in all aspects of life, in and out of the bedroom.
Jackson Tremaine is an unusual alpha male who is not threatened by women. On the contrary, he loves women and is very aware of the attitudes Dikstra discusses. Tremaine rejects the usual. He’s not without his own checkered past and personal problems—I’ll have to let him tell you about himself in Celestial Girl—but I think he’s an excellent match for my heroine, Lily Modjeska. Their sensuality is hot!
Celestial Girl (A Lily Modjeska Mystery)
Lily is not quite a typical woman in Toledo, Ohio, 1896. She may be repressed and dependent on her husband, but she supports the vote for women and has a mind of her own. But when Johnny Pentland is found dead at a notorious brothel, Lily discovers her husband is not the man she thought he was.
Pursued by Pentland’s enemies, Lily embarks on a journey that will take her across the country to San Francisco and across the ocean to Imperial China as she unravels a web of murder and corruption reaching from the opium dens of Chinatown to the mansions of Nob Hill.
Her journey becomes one of the heart when she crosses paths with Jackson Tremaine, a debonair, worldly-wise physician. Lily and Jackson begin a conflicted, passionate relationship as they encounter the mysterious Celestial Girl and her dangerous entourage.
Or try the miniseries in three installments–
Celestial Girl, Book 1: The Heartland (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Lily flees Toledo on the Overland train. She must share a seat with Jackson Tremaine and befriends the Celestial Girl, the daughter of a Chinese dignitary. But appearances are not what they seem.
Celestial Girl, Book 2: Jewel of the Golden West (A Lily Modjeska Mystery) is on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony. Lily and Jackson arrive in San Francisco and discover the murder of an immigration official connected with the Celestial Girl. She and Jackson are compelled into a dangerous murder investigation. As they begin a passionate affair, a contract for murder is taken out on Lily’s life.
Celestial Girl, Book 3: The Celestial Kingdom (A Lily Modjeska Mystery). Lily and Tremaine journey to Imperial China, confronting soldiers of the Boxer Revolution and brutal slavers. Lily discovers secrets vital to the identity of the Celestial Girl. In Celestial Girl, Book 4: Terminus (A Lily Modjeska Mystery). Lily and Jackson return to San Francisco and solve the tragic mystery of the Celestial Girl. Both books are on Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony.
Of The Gilded Age, the New York Times Book Review said, “A winning mixture of intelligence and passion.”
Also available on Amazon.com in Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and India.
From the author of Summer Of Love, A Time Travel (a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book) on BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, and Sony;
For urban fantasy, science fiction, fantasy, romantic suspense, humor, and a screenplay, visit the Virtual Bookstore! All Lisa Mason Titles, All Links, All Readers, Worldwide. NYT Notable Book Author https://lisamasontheauthor.com/2013/08/31/virtual-bookstore-fantasy-science-fiction-urban-fantasy-romantic-suspense-literary-screenplay-sfwapro/
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