The fate of many of Jane Austen’s female characters, if not all, depents to a large extent on their dowries of settlements. Miss Darcy’s Beaux, which follows Georgiana Darcy to London and sees her meet eligible gentlemen with a view to finding a suitable match, is no exception.
I have written a blog post for the wonderful blog Austenesque Reviews on the issue, which I hope you will enjoy. Here’s an excerpt.
The Regency was a time of dramatic socio-economic changes, and Jane Austen’s novels reflect their historical context through the ups and downs of their characters. Her books are full of details that show this upheaval, and she certainly doesn’t shy away from discussing money. References to wealth or a lack thereof are constant in her novels, and in many cases, we know a lot about the fortunes of those who pepper her pages.
An excellent example of Austen’s attention to what is happening around her is Anne Elliot from Persuasion. The Elliots are a textbook case of an old family in financial difficulties relative to their usual standard of living; although Anne and her sisters are the daughters of a baronet, their settlements are just £3,000. At the other end of the spectrum, we have the Misses Bingley from Pride and Prejudice. Their family has amassed a large fortune through trade, enough to provide each girl with a very generous dowry of £20,000.
To read the rest of the article, check out Austenesque Reviews. There is also a Miss Darcy’s Beaux giveaway, so good luck!