When I finished Mistress Of The House and submitted it to my beta reader, she had some thoughts on this particular novel that she didn’t have on the others. Well, of course she’d have different feelings for this piece of work, because it (and I would venture to say Master Of The House too) focuses on marriage as the goal. Actually, the reader finds out quickly that Thelma Starnsby has marriage on the brain.
So what? You may ask; and that’s all well and good. But here is what my beta reader thought: she had a difficult time with the values Thelma had, though she made it clear that she accepted Thelma’s values as real to her, the character. However, the reader indicated that she never went into relationships with marriage as the goal, and that she thought this concept was rather strange to her, something she couldn’t quite grasp.
Many would add that women may be less inclined in this modern day age to consider marriage as strongly as they did years ago, especially the time in which the House books take place. In the 1920s and 1930s, usually a woman’s chance for any kind of security in life hinged on a good marriage. For all you women out there, you might say a prayer today that you’re even allowed to have a bad day at the office. Why? Because in the 1920s and 2930s, employers refused to hire women for open positions in their company or business.
So what’s a good gal to do? Thelma’s motto would be, “If you got it, flaunt it.” And that’s just what she did. She decided to make her lessons at The House pay off in dividends, by using her amorous skills in landing the man of her dreams. As it also happened, the man of her dreams truly had been dreaming of someone like Thelma. He just didn’t realize it until she opened his eyes to the truth, to his own carnal desires.
If you read Mistress Of The House, please, all you modern ladies, don’t be so quick to judge Thelma as too outdated. She knew what she wanted and she went after it, using everything in her arsenal. Because of the times she lived in, choices were limited compared to what they are today.
So what about all of you ladies out there? Do you still value marriage as something you wish to pursue in your life? Do you think marriage as a goal for women is outdated? Are more women marrying or staying single? Do Thelma’s values seem foreign to you today?