“America is now wholly given over to a damned mob of scribbling women, and I should have no chance of success while the public is occupied with their trash.”
Sounds like contemporary critics of the romance genre, doesn’t it? This little gem was penned by Nathaniel Hawthorne to his publisher in 1855 because his female contemporaries were reaping critical acclaim and outselling him.
I first heard this quote in a keynote speech this past October given by Maya Rodale. Intrigued, I wondered who was “Mr. Scarlet Letter” complaining about. This 2013 article gave me more than a clue:
Among this damned scribbling mob was the woman to whom Abraham Lincoln is supposed to have said, “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”
That’s right: Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Harriet Beecher Stowe? A writer of trash? Hardly.
Stowe had been writing for fifteen years before Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published in 1852. In addition to novels, she wrote non-fiction, poetry and a drama based on Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin has gotten a bad rap through the years, but think about how radical it was for a White woman in the 1850’s to have a Black slave representing Christ at a time when her society was debating whether or not African-Americans were even human. We don’t have to imagine the impact of seeing slaves depicted with dignity, loyalty, and willing to be self-sacrificing had in that era. Even Lincoln recognized the power of her novel. What I never imagined was the backlash it received. Her depiction of African-Americans as human beings was so despised there was a slew of anti-Uncle Tom novels written to offset her novel’s impact. Needless to say, they failed.
As I’ve learned more about Stowe’s religious views and social justice activities, I understand better why her novel hit the nerve it did when it did. She wrote from her heart about a cause she believed in, unlike Mr. worried-about-having-no-chance-of-success Hawthorne. I’m eager to read more of her works and more works about her because I want to be a scribbling woman like her.
Better to Marry Than to Burn
Wife Wanted: Marital relations as necessary. Love not required nor sought…
A bridal lottery seems the height of foolishness to ex-slave Caesar King, but his refusal to participate in the town council’s scheme places him in a bind. He has to get married to avoid paying a high residence fine or leave the Texas territory. After losing his wife in childbirth, Caesar isn’t ready for romance. A woman looking for a fresh start without any emotional strings is what he needs.
Queen Esther Payne, a freeborn black from Philadelphia, has been threatened by her family for her forward-thinking, independent ways. Her family insists she marry. Her escape comes in the form of an ad. If she must marry, it will be on her terms. But her first meeting with the sinfully hot farmer proves an exciting tussle of wills that stirs her physically, intellectually, and emotionally.
In the battle of sexual one-upmanship that ensues, both Caesar and Queen discover surrender can be as fulfilling as triumph.
WARNING! This is hot!!
With thanks to God, he pushed past her flimsy drawers to the moist welcome of her center. Her vaginal walls gripped his fingers with surprising force. No amount of twisting or turning wrenched them free. God, to have that grip surrounding his shaft.
He pulled back and studied her face. Eyes still closed, a sly smile bowed her perfect lips. She enjoyed this battling as much as he.
“Was I too brutal for your enjoyment, Mrs. King?”
Her eyelids rose with the slow grace of sunrise. A gleam as sly as her smile shone in her gaze. “You call that brutal, Mr. King?”
She unclenched her lower muscles, allowing his fingers momentary retreat. With great care, she grasped his hand then slid his fingers between her folds once more.
“Holy Christ, woman. What—?”
The gentle rubbing robbed him of his ability to think.
“Jesus, have mercy,” he wheezed.
She slid his fingers from her wet sex into his mouth. He moaned, lost in her delectable taste.
Without taking her gaze from his face, she raked her gloved hand down his chest, across his belly, to his groin. Anticipation tensed his muscles in the wake of her touch. He watched mesmerized as, with a practiced ease, she unbuttoned his fly, pushed past the fabric, sought, found and stroked his cock. Her woolen gloves imparted a delicious friction he couldn’t oppose, even if he’d wanted. Delight enlivened every muscle in his body, including his jaded heart.
Jesus. This couldn’t be more than arousal. Could it?
Her fingers squeezed and his body arched upward on the yes swelling his spirit with joy. He threw back his head, mouth open, ready to shout as he neared the point of release.
Then she let him go.
He doubled over, slain by the abandonment. His lungs constricted, bereft of air. Reason deserted him too.
She stood and smoothed down her skirts with the hand that had massaged his shaft more deftly than he ever had. Reseated, she grabbed the reins and snapped the leather against his horse’s rump.
“Get up there.”
The wagon jostled Caesar from side to side. Still unable to straighten up, he looked into eyes gleaming with triumph. Her lips curved in a regal smirk.
“Was I too brutal for your enjoyment, Mr. King?”
Wild Rose Press – https://www.thewildrosepress.com/books/better-to-marry-than-to-burn
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Better-Marry-than-Michal-Scott-ebook/dp/B07BK1JPKX/