Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Book Review: "How to Be a Victorian," by Ruth Goodman

How to Be a Victorian: A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life
by Ruth Goodman

About the Book:
Lauded by critics, How to Be a Victorian is an enchanting manual for the insatiably curious, “the cheapest time-travel machine you’ll find” (NPR). Readers have fallen in love with Ruth Goodman, an historian who believes in getting her hands dirty. Drawing on her own firsthand adventures living in re-created Victorian conditions, Goodman serves as our bustling guide to nineteenth-century life. Proceeding from daybreak to bedtime, this charming, illustrative work “imagines the Victorians as intrepid survivors” (New Republic) of the most perennially fascinating era of British history. From lacing into a corset after a round of calisthenics to slipping opium to the little ones, Goodman’s account of Victorian life “makes you feel as if you could pass as a native” (The New Yorker).

My Thoughts:
This book is a must-have for authors of historical fiction set in the Victorian era, but this is a fascinating read for anyone who has an interest in history. The author follows Victorians through a typical day, from getting up in the morning to going to bed at night. She covers subjects such as clothing, meals, grooming, work, sex, bathroom habits, leisure time, and everything in-between. If you've ever wondered how a Victorian woman did her laundry or took a bath without running water, dealt with the arrival of her period without the convenience of Kotex, or handled her family's illnesses without modern medicine, this book is for you! Want to know how men got to work without a car, kept warm and dry, or handled body odor? Then read this book! The author also interjects her experiences in living as a Victorian woman did. Find out how she felt about wearing a corset all day long! This is an in-depth look at a time in history when life was difficult but innovations were springing up every day.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I borrowed this book from the library. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link, and I will receive a small commission on purchases made through this link.

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