Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Soiled Doves - Prostitution During the American Civil War by Debra Glass

Prostitution has been called the oldest profession. In societies where women had little rights and were often not allowed to own property, selling sex was a woman’s only option when she was forced to support herself.

The American Civil War era was no exception, especially in the Confederacy. In the south, Confederate money quickly became worthless. The treasury printed money without enough gold to back it up to purchase supplies for the Confederate Army.

Civilians suffered because they had little or no money with which to buy food and clothing for their families and servants. In addition, the south was occupied by Union forces which confiscated livestock, valuables, garden produce, and cured meat.

With empty bank accounts and larders and the men away, either fighting, maimed and disabled, or killed, (the Confederate Army lost one out of four soldiers) many women were left with few options.

One of those options was prostitution.

Women quickly discovered that men on leave were bored and enduring long separations from home and family. The women learned they could command money in exchange for the feminine comfort for which these men longed.

Prostitution was legal in the nineteenth century and while there were several houses of ill‑repute, most prostitutes were camp followers and nurses.

The most infamous houses in the Confederacy were in Nashville’s Smokey Row which encompassed eight city blocks. An 1860 census listed 207 women who identified their profession as prostitute. Twenty of these women were widowed.

While these women openly identified themselves as prostitutes, there were many who practiced the illicit trade from their homes. It was the desperation of women such as these that inspired my historical romance novel, Bought and Paid For.

In Bought and Paid For, widowed Carrie Hatcher, finds herself unable to support herself or her servants so she contemplates the unthinkable—selling her services for money. When she is forced to board wounded Colonel Wesley McEwen, Carrie resolves to make him her first client.
But Carrie gets more than she bargained for when she agrees to comply with Wesley’s every illicit request for one week. Throughout long, sultry nights, Wesley tutors Carrie in every position, every skill, of her illicit new trade. From dark taboos to pleasurable punishments, Carrie becomes his willing pupil.

Passions inflamed, the couple becomes more scandalously intimate but Carrie realizes she wants to give him far more than just her body. The colonel, however, may be too haunted by his past to risk accepting more than he’s bought and paid for.

Praise for Bought and Paid For:
“I have only one word after reading Bought and Paid For: fantastic! This is easily the best book I've read so far this year. Full of beautiful historical detail, this is a book to savor. A Recommended Read!” — Fallen Angel Reviews

Click HERE to read an excerpt of Bought and Paid For by Debra Glass.

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