Happy Mother’s Day…a special day for all moms!
I was reminded of a video I made about the prequel to Cleopatra’s Perfume–my sexy WWII spy story–about the heroine’s life as a cabaret dancer in Weimar Berlin in 1928. Lady Eve Marlowe wasn’t always the wife of a titled British nobleman.
She was a working girl in Berlin.
A dancer. A girl often down on her luck in a city filled with the wild and crazy times of pre-war Berlin.
But the storm was coming for anyone who could see it, as witnessed through Eve’s eyes.
Especially when she meets the mother of a murdered dancer in the theatre where Eve worked. Frau Mueller touched her life deeply.
So on this Mother’s Day, here is that video of a time gone by during the Jazz Age…and a tribute to mothers everywhere.
A working girl needs a killer wardrobe, though in my upcoming Cosmo Hot Reads from Harlequin, NAKED SUSHI, Pepper O’Malley, my heroine, wears only yellow pom pom chrysanthemums and a banana leaf for her gig as a sushi model.
But most of us with 9 to 5 jobs have to plan what we’re going to wear each day. Casual …or sexy heels and skirt? Jeans and a tee? Whatever your choice, we have much to choose from in our local department store or boutique.
It wasn’t always that way.
I’ve been watching Mr. Selfridge on PBS.org about the American who opened up Selfridge’s department store in London in 1909. He believed the emancipated woman was the future, not a thorn in his side. In a recent episode, the employees stage an all-nighter to decorate the windows at Selfridge’s to show their support for the suffragettes, not alienate them.
Oh, what fun! The beautiful store windows alone make it worth watching, but the interesting facts about how department stores have changed over the past 100 years is fascinating. And how he changed the life of the working girl.
Did you know that before Selfridge’s—
Ready-to-wear didn’t exist; a lady came in for fittings, then her garments were made. Selfridge’s believed that would change and predicted mass production of clothes.
Cosmetics were sold under the counter so as not to offend a lady’s delicate nature. Mr. Selfridge wanted to bring lip rouge in from the cold so women could embrace makeup, not shun it.
Harry Selfridge made shopping an event for working girls, not a chore. He displayed a small plane in his store and even had the famed ballerina Anna Pavlova dance for his customers.
Perfume was sold at the front of the store to mask the smell of horse manure clinging to the customers’ shoes. Mr. Selfridge wanted working girls everywhere to enjoy the scent of a lovely lavender while they shopped.
So the next time you go shopping at your local department store, stop at the perfume counter at the front of the store and enjoy a splash of your favorite fragrance.
You have Mr. Selfridge to thank for that.
I was delighted to discover a wonderful new PBS mini-series, The Bletchley Circle, that spotlights women coders and gives us great characters to root for on so many levels. These four working girls used their skills during World War II to help Britain win the war; yet like so many women, afterward they find themselves pushed to the side.
Not so far off from reality.
Women fought on a different battlefront back in the dark days of World War II in Great Britain. Women cracked code. And saved many lives.
But after the war, they became “ordinary” again, to quote a character in the story.
These ladies are anything but ordinary.
This excellent mini-series about women who write code reminded me of the women, or rather the lack of females, in the world of high tech software. Like Pepper O’Malley in my October 2013 Cosmo Hot Read from Harlequin, Naked Sushi, about a heroine who writes code and becomes involved in corporate espionage. Pepper would have loved to be a part of this posse.
In Episode 2 this Sunday of The Bletchley Circle, the four heroines use their skills and their wits—not to mention their daring—to find a serial killer in 1952 London.
Four working girls with the brains and smarts—and most of all, the perseverance—to get the job done.
I can’t wait for Sunday’s episode…