Those Sexy French Housewives of Yesteryear…

When I was a senior in high school, my best friend lived as a nanny for a doctor, his wife and five kids. The doctor and his wife were young and lively and liked to throw parties. The doctor asked my friend the nanny if she and I would like to dress up like French maids and serve drinks at their upcoming party. We had just turned eighteen and were flattered at the invitation. We had been Maids a Milking in the senior play (The Twelve Days of Christmas) so had pretty blue dresses we’d sewn together with white aprons. We adapted them and pulled off looking like the French maids the doctor ordered.

Times have changed, haven’t they? I mean really, that was sexist, wasn’t it? To ask that of two innocent young girls? But those were the days of Playboy Bunnies and no one thought anything sinister. It was all in fun. But why French? And who started that anyway? Did World War II play into it? Is it because the French are rumored to tolerate mistresses? And of course, those mistresses would be French women. Maids maybe? Making a cliché out of the sexy French maid? Let me tell you what the encyclopedia tells me about French women, particularly housewives. We can all learn something.

The encyclopedia that I’m going to quote from (Grolier Encyclopedia, 1956, Volume IX, pg. 40) was put together, during the years before, after and during World War II. Here is what their researcher discovered about French housewives:

One feature of the French character is much the same in all parts – they are all hard workers and their love of independence makes them thrifty. French housewives are good managers and can make a little go a long way. And the French woman is her husband’s adviser and partner; often she understands his business; often she carries on a business herself. In all domestic economy hers is the deciding voice. The manual laborer’s wife does not have to ask him for money; she takes his wages and allows him so much out of them.

Now that… is a strong woman. And strong women don’t think they’re sexy, they know it.  Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

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Civil War History… America’s Rotten Wooden Ships

Black PansyI grew up in the post-World War II era. In the San Francisco Bay Area, there was a large docked fleet of steel ships. They called it the moth ball fleet. I think it’s still there. There have been suggestions about what to do with it, but to my knowledge, those ships are still docked.Canva Blue Violet Cover

Just like during World War II, during the Civil War, America had plenty of ships. It was quite an armada but after that bloody war and all those lives lost, Americans longed for peace and ignored our Navy. The thinking was that no other country would invade the United States, so the flotilla rotted away. Thankfully, Americans came to their senses and every few years, Congress allocated funds for more ships.

New Cover Black LilacAs much as we hate war, it’s a necessity to protect our country. But it is heartening to me to understand that Americans were so sick of war that instead of fighting, they were rebuilding America.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the series, Civil War Era Romances. Available here:

Book One, Black Pansy:

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American Born Spaniards… Creoles… Should Have Received More Respect

Spanish King Ferdinand made some bad choices. In his realm as master of the kingdom, he was quite cruel. He instituted the Inquisition, and followed through on his plan to make Spain a Catholic country, leading to the death or banishment of thousands of innocent subjects who refused to submit. But when Spain had colonies in the New World, his choices were also harsh. Ferdinand expected his New World subjects to trade only with Spain. That didn’t go over well. We have the history of pirates and smuggling to prove that. Those whose parents were born in Spain but they themselves were born in the New World were referred to as Creoles and they did not receive the respect they deserved. Laws that allowed only Spanish born subjects to hold higher offices in the government and within the Church brought discontent. Revolts of all varieties in the New World grew so strong, Spain was unable to control the colonies and eventually lost them.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the Civil War Era Historic Romance, Black Pansy.

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The Beautiful Queen Had Several Lovers

It must have been scandalous. Marguerite, Queen of France was about nineteen when she married Henry IV and after twenty-seven years of marriage, divorced. As the daughter of Henry II and Catherine de’ Medici, she was cultured, beautiful and the author of memoirs and poems. Known to have had several lovers, this Queen was quite the romantic.

Suellen Ocean is the author of many books on diverse topics. Her books are available here: