The series is set in the mid-1850's, making it a Victorian series, and that, too, adds it's own twist to things. I chose this era because of the back drop of innovation and changes in class and gender status that it offered the story lines as well as some historic changes in marriage laws not only in England but in parts of Europe as well.
The first book, Marriage Deal with the Viscount, focuses on a divorced English woman who had made a 'tragic' marriage abroad and has now returned home, hoping to make a new life in England. But, in the words of Thomas Wolfe, 'you can never go home again.' Sofia Northcott (now La Marchesa di Cremona,) discovers that she can leave Italy but she can't escape the stigma of having left her husband, no matter how valid her reasons. English Society doesn't know what to make of her, and frankly, she doesn't know what to make of it. After having her own dreams and innocence about the world shattered in a horrid marriage, she is determined to make life better for others whom Society has offered no voice or protection. She is socially committed to the welfare of women and children and has ambitions to build to a mill town where they can find safe work, living conditions, education, and a means by which to raise themselves up in the world. She has no intentions of ever marrying again. Until she must....when her ex-husband decides he wants her back and will stop at nothing to have her.
Divorce in 1854 in England, is nothing short of social death. Without her husband, a woman had no access to money, to social acceptability, to her children (if she had any) or any way to decently support herself. However, in 1857 the Marriage Act of 1857 begins to change that, but very slowly and still with no real gender parity. If you want to check out a brief summary of that act you may do so here: https://www.perfar.eu/policies/matrimonial-causes-act-1857. This is a more exciting link that really delves into the view of this act as a landmark, see what you think. https://womenslegallandmarks.com/matrimonial-causes-act-1857/
Another aspect in the book is evolution of how people got married. Conall and Sofia's wedding take place in the city registry as opposed to a church and is a civil union, thanks to the 1836 marriage act.
More to come this week on the details behind the scenes of Marriage Deal with the Viscount! Enjoy your 'days between',