This is a very accessible and readable book that will surely be of interest to a wider audience. It engaged me not only as a historian interested in the evidence and how we might read it, but as a woman who has faced (continues to face!) very many of these issues. Indeed, I found the discussion of many of the key themes to be utterly compelling -- e.g. the idea of ‘oneness’ in a relationship and who defines it; the difficulty of pioneering new arrangements within the home; the power of ideas and ideals about masculinity and femininity, love and marriage; romantic love and ‘self-surrender’; the fear of transgressing acceptable femininities; the desire for a masculine man; the drive for immersive work of one’s own outside of family life. Despite these women being from the elite, with access to family money and domestic help, many aspects of their struggles (and joys) resonate widely.
Dr Alison Twells
Sheffield Hallam University
A graduate of Barnard College, Patricia Auspos earned a Ph.D. in Modern British History from Columbia University and taught at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. She researched and wrote about social policy issues and programs as a staff member at MDRC and the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change, and as an independent consultant. Breaking Conventions is her first book. She lives in Jackson Heights, New York City.