I’m back with a new blog series! I thought it would be fun to pull apart some of the themes in Heart of the Fae (and its sequel Veins of Magic), and either A. answer some questions B. make you think about stuff you hadn’t before OR C. start a fun conversation.
These blogs will run under the assumption you’ve read the book so….
If you’ve read the book, you know Sorcha’s family structure is a little unusual. Papa actually owns a brothel, her sisters all work there, and Sorcha is the only one who hasn’t followed in the family footsteps.
I wanted to shock people right off the bat. Intelligent, sweet, little Belle character couldn’t live in a brothel! That’s so far against what the story should be, and isn’t that abuse? Her poor sisters, poor Sorcha, etc etc I’ve heard it all.
Let’s take a step back from the initial shock of “brothel”. What was the point of it all anyways?
1. Empowerment of women’s sexuality
One of my favorite scenes is the conversation between the two sisters, Sorcha and Rosaleen. While one of the customers is a wealthy man with an interest in Rosaleen (and therefore, an easier life) Rosaleen still chooses not to entertain the idea of leaving her current life. She chooses to stay a prostitute not because of fear, but because she doesn’t mind the job and wants to stay with her family.
Let’s take a moment to look at that.
Historically, the idea of a prostitute meant this was a woman down on her luck. That she was selling herself and her body to put food on the table or even to stay alive. Sorcha and her family are not like that. They’ve created a lucrative business that not only puts food on the table, but has made themselves a household name. Whether that makes people angry or not, it’s still a business.
These women are not stuck in the job. They can leave any time they want and they choose not to. In a roundabout way, Sorcha and her sisters are the most “free” women in the entire town. Their lives are entirely in their own hands, and not many women could ever say that.
2. Consent is ALWAYS important
I think it’s highly important to say, these women are there because they want to be. Papa is not a pimp. He was a business man who saw an opportunity. He did not “snatch” these women up from the streets and force them to sell their bodies. He gave them an option, a choice, and these women made a decision for themselves.
There’s a very important difference between Sorcha’s family and that of the prostitutes she saw in the harbor town.
Sorcha and her sisters are well fed. Their home, while not a mansion by any means, is clean and tidy. They have soup always on the fire with people who love them nearby. And each one is there because they want to be. They aren’t forced into their jobs, and they each obviously have “regulars” which are men they know.
More than all of this, Sorcha was not forced to become a prostitute. She had other options and talents that could bring in money. So she didn’t have to be a prostitute. Consent!
3. Work and home are separated
We’ve all heard not to bring work home with us, but what do you do when your work takes place in your home? Like any good business owner, these women are not required to live in the rooms where they see customers.
Sorcha and her sisters all have rooms on an upper level which are theirs, yet another reason why I adore Papa’s character. He understands that the stress of work or an uncomfortable day with a hard client means that room is no longer stress free. So each of the sisters has their own space, even though some of them stay with another girl in their room.
This kind of freedom is also unheard of in the era, but even these days. Work and home life are hard to balance!
4. A business run by women
I think it’s important to note that Papa is rarely seen in the brothel. In fact, he’s never seen in the brothel at all. When Sorcha comes out, it’s Briana who is running the show. She coordinates the meetings, she pacifies the men waiting, collects the money, escorts the men to the rooms. It’s a regular bed and breakfast!
Now it wasn’t rare to have a woman running a brothel. In fact, it was a common occurrence during that time period. It was rare that a father would also be involved, or that a woman so young would be running the place.
I wanted to make it clear that this was women’s work. Briana runs the show because she knows what her sisters limits are. Rosaleen is sweet and shy, she doesn’t want her to end up hard like the others. So she gives Rosaleen the sweet customers, the ones who fall asleep and want to cuddle more than they want something harsher or more animalistic.
There’s a lot going on between the lines for these sisters, but namely that a woman understood their careers and helped them along.
The brothel was a calculated decision I knew a lot of people wouldn’t like. It’s not the Beauty and the Beast we know and love, but it is an eye opening debate.
And those of you who’ve read my work since the beginning know I like to throw in at least one thing that challenges people’s opinions.
My goal as an author has always been, and always will be, to write literary works that make people think. I’d love to be able to write junk food for your brain that you can gobble down over and over again. I admire those who can write books that make us laugh and forget the world we’re in. But my goal, my calling, is to write works that can be read between the lines. That people can see more in.
The point of this book? Open people’s eyes about female sexuality and the repression of women in history. It was there, it is there, and it’s not as hidden as some people think.
And it’s always worth celebrating the successes we manage on our own. Like the freedom of female sexuality, and getting over the fact that women have control over their own bodies and always will. If you want to make a business out of that body? Then you go girl.