What is Compelling About the Great Depression?

1:33 PM

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What is compelling about the Great Depression? I asked this question on my Facebook page an here are a couple of the responses I got: 

"The priorities were so clearly different back then. While living so close to starvation and scraping by, characters' true natures come clearly to the forefront."

"It's historical - but not so far back in the past that it feels disconnected from the present (in other words, we're still reaping the results of what happened/decisions made/etc. from that time) - so I love the connection combined with the nostalgic feeling those books often have, too.
Additionally, the courage that the characters often display...girds up my own courage to face the troubles of today."

I loved these responses because I think they sum up why we love to read fiction set during the Great Depression so much. Perhaps you've read Emmeline or one of the other books in the Vintage Jane Austen series. Maybe you've enjoyed The Fragrance of Geraniums or a Grace Livingston Hill novel. Whether these or something else, the time of the Great Depression is fascinating to you.

You're not alone. Many of us find this time in history to be compelling. Why is that? While I think the answers I received on Facebook were eloquent, I'll go ahead and add a couple thoughts of my own.

We all go through times of hardship, big and small. Often, reading about something that is removed from us, yet similar, helps us to process things we have gone through ourselves. This can be true for all fiction, and it the main reason I write. I know that growing up in a family that struggled financially, I really appreciated stories about families that also struggled or lived through the Great Depression. I didn't feel as alone and it reminded me of how much I still had.

While all of life shows character, in extream situations like the Great Depression the best and worst in a person is brought out. Good, godly people rise up with courage,  faith, wisdom, and fortitude (I love that word, don't you?). In contrast, those people who are shady, or without morals descend to new depths. Hard times are a litmus test of character.

Of course, one of the more interesting things is the "what if" question. How would I have handled the Great Depression? How did my ancestors handle it? What if something like that happened again?

When writing Emmeline, I got to think about what not only I would have done, but what would Jane Austen's characters have done. How would Emma Woodhouse (Emmeline Wellington in my story) have dealt with the financial world collapsing?

Of course, there are a lot of reasons we find this time in history fascinating. Why do you? Leave a comment and tell me.

Click HERE to read Emmeline free on Kindle Unlimited.
Find it on Audible HERE.
Find out more about the Vintage Jane Austen series HERE

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