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More bustles and corsets, please

I recently saw the musical A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, which is based on the Criterion Collection film Kind Hearts and Coronets (starring a young Alec Guinness), which is in turn LOOSELY based on a 1907 novel named Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal. The musical was fairly adorable and twee, but not my favorite ever. AND YET, this morning at 6 AM I found myself on AO3 reading the scant offerings fanfic writers have decided to dedicate to it. I have thought about it and decided this is entirely due to the dresses of the 1900s.
 
From the only number in the show anyone cares about: 'I've Decided to Marry You'

There are TWO main women in the show, and the way their rivalry is decided is delightful (I shall be reading the book to see what happens there). They also both have fantastic dresses. At this point, it seems if you put a lady in a dress anywhere from the 1870s to 1910, I will watch whatever she's in. Unless that woman is Keira Knightley, because I am done with her being cast in All Things Period and SHE'S NOT EVEN THAT GOOD cast other people omggg.


STOP RUINING THINGS I LOVE
The plot of Gentleman's Guide in a nutshell is that an impoverished young man learns his disinherited mother belonged to a noble family, and if he kills eight or so people, he will inherit all their things. So he starts knocking them off in ingenious ways and also falls in love with two ladies. It is entertaining.

The other musical that obviously came to mind when I was thinking this bustle/corset situation over was The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Do you all remember that, because I definitely, certainly, beyond all doubt wrote a few things about it.


I also might have liked Rosa Bud/Helena Landless a lot YES THERE IS A PATTERN I KNOW IT

If you set your musical anywhere in this 40 year timespan, I will see it and probably make some tumblr gifsets about it, because good lord, more bustles and corsets in the world. Onstage, that is. Not on regular ladies walking around, because feminism, etc etc, but ON THE STAGE it is okay because you are representing a time when ladies were more restricted by The Man (but also looked really good, let's admit it).

So! Does anyone know books with two ladies who're either friends or rivals that take place during this time? And DON'T suggest anything by Edith Wharton -- I think yesterday's post made it clear that I'm all up on the Countess Olenska and sad sad May Whosy and what happens with them. What about that one lady who wrote romance-type novels but they're supposed to be good? When're those set? And how do you pronounce her last name because I still can't say it with confidence.

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