You may think that self-help books are a late 20th century creation, but you'd be wrong. An article from the British paper, The Daily Mail, tells about rare books that are being auctioned off soon. One is titled The Lady’s Companion: or an Infallible Guide to the Fair Sex, and, it is from 1740. In it, is information on "The Duty of Virgins," "The Whole Duty of a Wife," and "The Whole Duty of a Widow," along with "The Whole Art of Cookery, Preserving, Candying, Beautifying, etc." Check out the article to read some of the advice.
I'm sure the women in novels written by 20th and 21st century novelists about the 1700 and 1800s do not take the advice offered in The Lady's Companion! They've got better things to do with their lives than candying!
Here are a few titles from our fiction section that take place during that time period:
Balogh, Mary. A Matter of Class. [F BAL]
Coulter, Catherine. The Valentine Legacy. [F COU]
Laurens, Stephanie. Temptation and Surrender. [F LAU]
Lindsey, Johanna. Gentle Rogue. [F LIN]
Quick, Amanda. Wicked Widow. [F QUI]