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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Author: Lady Constance Howard

Author: Lady Constance Howard (1848–1910)

Alternate Name(s): Finch-Hatton (maiden name)

Biography: Lady Constance Eleanora Caroline Howard was born in 1848 in London, the eldest daughter of George James Finch (later Finch-Hatton), 11th Earl of Winchilsea and Nottingham, and Lady Constance Henrietta Paget. In 1871, she married Capt. Frederick Charles Howard, the second son of the Earl of Effingham. He served in the Coldstream Guards, Oxfordshire Yeomanry, and West Yorkshire Militia before retiring in 1876. The couple had two sons, Gordon (born 1873) and Algernon (born 1874). In the 1880s, Howard threw herself into writing and circulated in a wide literary circle that included Violet Fane [Lady Mary Montgomerie Currie] and Oscar Wilde, among others. Some of her stories and articles appeared in The Graphic, The London Journal, and The Woman's World. Howard wrote six novels. The first, Mollie Darling (1882), is about a beautiful heroine and her husband's fascination for another woman, aptly named Circe. Mated with a Clown (1884) is a bigamy novel, and Master of her Life (1891) is an Anglo-Russian sensation novel co-authored by Ada Fielder King. All of her novels received lukewarm reviews from the critics. In addition, Howard composed music and domestic handbooks, such as Etiquette: What to Do, and How to Do It (1885) and Everybody's Dinner Book (1892). None of her writing was very remunerative: she quipped in 1887 that she had written three novels and made less than £20. The titles and plots of her novels are likely drawn from her unhappy home life: in 1893, Howard threatened to divorce her husband because of his affair with the twice-divorced Eva Lynch Blosse who live near their Kensington home. In response, Capt. Howard shot himself and Blosse followed suit a day later. The newspapers quickly connected the two suicides and the events became a minor scandal. After her husband's death, Howard stopped writing and lived a reclusive life until her own death in 1910.

References: Burke; The Critic (25 June 1887); Ipswich Journal (10 June 1871); Manchester Times (3 November 1893); Times (27 October 1893)

Fiction Titles:

  1. Sweetheart and Wife: A Novel.  3 vol.  London: F. V. White, 1882.
  2. Mollie Darling: A Novel.  3 vol.  London: F. V. White, 1883.
  3. Only a Village Maiden.  2 vol.  London: F. V. White, 1883.
  4. Mated with a Clown: A Novel.  3 vol.  London: F. V. White, 1884.
  5. Waiting for the Prince: or, A Nineteenth Century Cinderella.  3 vol.  London: F. V. White, 1886.
  6. Master of Her Life: A Novel.  3 vol.  London: F. V. White, 1891.