Here are some of the most popular: Vengeance - Pursuit - Misfortune - Revolt -Enterprise - Abduction - Enigma - Greed - Enmity - Rivalry - Adultery -Madness - Imprudence - Sacrifice - Dishonour - Jealousy - Loss - Remorse, and many others. Perhaps one of the most popular is female oppression.
Women’s oppression across history has been written constantly, evenabout during the 60s, in an age of strong feminism.
‘Happy women, like happy countries, they say, have no histories,’ says Harriet in Victoria Holt’s Menfreya in the Morning.
Gregory too writes about the lot of women. About primogeniture and how women are ignored. Even her biographical fiction is about exploited women, forced to marry for political reasons, or used by their political ambitious fathers. Her early novels also deal with the theme of exploitation in other ways, such as the agricultural peasant after the enclosures. Writing these novels in the 1980s, during the time of the miners' strikes, this would strike a chord with readers, as it tuned in with the radical political consciousness of the time.
Perhaps it is easier for us to view these problems through the prism of nostalgia. Class/sexual inequalities/social differences/violent abuse/illegitimacy and other strong themes, are often best viewed at a distance. They work because they don’t have to be defended, criticised or judged. People like to think - ah yes, that’s how it was back then. They are aware the issue still has a resonance today, yet it is easier to consider it with the benefit of hindsight. Its awfulness is often stressed quite strongly, yet as it is safely in the past, this allows in a slight air of unreality or fantasy in the way the subject is depicted.