I'm writing a story based on Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Secret Garden." It takes place six or seven years after the novel, appx. 1916 or 1917 England, so WWI is taking place, men 18+ are being conscripted, and food, clothing, & raw materials are being rationed.
At what age would children--male and female--of wealthy, upper-class families be sent to boarding school? How long would this schooling last before university? What would young women who were not going to university do after their schooling was over, but before they married?
How long would a woman of the upper class (or upper middle class) be courted before an engagement? How long would the engagement last? How old would the young man and woman in question be, on average, when they did marry? If they were significantly younger than that, what would society say? Would the ongoing war make young marriages more, or less, acceptable?
What were the social customs concerning war widows? How long would a young woman be required to wear black and publicly mourn her husband? If she were, say, 200 miles away from her in-laws, would it be talked about publicly if she decided to wear other dark colors, like navy, etc., instead of straight black? If the pair had been married less than a year at his demise, would that change things? All the research I've done said that a widow was expected to wait two years to remarry; would the war have changed that? Alternately, if they were not married, but only engaged, how would the mourning period change?
Thank you all in advance, little_details. I know this post is long, but I appreciate any help you can give me, or any books or websites you can point my way.