My editor sent over the blurb for His Unsuitable Viscountess (published August 2012) . No cover yet but I like the blurb.
A lifetime of living in a man’s
world has given sword-making factory owner Eleanor Blackwell some very definite
opinions – particularly about the duplicity of men!
Benjamin Grayson, Viscount
Whittonstall, seems to be cut from a different cloth—Eleanor responds to his
touch with a passion normally only reserved for fencing! She may be
spectacularly unsuited for aristocracy, but Ben has different ideas when he
plans to safeguard her business with a very convenient proposal...
As you can see from the blurb Eleanor Blackwell is not your typical Regency heroine! It was so much fun to do research on Regency businesswoman. It was hard as there are very few proper biographies of these ladies, read I couldn't find one, just brief mentions in other non fiction books.
Of course Georgette Heyer did not approve of women working so she did not have any in her books. Jane Austen did have a few but generally they were not protrayed as pleasant individuals. Jane Austen's model for Mrs Norris was reputedly a businesswoman -Sarah Rice who inherited her bank from her husband.
The Regency period had more businesswomen than the Victorian period. I suspect that this is because of the way business changed and went more towards being limited companies and stocks. If you are a sole partnership, you do have to be more hands on.