Romance readers and writers are drawn to specific historic places and periods, including the American Civil War and the Scottish struggle for independence. One of the most popular—if not the most popular—is the English Regency.
It was short—formally, the Regency lasted from 1811 to 1820, when King George III became so ill that his son ruled in his stead as Prince Regent. Why is this brief span so dear to readers’ hearts? The reasons expressed here are solely my own.
--Reason #1 is Jane Austen (1775-1817). This beloved author set the tone for the romance genre with her unforgettable characters in Pride and Prejudice, and other novels.
--Reason #2 was the change in fashion. Under Beau Brummell’s influence, male fashions transitioned from the ornate to beautifully tailored, darkly masculine clothing, with trousers replacing knee breeches. Women’s fashions became freer and lighter, as style leaders abandoned brocades and panniers for Grecian simplicity. Their bodies remained free for only a few years until the starchier Victorian era.
--Reason #3—Ideas were also becoming more modern. The common folk of America and France had won their revolutions. In 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Women, with the then-stunning premise that women were equal to men.
--Reason #4—The Regency was packed with fascinating people. In addition to Austen, Napoleon and Brummell, there were poets Lord Byron (described as “mad, bad and dangerous to know”), Percy Bysshe Shelley, and his young wife, Mary Shelley, whose 1918 novel, Frankenstein, launched the science fiction genre.
--Reason #5. The Regency romance is, to me, a fresh take on the Cinderella theme. My Regencies, from Lady in Disguise to A Lady of Letters, play on the theme of the disadvantaged young woman who seizes the initiative and wins the rich, handsome hero, as well as the respect of others.
With Lee’s help, I’ll be giving away two ebook copies of Lady in Disguise (or you can choose one of my other Regencies). Question: Do you read Regencies? Why? Do you prefer the traditional kind, or the sexier variation?
***Jacqueline's winners are Connie and Erin! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your mailing info!***