Sunday, July 28, 2013

Jacqueline Diamond: What’s So Fascinating About the Regency?

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 with your mailing info!***


Mary Preston said...

I love reading books set during the Regency period. I'm a traditionalist. For me it's all the rules of etiquette and courting that fascinates.

Karen H in NC said...

I love Regencies so much, they number about 80% of my ginormous TBR shelves. I enjoy the romance of the era along with the clothes best.

You are a new-to-me author. I enjoyed meeting you today and reading about your books too.

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

I like both styles of Regency.. I love the fact that things were starting to really change, but I love the romance of the beautiful clothing, etc.

Connie said...

I love, love, love the traditional Regency novels! I literally cut my teeth on them and am so happy when I can read one of them. I don’t want to come across as a prude, however, the sexier ones don’t appeal to me as much as the traditional ones. When reading a romance novel, it’s always nice to leave a bit to the imagination! Thanks for letting me add my opinion. :-)

erin said...

I love regency but I think I like the more modern, sexy versions :) Thanks for the fun post!

Pat Cochran said...

Regencys were among my early reads and,
when I need a break from all the other
genres that I read, I head back to them.
I do read both traditional and modern!

Maureen said...

I enjoy both types of Regencies. I like the settings and the changing times of the period.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Karen H in NC said...

Will winners for Jacqueline's giveaway be chosen soon?