Saturday, June 29, 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 Diamond’s 97 published novels include romantic comedy, medical romances, mysteries and half a dozen Regency romances. One of these, The Forgetful Lady, was a finalist for the Rita Award. A former reporter and TV columnist for the Associated Press, Jackie received a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times. You can learn about all her Regencies at

***Jackie's winners are Pat Cochran and Barbara E!  Please email so we can get the ebooks to you!***


Mary Preston said...

I do love Regency reads. It's the etiquette and rules of courtship, the rakes, the balls, the gowns........ I love it all. I don't mind if the stories are a bit saucy, but most I read are more traditional.

Jacqueline Diamond said...

I like the traditional ones best. Sex in the Regency might be understandable if it involves a widow, but a unmarried young woman who risked pregnancy, disease and scandal was very foolish indeed.

Barbara E. said...

I read Regencies and have for many years. I read them because I love historicals and since there are so many Regencies out there, it's easy to gravitate towards them, as well as because it is a fascinating period in history. I prefer the traditional kind, I've never really cared for the sexy variation, and even less so the older I get. :D

Connie said...

I have always read, loved and preferred Regencies over more erotic and sexier novels. I don’t think it has anything to do with being prudish. I simply feel that promiscuity or sex before marriage was much rarer during that time period than exhibited in a lot of novels today.

Jacqueline Diamond said...

I'm delighted that you enjoy these light-hearted books. Thanks for posting!

Jacqueline Diamond said...

Connie, I agree with you!

Pat Cochran said...

I read and enjoy both, with a tiny lead going
to the traditional.

Pat C.

Jacqueline Diamond said...

Isn't it wonderful that the genre permits so many variations?