When I was still in the planning stages of How to Dance with a Duke, I knew that presenting yet another Regency Romance to the reading masses was going to be met with a groan from some quarters.
Over the last ten years or so, it does seem as if the number of Regencies has increased as quickly as the number of any other historical setting has decreased. And I’ve seen more than one reader complain on various online forums about the glut of Regencies on the romance market. But simply because something is popular, that doesn’t mean it should be avoided all together. And, darn it, I’ve loved the Regency period since long before it became the hottest game in town. I have earned my Regency cred and I intend to use it!
So, with apologies to Julia Quinn, I give you: FIVE THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THE REGENCY PERIOD.
1. The Quizzing Glass: How many times in my own life have I longed to whip out a quizzing glass an put someone in his or her place? Many times, dear reader. Many times. Even though it’s an accessory that has been used in novel after novel, by gentleman after gentleman, I never grow tired of reading an excellently written scene involving a quizzing glass. One of my favorites is the opening scene of Mary Balogh’s Slightly Dangerous.
2. Almack’s: I can hear your groan now, gentle readers, about how Almack’s, with its weak lemonade and stale biscuits, is clearly past its literary prime. And yet, I will hear none of it! Yes, perhaps it’s become a sort of romance shorthand to set a scene in that most august of assembly rooms, but darn it, I like the place. I enjoy hearing about how annoying Lady Jersey is, or how some poor sod is denied admittance for being a few minutes too late. Or worse, about the gentleman who dares to attempt to go inside while wearing anything but the required knee breeches! Scorn me if you must, but I am fond of the place. So there.
3. Prinny: Back about a hundred or so years ago when I first began reading regencies, the appearance of Prinny and his good buddy Brummell at a ball made my heart beat faster. Not because he was at all heroic or attractive, but because the concept of a royal personage and his oh so fashionable friend suddenly showing up at one’s party was so utterly delicious. And yes, sometimes they ended up just being caricatures but that’s what happens when you write about people who actually existed. I also liked never knowing whether the portrayal would be of sympathetic Prinny or disgusting Prinny. I suppose it depended upon whether the author was a Tory or a Whig, or which historians they believed about him. But in the end, I like him no matter which one of his many personalities appears.
4. Feisty Heroines: Okay, so maybe this one isn’t strictly limited to books set in the Regency period, but the subgenre certainly has boasted its share of feisty heroines. And what’s so bad about feisty? Without some serious determination on the part of the heroine, most romance novels would never even get going properly. What if Lizzie Bennett had never lost her temper with Darcy? What if Marianne hadn’t exchanged all those improper letters with Willoughby? It seems to me that the folk who complain about feisty heroines are really complaining about silliness. Which is not the same thing at all. And one must remember that a book in which the heroine and the heroine do not change at all in the course of the novel is not a very well written one. Perhaps the heroine might begin the book as quick tempered and feisty, but by the end she will usually have matured and grown as a person. So don’t hate me because I’m feisty! Without some sass our novels would be very dull indeed.
5. Dukes: Sigh. I get it. I really do understand. There were so few dukes of marriageable age during the Regency period. And it’s foolish to imagine there was even one drop dead gorgeous duke roaming the streets of London, let alone the umpteen thousand who must by now have been created by romance writers. But, here’s the thing. We are not writing about the actual Regency. Well, let me rephrase that: I am not writing about the actual Regency. What I am writing about is a sort of faux Regency that bears some resemblance to the actual time and place, but is in some ways much pleasanter and in other ways much darker. And in my version of Regency England, more than one young, attractive, duke exists and is just waiting to find the right heroine so he can settle down and secure the succession. I like it that way!
So, there you have it. Five reasons why this author has chosen to set her novels in the Regency era. Are there any things that you particularly like, or even dislike, about the Regency Romance? Tell me all about it! One commenter will win a copy of How to Dance with a Duke.
What’s a wallflower to do when she’s suddenly in need of a husband? Use all the pluck and moxie she can muster to get what she wants…
SHE’S IN NEED OF A PARTNER
Miss Cecily Hurston would much rather explore the antiquities of Egypt than the uncharted territory of marriage. But the rules of her father’s exclusive academic society forbid her entrance unless she weds one of its members. To clear her ailing father’s name of a scandalous rumor, Cecily needs to gain admission into the Egyptian Club—and is willing to marry any old dullard to do it.
AND HE HAS ALL THE RIGHT MOVES
Lucas Dalton, Duke of Winterson, is anything but dull. He’s a dashing and decorated war hero determined to help Cecily—even if that means looking the other way when she claims the dance card of Amelia Snow, this season’s most sought-after beauty. But Lucas has a reason for wanting Cecily to join the Egyptian Club: His brother went missing during one of Lord Hurston’s expeditions to Egypt. An alliance with the explorer’s bluestocking daughter could bring Lucas closer to the truth about what happened…or it could lead him to a more dangerous love than either he or Cecily could have imagined….
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