It’s Regency Month at Embracing Romance. OK, but exactly what is the Regency era?
Strictly speaking, it’s the period in the UK between 1811 and 1820, when the Prince of Wales reigned as Regent for his incapacitated father, George III. (The pic above is the selfsame prince when he finally became king.)
But…for the purpose of romance novels (which we’re all about here), a longer period is often defined as the Regency or extended Regency. It can run from as early as 1789 (the year the French Revolution began and definitely my choice as a start date) to as late as 1837, when Queen Victoria came to the throne (which is a little late for me; I tend to think of it as ending in 1830 when George IV died. But really, this is all a matter of opinion).
Why is the Regency so popular?
- Jane Austen. She wrote during the Regency era and brings it to life for us, even 200 years later. Since Jane’s works are finite, the only way to get more Regency era romance is to write it now.
- Georgette Heyer. She is credited with inventing the Regency Romance genre. (Her favorite author was Jane Austen.) Ditto re her works being finite, so we have to produce our own new stories.
- The Regency era was a sort of crossroads between the old world and the new. Horse and carriage was still the fastest method of transport. Light was provided mostly by oil lamps and candles. And yet, things were changing fast. Only a few years later, rail travel became commonplace, as did gas lighting in the streets. The rollicking society of the 18th Century was soon to be replaced by the stuffy (at least on the surface) Victorian era. Lots of interesting stuff was going on during the extended Regency — revolutions, reforms, wars, smuggling, crime, inventions, art, architecture, literary movements, etc. In other words, plenty to write and read about, and much of it is still relevant to readers today.
- One reason I love the Regency (and many people doubtless disagree with me) is that women’s clothing was reasonably comfortable. I simply don’t want to write about 18th Century hoops, hair powder, and wigs, nor do I care for Victorian-era iron cages and bustles. I just imagine wearing those clothes and get all itchy. I prefer what the Bennet sisters wear in the P&P movies – nice, simple clothes. Not too hard to put on, not too hard to get out of either!! BTW, the cover of Pride and Prejudice, above, is from an 1833 edition, when they were already wearing the sort of clothes I don’t like.
Well, there you have my definition of the Regency. How about you? What does “Regency” mean to you? What do you like or dislike about the era? What aspects of the Regency do you look forward to in romances?
Because I’m so fond of giveaways, I’ll give a Kindle copy of my Regency romance, To Kiss a Rake (or another of my books, winner’s choice) to one person who comments here.