I love historical romance. It’s not as if I haven’t read other genres—in fact, I’m quite the fan of NA and contemporary. Every so often I’ll get particularly wild and read a book without romantic elements…though those times are few and far between. But for some reason, I always come back to historical romance—specifically, regency.
So it got me thinking—why? Why do I love reading regency romance? Not just the traditional regency romances, but the sexier, more modern regency novels too. After hundreds, if not thousands of regency notches in my proverbial bed post of books read, there are very few plot devices or story lines that I haven’t read before. And then it hit me—that’s why I love it. I find it comforting to know that by the time I’m done reading, the hero and heroine will have resolved their conflict and all will be right in the world. But, it has to be more than just that. After all, happily ever afters are pretty common place in the world of romantic fiction.
What are those key elements of regency romance that make me come back for more?
The Season: For those who don’t know, I’m not talking about the big four that you learned about in kindergarten. The London social season is a major factor, and the most often utilized backdrop to regency romance. Without the season, there’d be little opportunity for young, good-looking people to meet, therefore making for very boring books.
Marriage (may or may not be of convenience): Very rarely do I get to read about a regency couple who ended up simply shacking up instead of exchanging vows. Marriage is a dominant theme throughout regency romance. Whether they want to or not, main characters always find themselves leg-shackled.
Titles: A very small percentage of England held a title, yet to read most regency romances you’d think almost everyone got to call themselves Duke of Something or Other. This may or may not be tied to fortune…
Fortune: It’s fairly common for either the hero or the heroine (or both) to be filthy rich. Often times, this coincides with the subject of marriage.
The Time Period: It’s not really a regency if it falls outside the regency time period—say 1811-1820ish. This was a time of dramatic change and great social division. Issues such as women’s rights are often a subplot for the story, which may or may not spur the conflict between the hero and heroine.
Witty Dialogue: Many books have great dialogue, but regency seems to be the reigning champs for best banter. It’s clever, it’s quick, and it’s what sets the genre apart from the others.
Of course, I’ve completely ignored what makes a regency hero and heroine, but I need to hold something back for next time. So, what do you look for in a regency romance? Did I miss anything?
Jessica Jefferson makes her home in northern Indiana, or as she likes to think of it—almost Chicago. She is heavily inspired by classic sweeping, historical romance novels, but aims to take those key emotional elements and inject a fresh blend of quick dialogue and comedy. She invites you to visit her at jessicajefferson.com and read more of her random romance musings. Her latest book, Taming Miss Tisdale, is available now.