Types of Regency Romance-Sweet to Sizzling & a FREE Book!
When I started writing Regency Romances, I thought I knew what I was doing. Notice the emphasis on the word thought. Heck, I didn’t even realize that what defines the Regency Era is controversial.
The narrowest definition of the Regency Era is the period between 1811 and 1820 when the Prince of Wales ruled as Prince Regent because King George III’s madness made him unfit to rule. Some argue that true Regency Romances must take place within this time frame and be set in England while adhering to the social norms, mannerisms, and values of the period.
A broader definition, often call the Extended Regency Era, was the period from 1777 or 1779, depending on the resource, and ending either with the death of King George IV in 1830 or the British Reform Act in 1832. Some claim the era extended clear until Queen Victoria took the throne in 1837.
You’ll note that one time frame is a mere nine years, while the other encompasses over four decades. Is one right and the other wrong? One more authentic or accurate?
A notice at the entrance to the Regency galleries in the National Portrait Gallery reads:
“As a distinctive period in Britain’s social and cultural life, the Regency spanned the four decades from the start of the French Revolution in 1789 to the passing of Britain’s great Reform Act in 1832.”
Obviously, by this definition, the term encompasses a broader period than the near decade the regent ruled in proxy. However, the definition of Regency Romance extends beyond the feel of the Regency Era too.
In fact, there are five sub-genres that fall within the scope of Regencies.
Classical Regency Fiction: Novels actually written during the nine-year Regency period. Jane Austen’s works fall into this category.
Modern Regency Fiction: Stories written at a later time about the Regency period.
Traditional Regency Romances: These novels are “sweet” with no explicit sex and are usually set between 1800 and 1820. (Yes, that’s outside the official Regency Era).
Regency Historicals: The setting is in Regency England (or provinces controlled by England) but the prose, characters, and plot extends beyond the usual genre formula. Characters may behave according to modern values rather than Regency values.
*And that’s why we frequently have highly-educated, strong-willed heroines, which was not the norm for the period. Also, these stories tend to span a greater number of years and the locations dare to venture outside London, or even England. *Gasp!*
Sensual Regency Historical: Often written as series, they contain explicit sex, some erotic in nature.
The difficulty Regency authors and readers encounter when writing novels or searching for stories to read, is that, often, there is no distinction between the latter four. Retailers’ categories are limited, and all Regency types tend to be lumped together. That can lead to mixed reviews.
For instance, here are a couple of reviews for Wagers Gone Awry (Conundrums of the Misses Culpepper, Book 1) set in the English countryside in 1822. The novel contains a single intimate scene in the last chapter after the H/h are married.
5 stars “I have read literally thousands of Regencys [sic]. I LOVED this book!!”
Here’s a differing opinion:
2 stars “The book is lively enough, but this is not a Regency novel. Come on, did the author read Pride and Prejudice?”
The second reviewer has mistaken Classical Regency Fiction for Regency Historicals, but I’ll bet my Grandmother’s shortbread recipe, the reviewer doesn’t care.
A quick aside here: Jane Austen was not the Regency Romance pioneer. She wrote contemporaries. Georgette Heyer, however, is considered the original Regency Romance author.
Most of my books push the bounds of the strict Regency Era. They are either set outside the nine-year time frame, or a portion of the book takes place in a setting other than England.
Virtue and Valor (Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series, Book 2) only has one chapter set in England. The rest takes place in Scotland, though the year is 1818. The first book in the series, Triumph and Treasure, actually begins in America, as does the first book in my Castle Brides Series, Highlander’s Hope.
Two of my novellas, Bride of Falcon and A Kiss for Miss Kingsley are Traditional Regencies. The entire story takes place in London and other than kissing (and perhaps a naughty thought or two!) the stories are sweet.
For a limited time, A Kiss for Miss Kingsley is available for FREE at all major eBook retailers.
All the required elements for a completely wonderful historical romance. .. truly sigh-worthy…” ~Janice Hougland
Olivia Kingsley didn’t expect to fall in love and receive a secret marriage proposal two weeks into her first Season. However, one dance with Allen Wimpleton, heir to a viscountcy, and her fate is sealed. Or so she thinks until her eccentric and ailing father, unaware of Allen’s proposal, announces he’s moving the family to the Caribbean for a year. … In two days.
Allen begs Olivia to elope to Scotland, knowing her father will refuse his offer of marriage after such a brief acquaintance with Olivia. Having recently lost her mother, and fearing for her father’s health, she refuses, pleading with Allen to wait for her until she returns to England. Angry at her hesitancy, and unaware of her father’s ill health, Allen demands she choose—him or her father.
Heartbroken at his callousness, but thankful he’s revealed his true nature before she married him, Olivia turns her back on their love. The year becomes three, enough time for her broken heart to heal, and after her father dies, Olivia returns to England. Coming face to face with Allen, she realizes she never purged him from her heart and once again the flames of love ignite, but is it too late? Does Olivia have any hope of winning Allen’s heart once more, or has he found
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I’m curious if you agree with the five types of Regency Romances. Do you think there should be other types? Fewer? How does a reader know the difference?