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Regency Romances

Enter the world of sparkling, witty, entertaining romances of the Regency era!

The World of Regency Romance

 

The Regency era in the United Kingdom is the period between 1811 — when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son, the Prince of Wales, ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent — and 1820, when the Prince Regent became George IV on the death of his father.

Regency romances are a subgenre of romance novels set during the period of the English Regency or early 19th century. Rather than simply being versions of contemporary romance stories transported to a historical setting, Regency romances are a distinct genre with their own plot and stylistic conventions that derive from the works of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, and from the fiction genre known as the novel of manners. In particular, the more traditional Regencies feature a great deal of intelligent, fast-paced dialogue between the protagonists and very little explicit sex or discussion of sex.

Other common elements of Regency romances include:

  • mystery or farce elements in the plot
  • references to the Ton (le bon ton)
  • a secondary romance between another couple in addition to the more serious story involving the main protagonists
  • mistaken identity, deliberate or otherwise
  • false engagements
  • marriages of convenience
  • depictions of activities common during the social season such as balls, routs, carriage riding, theatre events, fittings, suppers, assemblies, etc.
  • references to, or descriptions of, leisure activities engaged in by fashionable young men of the period, including riding, driving, boxing, gambling, fencing, shooting, etc.

Georgette Heyer (1902-1974) essentially established the historical romance genre and its subgenre Regency romance. Her Regencies were inspired by Jane Austen, but unlike Austen, who wrote about and for the times in which she lived, Heyer was forced to include copious information about the period so that her readers would understand the setting. To ensure accuracy, Heyer collected reference works and kept detailed notes on all aspects of Regency life. While some critics thought the novels were too detailed, others considered the level of detail to be Heyer’s greatest asset. Because Heyer’s stories took place amidst events that had occurred over 100 years earlier, she had to include more detail on the period in order for her readers to understand it. While Austen could ignore the minutiae of dress and decor because her readers would automatically know what she was talking about, Heyer included those details to endow the novels with the ambiance of the era.

Suggested Online Reading: Regency Sites & Blogs

Want to know the Regency Lingo? Visit The Nonesuch

For historical detail visit Oregon Regency Society 

Get into Jane Austen's World with A Regency Era Primer

Resources For Readers & Writers Of Regency Fiction 

Welcome to Regency England

Austen Prose  

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