Reading,  Regency,  Research,  TV and Film,  Writing

Regency Heroes by Diane Gaston Perkins

Let’s face it. I’m in this business for the heroes.

What could be better than spending your days with some hunky gentleman in pantaloons, Hessians, and a coat by Weston, who says things like, “You’ve bewitched me, body and soul.”


The Regency gives us such wonderful heroes. Wealthy marquesses and dukes. disreputable Rakes (as opposed to my Reputable Rake, on sale in May, shameless self-promotion here), corinthians, gamblers, impoverished vicars, and my favorite–

The soldier.

I’m with Mrs. Bennett when, in Pride & Prejudice, she says, “I remember the time when I liked a red coat myself very well—and, indeed, so I do still at my heart.”

That’s me. Show me a man in his regimentals and I’ll show you a potential hero.

Take a look at these fellows:


Maybe I love military heroes because my father was an Army colonel. I grew up with that whole military mind-set of duty and honor and country. Woke up to reveille. Went to sleep hearing taps. Or maybe it was listening to all those Chivers audiotapes of the Sharpe series, hearing William Gaminara read, “Sharpe swore.”

Writing a soldier for a hero gives so much dramatic potential. The hero faced hardship, faced death, experienced scenes we would find horrific. He’s honed his body to be strong. When he returns to England from war, he must look on the society to which he returns in a whole new light. I think it makes for lots of interesting possibilities.

I have a brazillion books on the Napoleonic war. Three of my favorites are:

Waterloo: Day of Battle by David Armine Howarth. It tells the story of Waterloo from the soldiers point of view.

Redcoat: The British Soldier in the Age of Horse and Musket by Richard Holmes, This book covers everything about being a soldier during that time period.

Galloping at Everything: The British Cavalry in the Peninsular War and at Waterloo, 1808-15 by Ian Fletcher. This covers all the major operations engaging the cavalry and discusses some of the controversy around them.

I have another book that makes me sad: Intelligence Officer in the Peninsula, Julia Page, editor. These are the letters and diaries of Major the Hon. Edward Charles Cocks, a man who loved soldiering with a passion that makes the journals occasionally boring. It makes me sad because the war takes his life. Even Wellington grieves his loss.

I’d love to write a series of Napoleonic war love stories, sort of Bernard Cornwell-style but with a really satisfying romance. A lofty dream.

Okay, let’s face it. I just want to spend my days with some hunky officer in regimentals.


Okay. It’s not Regency but it is Gerard Butler as Spartan King Leonides at the Battle of Thermopylae 480 BC. Hey, he’s a soldier, too, right?

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Megan Frampton
16 years ago


First off, you and Gerard Butler OUGHT TO GET A ROOM!

And second, thanks for the recs, my next hero is a soldier with post-traumatic stress syndrome, but I need to find out more about his day-to-day life while at the front.

Yes, I love the heroes too, esp. that Darcy guy.


Diane Perkins
16 years ago

I’d love to get a room with Gerard Butler!!! I don’t have to invite my husband along, do I???

Amanda McCabe
16 years ago

Okay, for some reason, Blogger is not letting me post! Waaah! If this shows up twice, forgive me.

LOL, Diane! Love this post. A hero in uniform, or out of it, as the case may be. Sigh. Speaking of heroes, I was watching the new Masterpiece Theater version of “Under the Greenwood Tree” last night, and found out the actress in it is married to Mathew McFayden. MY Mathew! I am Utterly Heartbroken.

BTW, what movie is that Gerard pic from? I may have to investigate it further. Purely for research purposes.

Diane Perkins
16 years ago

I should have mentioned the movie, which has nothing to do with Regency.
Yes, it does! You can bet our heroes studied the battle!

It is “300” based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller. The movie is scheduled for release in 2007.
This from an Amazon review of the book:
Writer-artist Frank Miller and colorist Lynn Varley retell the battle of Thermopylae in the exciting and moving graphic novel 300. They focus on King Leonidas, the young foot soldier Stelios, and the storyteller Dilios to highlight the Spartans’ awe-inspiring toughness and valor. Miller and Varley’s art is terrific, as always; the combat scenes are especially powerful. And Miller’s writing is his best in years. Read it.
Do not, however, read 300 expecting a strictly accurate history.

Url to the movie’s website, with lots of goodies. Take a look at the video journals.

Cheers! (and condolences about dear Matthew, Ammanda.)

Cara King
16 years ago

I like military heroes too! There’s so much to work with. In GAMESTER my hero was an ex cavalry officer, and the research was really interesting. My favorite research books were a couple by Haythornthwaite (who’s only written a million or so). 🙂 And Todd helped me with the research too!

I did run into one odd little snag: the copy-editor apparently couldn’t find any reference in her sources to the Battle of Albuera (yes, it did exist) 🙂 and kept trying to change it in all my references to “Albufera”! (I have NO idea where Albufera is or if there ever was a battle there!) 🙂

Ah, those gorgeous military heroes.


Elena Greene
16 years ago

I love military heroes too. The hero of my first Regency was a cavalry officer, like Cara’s, and I found the research fascinating, too. I found it spooky in a good way that I invented him as a tall blond officer on a big chestnut horse and later found a picture of him in Haythornthwaite’s BRITISH CAVALRYMAN 1792-1815.

Though I’m writing a dandy right now, I have more military heroes in the wings.

And Janet, stop eyeing Bean! I know where all those comments about cleanliness are heading.


Diane Perkins
16 years ago

Cara and Elena,
I’ll be we Regency authors have conjured up a whole battalion of cavalry officers.
Elena, that is spooky to have found a picture of your hero. I sometimes have the illusion that I am writing about real people.
My first hero, Devlin from The Mysterious Miss M (the one up for the NCRA)was a cavalry officer, as was Gray in The Improper Wife. My others have been Infantry.
And YES there was a Battle of Albuera! I’ll bet a simple google search would have sufficed.


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