What is a Regency?

First of all, I noticed that there are several Georgette Heyer ebooks under $2.00 at Amazon Kindle: Venetia, The Black Moth, Fredericka, These Old Shades, The Quiet Gentleman…and more!

This past week on the Beau Monde loop we’ve been having a discussion about what makes a book a Regency. Likely this is a topic that only matters to writers, but I thought I would toss it out to the Risky Regencies community anyway.

I said that a book is a Regency if it is set in the “Regency World.” To me, the Regency world encompasses the British places, people, and events from roughly 1790 to 1830. The books are written from a British/Regency perspective even if the setting is not in Regency London or Brighton or Bath or a country house. The story could be set in British India, Europe (Napoleonic War settings – my Three Soldiers Series), or even America (War of 1812, for example), but it involves the British perspective, about British characters and involved in British social, political or economic concerns. Mostly the stories take place in Great Britain and are about the social world of the privileged, although some of my Regencies have been about characters who are not of the aristocracy, but whose lives are more peripherally involved.

There’s not just one kind of Regency book.

There used to be traditional Regency romances, such as the Signet and Zebra lines. These books were heavy on the social Regency, the manners of the time period. The Regency setting was paramount in the traditional Regencies. There are still traditional Regencies being published. Harlequin Historical publishes some, but, alas, those Regency lines are gone.

Then there are Regency Historicals or Regency-set Historicals, those other romances set in the Regency. These can be light and quirky or deeply emotional. They can have paranormal elements. They can be adventures or mysteries or relationship books.

Should we call other types of books Regencies? Historicals (non-romances) set in the Regency, usually trade paperback or hardback sized? Books like Patrick O’Brian‘s? Just how far should our definition of Regency fiction go?

What do you think? Does it matter to you?

To read my thoughts about 9-11 see Diane’s Blog. We’ll never forget.

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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