Our guest blogger today is Deb Barnhart, a long time friend and fellow romance reader. I asked her to tell us why she reads Regencies and her answer follows. But I also encourage you to check out her Pinterest site to see some of the lovely Regency images she has collected. Thanks Deb for the kind words and your thoughtful response
Regency historicals touch my romantic soul at its deepest level. Whenever I enter that time period through the imagination of favorite writers, like Mary Blayney, Loretta Chase, Cathy Maxwell and Lorraine Heath, there is a level of intimacy present that I don’t find in contemporaries or other historicals.
For me, that early 19th century time frame offers so much more freedom in character and story where it runs the gamut of dark to light, sweet to sexy, drama to comedy. I love that kind of variety when I’m looking for a good read and Regency authors always provide it.
Of course, Jane Austen is still a favorite of mine and Georgette Heyer is always good company, but I have read every one of Mary Blayney’s Pennistan series and the Braedons with the same level of joy and pleasure. Loretta Chase’s LORD OF SCROUNDRELS could not be sexier or more fun to read, unless I’m reading Janet Mullaney. I recently reread THE RAKE by Mary Jo Putney and found it as fresh as when I first read it.
I am such a Regency fan girl. The authors I mentioned, and the many I have not, have seen me through good times and bad. Regencies have allowed me to experience the Peninsular War, weekends in English country houses and evenings in infamous gaming hells. But from my very first Regency, what I love most about them is the romance. I adore stories about Dukes who find love for the first time and ladies who want nothing to do with it.
I love happy endings and Regencies do that best of all. They sweep me away from whatever crisis I am experiencing and into a past where pelisses are all the rage, women are feisty, love is always new and happy is ever after.
Since you read this blog you read Regencies. So tell me was it Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer or Regency history generally that inspired you to write or read that genre?
Is there a Regency that you have read that has a special memory for you personally as a reader or a author?
Hmm, what inspired me to write a Regency…..I think it was the general history of the time as the first nod toward our current emphasis on what the individual wanted as opposed to what was best for the group (or family), Marrying for love (as opposed to marrying for property or title) being the perfect example. I loved Georgette Heyer and some early writers like Laurie McBain.
Thank you, Mary, for all the wonderful books you have written. And thank you for offering me a forum to fly my Regency flag. Long may it wave.
Marion Chesney is the author who hooked me on Regencies.
Then I discovered Georgette Heyer with her subtly dry wit and I knew I had to write Regency.
I’ve experiemented with other time periods, loathe contemporaries, and even played around with SFF romance, but my heart always comes back to Regencies.
Thanks, Heidi. Regencies do have that something special. and they come in so many flavored. They hit my many moods.
My mom started me on the readying path by sharing her Barbara Cartland books and then I found the Signet Regency line around the 90s. I was so sad when they stopped publishing. I didn’t read books in this time period for several years. Then one day I found a historical by Mary Balogh at the local book store and it was like I was re-born finding this world again. She is one of my favorite authors and through her I found other authors too. The possibilities are now endless with so many great authors. My TBR pile for years now has been endless and I love it!
Mary Balogh is one I missed mentioning as a favorite. But I also miss mentioning Diane Gaston and quite a few others. There is such A rich tapestry of writers in the Regency. I do like reading in other genres but there’s something about the Regency. It’s like coming home.
Loved your post, Deb! I find regencies, or any historical for that matter, especially those set in the UK, manage to blot out the real world more effectively than any other read. I love the intimacy and small world of friends and families that regencies seem to focus on, and love the high society gowns and houses and parties. I’ve never tried to write one, but love love love reading them. Thanks again for your piece…can’t wait to read more from you!
Thanks for stopping by, Marsha. I agree. Regencies take you away from the chaos of the present to the serenity of the past, though there was a lotgoing on then politically. I have written an unpublished Regency and plan to write another sometime soon because it’s a fascinating time period to hang out in while you’re writing a book.
From one fangirl to another… It was long ago, but I’m pretty sure the first author who hooked me on reading regencies was Jo Beverly. And while I love reading them, I’ve never dared to consider writing them because the history (and therefore the research) are such an important part of the genre!
When I started reading romance, I started with the historicals, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Rosemary Rogers, and the gothics like Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney. But it wasn’t until I started writing that our friends Helen Hester Ossa and Julie Halperson convinced me to read Regencies. I started with Mary Jo Putney’s The Rake and The Reformer and I was hooked. I read Mary Balogh and any Signet or Zebra Regency I could find. And I also read Georgette Heyer, whom I never discovered until then either. Eventually I took the leap to try to write one of my own and the rest, as they say, is history.
Diane, my path to Regencies is almost identical to yours. Gothics were a favorite of mine, and Rosemary Rogers was my first romance. I found Regency authors because I read nothing but historicals for a very long time and was always looking for a new author. Now, Regencies are my preference.
I enjoyed your post, Deb. I’ve read romance since I was a teen, and though I’m a huge medieval romance fan, there’s also something special about Regencies. I’m fascinated by the time-frame, but as a Scottish medieval author, I laud writers who dive into that rule-laden Regency era. Thanks again for the fun post, and I wish you the very best!
Wonderful post, Deborah! I read my big sister Marie’s Georgette Heyer and have been a fan of wonderful regency (and American Federal era) stories ever since. I think you’re right about the period’s appeal… it’s not for nothing the clothing was freeing up women and making the look like Greek and Roman goddesses… democratic principles, scientific inquiry, and personal freedoms were on the move in so many exciting ways! Love Mary Balogh and Carla Kelly. Carla’s characters are so wonderfully human, practical, courageous! I love her American western stories too.
Oh, yes! Mary Jo Putney’s The Rake is a favorite. I don’t write Regencies, but I adore reading them. Excellent post, Deborah!
Regencies have long been my favorite, and my go to when I just can’t find something I really can get into. Good Stuff. Currently reading The Defiant Bride by Leslie Hachtel, at least this one is one that I have found to be a very good read, I recommend.
Nice post, Deb. I agree, Mary Jo’s THE RAKE (originally THE RAKE AND THE REFORMER) stands the test of time and then some. The hero’s battle with alcoholism (before that was even identified as a “disease”) is heartrending and inspiring. Huzzah to Happily Ever After!
What a wonderful post, Deb! Thank you so much for sharing your love of the genre with us. Historical fiction was always my fav, even as a child, and in searching the library for more to feed my appetite, I stumbled across Pride & Prejudice while still too young to understand more than half of it. But I was hooked on everything Regency, after that! Barbara Cartland served for a while, but once I discovered the Signet Regencies, my addiction became hopelessly incurable, LOL. Mary Jo Putney and Mary Balogh, Edith Layton, Carla Kelly, so many more. When I became a Signet author myself, I really couldn’t believe it! I loved how Signet let us push the boundaries of the genre.
Hello Deb! I’m so honored to have read this blog post by you. Even though I’m not the most knowledgeable on the Regency genre, I have read two that I believe fall in the category. If not, please correct and forgive me for my ignorance. But The Spymaster’s Lady by Joanna Bourne and The Seduction of Scandal by Cathy Maxwell are two of my all-time favorite romances. I agree with you, there is just something extra special and singular about the romance from this day and age. Thank you so much for blogging about this today and teaching someone like me a little more about this wonderful genre! Hugs to you!