Part of the romance of the English Regency lies in the elegant manners. People of the era seem more civil than we do today — at first glance, anyway. But in Jane Austen’s books you find aristocratic characters flinging insults at their less-privileged counterparts. We know from Georgette Heyer that if a debutante dances more than twice with the same guy in one night, she’s throwing herself at him (in the view of the ton) — and if she dances the waltz before getting permission from society leaders, well then she’s a strumpet.
It turns out that real fun comes in smashing up the formalities of the Regency. When Lizzie Bennet takes down Lady Catherine DeBourgh near the end of Pride and Prejudice, it’s one of the most satisfying moments in the book. (“I do not pretend to possess equal frankness with your ladyship. You may ask questions which I shall not choose to answer.” Strong stuff!)
One way I’ve had fun pushing back at the social restrictions of the Regency in my romance novels is through gender-role reversal. In For the Love of Lila, Lila Covington has received a male’s education but not a male’s privileged place in London society. She rebels, deciding to move in with a “freethinking” (female) cousin in Paris. When she gets involved with Tristan Wyndam, a barrister with an eye on a political career, he is more concerned with his reputation than she is with hers. (Good luck with that, Tristan!) Read a more detailed description and sample chapters on this page.
My time-travel, As You Wish, explores what happens when a modern American woman mixes it up with a guy from Regency England. David Traymore is used to society’s restrictions, but, as the illegitimate son of a marquess, he’s often gotten the short end of the stick. Leah Cantrell has had some rough patches, but as far as she’s concerned, the world is their oyster. For the book blurb and sample chapters, please click here.Tweet this