Top 5 Reasons Why We Love Regency Romance

By Kayla King, Editorial Assistant to Harlequin Intrigue

I don’t know about you, but a regency romance novel was my initiation into reading romance at large! So what it is it about this subgenre that keeps its popularity evergreen?

1. There’s a regency novel out there for everyone. Believe it or not, for a historical genre, it’s very flexible. Sequels and rewritings of classics, horrific takes on the originals, introducing alternate-history and contemporary flavored relationships into the time period…you name it, it’s happened in regency romance.

2. Its familiarity in modern culture keeps it accessible. Most readers, whether new or seasoned to romance, have been introduced to the regency era through other novels and more recently, movies and television shows focused on the era. It’s a small step to taking a closer look.

3. There’s plenty of historical culture to draw from for flavor. There’s a decent amount of research and work going into the writing on the part of the author to provide the reader with gorgeous costuming, lavish balls, and all sorts of bells and ribbons. These titles are therefore indulgent on several levels.

4. It evolves with the times. There are plenty of amazing historical authors out there who are bending the rules of what was socially acceptable in heroes and heroines of the time, creating more appealing reads for those of us who like heroes who aren’t always brutish and heroines who are more outspoken.

5. It’s essentially a fantasy world. There’s been enough departure from rigid accuracy in the subgenre that what’s emerged is a lavish stage upon which historical authors can set whichever story they wish to tell. This grant of authorial freedom means that regency readers will always have more to look forward to—we’ll never run out of dukes to swoon over, balls to attend, and so forth.

What are some of your favorite regency romances? Or another historical era you’re deeply in love with? Let us know in the comments!

5 replies on “Top 5 Reasons Why We Love Regency Romance”

I agree with these points and I am not devoted to Regency Romance. The only time I enjoy anything Austen is when Emma Thompson or zombies are involved. But, I have found some regular Regencies that I enjoyed. 😉

I was introduced to Georgette Heyer’s and Jane Austen’s works in my teens, shortly after emigrating to Canada from England. That was pre-internet, and the only way I had to relieve my desperate homesickness was boxes of Harlequin romances my aunt bought over, and trips to the library to check out Georgette Heyer’s novels (I was never a TV watcher). Along with Tolkien, Heyer and Austen turned me into a voracious reader. This combination led me to a BA and then an MA in late mediaeval and early modern history..
I still love Regency novels, but I’m in the minority who prefer the classic Austen and Heyer type novels to the fantasy history that is currently prevalent. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy some of the great Regency authors out there, I just have to remind myself they write historical fantasy (and who doesn’t read romance for the fantasy in the first place?), park my historical bias at the door, and enjoy them in all their romantic trappings.
I have several Regency era plots that I will, eventually, bring out of their folders and write. I also found some incredible kick-ass real women in the late mediaeval and early modern periods who would translate wonderfully into romance heroines. Having spent years immersed in primary sources and court documents, I think I know the period(s) well enough to write in the historical genre. I still, and always will, have much to learn about the craft and art of writing fiction. That’s why I’m here – learning, applying, and, hopefully, succeeding in writing romantic fiction – no matter the time period (or place).

My very favorite author of Regency books was Alice Chetwynd Ley. She had the magic that could carry you away to another time. Her heroines were strong, courageous women, who not only fought for what was right but for what they wanted, and usually it was one great stud of a male. A good role model as an author, her books were always a refreshing read, and I read them all. I still own every one of them…somewhere in my vast library of romance books. 🙂

One of my favorite eras is the 1880s. I love the Wild West and the settling of America during those rough but wonderful days of inventions and romance…discrete tete-te-tetes, adventure, brave women and even braver men who settled the American West.

This is all so true when writing a regency! It’s kind of what makes it so hard to stick with an outline as you can expand your story in so many different directions.

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