Regency Romance, romance novels set in the early 19th century, is my favourite genre to read. There is something magical about this genre, the rakish hero, the lovely heroine, the obstacles in the way of true love, the happy endings, all of these make for a great escapist read. Regency romances are a window to the past. They are at their core romances but draped in layers of wit and humour. Most of them have excellent dialogues which keep you chuckling. There is an aura of gracefulness, of old-worldly charm, of dashing men and damsels with spines of steel. In this day and age of blatant sexuality, romance with glances and delicate pressures of hand makes for a refreshing change. Georgette Heyer is the undisputed queen of this genre. Her books sparkle with wit and humour. Julia Quinn, Mary Balogh, Lisa Kleypas are some of the other well-known authors of this genre, who have kept us insatiable readers supplied with well-crafted books.
Looking back at the countless Regency romance I have read, there are certain elements which are necessary to crafting a Regency romance. I have tried to list out a few of the essential elements here.
- The protagonists are from the ton, in other words, they are nobly born, usually with a title. There are dukes, earls, counts, etc. Usually, the hero is an incorrigible rake, until of course, he meets the heroine. They might be impoverished and not have two pennies to rub together, but they will not be of the working class. The hero will usually be dark and brooding. The heroine will usually not be a regular beauty but will still be irresistible to the gentleman. Quite a few times she will also be past the marriageable age, though not quite yet an old-maid.
- There will be at least one ball mentioned in the book( if not more) and during the ball, the protagonists’ waltz. Now the waltz was supposed to be a “fast” dance in the regency period. The authors of this genre take full advantage of this fact. The possibilities during the waltz are limitless. The waltz gives an excuse to the protagonists to have a tete-a-tete without chaperones, leading them to fall in love with each other. In many books, it is during the waltz that the lead characters become aware of sexual tension between them. And my favourite, when the hero uses the waltz to whisk away the lady to a secluded alcove (oooh!).
- Hyde Park, the place to be at four o’clock! Hyde Park is the place where the characters go ridding on the Rotten Row, or drive around the park in a curricle or walk along the Serpentine. Hyde Park became the location for socialising or for gossip or for declaration of love. In some books, it was also a location for a duel!! When I went to London for a holiday, I made sure I went to Hyde Park. Alas! Neither do I ride, nor did I have a young Lord to squire me around, so the park was quite a disappointment for the romantic in me.
- Special licenses, the special way to get married! A lady’s reputation becomes the basis for many an engagement or weddings, leading to subsequent love stories in this genre. Once a lady’s reputation is compromised, the easiest way to remedy the situation is for the gentleman to marry the lady with a special license. Many a love story start from a marriage with a special license!
- What is romance genre if there is no talk about fashion? The fashions and their description kept you entertained. There are descriptions of the ball gowns and the walking dresses and the day dresses, so on and so forth. The talk about fashion doesn’t overpower the story, but adds icing to the world you are trying to escape into. Search for the dialogue “over-ripe citrus fruit”, you will be amazed at the answers you will get from the aficionados of this genre.
Are there any more elements which you think are necessary for crafting a perfect Regency Romance? do let me know!
As for me, I am counting down the days to 25th Of December when the Bridgerton Family created by Julia Quinn hits Netflix!
*I am taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s #MyFriendAlexa.*