“L.O.V.E. in the Regency”
I can wax on about the lovely aspects of the Regency era and the fiction it has spawned, but to reign in my thoughts, I’ll limit my reflections to four elements, each beginning with a letter of LOVE.
L … The Language is delightful. Where else can you read such bits of “slang” as charming as the cant of the Regency? Aren’t there a few celebrities today about whom it could be said “She has more hair than wit”? Referring to someone as “attics to let” wouldn’t be kind, but it is a rather smile-provoking turn-of-phrase. I’ll leave this topic with one more of my favorites: “Stepping into parson’s mousetrap”, which reflects some gentlemen’s views on marriage.
O … Society had Order and structure which is lacking today. When’s the last time most of us had an “at-home day” upon which your friends knew you’d be at home and expecting visits. Have you gone to a tea, musicale, ball, or garden party of late? The fascinating protocol of hosting, attending, making guest lists, sending invitations, and subtle gradations of how deep one shall bow or curtsey; these bygone rules are distinct and keep our interest.
V … Feminine Virtue was the order of the day. The unmarried maiden’s virtue was carefully guarded, so as to bring a pure virgin to the marriage altar. This virtue is sadly absent today, and reading about a day in which purity was guarded can be an inspiration. Reading Christian Regency fiction allows one to recapture the thrill of a first kiss, perhaps at the altar, without the seamy pages that follow in secular romances.
E … If you read for Escape, Regency England is a delightful place to visit. Most of us will never make it over to intriguing Bath, Brighton, or Tunbridge Wells. We won’t tread the ground of Northumberland, Sussex, or the like. But, ahh, flip open the typical Regency, and you’re transported to a lovely place and time, all bound within the pages of the book in your hands.