Top Blog Post: Mourning in the Regency

Here’s one of our top posts:

Earlier this month, Susan shared with us some sobering statistics about death during England’s Regency period. According to her May 4th post, the average life expectancy in England in the early 1800s was about 40 years, and the infant mortality rate was around 15%.

The people of the Regency had very specific “rules” on how to deal with and display grief over losing a loved one. Though not as strict as the mourning customs that would later develop in the Victorian period, Regency mourning conventions were complex. Let’s take a look at  some of the key characteristics of mourning during the Regency.

Read More:

http://christianregency.com/blog/2012/05/16/mourning-in-the-regency-period/

Top Blog Post: Real-life Romance and How to Keep It Alive

Here is our top post. Learn about Romance:

Hi everyone, Naomi here today, talking about real-life love, and ready to have some fun with it!

So often in romance novels, especially Regency romances, a couple is thrust together and sometimes even forced to marry due to circumstances beyond their control. In fact, I’m finishing a novel now where indeed, the hero and heroine are caught together in an unbecoming manner, and you guessed it: there’s wedding bells ringing by halfway through the story. It doesn’t matter that they’re not in love and didn’t want to marry, by the end of the book they’ll be head-over-heels for one another.

Read the Rest at:
http://christianregency.com/blog/2012/06/22/real-life-romance-and-how-to-keep-it-alive/

“A Proper Marriage” A Traditional Regency Reviewed by Vanessa Riley

I was introduced to Modern Regencies, you know the ones written by after Austen, Heyer and Veryan while in college. Nothing I liked more than to unwind with a witty, Regency with everything on the line in the story after calculus.

One novel, A Proper Marriage by Debbie Raleigh is one of my favorites. I reread it each year, at least once.A Proper Marriage

What’s not to love about A Proper Marriage. First, the hero and heroine are married, to each other. Not a marriage of convenience (those are great) or gun-induced wedding from a compromise, but an arranged marriage one year in between noted war scholar, Adam Drake and the formerly free-spirit, Adele Morrow.

Here’s Adam explaining to Vicar Humbly, the man who wed the two, the problem:

Adam winced in spite of himself. “No, I made very certain before we wed that she understood I would not tolerate the scandalous behavior of her parents,” he admitted. “I made a precise list of what I expected in my bride. I even chose her wardrobe to ensure she would not be an embarrassment when we arrived in London.”

“And Addy agreed to this list?” he (Humbly) at last demanded in carefully bland tones.

Adam waved a restless hand. “What choice did she have? Her parents had managed to squander their fortune years ago and only survived in the knowledge they would receive a settlement when Addy and I wed.”

“Ah.” The Vicar nodded in a knowing manner. “Well, you should be pleased. Addy has become a most proper lady.”

“Yes, I should be delighted,” Adam agreed grimly.

“But you are not?”

Adam polished off the brandy in a single gulp. He thought of the months with Addy in his home. No, he was not bloody well delighted.  No man would be delighted to possess a shadow that slipped from his grasp whenever he reached out to take hold.

“It is not pleasant to live with a woman who is clearly miserable,” he conceded with a pained grimace.

Second a smart but bored heroine:

Here’s Addy dealing with a rake.

Addy reached out to reclaim her fan. “I am sensible enough to know you are a reprehensible rake! If you wish to polish your fatal charms you should choose a more gullible victim.”

“You have it wrong,” he (Barclay, the rake) protested. “I have been felled by your beauty.”

She rolled her eyes heavenward, but before she could take him to task for his foolishness, a sudden shadow fell over her.

A familiar tingle of awareness rushed through her and slowly she turned to confront the glittering gaze of her husband.

Third, real arguments about cross-purposed souls with the richness of history, duty, and commitment that you don’t always find with unmarried couples.

He (Adam) had thoroughly ruined her evening and worse, he had wounded her pride with his blunt confession he did not trust her.

Dash it all. It had been uncomfortable enough living with Adam in a state of polite, frozen courtesy. She might have disliked guarding her every word and being abandoned for hours in this great tomb of a house, but at least she did not have to worry over sudden squabbles and sharp words that seemed to cut her very soul.

Through the vicar’s counseling, Addy and Adam manage to reconcile and even find love, with each other.  I adore this book so much, I even cut a trailer for it.

So, if you are looking for a good Regency to curl up with try this old Zebra Regency Romance, A Proper Marriage.

The Nonesuch

I’ve enjoyed reading this month’s posts about “keeper” regencies—those stories we go back and reread. Even though we’re familiar with the story line and it’s hero and heroine, we once again fall prey to its magic as we open to page one.nonesuch_sml

One of my favorite regencies, which I revisit every couple of years or so, is Georgette Heyer’s The Nonesuch. I’ve loved all the Georgette Heyer regencies I’ve read, but a few stand out. I think this latest reread may be my fourth of The Nonesuch. Why is it so special? As Laurie Alice Eakes wrote in an earlier post about her favorite regency, the story line is not terribly unique. In The Nonesuch, the heroine is the classic poor, yet well-educated and high-born, lady, a bit past her prime (aka marriageable age) at 26. The hero is “top-of-the-trees” (aka out of her league). They meet by chance in a village way up in Yorkshire, where she is governess to a spoiled beauty.  He is the typical perfect catch who at 35 has not yet been caught by any woman of marriageable age. He is also a Corinthian, which means he is an athlete, excelling at all the sports popular with regency bucks. The heroine is suspicious of Corinthians because of those who engage in the regency version of extreme sports (like racing their high-perch phaetons), often leading younger men astray. But she is hard-pressed not to be impressed with this Corinthian, who is not only handsome, but considerate, mature, thoughtful, and with a sense of humor to match her own. He also singles her out, so no matter how much she tries to guard her heart, it’s a losing battle from the starting line.

The Nonesuch is a classic Cinderella tale of an impoverished heroine winning her prince’s heart. I am sure I will be rereading it again sometime in the future as well as other Georgette Heyer regencies (Frederica and Faro’s Daughter come to mind).

Last month I blogged here about revisiting and re-editing a regency of my own, The Rogue’s Redemption. It’s now available online at Amazon. Here is a copy of the cover:

What do you think of this rogue’s killer blue eyes? Does the heroine stand a chance?

raxtell_roguesredemption

 

For a description of this and other books by Ruth Axtell, visit her website at www.ruthaxtell.com

Ruth Axtell (2)

“Gentleman Rogue”,Traditional Regency book reviewed by Susan Karsten

Prepping for this post, I read “Gentleman Rogue” by Barbara Neil, for the third time. I am not usually a re-reader of books, favorites or not. My Regency reading habit is voracious, but I don’t keep the books, unless they are VERY special — I just don’t have the shelf space. Most of my Regency shelf is taken up by paperback editions written by my two favorite authors. Far down to the right end are the other ‘keeper’ books and that is where “Gentleman Rogue” resides.

Front & Back covers
(the blurb does not do it justice)

Quite often, the best traditional Regency books are the ones published by Signet. “Gentleman Rogue”, written by Barbara Neil, however, was published by Harlequin in 1993.

The book is intelligent and hilarious. Enough so that I was willing to read it a third time for this blog, and my husband can attest that I was laughing (chortling) out loud last night.

Hero: Ryder Starr, Heroine: Aurora Valentin (her nickname is little Miss Bishop). The preposterous, yet entertaining premise is that hero Ryder Starr is going around trying to cause scandals which he hopes get back to his nefarious inheritance-stealing cousin. He hopes the cousin will pay him off, via his share of the inheritance, to stop the embarrassing contretemps. His path crosses with the lovely and high-minded Aurora Valentin, and sparks fly, with her resisting all the way.

A favorite quote from “Gentleman Rogue”:

“Perfection is one of those ideals that may have been conceived solely

in order to be dashed.”

This quote is my personal favorite from this book, because I have frequently thought or said similar sentiments.

I have been reading Regencies for about twenty years. I get most of mine at used book stores/sales, thrift stores, and at the library. I enjoy the setting and social mores, and appreciate that most traditional Regencies are “clean” and not full of bedroom scenes, infidelity, and immorality.

I hope you can lay your hands on “Gentleman Rogue” ~ it’s highly enjoyable.

P.S. I believe Barbara Neil also wrote under the name Barbara Sherrod.

 

Georgina by Clare Darcy

Georgina by Clare Darcy

Several months ago, I wrote a post on Clare Darcy, the second Regency author I read. Georgina was the first book I read by Ms. Darcy. It kept me up reading long after I should have been in bed, even though I had no idea why a lady shouldn’t “stand up” (dance) with one man more than once, what was wrong with a young lady just “out” shouldn’t wear “colors” what a bandbox was, or why rooms were called saloons. I only knew that the story caught my imagination and the time period my heart.

Georgina isn’t a particularly unique story. She finds her latest suitor a dead bore and turns him down. Her aristocratic grandmother is annoyed and ships Georgina off to distant relatives in Ireland. Instead of falling for an eligible gentleman there, she falls head over ears (really? Ears, not heels?) for an Irishman with a scandalous past.

Who can deny the romance of that scenario? I’m not even enamored of Irish heroes, but, in Georgina, Mr. Shannon was enough to make me understand Georgina’s subsequent actions.

I have since gotten my hands on the rest of Ms. Darcy’s books and find all them, to greater and lesser extent, delightful reads. Georgina, however, is the only one I have reread, though I may remedy that one day. One reason why I reread it twenty years after the first read was that I wanted to see if it held up the test of time, maturity, and a lot more knowledge of the time period, the Regency era.

It did and then some.

Although I love these sweet Regencies now called Traditional Regencies, mine are more in the style of Patricia Veryan—swashbuckling adventures. The romance, however, will always hold center stage in this time period that lends itself most highly to romance.

Laurie Alice Eakes is the author of four Regency romances with three more coming out in the future. You can find excerpts from her first Regencies at http://www.lauriealiceeakes.com

Naomi here, with a couple of Regency novels to add to your Christmas reading list.

I’ve long been a fan of inspirational romance novels, but I must admit Regency Romance is a rather new addition to my romance collection. The Lady of Milkweed Manor was the first inspirational Regency novel I ever read, followed closely by The Silent Governess. Both are by the same author, Julie Klassen. And while these novels don’t have some of the overt romance that some other Regency stories do, they both do a good job of combining mystery, history, and yes, a touch of romance.

Here’s the description for The Lady of Milkweed Manor:LadyOfMilkweedManor

Even a proper vicar’s daughter can make a mistake…and now Charlotte Lamb must pay a high price for her fall. To avoid the prying eyes of all who know her, she hides herself away in London’s forbidding “Milkweed Manor,” a place of mystery and lore, of old secrets and new birth.

But once there, she comes face to face with a suitor from her past–a man who now hides secrets of his own. Both are determined, with God’s help, to protect those they love. But neither can imagine the depth of sacrifice that will be required.

Scandal, ruin, secrecy, mystery. It’s all very “Regency,” even down to the details of a rich lord taking advantage of a naive young miss. Julie Klassen’s third book, The Silent Governess, is much the same way, and it went on to win some rather prestigious inspirational romance awards. Here’s more about that book:

The Silent GovernessBelieving herself guilty of a crime, Olivia Keene flees her home, eventually stumbling upon a grand estate where an elaborate celebration is in progress. But all is not as joyous as it seems.

Lord Bradley has just learned a terrible secret, which, if exposed, will change his life forever. When he glimpses a figure on the grounds, he fears a spy or thief has overheard his devastating news. He is stunned to discover the intruder is a scrap of a woman with her throat badly injured. Fearing she will spread his secret, he gives the girl a post and confines her to his estate. As Olivia and Lord Bradley’s secrets catch up with them, will their hidden pasts ruin their hope of finding love?

So there you have it, another inspirational Regency filled with secrecy, mystery, class strife, and a bit of love. Both of these stories create a perfect place for inspirational romance and Regency novels to meet. If you’re interested in learning more about this author, we did an interview with Julie Klassen almost two years ago.

Since I won’t be blogging again before Christmas, I hope you all have a very merry one, filled with family, food, and lots of time for reading! 😀

Fallen Angel by Charlotte Louise Dolan

I have been reading Regency romances since I picked up my first one in ninth grade, by accident. Since then, I’ve been buying Regency romances at the bookstore, through reader mail subscriptions, and more recently through garage sales, Goodwill/Salvation Army/thrift stores, and eBay or online used bookstores. I’ve acquired so many paperbacks that I’m not entirely sure where I’ve gotten them from by now, but they’re all waiting on my bookshelves for me to pick them up to read.

9780451175014The most recent book I read was Fallen Angel by Charlotte Louise Dolan. I was on the Traditional Regency Romance Aficionados group on Goodreads.com (not very active, but a neat group) when someone mentioned some books by Charlotte Louise Dolan. Several people recommended Fallen Angel, and I looked through my catalog. Sure enough, I had bought it at some garage sale years ago and it was on my shelf.

I started reading it and was hooked from page one. Here’s the back cover blurb:

Man of Mystery — It was simple for Miss Verity Jolliffe to find out a great deal about Gabriel Rainsford, Lord Sherington. His good looks and wealth were evident His arrogance and ruthlessness were legendary. — Still, a question remained. What could Sherington see in a modest young lady like her, when he had the voluptuous Eleanor Lowndes as his mistress, and the most beautiful belles of the town eager to be his bride? Did he want her as a plaything for his jaded desires? Or as a wife in a mockery of a marriage? Or as a means of revenge on all womankind? But whatever he wanted, Verity feared that one thing was certain. Caught in his spell, she would find it heartbreakingly hard to say no….

Camy here: Okay, I admit the blurb is rather melodramatic and it doesn’t really tell what’s going on in the story. The writer’s style sometimes reminded me of Carla Kelly, but her humor reminded me of Georgette Heyer.

The hero is a bit ruthless, but it’s because he has been unwanted by everyone in his family since he was a child, and he has stopped caring about anyone to protect his own scarred heart. However, his lack of feeling sometimes makes him completely clueless as to women and how to treat them, which turns out to be really funny at times. It reminds me a bit of how Christian Western historical romance author Mary Conneally’s heroes are manly but clueless when faced with a strong woman.

What was really interesting was the heroine’s concept of love. It was so Christlike that I was surprised to see it in a book published in the secular market. She has her own flaws, but it only makes her more endearing and sympathetic. She is also strong and sensible, one of my favorite types of heroines.

9781610847971_p0_v1_s260x420What’s even better is that this book has been released as an ebook by the author. You can also try to get it from Paperbackswap or some similar book trading website. I immediately bought the ebook version since I loved the book so much, and my paperback version was looking a little ratty (I posted my paperback copy on Paperbackswap and it was picked up right away).

I hope you try this book and enjoy it as much as I did!

The Miser of Mayfair ~ A Regency Read

Kristi here.

I didn’t grow up reading a lot of Regency books. It wasn’t until I was nearly twenty that I discovered the era and fell in love with it as a story setting. As I studied the authors that I fell in love with, I discovered a whole list of traditional Regency writers that inspired the authors I knew.

My list of books to look up is long, but I will be forever thankful to the friend who pointed me to Marion Chesney.

Her A House for the Season series was recommended to me and I pass that recommendation on to you.

The first book in the series is The Miser of Mayfair. It isn’t your typical set-up.

The Miser of Mayfair by Marion ChesneyThe setting for the series is a home in London, available to rent but plagued with bad luck. This makes the rent ridiculously low, something Mr. Roderick Sinclair needs desperately if he’s going to take his ward to London for the Season.

The ward, Fiona, is not your typical heroine either. It’s very possible that she is a good bit more than she initially appears to be. Which is a good thing, because if she’s going to make a good match, she has an enormous amount of obstacles to overcome. Not the least of which is a lack of funds, connections, or proper wardrobe.

Enter the wily butler, Rainbird, who plots with Fiona to make her and the beleaguered staff of Number 67 Clarges Street a success.

For me, the book was a refreshing look at the Regency world. The style, plot, and story structure are very different than books I see published today, but that only adds to the story’s charm for me.

Unless you’re lucky enough to find an old copy in a bookstore, The Miser of Mayfair is only available through a Kindle reader. If you’re looking for a fun, easy read while you travel this month, give it a try. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can even borrow it for free.

Have you read The Miser of Mayfair or one of Marion Chesney’s other Regencies? What did you think?