As some of you may remember, during the RWA Beau Monde’s 2015 celebration of the eightieth anniversary of the Regency romance novel, I wrote a weekly Georgette Heyer poll here on my site as my way of contributing to the festivities. These polls were quite popular at the time and a great way for Heyer lovers to connect over favourite characters, favourite scenes, and best loved phrases. It was during this time that romance authors Avril Tremayne and Jane Godman, editor Ali Williams, and I formed our own little Heyer group which Ali affectionately named the “Dash it Alls” in honour of Freddy Standen from Heyer’s 1953 novel Cotillion. […]Continue Reading
February 14th is Valentine’s Day. To celebrate the holiday 19th century style, I’ve collected a few Valentine’s Day news items from Regency England, Victorian England, and even 1890s Texas. Some remind me a bit of modern day “lost connections” or “lonely hearts” adverts (hence the title of this post), others are simply humorous historical Valentine’s Day messages or, predictably, not so humorous Victorian Valentine’s Day news.[…]Continue Reading
During the 19th century, a gently bred young lady with no fortune, no family, and no prospects had few options for making her way in the world. She might hire herself out as a companion, of course. Or if she was particularly adept with a needle, she might take in a bit of sewing. Both were respectable, genteel occupations for a lady down on her luck and, as such, both are well-represented in historical novels. However, despite the undoubted romantic appeal of the penniless companion and the impoverished seamstress, neither position provides the wealth of literary possibilities inherent in the role of governess.[…]Continue Reading
Miniature portraits first appeared in England during the 16th century. Small, portable, and easily displayed or concealed on one’s person, their popularity flourished – both in life and in literature. By the 19th century, their presence in romance novels and Gothics was practically de-rigueur.
Ann Radcliffe uses miniatures to great effect in several of her novels, including The Mysteries of Udolfo (1794) and The Italian (1797). In the following passage from The Italian, we get a glimpse of the enormous dramatic impact a miniature can have if produced at the right moment in the story.[…]Continue Reading
As romance writers and readers, we are all intimately acquainted with the Byronic hero. That particular brand of brooding, mysterious, misunderstood – and did I mention handsome? – Regency rogue that has stolen the heart of many a sheltered young Regency heroine. He is Captain Conrad in The Corsair, Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, and Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. And as dark and dangerous as he is, he makes the honorable, morally upright gentlemen with whom he shares the page seem downright unappealing.[…]Continue Reading