Have Your Rotten Tomatoes Handy
I miss Regencies.
Sorry, but I do. I've been re-reading some of my old Signet Regencies, and finally realized that when I am in the mood for a quick read, or I'm burned out on the larger tomes, I come back to these stories time after time. I have to wonder why.
It isn't as though the time period is one of my favorites to read about. I'm much more fascinated with the medieval- the Norman conquest up until about 1400; with the American West 1850-1890; and I definitely gravitate toward the latter Victorian era (around 1880? I'm there!) as opposed to the Regency.
Almost all of these little category books have things in common that make me groan. You will always find:
- lavish descriptions of every stitch on every piece of fabric wrapped around the heroines
- 9,867,231 country girls with liberal educations who clean up really well and hold their own against the worst matrons and rakes society has to offer.
- 9,867,231 dukes with beautiful London houses and huge family estates with many lesser titles and holdings who, despite being handsome and manly and not needing any padding to fill out the shoulders of their Weston coats, have remained unmarried until age 35
- universal derision and scorn of the ton and everything it stands for, even though the hero and heroine wind up being paragons of it
And on and on it goes. But I still love them. Those old Signets introduced me to Carla Kelly, Marion Chesney, Mary Balogh, and others who went on to single title success, and for that I'm grateful.
But there's something else that draws me toward these particular books; and I've become convinced there are two things: one, the genteel manners. Dinner was an event. Letter writing was an art. Deference was given to elders and gentlemen treated a lady like, well, a lady. Things today's society could benefit from, even if I wouldn't like to live there full time.
Two, the concept of honor. Many historicals of all periods have this theme running through them. A man's word was his bond. If the hero or heroine gave their word, they kept it to their pain. And if a lady's reputation, which was truly all she had, was called into question? Her champion called the blackguard out. Not that I'd really want any duels fought over me, but the idea that a man in extremely civilized society would literally put his life on the line to keep his lady's good name?
Sigh. Swoon. Thud.
So I'll keep reading, and hearing from Romancelandia how the simple, clean Regency is dead, and in the back of my mind I'll chuckle.
Suspense is nearly there, and vamps and witches? Your time is coming. I have a feeling we'll hear from the ton again.