Snarkling Clean

Snarkling Clean- because you don't have to cuss to make fun of stuff. Two dedicated readers discuss romance novels- from what made us weep with joy to what made us want to poke pencils through our eyeballs.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Have Your Rotten Tomatoes Handy

'Cause I'm ready to duck. I'm about to admit something that is currently a heresy to the romance reading world. I'm taking a deep breath, and here goes.

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.


Blogger Missie said...

I love and miss the Regencies also. They were sweet and nice and good reads that you don't have to think to hard about.

9:44 AM  
Blogger StarvingWriteNow said...

I'm guessing you must be talking about Signet Regencies from years past, and not the newer ones? Not sure as I never read one. Which is your favorite?

My favorite "clean" regency is a book titled A Game of Pleasure by Barbara Satow. It's more on the lines of traditional, mannered Regency with only a few kisses thrown in. A refreshing change.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous nessili said...

Yes, yes, yes!

Regencies were what hooked me on romances, since most of them were simple, clean, fun stories. Loved Marion Chesney, Mrs. McVinnie's London Season (a Carla Kelly, I believe) is my absolute favorite Regency of all time, and all of Patricia Veryan's books.

Bring 'em back. Soon, please.

1:37 PM  
Blogger Bernita said...

Heyer forever.

4:28 AM  
Blogger Robyn said...

SWN, yes, I'm referring to those old Signet regencies. I don't think they publish them anymore. My favorite is Mary Balogh's An Unlikely Duchess. If you can find it in a used bookstore it's well worth it. They are refreshing! Kind of a reading palate cleanser.

Nessili, I LOVE Veryan. She's divine.

And yes, Bernita. Heyer forever.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Carla said...

I'm with you on the concept of honour - that always appeals to me, in whatever period.

4:08 AM  
Blogger StarvingWriteNow said...

I just picked up Beau Crusoe by Carla Kelly in my local bookstore last night. Apparently she's still at it!

I'll have to look around for some of the others. Thanks for the suggestions!

10:52 AM  

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