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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Types of Regency Romance

There Really are More Than One!
By Collette Cameron

When I started writing Regency Romances, I thought I knew what I was doing. Notice the emphasis on the word thought. Heck, I didn’t even realize that what defines the Regency Era is controversial.

The narrowest definition of the Regency Era is the period between 1811 and 1820 when the Prince of Whales ruled as Prince Regent because King George III’s madness made him unfit to rule. Some argue that Regency Romances must take place within this time frame and be set in England while adhering to the social norms, mannerisms, and values of the period.

A broader definition, often call the Extended Regency Era, was the period from 1777 or 1779, depending on the resource, and ending either with the death of King George IV in 1830 or the British Reform Act in 1932. Some claim it extended clear until Queen Victoria took the throne in 1837.  

You’ll note that one time frame is a mere nine years, while the other encompasses over four decades. Is one right and the other wrong? One more authentic or accurate?

A notice at the entrance to the Regency galleries in the National Portrait Gallery reads:
 “As a distinctive period in Britain’s social and cultural life, the Regency spanned the four decades from the start of the French Revolution in 1789 to the passing of Britain’s great Reform Act in 1832.”

Obviously, by this definition, the term encompasses a broader period than the near decade the regent ruled in proxy. However, the definition of Regency Romance extends beyond the feel of the Regency Era too.

In fact, there are five genres that fall within the scope of Regencies.

Classical Regency Fiction: Novels actually written during the nine-year Regency period. Jane Austen’s works fall into this category.

Modern Regency Fiction:  Stories written at a later time about the Regency period.

Traditional Regency Romances: These novels are “sweet” with no explicit sex and are usually set between 1800 and 1820. (Yes, that’s outside the official Regency Era).

Regency Historicals: The setting is in Regency England (or provinces controlled by England) but the prose, characters, and plot extends beyond the usual genre formula. Characters may behave according to modern values rather than Regency values.

Sensual Regency Historical: Often written as series, they contain explicit sex, some erotic in nature.

The difficulty Regency authors and readers encounter when writing novels or searching for stories to read, is that, often, there is no distinction between the latter four. Retailer categories are limited, and all types Regencies tend to be lumped together. That can lead to mixed reviews.

I’m curious if you agree with the five types of Regency Romances. Do you think there should be other types? Fewer?  How does a reader know the difference?
   
Bestselling, award-winning Historical Romance Author, Collette Cameron, pens Scottish and Regency Romances featuring rogues, rapscallions, rakes, and the intrepid damsels who reform them. Mother to three and self-proclaimed Cadbury chocoholic, she’s crazy about dachshunds, cobalt blue, and makes her home in Oregon with her husband and five mini-dachshunds. You'll always find animals, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels. Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, too many flowers, or too many books. She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list. To learn more about Collette and her books, visit collettecameron.com

5 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

Interesting post, Collette. I wasn't aware there were 5 distinct Regency categories and it is one of my favorite genres to read! Not knowing these different types of Regency romance has not detracted from my reading pleasure. When I was in high school, some of the social strictures common in Regency romance were still alive and well. That used to be an interesting side line to my reading pleasure - what would happen if she did that today? kind of question.

Collette Cameron said...

I didn't know of the different types either, Judith, until I started doing some digging.

Many readers aren't aware either, which, as I'm sure you can imagine, can get interesting sometimes!

Maggie Lynch said...

I also didn't know there were these 5 distinct Regency categories. One thing that has always bothered me is when an author puts her Victorian book in the Regency category, or a Regency author puts her Regency book in the Victorian category. This makes it even more confusing.

I admire people who write historical novels because I know it takes a lot of knowledge of the era, and in Regency this is especially true because readers have become very picky about the history. :) Writing historical novels is one thing I can't see myself ever doing, though I do like to read them on occasion.

Collette Cameron said...

Maggie,

I think one of the reasons you'll see books in both Regency and Victorian categories is that Amazon limits categories.

I just read a book the other day set in 1815 and the author included several things that didn't take place until the Victorian Era.

My inner editor was shrieking.

Diana McCollum said...

I also, didn't realize there are 5 different categories!! That explains why some are sweet and some are so borderline erotic. Great post!