Anyone who’s read Regency-set novels may have at one point asked the question: “Why does practically every Regency novel contain a ball?”
There’s a very good answer to that question and it isn’t because authors have no imagination. It’s because balls and dancing were a vital part of social life and courtship. Children at a very young age were taught to dance, even young boys who joined the army or navy.
Where were these balls held?
A public ’subscription’ ball, was held anyplace with an assembly room. Guests were admitted only if they possessed a purchased ticket. High ticket prices might keep out the lowest class, but didn’t stop the rich in trade from attending. (Horrors!) Subscription balls were held just about anywhere–the main room of an inn, a large clearing outside, or a rented public house.
Gentlemen had to be considered eligible, but the “weeding out” process wasn’t so strict for the gentlemen as it was for the ladies. For a young lady to receive a voucher, one of the patronesses of Almack’s had to approve of her background and character before she was given a coveted voucher.
A private ball was another matter. Most of the great houses had either a ballroom or a large drawing room. People were allowed to attend by invitation only. In Pride and Prejudice, the local matrons convinced Mr. Bingley to host the event and invite all the ‘good’ families because Netherfield house had a ballroom. Throwing a ball took a great deal of money; servants, candles, food and drink all cost a goodly amount, so only someone well off could afford it. Of course, since most Regency romance novels are about the beau monde, a ball is treated as common-place.
In my newest Regency, The Guise of a Gentleman, Elise is shocked to find that the seemingly common man who accosted her only days ago, is now present at a ball hosted by her good friend. Normally, only the very best ton would be present. What was he doing in such an elite gathering?
And most pressing of all, would he ruin her reputation and tell everyone he’d kissed her at their previous encounter?
Or, you can win a free copy (and you have four chances if you do all four):
1. Leave a comment in this blog, then send me an email at email@example.com and put “free book” in the subject line
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Remember, for each thing you do, you have another chance to win. Good Luck!!!