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Friday, April 15, 2016

Ballroom Regencies

evening gown 1819by Donna Hatch

A little while ago, some authors were basically bashing "ballroom Regencies" where there are so many young, handsome, single dukes, and lords--all of whom fall in love with a captivating heroine--that England could not possibly have contained all of them. 

I don't see the problem. Each author's world is her (or his) own existing in different planes independent from one another. The idea that we should all write about "real" people facing real problems, is just as ridiculous that we should all write mysteries, or contemporary novels, or non-fiction.

I celebrate the diverse genres and I adore "ballroom Regencies" that take place amid the littering lives of English nobility because I like the fantasy element--it's pure escapism from my ordinary life.
However historical accuracy's importance, and something for which I strive while writing every story, one of the main reasons why readers love to read is to relax and escape from the stresses of their lives. Many Regency readers cite wanting to enjoy a glamorous life vicariously through the eyes of the characters of a book. Historical romances are a magical way to wear beautiful gowns, get help with clothes and hair from a maid, attract the notice of a gorgeous gentleman (or even a titled lord), explore the beauties of historical settings, and fall in love--all without leaving the real world. Reading about the result of people's poor bathing habits (something more and more people changed during the Regency, thank goodness) bad teeth, bills piling up, not having enough money, and the drudgery of everyday life too closely mirrors real life to be a complete escape. True, the falling in love aspect is fun and something one can achieve with any romance novel, but "ballroom Regencies" offer a beautiful combination of historical truth, mingled liberally with a fantasy element few other genres offer.

Longleat House
Longleat House
Ordinary people in real life are often unsung heroes who quietly uplift and improve their own corner of the universe, and I don't mean in any way to demean their contribution. But the adventurer and romantic in me seeks something larger than life.

How else, but through literature, can I explore an English manor house or castle? How can I don a tailored riding habit and ride side-saddle over the English countryside in a fox hunt or steeple chase? How can I sail on a schooner or frigate and battle pirates while exchanging smiles with a gorgeous sea captain? How else can I flirt and dance and exchange witty banter with a handsome duke? Historical romance, and in particular,"ballroom Regencies," offer these adventures all set in the backdrop of the elegant, glamorous, fantastic world of the English beau monde.

galleonBy combining these exciting, unique and glamorous settings with the human elements of good people trying to do the right things for the right reasons, I feel that I have found the best of both worlds. I hope you enjoy those journeys with me.

What is your favorite kind of book?

1 comment:

Sue Bursztynski said...

I have always said, if I want to read about real life I'll read a newspaper. I don't need to take that with me into my fiction. You go right on with your Regency romances!

I have a lot of favourites. Historical fiction of various kinds, crime fiction of the cosy variety or the whodunnit rather than the psychological thriller. Science fiction and humorous fantasy. History of something in non fiction, eg I have histories of chocolate, tourism and the Roman Games, among others. Biographies of people who interest me, especially writers - I have several bios of Tolkien and CS Lewis. And humorous fantasy such as Terry Pratchett. Children's and YA, all genres.