Friday, November 4, 2011

Unwrapping: Regency Romance - The Beginning

19th Century England - Regency Romance conjures up images of ladies and gentlemen in fine clothes strolling the streets or attending a ball, all good manners and propriety. As Jane Austen potrayed it, the men would have been properly attired, displayed impeccable decorum around the ladies and the ladies would also have been properly attired with gloves at all times and displayed proper manners in regards to the gentlemen neither desiring nor ignoring their attention.
And so goes the way of the ton - which comes from the French term, le bon ton - pronounced more like tone than ton as in the measurement. The phrase le bon ton, meaning good manners or "in the fashionable mode" were characteristics held as ideal by the British ton. The ton dictated all that was acceptable in regards to fashion, etiquette, manners, social customs and nearly every aspect of social life among the aristocracy of 19th Century England including the monarchy.

A young lady would have been presented to society, usually at a ball, and only danced with respectable gentlemen who had been approved by her parents or guardian. She would have worn white in proper manner and gloves so that she never touched the skin of any gentleman to whom she was introduced or partnered with for a dance. Such were the rules of social interaction between single men and women under the watchful eye of the ton. 

Jane Austen was without a doubt the inspiration for all Regency Romance Novels written today for hers were the first and foremost in Romantic Literature stemming from the 19th Century. She lived that world and wrote about it. She created characters like the Bennett sisters as well as other strong female characters with whom every female reader could relate on some level and gentlemen like Mr. Darcy, Mr. Bingley, and Mr. Wickham with whom every male reader could reflect upon to emulate or despise.

As we journey through the world of Regency Romance Novels, we will be reminded of the works of Jane Austen even though the writing is very modern in comparison. Today's Regency Romance writers give over to the audience yet take into consideration the landscape of the story. After considerable research and reading of their own, these wonderful and talented writers have created an environment that feels like Regency England.  The dialogue retains the sound of the era. The description of the clothing, the surroundings and in many cases, even what's served for dinner all lend to transporting the reader back to a time of elegance and societal reserve just as it was in Jane's time.

If you haven't read Regency Romance but are a fan of history, period piece movies, or just good stories, I hope you'll stay with us over the next month as we explore the elegant, well-mannered, yet under the surface steamy, world of Regency Romance Novels. I promise, in addition to beautiful romance stories, you'll also meet spies, rakes and men you'll find yourself imagining in your daydreams. Oh, fellas, if you're willing to take a ride with us, you'll meet some sword wielding, gambling, always ready for a fist fight kind of guys who might make you rethink the genre as well.  There are even some comedic moments that will have you laughing out loud.

Join us next time when we meet one of those Regency Romance writers who will have you rushing to upload or rushing to your bookstore to get a copy or two.  In the meantime, I'm wondering which of Jane Austen's works is your favorite?
I love all of Jane's works and even though PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is one of my favorites as I'm sure it is for most of us as we all wish to be as outspoken as Lizzie Bennett - I have a special place in my literary heart for EMMA. Perhaps because it was Jane's last completed work or because I seem to relate to her the most of all of Jane's ladies.

Emma was convinced that she had no real need for a man in her life for as she put it, "never, never could I expect to be so truly beloved and important; so always first and always right in any man's eyes as I am in my father's." After meddling in others' love lives, she found love in the most unexpected place, right at her side. When she was looking least to fall in love, she realized that she had already fallen in love with the man most suited for her, her best friend and the one whose opinion she regard most highly.  "She saw that there never had been a time when she did not consider Mr. Knightley as infinitely the superior, or when his regard for her had not been infinitely the most dear."

So which of Jane's Austen's works is your favorite? I hope you'll share your choice and reason with us - if not for us then for Emma ... I'm sure she would be delightfully amused.
Happy Reading Everyone!



Beebs said...

My favourite is Pride and Prejudice with Persuasion as a very close second. The letter Captain Wentworth writes very nearly pushed Darcy out of top spot. It was close!

Amy Valentini said...

Hi Beebs, thanks for coming by ... it's always a delight to see you in the Ballroom. I agree with you about that letter ... I've always been envious of Ann for having such an attentive beau with such a way with expressing his thoughts and feelings. I love them all the works and, for me, I suppose each one is a favorite in its own way.
Hope you'll visit again and often. : )