Under Mary Jo’s recent post, Michelle asked why the Regency is so very popular, and I thought it was worth its own starter message.
I really don’t know the answer, though, being me, I have some theories. I always have theories.
The English Regency is a tight period. Strictly speaking, it’s about a decade, and even though it spreads a bit, it’s not like the Georgian (about a century) or, for heavens sake, the medieval, which is anything from 500 years to a millennium, depending. Therefore, it is almost a shared world fantasy in which readers know the rules. I think that gives a comfort level, because most romance readers, including me, read for the romance story. I love historical settings, but I don’t want to keep having to wade through lessons on politics, economics, or social mores to understand the dynamics of the story.
Also, for reasons that befuddle me, many modern romance readers, especially in North America, are squeamish about life in the past. The Regency period is far enough back to be romantically historical, but it also has reasonably safe streets, fairly slick transportation, the basics of modern hygiene, and if the author wants to go there, indoor plumbing.
Though I love the Regency and it’s where I start out, I find the high Georgian I use in my Malloren novels far more romantic in the classic sense. Everything’s bigger and bolder then. And the medieval (in my case to date, about 1100) is a better setting for high drama, life and death struggles, and those great warrior males.
So I don’t know, and I’d love to hear what you all think.
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