What’s So Funny?

Kingsfavmastercover035
By Susan/Miranda

When Wench Pat recently asked the eternal question of “What Do We Really Want?”, one of the popular replies was a call for more humor.  I can understand this.  Who doesn’t want to laugh?  Yet a truly funny book is truly hard to find, and historical-funny is even more rare.

And boy, is it ever hard to write!

The hero’s best friend is killed at Waterloo, and it’s terribly tragic and sad, and everyone knows to feel that way.  The long-suffering couple finally weds, and readers share their joy.  Those are easy.  But humor is infinitely more subjective.  A scene that strikes one reader as uproariously funny seems irritatingly foolish to another.  Readers boards are filled with examples of this.  Either you get the joke, or you don’t, or maybe the joke wasn’t really there in the first place, anyway.

Historical humor is even more challenging, because much of what was rip-snorting good fun in the past –– ridiculing the handicapped, huge fake penises, anything with priests and nuns –– doesn’t exactly fly in polite company now.

Wit and wordplay hold up better on the printed page than broad slapstick, but even then there are plenty of pitfalls amongst the pratfalls.  Much humor is topical, or at least of its moment, and when the moment is past, so is the humor.  Anyone who’s labored through Shakespeare’s comedies understands this, though, to be fair, an Elizabethan audience would be left scratching their heads over an episode of Seinfeld.

Writing a funny historical character was my biggest challenge in The King’s Favorite, a historical novel setDrolls
in Restoration London.  By all contemporary reports, Nell Gwyn (my real-life heroine) was uproariously funny, a class-clown personality that couldn’t resist making people laugh.  Born in a brothel, she had no education beyond “street smarts”, yet through the gift of quick wit, rose from selling oranges in the theatre to become a leading lady and, eventually, a royal mistress. As an actress, she was hugely popular playing “low” comedy: she was always cast as the sly servant with the best one-liners, the comedienne who knew how to get the most out of the earthy, physical humor of the time. 

The King adored her, in large part because she’d dare to do and say things to him in the guise of a joke that no one else at court could risk, not without a quick trip to the Tower.  Humor can be subversive that way, and Nell knew the power her wit gave her.  To many men, a funny woman is a dangerous woman.  She’s unpredictable, she has opinions, and she’s often quick to deflate male pride and vanities.  But other men find a funny woman a sexy woman, and Nell’s house was always filled with her many male side-kicks, including the Earl of Rochester and the Duke of Buckingham, who were both always ready to participate in her elaborate pranks and skits.

To Nell’s good fortune, Charles was also secure enough himself to relish a witty mistress. (Remember, this is the first English monarch to realize that women on the stage were not a sign of moral civilization’s end, and finally permit actresses to play the roles written for women.) Though the official post of court jester was gone by 1670, Nell held it unofficially, and whenever things were grim and gloomy about the palace, the king would always turn to her to cheer him.  Even after he moved on to other mistresses, Nelly remained his friend and jester until his death.  Her audience from the theatre never forgot her, either.  Long after she "retired" from the stage to the palace, she was still cheered wherever she went, and when she died, her mourners filled not only the church, but the streets as well.

But how to write a funny heroine? One of Nell’s most famous roles was Mirida in a play called All Mistaken, or The Mad Couple, by James Howard. The humor comes from her suitor Pinguister’s enormous girth, and his inability to do much of anything with Mirida because of his obesity.  If the actor rolling around the stage Restoration_theatre
in the “fat suit” as he tries to catch Mirida wasn’t enough, there’s also the scene where Pinguister is given an enema and a laxative, then locked in a vault with other hapless suitors, and with predictable results.  Oh, the hilarity! Oh, the [adolescent-boys-lavatory] wit!  Oh, how am I supposed to write THAT into a scene!

Of course, not all Restoration wit is like this –- much of it was, and remains, laugh-out-loud clever word-play –– but an awful lot hasn’t aged very well.  Or, as Wench Loretta noted when we were discussing this blog, “They drank a lot back then, didn’t they?”  Fortunately, there are a great many other examples of Nell’s one-liners and general jesting that hold up better over time, and that I was able to incorporate into her character.  Virtuous heroines, sentimental heroines, noble, true-hearted heroines –– they’re easy.  But a funny heroine’s a real rarity, and I know how lucky I am to have found Nell Gwyn.

But what do you think of humor in historical fiction?  Do you enjoy funny characters or situations, or do you find the risk not worth the punchlines?  What’s your favorite historical with humor?

The jury’s still out on whether or not I was able to capture the fun and wit of Nell Gwyn until The King’s Favorite is released in July –– except for one of you lucky folk out there.  I’ll give away an Advanced Reader’s Copy of The King’s Favorite to a reader who posts to this blog before Saturday night.

165 thoughts on “What’s So Funny?”

  1. Great Post, Susan/Miranda. I do like a witty heroine and you’re right, they are very hard to write. I am looking forward to Nell.
    The funniest book I ever read was The Devil’s Cub. The hero’s mother and uncle were down right hilarious, always misunderstanding each other. Took the show, really. But I didn’t mind.

    Reply
  2. Great Post, Susan/Miranda. I do like a witty heroine and you’re right, they are very hard to write. I am looking forward to Nell.
    The funniest book I ever read was The Devil’s Cub. The hero’s mother and uncle were down right hilarious, always misunderstanding each other. Took the show, really. But I didn’t mind.

    Reply
  3. Great Post, Susan/Miranda. I do like a witty heroine and you’re right, they are very hard to write. I am looking forward to Nell.
    The funniest book I ever read was The Devil’s Cub. The hero’s mother and uncle were down right hilarious, always misunderstanding each other. Took the show, really. But I didn’t mind.

    Reply
  4. Great Post, Susan/Miranda. I do like a witty heroine and you’re right, they are very hard to write. I am looking forward to Nell.
    The funniest book I ever read was The Devil’s Cub. The hero’s mother and uncle were down right hilarious, always misunderstanding each other. Took the show, really. But I didn’t mind.

    Reply
  5. Great Post, Susan/Miranda. I do like a witty heroine and you’re right, they are very hard to write. I am looking forward to Nell.
    The funniest book I ever read was The Devil’s Cub. The hero’s mother and uncle were down right hilarious, always misunderstanding each other. Took the show, really. But I didn’t mind.

    Reply
  6. I love witty dialogue. I remember especially liking Jo’s To Rescue a Rogue with their silliness over writing a gothic romance novel. It’s true, though, that humor is subjective and it’s impossible to please everyone. I mean, some people don’t like Jane Austen! Go figure! lol! Good post. I’d love to get The King’s Favorite. (Is it favorite or favourite? ;))

    Reply
  7. I love witty dialogue. I remember especially liking Jo’s To Rescue a Rogue with their silliness over writing a gothic romance novel. It’s true, though, that humor is subjective and it’s impossible to please everyone. I mean, some people don’t like Jane Austen! Go figure! lol! Good post. I’d love to get The King’s Favorite. (Is it favorite or favourite? ;))

    Reply
  8. I love witty dialogue. I remember especially liking Jo’s To Rescue a Rogue with their silliness over writing a gothic romance novel. It’s true, though, that humor is subjective and it’s impossible to please everyone. I mean, some people don’t like Jane Austen! Go figure! lol! Good post. I’d love to get The King’s Favorite. (Is it favorite or favourite? ;))

    Reply
  9. I love witty dialogue. I remember especially liking Jo’s To Rescue a Rogue with their silliness over writing a gothic romance novel. It’s true, though, that humor is subjective and it’s impossible to please everyone. I mean, some people don’t like Jane Austen! Go figure! lol! Good post. I’d love to get The King’s Favorite. (Is it favorite or favourite? ;))

    Reply
  10. I love witty dialogue. I remember especially liking Jo’s To Rescue a Rogue with their silliness over writing a gothic romance novel. It’s true, though, that humor is subjective and it’s impossible to please everyone. I mean, some people don’t like Jane Austen! Go figure! lol! Good post. I’d love to get The King’s Favorite. (Is it favorite or favourite? ;))

    Reply
  11. I love Nell. This reminds me of the recent ‘women aren’t funny’ fuss. (Teri Garr was one of the funniest women ever) I think (with some exceptions) women are slyer and drier in their humor and perhaps it’s harder for the boys to follow along.
    Ah, there’s a historical side character – a Kathy Griffith in Regencyland. Really, what is her celebrity humor but appreciating the latest bits of gossip and putting them in a manner that gets her invited to the parties.
    Good question on what was our favorite – I know I’ve laughed at several romances (on purpose, be nice) but I can’t think of a single one as ‘funny’. I think the humor is so much a part of the story when it’s done well that it doesn’t stay as the dominant part. I like wry heroines, or a hero who doesn’t take everything so seriously – it’s the whole humor/pain thing – some of the most amusing characters turn darkest. (The Wench’s write those characters well)

    Reply
  12. I love Nell. This reminds me of the recent ‘women aren’t funny’ fuss. (Teri Garr was one of the funniest women ever) I think (with some exceptions) women are slyer and drier in their humor and perhaps it’s harder for the boys to follow along.
    Ah, there’s a historical side character – a Kathy Griffith in Regencyland. Really, what is her celebrity humor but appreciating the latest bits of gossip and putting them in a manner that gets her invited to the parties.
    Good question on what was our favorite – I know I’ve laughed at several romances (on purpose, be nice) but I can’t think of a single one as ‘funny’. I think the humor is so much a part of the story when it’s done well that it doesn’t stay as the dominant part. I like wry heroines, or a hero who doesn’t take everything so seriously – it’s the whole humor/pain thing – some of the most amusing characters turn darkest. (The Wench’s write those characters well)

    Reply
  13. I love Nell. This reminds me of the recent ‘women aren’t funny’ fuss. (Teri Garr was one of the funniest women ever) I think (with some exceptions) women are slyer and drier in their humor and perhaps it’s harder for the boys to follow along.
    Ah, there’s a historical side character – a Kathy Griffith in Regencyland. Really, what is her celebrity humor but appreciating the latest bits of gossip and putting them in a manner that gets her invited to the parties.
    Good question on what was our favorite – I know I’ve laughed at several romances (on purpose, be nice) but I can’t think of a single one as ‘funny’. I think the humor is so much a part of the story when it’s done well that it doesn’t stay as the dominant part. I like wry heroines, or a hero who doesn’t take everything so seriously – it’s the whole humor/pain thing – some of the most amusing characters turn darkest. (The Wench’s write those characters well)

    Reply
  14. I love Nell. This reminds me of the recent ‘women aren’t funny’ fuss. (Teri Garr was one of the funniest women ever) I think (with some exceptions) women are slyer and drier in their humor and perhaps it’s harder for the boys to follow along.
    Ah, there’s a historical side character – a Kathy Griffith in Regencyland. Really, what is her celebrity humor but appreciating the latest bits of gossip and putting them in a manner that gets her invited to the parties.
    Good question on what was our favorite – I know I’ve laughed at several romances (on purpose, be nice) but I can’t think of a single one as ‘funny’. I think the humor is so much a part of the story when it’s done well that it doesn’t stay as the dominant part. I like wry heroines, or a hero who doesn’t take everything so seriously – it’s the whole humor/pain thing – some of the most amusing characters turn darkest. (The Wench’s write those characters well)

    Reply
  15. I love Nell. This reminds me of the recent ‘women aren’t funny’ fuss. (Teri Garr was one of the funniest women ever) I think (with some exceptions) women are slyer and drier in their humor and perhaps it’s harder for the boys to follow along.
    Ah, there’s a historical side character – a Kathy Griffith in Regencyland. Really, what is her celebrity humor but appreciating the latest bits of gossip and putting them in a manner that gets her invited to the parties.
    Good question on what was our favorite – I know I’ve laughed at several romances (on purpose, be nice) but I can’t think of a single one as ‘funny’. I think the humor is so much a part of the story when it’s done well that it doesn’t stay as the dominant part. I like wry heroines, or a hero who doesn’t take everything so seriously – it’s the whole humor/pain thing – some of the most amusing characters turn darkest. (The Wench’s write those characters well)

    Reply
  16. After reading your post, I tried to think of any funny historicals I might have read. The one that readily comes to mind is “Shield of Three Lions” by Pamela Kaufman. I’ve never really been certain if the author intended Alix of Wanthwaite’s misadventures to be funny, but I cracked up through the entire book. All I can say is, it must have been good (as in memorable). That was more than 20 years ago and I still remember the heroine’s full name. :o)

    Reply
  17. After reading your post, I tried to think of any funny historicals I might have read. The one that readily comes to mind is “Shield of Three Lions” by Pamela Kaufman. I’ve never really been certain if the author intended Alix of Wanthwaite’s misadventures to be funny, but I cracked up through the entire book. All I can say is, it must have been good (as in memorable). That was more than 20 years ago and I still remember the heroine’s full name. :o)

    Reply
  18. After reading your post, I tried to think of any funny historicals I might have read. The one that readily comes to mind is “Shield of Three Lions” by Pamela Kaufman. I’ve never really been certain if the author intended Alix of Wanthwaite’s misadventures to be funny, but I cracked up through the entire book. All I can say is, it must have been good (as in memorable). That was more than 20 years ago and I still remember the heroine’s full name. :o)

    Reply
  19. After reading your post, I tried to think of any funny historicals I might have read. The one that readily comes to mind is “Shield of Three Lions” by Pamela Kaufman. I’ve never really been certain if the author intended Alix of Wanthwaite’s misadventures to be funny, but I cracked up through the entire book. All I can say is, it must have been good (as in memorable). That was more than 20 years ago and I still remember the heroine’s full name. :o)

    Reply
  20. After reading your post, I tried to think of any funny historicals I might have read. The one that readily comes to mind is “Shield of Three Lions” by Pamela Kaufman. I’ve never really been certain if the author intended Alix of Wanthwaite’s misadventures to be funny, but I cracked up through the entire book. All I can say is, it must have been good (as in memorable). That was more than 20 years ago and I still remember the heroine’s full name. :o)

    Reply
  21. Women ARE funny. They just don’t tend to be funny the same way men are funny –– which again is one of the reasons they’re hard to write, and seldom in fiction.
    Kathy Griffith is one of those rare ones — at least there are plenty of men in her audiences. Hmmm…another red-head, like Nell, and Lucille Ball, too. I wonder if there’s any connection? (though I’m not sure that either Kathy or Lucy are/were redheads born)
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  22. Women ARE funny. They just don’t tend to be funny the same way men are funny –– which again is one of the reasons they’re hard to write, and seldom in fiction.
    Kathy Griffith is one of those rare ones — at least there are plenty of men in her audiences. Hmmm…another red-head, like Nell, and Lucille Ball, too. I wonder if there’s any connection? (though I’m not sure that either Kathy or Lucy are/were redheads born)
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  23. Women ARE funny. They just don’t tend to be funny the same way men are funny –– which again is one of the reasons they’re hard to write, and seldom in fiction.
    Kathy Griffith is one of those rare ones — at least there are plenty of men in her audiences. Hmmm…another red-head, like Nell, and Lucille Ball, too. I wonder if there’s any connection? (though I’m not sure that either Kathy or Lucy are/were redheads born)
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  24. Women ARE funny. They just don’t tend to be funny the same way men are funny –– which again is one of the reasons they’re hard to write, and seldom in fiction.
    Kathy Griffith is one of those rare ones — at least there are plenty of men in her audiences. Hmmm…another red-head, like Nell, and Lucille Ball, too. I wonder if there’s any connection? (though I’m not sure that either Kathy or Lucy are/were redheads born)
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  25. Women ARE funny. They just don’t tend to be funny the same way men are funny –– which again is one of the reasons they’re hard to write, and seldom in fiction.
    Kathy Griffith is one of those rare ones — at least there are plenty of men in her audiences. Hmmm…another red-head, like Nell, and Lucille Ball, too. I wonder if there’s any connection? (though I’m not sure that either Kathy or Lucy are/were redheads born)
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  26. Any number of scenes from Georgette Heyer’s books stick in mind, but she did almost always assign the humor to secondary characters. I loved the older relatives who were always trying to top one another’s genealogies with a “better” Norman ancestor. I adored the scene in the kitchen with (I’m no longer sure) either ducklings of baby chickens climbing out of their box and wandering around.
    It’s probably “safer” for an author to give the lines that the writer hopes are funny to secondary characters. That way, readers who don’t get them can just dismiss the supporting cast as annoying. If the reader did that to a hero or heroine, it would not bode well for her experience with the book as a whole.

    Reply
  27. Any number of scenes from Georgette Heyer’s books stick in mind, but she did almost always assign the humor to secondary characters. I loved the older relatives who were always trying to top one another’s genealogies with a “better” Norman ancestor. I adored the scene in the kitchen with (I’m no longer sure) either ducklings of baby chickens climbing out of their box and wandering around.
    It’s probably “safer” for an author to give the lines that the writer hopes are funny to secondary characters. That way, readers who don’t get them can just dismiss the supporting cast as annoying. If the reader did that to a hero or heroine, it would not bode well for her experience with the book as a whole.

    Reply
  28. Any number of scenes from Georgette Heyer’s books stick in mind, but she did almost always assign the humor to secondary characters. I loved the older relatives who were always trying to top one another’s genealogies with a “better” Norman ancestor. I adored the scene in the kitchen with (I’m no longer sure) either ducklings of baby chickens climbing out of their box and wandering around.
    It’s probably “safer” for an author to give the lines that the writer hopes are funny to secondary characters. That way, readers who don’t get them can just dismiss the supporting cast as annoying. If the reader did that to a hero or heroine, it would not bode well for her experience with the book as a whole.

    Reply
  29. Any number of scenes from Georgette Heyer’s books stick in mind, but she did almost always assign the humor to secondary characters. I loved the older relatives who were always trying to top one another’s genealogies with a “better” Norman ancestor. I adored the scene in the kitchen with (I’m no longer sure) either ducklings of baby chickens climbing out of their box and wandering around.
    It’s probably “safer” for an author to give the lines that the writer hopes are funny to secondary characters. That way, readers who don’t get them can just dismiss the supporting cast as annoying. If the reader did that to a hero or heroine, it would not bode well for her experience with the book as a whole.

    Reply
  30. Any number of scenes from Georgette Heyer’s books stick in mind, but she did almost always assign the humor to secondary characters. I loved the older relatives who were always trying to top one another’s genealogies with a “better” Norman ancestor. I adored the scene in the kitchen with (I’m no longer sure) either ducklings of baby chickens climbing out of their box and wandering around.
    It’s probably “safer” for an author to give the lines that the writer hopes are funny to secondary characters. That way, readers who don’t get them can just dismiss the supporting cast as annoying. If the reader did that to a hero or heroine, it would not bode well for her experience with the book as a whole.

    Reply
  31. I think Anne Gracie’s Gideon, Lord Carradice, in Perfect Rake is a stitch. The scene where the heroine, Prudence Merridew, and he meet just has me rolling every time. Still one of my favorite scenes ever. And she gets the balance right between the scenes where their wit is called for and the ones where they’re serious and emotional.
    Hard to do, but so enjoyable to the reader when they’re done well.

    Reply
  32. I think Anne Gracie’s Gideon, Lord Carradice, in Perfect Rake is a stitch. The scene where the heroine, Prudence Merridew, and he meet just has me rolling every time. Still one of my favorite scenes ever. And she gets the balance right between the scenes where their wit is called for and the ones where they’re serious and emotional.
    Hard to do, but so enjoyable to the reader when they’re done well.

    Reply
  33. I think Anne Gracie’s Gideon, Lord Carradice, in Perfect Rake is a stitch. The scene where the heroine, Prudence Merridew, and he meet just has me rolling every time. Still one of my favorite scenes ever. And she gets the balance right between the scenes where their wit is called for and the ones where they’re serious and emotional.
    Hard to do, but so enjoyable to the reader when they’re done well.

    Reply
  34. I think Anne Gracie’s Gideon, Lord Carradice, in Perfect Rake is a stitch. The scene where the heroine, Prudence Merridew, and he meet just has me rolling every time. Still one of my favorite scenes ever. And she gets the balance right between the scenes where their wit is called for and the ones where they’re serious and emotional.
    Hard to do, but so enjoyable to the reader when they’re done well.

    Reply
  35. I think Anne Gracie’s Gideon, Lord Carradice, in Perfect Rake is a stitch. The scene where the heroine, Prudence Merridew, and he meet just has me rolling every time. Still one of my favorite scenes ever. And she gets the balance right between the scenes where their wit is called for and the ones where they’re serious and emotional.
    Hard to do, but so enjoyable to the reader when they’re done well.

    Reply
  36. Julia Quinn writes with a light touch. I love funny stuff,parodies, etc., but find myself drawn to writing dark right now. I guess I’m just a reflection of the world.*g*
    I’ve always been fascinated by Nell, and can’t wait to read your book.

    Reply
  37. Julia Quinn writes with a light touch. I love funny stuff,parodies, etc., but find myself drawn to writing dark right now. I guess I’m just a reflection of the world.*g*
    I’ve always been fascinated by Nell, and can’t wait to read your book.

    Reply
  38. Julia Quinn writes with a light touch. I love funny stuff,parodies, etc., but find myself drawn to writing dark right now. I guess I’m just a reflection of the world.*g*
    I’ve always been fascinated by Nell, and can’t wait to read your book.

    Reply
  39. Julia Quinn writes with a light touch. I love funny stuff,parodies, etc., but find myself drawn to writing dark right now. I guess I’m just a reflection of the world.*g*
    I’ve always been fascinated by Nell, and can’t wait to read your book.

    Reply
  40. Julia Quinn writes with a light touch. I love funny stuff,parodies, etc., but find myself drawn to writing dark right now. I guess I’m just a reflection of the world.*g*
    I’ve always been fascinated by Nell, and can’t wait to read your book.

    Reply
  41. Nell is a great character. I have been eagerly anticipating this book since you first mentioned it, Susan.
    Maggie beat me to praising Julia Quinn’s humor. The famous Pall Mall scene rally is LOL funny.
    Heyer also did humor well. Frederica, The Grand Sophy, Arabella, Cotillion–all of these have wonderful humor, and I love the exchanges between the nurse and Damorel in Venetia. Jill Barnett’s Bewitiching and Dreaming are favorite rereads when I want funny historicals, as is Teresa Medeiros’s Charming the Prince. And I think Loretta’s Lord of Scoundrels has some delightfully funny scenes.
    Nonnie St. George wrote a couple of really funny Regencies, The Ideal Bride and Courting Trouble, that use both wit and broader comedy for their appeal. My favorite funny is an older trad Regency, Kidnap Confusion by Judith Nelson. It is such a marvelous send-up of the kidnap plot.

    Reply
  42. Nell is a great character. I have been eagerly anticipating this book since you first mentioned it, Susan.
    Maggie beat me to praising Julia Quinn’s humor. The famous Pall Mall scene rally is LOL funny.
    Heyer also did humor well. Frederica, The Grand Sophy, Arabella, Cotillion–all of these have wonderful humor, and I love the exchanges between the nurse and Damorel in Venetia. Jill Barnett’s Bewitiching and Dreaming are favorite rereads when I want funny historicals, as is Teresa Medeiros’s Charming the Prince. And I think Loretta’s Lord of Scoundrels has some delightfully funny scenes.
    Nonnie St. George wrote a couple of really funny Regencies, The Ideal Bride and Courting Trouble, that use both wit and broader comedy for their appeal. My favorite funny is an older trad Regency, Kidnap Confusion by Judith Nelson. It is such a marvelous send-up of the kidnap plot.

    Reply
  43. Nell is a great character. I have been eagerly anticipating this book since you first mentioned it, Susan.
    Maggie beat me to praising Julia Quinn’s humor. The famous Pall Mall scene rally is LOL funny.
    Heyer also did humor well. Frederica, The Grand Sophy, Arabella, Cotillion–all of these have wonderful humor, and I love the exchanges between the nurse and Damorel in Venetia. Jill Barnett’s Bewitiching and Dreaming are favorite rereads when I want funny historicals, as is Teresa Medeiros’s Charming the Prince. And I think Loretta’s Lord of Scoundrels has some delightfully funny scenes.
    Nonnie St. George wrote a couple of really funny Regencies, The Ideal Bride and Courting Trouble, that use both wit and broader comedy for their appeal. My favorite funny is an older trad Regency, Kidnap Confusion by Judith Nelson. It is such a marvelous send-up of the kidnap plot.

    Reply
  44. Nell is a great character. I have been eagerly anticipating this book since you first mentioned it, Susan.
    Maggie beat me to praising Julia Quinn’s humor. The famous Pall Mall scene rally is LOL funny.
    Heyer also did humor well. Frederica, The Grand Sophy, Arabella, Cotillion–all of these have wonderful humor, and I love the exchanges between the nurse and Damorel in Venetia. Jill Barnett’s Bewitiching and Dreaming are favorite rereads when I want funny historicals, as is Teresa Medeiros’s Charming the Prince. And I think Loretta’s Lord of Scoundrels has some delightfully funny scenes.
    Nonnie St. George wrote a couple of really funny Regencies, The Ideal Bride and Courting Trouble, that use both wit and broader comedy for their appeal. My favorite funny is an older trad Regency, Kidnap Confusion by Judith Nelson. It is such a marvelous send-up of the kidnap plot.

    Reply
  45. Nell is a great character. I have been eagerly anticipating this book since you first mentioned it, Susan.
    Maggie beat me to praising Julia Quinn’s humor. The famous Pall Mall scene rally is LOL funny.
    Heyer also did humor well. Frederica, The Grand Sophy, Arabella, Cotillion–all of these have wonderful humor, and I love the exchanges between the nurse and Damorel in Venetia. Jill Barnett’s Bewitiching and Dreaming are favorite rereads when I want funny historicals, as is Teresa Medeiros’s Charming the Prince. And I think Loretta’s Lord of Scoundrels has some delightfully funny scenes.
    Nonnie St. George wrote a couple of really funny Regencies, The Ideal Bride and Courting Trouble, that use both wit and broader comedy for their appeal. My favorite funny is an older trad Regency, Kidnap Confusion by Judith Nelson. It is such a marvelous send-up of the kidnap plot.

    Reply
  46. I think Janga and I have very similar taste.
    I think Loretta Chase writes some incredibly witty and funny stories. Lord of Scoundrels, of course, but all of the Carsington stories had laugh out loud moments for me.
    And, I’m always surprised by just how funny Pride and Prejudice is every time I reread it. I also thought the Abbey book by J.A. was hysterical. Totally agree about Anne Gracie and Julia Quinn as well.
    I’ll also add that I agree that humor in historicals is incredibly difficult. So many of what is marketed as funny historicals seemed so silly to stupid to me.

    Reply
  47. I think Janga and I have very similar taste.
    I think Loretta Chase writes some incredibly witty and funny stories. Lord of Scoundrels, of course, but all of the Carsington stories had laugh out loud moments for me.
    And, I’m always surprised by just how funny Pride and Prejudice is every time I reread it. I also thought the Abbey book by J.A. was hysterical. Totally agree about Anne Gracie and Julia Quinn as well.
    I’ll also add that I agree that humor in historicals is incredibly difficult. So many of what is marketed as funny historicals seemed so silly to stupid to me.

    Reply
  48. I think Janga and I have very similar taste.
    I think Loretta Chase writes some incredibly witty and funny stories. Lord of Scoundrels, of course, but all of the Carsington stories had laugh out loud moments for me.
    And, I’m always surprised by just how funny Pride and Prejudice is every time I reread it. I also thought the Abbey book by J.A. was hysterical. Totally agree about Anne Gracie and Julia Quinn as well.
    I’ll also add that I agree that humor in historicals is incredibly difficult. So many of what is marketed as funny historicals seemed so silly to stupid to me.

    Reply
  49. I think Janga and I have very similar taste.
    I think Loretta Chase writes some incredibly witty and funny stories. Lord of Scoundrels, of course, but all of the Carsington stories had laugh out loud moments for me.
    And, I’m always surprised by just how funny Pride and Prejudice is every time I reread it. I also thought the Abbey book by J.A. was hysterical. Totally agree about Anne Gracie and Julia Quinn as well.
    I’ll also add that I agree that humor in historicals is incredibly difficult. So many of what is marketed as funny historicals seemed so silly to stupid to me.

    Reply
  50. I think Janga and I have very similar taste.
    I think Loretta Chase writes some incredibly witty and funny stories. Lord of Scoundrels, of course, but all of the Carsington stories had laugh out loud moments for me.
    And, I’m always surprised by just how funny Pride and Prejudice is every time I reread it. I also thought the Abbey book by J.A. was hysterical. Totally agree about Anne Gracie and Julia Quinn as well.
    I’ll also add that I agree that humor in historicals is incredibly difficult. So many of what is marketed as funny historicals seemed so silly to stupid to me.

    Reply
  51. A great part of humour is physical–a function of face or body–thus it can be difficult to convey through words….To my mind, the Regency romp, traditional or historical, when well done, succeeds in this.
    But we writers, being skilled with words, excel at humourous and witty dialogue. And narrative. And situation. And especially character and personality (Nancy Mitford is my goddess as a comic author.)
    Nell was surely one of the most comical and most outrageous characters of her age. She mugged onstage when playing tragic roles. When, at a tavern, her hosts–the King and his brother the Duke–had no money on them, her double-meaning response (paraphrased) that she’d never been in such “poor” company in her life is only one indication of her light touch. Her mockery of her rival Louise de Kerouaille, in word and action, was brilliant.
    Needless to say, I eagerly await this novel!

    Reply
  52. A great part of humour is physical–a function of face or body–thus it can be difficult to convey through words….To my mind, the Regency romp, traditional or historical, when well done, succeeds in this.
    But we writers, being skilled with words, excel at humourous and witty dialogue. And narrative. And situation. And especially character and personality (Nancy Mitford is my goddess as a comic author.)
    Nell was surely one of the most comical and most outrageous characters of her age. She mugged onstage when playing tragic roles. When, at a tavern, her hosts–the King and his brother the Duke–had no money on them, her double-meaning response (paraphrased) that she’d never been in such “poor” company in her life is only one indication of her light touch. Her mockery of her rival Louise de Kerouaille, in word and action, was brilliant.
    Needless to say, I eagerly await this novel!

    Reply
  53. A great part of humour is physical–a function of face or body–thus it can be difficult to convey through words….To my mind, the Regency romp, traditional or historical, when well done, succeeds in this.
    But we writers, being skilled with words, excel at humourous and witty dialogue. And narrative. And situation. And especially character and personality (Nancy Mitford is my goddess as a comic author.)
    Nell was surely one of the most comical and most outrageous characters of her age. She mugged onstage when playing tragic roles. When, at a tavern, her hosts–the King and his brother the Duke–had no money on them, her double-meaning response (paraphrased) that she’d never been in such “poor” company in her life is only one indication of her light touch. Her mockery of her rival Louise de Kerouaille, in word and action, was brilliant.
    Needless to say, I eagerly await this novel!

    Reply
  54. A great part of humour is physical–a function of face or body–thus it can be difficult to convey through words….To my mind, the Regency romp, traditional or historical, when well done, succeeds in this.
    But we writers, being skilled with words, excel at humourous and witty dialogue. And narrative. And situation. And especially character and personality (Nancy Mitford is my goddess as a comic author.)
    Nell was surely one of the most comical and most outrageous characters of her age. She mugged onstage when playing tragic roles. When, at a tavern, her hosts–the King and his brother the Duke–had no money on them, her double-meaning response (paraphrased) that she’d never been in such “poor” company in her life is only one indication of her light touch. Her mockery of her rival Louise de Kerouaille, in word and action, was brilliant.
    Needless to say, I eagerly await this novel!

    Reply
  55. A great part of humour is physical–a function of face or body–thus it can be difficult to convey through words….To my mind, the Regency romp, traditional or historical, when well done, succeeds in this.
    But we writers, being skilled with words, excel at humourous and witty dialogue. And narrative. And situation. And especially character and personality (Nancy Mitford is my goddess as a comic author.)
    Nell was surely one of the most comical and most outrageous characters of her age. She mugged onstage when playing tragic roles. When, at a tavern, her hosts–the King and his brother the Duke–had no money on them, her double-meaning response (paraphrased) that she’d never been in such “poor” company in her life is only one indication of her light touch. Her mockery of her rival Louise de Kerouaille, in word and action, was brilliant.
    Needless to say, I eagerly await this novel!

    Reply
  56. I am taking Nell on vacation with me and can’t wait to get started! I agree with others about Georgette Heyer. One of my own personal favorites in the historical novel realm is George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman. Politically incorrect and deeply funny. Kasey Michaels and Marion Chesney wrote some funny Regencies back in the day.

    Reply
  57. I am taking Nell on vacation with me and can’t wait to get started! I agree with others about Georgette Heyer. One of my own personal favorites in the historical novel realm is George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman. Politically incorrect and deeply funny. Kasey Michaels and Marion Chesney wrote some funny Regencies back in the day.

    Reply
  58. I am taking Nell on vacation with me and can’t wait to get started! I agree with others about Georgette Heyer. One of my own personal favorites in the historical novel realm is George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman. Politically incorrect and deeply funny. Kasey Michaels and Marion Chesney wrote some funny Regencies back in the day.

    Reply
  59. I am taking Nell on vacation with me and can’t wait to get started! I agree with others about Georgette Heyer. One of my own personal favorites in the historical novel realm is George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman. Politically incorrect and deeply funny. Kasey Michaels and Marion Chesney wrote some funny Regencies back in the day.

    Reply
  60. I am taking Nell on vacation with me and can’t wait to get started! I agree with others about Georgette Heyer. One of my own personal favorites in the historical novel realm is George MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman. Politically incorrect and deeply funny. Kasey Michaels and Marion Chesney wrote some funny Regencies back in the day.

    Reply
  61. How anyone could say women aren’t funny in a world that contains Tina Fey and Samantha Bee is beyond me…
    My morning caffeine hasn’t taken effect yet, so I can’t think of specific examples, but I’m a big fan of humor leavening basically serious stories–I like the wit and implied courage of a character who can find something to laugh at no matter how dire his or her circumstances.

    Reply
  62. How anyone could say women aren’t funny in a world that contains Tina Fey and Samantha Bee is beyond me…
    My morning caffeine hasn’t taken effect yet, so I can’t think of specific examples, but I’m a big fan of humor leavening basically serious stories–I like the wit and implied courage of a character who can find something to laugh at no matter how dire his or her circumstances.

    Reply
  63. How anyone could say women aren’t funny in a world that contains Tina Fey and Samantha Bee is beyond me…
    My morning caffeine hasn’t taken effect yet, so I can’t think of specific examples, but I’m a big fan of humor leavening basically serious stories–I like the wit and implied courage of a character who can find something to laugh at no matter how dire his or her circumstances.

    Reply
  64. How anyone could say women aren’t funny in a world that contains Tina Fey and Samantha Bee is beyond me…
    My morning caffeine hasn’t taken effect yet, so I can’t think of specific examples, but I’m a big fan of humor leavening basically serious stories–I like the wit and implied courage of a character who can find something to laugh at no matter how dire his or her circumstances.

    Reply
  65. How anyone could say women aren’t funny in a world that contains Tina Fey and Samantha Bee is beyond me…
    My morning caffeine hasn’t taken effect yet, so I can’t think of specific examples, but I’m a big fan of humor leavening basically serious stories–I like the wit and implied courage of a character who can find something to laugh at no matter how dire his or her circumstances.

    Reply
  66. Many of my funny favorites have been mentioned. Some of my most-loved laugh-out-loud scenes are in Heyer’s Sylvester.
    It is hard to do comedy well– I personally think that a lot of comedy comes from a wounded place in the soul, and that tragedy and comedy, like laughter and tears, are intimately entwined. (In Sylvester, the funny scenes are also poignant, and serve to illuminate the deep hurt and resilience of hero and heroine.)
    Many of the funniest people I know in real life suffer mightily and privately from depression or low self-worth or an abusive background.
    Comedy is also a way of relieving the stress of work that deals with tragedy or deep emotion– I work in hospice, and I think you might be surprised at the “hospice humor” that leavens the seriousness of our work.

    Reply
  67. Many of my funny favorites have been mentioned. Some of my most-loved laugh-out-loud scenes are in Heyer’s Sylvester.
    It is hard to do comedy well– I personally think that a lot of comedy comes from a wounded place in the soul, and that tragedy and comedy, like laughter and tears, are intimately entwined. (In Sylvester, the funny scenes are also poignant, and serve to illuminate the deep hurt and resilience of hero and heroine.)
    Many of the funniest people I know in real life suffer mightily and privately from depression or low self-worth or an abusive background.
    Comedy is also a way of relieving the stress of work that deals with tragedy or deep emotion– I work in hospice, and I think you might be surprised at the “hospice humor” that leavens the seriousness of our work.

    Reply
  68. Many of my funny favorites have been mentioned. Some of my most-loved laugh-out-loud scenes are in Heyer’s Sylvester.
    It is hard to do comedy well– I personally think that a lot of comedy comes from a wounded place in the soul, and that tragedy and comedy, like laughter and tears, are intimately entwined. (In Sylvester, the funny scenes are also poignant, and serve to illuminate the deep hurt and resilience of hero and heroine.)
    Many of the funniest people I know in real life suffer mightily and privately from depression or low self-worth or an abusive background.
    Comedy is also a way of relieving the stress of work that deals with tragedy or deep emotion– I work in hospice, and I think you might be surprised at the “hospice humor” that leavens the seriousness of our work.

    Reply
  69. Many of my funny favorites have been mentioned. Some of my most-loved laugh-out-loud scenes are in Heyer’s Sylvester.
    It is hard to do comedy well– I personally think that a lot of comedy comes from a wounded place in the soul, and that tragedy and comedy, like laughter and tears, are intimately entwined. (In Sylvester, the funny scenes are also poignant, and serve to illuminate the deep hurt and resilience of hero and heroine.)
    Many of the funniest people I know in real life suffer mightily and privately from depression or low self-worth or an abusive background.
    Comedy is also a way of relieving the stress of work that deals with tragedy or deep emotion– I work in hospice, and I think you might be surprised at the “hospice humor” that leavens the seriousness of our work.

    Reply
  70. Many of my funny favorites have been mentioned. Some of my most-loved laugh-out-loud scenes are in Heyer’s Sylvester.
    It is hard to do comedy well– I personally think that a lot of comedy comes from a wounded place in the soul, and that tragedy and comedy, like laughter and tears, are intimately entwined. (In Sylvester, the funny scenes are also poignant, and serve to illuminate the deep hurt and resilience of hero and heroine.)
    Many of the funniest people I know in real life suffer mightily and privately from depression or low self-worth or an abusive background.
    Comedy is also a way of relieving the stress of work that deals with tragedy or deep emotion– I work in hospice, and I think you might be surprised at the “hospice humor” that leavens the seriousness of our work.

    Reply
  71. I love humor in a good book, especially if there is also some dark, since the humour can lighten the atmosphere and allow the reader to breathe again. As said however what one person sees as humour another sees as annoying. I do think the only people that think women can’t be funny are men, because it seems to me that women have a very different perception of life, and men don’t necessarily get it (some do though, don’t get me wrong). Georgette Heyer, Loretta Chase, Marion Chesny (Mrs. Malaprop, Julia Quinn are just a few writers that have had me in stitches. Comediennes themselves? let’s not forget Carol Burnett…

    Reply
  72. I love humor in a good book, especially if there is also some dark, since the humour can lighten the atmosphere and allow the reader to breathe again. As said however what one person sees as humour another sees as annoying. I do think the only people that think women can’t be funny are men, because it seems to me that women have a very different perception of life, and men don’t necessarily get it (some do though, don’t get me wrong). Georgette Heyer, Loretta Chase, Marion Chesny (Mrs. Malaprop, Julia Quinn are just a few writers that have had me in stitches. Comediennes themselves? let’s not forget Carol Burnett…

    Reply
  73. I love humor in a good book, especially if there is also some dark, since the humour can lighten the atmosphere and allow the reader to breathe again. As said however what one person sees as humour another sees as annoying. I do think the only people that think women can’t be funny are men, because it seems to me that women have a very different perception of life, and men don’t necessarily get it (some do though, don’t get me wrong). Georgette Heyer, Loretta Chase, Marion Chesny (Mrs. Malaprop, Julia Quinn are just a few writers that have had me in stitches. Comediennes themselves? let’s not forget Carol Burnett…

    Reply
  74. I love humor in a good book, especially if there is also some dark, since the humour can lighten the atmosphere and allow the reader to breathe again. As said however what one person sees as humour another sees as annoying. I do think the only people that think women can’t be funny are men, because it seems to me that women have a very different perception of life, and men don’t necessarily get it (some do though, don’t get me wrong). Georgette Heyer, Loretta Chase, Marion Chesny (Mrs. Malaprop, Julia Quinn are just a few writers that have had me in stitches. Comediennes themselves? let’s not forget Carol Burnett…

    Reply
  75. I love humor in a good book, especially if there is also some dark, since the humour can lighten the atmosphere and allow the reader to breathe again. As said however what one person sees as humour another sees as annoying. I do think the only people that think women can’t be funny are men, because it seems to me that women have a very different perception of life, and men don’t necessarily get it (some do though, don’t get me wrong). Georgette Heyer, Loretta Chase, Marion Chesny (Mrs. Malaprop, Julia Quinn are just a few writers that have had me in stitches. Comediennes themselves? let’s not forget Carol Burnett…

    Reply
  76. “I work in hospice, and I think you might be surprised at the “hospice humor” that leavens the seriousness of our work.”
    I’m operations manager for a hospital chaplaincy program, so I know exactly what you mean!

    Reply
  77. “I work in hospice, and I think you might be surprised at the “hospice humor” that leavens the seriousness of our work.”
    I’m operations manager for a hospital chaplaincy program, so I know exactly what you mean!

    Reply
  78. “I work in hospice, and I think you might be surprised at the “hospice humor” that leavens the seriousness of our work.”
    I’m operations manager for a hospital chaplaincy program, so I know exactly what you mean!

    Reply
  79. “I work in hospice, and I think you might be surprised at the “hospice humor” that leavens the seriousness of our work.”
    I’m operations manager for a hospital chaplaincy program, so I know exactly what you mean!

    Reply
  80. “I work in hospice, and I think you might be surprised at the “hospice humor” that leavens the seriousness of our work.”
    I’m operations manager for a hospital chaplaincy program, so I know exactly what you mean!

    Reply
  81. I worked on a step down unit and some of the humor there was the only thing that kept us going since we often were given a patient that should have never left ICU and sometimes would die before the families could get there.
    Even if the humor seems stupid sometimes, if it’s funny to the character, then that’s what that character needed. Does that make sense? Kind of like when someone tells a ‘boo’ joke and they laugh at it but you don’t. Sometimes that’s the only thing that keeps them going.
    Then again…there is always that 90 year old grandfather who tells the same joke over and over because he can’t remember that he already told it…
    nm

    Reply
  82. I worked on a step down unit and some of the humor there was the only thing that kept us going since we often were given a patient that should have never left ICU and sometimes would die before the families could get there.
    Even if the humor seems stupid sometimes, if it’s funny to the character, then that’s what that character needed. Does that make sense? Kind of like when someone tells a ‘boo’ joke and they laugh at it but you don’t. Sometimes that’s the only thing that keeps them going.
    Then again…there is always that 90 year old grandfather who tells the same joke over and over because he can’t remember that he already told it…
    nm

    Reply
  83. I worked on a step down unit and some of the humor there was the only thing that kept us going since we often were given a patient that should have never left ICU and sometimes would die before the families could get there.
    Even if the humor seems stupid sometimes, if it’s funny to the character, then that’s what that character needed. Does that make sense? Kind of like when someone tells a ‘boo’ joke and they laugh at it but you don’t. Sometimes that’s the only thing that keeps them going.
    Then again…there is always that 90 year old grandfather who tells the same joke over and over because he can’t remember that he already told it…
    nm

    Reply
  84. I worked on a step down unit and some of the humor there was the only thing that kept us going since we often were given a patient that should have never left ICU and sometimes would die before the families could get there.
    Even if the humor seems stupid sometimes, if it’s funny to the character, then that’s what that character needed. Does that make sense? Kind of like when someone tells a ‘boo’ joke and they laugh at it but you don’t. Sometimes that’s the only thing that keeps them going.
    Then again…there is always that 90 year old grandfather who tells the same joke over and over because he can’t remember that he already told it…
    nm

    Reply
  85. I worked on a step down unit and some of the humor there was the only thing that kept us going since we often were given a patient that should have never left ICU and sometimes would die before the families could get there.
    Even if the humor seems stupid sometimes, if it’s funny to the character, then that’s what that character needed. Does that make sense? Kind of like when someone tells a ‘boo’ joke and they laugh at it but you don’t. Sometimes that’s the only thing that keeps them going.
    Then again…there is always that 90 year old grandfather who tells the same joke over and over because he can’t remember that he already told it…
    nm

    Reply
  86. I worked for a time in a morgue doing autopsies, and we swore that if you didn’t have a warped sense of humour when you arrived, you did when you left. I went in with an odd one, and it certainly never improved. Gallows humour is really quite funny…

    Reply
  87. I worked for a time in a morgue doing autopsies, and we swore that if you didn’t have a warped sense of humour when you arrived, you did when you left. I went in with an odd one, and it certainly never improved. Gallows humour is really quite funny…

    Reply
  88. I worked for a time in a morgue doing autopsies, and we swore that if you didn’t have a warped sense of humour when you arrived, you did when you left. I went in with an odd one, and it certainly never improved. Gallows humour is really quite funny…

    Reply
  89. I worked for a time in a morgue doing autopsies, and we swore that if you didn’t have a warped sense of humour when you arrived, you did when you left. I went in with an odd one, and it certainly never improved. Gallows humour is really quite funny…

    Reply
  90. I worked for a time in a morgue doing autopsies, and we swore that if you didn’t have a warped sense of humour when you arrived, you did when you left. I went in with an odd one, and it certainly never improved. Gallows humour is really quite funny…

    Reply
  91. I love wry humor and dry wit in any book, and especially in an historical, although I can see how hard it would be to write it — making me appreciate it all the more I think. Heyer of course does this type of humor well, as did Patricia Veryan. Austen’s humor is glorious and so often missed when her stories are put on screen.
    Women are funny, and funny in ways that I believe many men simply can’t be. I once had a boyfriend I knew I would have to get rid of because it was just too easy to play with his mind. He rarely got one of my “dry” jokes, and I seriously think he had come to think I was a little bit nuts by the time we quit seeing one another. I’m happy to say that my husband of 21 years shares my strange (I still say “witty”) sense of humor and can appreciate it as well.

    Reply
  92. I love wry humor and dry wit in any book, and especially in an historical, although I can see how hard it would be to write it — making me appreciate it all the more I think. Heyer of course does this type of humor well, as did Patricia Veryan. Austen’s humor is glorious and so often missed when her stories are put on screen.
    Women are funny, and funny in ways that I believe many men simply can’t be. I once had a boyfriend I knew I would have to get rid of because it was just too easy to play with his mind. He rarely got one of my “dry” jokes, and I seriously think he had come to think I was a little bit nuts by the time we quit seeing one another. I’m happy to say that my husband of 21 years shares my strange (I still say “witty”) sense of humor and can appreciate it as well.

    Reply
  93. I love wry humor and dry wit in any book, and especially in an historical, although I can see how hard it would be to write it — making me appreciate it all the more I think. Heyer of course does this type of humor well, as did Patricia Veryan. Austen’s humor is glorious and so often missed when her stories are put on screen.
    Women are funny, and funny in ways that I believe many men simply can’t be. I once had a boyfriend I knew I would have to get rid of because it was just too easy to play with his mind. He rarely got one of my “dry” jokes, and I seriously think he had come to think I was a little bit nuts by the time we quit seeing one another. I’m happy to say that my husband of 21 years shares my strange (I still say “witty”) sense of humor and can appreciate it as well.

    Reply
  94. I love wry humor and dry wit in any book, and especially in an historical, although I can see how hard it would be to write it — making me appreciate it all the more I think. Heyer of course does this type of humor well, as did Patricia Veryan. Austen’s humor is glorious and so often missed when her stories are put on screen.
    Women are funny, and funny in ways that I believe many men simply can’t be. I once had a boyfriend I knew I would have to get rid of because it was just too easy to play with his mind. He rarely got one of my “dry” jokes, and I seriously think he had come to think I was a little bit nuts by the time we quit seeing one another. I’m happy to say that my husband of 21 years shares my strange (I still say “witty”) sense of humor and can appreciate it as well.

    Reply
  95. I love wry humor and dry wit in any book, and especially in an historical, although I can see how hard it would be to write it — making me appreciate it all the more I think. Heyer of course does this type of humor well, as did Patricia Veryan. Austen’s humor is glorious and so often missed when her stories are put on screen.
    Women are funny, and funny in ways that I believe many men simply can’t be. I once had a boyfriend I knew I would have to get rid of because it was just too easy to play with his mind. He rarely got one of my “dry” jokes, and I seriously think he had come to think I was a little bit nuts by the time we quit seeing one another. I’m happy to say that my husband of 21 years shares my strange (I still say “witty”) sense of humor and can appreciate it as well.

    Reply
  96. I always preferred the very funny Heyers and am fond of several that are less popular (The Nonesuch, particularly) for that reason. But I find most current authors who try to be funny (and just the way I phrase that tells the story) quite tedious. Julia Quinn, Victoria Alexander, Jillian Hunter… their humor seems so labored and clumsy to me. Consequently I tend to consciously avoid Regencies that are proclaimed to be funny, because they almost always seem to be of that type.
    I do find Loretta Chase’s books hilarious, and I wish there was a way of distinguishing a “Julia Quinn-funny” book from a “Loretta Chase-funny” book.

    Reply
  97. I always preferred the very funny Heyers and am fond of several that are less popular (The Nonesuch, particularly) for that reason. But I find most current authors who try to be funny (and just the way I phrase that tells the story) quite tedious. Julia Quinn, Victoria Alexander, Jillian Hunter… their humor seems so labored and clumsy to me. Consequently I tend to consciously avoid Regencies that are proclaimed to be funny, because they almost always seem to be of that type.
    I do find Loretta Chase’s books hilarious, and I wish there was a way of distinguishing a “Julia Quinn-funny” book from a “Loretta Chase-funny” book.

    Reply
  98. I always preferred the very funny Heyers and am fond of several that are less popular (The Nonesuch, particularly) for that reason. But I find most current authors who try to be funny (and just the way I phrase that tells the story) quite tedious. Julia Quinn, Victoria Alexander, Jillian Hunter… their humor seems so labored and clumsy to me. Consequently I tend to consciously avoid Regencies that are proclaimed to be funny, because they almost always seem to be of that type.
    I do find Loretta Chase’s books hilarious, and I wish there was a way of distinguishing a “Julia Quinn-funny” book from a “Loretta Chase-funny” book.

    Reply
  99. I always preferred the very funny Heyers and am fond of several that are less popular (The Nonesuch, particularly) for that reason. But I find most current authors who try to be funny (and just the way I phrase that tells the story) quite tedious. Julia Quinn, Victoria Alexander, Jillian Hunter… their humor seems so labored and clumsy to me. Consequently I tend to consciously avoid Regencies that are proclaimed to be funny, because they almost always seem to be of that type.
    I do find Loretta Chase’s books hilarious, and I wish there was a way of distinguishing a “Julia Quinn-funny” book from a “Loretta Chase-funny” book.

    Reply
  100. I always preferred the very funny Heyers and am fond of several that are less popular (The Nonesuch, particularly) for that reason. But I find most current authors who try to be funny (and just the way I phrase that tells the story) quite tedious. Julia Quinn, Victoria Alexander, Jillian Hunter… their humor seems so labored and clumsy to me. Consequently I tend to consciously avoid Regencies that are proclaimed to be funny, because they almost always seem to be of that type.
    I do find Loretta Chase’s books hilarious, and I wish there was a way of distinguishing a “Julia Quinn-funny” book from a “Loretta Chase-funny” book.

    Reply
  101. Kasey Michael’s early books for Avon regencies are wonderfully funny. And I agree with the mention of Julia Quinn as another author who has a wonderfully light touch. Janet Mullaney’s The Rules of Gentility is wonderfully funny. Nell Gywn is one of my favorites. And LOL about the Regency play that you mentioned. I’ve never heard of it but I saw a wonderful production of The Country Wife last November in London with Toby Stephens and David Haig that was terribly funny.

    Reply
  102. Kasey Michael’s early books for Avon regencies are wonderfully funny. And I agree with the mention of Julia Quinn as another author who has a wonderfully light touch. Janet Mullaney’s The Rules of Gentility is wonderfully funny. Nell Gywn is one of my favorites. And LOL about the Regency play that you mentioned. I’ve never heard of it but I saw a wonderful production of The Country Wife last November in London with Toby Stephens and David Haig that was terribly funny.

    Reply
  103. Kasey Michael’s early books for Avon regencies are wonderfully funny. And I agree with the mention of Julia Quinn as another author who has a wonderfully light touch. Janet Mullaney’s The Rules of Gentility is wonderfully funny. Nell Gywn is one of my favorites. And LOL about the Regency play that you mentioned. I’ve never heard of it but I saw a wonderful production of The Country Wife last November in London with Toby Stephens and David Haig that was terribly funny.

    Reply
  104. Kasey Michael’s early books for Avon regencies are wonderfully funny. And I agree with the mention of Julia Quinn as another author who has a wonderfully light touch. Janet Mullaney’s The Rules of Gentility is wonderfully funny. Nell Gywn is one of my favorites. And LOL about the Regency play that you mentioned. I’ve never heard of it but I saw a wonderful production of The Country Wife last November in London with Toby Stephens and David Haig that was terribly funny.

    Reply
  105. Kasey Michael’s early books for Avon regencies are wonderfully funny. And I agree with the mention of Julia Quinn as another author who has a wonderfully light touch. Janet Mullaney’s The Rules of Gentility is wonderfully funny. Nell Gywn is one of my favorites. And LOL about the Regency play that you mentioned. I’ve never heard of it but I saw a wonderful production of The Country Wife last November in London with Toby Stephens and David Haig that was terribly funny.

    Reply
  106. The Wenches do humor wonderfully well. To give just one example, I adore the scene in Ms. Chase’s first Carsington book where Alasdair is sick and is scolded for expending the energy to be witty. He’s almost offended by the implication that it takes effort for him to be clever, and I can see him so clearly in my mind when he responds. To paraphrase (a crime when the original is so good, but I don’t have it in front of me) “but I’m not exerting myself. Wit and humor come naturally to me.” That, plus the Episodes of Stupidity, is one of the reasons the Carsingtons reside on my keeper shelves.
    I look forward to Nell. Anyone who goes from birth in a brothel to telling truth to power is interesting by her very nature.

    Reply
  107. The Wenches do humor wonderfully well. To give just one example, I adore the scene in Ms. Chase’s first Carsington book where Alasdair is sick and is scolded for expending the energy to be witty. He’s almost offended by the implication that it takes effort for him to be clever, and I can see him so clearly in my mind when he responds. To paraphrase (a crime when the original is so good, but I don’t have it in front of me) “but I’m not exerting myself. Wit and humor come naturally to me.” That, plus the Episodes of Stupidity, is one of the reasons the Carsingtons reside on my keeper shelves.
    I look forward to Nell. Anyone who goes from birth in a brothel to telling truth to power is interesting by her very nature.

    Reply
  108. The Wenches do humor wonderfully well. To give just one example, I adore the scene in Ms. Chase’s first Carsington book where Alasdair is sick and is scolded for expending the energy to be witty. He’s almost offended by the implication that it takes effort for him to be clever, and I can see him so clearly in my mind when he responds. To paraphrase (a crime when the original is so good, but I don’t have it in front of me) “but I’m not exerting myself. Wit and humor come naturally to me.” That, plus the Episodes of Stupidity, is one of the reasons the Carsingtons reside on my keeper shelves.
    I look forward to Nell. Anyone who goes from birth in a brothel to telling truth to power is interesting by her very nature.

    Reply
  109. The Wenches do humor wonderfully well. To give just one example, I adore the scene in Ms. Chase’s first Carsington book where Alasdair is sick and is scolded for expending the energy to be witty. He’s almost offended by the implication that it takes effort for him to be clever, and I can see him so clearly in my mind when he responds. To paraphrase (a crime when the original is so good, but I don’t have it in front of me) “but I’m not exerting myself. Wit and humor come naturally to me.” That, plus the Episodes of Stupidity, is one of the reasons the Carsingtons reside on my keeper shelves.
    I look forward to Nell. Anyone who goes from birth in a brothel to telling truth to power is interesting by her very nature.

    Reply
  110. The Wenches do humor wonderfully well. To give just one example, I adore the scene in Ms. Chase’s first Carsington book where Alasdair is sick and is scolded for expending the energy to be witty. He’s almost offended by the implication that it takes effort for him to be clever, and I can see him so clearly in my mind when he responds. To paraphrase (a crime when the original is so good, but I don’t have it in front of me) “but I’m not exerting myself. Wit and humor come naturally to me.” That, plus the Episodes of Stupidity, is one of the reasons the Carsingtons reside on my keeper shelves.
    I look forward to Nell. Anyone who goes from birth in a brothel to telling truth to power is interesting by her very nature.

    Reply
  111. I love it when the hero and heroine have a duel of wits! But the ridiculous-funny ought to be confined to secondary characters. There’s a wonderful recurring bit in Heyer’s FRIDAY’S CHILD, where one of the hero’s friends is trying to explain the concept of Nemesis, which he remembers from classics studies at Eton, and making a very poor job of it. One of the others says, “I don’t remember any Greek chap coming up behind me and grabbing me by the shoulder at Eton!”
    Barbara Metzger and Kasey Michaels also do very funny stuff. So did Michelle Martin–particularly in THE HAMPSHIRE HOYDEN, which is in part based on MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. (She also wrote the only lesbian Regency romance I’ve ever heard of, PEMBROKE PARK.)
    Jayne Ann Krentz in her various incarnations does humor very well.

    Reply
  112. I love it when the hero and heroine have a duel of wits! But the ridiculous-funny ought to be confined to secondary characters. There’s a wonderful recurring bit in Heyer’s FRIDAY’S CHILD, where one of the hero’s friends is trying to explain the concept of Nemesis, which he remembers from classics studies at Eton, and making a very poor job of it. One of the others says, “I don’t remember any Greek chap coming up behind me and grabbing me by the shoulder at Eton!”
    Barbara Metzger and Kasey Michaels also do very funny stuff. So did Michelle Martin–particularly in THE HAMPSHIRE HOYDEN, which is in part based on MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. (She also wrote the only lesbian Regency romance I’ve ever heard of, PEMBROKE PARK.)
    Jayne Ann Krentz in her various incarnations does humor very well.

    Reply
  113. I love it when the hero and heroine have a duel of wits! But the ridiculous-funny ought to be confined to secondary characters. There’s a wonderful recurring bit in Heyer’s FRIDAY’S CHILD, where one of the hero’s friends is trying to explain the concept of Nemesis, which he remembers from classics studies at Eton, and making a very poor job of it. One of the others says, “I don’t remember any Greek chap coming up behind me and grabbing me by the shoulder at Eton!”
    Barbara Metzger and Kasey Michaels also do very funny stuff. So did Michelle Martin–particularly in THE HAMPSHIRE HOYDEN, which is in part based on MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. (She also wrote the only lesbian Regency romance I’ve ever heard of, PEMBROKE PARK.)
    Jayne Ann Krentz in her various incarnations does humor very well.

    Reply
  114. I love it when the hero and heroine have a duel of wits! But the ridiculous-funny ought to be confined to secondary characters. There’s a wonderful recurring bit in Heyer’s FRIDAY’S CHILD, where one of the hero’s friends is trying to explain the concept of Nemesis, which he remembers from classics studies at Eton, and making a very poor job of it. One of the others says, “I don’t remember any Greek chap coming up behind me and grabbing me by the shoulder at Eton!”
    Barbara Metzger and Kasey Michaels also do very funny stuff. So did Michelle Martin–particularly in THE HAMPSHIRE HOYDEN, which is in part based on MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. (She also wrote the only lesbian Regency romance I’ve ever heard of, PEMBROKE PARK.)
    Jayne Ann Krentz in her various incarnations does humor very well.

    Reply
  115. I love it when the hero and heroine have a duel of wits! But the ridiculous-funny ought to be confined to secondary characters. There’s a wonderful recurring bit in Heyer’s FRIDAY’S CHILD, where one of the hero’s friends is trying to explain the concept of Nemesis, which he remembers from classics studies at Eton, and making a very poor job of it. One of the others says, “I don’t remember any Greek chap coming up behind me and grabbing me by the shoulder at Eton!”
    Barbara Metzger and Kasey Michaels also do very funny stuff. So did Michelle Martin–particularly in THE HAMPSHIRE HOYDEN, which is in part based on MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. (She also wrote the only lesbian Regency romance I’ve ever heard of, PEMBROKE PARK.)
    Jayne Ann Krentz in her various incarnations does humor very well.

    Reply
  116. The hands down funniest historical romance ever is Janet Mullany’s The Rules of Gentility.
    I barely caught my breath and was in danger of peeing my pants through the entire thing.
    Yet it’s a very intelligent book with well-drawn characters.
    I was sad not to see it on this year’s Rita list.

    Reply
  117. The hands down funniest historical romance ever is Janet Mullany’s The Rules of Gentility.
    I barely caught my breath and was in danger of peeing my pants through the entire thing.
    Yet it’s a very intelligent book with well-drawn characters.
    I was sad not to see it on this year’s Rita list.

    Reply
  118. The hands down funniest historical romance ever is Janet Mullany’s The Rules of Gentility.
    I barely caught my breath and was in danger of peeing my pants through the entire thing.
    Yet it’s a very intelligent book with well-drawn characters.
    I was sad not to see it on this year’s Rita list.

    Reply
  119. The hands down funniest historical romance ever is Janet Mullany’s The Rules of Gentility.
    I barely caught my breath and was in danger of peeing my pants through the entire thing.
    Yet it’s a very intelligent book with well-drawn characters.
    I was sad not to see it on this year’s Rita list.

    Reply
  120. The hands down funniest historical romance ever is Janet Mullany’s The Rules of Gentility.
    I barely caught my breath and was in danger of peeing my pants through the entire thing.
    Yet it’s a very intelligent book with well-drawn characters.
    I was sad not to see it on this year’s Rita list.

    Reply
  121. I agree with the people who mentioned Heyer as very funny. A book of hers I’ve not seen mentioned yet is A Convenient Marriage, in which the heroine is very comic, especially in her exchanges with her brother. She’s not witty as such, but a very comic character. This book was first published in 1934, so it has remained funny for almost 75 years.
    But Nell Gwyn was witty. She was also illiterate and only 15 when she became famous under her own steam. if she had lived now, she probably wouldn’t even have looked at Charles. She must have been very, very bright. I’m very curious to read what you have made of her.
    One of the funniest books I’ve ever read is Three Men and a Boat, which was of course not a historical novel, though it seems a bit like one now. Connie Willis wrote the brilliant To Say Nothing of the Dog inspired by Jerome’s book. Willis’ book is a sort of historical time travel. Funny is just one of the wonderful things it is. I will have to re-read it soon.

    Reply
  122. I agree with the people who mentioned Heyer as very funny. A book of hers I’ve not seen mentioned yet is A Convenient Marriage, in which the heroine is very comic, especially in her exchanges with her brother. She’s not witty as such, but a very comic character. This book was first published in 1934, so it has remained funny for almost 75 years.
    But Nell Gwyn was witty. She was also illiterate and only 15 when she became famous under her own steam. if she had lived now, she probably wouldn’t even have looked at Charles. She must have been very, very bright. I’m very curious to read what you have made of her.
    One of the funniest books I’ve ever read is Three Men and a Boat, which was of course not a historical novel, though it seems a bit like one now. Connie Willis wrote the brilliant To Say Nothing of the Dog inspired by Jerome’s book. Willis’ book is a sort of historical time travel. Funny is just one of the wonderful things it is. I will have to re-read it soon.

    Reply
  123. I agree with the people who mentioned Heyer as very funny. A book of hers I’ve not seen mentioned yet is A Convenient Marriage, in which the heroine is very comic, especially in her exchanges with her brother. She’s not witty as such, but a very comic character. This book was first published in 1934, so it has remained funny for almost 75 years.
    But Nell Gwyn was witty. She was also illiterate and only 15 when she became famous under her own steam. if she had lived now, she probably wouldn’t even have looked at Charles. She must have been very, very bright. I’m very curious to read what you have made of her.
    One of the funniest books I’ve ever read is Three Men and a Boat, which was of course not a historical novel, though it seems a bit like one now. Connie Willis wrote the brilliant To Say Nothing of the Dog inspired by Jerome’s book. Willis’ book is a sort of historical time travel. Funny is just one of the wonderful things it is. I will have to re-read it soon.

    Reply
  124. I agree with the people who mentioned Heyer as very funny. A book of hers I’ve not seen mentioned yet is A Convenient Marriage, in which the heroine is very comic, especially in her exchanges with her brother. She’s not witty as such, but a very comic character. This book was first published in 1934, so it has remained funny for almost 75 years.
    But Nell Gwyn was witty. She was also illiterate and only 15 when she became famous under her own steam. if she had lived now, she probably wouldn’t even have looked at Charles. She must have been very, very bright. I’m very curious to read what you have made of her.
    One of the funniest books I’ve ever read is Three Men and a Boat, which was of course not a historical novel, though it seems a bit like one now. Connie Willis wrote the brilliant To Say Nothing of the Dog inspired by Jerome’s book. Willis’ book is a sort of historical time travel. Funny is just one of the wonderful things it is. I will have to re-read it soon.

    Reply
  125. I agree with the people who mentioned Heyer as very funny. A book of hers I’ve not seen mentioned yet is A Convenient Marriage, in which the heroine is very comic, especially in her exchanges with her brother. She’s not witty as such, but a very comic character. This book was first published in 1934, so it has remained funny for almost 75 years.
    But Nell Gwyn was witty. She was also illiterate and only 15 when she became famous under her own steam. if she had lived now, she probably wouldn’t even have looked at Charles. She must have been very, very bright. I’m very curious to read what you have made of her.
    One of the funniest books I’ve ever read is Three Men and a Boat, which was of course not a historical novel, though it seems a bit like one now. Connie Willis wrote the brilliant To Say Nothing of the Dog inspired by Jerome’s book. Willis’ book is a sort of historical time travel. Funny is just one of the wonderful things it is. I will have to re-read it soon.

    Reply
  126. I can imagine Bette Midler as a Nell Gwyn clone, Bette is an absolute darling, witty, charming,a great raconteur and a ‘tell it like it is’ lady.
    I’ve just read Lord of Scoundrels and is hands-down a great read, so funny in places and so poignant in others, Jessica could be The Grand Sophy’s sister!

    Reply
  127. I can imagine Bette Midler as a Nell Gwyn clone, Bette is an absolute darling, witty, charming,a great raconteur and a ‘tell it like it is’ lady.
    I’ve just read Lord of Scoundrels and is hands-down a great read, so funny in places and so poignant in others, Jessica could be The Grand Sophy’s sister!

    Reply
  128. I can imagine Bette Midler as a Nell Gwyn clone, Bette is an absolute darling, witty, charming,a great raconteur and a ‘tell it like it is’ lady.
    I’ve just read Lord of Scoundrels and is hands-down a great read, so funny in places and so poignant in others, Jessica could be The Grand Sophy’s sister!

    Reply
  129. I can imagine Bette Midler as a Nell Gwyn clone, Bette is an absolute darling, witty, charming,a great raconteur and a ‘tell it like it is’ lady.
    I’ve just read Lord of Scoundrels and is hands-down a great read, so funny in places and so poignant in others, Jessica could be The Grand Sophy’s sister!

    Reply
  130. I can imagine Bette Midler as a Nell Gwyn clone, Bette is an absolute darling, witty, charming,a great raconteur and a ‘tell it like it is’ lady.
    I’ve just read Lord of Scoundrels and is hands-down a great read, so funny in places and so poignant in others, Jessica could be The Grand Sophy’s sister!

    Reply
  131. I can’t think of a particular title, but the first author that came to mind was Amanda Quick. She has humor in her books often coming from the dialog. Anytime I can laugh or smile while reading a story is a good thing in my mind. I like humor in historicals as long as it fits the storyline. I’m adding The King’s Favorite to my wish list.

    Reply
  132. I can’t think of a particular title, but the first author that came to mind was Amanda Quick. She has humor in her books often coming from the dialog. Anytime I can laugh or smile while reading a story is a good thing in my mind. I like humor in historicals as long as it fits the storyline. I’m adding The King’s Favorite to my wish list.

    Reply
  133. I can’t think of a particular title, but the first author that came to mind was Amanda Quick. She has humor in her books often coming from the dialog. Anytime I can laugh or smile while reading a story is a good thing in my mind. I like humor in historicals as long as it fits the storyline. I’m adding The King’s Favorite to my wish list.

    Reply
  134. I can’t think of a particular title, but the first author that came to mind was Amanda Quick. She has humor in her books often coming from the dialog. Anytime I can laugh or smile while reading a story is a good thing in my mind. I like humor in historicals as long as it fits the storyline. I’m adding The King’s Favorite to my wish list.

    Reply
  135. I can’t think of a particular title, but the first author that came to mind was Amanda Quick. She has humor in her books often coming from the dialog. Anytime I can laugh or smile while reading a story is a good thing in my mind. I like humor in historicals as long as it fits the storyline. I’m adding The King’s Favorite to my wish list.

    Reply
  136. If you ever get your hands on a book called, “The Young Visiters”(sic), be prepared. It was written by a precocious nine-year-old girl in Victorian London and it is hilarious. It begins, “Mr. Salteena was an elderly gentleman of 42…” I highly recommend it if your funny bone is out of practice. Young Daisy Ashford was a funny woman, although she didn’t know it.

    Reply
  137. If you ever get your hands on a book called, “The Young Visiters”(sic), be prepared. It was written by a precocious nine-year-old girl in Victorian London and it is hilarious. It begins, “Mr. Salteena was an elderly gentleman of 42…” I highly recommend it if your funny bone is out of practice. Young Daisy Ashford was a funny woman, although she didn’t know it.

    Reply
  138. If you ever get your hands on a book called, “The Young Visiters”(sic), be prepared. It was written by a precocious nine-year-old girl in Victorian London and it is hilarious. It begins, “Mr. Salteena was an elderly gentleman of 42…” I highly recommend it if your funny bone is out of practice. Young Daisy Ashford was a funny woman, although she didn’t know it.

    Reply
  139. If you ever get your hands on a book called, “The Young Visiters”(sic), be prepared. It was written by a precocious nine-year-old girl in Victorian London and it is hilarious. It begins, “Mr. Salteena was an elderly gentleman of 42…” I highly recommend it if your funny bone is out of practice. Young Daisy Ashford was a funny woman, although she didn’t know it.

    Reply
  140. If you ever get your hands on a book called, “The Young Visiters”(sic), be prepared. It was written by a precocious nine-year-old girl in Victorian London and it is hilarious. It begins, “Mr. Salteena was an elderly gentleman of 42…” I highly recommend it if your funny bone is out of practice. Young Daisy Ashford was a funny woman, although she didn’t know it.

    Reply
  141. I think I must begin regarding myself as a humorless person, because much of what other people laugh at leaves me bored & tired. It’s too easy and it demands nothing of me. Readers say they have laughed out loud all the way through this or that book, and I just go, it was OK, I smiled once or twice. My sf fan pals are telling me how funny Catherine Tate is in Doctor Who, and I just feel annoyed at all the mugging. The only author I can think of who can guarantee to startle a laugh out of me is Janet Evanovich, and then only in her Stephanie Plum books. I don’t have any objection to lighter books — I loved Loretta Chase’s Mr Impossible — but a little goes a long way with me. I can’t readily get emotionally involved in it, which is what I hope & expect a good novel will do for me. Maybe it’s because much humor depends on suspension of verisimiltude and I’m having enough trouble hanging on to reality as it is.

    Reply
  142. I think I must begin regarding myself as a humorless person, because much of what other people laugh at leaves me bored & tired. It’s too easy and it demands nothing of me. Readers say they have laughed out loud all the way through this or that book, and I just go, it was OK, I smiled once or twice. My sf fan pals are telling me how funny Catherine Tate is in Doctor Who, and I just feel annoyed at all the mugging. The only author I can think of who can guarantee to startle a laugh out of me is Janet Evanovich, and then only in her Stephanie Plum books. I don’t have any objection to lighter books — I loved Loretta Chase’s Mr Impossible — but a little goes a long way with me. I can’t readily get emotionally involved in it, which is what I hope & expect a good novel will do for me. Maybe it’s because much humor depends on suspension of verisimiltude and I’m having enough trouble hanging on to reality as it is.

    Reply
  143. I think I must begin regarding myself as a humorless person, because much of what other people laugh at leaves me bored & tired. It’s too easy and it demands nothing of me. Readers say they have laughed out loud all the way through this or that book, and I just go, it was OK, I smiled once or twice. My sf fan pals are telling me how funny Catherine Tate is in Doctor Who, and I just feel annoyed at all the mugging. The only author I can think of who can guarantee to startle a laugh out of me is Janet Evanovich, and then only in her Stephanie Plum books. I don’t have any objection to lighter books — I loved Loretta Chase’s Mr Impossible — but a little goes a long way with me. I can’t readily get emotionally involved in it, which is what I hope & expect a good novel will do for me. Maybe it’s because much humor depends on suspension of verisimiltude and I’m having enough trouble hanging on to reality as it is.

    Reply
  144. I think I must begin regarding myself as a humorless person, because much of what other people laugh at leaves me bored & tired. It’s too easy and it demands nothing of me. Readers say they have laughed out loud all the way through this or that book, and I just go, it was OK, I smiled once or twice. My sf fan pals are telling me how funny Catherine Tate is in Doctor Who, and I just feel annoyed at all the mugging. The only author I can think of who can guarantee to startle a laugh out of me is Janet Evanovich, and then only in her Stephanie Plum books. I don’t have any objection to lighter books — I loved Loretta Chase’s Mr Impossible — but a little goes a long way with me. I can’t readily get emotionally involved in it, which is what I hope & expect a good novel will do for me. Maybe it’s because much humor depends on suspension of verisimiltude and I’m having enough trouble hanging on to reality as it is.

    Reply
  145. I think I must begin regarding myself as a humorless person, because much of what other people laugh at leaves me bored & tired. It’s too easy and it demands nothing of me. Readers say they have laughed out loud all the way through this or that book, and I just go, it was OK, I smiled once or twice. My sf fan pals are telling me how funny Catherine Tate is in Doctor Who, and I just feel annoyed at all the mugging. The only author I can think of who can guarantee to startle a laugh out of me is Janet Evanovich, and then only in her Stephanie Plum books. I don’t have any objection to lighter books — I loved Loretta Chase’s Mr Impossible — but a little goes a long way with me. I can’t readily get emotionally involved in it, which is what I hope & expect a good novel will do for me. Maybe it’s because much humor depends on suspension of verisimiltude and I’m having enough trouble hanging on to reality as it is.

    Reply
  146. Sorry to be late replying here –– was off visiting my son at college.
    The idea of letting secondary characters be the funny ones lets a writer have it both ways — the humor is there, but if the reader doesn’t enjoy it, then the main characters still remain to “carry” the plot. There’s a long tradition of this (even before Heyer!), as anyone who’s read Charles Dickens knows. Some of those “low” characters that rely on dialect and long-forgotten jokes are slow-going now, though fortunately they’re also relegated to distant sub-plots. Still, I’m betting to 19th century readers, they were hilarious.
    I do like witty dialogue and wry observations, and sometimes just the way the writer puts the words together makes me laugh –– Loretta Chase (yes, Wench Loretta) does this very well.
    While Janet Evanovich isn’t a historical writer and so, technically isn’t part of this discussion, I do have to say she’s one of the funny writers that I just don’t get. Heck, I grew up in NJ, and I don’t get her! *g* But I think that may be an example of the slapstick kind of humor that might work better in a movie than on the page.
    But as all these comments show, the whole shebang is so subjective…..
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  147. Sorry to be late replying here –– was off visiting my son at college.
    The idea of letting secondary characters be the funny ones lets a writer have it both ways — the humor is there, but if the reader doesn’t enjoy it, then the main characters still remain to “carry” the plot. There’s a long tradition of this (even before Heyer!), as anyone who’s read Charles Dickens knows. Some of those “low” characters that rely on dialect and long-forgotten jokes are slow-going now, though fortunately they’re also relegated to distant sub-plots. Still, I’m betting to 19th century readers, they were hilarious.
    I do like witty dialogue and wry observations, and sometimes just the way the writer puts the words together makes me laugh –– Loretta Chase (yes, Wench Loretta) does this very well.
    While Janet Evanovich isn’t a historical writer and so, technically isn’t part of this discussion, I do have to say she’s one of the funny writers that I just don’t get. Heck, I grew up in NJ, and I don’t get her! *g* But I think that may be an example of the slapstick kind of humor that might work better in a movie than on the page.
    But as all these comments show, the whole shebang is so subjective…..
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  148. Sorry to be late replying here –– was off visiting my son at college.
    The idea of letting secondary characters be the funny ones lets a writer have it both ways — the humor is there, but if the reader doesn’t enjoy it, then the main characters still remain to “carry” the plot. There’s a long tradition of this (even before Heyer!), as anyone who’s read Charles Dickens knows. Some of those “low” characters that rely on dialect and long-forgotten jokes are slow-going now, though fortunately they’re also relegated to distant sub-plots. Still, I’m betting to 19th century readers, they were hilarious.
    I do like witty dialogue and wry observations, and sometimes just the way the writer puts the words together makes me laugh –– Loretta Chase (yes, Wench Loretta) does this very well.
    While Janet Evanovich isn’t a historical writer and so, technically isn’t part of this discussion, I do have to say she’s one of the funny writers that I just don’t get. Heck, I grew up in NJ, and I don’t get her! *g* But I think that may be an example of the slapstick kind of humor that might work better in a movie than on the page.
    But as all these comments show, the whole shebang is so subjective…..
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  149. Sorry to be late replying here –– was off visiting my son at college.
    The idea of letting secondary characters be the funny ones lets a writer have it both ways — the humor is there, but if the reader doesn’t enjoy it, then the main characters still remain to “carry” the plot. There’s a long tradition of this (even before Heyer!), as anyone who’s read Charles Dickens knows. Some of those “low” characters that rely on dialect and long-forgotten jokes are slow-going now, though fortunately they’re also relegated to distant sub-plots. Still, I’m betting to 19th century readers, they were hilarious.
    I do like witty dialogue and wry observations, and sometimes just the way the writer puts the words together makes me laugh –– Loretta Chase (yes, Wench Loretta) does this very well.
    While Janet Evanovich isn’t a historical writer and so, technically isn’t part of this discussion, I do have to say she’s one of the funny writers that I just don’t get. Heck, I grew up in NJ, and I don’t get her! *g* But I think that may be an example of the slapstick kind of humor that might work better in a movie than on the page.
    But as all these comments show, the whole shebang is so subjective…..
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  150. Sorry to be late replying here –– was off visiting my son at college.
    The idea of letting secondary characters be the funny ones lets a writer have it both ways — the humor is there, but if the reader doesn’t enjoy it, then the main characters still remain to “carry” the plot. There’s a long tradition of this (even before Heyer!), as anyone who’s read Charles Dickens knows. Some of those “low” characters that rely on dialect and long-forgotten jokes are slow-going now, though fortunately they’re also relegated to distant sub-plots. Still, I’m betting to 19th century readers, they were hilarious.
    I do like witty dialogue and wry observations, and sometimes just the way the writer puts the words together makes me laugh –– Loretta Chase (yes, Wench Loretta) does this very well.
    While Janet Evanovich isn’t a historical writer and so, technically isn’t part of this discussion, I do have to say she’s one of the funny writers that I just don’t get. Heck, I grew up in NJ, and I don’t get her! *g* But I think that may be an example of the slapstick kind of humor that might work better in a movie than on the page.
    But as all these comments show, the whole shebang is so subjective…..
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  151. I’m glad so many of you are looking forward to Nell’s story this summer.
    Margaret wrote:: “When, at a tavern, Nell’s hosts–the King and his brother the Duke–had no money on them, her double-meaning response (paraphrased) that she’d never been in such “poor” company in her life is only one indication of her light touch”
    This is one of the most famous of Nell anecdotes that have survived, and OF COURSE I had to incorporate it into the book. The challenge was weaving it into the story, incorporating it seamlessly without making it stand out as a “set piece.” I keep my fingers crossed that with Nell’s ghost whispering in my ear, I was able to make it work. Ahh, the danger of jokes in fiction!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  152. I’m glad so many of you are looking forward to Nell’s story this summer.
    Margaret wrote:: “When, at a tavern, Nell’s hosts–the King and his brother the Duke–had no money on them, her double-meaning response (paraphrased) that she’d never been in such “poor” company in her life is only one indication of her light touch”
    This is one of the most famous of Nell anecdotes that have survived, and OF COURSE I had to incorporate it into the book. The challenge was weaving it into the story, incorporating it seamlessly without making it stand out as a “set piece.” I keep my fingers crossed that with Nell’s ghost whispering in my ear, I was able to make it work. Ahh, the danger of jokes in fiction!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  153. I’m glad so many of you are looking forward to Nell’s story this summer.
    Margaret wrote:: “When, at a tavern, Nell’s hosts–the King and his brother the Duke–had no money on them, her double-meaning response (paraphrased) that she’d never been in such “poor” company in her life is only one indication of her light touch”
    This is one of the most famous of Nell anecdotes that have survived, and OF COURSE I had to incorporate it into the book. The challenge was weaving it into the story, incorporating it seamlessly without making it stand out as a “set piece.” I keep my fingers crossed that with Nell’s ghost whispering in my ear, I was able to make it work. Ahh, the danger of jokes in fiction!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  154. I’m glad so many of you are looking forward to Nell’s story this summer.
    Margaret wrote:: “When, at a tavern, Nell’s hosts–the King and his brother the Duke–had no money on them, her double-meaning response (paraphrased) that she’d never been in such “poor” company in her life is only one indication of her light touch”
    This is one of the most famous of Nell anecdotes that have survived, and OF COURSE I had to incorporate it into the book. The challenge was weaving it into the story, incorporating it seamlessly without making it stand out as a “set piece.” I keep my fingers crossed that with Nell’s ghost whispering in my ear, I was able to make it work. Ahh, the danger of jokes in fiction!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  155. I’m glad so many of you are looking forward to Nell’s story this summer.
    Margaret wrote:: “When, at a tavern, Nell’s hosts–the King and his brother the Duke–had no money on them, her double-meaning response (paraphrased) that she’d never been in such “poor” company in her life is only one indication of her light touch”
    This is one of the most famous of Nell anecdotes that have survived, and OF COURSE I had to incorporate it into the book. The challenge was weaving it into the story, incorporating it seamlessly without making it stand out as a “set piece.” I keep my fingers crossed that with Nell’s ghost whispering in my ear, I was able to make it work. Ahh, the danger of jokes in fiction!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  156. With fiction, you can use comedy in a way to further plot or just brighten the reader’s day. With fiction, you do not get nailed by fact checkers. Here is an article on BBC about a book about Louis XIV mistress/wife that had to be pulled because it was based on a fictious diary. I look forward to reading the King’s Favorite, now that the Baroque Cycle has me hooked on another era. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7373640.stm

    Reply
  157. With fiction, you can use comedy in a way to further plot or just brighten the reader’s day. With fiction, you do not get nailed by fact checkers. Here is an article on BBC about a book about Louis XIV mistress/wife that had to be pulled because it was based on a fictious diary. I look forward to reading the King’s Favorite, now that the Baroque Cycle has me hooked on another era. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7373640.stm

    Reply
  158. With fiction, you can use comedy in a way to further plot or just brighten the reader’s day. With fiction, you do not get nailed by fact checkers. Here is an article on BBC about a book about Louis XIV mistress/wife that had to be pulled because it was based on a fictious diary. I look forward to reading the King’s Favorite, now that the Baroque Cycle has me hooked on another era. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7373640.stm

    Reply
  159. With fiction, you can use comedy in a way to further plot or just brighten the reader’s day. With fiction, you do not get nailed by fact checkers. Here is an article on BBC about a book about Louis XIV mistress/wife that had to be pulled because it was based on a fictious diary. I look forward to reading the King’s Favorite, now that the Baroque Cycle has me hooked on another era. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7373640.stm

    Reply
  160. With fiction, you can use comedy in a way to further plot or just brighten the reader’s day. With fiction, you do not get nailed by fact checkers. Here is an article on BBC about a book about Louis XIV mistress/wife that had to be pulled because it was based on a fictious diary. I look forward to reading the King’s Favorite, now that the Baroque Cycle has me hooked on another era. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7373640.stm

    Reply
  161. Thanks for passing that article along, Lynn. Proof that there’s just as much peril in research as pleasure! It also makes me want to read the novel that was mistaken for a real diary — must be one amazing book to fool a serious historian!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  162. Thanks for passing that article along, Lynn. Proof that there’s just as much peril in research as pleasure! It also makes me want to read the novel that was mistaken for a real diary — must be one amazing book to fool a serious historian!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  163. Thanks for passing that article along, Lynn. Proof that there’s just as much peril in research as pleasure! It also makes me want to read the novel that was mistaken for a real diary — must be one amazing book to fool a serious historian!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  164. Thanks for passing that article along, Lynn. Proof that there’s just as much peril in research as pleasure! It also makes me want to read the novel that was mistaken for a real diary — must be one amazing book to fool a serious historian!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  165. Thanks for passing that article along, Lynn. Proof that there’s just as much peril in research as pleasure! It also makes me want to read the novel that was mistaken for a real diary — must be one amazing book to fool a serious historian!
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply

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