5 Things to Love about the Regency with Emily Greenwood
Why do I write about the Regency era? In short, because it was really different from today. When I want a break from worrying about gun violence, global warming, the high cost of a college education, or whether the world will soon run out of chocolate, the Regency era beckons with a quieter pace. There were no phones ringing back then, no instant news cycle, and very little information about how bad cream and butter are for you (or maybe they’re not bad for you after all, now that sugar is the new villain).
Yes, I know that the lack of many things I take for granted about modern life would have made life in the Regency far less pleasant (see: cheap soap, electricity, toilets, actually helpful medical care, equal rights for women). But still—it was different, and different is generally interesting and very often fun.
A few things I especially love about the Regency:
- Fewer decisions to make. According to social scientists, having too many choices can cause stress. Should I buy a computer or a tablet? Do I want a career as a teacher, a nurse, or a social worker, and should I get an advanced degree? In the 1800s, people surely had far less stress about which path to choose, since they rarely had much choice at all. There, easier, right? OK, maybe people had a lot of unhappiness about being stuck in situations that were totally wrong for them, but at least we still have the fantasy of a simpler time. J
- Old-fashioned dating. Doesn’t it seem a little hard that dating today may involve having people check out your picture on their smart phones before they swipe past it to get to the next person? How much more civilized it must have been at those Regency balls, when the ladies all dressed to the nines and the gentlemen could scope them out and decide which lady merited a dance invitation depending on her looks and fortune. Oh, wait, maybe the Regency Marriage Mart wasn’t so civilized either. But there was dancing! And the Regency era had all kinds of social rules about who could be together and under what circumstances—rules that are fun to break. And sometimes there were entertainingly tempestuous marriages of convenience between two people who might not realize at first that they’re perfect for each other. Marriages of convenience are a favorite trope, and it was such fun subjecting Eliza and Tommy to one in HOW TO HANDLE A SCANDAL.
- Witty dialog. Clever conversation was prized during the Regency, and it shows in contemporary works like Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and in Regency-set stories of today, like those by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and so many other terrific Regency romance authors.
- Lovely old grand manors on massive estates. There’s something so appealing about gathering with friends and family on an estate where you have everything you need—it’s like a world unto itself. Plus, with all those servants to do the cooking and cleaning, there’s more time for conversation, dining, dancing, strolling, shopping, and of course, flirting. The estate I created for Tommy in HOW TO HANDLE A SCANDAL has an odd name and lots of extremely drafty corners, but it also has unique charms, and it plays a role in bringing Eliza and Tommy together.
- Carriages. Picnics. Restorative cups of tea. Waltzing. Kisses stolen in the garden while a roomful of guests dance in the ballroom. Ladies in beautiful, feminine gowns. Men in boots on horseback.
But best of all, the Regency makes me think of people discovering, against the expectations of themselves, their families, and their society, that they do want to marry for love after all.
How to Handle a Scandal by Emily Greenwood
The Scandalous Sisters, Book 2
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Genre: Historical Romance
About the Book
THEY THOUGHT THE DEBUTANTE WAS SCANDALOUS
Miss Elizabeth Tarryton was the toast of the London Season the year she was seventeen and spurned young Tommy Halifax. A careless flirt who didn’t know what she wanted, she was startled into laughter by his public proposal of marriage. Furious and heartbroken, Tommy promptly left home for a life of adventure in India.
IF THEY ONLY KNEW ABOUT THE WIDOW
Seven years later, Elizabeth has much to make up for, but the methods she chooses for doing good are as shocking as her earlier wanton behavior–should the ton ever find out. Tommy returns to England a hero, with no intention of allowing himself to be hurt by a woman ever again, but he’s fascinated nonetheless by Elizabeth, now widowed and more alluring than ever.
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Emily Greenwood worked for a number of years as a writer, crafting newsletters and fundraising brochures, but she far prefers writing playful love stories set in Regency England, and she thinks romance novels are the chocolate of literature. A Golden Heart finalist, she lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters.
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