Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Your First Regency Romance

What was the first Regency romance you read? A few weeks ago on another blog we were discussing our first romance books and not surprisingly a lot of these were Regencies. Even less surprising, perhaps, many people came to Regency romance through Georgette Heyer.

I was one of those who ran through practically all of GH's books in my teens. But once I had read them (several times) I needed more books to feed my burgeoning Regency addiction so I turned to other authors including Clare Darcy, Sheila Walsh and Alice Chetwynd Ley. Alice Chetwynd Ley's books were my favourites. I still have every one of her books on my keeper shelf with The Beau and the Bluestocking and The Jewelled Snuffbox in pride of place. Sheila Bishop's A Speaking Likeness is another one I still have. It sums up the feelings of the hero and heroine at the end of the book with the line: "They were violently in love and they knew it." A far cry from the depth of emotional description that many publishers require from their authors today!

Marion Chesney was another author on my list. I heard her speak last year and she said that she had given up writing Regencies because she found it a strain permanently to be living in the early nineteenth century, which I found interesting. And then, of course, there was Barbara Cartland. I have to admit that I haven't read a great many of her books but I was thrilled to discover that a handful of them had been made into films.

Does one count authors such as Jane Aiken Hodge as Regency? Marry in Haste and Watch the Wall My Darling were historical adventure but they were also hugely romantic. Again, I still have almost all the books on my shelf and frequently re-read them. Which were the books and authors that introduced you to Regency romance? Do you still have your early Regencies? What are your favourite nostalgic reads?

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12 Comments:

Blogger Virginia C said...

Hi, Nicola! My earliest romance reads were written by Georgette Heyer and Barbara Cartland. I discovered "Marry in Haste" in my high school's library, and I checked it out and read it over and over! Last year, some thirty years later, I purchased a used paperback copy of "Marry in Haste" from an online bookseller. I have never purchased a book which was presented with such care, almost with reverence. Some people do see value in old paperbacks! I was just as entranced by "Marry in Haste" as I had been so many years ago! I also look forward to reading "The Private World of Georgette Heyer" by Jane Aiken Hodge. Thinking about Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer makes me smile, remembering myself years ago, reading with eyes wide open : )

1:23 PM  
Blogger margaret blake said...

Oh dear, can I say here that I have never been a fan of the Regency period. I love your books, Nicola, but I am not a regency reader generally. My first introduction to "historical books" as via Forever Amber and from then onto Jean Plaidy.

Yet, I loved those Regency films starring Margaret Lockwood and James Mason etc. Perhaps I found the ladies and gentlemen too posh in the novels.I wish I knew why I never got into them but I have no idea.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Nicola Cornick said...

Hi Virginia and thank you for dropping by. I remember you saying before that you were a huge fan of Marry in Haste. I loved the Napoleonic War background to that book. It was fascinating. Plus I wanted to see how the combined marriage of convenience/amnesia plot worked out. The end of the book, whem Leominster comes back and sees the baby, always makes me cry even after reading it a dozen times!

3:11 PM  
Blogger Nicola Cornick said...

LOL, Margaret, I feel even more flattered now that you enjoy my books! But we can talk more general historical books, if you like. I loved Anya Seton's books and Jean Plaidy and Victoria Holt.

They don't make historical films like they used to, more's the pity!

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Louise Allen said...

Goodness - I can't remember! I read Heyer voraciously, Claire Darcy... Mary Stewart. Dorothy Dunnett. Lots of crime.
Really could not get on with Babs and I rather think that my mother wouldn't allow her in the house!

3:36 PM  
Blogger Nicola Cornick said...

How funny that your mother wouldn't allow BC's books in the house, Louise! I had to read them at my grandmother's. She had all sorts of saucy books!

5:19 PM  
Blogger Lois said...

Well, I started with Sandra Brown with romance in general; three books later, I tried my first historical, and that was Lisa Kleypas, and it should have been Regency, though I can't be sure without looking ath the first page. LOL But I can say that other than one book, I still have not read Georgette Heyer (sorry! LOL), and it wasn't until a few years after I started reading romances that I got into Jane Austen - and I purposely read each book before watching any movie I had at the time I read the book. But it's kind of ironic. . . I was introduced to the whole Regency world with the romances, never heard of it before, never heard of Jane, etc. I grew up as an Anglophile, but it was because of Mom's love of Sherlock Holmes and A Christmas Carol (a.k.a. Victorian). . . and now, I really tend to not look for Victorians, except for the certain authors, like aforementioned Lisa Kleypas. Go figure. ;)

Lois

1:18 AM  
Blogger Nicola Cornick said...

How interesting about your mother's love of Victorian literature, Lois. My parents were the same - they had as much Dickens and Wilkie Collins as Jane Austen in the house. I read both but still read JA and don't read much Victorian stuff!

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Elizabeth Hawksley said...

I've just been re-reading Joan Aiken's 'The Five-Minute Marriage', first published in 1977.
One of the reviews said, 'Will give great pleasure to romance-lovers of all ages', and that's exactly what it does.

Persuaded into a bogus marriage which turns out to be legal and binding, Delphie finds herself unwillingly married to the infuriatingly rude Gareth Penistone. And gossip has it that he has a mistress and several children.

Then events take a more sinister turn. A number of suspicious 'accidents' force Delphie to turn to Gareth for help ....

Delphie is a beautiful and spirited heroine, and, underneath his frosty exterior, Gareth is a real hero (he is coping with a heavy secret burden), and there are some splendid secondary characters.

A terrific story and a heart-warming romance. Who could resist?

12:05 PM  
Blogger Nicola Cornick said...

Thank you for the recommendation, Elizabeth. I don't know how I came to miss Joan Aiken the first time around. I've read some of her Austen sequels but none of her other books. I will hunt this up!

12:54 PM  
Blogger mizwaller said...

I started reading historically themed books with the Tudors,when I was ten or eleven. By the time I was 13 I was through with that era and looking for something else. My former babysitter who lived across the street gave me "Cotillion". 47 years later, I'm still happily stuck in the Regency.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Nicola Cornick said...

Interesting that you started with the Tudors, Mizwaller, and then moved on to Regency with Cotillion. I remember being quite young when I read that set of books in a gold box about the Wives of Henry VIII.

4:28 PM  

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