The Regency of Prince George, later George IV lasted only from 1811-1820. Contemporary Regency writers stretch it to about 1800-1830. Even though it was such a brief period, the Regency looms large in historical romance. It was an era of relative freedom of behavior, which allows for a variety of suspenseful or scandalous situations. At the same time the conventions of the times provide an environment where all the elements of a delicious romance – attraction, intrigue, doubt, misunderstanding, loathing, and final happy outcome – can credibly occur. Above all, Regency romances are witty and amusing, following the timeless example of Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice, the proto-Regency romance.
Sprig Muslin by Georgette Heyer is a classic with laugh-aloud moments. Georgette Heyer is the traditional Regency writer. Her books are being reprinted, and reissued as large print editions too. HCPL has the large print version of this one.
Also try these more current Regencies for a dash of intrigue, wit and humor:
Along Came a Duke by Elizabeth Boyle. “New York Times bestselling RITA® Award winner Elizabeth Boyle is a wonder, and with Along Came a Duke—the first book in her delectable Rhymes with Love series based on well-known nursery rhymes—she proves once more that no one writes wittier, more endearing and original historical romance. Returning once more to England during the colorful Regency Era, Boyle transports readers to the small town of Kempton, where a local curse prevents the female residents from wedding—a fact that cannot deter a plucky young heiress who needs to marry to inherit her fortune, as she strikes out for London to wed a rakish and unsuspecting duke. Funny, touching, and wonderfully sensuous, Along Came a Duke is a prime example of the exceptional romantic magic that puts Elizabeth Boyle in the same master class as Lisa Kleypas and Christina Dodd.” (HarperCollins)
The Sum of All Kisses by Julia Quinn. Julia Quinn’s books are known for their humor and wit, and sometimes their silliness! At the same time she does not sacrifice genuine emotion and real character development.
“Sarah Pleinsworth can’t forgive Hugh Prentice for the duel he fought three years ago that nearly destroyed her family, sent her cousin fleeing, and left Hugh himself with a badly injured leg. That’s fine with Hugh, who can’t tolerate Sarah’s dramatic ways. But when the two are forced to spend a week together, they find that unexpected kisses, and mutual passion, may have the power to change both of their minds.
Written with Julia Quinn’s trademark style, The Sum of All Kisses is a witty and lighthearted Regency romance.” (HarperCollins)
Silk is For Seduction by Loretta Chase. Scoundrels and rakes, hellions and bluestockings with sharp tongues and dry wit abound.
“One of the most beloved authors in the field of historical romance, the remarkable Loretta Chase proves that Silk is For Seduction. The acclaimed New York Times bestselling author brings readers the first in a very sexy, emotionally rich new series in which sisters from a rather scandalous aristocratic family—the purveyors of the most fashionable shop in Regency London—discover passion and love as sumptuous as the exquisite gowns they create. Stephanie Laurens fans will adore this sensuous love story, as ambitious dressmaker Marcelline attempts to win the patronage of a future duchess…and ends up inadvertently enchanting the Duke! (HarperCollins)
Much Ado About You by Eloisa James. Witty repartee, complex characters and genuine emotions drive Eloisa James’ plots.
Witty, orphaned Tess Essex faces her duty: marry well and marry quickly, so she can arrange matches for her three sisters — beautiful Annabel, romantic Imogen and practical Josie. After all, right now they’re under the rather awkward guardianship of the perpetually tipsy Duke of Holbrook. But just when she begins to think that all might end well, one of her sisters bolts with a horse-mad young lord, and her own fiancé just plain runs away.
Which leaves Tess contemplating marriage to the sort of man she wishes to avoid — one of London’s most infamous rakes. Lucius Felton is a rogue whose own mother considers him irredeemable! He’s delicious, Annabel points out. And he’s rich, Josie notes. But although Tess finally consents to marry him, it may be for the worst reason of all. Absurd as she knows it to be, she may have fallen utterly in love . . .” (HarperCollins)