My father was a voracious reader. He always carried a paperback of the latest horror story from Lumley or King. So that was what I read. For years I read nothing but the creepy stuff. I mean, I read Interview with the Vampire when I was twelve. I remember being a sophomore in high school and failing a physics test because instead of studying the night before, I stayed up reading The Shining. Then, in 2006, I became a mother and my ability to deal with the gore and murder and scary junk just… vanished.
It was 2007. I was at a Goodwill, rummaging through the fifty cent books, my reader’s soul crying out for something to read, when I picked up Slightly Dangerous by an author who is now my absolute favorite romance writer, Mary Balogh.
I’ll admit that up until this point I’d been one of those people that thought romance was trash, a joke, with all the heaving bosoms and bodice ripping and throbbing… Well, you get the idea. But I’m also one of those people that will try anything (except sky diving because that’s just crazy).
As you might imagine, I flew through the book. I found the time period to be magical, the imagery beautiful, and the characters fully realized. I was HOOKED. Not hooked like one-book-a-week hooked, either. I started ordering batches of books from those online used book sites. I bought RT Book Reviews whenever I could find it and would later get a subscription for Christmas. Not to mention, I began thinking that maybe I could be a writer.
Why do I love these books, you may ask? The thing about Regencies is they’re set during a time period that is at the same time familiar and fascinating to me. The heroines aren’t the weak, simpering wusses I was led to believe they were. They’re strong, intelligent women breaking the rules of the time in most cases. And the heroes, well, give me a duke or a count or a rake over a brooding vampire any day.
Some of my favorites are, of course, anything from Mary Balogh. I especially love the Slightly series and not only because that was the series that opened my eyes to this whole new world. She knows this genre, like really really knows it. Her characters are vivid and complex. Her plots always tug at my heart strings.
There are so many great authors in this genre like Nicole Jordan, Stephanie Laurens, and Johanna Lindsey, to name just a few. Recently, I read No Longer a Gentleman by Mary Jo Putney which I loved.
As far as YA Regency goes, I haven’t really found any (hmm, *jots down that idea*), but Rachael Harris (author of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, a YA historical), suggested The Season by Sarah MacLean which is definitely going on my to-read list.
I’m especially a sucker for the governess and the duke/count/marquis/whatever trope and, this is slightly off topic but worth mentioning, I recently fell in love with the “original” story with this trope: Jane Eyre. How I’ve gone my entire life without reading this book is beyond me. I’m in the middle of it now and totally suggest you read it as well. But if you’d rather just watch a good movie, check out the recent version with Michael Fassbender (hubba-hubba) because it is so good.
Are you a regency fan? Do you have a favorite regency author? Do you think Michael Fassbender is as sexy as I do? Comment away!