Tag Archive | Georgette Heyer

Why I Write/Read Historical Romance (Giveaway)

courtship

#1 Courtship

I just really like it when the hero has to put in some effort to win the girl and they don’t just fall into bed at the first meeting.

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#2 Strong Heroines

I wanna be Skye O’Malley!

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#3 Heroes

Dare I mention Jamie Fraser? Kilts?

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Click here for my post on everything Outlander.

Click here to join the Bluestocking Belles’ June 11th chat on Outlander (with Outlander prizes).

#4 Family Values

Well, I’m not claiming they are all good family values!

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#5 Gowns

What’s not to like about a stunning ball gown? Especially when someone else has to wear the corset.

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#6 Stately Homes

And don’t forget the servants to keep it all sparkling clean!

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#7 Country Estates

Fresh air, sunshine, gardens (and gardeners). And don’t forget house parties!

Click here for some English manor houses on Pinterest.

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#8 Favorite Authors

Georgette Heyer, Mary Balogh, Sabrina Jeffries, Elizabeth Hoyt, Jean Plaidy, Elizabeth Chadwick, Susanna Kearsley, Diana Gabaldon, Stephanie Laurens, Jude Deveraux, Johanna Lindsey, Julia Quinn, Julie Garwood, Amanda Quick, Jo Beverley, Victoria Alexander, Carla Kelly… and many more!

Click here for Amazon’s Top 100 Historical Romance Authors!

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Click here for a past post on Georgette Heyer.

#9 Almack’s Assembly Rooms

The Patronesses. The vouchers. The Marriage Mart. The dry cake. No waltzing without permission.

Click here for a past post on Almack’s.

#10 Pride & Prejudice

Colin Firth is the ultimate Darcy. Don’t you dare dispute it!

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To be continued… by you! Why do you read or write historical romance?

A random commenter will win a set of sparkly stuffed Christmas ornaments from the UK!

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Lydia M. Sheridan: Wodehouse and Benson, Unsung Masters of Regency Style

Wodehouse and Benson, Unsung Masters of Regency Style

As much as I adore Jane Austen, she is not necessarily my favorite authoress of traditional, or classic, Regency romances.  I think this largely stems from one too many male profs having no idea, firstly, that there were any other female writers worth a second glance (they were wrong, of course), and secondly, heaven forbid they should be forced to consider tales of love and romance which ended in happily-ever-afters as Great and Powerful Litrachaw of the ages.  Jane, therefore, became a great contemporary writer of biting satire and witty social commentary.  No doubt true, but we all know she was really writing about the trials and tribulations of young women finding love.  The satire and commentary were just super-fun extras.  (N.B.  These profs were the same ones who insisted that the Wonderful Wizard of Oz was about the social upheaval and financial catastrophe of the early 20th century, insisting that the Wicked Witch of the West’s silver shoes were a parody of the gold and silver monetary standard of the time.  [insert eyeroll here] Every woman on the face of the earth, of course, knows that Baum’s stories were about the strength and beauty of home, family, and friendship.  Oh, and shoes!  There’s a reason MGM changed the silver to ruby.  No wonder I only managed a C in that class.  Yeesh.)

If I had to choose my favorite Regency authors, they would be Georgette Heyer (all hail), Joan Smith (Aunt Sophie’s Diamonds never fails to make me snort), P.G. Wodehouse, and E.F. Benson.  The first two authors are obvious:  Heyer is the godmother of us all.  Her books are hysterically funny (The Talisman Ring), blueprints on what traditional Regency plots should be (Frederica), and, unlike Austen, concocted the amazing, colorful language of the Regency genre.  I might be wrong, but I can’t think of a single instance in which Jane used slang or thieves’ cant in her works. I’m sure Mr. Darcy was bit by the barn mouse on occasion during his time at university, and Captain Wentworth certainly did the blanket hornpipe before meeting Marianne, but as we are not privy to those moments, we are not treated to the richness and variety of the vulgar tongue.

Heyer, on the other hand, gloried in it.  Her heroines, of course, are never caught out in such appalling lapses of “bloody” this or “bugger” that.  Had they done so, they would have been instantly ostracized by society and considered no better than they should be.  Subsequently, they are invariably limited to an occasional “fiddle.”  But no such restrictions are laid upon the men in her books.  From Jimmy Yarde, the petty thief in The Corinthian, to virtually any of the teenage boys in her books who are anxious to be all the crack, the gentlemen are allowed the use of the most colorful slang terms of the time.  Heyer incorporated the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue so skillfully into her books that her style and word choices have become the expectation of readers of classic Regencies.

Pelham Granville Wodehouse, of course, was by no stretch of the imagination a Regency writer.  However, he managed to create a world which never truly existed, but which is so charming, that we have come to think of whenever we think of England.  In his eternally carefree, upper-crust world of aristocrats and devoted servants, Wodehouse fashioned what we have come to regard as the classic English society.  In this world, gentlemen are chaps, valets rally around, and aunts are appalling.  His stories have that light, frothy touch of a classic Regency, in which a world which never existed has come to be considered the truest of British society, one which we admire and want desperately to live in, or at least visit.

E.F. Benson, perhaps the least known of the lot, is the author of the delightful Lucia series.  In these six books, Benson has also created a world which has become more real than reality.  While not the pinnacle of a brilliant, delightfully silly society, Lucia, Georgie, Miss Mapp, et al, are upper-crust enough to consider anything other than a life of leisure an appalling misfortune.  Dahlia, poor enough to barely afford a maid, is the only one who needs money badly enough that she takes a job.  She opens a tea shop, as genteel an occupation as one might find, and one which affords her the leisure to spend large amounts of time drinking tea and playing cards.  The fascinating part of Benson’s creation is that we find out what people actually do all day when they don’t have jobs, don’t have to do housework, and who live in, if not Society, certainly on its fringes.  They shop, gossip, play bridge, gossip, golf, gossip, play piano, gossip, and engage in metaphorically bloody battles of social one-upmanship.  And all of this is done, once again, with the deftest of light touches.

As a reader, I go back time and again to these authors and revel in their fizzy, frothy worlds.  As a writer, I try to absorb and reproduce their light, bubbly cadence and phrasing which bring to life the worlds they created, and which bring us so much vicarious pleasure.  When your stock of Regencies runs low, do give them a try.

Available Books

Ventre a Terre

coverWhen the schemes of Miss Rosamund Hilliard are discovered, she must outwit her two suitors in order to safeguard her reputation — and stay out of Newgate Prison.

Ventre a Terre is a humorous, traditional Regency short story of approximately 16,000 words, or forty-one pages.

The Counterfeit Cavalier, Volumes 1-4

cover_counterfeitUtter mayhem breaks out when the Grey Cavalier once more robs and plunders near the village of Oaksley. The villagers could not be more delighted, since tourists and their money are now pouring in, including the mysterious Mr. Dalrymple. Unfortunately, this good news for the village is bad news for the Lady Katherine Thoreau, especially when the unthinkable happens. She and Mr. Dalrymple must work together to save an innocent from the gallows, and ensure their own future in the midst of highwaymen, counterfeiters, dragoons, and performing pigs.

Q & A with Lydia M. Sheridan

Q:  Why did you want to write?

A:  When I was a kid, I really wanted to be Judy Garland and go to Oz.  (My mother swore up, down, and sideways that the movie was all true and I believed her until, well, along about last year).  I still intend to be a big band singer or a concert pianist, but until those miracles happen, I write.

Q:  Why is Lord Philip such a goober?

A:  Poor Philip! [laughter]  He’s not a goober!  He’s just an extremely young man who is smart, but very bored, and subsequently gambles, boozes, and tries very hard to wench, except that he has no luck whatsoever with women.  He first appears in Ventre a Terre (a story I’m embarrassed to say begins with vomit and ends with horse manure) and continues his gooberness in The Companion.

Q:  Will he ever find love?

A:  Yes, I promise!  On January 18th, to be precise.  Philip grows up and falls in love for the last time (I hope, but you never know with that man) in School for Scandal.

Q:  Do you have a website?

A:  Er – probably I should do that, except Hostgator and I have developed a deep and meaningful loathing of one another.

Q:  How can folks get a hold of you if they have a comment or question?

A:  I’m on Facebook, or they can contact me at lydiam.sheridan@yahoo.com.

Q:  What’s next on the agenda for Lydia?  Assuming the concert pianist thing doesn’t work out.

A:  Hey!  [more laughter]  Next up is a six-book series about six sisters and a castle, unless I change that to five sisters, because that’s just way too many s-es.  I refuse to give up on the castle, however. That stays!

Q:  Anything else you’d like us to know?

A:  The Counterfeit Cavalier, a book which I literally wrote twenty-five years ago and had to piece together from three different computers and bits of dog-eared papers all over the place, is on sale at Amazon through January 6th.

Q:  Thanks for being with us today, Lydia.

A:  My pleasure.  Thank you for having me!

About the Author

author photoLydia M. Sheridan has yet to fulfill her childhood dreams of becoming a gold medal-winning figure skater, wicked-famous opera singer, or archaeologist, but she has written a couple of books, and that’s pretty cool, too. Her hobbies include losing at Scrabble, scarfing Milk Duds, and wearing extremely bright lipstick.

Contacts

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Guest Interview: Berengaria Brown

Today my guest is Berengaria Brown, who writes in many sub-genres of romance, although today she’ll be discussing her Regency series. Welcome to Susana’s Parlour, Berengaria!

  • What is your favorite historical period or region and why? Did you enjoy history while you were in school or was it frankly boring? How would you suggest we teach history to kids now—(i.e.) can fiction maybe be a tool here? Do you think we can and should learn from the past or is it now irrelevant to modern times and issues?

I loved history in school and have always enjoyed reading history textbooks, and biographies as well as historical fiction. Likely my favorite era is Regency England, thanks to an addiction to Georgette Heyer developed in my early teenage years, but I also enjoy medieval. One of the first biographies I read was of Queen Elizabeth I of England and I developed, and have maintained, a great deal of admiration for her.

People and what motivates them don’t change, but the means by which they achieve their ambitions may change. I think kids enjoy history more when they hear the stories of the people. Learning the dates of battles may be boring but hearing about the people who lived through those battles is more engaging.

  • Do you think historical accuracy is important in fiction? How about the use of modern speech and politically correct ideas instead of those that faithfully portray the period? Do you find this good, bad, a necessary evil or something you shun?

Factual accuracy is essential. People didn’t know about germs, microscopes and antibiotics had not been invented. They would never have sterilized the wounds. But your hero can fall into a river and wash off the dirt that way. Politically correct is a bit different. You do need to be correct to the ideas of the times. For example “bloody” was not used as a swear word as it was considered a reference to menstruation—something that was never discussed. The further back in history you go though, the more difficult it is to use the correct language as we have lost the words or their meanings have changed. But I consider it very important not to use a concept that was not yet understood. No psychology in medieval times, but you heroine may be considered mad or a witch.

  • Can you share a favorite author and title that perhaps inspired you to write in the historical genre?

Georgette Heyer. Any of her Regencies. She is the epitome of the era for me.

  • If there were such a thing as a time machine, where would be the first place you would go once you had a ticket to ride? Do you think you’d want to stay or just look around and then come right back to today?

I would like to go to the Court of Queen Elizabeth I of England. It was a very exciting time historically and she was an incredibly powerful ruler.

But I would likely miss not having bathrooms and heating or air conditioning, and the Internet, and come home after a little while—in winter if not before.

  • Please give us a bit of information about the book or books you’re sharing today.

The Virgins No More series consists of three MF erotic Regency-set historical books featuring the Arnott family.

The Vicar’s Virgin is Georgina’s story, Almost a Virgin is Theodora’s story, and A Promising Virgin is Sapphira’s story.

Book 1: The Vicar’s Virgin

The Reverend Mr. Ridley needs a wife so he focuses his attentions on Georgina Arnott, a sensible, intelligent, yet attractive woman.

On their wedding night he’s relieved to discover she enjoys the pleasures of the bed, and, after a slow start, their evenings are full of passion and joy for both of them.

Unfortunately, when she takes an interest in his parish, it seems to involve filling his house with noisy people tramping muddy boots through the hallways, and filling his kitchen with dirty children.

He loves his wife. But can this marriage work?

Buy link: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/the-vicars-virgin-by-berengaria-brown/

Book 2: Almost a Virgin

Theodora has loved John Smith ever since she was a little girl. But he’s very wealthy and she is only a vicar’s daughter and sister.

John had been waiting for Theodora to grow up. When he kisses Theodora in the garden at the ball, lust roars through him and he takes her there in the garden, fully dressed, only a few yards away from a hundred people. She’s warm and more than willing in his arms, and it’s not until the deed is done that he realizes he’s just dishonored his best friend’s sister.

Theodora doesn’t regret what she’s done. She enjoyed it and wants more of him. Even though he’s only marrying her because he dishonored her, she doesn’t care. She’ll make him so happy in bed and in his home he’ll stay with her even though he may never love her.

Buy link: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/almost-a-virgin-by-berengaria-brown/

Book 3: A Promising Virgin

Zethan, Earl of Mitcham, decides, after careful thought, that the stunningly beautiful Miss Sapphira Arnott will make him the perfect wife. It’s only when she declines his oh-so-flattering offer, that he realizes how rude and arrogant he’d been to her and her brother, and how much he loves her. The only solution is to woo her properly.

Meanwhile Simeon Arnott is in love with Miss Anne Smith. But she’s incredibly rich and he’s a mere baronet. Fortunately her brother and she herself accept his proposal and they have an extremely successful wedding night. Their ball, however, is almost less than successful thanks to the “help” of the three youngest Arnotts and their plans to go one better than a recent much-talked-about society event.

The Season is almost over. Can Zethan win his lady’s trust?

Buy link: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/a-promising-virgin-by-berengaria-brown/

STORY EXCERPT

The earl was standing at the window, his back to her. He was a very good-looking man—tall, with broad shoulders, and muscled arms and legs. She knew he rode well and played all sorts of manly pursuits. And, of course, he was rich and titled. Simeon was right. She wouldn’t get a better offer than this one from him. And she did like him. She enjoyed his company. He was always a considerate dance partner and his conversation was intelligent and witty. Her heart always beat faster when he held her in his arms for a waltz. She’d known herself very jealous of other women if he danced the waltz with them. Did that mean she loved him? She looked at his taut ass in his tight breeches. His body looked mighty fine and being older than her he’d know well how to please a woman. Her belly clenched at the thought of a man’s hands in all her secret places. She rather thought she’d enjoy the marriage bed. Especially with a well-built, good-looking man like Mitcham.

“Have you finished looking at me, Sapphira? Shall we have the wedding one month from today? In the cathedral of course. No other church will be big enough for all the guests I’ll need to invite.”

Sapphira took a step back in surprise. “You haven’t asked me yet.”

Mitcham stared at her then came closer and took her hands in his. “Dear Miss Arnott, please accept my offer to unite my house with yours in holy matrimony.”

“Do you care for me at all?” she asked hesitantly.

“You’re beautiful. Your wealth and lineage are adequate. You suit me well enough. I’ve never proposed to anyone before, if that’s what you mean. Now, I’ll send my man of affairs to the Bank of England to my lockbox to retrieve the diamond and ruby ring. You can go to Rundell and Bridge tomorrow so they can alter it to fit your finger properly. Then—”

She pulled her hands out of his grasp. “But you don’t care for me as a person. I’d always hoped to marry a man who cared for me at least a little.”

“Of course I care for you. I’m about to spend a monkey altering a family heirloom ring to fit your finger.”

“That’s not what I mean. My mama and papa loved and respected each other. They had a happy marriage. Georgina and Barnabas have found happiness together. They too love each other. I want to marry a man I can love and who loves me in return.”

“Love is for peasants, not for people of our class. You can love our son when he’s born. I will provide you with everything you can possibly need.”

“No. No you can’t. Because what I need is to be loved. I’m sorry, my lord, but I cannot accept your very flattering offer.” Sapphira turned and ran out of the room.

  • Where can our readers find out more about you and your writing? Please share your web site, social network pages, blogs or any other contact areas you maintain

Berengaria is a multi-published author of erotic romance: contemporary, paranormal (magic, ghosts, vampires, fairies, dragons, and werewolves), futuristic, medieval, and Regency-set historical. She loves to read all different kinds of romance so that is what she writes: one man/one woman; two women; two men; two men/one woman; three men, two women/one man, three men/one woman…. Whatever the characters need for their very hot happily-ever-after, Berengaria makes sure they get it.

I update my blog several times a week: http://berengariasblog.blogspot.com/

Website: http://berengariabrown.com/

Friend me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter

Susana, thank you so much for inviting me into your parlour today.

Berengaria

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Georgette Heyer: The Grande Dame of Regency Romance

georgetteI suppose you could say that Jane Austen was actually the first, but while she simply wrote about life in the time in which she lived, Heyer had to do so from a distance of a hundred years.

Heyer took pride in the historical authenticity of her novels, which was possible only as a result of a great deal of research on such things as daily living, fashion, transportation, famous personages, and the language that was used at the time. While critics complained that her books included too much detail of daily life at the time, in reality, this was necessary because Heyer’s readers needed it in order to understand the historical setting. And in Heyer’s stories, the setting is nearly as important as the plot!

Heyer’s first novel, The Black Moth, was written in serial form to entertain her brother in his sickbed. Her father liked it so much that he sought to have it published, which it was, in 1921. In 1935, the first of her Regency romances, Regency Buck, was published, and even though she also wrote thrillers and a few contemporary pieces, her Regency romances far outsold them. In spite of the fact that she refused to do anything to promote them.

cousinkateI think the first Heyer Regency I read was Cousin Kate, which had come out only a couple of years before. I was a freshman in high school and had won a $25 gift certificate (for being the top Spanish student) to the local college bookstore. I think my teacher expected me to buy a dictionary or something, but instead, I found the romance section and loaded up. (I think most of the books were 75¢ or less, so I had quite a bagful when I left the store.)

And that was how it all started. After reading all of Heyer’s Regencies—more than once, mind—I moved on to other authors. Historicals were always my favorite, but the Regency time period has always had a special place in my heart. Why? I’m not sure I can pin it down. I did make a stab at it in a recent blog post for The Romance Reviews, though.

“…the Regency was also a time of elegant manners, fabulous balls, and glittering aristocratic lifestyles. The traditional Regency romance, à la Georgette Heyer, involves dashing heroes, spunky heroines, witty dialogue, and an unexpected, “sweet” romance.”

What’s not to like?

If you haven’t discovered Georgette Heyer’s Regencies yet, don’t wait any longer! And if you find yourself as crazy about them as I am, you might want to buy the whole lot of them. Last year, all of her books were made available for $2.99 each during the month of August, Heyer’s birthday. Make a note in your calendar and stock up!

Which of Georgette Heyer’s books is your favorite? What do you like most about her stories?

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