Since Secrets of the Heart was published last year I’ve had friends and readers ask me all kinds of questions about the Regency time period. Because I live and breathe this period of history and still don’t know nearly as much as I’d like to, I wanted to share some facts about this intriguing time in history with you. I work as a counselor during the day and write in the evenings and on the weekends. I’ve learned what I know about the Regency because of the many romance novels on the market that I've read through the years and especially because of The Beau Monde, a specialty chapter through Romance Writer’s of America.
If you write historical novels or if you are working on one you hope to publish then you understand how easy it is to immerse yourself in the era you research and write about. I'm always wondering what else happened during the Regency and the answer is too much for me to relate here. Plus there's so much I'm still learning.
The definition of REGENCY according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary states: "of, relating to, or characteristic of the styles of George IV's regency as Prince of Wales during the period 1811–20." The reason that the Prince of Wales stepped in to reign but was not yet king was due to the decline of King George III’s mental health, thus he was called the Regent and not the King. See the connection to my fascination of being a counselor writing in this era now?
When I was in college I majored in Sociology and minored in Psychology. You can imagine my delight when I come across websites like Jane Austen World and the fabulous Nancy Mayer's Regency Researcher site. Understand that I am not your typical Regency author. I love to explore the dark side of society and mental illness in this time. An awesome book called Regency Underworld provides a look into crime and the sinister side of London in contrast to the wealthy lords and ladies of society, the sparkling ballrooms, and the worlds of Emma, and Pride and Prejudice.
Also, medicine had not yet made great strides in helping people with physical illness and especially not when it came to mental illness. Author Roy Porter has researched and written much on these subjects. One of the things I hope to achieve by exploring these aspects of the Regency is to emphasize just how far we've come in these areas and yet how much work is yet to be done, especially in the field of mental illness. This was a time period when the vaccination for smallpox was just being discovered and there were no antibiotics. Can you imagine?
Do you have a question about this time period? Do you have a specific time in history you enjoy reading or writing about? If you know something of interest regarding your favorite time in history and want to share that here, please do. I hope this brief look into the Regency provides some background that will be helpful to you as you read, research, or write about this fascinating era in British history.