The Regency Period: An Introduction

Source: www.fromoldbooks.com
Source: www.fromoldbooks.com

I adore the Regency Period. But often when I say I write “Paranormal Regency romance,” I am greeted by blank looks, and confused stares. Unless you love the Regency (or maybe romances), there’s a good chance you haven’t heard about it.

My husband considers the Regency “that time before the Victorians, but still in the 19th century.” Jane Austen’s heyday, and the setting for her novels. Which is correct … mostly.

To be a little less vague, the period is quite short, usually from around 1810 – 1830, and my focus is the Regency period in England. What makes this period so interesting to me is that you have some flux in society, and while brief, it’s a bit like a pause and transition from one type of society to another. The Regency still has some of the wild, rowdiness of the Georgians in the late 18th century (1700s), but new rules are being established that will eventually become the Victorian Period (and really, our society still resembles the Victorians.) So essentially you have these people who like to drink and have a great time … but certain members of society are trying to tone that down and establish proper “moral” uprightness. Rules of courting get more complicated and vigilant, where an unmarried male and female have a very difficult time spending any private time together (romance novels, of course, find a way around this.)

So, there are balls and pretty muslin gowns, and delicate slippers. Yes, all that interests me.

And then there’s the dark side of the Regency period. The part where a formalized police force doesn’t yet exist because of England – and especially London’s – reluctance to accept an organized system of control which they felt trod on their rights and restricted personal freedoms. Police would be another kind of home-military, which they had no desire for. It wasn’t until 1827 that Robert Peel was finally able to convince Parliament to accept the New London Police. But the Regency era had somewhat limited policing, a taste for adventure and wildness, and naturally, significant crime. The appalling poverty – especially of the East End of London – that Mayhew describes in “London Labour and the London Poor” in the Victorian period is definitely an issue in the Regency as well. After the end of the Napoleonic wars and Waterloo – and no plan what to do with the returning soldiers, especially those who have been wounded or maimed in battle and will be unable to work – there are more homeless and desperate people on London’s streets. I’ve read before that crime was so bad, some had bars installed on their carriages to protect themselves. Walking into a dangerous area of London – and sometimes just on the streets at all – was an invitation to have your pockets picked … or worse.

That’s the part of the Regency that really appeals to me. What better environs for some supernatural creatures to poke about? 😉

All that said – and I will certainly share what I know about the Regency and what I’m learning – there’s so much more I have yet to learn. I’ve included some links below to some of the people I turn to as sources, since they know a lot more than I do!

Candice Hern’s Website

Regency Era Information from Michele Sinclair’s page

Jane Austen’s World

I hope you enjoy learning about the Regency, and come to find it as intriguing a place as I do to visit – in fiction at least. 🙂

Time for you to comment. So, what is your impression of the Regency period? The same as mine? What’s your favorite historical period?

Thanks for reading, and have a great week. And hey? New to the blog? Like what you see? Why not sign up to follow so you don’t miss a post.