Until recently, I was one of those people who never read romances and was proud of it. Ugh. How stupid. How inane. How way, way beneath me. No thanks. Not me. Never. Ever.
Then someone in my Jane Austen group suggested I read a Georgette Heyer novel. Supposedly, the next best thing to reading Jane. Not my words, nor the words of the person who recommended Heyer, but I actually did read that somewhere recently. So I read Bath Tangle, and I loved it, which forced me to read several more of her books. Georgette Heyer, for the uninitiated, is the queen of Regency romance. She practically invented the genre. Her books are full of witty repartee, undercurrents of sexual tension, and meticulous historical detail. Heyer wrote from the 1920’s up until her death in 1974.
Someone else suggested Mary Balogh. I started with A Summer To Remember, read all the Simply’s, plus a few others, and I loved them all. Typically, they have a certain sweetness about them. Then I discovered Julia Quinn. Besides five of the Bridgerton family novels, I read The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever and Mr. Cavendish, I Presume. Quinn’s trademark seems to be humor, sometimes of the laugh-out-loud variety. Then I got going on Jo Beverly and her Rogues, and after that, Stephanie Laurens and the Bastion Club. Are you getting the picture?
Last winter, I was knitting a sweater that was way beyond my abilities, and therefore taking forever. To entertain myself, I began listening to audios of some of these books. Doing so saved me from insanity. Although in retrospect, perhaps concentrating too much on the stories caused me to make all those mistakes which eventually had to be ripped out. Unlike Georgette Heyer’s books, the modern regencies are very sexy!
For pure escapism, the Regencies can’t be beat. Oh, yes, there’s a formula to them, but that’s okay. It’s what romance readers expect, indeed, demand. At least I think it is. Because, as I mentioned before, I’m not really a romance reader.