Immerse Yourself in Regency Historical Romance

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Regency Trivia – Love

Amongst the aristocracy, marriage was mainly a dynastic affair – arranged by the parents to ensure the best chances of continuing the inheritance into the next generation, and keeping the family safely in funds (a daughters dowry could go a long way to dealing with a serious ‘debt issue’ in her new husband’s family!).  So marrying for love was rare, and the chances of coming to love ones spouse after marriage were somewhat limited.  Young girls were often married off to much, much older men, who did not have an heir to their title, and desperately needed to breed a son.

Courting (which was really more about finding a potential wife or husband that would fulfil the monetary and dynastic needs of your family) was a chancy affair – in this era, the unsullied nature of a girl at marriage was regarded as essential, partly because, if she came to marriage with you a virgin, you could be sure that any child that appeared was yours! To maintain this situation, there was a simple, but very effective approach – if a girl was found alone with a man in what was considered a ‘compromising position’ (which could be as simple as an embrace in a darkened corner, or a quick stolen kiss)  that was it, they were forced to marry, as fast as possible – on the assumption that if they had been discovered like that, who knew what else they had been up to.

A side consequence of this was unscrupulous ladies, or gentlemen, who desperately needed to marry for one reason or another (usually money) would set out to trap their chosen ‘prey’ in a suitably compromising position, when they were certain to be discovered.  So becoming ‘betrothed by accident’ was not unusual.

Amongst the middle class merchants, things were a little more flexible – marriage for love did occur, although the dynastic approach was still common.  Amongst the poor / servants / lower classes, both arranged marriage and marriage for love happened, as did, quite often, a lack of marriage at all.  So – a very different world from ours of today!

This Week’s Regency Trivia

In each of these newsletters I talk about some aspects of the Regency World – a time so different from now, with unique words, items, behaviours and beliefs. A time when England was still the holder of a massive global empire, but when change was accelerating, with the impacts of the Napoleonic wars, the introduction of railways, and the beginnings of the industrial revolution.
It was a time when the privileged nobility lived in a glittering world of wealth,
and the poor were very poor indeed.

Whilst my books are unashamedly about romance and happy endings, the more
I write about the period, the more fascinated I become by the complexity of society then, and the contradictions that people faced in everyday life. With these trivia pieces I want to show you just a few of those fascinating details.

Clothing –

In the early 1800s, whilst the making of fabric was already starting to be industrialised, with huge cotton mills and weaving shops with semi-automated looms, the making of clothing was still completely by hand. If you have ever tried to hand sew a garment, you will have some idea of just how challenging it is, to sew neatly and precisely, and to produce a garment that sits properly and looks good.DesireeGownBees2t for blog

Imagine then, the task of creating one of those spectacular ball gowns, complete with beading and lace decoration, all by hand! Add to that the amazing fact that, quite often, the dresses of the nobility were created in only one or two days………   The modistes who owned the shops that created gowns for the nobility, and the seamstresses who worked for them, were able to hand sew such remarkable pieces with incredible precision and speed, and adapt their designs as they went, to suit each lady (There were no conveniently purchasable sewing patterns then).  Every single garment was uniquely created for the noble lady who ordered it, exactly tailored to her shape.  So precise was the fitting, that at times a lady needed to be pinned or sewn into her dress, to ensure that everything sat exactly in place as designed (there were no convenient zippers then!).

It was not uncommon for women who worked as seamstresses to go blind at an early age, as a result of sewing for long hours, with only candlelight to work by.

There were, however, second hand dress shops, where the cast off dresses of the nobility and the wealthy merchant classes might find their way. Poorer women would buy those dresses, and hand alter them to fit, as best they could. Imagine yourself in such a situation – what would you wear?

(Image courtesy of – a wonderful site where you can buy antique and reproduction clothing, which is truly spectacular!)

Latest Book News

Book Four of The Derbyshire Set, The Count’s Impetuous Seduction, was released on 21 February, so if you haven’t had a chance to grab it yet, make sure that you do so while it’s still on the 99c launch Counts Impetuous seduction Kindle cover smaller 2 x 3special! Book Four is Charlotte’s story (she’s the sister of Blanchette who is the heroine of Book Two), and introduces some other characters that you will meet again in later books!

Book Five, The Rake’s Unlikely Redemption, will follow soon – it’s currently in the late stages of editing! You can read a teaser of Book Five at the end of Book Four. Book Five is James Blackwood’s story.  We last saw Mr Blackwood in Book Two, where he was rather badly behaved – read Book Five to find out what happens in his life following those somewhat dramatic events.

Book Six, The Marquess’ Scandalous Mistress, will follow soon – I am halfway through finalising it now! It features some characters that you have already met – some from book three, and one from Book Four – for now, I’ll leave you to guess who that might be.

Who are your favourite characters? Which characters would you like to know more about?  Let me know, and perhaps you will see their story told in a future book!

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