Hi Delilah Fans! Thanks for stopping by my guest post today. For the last month or so, I’ve been reading Regency romance novels. This isn’t my standard fare. I lean more to the erotic end of things in my novels and short stories. But Regency has something to offer anyone who enjoys romance.
Despite the (mostly) lack of torrid sex scenes and descriptive words for body parts like, well, you know, Regency stories set 200 years ago tend to be long on sexual attraction and desire. Which, as we all know, is a lot of the fun in romance. Just as in any contemporary romance, these ‘bodice-rippers’ feature tall muscular men who are unbelievably handsome and who, despite all odds, take one look at the female in question and fall completely in love.
Of course, he doesn’t know it yet. They’re star-crossed lovers who can’t possible have a future because—well, he’s a duke and she a mere seamstress. Or she’s lost her reputation due to some gossip about the ‘ton,’ as London life is called. Or because she’s from a titled family and he’s not, although this is rare because the happy ending usually involves his vast mansions with herds of servants and all the money they could ever want or need—without having to work.
What’s remarkable to me is the frequent reminder in these stories of how far we’ve come, ladies. Seriously, have you lately stopped to think that a mere 200 years ago, in a tradition going back as far as history, women were the property of men without the right to own property in her own right or to divorce her husband? Even 100 years ago, women were still under the thumb of a father and then a husband, although at least by then laws had pretty much curtailed the husband’s right to beat his wife.
Even fifty years ago, being a virgin until marriage was considered the norm and only ‘fast’ girls ran the risk of a scandalous premarital pregnancy. When birth control pills were introduced in the 1960s, everything changed.
Really, things started to change when women gained the right to vote in 1920. Women tended to support social change that not only benefitted themselves but also men in issues such as labor laws that eliminated child labor and created new ideas like weekends, a forty-hour week, and workplace safety regulations. But it would take until even later than birth control pills before publishers started to put sexy romance stories into the mainstream.
When I read Regency romance—which I enjoy because it’s a complete vacation from the real world and hey, what’s reading romance about anyway if not to escape reality for a few hours?—I’m often bemused by the arcane details of life in those times. Multiple layers of clothing including corsets for women and yards of pristine neck cloth for men—among other things—would be absurd in today’s world where both sexes routinely swim or jog in form-fitted Spandex that leaves pretty much nothing to the imagination.
What would one of those folks think now? I look around me at romance novels which explore bondage or menage and have to smile. We’ve definitely come a long way, baby.
If you’d like to explore Regency, here are a couple of authors I’ve been enjoying. And don’t forget to check out my newly revised Cannon Cousins series. Book I, HERS TO CHOOSE, is now FREE at your favorite ebook retailer. Visit https://www.amazon.com/dp/1490513906.