Guest Post by Sandra Scholes
I am a lover of period romance novels, and I would like to say that I’m not fussy about what period novels I read, but I would be lying. The Regency period is as romantic as it gets for me; I like the setting, the architecture, the underlying passion that makes them so rakish, even in polite society circles. Everyone has their own period idea of what setting and period they would choose to fall in love. It could be the Middle Ages, Roman times, Georgian, Edwardian or Victorian, but which period sends your heart a flutter enough to fall in love?
Everyone associates the Regency period with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice these days as they have read them or seen them brought to life on TV, but there is more to this period than meets the eye, and it’s no wonder it was seen as one of the most romantic periods since the Victorians. One look at Mr. Darcy in his tight pants, taking off his shirt is enough to make any woman swoon!
This was a time when opulence and extravagance still ruled, but for the last time; before World War I took hold on Europe. Edward took over the throne after Prince Albert’s death and Queen Victoria’s mourning, and refusal to keep up with her duties as queen. Casual flings were among the fun they got up to in upper class society as long as they maintained there were a certain amount of rules to follow.
Queen Victoria lost her dear husband, Albert and was forever clothed in mourning outfits that showed he had been the only man for her, and she could not take another man at her side. This, for many people was the one of the most progressive eras, but also the most repressive and prudish. There were many new art styles, and scientific discoveries
made in this time. The Bronte’s, Lord Tennyson and Oscar Wilde were some of the Victorian eras most interesting writers; not forgetting Oscar’s scandal with men which has spawned some rather immersive LGBT Victorian writing.
George I ruled this era having come all the way from Germany. Not having spoke any English, or fitted in with anyone else in society, he was seen as an unpopular king and spent most of his time in Germany while others considered his being there political. It is considered a decadent era where the filthy rich were idle as lampooned in popular
comedy Blackadder the Third.
These people had a rich history steeped in discovery, conquest, and enjoyment of all the senses. They favoured romantic attachments with either men or women, or both and had no hang-ups about what others would think about them. Some women think a man in a toga is a sensual thing, and a woman in even less might be a blessing. Think of the
Spartacus: Blood and Sand series where men were gladiators, sweating and fighting shirtless in deadly arenas.
This isn’t just about the Indians who featured highly in the setting; women can’t resist the sight of a cowboy in leathers and hat, sporting jeans in calf length boots with spurs. These men are rough and ready to help a woman in distress. Everyone loves a cowboy especially if they are Clint Eastwood or John Wayne no nonsense types. There are the
good guys, but as we all know, the bad guys are out there too and dressed in black.
It was a rough time for most ordinary people, but girls still had the time to fantasize about knights in shining armour who would whisk them away from the doldrums of a boring lifestyle. Think of castles, fairy tales and men like King Arthur, along with his Knights of the Round Table. Don’t forget Mordred, Merlin or Guinevere – they play their
part in a difficult period in history.
8.) Elizabethan England
Daughter of Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth Tudor, or Queen Elizabeth as she would come to be known ruled after her father, King Henry VIII died and her mother was beheaded. She swore that she would never marry once she had witnessed her mother being dragged away for execution, and remained so until she died. It didn’t stop her having a few men at her
side, though. The Elizabethan era proved to be a very romantic one where William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe were the playwrights of the day, and Sir Francis Drake was one of the best seafarers known.
9.) Dark Ages/Viking
The longboats drifted along treacherous seas, they had gods who were powerful and brave, and the berserkers liked to go about pillaging, but these Vikings liked other things too, they liked their women, and, if the woman was game enough, they could have a handsome, strong, blue-eyed blond hugging them at night beside a nice warm campfire, forever protected and cared for.
10.) American Civil War/Reconstruction
With the Southern belle all primped and preened, often fanning her while men fall all over her by the dozen, this can be seen as one of the best eras to be romanced in even though the war was raging. Women are dressed in satins and silks, with more modern types of make-up than their predecessors. This could easily be one of the most impressive.
11.) Historical Romance
As this one is more about certain earlier time periods such as the Egyptians, Celts, and Greeks, these can be some of the most overlooked eras, even though romantic men and women have had novels written about them; Alexander the Great, and Queen Cleopatra for example.
For me it would have to be the Regency era. Men were rangy and handsome, well-mannered, but underneath it all, their hearts burned with a passion they couldn’t let out to their spouse – many found solace in other women’s bedchambers, but this was an era of beauty and extravagance in every way, from the food they ate, to the luxurious balls they hosted and the women they bedded.
What do you think? Was the Regency period the most romantic? Or are there some you think better settings for romance novels.
Photo Credits: Kıvanç Niş