Three Reasons Why Dating During the Regency Period is Like Dating Today – But Sexier

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One of the many reasons I like reading Regency romances, is how dating is portrayed. It’s courtly. Upon closer examination though, I find there isn’t that much difference between dating back then and dating today. It just sounds sexier. Here are three areas dating is the same, but where I still think Regency dating habits come out sexier.

  1. Networking: Today we use online dating. You create a profile, agonize over your photo, worry about how others perceive you on your profile. In the Regency dating relied on networking too and it was grander. Where we use online dating, the Regency period used parties, galas, and balls. How often do you host or attend parties? Not very often I suspect. Start getting your friends together and encourage them to do the same and to bring new people to the group. You never know! Your special someone might be a friend of someone else you know.
  2. Background Checks: The Regency did their background checks sexier too. They conducted them through morning visitation, walks through the parks, through servants, etc. Meeting with people is a great way to share gossip and check facts. The ton is very elite and everybody knew everybody and their business. The world today is larger in that sense. It doesn’t seem that you really know much about anybody. Still, you have a nifty tool in your pocket that can do the same thing – It’s called the Internet. Want to see if someone is telling you the truth about themselves? Google it. Want to know more in general about the person you are dating? Facebook stalk. Not as sexy, but still an accurate account.
  3. Financial Match-Ups: I read recently that a common practice on a first date with someone is to ask them their credit score. If the score mentioned isn’t agreeable the date will end and a second date will not follow. Sounds harsh? Perhaps. On one hand though, it does make some sense. You want to improve your lot with marriage not get saddled with your partner’s bad financial habits/decisions. The members of the ton during the Regency period felt the same. There were plenty of marriages based on mutual financial benefit. Many marriages would have been arranged by the parents and some of my favorite romances are arranged marriages or marriages of convenience that turn out to be so much more.

In what other ways does dating sound sexier in Regency romances? Or I invite you to tell me why dating now is sexier than dating back then!

Photo Credits: Raenef

Courtship in the Regency Period

by Susan Adriani, guest blogger and author of The Truth About Mr. Darcy

If you think it’s difficult to find a man like Mr. Darcy in the twenty-first century, just imagine attempting it in the nineteenth, where propriety was demanded at all times—especially during courtship.

In Regency England, a woman’s sole occupation was to attract a husband. It sounds easy enough, but, in actuality, it was a bit more complicated than one might think. For one thing, there were rules to follow, each designed to protect and preserve a lady’s reputation and standing in Society. Not only was it unacceptable for a respectable woman to seek employment of any kind, it was scandalous for an unmarried lady to appear in public without a chaperone, or to openly express an interest in a gentleman. Propriety dictated she must wait patiently for the prospective suitor to express his admiration for her, never the other way around.

Should a promising gentleman just happen to express his interest, however…well, there were a few more rules to follow. Intimate touching, for instance, was not permitted, nor was familiarity of address—meaning the gentleman and lady in question were required to address each other formally at all times, never by their Christian names. Letter writing was not allowed, nor was gift giving; and under no circumstances was the couple to be left alone together. That would lead to implications of marital intent.

So, what could a courting Regency couple do? Well, to be honest, not much; there was, however, walking and dancing. On a walk—carefully chaperoned, of course—the couple could easily engage in discreet conversation by lagging behind the rest of their party. As dancing usually required a man and woman to hold hands at frequent intervals throughout the set, it provided an acceptable way for them to engage in physical contact, under the watchful eyes of an entire assembly, of course. It also provided another opportunity for partners to converse discreetly.

As a writer, though, I couldn’t resist taking a few liberties with Jane Austen’s characters by bending the bounds of propriety just a bit, and in some cases, much more. In my book, The Truth About Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are engaged in a courtship, but because she is uncertain of her feelings for him, she has asked that they keep it a secret from her family or, more aptly, from Mrs. Bennet, who is hyper-focused on finding husbands for her daughters. Elizabeth would much rather get to know Darcy on her own terms, and manages to do so on the sly with very little interference from her doting, yet often overbearing mother.

The following passage is part of a scene from my book, where Elizabeth and Darcy meet each other sans chaperone, which, as you now know, was quite a scandalous thing to do! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed being here today. Thank you, Keira, for having me!

Elizabeth was surprised to admit the last fortnight had been one of the most enjoyable she had ever spent. She had faithfully—and secretly—managed to meet with Darcy every morning, and on many occasions, they found themselves reunited again in the afternoon or evening, either at small, informal gatherings or at dinners given by one neighbor or another.

At first, Darcy was hesitant to approach her when in company and reluctantly resigned himself to the possibility that he would be forced to find consolation in the form of his old standby—staring at the woman he loved with undisguised longing from across the room—but, to his immense delight, Elizabeth no longer seemed to be of a mind to stay away.

Having gained a better understanding of Darcy’s taciturn disposition and his haughty composure when in company, Elizabeth made every effort to draw him into conversation with her friends, her neighbors, and the few truly intelligent members of her family.

Much to Darcy’s surprise, he discovered that under Elizabeth’s keen and solicitous guidance he was beginning to relax his stoic mien and even enjoy himself with the people of Hertfordshire. But Darcy found he was never so much at ease—he had never felt so accepted nor so valued for his own merits and contributions—as when he was alone with Elizabeth on their early morning rambles.

Elizabeth turned onto the path leading to Oakham Mount and immediately discerned the familiar figure whose presence she had come to welcome, even anticipate, as he leaned against a tree. She took a moment to study him while he twirled a strand of dried hay between his fingers, seemingly lost in thought. Even in such an informal setting—or perhaps in spite of it—Darcy presented a striking picture. Elizabeth raised her hands to her hair, smoothing any stray curls that may have escaped the confines of her bonnet. She struggled to calm her breathing and then, repressing a smile of pleasure, made her way toward Darcy.

A wide smile overspread his face as he beheld her—her cheeks aglow from the exertion of her morning exercise. It took less than an instant for his mind to begin contemplating how she might look after having partaken of another form of exercise—that of writhing beneath him in ecstasy as he plundered her lips and pleasured her body, claiming her as he so fervently wished to do, forever as his own. She extended her gloved hand to him as she approached, and he took it, lifting it to his lips and bestowing upon it a kiss. His eyes never left her lovely face.

Elizabeth found herself blushing as his ardent gaze almost seemed to reach inside to caress her very soul. After several long minutes of silence, she managed to find her voice. “Good morning, Mr. Darcy. I trust you are well today?” she asked with a touch of her usual archness.

Darcy did not relinquish her hand and quietly replied, “I find I am very well this morning, Miss Bennet… now that you are come.”

Buy: The Truth about Mr. Darcy

Review: Darcy Saga: Book One: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan

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What I love most about this book is the research and language used to express the time period. Lathan’s diction is vastly superb – I had to look one or two words up. (Romance novels have all the credit when it comes to my 750 verbal SAT score from way back when.) The way she writes is very mellow, you’re not putting the book down feeling more anxious than when you started. This is an excellent novel to curl up with before drifting off to sleep. Who doesn’t love to dream of Mr. Darcy?

I am as much a fan of Pride and Prejudice as Lathan is, especially the 2005 movie rendition. I could not picture her version of Darcy and Elizabeth as Matthew and Keira after a few chapters, but I could see them in Jane’s original portrayal. Elizabeth is sometimes silly, seeming younger than she should, but I found it understandable if you remembered how young she actually was and the fact that Pemberley and its surroundings are all new to her. Her silliness does not reach at any point Lydia’s level of stupidity… more like Jane’s silliness when it came to Bingley during the hardships of their courtship. Little problems are solved quickly and easily if both Darcy and Lizzy open up to each other.

Darcy and Elizabeth are effusive in their declarations of love. I applaud Lathan for writing Darcy as a virgin hero. It’s hard to imagine him as experienced even with his deep passions, because he held himself apart from society and saw their superficial actions as crude and undignified (both in Austen’s novel I feel and expressly in Lathan’s continuation.) He seems like the man who would wait for the right woman. He is by no means asexual as you’ll find when you read this novel. They make love like bunnies, but the sex is never vulgar or overly detailed after their initial honeymoon weekend. In fact, the whole saga is about exploring Darcy and Elizabeth’s love for each other starting from the end of Austen’s telling.

What does marriage look like on the other side of ‘I do’ and happily ever after? Lathan unfolds their story slowly, taking her time, showing nights spent whispering secrets, days traumatizing Darcy’s valet, and Elizabeth’s struggles and successes in filing the role as Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Learn to Flirt – Regency Style

by Grace Elliot, guest blogger and author of A Dead Man’s Debt

One of the many reasons I love regency romances, is the subtly of courtship… subtle, yet sizzling! With a chaperone present our regency heroine has limited ways of seducing her dark lord….but sometimes less is more.

In A Dead Man’s Debt, during a drawing lesson with Lord Ranulf, Celeste Armitage plays the ‘proximity’ card with consummate innocence.

Very well, we begin. First I will show you how to measure proportion.”

Sitting side by side, the warm press of her leg through her skirts against his thigh was, Ranulf decided, exquisite torture. A curl of chestnut hair escaped its pins, bobbing against her neck and desperately he wanted to reach out to tuck it back behind the shell of her ear. But he resisted, instead barking gruff instructions.

“Hold the pencil thus,” Ranulf extended his arm. “Overlay the tip against the crown of the head…and slide your thumb along to mark the position of the chin…”

His pulse raced a Celeste’s lips parted in concentration. Was it his imagination or was she trembling, her tongue darting between moist lips. His eyes locked with hers, drawn into their emerald glitter, falling deeper under their spell. He heard her breath hitch as her arm drooped down to her side…

Of course once you have hooked your brooding lord, you need to transform him into more husbandly material. And to do this, flattering flirtation is required, whereby the heroine reveals the hero’s hidden depths. Celeste does this with aplomb; admiration in her whispered tones as she skillfully massages the delicate male ego.

At her invitation Ranulf flicked out his coat tails to sit beside her in the shade of the high brick wall.

The sketch was of a handsome man with dark soulful eyes; part rogue, part lost boy. Over his shoulder a horse draped his head, nudging his velveteen nose against the figures chest, devoted and trusting.

“This is me.” Ranulf’s eyes dilated in surprise, “only this version looks …content…at peace with the world.”

Celeste whispered, her words nearly lost of the breeze. “Behind that façade you are a gentle man, in the truest sense. It’s just that you hide it well.”

“That comes,” Ranulf replied with bitterness, “of being a constant disappointment to those around me.”

Her eyes glittered. “How can you even think that?”

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“Try me.” Tentatively, shy as a startled rabbit, she reached across and touched his hand. Ranulf’s shoulders slumped from the sheer relief of human contact.

When a regency rogue is targeted by a determined tonnish Miss, he might as well give up there and then. For if she wishes, once she has evoked an animal response from his body, her wit and pluck invades his sanity such that no even a stiff ride in a thunder storm can purge her influence from the mind.

How could a woman affect him so? Ranulf pressed Fable on harder. Startled, the horse leapt forward, all his energy spilling over into the exhilaration of speed. But as Ranulf  transferred his weight to his knees, he  seemed  cursed, for even the steady, drumming of a headlong gallop, beat out the rhythm of her name…

Cel-este-Cel-este-Cel-este…

Faster.

She had bewitched him.

Go faster.

Ranulf crouched low over Fable’s neck, the smell of horse grease filling his nostrils, the silvered mane lashing his cheeks. Like a warrior training for war, he recognized weakness and must destroy it. Damn her.

Achieving all this under the watchful eyes of a chaperone. Go Celeste! Oh la la! Go those Regency girls! They could teach us a thing or two about flirting!

A Dead Man’s Debt by Grace Elliot.
- A story of personal sacrifice, pain and redeeming love, set against a background of blackmail and family duty.

Celeste Armitage has a plan…and that plan doesn’t include marriage.

After deliberately humiliating a suitor, Celeste’s despairing parents exile her to the country. But once there she discovers a sketch book of daring nude studies and is shaken to find the artist is her hostess’s eldest son, Lord Ranulf Charing. This darkly cynical lord is exactly the sort of dissipated rogue she despises most…if only her blood didn’t heat at the thought of him…

Nothing is as it seems. Lord Ranulf’s life is a façade. Only he can save the Charing’s from disgrace as a blackmailer tries to ruin his late brother’s reputation. But just as Ranulf dares to open his heart to Celeste, the fury of his nemesis is unleashed… facing him with the stark choice between true love and family duty. However when Celeste guesses the truth behind his rejection, Ranulf underestimates her resolve to clear his name and in so doing places the woman he loves in mortal danger….

Buy: A Dead Man’s Debt

About the author:

Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. She firmly believes that intelligent people should read romance, as an antidote to the modern world. Grace is addicted to books and all things feline. If you would like to know more about Grace and her work please visit:

www.graceelliot.webs.com
http://graceelliot-author.blogspot.com

The sensuous historical romance A Dead Man’s Debt is widely available from most good eBook stores, Amazon Kindle and http://www.solsticepublishing.com/products/a-dead-man%27s-debt.html.

The Little Black Book of Romance Novels

by Susanna Carr, guest blogger and author of “Hot for the Holidays,” her novella, in Wicked Wonderland.

You’re having a great day and you want to celebrate. You’re having a bad day and need to curl up on the couch and shut out the world. You’re bored and looking for some fun. Would you pick the same book for these moods? Probably not. In that case, have a few standbys on your shelf. Just like a little black book, keep a few names (or books) at the ready when you’re in that kind of mood.

The comfort read. This book is for those crazy days when the world’s fast pace leaves you spinning. A comfort book allows you to relax and unwind and follow a slower rhythm. If this book was a guy in your little black book, he would offer an old-fashioned courtship and you’d wear your coziest sweater when you were around him. What kinds of books offer that kind of comfort? Try Betty Neels or an Amish romance. Maybe a little Georgette Heyer?

The flirty read. This is the book that is lighthearted and fun. It might be amusing, snarky or slapstick. You want this book available when you need a pick-me-up or when you want something that will continue to brighten your day. If this book was a guy in your little black book, you’d wear a miniskirt when he was around. This book is the one that will always make you smile and feel good. What kind of books can do that? Try a romantic comedy or chick lit. Some authors with a vibrant and fun writing style are Jennifer Crusie, Mary Janice Davidson and Meg Cabot.

The roller-coaster read. Some days you’re bored and you need something to get your pulse pounding. You want to read something dramatic or adventurous. That’s when you need a book that offers thrills and suspense. If this book was a guy in your little black book, you’d wear running shoes on a date with him. Maybe even a helmet and a life-jacket. What kind of romance offers the same adrenaline? A romantic suspense, a medical romance, or a dark paranormal.

The sophisticated read. Remember the “Calgon, take me away” commercial? There are times when you want to escape from the chores, the bills and the daily grind. That’s where the sophisticated read comes in, complete with billionaires, unlimited credit, and private jets. If this book was a guy in your little black book, you’d wear your little black dress for him. What kind of book can offer an escape to a sophisticated world? Try a Harlequin Presents or Silhouette Desire. Maybe a book by Barbara Taylor Bradford or a historical fiction set in the royal court.

The red-hot read. These are for the days when you want something passionate and provocative. A book that is all about pleasure. Maybe even a little taboo. If this book was a guy in your little black book, you’d wear your fire-engine red stiletto heels when he was around. This kind of book celebrates sexual fantasies and maybe encourages a few new ones. What romance offers a sensual escapade? Try a Harlequin Blaze or an Ellora’s Cave book. A few authors known for their erotic romances are Bertrice Small, Thea Devine and Emma Holly.

These types of books offer different reading experiences for five basic moods. What kind of read or reading mood do you think is missing from this list?

Bio: Susanna Carr is a best-selling author of sexy contemporary romance. Her first novella inspired Brava’s “Wicked” Women series and her work has been recognized in over 20 industry awards. Susanna’s stories frequently center on the heroine’s sensual journey and her next release is “Hot for the Holidays”, a novella in the November 2010 Wicked Wonderland anthology. Visit her website at http://www.susannacarr.com.

Review: No Ordinary Princess by Pamela Morsi

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nopNo Ordinary Princess by Morsi was very bland. I don’t know why I kept reading it other than I hoped, sincerely hoped something would happen to put it on the same level as Simple Jess or Courting Miss Hattie. It didn’t happen.

The hero was masquerading as another person (fake) in order to win over the very rich heroine. He thought that by being somebody suave, wealthy, and from an old American family she would fall for him. During the course of his quick rich scheme, he falls for her and she’s clearly in love with a lie but in love nevertheless.

My biggest problem I think was that I wanted the other shoe to drop sooner. I wanted the heroine to wise up and spot the fake because the real man had far better qualities that he showed to readers and occasionally others. I kept expecting him to rush her to the altar and while the courtship is two weeks, it lasts half the book!

I wanted a better ending. The story ending is very lame and anticlimactic. Where was the groveling at the very least? Sigh. No Ordinary Princess was such a let down after the other novels. Even if I hadn’t read the other novels first, this story would have been equally disappointing, which is really just too bad.

Rating: 2 Stars

Find and Buy Pamela Morsi Books.

Review: The Nonesuch by Georgette Heyer

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by Zarabeth, guest reviewer

The Nonesuch is a regency romance between a “top-of-the-tress Corinthian” and a noble-turn-governess. Already I’m upset.

This was my first, and last, Georgette Heyer and I maintain that I simply cannot follow her style. I have intense difficulties understanding the language and keeping pace with the conversation. More than once I was so frustrated with myself and this disconnect that I simply had to put the book down. However, I am giving it a 2 out of 5 because despite my frustration’s I always picked it up again, eventually.

So, to the story itself: our older, reformed, very rich, and very handsome male lead has arrived with his noble cousin to a country scene where he has recently inherited a dilapidated estate. They are forced to enjoy what little enjoyment the local social scene has to offer and meet an array of interesting and insipid characters. Among them are 2 main females of interest: the unrivaled beauty, a very very young soon to come out debutante and her cool governess.

Our cousin takes an instant interest in the beauty and the begins to court her. The Nonesuch and the governess are therefore thrown together again and again. Over the course of many mortifying events the courtship dies but something has begun for the governess and the Nonesuch- as unlikely and scandalous a pair they might be! (Exclamation points are found at the end of almost every sentence that’s spoken.)

It’s a fine enough plot with intriguing characters but I can’t get past the style!

Rating: 2 Stars

Buy: The Nonesuch

Find and buy more Georgette Heyer novels.

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