In a lot of twenty first century popular fiction a little bit of old world charm is hidden. Harry Potter escapes the mundane modern world and arrives at Hogwarts, a place where wizards wear old fashioned robes and the castle has gothic charm. Stephenie Meyer wrote ‘Twilight’ inspired by a novel written around Regency times, Pride and Prejudice. Edward Cullen is a hundred and four year old vampire and the quintessential romance hero. Mr Darcy still rules our hearts and Rochester makes our legs go weak. The romance of the Regency era lives on.
Are modern day men that bad that we have to resort to fantasising about centuries old men? Apart from my husband, I would have to say yes. Most modern men are hopeless. During the Regency era men were fashionable, they were passionate, and they cherished the ones they loved. They were like birds of paradise. They primped, they preened, they built beautiful nests, and they danced and sang to win over the woman they loved. Today men approach a girl they fancy and ask “ Do you wanna …? ’’ and the romance trembles and withers and dies right there.
Men wrote poetry … poetry I tell you, to declare their love during the Regency era. Today men grunt. Though, to be fair, a boy did write a poem for me once. It was so bad that I cried.
It is a misconception that all Regency heroines are damsels in distress. Most modern day authors create feisty, bold, and progressive Regency heroines. In fact even Elizabeth Bennet can be considered progressive. After all she turned down Mr Darcy, a brilliant catch with ten thousand pounds a year. Emma, another of Austen’s heroines, was independent and wilful. She did not swoon or flutter her lashes at anything in breeches. She was intelligent, confident, and wonderfully nosey.
It is not the men who lived during the Regency era that fascinate us. After all Percy Shelley was a cad and Byron scandalous. It was authors like the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen who crafted classic, drool worthy heroes. It is those characters that continue to make our hearts flutter to this day. After devouring ‘Pride and Prejudice’ for the hundredth time, we are left wanting more. That is when we reach for modern day authors who attempt to recreate the magic of Regency era through historical romances. As I said, the romance of Regency era lives on…
My next novel is a Regency romance called ‘Penelope’. Penelope is a country bumpkin who arrives in London along with Lady Bathsheba (her pet goat) to catch a man during the season. I am currently editing it and it should be available soon.
Anya Wylde is the author of one my favorite reads of the summer, The Wicked Wager, featuring her own progressive heroine – Miss Emma Grey! Check it out on Amazon.