If you check the ‘historical background’ page of my website you’ll get a glimpse of my fascination with the Regency period.
It was such a short time in Britain’s history, but has given rise to many things such as the development of canals as trade with their partners hotted up after the imprisonment of Napoleon, freeing up trade routes, and resulting in large numbers of goods that needed to be transported all over England. The Royal Astronomical Society was founded, along with the early prototype of the bicycle, the development of the railway system, and the Act of Union with Ireland in 1801 etc. All this is from the British point of view. In the USA Whitney came up with the principle of manufacturing interchangeable parts as pertaining to firearms. The statue of the Venus de Milo was discovered in Greece (1820) and so it goes on.
And this is one of the prime reasons I enjoy writing Regencies. In spite of many Regencies persuading you that it was all about Almacks and dukes, the Regency era was actually a time on the cusp of great changes, not just in Britain but all over the world. Minds were opening up, no longer relying on the dogma of the past.
In 1814 The Times adopted steam printing. By this method it could print 1,100 sheets every hour, not 200 as before—a fivefold increase in production capability and demand. This development brought about the rise of the wildly popular fashionable novels.
I appreciate how the Regency era is also noted for its achievements in the fine arts and architecture (Nash springs to mind), and remember the striped wallpaper still known as ‘Regency?’ Those years encompassed a time of great social, political, and economic changes that shaped and altered the societal structure of Britain. Remember that in London alone, the population increased from just under one million in 1801 to 1.25 million by 1820.
One of the reasons that the arts flourished during this era was because of the patronage of ‘Prinny,’ the fact and at times ridiculous Prince of Wales. We might laugh at him, but it’s thanks to him that the development of British architecture flourished, even if his schemes often left the common people paying for his overblown designs.
The Regency era opened up the market for many authors including Sir Walter Scott, Maria Edgeworth, Mary Shelley (who incorporated the general mistrust of science during the earlier part of the Regency era), John Keats, and William Blake. Then there were the playwrights and artists…the list goes on and on to confirm how minds began to open to new possibilities during that time.
And that, friends, is why I love to set some of my books during the Regencies. There are so many possibilities! Oh yes, there was a lot more to the Regency period than those autocratic dukes and the patronesses at Almacks.
Here’s a brief look at my Regency novella. I hope you enjoy it.
When Alexandra Tallis discovers that her witless sister has imprisoned their father’s nemesis, Theo Crombie, in their attic, she quickly frees him, fighting an unladylike impulse to keep him as her own special captive. Despite the brutal beating she receives from her father for her actions, Alexandra continues to yearn for the delicious Mr. Crombie even though she knows that nothing will ever come of her dreams.
Injured and shackled in a stranger’s attic, Theo unexpectedly discovers the woman of his dreams. But how can he pursue those dreams when her bizarre family’s complex relationships threaten the very foundation of his existence? Somehow Theo must find a way through this maze to claim his lady.
Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.
Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.