Tag Archives: regency romances

Regency Romances for the Romantic at Heart

Pure is the Heart, by Amy de Trempe: A Christian romance set in the 18th century, Pure is the Heart has the ability to draw out the lover and the faithful spirit in every soul.    Forced to escape her home country or face the guillotine, Elise LeNoir makes her way to the estate of Lord Hunter Westwood who opens his home to the young woman and his heart soon becomes hers. Unfortunately, he is already betrothed, an engagement meant to unite two families, not two hearts. Even if Hunter were free, Elise is not in a position to marry.

Loving Lydia Loving Lydia by Amy de Trempe is a sweet, inspirationally touched romance, set during the regency era. When Lady Lydia, a moral, naïve young woman enters society, she is confounded by Lord Alex, a known reprobate rumored to have a dark side.  Yet he captures her heart. When Lydia is sucked into his dark world, can he save her and their love?

Love Trumps Logic by Lucy Balch: When suitors are baffled by Miss Fiona’s scientific turn of mind, her mother tearfully predicts that her daughter will be doomed to spinsterhood—until Lord Henry comes along. Nicknamed “the Mad Scientist,” Henry appreciates Fiona’s mind as well as her face. Fiona thinks she’s found the perfect husband in Henry until notorious Lord Beaumont crashes through her neatly laid plans.

A Gentleman Never Tells by Jerrica-Knight Catania: Benjamin Wetherby, Earl of Glastonbury and heir to the Marquessate of Eastleigh, has just received an urgent letter from home. His father is dying and he must return to England at once. Benjamin is a man bound by honor and duty, to both his country and his family. So, despite his reservations, he leaves his life in New York City behind so he may find a wife and assume his role as the Marquess of Eastleigh.

Miss Phoebe Blake is finally out of mourning for her father, and just in time. She and her mother could be days away from being carted off to debtors’ prison, so Phoebe returns to society with the intent and determination to secure a rich husband.

Sparks fly when Benjamin and Phoebe meet, and it appears they have both found just what they are looking for. But will a dark secret keep them from finding their happily ever after?

More Than a Governess by Jerrica Knight-Catania: Becky Thorn has been keeping a secret for more than seven years. A secret that, if found out, could destroy her. So before she gets too ensconced in London society, she accepts a position as a governess for a reclusive Viscount and his wife, far away from the ton.

Stephen Hastings, the third Viscount Hastings, is nothing short of perturbed when the tart Miss Thorn shows up on his doorstep. He is a man with little time and even less patience, who feels his pushover housekeeper is doing a fine job keeping his wards out of his hair. But Miss Thorn thinks differently and needles her way into becoming his governess, and eventually, the object of his affection.

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In Praise of Romance

Can a man write a romance novel?

I remember one of my college English professors talking of wanting to “pick up a little spare change” as a graduate student.  He decided to write short stories using a female pseudonym and submit them to women’s magazines (this was back in the early 60’s, when magazines published a lot more short fiction).  His comeuppance was almost immediate: several editors sent him personal rejection letters, telling him to stop trying to write as a woman.

His words came back to me in the summer of 2007 while I was competing in the Gather.com romance novel contest.  The first chapter of my novel Lacey Took a Holiday was getting a lot of kind feedback, much of it from other authors and almost all of them women.  Then Starr Toth, the fine romance author whose story Lie to Me took second place in the contest, read and commented on my entry: “This feels like a mainstream novel with romantic elements, rather than a straight romance.”  Busted!  Starr had figured out in one brief chapter that the book wasn’t a “true” romance.  “Oh, she’s just prejudiced because I’m a guy,” I thought.  This was just an insidious prejudice against men writing romances, I assured myself,.

I have to say that a lot of people liked Lacey, including the Second Wind Publishing people, and I guess the book had enough good stuff in it to make it into print (although I still get comments that the book is not really a romance).  The great thing about the Gather contest and being published along with other romance authors is that I have been give the opportunity to learn a lot about romance—books, I mean.  In fact, I think I’m on firm footing when I say I’ve learned things about romance novels that most guys never understand.  So here are some of the really important things I’ve learned about romance novels:

Fine romance novels are quality works of literature.  Well-written romance is the prose equivalent of fine poetry.  Face it, Jane Austen was a romance author.  If she were living today, some dippy reviewer would be criticizing her for trying to make social commentary in romance novels.  For sheer descriptive power and lyrical beauty that simultaneously deals with the consequences of human actions, you owe it to yourself to read Dellani Oakes captivating Indian Summer or Sherrie Hansen’s poignant Night and Day.  Oakes story deals with Florida in the 18th century, while Hansen’s is a post-modern story of a love affair that starts on the internet—but the social consciousness is a gripping element in each.

In ways other fiction genres cannot match, well-written romance captures and suborns a setting and makes it a compelling servant of the story being told.  How I wish more people would read Juliet Waldron’s magnificent Hand Me Down BrideIt captures precisely what rural life was like in the days immediately following the Civil War (and her characterizations are perfect).  Suzette Vaughn does double duty in her Badeaux Knights.  She depicts small town, Generation X life along the sleepy Gulf Coast, while giving a wonderfully detailed account of Renaissance enactors.  Stormy Weather, Sherrie Hansen’s heartland romance, absolutely captures the essence of a Midwestern small town—gossip and all.

Romance has a unique ability to make the supernatural and the spiritual plausible and accessible.  It’s probably impossible to find two more disparate examples of this than Amy De Trempe’s Loving Lydia and Mairead Walpole’s A Love Out of Time.  De Trempe blends 17th century Catholicism and passionate human love into a tale that is as full of aching and longing as it is of faith.  Walpole takes an equally ancient set of religious beliefs—that are also startlingly contemporary—and twines them into a marvelously intricate story of lovers and a group of sisters who are, well, more than human.  The charming, devilish romance Nora’s Soul, by Margay Leah Justice, manages to spin two tales simultaneously: while a beautiful human couple find themselves drawn inexorably back to their childhood love, a pair of angels vie for a young woman’s soul.  Janette Rochelle Lewie and Suzette Vaughn in very different ways take on the pantheon of the ancient gods.  Lewie skillfully unpacks an ancient myth in a steamy, modern way in Sonya Recovered.  Vaughn, in Mortals, Gods and a Muse, does a magnificent job of demonstrating for modern readers the ancient conceit of what happens when the gods start messing with your love life.

A well-written romance can be every bit as thrilling and suspenseful as the best crime novel—and a lot more emotive.  Safe Harbor, Sherilyn Winrose’s first novel, is a tremendously intense, breathtaking roller coaster that just incidentally is really all about a sweet, compelling love story of a young woman and man trying to right wrongs.  Life and death, virtue and vice, love and deceit all hang in the balance in both of Claire Collins first two novels—that in truth are remarkably distinct.  In Fate and Destiny—a Gather contest semi-finalist—Collins wows readers with a tale at turns frightening, heart-warming and hilarious.  Her second novel, Images of Betrayal, seems to be a paranormal thriller, yet turns on profound psychological insights, all the while describing pure first love.

The truest, grandest form of romance novels, the regency, is among the most exacting and rewarding types of literature.  Back in the days of my ignorance, I referred to these as “lords and ladies books.”  I had no idea the level of historical and geographical knowledge it takes to write these novels.  I had mentioned Amy De Trempe above and I should note that, like Loving Lydia, her second regency title, Pure is the Heart, is seamless in its accuracy—and delightful in the poignant story it tells.  Tart, funny and ultimately joyful is the best way to describe Lucy Balch’s romp of a regency novel Love Trumps Logic (and, brother, she’s right about that!).  Then there is Jerrica Knight-Catania’s first offering, a tender novel of justice and duty (here we are back at Jane Austen again) called A Gentleman Never Tells.

How very distinct from one another these titles are.  Indeed about the only thing they have in common is that they were all written by outstanding women authors.  It’s more than a little ironic that my first published novel falls into the genre of romance.  At least my romance colleagues at Second Wind are kind and accepting.  Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to try a second romance novel—just to prove that a man can do it.  —Lazarus Barnhill, author of Lacey Took a Holiday and The Medicine People

Check out the Second Wind Romance Sampler. It includes the first chapters of all these romances, and it’s free! Click here: to get your free download.

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