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How To Tell If You Are In a Regency Romance Novel

25 November 2014

From The Toast:

1. You are either a virgin or a sad and lovely widow whose husband was lost at sea. You are spirited, but still passing ladylike.

2. Your father is away in the colonies protecting his tobacco interests, or a bumbling idiot, or a gambler. His character flaws lead to you becoming betrothed to a man you’ve never met.

. . . .

 8. A notorious rake catches your eye at a fashionable social function. His brocaded—though not foppishly so—waistcoat betrays his unimaginable wealth. His eyes smolder like sapphires pulled from the inferno itself. He raises his glass to you with a ravenous smile.

. . . .

10. You have a secret, potentially scandalous alter-ego, such as authoress of smutty literature or highwayman. Your true identity is under heated debate by the Ton. In your spare time you give baskets of food to the poor and practice the pianoforte and/or mandolin.

11. You are proposed marriage to by no less than three vicars every Tuesday. You refuse them with delicacy, then weep into the rosebushes on the east veranda. Your heart belongs to another.

12. A wealthy and influential harridan disapproves of you and makes sure everyone within earshot knows it. You don’t give a fig what she thinks. You flutter your fan defiantly.

Link to the rest at The Toast and thanks to Scott for the tip.

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28 Comments to “How To Tell If You Are In a Regency Romance Novel”

  1. Finally, my life makes sense. I thought I was going crazy for a moment there.

    Now, all I need to do is go get a job as a governess and quit my job as a government worker in order to make my life complete.

  2. Oh, I’ve gotten so many book recs from the comment threads in that article. *glee* Thanksgiving holiday reading!

  3. Despite having less sexual experience than a house fern…

    My very first out-loud laugh this morning. I needed this. Thank you!

  4. The comments are more fun than the article!

  5. Excellent.

    The other entries in the series are also worth a look:

    http://the-toast.net/tag/how-to-tell-what-novel-youre-in/

    • The Borges one is awesome….

      “You are dreaming. You have never existed. You are being born. You are a thinly veiled version of Borges himself, and you have been dying for a thousand years.”

      “You die in a labyrinth.”

  6. Oh, this is just too funny.

  7. Well, I’m a guy, so it’s extremely difficult for me to picture myself as a Regency Romance Heroine. However, I can certainly get behind fantasizing I’m this character:

    “A notorious rake catches your eye at a fashionable social function. His brocaded—though not foppishly so—waistcoat betrays his unimaginable wealth. His eyes smolder like sapphires pulled from the inferno itself. He raises his glass to you with a ravenous smile.”

    🙂

  8. James, you give yourself less than full credit. The male MCs in these novels are always hotter than hot.

    • @ Deb

      Oh. I guess it’s obvious, then, that Romance isn’t a genre I read! 🙂

      However, I did just buy a used DVD of Pride and Prejudice for a buck. Because Keira Knightley was on the cover.

      • If Keira Knightley was on the cover, you didn’t buy Pride and Prejudice, you bought Pride ampersand Prejudice. That stupid & drives me bananas. Were they texting the title in and trying to save characters?

        But I still like that one a lot, though I’ll always prefer Colin Firth to… well… anything? MacFadyen is fine too, though, and I like Keira Knightley. I also love the Bingley and Jane in the ampersand version.

  9. Ok. I’m a man. I’ve never read a regency romance novel.

    Questions:
    1. Is a fichu some kind of dog?
    2. Why is a garden implement attending a social function?

    • “Rake” is short for “rakehell” or “rakeshame.” A rake was a man who was Dangerous to Know, because he went through women like a knife through butter. Generally into partying, drinking, fashionable clothes, and gambling as well. Webster’s 1828 dictionary says he’s “a vile, dissolute wretch,” but Americans were so prejudiced.

      Basically an early 19th century bad boy, in the romance novel context.

      A fichu is “a large, square kerchief worn by women to fill in the low neckline of a bodice.” It was often folded into a triangular scarf shape, put around the shoulders, and then either tucked into the front or affixed around the front with a brooch. Obviously fashions differed as the necklines and formality levels of a dress changed.

      • It should also be known that, in real life, rakes were terribly Bad for You. In Regencies, rakes are still Bad for You, but they’ll turn Good (while still keeping the best parts of rakedom, as well as the dosh) through the power of their love for you.

      • I’m not sure the British were much fonder of the type. 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue:

        RAKE, RAKEHELL, or RAKESHAME. A lewd, debauched
        fellow.

        And I have have to admit I’ve never seen this one in a regency romance:

        DUDDERING RAKE. A thundering rake, a buck of the
        first head, one extremely lewd.

        DUDDERS, or WHISPERING DUDDERS. Cheats who travel
        the country, pretending to sell smuggled goods: they
        accost their intended dupes in a whisper. The goods
        they have for sale are old shop-keepers, or damaged;
        purchased by them of large manufactories. See DUFFER.

        I really love browsing that book- and I wish that authors of regency romances would do some research other than reading a few Heyer novels.

  10. Answers:
    1. Yes. It’s a small, yappy, feisty sort of pet the ladies affected. They were often hidden down the décolletage.
    2. To tidy up, of course. This is the Regency, which means England, which is ALWAYS kept tidy. Generally those wielding the implements are wealthy men with less-than-stellar reputations.

  11. This also fits How To Tell If You’re In Howl’s Moving Castle.

  12. One thing has always bothered me, of course bosoms heave, how else would you breathe while in a corset?

  13. I must insist that you all stop spreading idle gossip about me. Most unbecoming of you.

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