Romance, Traditional Regency

Even limiting to romance isn't going to work for me. Today we're doing Regencies, and I mean Traditional Regencies, not just Regency-set historicals. This is a currently dying genre (although it'll come back. It always does.)

Speaking of death and Regencies, a friend who writes the genre told me it's the most popular type of book among those who are about to drop off the twig. I can't remember if she meant that most of its readers are dying people** or if most dying people suddenly have the urge to read TRs. I thought bleeeeech, and then decided if it's true, that's a pretty important job for a writer, for god's sake. Gives me new respect for TRs as the ultimate escape literature.

ANYWAY...these were the first romances I picked up for pleasure (I read a few H/S because I was going to write one.) They're what I grabbed when I had to face other people dying, actually. Hmmmm.

Without much more ado, and not ANOTHER WORD about death, here we go for the big prizes:

THE QUEEN

Georgette Heyer is the Nora Roberts of the genre in that her titles don't stay out of print for long (even the ones that deserve to go away) you'll usually find more than one of her books on the shelves, non-readers might have heard of her . . . and so on. The big differences between Georgette and Nora? GH has fewer books and she's been dead other-than-alive for 32 years. And she invented the modern version of her genre. (Jane Austen was the first.)

Within trad Regencies, you got the fluff and the heavy. Or at least that's how I'm dividing it.

WITTY REGENCY

Overall winner? Barbara Metzger. She's a combination of Heyer and Wodehouse and the best of her Trad Regencies are fluffy and perfect. She's been forced into the longer books lately and they're okay, but they're not masterpieces, little gems of perfection, the way her TRs really, truly are. Instead of souffle (yes, I know someone said that about Wodehouse. Metzger too, dammit) we get scrambled eggs. Okay, but nothing spectacular.

Nonnie St. George flashed on the scene for a moment but then the genre was declared finished(again) and so we'll have to wait for her again--and for the best of Metzger. Gah, now I'm all depressed again. Whimper. [reaches for the Megan Frampton again]

Perfect timing for the . . .

SERIOUS REGENCY

There has to be some wit or what's the point of all those drawing rooms? I think there isn't really an obvious stand-alone genius, like Metzger, but I can come up with a raft of them. These are all people who I think do their best work in the shorter form. Since I say these names over and over, I'll pick one or two of my favorite books by them.

Mary Balogh--An Unlikely Duchess (even with the annoying heroine because it read like an Heyer to me) and A Precious Jewel just because it's so ...different.

Diane Farr--Fair Game and Once Upon a Christmas. I don't know which one I like better.

I was going to write Edith Layton, who's always on my keeper lists, but I think her longer books are her best. (Some of them, though I wouldn't pick the ones that shot her onto the bestselling world.)

I like a lot of Nancy Butler's stuff too, but none of her titles are coming to mind right away.

So come on, pick a traditional Regency writer you think deserves an award. If we get energetic make up a fancy title and send them certificates of appreciation. I'm wondering if these people want some sox or something.

If you can't think of any Regency writers, how about telling me your favorites in some genres I'm almost clueless about:

A Western (In the last few years, I've only have read Bodwell and most of a Whiteside)

A heavy duty Historical Gothick (I've only read Lydia Joyce. I have to get to the Eve Silver in my pile. . .)?

____

** and I suppose that means us all.

Comments

  1. I've read a slew of Georgette Heyer's books, but the heroines all started resembling each other after the second book...
    LOL
    OK - sort of kidding.
    Let's see - I read one that was a spoof on Snow White and the Seven dwarves - regency setting called 'Miss Whiting and the Seven Wards' an absolutely a hoot (though I'm not sure it was what the author intended...) and then there was that one with the heroine with sallow skin and black hair who gets sold to a rake by her father the count during a card game, and she gives herself a makeover and learns to drive a spirited four-in-hand, and seduces her husband...
    I would have had the heroine fleece him and leave for France and join the enemy, but of course they fall in love and end up cute and cuddly.
    My favorite regency writer:
    Tracy Grant.

    ReplyDelete
  2. KATE! How can you talk about witty Regencies and not mention Loretta Chase?

    I declare, ah mah faint.

    ReplyDelete
  3. HA! Because HER best work is longer. THAT'S why. Her trad regencies are great (and yes, I've read nearly all of them), but I think she's only come into her own with the longer books.

    Kate, thinking fast.

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  4. Pfah! I'll take Knaves' Wager and Devil's Delilah over anything Metzger and Farr have produced.

    *huffs off*

    ReplyDelete
  5. YOU HAVE NO RESPONSE TO MY SALLY?

    I THOUGHT NOT.

    CAPSLOCK KEY ENGAGED! ALSO GRATUITOUS EXCLAMATION POINT USAGE!

    (I'm in a rather silly mood right now.)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Pshaw! I was off having a life--collecting non-sick children from school.

    But, no, I have no response to your Sally. Nothing more than the boring old all a matter of personal taste nonsense.

    Waste of good huffage on your part, I'd say.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nah, it's good to huff in a silly way every now and then. There's been waaaay too much serious huffage going on in the past three or four days in the romance community.

    ReplyDelete
  8. this blog's motto:
    silly huffage always welcome.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I like Alson Lane, Judith Lansdowne, Rhonda Woodward, Nadine Miller. To name one or two. LOL :) I've always like trad. Regencies & am sad they're gone.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I think Jo Beverley's Stanforth Secrets is awesome, and all of Carla Kelly's books, and Candice Hern wrote a couple of great trads--I really liked Miss Lacey's Last Fling, very funny.

    I like Allison Lane's Rake and the Wallflower, and Jessica Benson's two trads--very, very witty stuff.

    Thanks for the props, too.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I am so not well-read in trads. Um, I did like A Family For Gillian by Catherine Blair. Also, I enjoy Carla Kelly but you have to sell a kidney on the black market to get some of her titles.

    Westerns - You..Must..Try:

    Maggie Osborne - recommend Prairie Moon and I Do, I Do, I Do (although some readers really didn't like this one). Even when I'm not madly in love with the story (case in point, A Stranger's Wife), Osborne still writes a book that stays with me long after I've finished it. Also, her characters are great.

    Cheryl St. John - she can't write a bad book as far as I'm concerned. She writes for HH. Titles I've liked: Prairie Wife (loved it!), His Secondhand Wife, Joe's Wife, Sweet Annie, and The Tenderfoot Bride. Like I said, you can't go wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Mary Jo Putney (like you I cut my teeth on regencies) and oh gosh......Kasey Michaels who I believe also wrote under Michelle Kasey? Casey? It's been a couple decades.

    ReplyDelete

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