The Regency period was surprisingly modern in very many ways. However, in some ways, it is a time that was very different to our own.
Society was completely different, the rules more rigid and rebellion against them harder to sustain.
I get cross when I read books set in this period where characters, especially female, blithely set out to challenge and break the rules on a whim. I’m not talking about those stories where two characters are caught up in the moment and get carried away. Nor those where characters don’t have the intelligence to do the right thing, such as Lydia Bennett in “Pride and Prejudice”. No, I am talking about those characters who know better and yet deliberately set out to behave in ruinous ways, and the consequences be hanged.
People brought up in Regency Britain would have known society was unforgiving and its memory was long. A heroine who determined to have a child and bring it up alone (as happened in one book I recently read) would have known that not only she, but everyone in her family, including the longed for child, would never be acceptable again.
A girl who ran away with her lover would have fared the same. It’s why Mr Darcy spent so much time, effort and money putting right the sins of stupid little Lydia: if Lydia and Wickham did not marry, Elizabeth and Jane would have been outcasts by association, completely unmarriageable. Any man who dared defy convention and marry them anyway would find not only himself, but his wider family tarred with the same brush.
Even an income of ten thousand pounds a year could not overcome the taint of scandal.
Society’s demands is one of the problems facing Luke and Grace in “Incognito”. Both hide their true status, and both believe the other to be unacceptable to the part of society where they truly belong.
When I first sat Grace down beside Luke at a dinner party in “The Bankrupt Viscount”, I knew they were meant for each other. Yet Luke was heir to an earldom and Grace was a governess. Despite all the books that suggest otherwise, such a union would be doomed socially.
How was I to make it acceptable, so they were not condemned to a life on the fringe? And if Grace was of the correct rank, why on earth would she take a job for an employer like Mrs Potter?
This was where the story began. From here, I tried to maintain historical accuracy while also creating a story that was entertaining, and a good read.
I’d love to know if you think I succeeded. Please feel free to leave a comment below, or as a review on Amazon or Goodreads.
I look forward to hearing from you.