spectrum. There are rumors the demand is diminishing, along with the demand for Historicals in general, but I’ll believe it when I see it. The Regency is a delightful period, a transition from the free-wheeling eighteenth century to the glorious empire, yet stultifying mores, of the Victorian era. Those of us who love the style and language of trads can only hope major print publishers will once again come to appreciate that they serve a valuable readers’ niche in mass market publishing.
Length. The so-called “traditional” Regencies are usually 70-75,000 words. Regency-set Historicals are mostly around 100,000, with 95-110,000 not uncommon.
Sex. Regencies tend to be squeaky clean, with intimation of, or glimpses of, consummation only between married couples. In a Regency-set Historical at least two scenes of explicit sex are expected. Many have far more! And they seem to get more sensuous each year.
Money. Authors will make more money writing Historicals than traditional Regencies. Sex sells. Nonetheless, many authors prefer to write the intricate language and effervescent style of the traditional Regency. My personal belief is that in our present chaotic world it’s good to have a book than can be read by anyone from a teenager to great-aunt Tillie. In my Regencies I’ve had naked portraits, buried treasure, scandals, murder, kidnapping, etc., but the books avoid excessive blood and violence and explicit sex. This is a strong characteristic of a traditional Regency.
Humor. Most of the best Regencies and many of the Regency-set Historicals contain humor. The early nineteenth century was a sophisticated age of well-spoken, well-mannered, frequently clever people. Wit was prized. (Beau Brummel would have been nothing without it.) Yes, a woman had to be careful not to be too clever, but what’s changed about that?!