Today, Emma Kaye, who has written time travel romances set in the Regency, shares with us how she, herself, is able to travel in time by reading Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter. She also explains what she most loves about Regency romances, those special qualities which are not found in romances from any other genre and make reading Regencies such a treat.
Please feel free to share your views about this story, or Regencies in general in comments to this article.
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Why do we read? The answer is as varied as the books we love. Are we looking to enlighten ourselves? See the world from someone else’s point of view? Or are we looking to escape our own reality for a short time and immerse ourselves in someone else’s?
Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter is one of those books I pick up when I’m in the mood to lose myself in another world and enjoy the characters without having to overanalyze everything. The story gets a bit silly (the heroine tends to overreact—a lot) but it’s fun. Here’s the blurb in case you haven’t read it:
A sparkling Regency romance from the queen of the genre.
Beautiful Deborah Grantham, mistress of her aunt’s elegant gaming house, must find a way to restore herself and her aunt to respectability, preferably without accepting either of two repugnant offers. One is from an older, very rich and rather corpulent lord whose reputation for licentious behavior disgusts her; the other from the young, puppyish scion of a noble family whose relatives are convinced she is a fortune hunter.
Max Ravenscar, uncle to her young suitor, comes to buy her off, an insult so scathing that it leads to a volley of passionate reprisals, escalating between them to a level of flair and fury that can only have one conclusion…
Faro’s Daughter doesn’t actually take place during the Regency period of 1811-1820, yet many still consider it a Regency romance. Why? Because the genre is more about the feeling of the period rather than actual dates. (Thank goodness, because I always fell asleep when they discussed dates in history class.) No. Regencies are about elegance and the witty repartee between characters, all within the confines of a society that has strict rules on public behavior. I say "public" because while everything was prim and proper on the surface, behind closed doors? Not so much.
The ballrooms and country estates of the super-rich lords and ladies of the ton are prime settings for a Regency romance, and probably the most common, but by no means the only settings for these romances we all love. Faro’s Daughter takes place mostly in a gaming house (Little better than a "common gaming-hell" with the addition of an EO table, Deb thinks bitterly at one point) owned by the heroine’s aunt.
Gambling is a favorite pastime of high society. Fortunes are won and lost at the Regency gaming table. The heroes and heroines we love are generally very good at games of chance and too smart to bet more than they can lose. However, they’re not above using their skills to take down the villain. Max Ravenscar, in true Regency fashion, defeats a rival for Deb Grantham’s affections (one of those repugnant offers mentioned in the blurb) in a card game.
Even though the conflict is rather contrived at times—if Deb had simply told Max she had no intention of marrying his cousin instead of getting so enraged at the insult she promises to do the exact opposite, there would be no story—Heyer still immerses the reader in the life of her characters and the "feel" of the Regency without ever coming across as giving us a history lesson.
That’s one of the things I love about Regency romances. My favorite authors—and there are so many wonderful Regency authors it’s impossible to name them-make me feel like I’ve stepped back in time. They weave history into a love story so seamlessly it becomes not just the background or wallpaper, but practically another character.
So, I’d like to say thank you to Georgette Heyer for introducing us to the wonderful world of the Regency. Happy Anniversary.
Emma Kaye is the author of two time travel romances set in the Regency—Time for Love and In Her Dreams (a short story in the anthology Timeless Escapes: A collection of Summer Stories.)
You can find her at: