[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to bring you this new series: Frolic Podcast of the Week! Each week, we’ll ask one of our great podcasters to share a bit about themselves. Up next, we have Kelsey and Zoë from Tea & Strumpets. They have an amazing regency romance starter guide for you. Take it away!]
If you have not heard already, Tea & Strumpets is your go to podcast for all things Regency Romance. We deep dive into books (spoilers are heavily featured) and then we talk about things that made us swoon and the parts that made us go WTF?! For those who have never ventured into the Regency era of historical romance, please feel free to use this as your guidebook into our favorite romance subgenre.
Often when we hear of Regency Romance we immediately think of Austen. Jane Austen epitomized the romance culture of the time and still has lasting effects to this day (we find characters reading Pride and Prejudice or another of her novels on a night they cannot sleep). Yet the brooding Mr. Darcy, who pulls an about-face after being a cad through most of the book does not characterize the heroes we find in Regency Romance today (although we do get nods to him because who doesn’t love a brooding hero?). Our favorite heroes are those who wish for more of a purpose than that of the frivolous, rakish lord. Whether looking for a wife or even avoiding matrimony, they find our modern heroine, a woman who is not afraid to be who she really is. A heroine unafraid to challenge their male counterparts and force them to reconcile their views of societal norms. Like Elizabeth Bennet, these women go toe-to-toe with their hero and find HEA through compromise and understanding, not just sacrifice. If you’re new to the genre or simply are in need of discovering new books, we’ve put together three excellent choices amongst an ever-growing list of favorites. Plus, we’ve got episodes that cover all of these, so once you’ve read it you can join the discussion!
If you’d like to dip your toe into the water, we suggest starting with Courtney Milan’s practically-perfect novella The Governess Affair. It is short (approximately 150 pages) but has all the elements of a full-length book distilled to perfection in this little gem of a book. Beware there are some heavy themes but the story will sweep you off your feet and leave you wanting more of Milan’s brilliance.
You can listen to our episode here!
For those feeling more adventurous, we highly recommend The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley. This book has everything! It has adventure, intrigue, and a mystery in need of solving all in one. Our hero is not your typical romance hero either. He is Autistic and also has a version of savant syndrome (Ashley never mentions it directly even in the authors note but it’s very clear to readers) which makes his interactions with Beth, our heroine, all the more novel and riveting. This book will capture your attention immediately and the tale Ashley spins will keep you on your toes from start to finish; plus it hits on the Scalding Scale for steaminess. This is also the first book in her Mackenzie series, so there is more to enjoy if you’re itching to know more about the Mackenzie clan.
You can listen to our episode here!
Historical Romance, like much of romance, is all about the series. The Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn is a must-read for the Regency fan. The family interactions will leave you laughing as you read and waiting for the next book to see what our favorite regency siblings will get up to next! Two of the books in the series scored a perfect 10 on our podcast and the rest are equally high scorers. It is also an upcoming series on Netflix, so now is a perfect time to dive into the pages before it hits the screen! After that, you can read the rest of Julia Quinn’s work as it is, in our opinion, a staple of the genre.
Click here to listen to Bridgerton 1: The Duke and I (TW: Consent)
For those of you already in love with Historical Romance or simply looking for more recs after our three brilliant suggestions, feel free to check out our podcast! For new listeners, we recommend starting with Episode 044 “It Happened One Midnight” by Julie Anne Long. We started our podcast with her Pennyroyal Green series and this book, which falls towards the tail end of the series, surprised us in the best way – and we’d read the book before!
We also have a few interviews with authors in the genre. For that we recommend checking out Episode 041: Quietly Triumphant and Delightfully Mad with Olivia Waite. Waite is the author of Avon’s first F/F romance, A Beginner’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics. She has amazing insights into the genre and mainstreaming Queer Romance. We could easily have spoken to her for days.
Thank you for reading and we hope all your ever afters end happily!