When I decided I wanted to start writing in earnest, the first thing I started working on was a Regency romance novel. There is something about a good love story that just makes me smile. When I see love conquer all, I feel like I'm reminded of the good things in life. Celebrating with the triumphant couple translates into celebrating the love that is in my life. Even in those moments when love might be hard to find, a good love story is a hopeful reminder that life is full of possibilities.
Yes, Regency romance is a fun genre, but for me, there are certain elements that will make or break a good book, and I have tried to take these things into consideration in my own.
1. How the book deals with the rules. There are so many rules of etiquette to take into account in a Regency romance. These rules are a signature feature of the time period. Because of those rules, stories can take interesting twists and turns in ways that wouldn't make sense in other contexts. I dislike stories that seem to disregard them. For me, it makes it harder to respect the characters. Yet, I like stories that acknowledge the rules without letting them define the characters too much. A little rule bending can work for me as long as there is an explanation.
2. The basis of the relationship. I like to see characters overcoming challenges, getting to know each other, enjoying time together, and so on, but I like to see other things happen too. The Regency books I like most are not overly focused on misunderstandings. I like it when characters communicate and are thwarted in love for reasons that run deeper than miscommunications. It feels like a greater triumph when love conquers a problem that is bigger than insecurities and miscommunications. If the main problem could be solved with a few open conversations, then the resolution isn't as satisfying for me.
3. The side characters. I really like it when side characters also find love. Sometimes, those are my favorite love stories. Think Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare, or Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility and Emma by Jane Austen. You always see more than one couple getting together in the end. I love it whether I see it coming or not.
4. "Proper" or "clean" romance. I want my books to be appropriate for younger audiences.
So about my book...I don't want to give away too many details about it until I am ready to release it, but I will tell you that it is about a young couple who discover their love for each other in what would have been an unconventional way in that time period. There are some bumps along the way, including a few misunderstandings, but they are the kind that will take more than an open conversation to resolve. There are also a few side characters who forge their paths to happiness alongside the main couple. I'm excited to almost be done with it, and I'll give you more details as I get closer to publishing it.
What do you especially enjoy in a Regency romance novel?