I’m fairly new to this historical romance genre, and I never really considered what periods fell into which eras, and what exactly that meant. When I stopped to think about it I realized how ignorant I was. A Victorian novel is not the same as a Regency novel. And Edwardian heroines don’t really wear corsets…not so much, anyway. What the eff is up with this Almack’s place, and when did it become popular? I felt like a moron not knowing these things. So here’s my breakdown, for any fellow romance readers out there who are as clueless as I am…er…was.
Here’s a shocker – eras are named primarily for the Monarch and his/her line currently on the throne. *snark* I KNOW…kind of makes sense, eh? Here’s a breakdown:
Tudor Period (1485–1558): Starts w/ Henry VII and ends w/ Elizabeth I (who gets her own era b/c she’s BADASS)
Elizabethan Era (1558–1603): The Golden Age of of English history; it’s an age of art, exploration and science. Oh, and SHAKESPEARE.
Stuart /Jacobian/Caroline Era (1603–1714): These are sort of lumped together b/c of the unification of Scotland and England. Scottish king James VI takes the throne in England until strictly Puritanical Oliver Cromwell kicks him off. Charles II is eventually restored to the throne. England & Scotland unite to form The United Kingdom, and the colonization of The Americas begins.
Georgian Era (1714–1830): The reign of The George’s. The emergence of Gothic fiction(Wapole, Radcliffe) and the romantic poets (Blake, Byron, Shelley). The Napoleonic Wars ravage relations between GB and France. Fashion trends range from skirts over small to large hoops (thanks, Marie Antoinette) in the early 1700’s to more empire-styled dresses that would flow naturally over softly corseted waists. *Most regency romances are set during the Georgian era* Hullo, Ms. Austen.
Victorian Era (1837–1901): The reign of Queen Victoria and her Pax Britannica. The East India Trading Company ruled, and the Industrial revolution changed the face of the world. Gowns went from slim to puffy again with emphasis on sleeves (think Scarlet O’Hara), then back to somewhat a more natural A-line form toward the late 19th century. Corsets were standard, once again.
Edwardian Era (1901–1910) Victoria’s son, Edward takes the throne upon her death. Science and technology rule, as do an increase in leisurely sports and activities. The first Nobel prizes are awarded. Fashion becomes more relaxed and flowing, and the corset begins to see its final days.
Wassa’ Regency Romance? The term “Regency Romance” can be applied to romance novels set during the 19th century (or Regency Period). A standard regency romance would be anything by Jane Austen, for example. Staples of a regency romance: references to the ton, arranged marriages, balls, carriage rides, fittings, “Prinny,” aka Prince George, etc.
It seems most novels I read are sort of modern regency romances (“RR”), the biggest difference being the SMEXY scenes that are commonly glossed over in traditional RR’s. I love a good carriage sex scene. HA!
I found this kick ass website, too: A Regency Lexicon. For all those times characters refer to places, things, or events that you’re not 100% what they mean but you get the general gist. Almack’s? Check.
Hope I have enlightened you. I enlightened myself.