|Regency Wedding, image by Louish Pixel, via Flickr|
A more thoughtful answer would have been: To me, romance is getting to know each other, falling in love. Going to bed is the end product, the culmination, not part of the process. As it comes after discoveries, difficulties overcome, and in fiction the author’s efforts to keep lovers apart for 75,000 words or so, it’s an unnecessary coda to the story.
After all, as a neighbour of mine said, we all know what happens after they close the bedroom door. Maybe my attitude is old-fashioned, but my historical setting encouraged my view. Zeitgeist strikes again!
The Babe and the Baron.) Besides the physical cost, the societal cost to the individual was enormous. If the woman was lucky, an illegitimate pregnancy would result in a forced marriage. If no husband could be found, willing, bribed, or coerced to cooperate (v. Lydia Bennett), as Goldsmith put it:
When lovely woman stoops to folly,Poorer women would probably end up on the street—a short life and a miserable one. Among the middle class and the aristocracy, with whom Regency romances are chiefly concerned, an unmarried girl would be ruined forever, shunned by society, hidden away by her family.
And finds too late that men betray,
What charm can sooth her melancholy,
What art can wash her guilt away?
The only art her guilt to cover,
To hide her shame from every eye,
To give repentance to her lover,
And wring his bosom—is to die.
Wild, free, passionate sex was not gloriously romantic, it was a recipe for disaster.
Scandal’s Daughter. For various reasons, the hero and heroine travel together from Istanbul to London. Though not planned that way, the book turned out to be a sort of Regency Perils of Pauline. At the end of almost every chapter, James and Cordelia are in dire danger, only to be rescued in the next. One of the dangers, as far as Cordelia is concerned, is James’s seductive technique, but something always happens at the last moment to save her from the fate worse than death. At one point, it’s the arrival of Greek partisans attacking the Turkish troops who have captured the pair. I had such fun writing that book.
Hebrew version of Mayhem and Miranda.) Pirate Pendragon is now in an e-book anthology, A Second Spring (all the stories have heroines considerably older than the usual 17 to 25 year-olds).
Contrary to what some believe, none of the four publishers for whom I wrote Regencies gave me a formula to follow, and none required explicit sex scenes. So I didn’t write any.
|Carola Dunn is author of the Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries, Cornish Mysteries, and multitudinous Regencies.|