Extensive article on the subject and great read.

During the Regency and into the Victorian era, the London social season was particularly busy from April to the end of June, but events were held throughout the winter, starting when Parliament returned in late January and included military reviews, dinner parties, and charity events, and went on to the end of July. Débutante (French for female beginner) balls were a highlight, hosted at the grand houses of the aristocracy. Lord Byron referred to these galas as marriage marts, because it was the best venue for young ladies to encounter possible suitors.

Source: “Coming Out” During the Early Victorian Era; about debutantes | Kate Tattersall Adventures


The famous Fabio romance covers of the 1980s and ’90s were glorious, embarrassing, corny, sexy, or off putting, depending on whom you ask. Because of their prominence, Fabio is shorthand for a man with flowing locks, gripping a comely woman against his glossy, hairless chest in a pose known as a clinch.

While Fabio may be the joke romance played on itself, the joke is also on those who can’t get past him — they’re missing out on the fun.

Source: Fabio Romance Novel Covers: A Brief History By The Numbers

The Dashwood Sisters.  Could there be anything more entertaining than these two women?  They are as different as night and day and both on a pursuit for husbands. Elinor bears everything with quiet decorum and sense. Marianne is outspoken and seeks the thrills of romantic fellowship with no sense at all.

Sense and Sensibility is one of my favorite Austen works. It was her first novel written in 1795 at the age of 19 and was accepted by a publisher and put into print in 1811 (at her own expense, I might add for all you indies out there).  Though I’m not an Austen expert by any means, I’m thankful for the many resources available online about her life and works from people who are.  I have had the good fortune of seeing part of her manuscript for Persuasion at the London Library penned in her own hand with the name of Captain Wentworth on the page.

I’m not quite sure what it is about this story. Perhaps it’s the yearning for love and silent pining inside the hearts of women that draws me so strongly to their characters.  As females, we probably all have a bit of Elinor and Marianne in each of us.

Elinor, who loves the steady, kindhearted, humble man in the form of Edward Ferrars, is the sensible sister of the two.  She bears her love and disappointment with quiet restraint while dealing with her sister’s outward and passionate emotions regarding Willoughby.

Though I’ve never had a sister, the fact that they are so different as night and day is entertaining to me.  Austen does a wonderful job with each of them telling the other about their own exasperation over the other’s personality. Hear how Marianne scolds her sister.

“I do not attempt to deny,” said she, “that I think very highly of him—that I greatly esteem, that I like him.”  Marianne here burst forth with indignation.  “Esteem him! Like him! Cold-hearted Elinor! Oh! worse than cold-hearted! Ashamed of being otherwise. Use those words again, and I will leave the room this moment.”

Then there is Marianne — brokenhearted Marianne whose life nearly ends because she cannot have the man she loves.  Marianne, of course, is undoubtedly the romantic at heart in this story compared to her sister Elinor who keeps everything hidden for the sake of propriety.  Marianne lost all good sense when it came to her infatuation with Willoughby.  Gregarious, passionate, and handsome Willoughby fits perfectly into her idealist qualifications of what a gentleman should be. “Mama, the more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much! He must have all Edward’s virtues, and his person and manners must ornament his goodness with every possible charm.”

Though Marianne is happy for her sister’s budding relationship with Edward, she clearly expresses her thoughts of the deficits of his personality in her eyes. “Oh! mama, how spiritless, how tame was Edward’s manner in reading to us last night! I felt for my sister most severely. Yet she bore it with so much composure, she seemed scarcely to notice it. I could hardly keep my seat. To hear those beautiful lines which have frequently almost driven me wild, pronounced with such impenetrable calmness, such dreadful indifference!” 

For me, Marianne represents all of the girlish and hopeful feelings we possess at 16 years of age regarding love.  Our hearts are filled with romantic notions of being swept off our feet by the most amiable of men, who can recite to us poetry with heartfelt enunciation that brings tears to our eyes. They rescue us when in distress, are attentive, offer flowers, cut locks of our hair to keep with them, and promise to adore us for all eternity.

Elinor, on the other hand, is the more mature young woman who sees the wonder of what love can be but also recognizes the cruel hurt and devastation it can bring to a female’s heart.  She not only sees the terrible effects of a broken heart nearly bringing her dearest sister to death’s door, but she also bears the heartache of love lost to another.

As far as modern adaptations on screen, we have been blessed with two beautiful renditions of Sense and Sensibility in film and television.  The 1995 movie version with Kate Winslet and Emma Thompson is a wonderful condensed version. My favorite, however, probably because it is much longer is the 2008 BBC version starring Hattie Morahan and Charity Wakefield.  The choice of characters for Edward and Colonel Brandon excited me a bit more, as well as the cinematography.

Do you relate to Elinor or Marianne?  Are you the sensible sister or the whimsical sister?  In historical romance, I love to examine characters, and Jane Austen gives us wonderful ones to enjoy.

1995 Movie 2008 BBC TV
Emma Thompson
Hattie Morahan
Kate Winslet
Charity Wakefield

1995 Movie 2008 BBC TV
Hugh Grant
Dan Stevens
Greg Wise
Dominic Connor
Alan Rickman
David Morrissey

Author Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series of novels is as delightful as the hit Netflix show adapted from it. Luckily, many viewers getting into the world of Bridgerton means quite a few new readers will head to their libraries or local bookstores to check out the books that inspired the show.

Source: 10 Books Like ‘Bridgerton’ To Read When You Need More Romance

I have a Google alert for anything new that comes up under the term “historical romance.”  The past four alerts have been jammed pack with news about Bridgerton and how it’s the next best thing on Netflix to tickle our romantic souls. This review, however, is a rather scathing one in the opposite direction.  Three days to release!  What will you think about this drama based off Julian Quinn’s popular series?

Bridgerton tries to put a fresh perspective on historical romance, but it forgets to be interesting. “As a huge fan of historical romance, I once longed for Netflix to make a lush, extravagant, twisty series in the vein of the books I loved. But now that it’s actually gone ahead and made one, I’ve found that I have to eat my words.”

Source: Bridgerton review: Netflix’s new drama is as shallow as its aristocrats – Vox

Bridgerton is one of the most-anticipated premieres of the season. Here are a few changes the Netflix adaptation can and should make to the source material.

Source: How Bridgerton Can Avoid Outlander’s Mistakes | Den of Geek

This is a must-read article that brings up key questions about source materials in books and adaptations to screen.  There will be deviations from Julia Quinn’s books in both race and sexual encounters.  There are also good comparisons to Outlander and Poldark, which were adapted to screen.

It raises the question:

  • Do you prefer historical romance to be accurate to the times in which people lived?
    OR
  • Do you prefer that history be adjusted in historical romance to be in tune with today’s movements towards race equality, the me-too campaign, or sexual orientation?

Feel free to comment.

ViacomCBS agreed to sell the 96-year-old company in a deal that potentially creates a megapublisher.  A spokesman for Bertelsmann said Penguin Random House had lost market share in recent years and cited Amazon as a competitive threat to the overall book market. The combination of Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster would be “below 20 percent,” the company said, citing data from the Association of American Publishers, an industry trade group.

Source: Penguin Random House to Buy Simon & Schuster

What does this mean for readers and authors?  Some of your favorite historical romance authors who are under Penguin contracts are Evie Dunmore, Mary Balogh, Amy Rose Bennet, and others.  From Simon & Shuster are Julia London, Meridith Duran, and others.  The pricey eBook prices from these two traditional publishers of $7.99 and up are no doubt competing with the lower-priced historical romance novels from independent authors on Amazon.  The competition for readers is fierce, and the industry is changing to survive.

Just don’t call them “ugly.”

Ellen Mirojnick on the Featheringtons’ dresses and historical accuracy. Netflix’s upcoming Regency drama Bridgerton promises plenty of sumptuous, tastefully designed gowns—and a few not-so-tastefully-designed ones.

Source: Bridgertons on Netflix: Costume designer Ellen Mirojnick on the Featheringtons’ dresses and historical accuracy.