I have a soft spot in my heart for historical fiction novels set in England during the Georgian and Regency eras. Why? There are so many reasons, but I’ll condense them down to eight:
1. I love stepping back in time.
Reading a novel set in the past is like discovering your own personal time machine. I love being immersed in all the sights, sounds, and smells of a time gone by, and experiencing, through the characters’ eyes, thoughts, and feelings, what it was like to live in another era. The Georgian and Regency eras are particularly appealing to me because it’s the time in which Jane Austen lived and wrote. Jane grew up during the Georgian era, which began in 1714 and spanned the reigns of the first four Hanoverian kings of Great Britain who were all named George. The Regency (which we more readily associate with Austen) was a brief sub-period of the Georgian era between 1811 and 1820, when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and his son, the Prince of Wales, ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent.
It’s such fun to read about the way people lived then, and to spend time with them in their country houses, where even the poorest of the gentry class had servants to wait on them. Nobody in Austen’s novels is ever seen doing anything we’d recognize today as work. They ride horses, drive in carriages, play cards, play music, sing, read, sew, embroider, draw, paint, hunt, take long walks in the shrubbery, and dance at balls. Of course, it took servants to make all that leisure time possible—but what fun it is to lose ourselves in what seems like a lovely, fairy tale existence.