Kate Allan

The online diary of Kate Allan, author

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Regency 'fiction'

Maili's observations, and Lady Tess and Emma Gad's responses on that fictional world which is Regency-England-according-to-the-laws-of-historical-romance has got me thinking. But I'm not thinking anything new from when I deliberately set out to write Regency which reflected more what I consider reality, than the costume dramas of many romances.

The reality is in the detail.

I've written two Regency romances which will be published next year by DC Thomson:

In A Notorious Deception, which is set in 1810, I had great fun researching canal transport. Did you know that there were canal passenger packet boats in the days before the railways, for example, the Padddington packet which carried passengers from Uxbridge up the Grand Junction Canal to London? The first part of the story takes place in Brentford, Middlesex. It was really interesting looking into the local history of the town and seeing how it was in Regency times. It was quite a well-to-do place, noted for its good shopping. My brief historical notes are here.

In Journey to Love, which I was revising earlier this year, the majority of the action takes place on the road from York to London. They pass through, for example, a town called Selby south of York, and I managed to find on the internet a near contemporary gazette of the town, and some pictures of the town and the River Ouse, and it's toll bridge. It's so great to be able to write this into the story:

‘Miss Oakley?’ a low voice was saying.
‘Oh! Oh dear!’ She must have fallen asleep! Bella felt her cheeks go red as she righted herself. Was it lunchtime already? The coach had stopped and they were in a town.
‘The coachman is paying the toll for the bridge,’ Mr Davenport said and smiled. The way he looked at her made her want to blush all the more. ‘We are in Selby.’
Bella stared out of the window, where the breeze coming in was thankfully cool. The horses jolted and walked over the magnificent draw bridge over the river which was bustling with ships and packet boats.

(c) K Allan, 2005

The Lady Soldier is a romance because romance is central to the story, but it's too real and breaks so many 'rules' that no romance publisher was going to be able to fit it into what is published as historical romance.

So it's being marketed as historical fiction. Which it is. There's plenty of action / adventure. It's set in the Army and the characters drink, and swear, and kill people. There is no brushing under the carpet, or using of a rose-tinted view.

I'm glad about this because romance readers will find it a little different from what they are used to, and hopefully a more satisfying read in the end precisely because the saccarine is not there.

I hope.


  • At 4:49 pm, Anonymous Pamela Cleaver said…

    Did you know that CS Forester used that canal boat journey in one of his books when Hornblower had to get to London in double quick time? Horatio helped 'leg' the boat through one of the tunnels.


  • At 3:41 pm, Anonymous Jill said…

    Loved the look into your upcoming books!


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