Allerednic – A Regency Tale
^ To go to Amazon, click above title ^
First, let me give you a VERY BASIC idea of the Regency novel style (from wikipedia): “Traits …. include a highly developed sense of social standing on the part of the characters, emphasis on “manners” and class issues, and the emergence of modern social thought among the upper classes of England.” “Works during this period stressed strong emotion as a source of aesthetic experience, placing new emphasis on such emotions as anxiety, horror, and the awe experienced when confronting the sublimity of nature.” “A marriage based on love was rarely an option for most women in the British Regency, as securing a steady and sufficient income was the first consideration for both the woman and her family. This is most likely why this period yielded so many examples of literary romance: it gave many women the opportunity to live vicariously through the novel’s heroine, who generally married someone she loved deeply.”
Now, if you read my review of Past Forward, you might understand why it was very tedious and difficult for me to get through the first third of this book. I identify with Willow from Past Forward: creative, doing dirty work, not worrying all that much about her appearance and clearly speaking her mind. The constant fuss about appearance, austerity, decorum .. it just doesn’t do it for me.
After the first third of Allerednic, the story started to unfold and I finally settled in to finish it. I will not tell you the story – I don’t even want to summarize it, because I’m a big believer in the reader learning all the details. Besides, the summary that the author approves is already available on Amazon.
Based on the authors other novels, this was a huge change from her style. She made the transition well and by reading this, I have been encouraged to give other novels of that style a try. I felt the first third was a bit slow and I am not sure if it is a convention of the style or if it was possibly the extreme style change. I didn’t find an emotional attachment to the characters, but I think it’s because they hide behind all the social “foofery”. We did get a better glimpse into their deeper thoughts and spiritual struggles after the first third. I believe that’s what encouraged me to keep going.
During a discussion between Jasper Seyton, the “leading man” and Worley (Jasper’s valet), they were deliberating about Jasper discussing weaknesses and faults with Lady Charlotte, the woman who he was interested in marrying. Worley said this “It would be a refreshing approach to the current fashion of hiding one’s defects in the hopes that one never finds them again.” I think that summarizes the defect in the extreme emphasis on social propriety. You can never really know a person in a deeper way, only what they are willing to make visible to society. While our society has gone so far to the other side now, it would be refreshing to have a little more restraint, I still wouldn’t want life to go back to the Regency era.
Give this book a try, if you are like me, just push through all the fooferall in the first third to get to the good stuff. If I can do it, you can too. Have a good read.