Time for another book recipe! This time I’ll be looking at Regency romances. Grab your parasol and let’s get started!
- One beautiful yet feisty heroine
- One brooding, hot hero with pots of money
- A token rival
- More dance parties than you could possibly imagine
- A fine dusting of historical facts
- A handful of supportive servants to fill time until the hero gets here
- Unbelievably frilly names
- Give your feisty heroine a ridiculously long name and an incredibly detailed physical description.
- She must wed, for plot reasons!
- Introduce your hero. If he can’t be described as ‘swoon-worthy’, start again.
- Time for a ball. Don’t forget to talk about the fancy dresses!
- The hero and heroine are immediately attracted to each other, but can’t do anything about it because of all the corsets.
- The hero says/does a thing that causes a rift! The heroine now thinks he is a bounder and a cad.
- Throw in a ball. Make sure to describe everyone’s outfits.
- The rival appears! He, or she, is clearly ALL WRONG.
- The hero and heroine have a series of tense conversations about nothing in particular. They’re all secretly about the fact that they really want to have sex.
- Time for another ball. What else are the characters going to do?
- Wouldn’t it be terrible if the hero and heroine had to work together to help out a random background character? JK THAT’S WHAT’S HAPPENING RIGHT NOW
- The hero and heroine have a conversation without blatantly insulting each other. THEY’RE MEANT TO BE YOU GUYS
- The rival is messing things up, oh no! Better go and lean meaningfully against something in the rain.
- Throw another dance party.
- Our hero makes an impassioned declaration of love. The heroine compromises her honour by letting him kiss her/see her ankles.
- But now the hero must go away for secret reasons!
- EVERYTHING IS RUINED
- The heroine stands on the brink of a very bad thing! She might fall into terrible poverty, or have to marry the rival, or turn twenty-two before she’s found a husband!
- The hero returns! The secret reasons are revealed and they’re always unbearably fluffy.
- Get married! Celebrate by throwing another ball, because it’s been a while.
THE END. Serve with plenty of tea.
- Give everyone the poshest-sounding names you can possibly think of. The heroine is allowed to shorten hers into a fun and quirky nickname, but no-one else is allowed. Apart from servants, but we don’t care about them.
- Worried the setting might feel unrealistic? Flick through Wikipedia and drop in a couple of historical facts. It doesn’t matter what they’re about or how they’re delivered – it’s authentic.
- Make sure your readers know the heroine is feisty by having her ride around on horses, loudly contradict people (including herself), and express opinions from the twenty-first century. There can never be any consequences for this.
- Have your characters speak to each other in the twiddliest way possible, because it’s olden times. Pick a couple of fancy phrases: ‘ghastly’, ‘I say!’, and ‘how perfectly thrilling’ are all solid bets.
- Never ever talk explicitly about sex. Your characters don’t have genitals, they have ‘flowers’ and ‘manhoods’.
- Chuck in as many titles as you can possibly find, the fancier the better.
And here’s one I prepared earlier…
The Lady Isabella Marietta Cressida Belle deLisle-Beaumont ran into the marble folly, breathing hard. Her flaming auburn hair was like a red waterfall – literally, because it was raining. Her delicate eau-de-nil muslin gown with the pearl buttons was soaked through, her dove-grey kid gloves clung to her fingers and her magnolia cashmere shawl, once so fine with its silver and gold embroidery, had been trailing in the mud.
Not that she cared how she looked, of course. How she looked meant nothing now. She leant against the pillar and stared out into the rain.
She knew she could not stay long. Sir Humphrey Thingington-Chomsfandleigh had said nothing when she rushed from the ballroom, no doubt remembering her lady mother. But soon he would come looking for her, and when he did she would have to explain about the vile, ghastly, repulsive Viscount Edgar Garbert-Smythe. The way he had looked at her, stroking his horrible black moustache – why, it was worse than the news that General de Malet had not managed to overthrow Napoleon in Paris in October 1812.
To think that she might actually have to marry him…
“Lady deLisle-Beaumont? Is that you?”
An incredibly deep, manly voice like smooth, smooth velvet came from somewhere over her shoulder. Lady Isabella went all tingly.
She turned, and saw Lieutenant George Fitzroy – all six and a half feet of him. His dark hair was attractively damp from the rain and there was water running down his razor-sharp cheekbones. Lady Isabella would have stabbed a man in the eye to be one of those raindrops. Then, she remembered the lieutenant was a bounder and a cad. He’d said such terrible things about dear Miss Cecily de Clare and she could never forgive him.
Lady Isabella drew herself up. “Have you come to gloat, sir?”
He frowned. It was the most perfect frown she had ever seen. “I beg your pardon?”
“I take it you know that Viscount Garbert-Smythe has made my father an offer. The first commercial cheese factory has opened in Switzerland and the Viscount has made millions from it. He wants my hand in marriage for shares in his enormous shipping company. Well, you were right, sir. My father means to see me married, no matter what I think.”
Lieutenant Fitzroy snarled, but sexily. “If he likes the man so much, he should marry him!”
“I would completely support that, but the Viscount doesn’t want Father, no matter how many love letters he writes. He wants me. And I have no choice!”
Lieutenant Fitzroy turned away. Lady Isabella leaned back against the pillar again. From that angle she had a very nice view of his bum.
She sighed, and forced herself to look away. “If only women could own property outright, vote, and have the means of making a respectable independent living!”
“Is wealth all your father wants? Does he not care for your happiness?”
Lady Isabella glared at him. “If I do not marry my family will lose everything! You could never understand!”
He whirled around and strode towards her. He pulled her close against his incredibly broad chest. Suddenly, Lady Isabella was thinking of flowers bursting into bloom, very tall and thick trees, and other metaphors that were making her feel quite hot and bothered. Lieutenant Fitzroy stared at her, intense and brooding.
“Then marry me!”
She gasped. “What are you saying?”
“Good God, woman! I adore you! I do not care about your Father’s questionable taste in potential boyfriends! Your misguided choice of a shawl embroidered in both silver and gold means nothing to me! I only know that without you my life was as empty and meaningless as…as…”
“As Napoleon’s attempts to invade Russia?”
He smiled, and tenderly brushed a lock of auburn hair away from her face. “Yes,” he murmured, “exactly.”
“Oh George,” she whispered, “do you mean it?”
“With all my heart. I have urgent business to attend to first, but when I return…”
“Business? What kind of business?”
“Oh, you know. Thoroughly honourable and above board man-business. I’ll tell you about it when we’re married. But I swear, my love, the moment I return we shall be wed! Now, kiss me!”
Lady Isabella blushed. “But George, we’re not married!”
He grinned, rakishly. “Yes, well.”
They kissed, and it was great. It was a good thing George had proposed, Lady Isabella thought. If anyone had seen them she was ruined. But if they married quickly, her honour would remain intact.
They went back to Thingington Manor together, arm in arm. Lady Isabella did not mind the rain now; it made George’s clothes all wet and clingy.
In the marble folly behind them, Viscount Edgar Garbert-Smythe stepped out from behind a marble pillar. He twirled his black moustache and sneered thoughtfully.
“Make no mistake, Lady deLisle-Beaumont,” he muttered, “you shall be mine.”
Let me know what you’d like me to look at next – and as always, take this recipe with a pinch of salt.