I’ve got a new book out and surprise, surprise it’s not a historical. THE RELUCTANT WIFE is my first contemporary and it was both strange, and exciting, writing it.
I wanted to write a story based on a fertility issue that affects about one third of women, including me-endometriosis. The characters, Abby Taylor and Conte Dante Lombardi, jumped immediately into my head, but the theme just wouldn’t work in a Regency setting because the condition, and the added complications, would’ve resulted in death. Not really suitable for a romance as there would be no HEA.
It got me thinking about the challenges an author faces when writing a Regency versus a contemporary. There are several plot themes and character types that won’t work in a Regency, but which make fabulous contemporary romances. For instance…
1. Medical conditions that are completely treatable in the modern era, are often death sentences in the early 1800’s, endometriosis being one. Giving birth was infinitely more dangerous, not only for things like breech births but also infections. Child birth was one of the biggest killers of women in the early 1800’s. Then there are simple conditions such as appendicitis, hernias, gallstones, diabetes, anything internal that can now be operated on successfully.
2. Equality – and I mean in almost every walk of life. In the Regency era women had virtually no rights. Their property usually became their husbands. They could not vote. They could not get a divorce easily, in fact, it was virtually impossible. They could be forced into mental asylums because of hysteria. Their schooling was limited to homely topics such as piano, needle-work etc Their ability to move freely and travel was not endorsed. And they had very limiting social conventions to adhere to. They were expected to marry as soon as they left the school-room, usually in an arrangement that was virtually a legalized version of prostitution or slavery.
3. Occupations were almost non-existent for women of the 1800 aristocracy. A woman did not work unless forced to, for instance, due to poverty, and even then they were looked down upon by Society. Women’s choices of employment were very limited because they did not have adequate schooling – nanny, governess, some kind of servant, teacher, or to maintain their lifestyle most commonly a courtesan.
4. Sex – virginity was expected and prized in the 1800’s. There would be no sex before marriage unless with courtesans, and if a woman ‘partook of the sport’ before marriage she was ruined. If a honorable man is caught compromising a ‘lady’ he married her. In addition, men would fight duels over a lady’s honor. Not sure any of my ex’s would have taken up the sword for me – not that I’d want them to!
So I guess it’s not surprising I’ve decided to write both Regency and contemporary romances. It allows me much more leeway in plots and characters. Now the characters crowding my head have to be separated into Regency and Contemporary. I still love the wicked rake and clever ‘lady’ that captures his heart and changes his rakish ways, but it’s fun to focus on contemporary topics and the issues facing women today.
THE RELUCTANT WIFE…I hope you read Dante and Abby’s story. It was a very personal topic and I found it cathartic writing it!
…an intense, passionate rollercoaster of a love story—just perfect!
– USA TODAY bestselling author Natalie Anderson
Abby Taylor walked out on her irresistible husband three years ago. Now she has no choice but to return to Italy to ask him for a favor. To pay for her grandmother’s heart operation she needs his money, but it comes with strings attached.
Conte Dante Lombardi has it all—an Italian villa, a successful family business, and a noble title. But he needs a child to carry on his legacy and time is running out. He also hopes to satisfy the desire Abby rouses in him.
As Abby uncovers why he’s in such a hurry for a child, she falls in love with him again … just as she realizes it might be impossible to keep her end of the deal.
Leave a comment telling me what you think is the main difference between reading a Regency romance and a contemporary and be in to WIN a copy of award winning To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield eBook.
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About the author:
Bronwen loves story-telling – gobbling up movies, reading books and attending the theatre. Her head is always filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer. Find her on her Website | Twitter | Facebook
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