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The Jaunty Quills are pleased to welcome debut historical author, Jennifer Delamere!!  Her new book sounds fabulous.  Comment on her post and enter for a chance to win it!  

What image do you have in your mind of the Victorians? Stodgy and repressed? Or wildly imaginative and inventive, like the characters in Steampunk novels?

 I’m here today to tell you why I find the Victorians so much fun to write about.

When I decided to write a historical romance, I got out my paper and quill (or, if you will, my 1874 Remington Model 1 typewriter), and the first question I naturally had to ask myself was: which time period will I set it in? (Hint: the typewriter really made the writing easier!)

Like many romance readers, I love books set in Regency England. Regencies are wildly popular, and for good reason. But here’s the thing: I don’t really know much about the Regency period, outside of what I’ve gleaned from novels.

On the other hand, I’ve been happily immersed in Victoriana for years. I’ve read many fascinating histories about Victorian life. I’ve read so many novels by authors of the time, such as Charles Dickens and others, that my head was already in that era, so to speak. I’ve been a big fan of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operettas (written in the 1870s and 1880s) ever since my parents took me to my first production when I was twelve. When it comes to theater, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is one of my favorite plays. 

When I read Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (written in 1851), and subsequently found the fantastic BBC miniseries starring Richard Armitage, that sealed the deal. I knew then that I loved the world of the Victorians. Their lives were endlessly changing, always in flux, with the old order being challenged by the rise of factories and trains and telegraphs and new wealth, and all the endless inventions that were beginning to turn their world into one we’d recognize today.

In the early to mid-Victorian era (1840-1870) Englandbegan rising to a position of world prominence in trade, manufacturing, and colonization. The worlds of science were opening up in ways never before imagined. That glory would begin to fade toward the end of the century, but at the time the future seemed full of enormous promise. An Heiress at Heart and the next two books in the series are set right in the middle of that era. Many events that were bringing sweeping changes to England and the world—including the rise of the railroads, the invention of photography, and even the Australian gold rush—are going to have an enormous impact on the lives of my characters.

So I hope you will journey with me into the exciting and ever-changing lives of the Victorians. And while I’ll be the first to admit that the fashions of the Regency period were on the whole much more appealing, the bell-shaped dresses of the mid-Victorian era—before the tight skirts and bustles came in—could be beautiful, too.

And, lest you think the Victorians never had any irreverent “fun,” allow me to refer you once again to Gilbert and Sullivan and Oscar Wilde. Even in this brave, new world there is still plenty of room for humor and romance.

If you are a historical romance reader, do you read Regencies only? Or do you have some other favorite time period? If you’ve read Victorian-set romances, what did you like best about them?  I’ll be giving away a copy of An Heiress at Heart to one lucky person who comments. 

Jennifer Delamere earned her B.A. in English fromMcGillUniversity in Montreal,Canada, where she also became fluent in French and developed an abiding passion for winter sports. She’s been an editor of educational materials for over fifteen years. She loves reading classics and histories, which she mines for the details to bring to life the people and places in her books.

Book excerpt:  You can read an excerpt from An Heiress at Heart here: http://www.jenniferdelamere.com/books/heiressatheart.php

Website address:  www.jenniferdelamere.com

Twitter: @JenDelamere

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennifer.delamere

 

 


49 thoughts on “The Victorians? Really? Why?

  1. I love Victorian-set books! Maybe it’s the clothes… ;-) Good luck with your book, Jennifer!

    1. Thank you, Kristan! I love reading contemporary romances too, especially when they have lovely humor in them like yours! I’m excited to be here today with such a wonderful group of authors.

  2. Sandi in OH says:

    I enjoy historicals in any period. I dislike tying myself to just one time period. I am the history nut in the family so I don’t want to miss anything.

    1. Sandi, I’m like you–I love reading in all time periods. There is always something fascinating to learn. Sometimes it’s like discovering a new world.

  3. Emily McKay says:

    I *love* Victorian set books. That’s my cp writes … oh, wait, you all know Robyn.
    But seriously, what’s not to love? The clothes, the inventions. the romance of it all!
    This weekend at the Vegas Valley Book Festival, they’re having a Steampunk Ball. I’m so excited. (And finally have my outfit together!)
    But I got the funniest looks while I was shopping. When I told people I wanted something Steampunk, either they’d say “Oh, I love Steampunk!” or “Is that like ’80′s punk?”
    No. And it’s not like ’70′s punk either.

    1. Emily, that would be funny to show up in 70s punk! I love the Steampunk fashions, and I’m just now starting to read the books. Sometimes I think it would be fun to write one, but I’d have to hit up my mechanically inclined husband for ideas about inventions. And I love Robyn’s books! I love books that are filled with adventure.

  4. Shana Shana says:

    Welcome, Jennifer! I write Regencies but also read Victorians. I like the clothes better in the Victorian era, but it is weird to me to read an historical with cameras, trains, etc. It throws me a bit. I like the primitiveness of the Regency era.

    1. Shana, it’s rare to find folks who prefers Victorian clothes to Regency. I find plenty to love about both kinds. Certainly the Victorians must have been warmer in the winter! The Regency gowns always look so lightweight.

  5. Laurie G says:

    I immediately thought I like the Regency time period.

    I like the glamour of the debutantes attending a Ton ball. The role of the aristocracy and royalty vs the commoners in everyday life.
    The men’s clubs like Whites for gambling and the horse races. I think of travel in carriages or on a horse.
    Lots of scandalous behavior!

    When I think of Victorian I think of repression in clothes and behavior. However I also think of inventions, train travel and going up in a hot air balloon

    1. Laurie, you’ve listed all the reasons why I also love Regencies! It seems like a lighter, more frothy kind of time. But I hope my books will highlight some of the lighter side of the Victorians too.

  6. Stefanie D says:

    I read everything I can get my hands on: from medieval to regency to Victorian. It’s amazing to read about all the inventions in that time period. They changed our lives!

    Who knows what we would be doing right now if they hadn’t been around to invent and modernize all these things. Maybe I would be out in the yard milking the cows… :mrgreen:

    1. Yes, thank goodness for all the labor-saving inventions we have today! I had fun imagining what it would be like to see a photograph for the very first time, or to ride a train–to go at the amazingly fast speed of 40-60 mph! That seems like nothing to us now, but imagine if you had never traveled those speeds before. It must have been dizzying, and perhaps both terrifying and exhilarating.

  7. LilMissMolly says:

    Your book sounds wonderful and exactly the type of book I enjoy reading. Congrats on its release!

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy reading it!

  8. ellie says:

    I read Historicals which are always compelling and memorable. Your novel sounds wonderful and great. The era is appealing for the mores, clothing and lifestyle.

    1. Thank you, Ellie! I love reading historicals, because I always feel like I’ve come away learning something new about the time period.

  9. pearl says:

    Historical romances novel are unique and special. their view of the world and their inventiveness is impressive. Best wishes on your release.

    1. Thanks, Pearl! My goal is to share some of the excitement of all the changes and new inventions in my books.

  10. Terri Brisbin says:

    Jennifer – thanks for joining us and congrats on your first book! WOOOHHOOOO!

    I do like reading Victorian historical romances as well as Regencies. Far enough in the past to feel historical but not too….LOL.

    The dress pictured in the blog is stunning! Simply stunning…

    1. Thank you, Terri! I’m thrilled with my book release and so happy to be here today! I love your books–especially the time travel stories! I’ve always been drawn to time travel tales. Perhaps that desire to visit another time is what makes me enjoy writing historicals. That, and wishing I owned a dress like that blue silk one!

  11. Anne says:

    Congratulations on this wonderful release. I read most period romances. I do enjoy those set during the wars but Edwardian times are fascinating as well. Thanks for this fascinating post.

    1. Anne, I really enjoy books set during the Edwardian times, too. Watching Downton Abbey has certainly renewed my interest in that era!

  12. Very much looking forward to reading your book. I am a beginning writer and have chosen the Victorian England setting because it was such a time of change. Changing society can drive many interesting plot lines, don’t you think? Enjoyed your post and look forward to more. Thanks!

    1. Diane- Yes, it’s true that all those changes make great fodder for plot lines. It opens the door for stories about people from all walks of life–not just the titled folk or gentry. Those who became rich due to their own hard work and industry had quite a time getting “accepted” by the “old money.” It’s a fun aspect to explore. And good luck with your writing!

    2. Diane Peterson, congratulations on winning a copy of An Heiress at Heart! Please contact me at Jennifer(at)jenniferdelamere(dot)com to give me your mailing address and I’ll get a book out to you.

  13. catslady says:

    I’m an equal opportunity reader – I love it all lol. I enjoy variety so I like a bit of everything. This way I’m never bored and I learn so much on the way :)

    1. You just described exactly how I feel!

  14. Na S. says:

    I like reading about various historical settings. They make wonderful escapes. When I think of of Victorian settings what comes to mind is goth and mysteries. Often the hero and heroine are forward-thinking and problem-solvers. As long as the characters interests me I know I’ll enjoy it no matter the era.

    1. Forward-thinking and problem solvers–that’s a good description of the Victorians. I once had a supervisor who (astoundingly) told me I was too “solution oriented”–as though looking to solve problems was a bad thing! Perhaps my having that quality explains why I’m so drawn to the Victorians!

  15. diane says:

    Historical novels offer me an excellent realm to explore and a special place to escape to. The lives they lead and the vivid descriptions always have me captivated.

    1. Yes, that “other-worldliness” of the past is certainly appealing!

  16. Chelsea B. says:

    I love everything about romances set in the past. Well, romance in general. But there is something about the past, where something as simple as holding hands, was a really big thing, and that makes it so romantic. Le sigh… :smile:

    1. That’s so true, Chelsea! I remember the first time I saw the 1995 film of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion”–how hard they had to work just to get to that one simple kiss at the end, and what a tremendous and lovely victory it was! Something oddly satisfying in that.

  17. Johanna Jochum says:

    I like historicals in any period but I do prefer Regencies. I like Georgian ones as well. Thanks for sharing with us today! :lol:

    1. Thank you, Johanna! Yes, Regencies are always popular! It seems that the number of Georgian romances is growing too. I hope you’ll give the Victorians a try!

  18. Barbara Elness says:

    I read quite a bit of historical romance and although I read a lot of Regencies (because there are a lot of them), I really enjoy reading romances set in the Victorian era. What I like is that while they’re not “modern,” they’re beginning to get there. There are new inventions and discoveries happening, people are a bit better off in some cases, especially women – I think it’s an exciting time and the stories reflect that.

    1. As I studied the Victorian era, it was heartening to see the way people’s lives gradually improved in all sorts of ways. Seeing the beginnings of so many things that we take for granted now does make writing during that time very interesting indeed.

  19. May says:

    I love historicals in general. :) No particular favorites.

    Congrats on your book! It sounds great!

    1. Thank you, May! It’s nice to find readers who will try a variety of times and settings.

  20. Ann s. says:

    The book sounds wonderful, I enjoyed reading your description of a bit of the Victorian time period. I haven’t read a Victorian romance before, usually regency or western, but the excerpt really intrigued me. Thank you.

    1. Thank you, Ann! Hope you’ll take a chance on reading a Victorian romance!

  21. bn100 says:

    I like historicals. No favorite time period.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting! It’s always nice to find readers open to any time period.

  22. So glad you could be with us today, Jennifer!

    1. Thank you, Nancy! It’s been a thrill to visit this blog!

  23. Linda says:

    Congrats on your release! Added to my wishlist & looking forward to reading it (winning a copy would be more than awesome).

    I’ll read any period as long as it’s historical and well written.

    1. Thank you, Linda! I agree–well-written historicals of any time period open so many interesting world and ideas.

  24. Diane says:

    I love hysterical novels. I never enjoyed periods, that’s why I am glad I am over 50. Seriously, there seems to be so many elements that are beyond control in the Victorian time period. Be it political, social class, environmental, illnesses – so much to be at the mercy of, life moves between control, decisions, and almost powerless struggles. Can wait to read your book, Jennifer. I am going to buy myself an early holiday present. . . your book.

  25. Janie McGaugh says:

    I used to avoid the Victorian era, I think because I didn’t like the first couple of Victorian romances I read (some years back). More recently, though, I’ve tried others and found that there are many that I do like. The Regency era is still my favorite, though. My favorite thing about Victorian romances is that (some) women are starting to have a place outside the home.

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