Just the other day, I was reading a top-selling Regency book (NOT by one of the Austen Authors) and I have to confess, I’m really glad it was on Kindle Unlimited because it was…to be perfectly honest…awful.
As I writer, I strive for a lot of things: authenticity and accuracy are two of them. This is harder to do with Regency than any other genre, in my opinion. There are so many self-professed experts that write and read the Regency genre that there will always be someone who chimes up with a complaint or observed error.
A perfect example is the “season.” Different sources have the “season” when all of the upper crust of English society went to London as being over winter vs. into spring. Most websites that I found agree that “…the London Season coincided with the sitting of Parliament ” (http://www.literary-liaisons.com/article024.html).
However, some websites say that was after Christmas while others state it was after Easter!
Additionally I found a lot of disagreement as to when it ended:
Jane Austen World: Mid-June
The History Box: Early April to Late July
I found a slew of other websites, mostly by authors, who continue to give additional dates: April to August 12th (yes, the12th–not the 11th or 10th, but the 12th); January to June; etc.
And then there is the issue with special licenses. In The Wedding of Shire Hall, my couple married by a special license. Before the fact checkers cringe, let me reassure everyone that, yes, my hero obtained it through the bishop of Canterbury and yes, my hero was connected. My hero wanted to marry Amanda in the garden, not a chapel. So that’s why he went to that effort. But I do believe that readers who are experts in the Regency era need to remember that these books are works of fiction and that sometimes requires some creative liberties on the part of the author as well as creative forgiveness on the part of the (expert) reader.
I suppose the bottom line is that there is only so much research one can do and then, as an author, we have to take the plunge and figure out what is the best we can do with such a wide-spread scattering of “facts.” After all, even the best of us cannot ensure that every little detail is correct in our work of fiction because (gasp) we didn’t live through that era of time! Oh that I could have! Well, if I could have but as a daughter of an earl or duke or something romantic like that.
See? That’s the romance writer in me!
But, while I am new to the world of Regency writing (under the name Catherine Eleanor) and I do not profess to being an expert on this time-period for the reasons mentioned above, I am NOT new to writing. I have over 40 novels published, the majority of them published between five different publishers. Thanks to those publishers, I have learned a lot about editing and proofreading (not just once or twice but a bazillion times). It doesn’t matter, though. No matter how often you proofread, there WILL be a typo. And some reader will find it. 🙂
With this particular author, I was stunned at the number of blatant, obvious errors in the book. Little things like “…she gave him a the credulous look she gave him…” That’s a HUGE error. And my favorite is the use of the same word multiple times in the same sentence:
She looked at the mirror and saw him looking at her. While they looked at each other, she realized he looked like his father.
OK, I’m making that up but you get the picture, right? Immediately, I began to look for another book to read (enter Amanda Quick to the rescue).
Anyway, if you are a reader of the Regency genre, you should know that authors, as a rule, do work hard to provide a great story with authentic details in a well-written literary style. When one of those ingredients is very obviously missing, well, there’s always one of the Austen Authors to fill in the gap! 😀