I think I’ve got it down. After reading every regency romance our library carries and some it doesn’t, I’ve finally come to the end of my regency study.
Here is what I’ve found…
1) The heroine will probably be an older woman/widow/debutante for whom it is *almost* too late. Or she may be a lowly gentlewoman facing a lofty duke. If the heroine is not an older woman or a “Cinderella” type, she will be a daring young woman ready to make her come-out who lives almost at the edge of societal standards and thus intrigues the hero who is thrown her way.
2) The hero will be handsome. He will likely join the heroine in some lusty taboo premarital sex.
3) The hero will propose marriage. The heroine will decline for a number of reasons. She wants true love. She has responsibilities. She will feel badly that the hero thinks he *had to propose* and turn him down.
4) Something else will hinder the union. He will discover a secret. She will discover a secret. They both have a different secret. Somehow, some way there’s some kind of deep dark (or not so dark), dare I say it? Secret.
5) If you’re VERY LUCKY, the heroine will use fresh dialogue as you’re reading. If you’re not, you may read “please”, or”mine” for the gagillionth time.
6) The couple will live happily ever after. You’ll probably get to read about their marriage and maybe even a son.
You’ll hear all about Almack’s and balls, Dukes, Earls, & Marquesses, fancy gowns, carriages,waltzes, and maybe even a bit about the French revolution.
The one great benefit as a writer to reading a ton of regency romances in a short period of time is that the plot is limited, characterization is limited, and you can see what makes an interesting writer by the comparison…
By the way, I’m going to try my hand at a Regency Mystery novelette. I’ll keep everyone posted…