Tag Archive | Dell Candlelight Regency Special

In Search of Romance

With the dearth of romance in my own life, I often rely on stories to make up the difference. Sad to say, but as of late, whether dramas or tacky Regency Romances, nothing is really engaging me. Real life is actually more interesting for once, though no particular romance to be found, but…let’s just say God has an interesting sense of humor.

Here’s what hasn’t worked: Kdramas Doom at Your Service and Touch Your Heart. Not bad stories, good acting, just really slow. Touch Your Heart will probably heat up a bit as I’m not very far into it, but Doom…sometimes chemistry can’t make for a lack of action. The couple(s) are together constantly, but it’s just not exciting. And the second lead love triangle is a lot more interesting than the main romance. Even that, though, falls flat. It’s like dating someone for a long time, but you never really progress or go to the next level or whatever. The relationship is just…there. Which is fine in real life, but to watch, is so boring it’s almost painful.

As for the tacky Regencies: Tried Julianna by Judith Nelson. It was boring, boring, boring. I really did like her short story Christmas at Wickly, though, so might give her another shot if I come across one of her other books at the thrift store. Next, I tried two Candlelight Regency Specials published by Dell and authored by Lucy Phillips Stewart. Bride of a Stranger jumped around a lot and stopped making sense after awhile. The dialogue was supposed to witty, but was ridiculous, which was unfortunate, because that’s really the only place any chemistry with the leads shone through. Her Bride of Chance, again, the dialogue just was not good. It’s hard enough to write really good modern day dialogue, much less Regency talk, but whatever the author was going for, was not working. It would be amusing to finish both stories, as they are pretty tacky, but I’m not in the mood. I need some good romance, so am turning to Elizabeth Mansfield.

In the Regency surprise box I bought last summer, there is another book by Mansfield called The Grand Passion. Doubt it will be as good as The Fifth Kiss, but I’m hopeful. I’m always hopeful when it comes to romance, both in stories and real life.

As for other stories: So far The Good Son by You-Jeong Jeong is trippy, very trippy.

The Scandalous Season: RRR

Regency Romance Review, book 1: The Scandalous Season by Nina Pykare

Published by Dell’s A Candlelight Regency Special, #501, 1979.

First off, I made it through the book, whew! The story was sadly rather tedious and it wasn’t clear what made it “special” as opposed to just Candlelight, but Dell appears to have Candlelight Romances and Candlelight Regency Romance Specials, so maybe that’s the difference.

Young, innocent Rebecca Stratford agrees to follow her father’s dying wish and marry Richard, the Marquess of Burlingame. From the beginning of the story, the couple is already in love with each other, though insisting that their marriage is in name only. This is somewhat due to the marriage being arranged and also due to the age gap. Richard is not keen to force himself on so young a woman, a point in his favor. He’s about thirty and she’s younger, but it never clarifies how young on purpose. She may be a teenager. Burlingame I kept reading as Burlingham.

From the start, the story was rather cringe and laughable. Over used words like sardonic, schoolroom miss and country miss abound, as do a plethora of points to tick off on norms and colloquial sayings of the day. The atmosphere was bad, just see-through, a skeleton Regency setting.

Exactly why Rebecca loves Richard at the beginning is not clear. She is a poor girl who luckily married into wealth, but her husband is so overbearing and tyrannical that she’s terrified of him most of the time. At one point he even spanks her. Totally different from modern times when we are even reluctant to spank our own children, this scene was hard to stomach. Rebecca did disobey his orders, but like many men, Richard did not fully explain the reason for his orders. This is convenient for the story, but also connects to real life. Men so often have plans and things they simply do not explain to their women, either because they don’t think they have to, but in a larger picture, because they don’t understand that they have to. Many things are obvious to men as men and women as women, and neither sex truly understands that you really do have to explain or spell things out. The opposite sex doesn’t automatically get it. They just don’t.

Although Rebecca doesn’t like being treated like a child, she continues to act like one, and although clearly her husband desires her, even at the end, she was just this hysterical childlike woman, not a match for him. It is supposed that she will grow into her role as wife. Not sure what to make of the fear factor. Most men I know today, at least what I know of them, are not tyrants with their wives. In fact, often it’s the opposite, where the wives have the upper hand. Anyway, the men I know are very kind and loving to their women and so, so far from Richard Burlingame, that I don’t really see how he’s that great of a catch.

Richard is handsome, tall, broad shouldered, and rich. Many times over is it described how broad his shoulders are, how his legs fit well into his pants, etc. Later on, he is shown to have some kindness, but even to the end, Rebecca is ruled by her fear of his anger. This doesn’t seem like a healthy relationship. Richard also is used to bedding other women and it’s doubtful that in a year or two he will not go back to this habit. He has all the power in the marriage at this time, and although we want to believe love conquers all, old habits die hard. The odds are simply not in Rebecca’s favor.

Despite all of that, although scandal was much alluded to, this wasn’t a smutty romance, and the scant love scenes were kisses only. The big reason the two love each other is simply that they are physically attracted to each other and are married. Can’t fault that too much, I suppose that’s often how it really is with couples, but romances are fun to read because they often “earn” each other’s love. Here, it wasn’t earned, but truthfully love isn’t earned, simply given, so there’s that. The ending was more nonsensical and abrupt than the beginning. Smuggling was thrown in for, well, no real reason, and Rebecca hysterically throws herself upon the scene because she loves her husband. Somehow the fact that he’s sent her info fainting hysterics makes Richard realize how much he loves her. This is a very strange relationship.

Some cuteness at the end:

“I expect that I shall be quite a nuisance to you now. Literally living in your pocket.”

“In that case, Robert, I suspect we shall both be nuisances. Can a wife be said to live in her husband’s pocket?”

Lovely and tacky at the same time.

Other updates: Currently liking and reading both The Man in the Iron Mask by Dumas and Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Hardy. Rewatching K-drama You Are All Surrounded starring Lee Seung Gi. Next one I review will probably be Oh My Baby starring the never aging awesome actress Jang Nara. Appears to be a remake of Three Men and a Baby with Tom Selleck, a movie I’ve always liked.