Napoleon’s myriad attempts to conquer Europe featured his struggle, from 1807-1814, to dominate Portugal and Spain. Of course the British were part of this fight, and the conflict plays a part in many Regency Romances. Two recent series portray the impact on individuals and families whose participation on the war front and behind the scenes leave a lasting impact of life and love.
Mary Balogh’s seven-book, romance series features the Survivor’s Club, six men and one woman who return to England, broken of body, mind and heart. They spend three years together at the seaside estate of the Duke of Stanbrook, supporting and encouraging each other as they heal, preparing to venture forth and live out their lives among the town and the country folk they each belong to. Balogh, in her usual sensitive style, relates these romantic tales with strong parallels to our disabled veterans returning home from the Middle East wars of today. Each of the seven characters meets physical and mental challenges as they vie for independence and love. The last book in this series, Only Beloved, will be published in May 2016. Balogh excels at developing relationships. She takes the time to portray how people start at one place and change, usually driven by hope and longing for a life of peace and contentment while treasuring those special moments of fleeting joy or happiness.
- The Proposal (2012)
- The Arrangement (2013)
- The Escape (2014)
- Only Enchanting (2014)
- Only a Promise (2015)
- Only a Kiss (2015)
- Only Beloved (May 2016)
Another excellent Regency romance series has wrapped up this past fall. Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series is told from the point of view of contemporary Harvard graduate student Eloise Kelly, who travels to England to do research into a ring of British spies tracking the movement and secret strategies of Napoleon and his armies. Eloise lands at the doorstep of Arabella Selwick-Alderly and her grand-nephew, Colin, who reluctantly open their family archives to Eloise. As the months go by, Eloise begins to unravel the elusive tidbits of information about the spy training school run by her ancestor, Richard Selwick (the Purple Gentian), that sends its spies—both male and female—behind enemy lines and into Parisian parlors and boudoirs of many historical personalities of the Regency era. Their intrigues reach as far as India and end on the Iberian Peninsula, where the final mission of the Pink Carnation is played out. These stories are rich in humor and historic detail and as Eloise not only discovers the identity and destiny of the Pink Carnation, she finds for herself a husband and a different kind of future for herself than she intended at the start of the series.
The Secret History of the Pink Carnation
- The Secret History of the Pink Carnation (2005)
- The Masque of the Black Tulip (2005)
- Deception of the Emerald Ring (2006)
- The Seduction of the Crimson Rose (2008)
- The Temptation of the Night Jasmine (2009)
- The Betrayal of the Blood Lily (2010)
- The Mischief of the Mistletoe (2010)
- The Orchid Affair (2011)
- The Garden Intrigue (2012)
- The Passion of the Purple Plumeria (2013)
- The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla (2014)
- The Lure of the Moonflower (2015)