I’m delighted to welcome back Georgie Lee as my guest today!
Courting in Regency England wasn’t for the faint of heart. It wasn’t a chance to hold your crush’s hand and promenade through the park. Courting was serious business and the business was all about making the best match possible. In a time when being married was a woman’s career, landing the best possible man wasn’t just a matter of bragging rights, it set the tone for the rest of her life.
Balls and dances were an intricate part of the courting process. These weren’t the prom, but a marriage market where a young lady might finally get a chance to dance with a young man, and have a conversation with him without the chaperon hovering around. Individual dances like you’ve seen in Pride and Prejudice could last a long time, and depending on the dance, there could be a lot of standing around and waiting as the numerous couples sashayed up and down the line. All this standing around offered a good chance for a man and woman to get to know one another or to decide they weren’t a good fit. Since a woman was only allowed to dance with a man twice before people started whispering that they were engaged, she had to decide fast. Think speed dating, with the rest of your life hanging in the balance.
So, what did the young couple who were a good fit do to get a little privacy at a ball? Did they sneak off to the garden, slip upstairs and find a deserted room. No. This wasn’t a frat party, and if a lady wanted to keep her reputation, which she needed to land a good man, she was careful to stay in a public place at all times. Also, her chaperone wasn’t likely to let her out of her sight, so even if the open garden doors were calling, a smart lady ignored the call. Hanky panky was for after you were married and you’d produced the heir and the spare, until then, it was all good girl all the time.
A ball was also a good time to look over the prospective candidates, learn who was who and how much they had. Women were on the market just as much as the men, so advertising their own wealth was a smart move. A ball was a good place to wear your best dresses and flaunt the goods. After all, you want the pick of the gentlemen pursuing you, not last season’s leftovers. Love might conquer all, but it rarely landed a poor woman a man with money and a title.
Marriage in Regency England lasted until ‘til death do us part and picking a partner was serious business. So, if you suddenly found yourself in Regency England, do you think you’d be woman enough to handle courting?
Engagement of Convenience by Georgie Lee
Julia Howard longs for the freedom her inheritance will bring her—but with her controlling brother holding the purse strings, she’s going to need a most convenient engagement… An encounter in the woods with a dashing stranger couldn’t be more timely.
Wounded, his life at sea at an end, Captain James Covington isn’t prepared for the dull ache of civilian life. He sees in Julia a fellow adventurous spirit—willing to risk all. Could agreeing to her outrageous proposal help him recapture a reason to live as they face the biggest adventure of all—marriage?
You can find Engagement of Convenience at:
Barnes & Noble – Print and Nook
A dedicated history and film buff, Georgie Lee loves combining her passion for Hollywood, history and storytelling through romantic fiction. She began writing professionally at a small TV station in San Diego before moving to Los Angeles to work in the interesting but strange world of the entertainment industry.
Her first novel, Lady’s Wager, and her contemporary novella, Rock ‘n’ Roll Reunion are both available from Ellora’s Cave Blush. Labor Relations, a contemporary romance of Hollywood, and Studio Relations, a love story set in 1935 Hollywood, are currently available from Montlake Romance. Hero’s Redemption, a Regency novella, is now available from Carina Press.
When not writing, Georgie enjoys reading non-fiction history and watching any movie with a costume and an accent. Please visit www.georgie-lee.com for more information about Georgie and her novels.
You can find Georgie at:
4 thoughts on “Courting in Regency England – Not a Spectator’s Sport – Guest Post by Georgie Lee, Author of Engagement of Convenience”
Hi, Gerogie! I tweeted the interview. Here’s wishing you all success with your new book!
Great post! Although a lot of authors make the Regency era seem light and frothy, life was pretty serious then and people broke the rules at their peril. Thanks for a realistic look at the conventions of the time.
… Love the post Georgie Lee. Confirms the impressions I gathered from watching too much Masterpiece Theater. 🙂 Glad I didn’t live back then.