As has happened with thousands of others, my love of Regencies began with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice when I was a teenager. In my twenties, I stumbled onto the works of Georgette Heyer and I wanted to weep when I had run through all her Regencies.
Then I discovered Emily Hendrickson’s novels set in my favorite historical period. Oh, happy day!
Imagine my delight when I joined the Reno chapter of Romance Writers of America and discovered that Emily—“Dee”—Hendrickson was one of the key members of that group!
When Dee learned that I was trying to write a Regency, she offered her help and even gave me a copy of her Regency Reference Book. That book—and a myriad of phone calls—saved me from a multitude of errors. It continues to do so.
Anyone who really wants to be immersed in the Regency should own Dee’s book—and it is an absolute must for anyone who writes Regencies! (It is also available on CD-ROM.) It presents an eclectic gathering of topics: descriptions of male and female fashions, including types of fabrics used; types of carriages; the mail system; funeral practices; a dictionary of contemporary slang—and much more!
Yes, there are other reference books on the Regency period, but none whose coverage is so complete and readily usable. The Writers’ Digest tome on life in Regency and Victorian England is a good one. What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew by Daniel Pool is nicely organized and insightful. Lawrence Stone’s books on marriage and divorce in England span several centuries and contain fascinating anecdotes. And, of course, there all those straight history books and hundreds of biographies and diaries.
But my “go to” source is always Emily Hendrickson first.