Now, I'm not a big Regency reader, and I sort of know the difference between what they call "Regencies" and "Regency Historicals." (The "historicals" have sex in them, right?) And it seems that most of what's on the historical shelves lately are either Scottish Highland heroes or Regency Historicals (which I'll be referring to as RH from now on), and I miss all the cowboys and knights.
But I was recently directed toward reading an ongoing series called Merry Widows, by Candice Hern, and I've been turned into an RH reader.
So far, only two out of what I suspect will be five books have been released, JUST ONE OF THOSE FLINGS and IN THE THRILL OF THE NIGHT. LADY BE BAD will be out in August, and I'm looking out for it. What I really like about this series is the connecting premise of five young widows who work together on organizing charity balls but have a pact to be "free women" who enjoy sex. First, I've come to love all those ton parties they attend because there's lots of intrigue going on behind the polite manners and etiquette. I've learned that there was a certain language that the ladies used with their fans (holding it a certain way invited a man to come over and chat from across the room, for instance--don't you wish we had that now?), and I love all the matchmaking that goes on, courtesy of all the chaperones on the dance-floor sidelines.
Of course, Hern develops interesting characters and puts them in hot little situations. The first book features a friendship between the hero and heroine, and when she decides she's going to go out to get herself a lov-ah, the hero gets jealous and contrives to be the man who ends up in her bed--without her knowing his identity. Fun! The second book is about a widow who takes up with a younger man who's been pretty much selected to be her niece's husband. I can't wait for the book that's going to feature a more prudish widow who's going to be matched with a notorious cad--I think that's actually the August release.
Seriously, I'm Calgoned when I read these books. (Remember those commercials? Calgon, take me away? Yeah.) Definitely recommended, especially for great summer-in-the-sun reading.