I may have taken a hiatus from writing, but I haven’t taken one from learning about the period in which I write. I’m reading four books right now related to the Regency, each helpful in their own way.
“What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist — the Facts of Daily Life in Nineteenth Century England” by Daniel Pool
This book covers the gamut. Card games, how to address your peers, the Church of England, MPs, you name it. Everything is covered at a high enough level that you learn about it, but you won’t necessarily become an expert. The most helpful insight so far: learning how many players it takes for a game of loo.
“Cant — A Gentleman’s Guide: The Language of Rogues in Georgian London” by Stephen Hart
If your characters come from the seedier side of London (or need to fit in), this is the perfect book to find word nuggets that make your characters sound authentic. Hart takes tangents that are funny and interesting, too.
“The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England” by Amanda Vickery
This is one of two books I purchased by Vickery, a scholar at University of London, who has put forth a great study of women’s lives in this era. I’ve only just started this book, but it’s incredibly interesting to read about how women lived back then. I’m looking forward to reading more of this and suspect the things I learn will make their way into my books.
“Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England” by Amanda Vickery
While the previously mentioned book covers the lives of women, this book discusses the lives of everyone within a home: servants, single men, spinster ladies, genteel women. It also goes into detail about home economy and the day-to-day workings of life in the home.
Are you reading any good non-fiction books or books for research right now? If so, share in the comments below.