Jilly: Georgette Heyer’s Bath

We spent last weekend visiting the beautiful city of Bath. We stayed in a hotel that was once owned by the Duke of Wellington and walked into town to hear a friend’s choir sing in the stunning fifteenth-century Abbey. It seemed as though everywhere I went, I followed in the footsteps of a much-loved Regency romance. Sometimes it was Jane Austen; more often it was Georgette Heyer.

Most of the time it was Black Sheep. It isn’t my all-time favorite Heyer, but I think it has one of the best settings.

By the time of the Regency, Brighton had become the fashionable place to spend the summer and Bath, which had once been the ton’s favorite resort, had become a kind of posh backwater inhabited by invalids and those who couldn’t afford the expense of living in London. Which makes it the perfect choice for Black Sheep. Continue reading

Jilly: Heroines in Disguise

Heroines in DisguiseWhere do you stand on heroines who pass as boys?

Out of nowhere in particular the Girls in the Basement decided that Alexis, the heroine of my current WIP, was brought up as a boy and is passing as one when the hero and his posse first meet her, because of Reasons deeply rooted in her backstory.

This is, of course, a classic trope, and not only in romance – where would Shakespeare have been without it? I’m fine with that except it means I have to work extra hard to avoid borrowing from the canon, so I’ve been thinking a lot about how Alexis could have done it and what it would take to sustain the deception over a long period. I love fictional heroines like Prudence Merriott, the cross-dressing Jacobite adventurer from Georgette Heyer’s The Masqueraders, but I’m even more interested in learning from real life.

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