Regency Heroes Redux

Susanna’s blog post on Friday got me thinking about heroes. I, too, look for images of my heroes and I think the idea of looking at videos of actors is brilliant.

In 2006 I wrote a blog about Regency Heroes, where I pretty much gushed about my favorite type of Regency hero, the soldier, but there are other types which recur in Regency Historicals (including some I’ve written!)

Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Mistress by Diane GastonSoldiers.These are my favorite Regency heroes, who, of course, fought in the Napoleonic War, especially at Waterloo. They have strength and bravery. They also have damage from the war, some way the war affected them emotionally, like we talk about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in soldiers today. Why should our soldiers be much different than Napoleonic War soldiers?

Dukes. Dukes in Regency romance, to me, are the “Harlequin Presents” heroes of their time. Harlequin Presents heroes are powerful, wealthy, commanding and seductive. They are used to having their own way–the quintessential Alpha hero. I haven’t written about a duke…yet.

Rakes. We must not forget rakes, those bad boys who have disreputable reputations, but who also have a keen sense of integrity that is all their own. These heroes are fun to write about, which I certainly did in my RITA winner, A Reputable Rake.

Corinthians. A Corinthian is a sporting man. In Regency romance he is the one who is a member of the Four-in-Hand club, meaning he drives his own carriages. He also might ride to hounds, spar with Gentleman Jack in the man’s boxing academy, or fence at Angelo’s fencing club in the same building.

Impoverished Lords. I didn’t know any other way to describe this hero. He has a title or is heir to one or is the younger son, and he lacks money to support his estate or to simply support himself or, in the case of The Mysterious Miss M, support the woman he loves. For the sake of people this hero cares about, he must contemplate stooping to desperate measures.

Of course, we often mix up our heroes, having impoverished lords who were soldiers, or dukes who are Corinthians. That’s part of the fun of it.

Can you think of any other Regency hero types? Which is your favorite?

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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13 Responses to Regency Heroes Redux

  1. ki pha says:

    Hmmm Would the Pirates and the blue collar hero be apart of the Corinthians? Oh there are the thieves and highway men~

    But I really do love the beta heroes or the bookish types. LOL

    • ki pha says:

      Oh, and there are types illegitimate sons. They are just……sighs~

      • diane says:

        Oh, yes, ki pha! You’ve listed a bunch of others. Pirates are not really of the Regency period, but thieves and highwaymen could be. Illegitimate sons!! How could I forget them. And Beta heroes, those good guys

  2. Judy Goodnight says:

    Then there’s the unexpected heir – the second son who never expected to inherit the title/estate or the upstart, backwoods cousin from America who now holds the title.

  3. peggy Quidor says:

    I would like to add the wife’s that stay home and take care of the kids .The home and land.And what ever else she needs to do.Waiting and her husband gets home safe. To me she’s also a hero

  4. Elena Greene says:

    In traditional Regencies, there was a type I might call the Beau–someone who is stylish, clever, witty but often has unexpected, underlying strengths.

    The best example I can think of is the rather aptly named Mr. Beaumaris in ARABELLA, by Georgette Heyer.

    Note he was just a mister, although from an old and wealthy family. Today he would be a duke, a type I feel has been overused. (Though I may eat my words and write a duke someday. Never say never…)

    • diane says:

      Yes. I’m not the most widely read. Does the Beau hero show up much these days?

      And, I agree, Elena. Never say never!!

      • Elena Greene says:

        I’m not as well-read as I’d like to be, either. I haven’t seen the Beau hero. Based on titles, dukes and rogues are the thing now. Come to think of it, the Rogue is another variation, not necessarily a rake but someone who makes his own rules. I should have mentioned him before, because I just wrote one, although he is also a Soldier.

  5. Carla Kelly wrote the most *wonderful* Beta Hero w/ hidden strength despite the wounds. Major Samuel Reed & Captain Jesse Randall still makes me swoon. I know Scipio Africanus Butterworth wasn’t the most popular but though I’ve read oodles of great guys he’s still #1 in my heart. Like a widow, I measure all the heroes against him, I’m still hoping to find one as good. I think Restell Gardner (Jo Goodman) is the closest I’ve found. Hurray for the Beta Heroes that are more than they seem!!

  6. Kristine says:

    My favourite hero is the kind who commands the British army, defeats Napoleon, makes pithy comments, buys Apsley House, is both loyal to his war horse and a sharp dresser . . . . . oh, “fictional” . . . . . . . never mind.

  7. How about all of the above? I love a Regency hero in all of his incarnations so long as he is well-written and a great match for the heroine. I’m terribly fond of the “beastly” hero – the wounded man, perhaps scarred or physically impaired who is all man and all anger at the world.

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