Six More Reference Books

(These were initially posted on in Summer 2007.  I’m reposting them here, as they are no longer available there.)

Here’s another half-dozen of books that I’ve found particularly helpful. Again, they were all purchased on-line, and used.

I’d like to mention here The Regency Companion by Sharon H. Laudermilk and Teresa Hamlin. If ever a book needed reprinting, it’s this one. It still horrendously expensive, but is a compact, thorough source of almost everything a writer needs to know about the Regency. I recommend getting a copy from your library through Interlibrary Loan, and then you can decide if it’s worth the investment, or just taking lots of notes.

Owen, John B. The Eighteenth Century 1714-1815. Totowa: Rowman and Littlefield, 1975. Lots of politics here, if you have scenes in Parliament, or a politician as a character, you’ll find plenty in here to keep him busy.

Burton, Elizabeth. The Pageant of Georgian England. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1967. For all its grand title, this is a very domestic book,and covers all the little things people needed in their lives–medicines, gardens, furniture, cosmetics, etc. It provides all the little details that you’d need to furnish a Georgian home, and supplies its inhabitants, your characters, with their everyday needs.

Foreman, Amanda: Georgiana’s World: The Illustrated Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. London: HarperCollinsPublisher, 2001. This is an amazingly illustrated version of the famous biography of the infamous duchess. The text has been abridged, but you could spend hours pouring over this beautiful book.

Kloester, Jennifer. Georgette Heyer’s Regency World. London, William Heinemann, 2005. In the course of writing her Ph.D thesis on Heyer, the author also put together a summary of all the details that Heyer used to create her own marvelous Georgian and Regency world. Readers will enjoy finding the characters and events from Heyer’s books that have been interwoven in the factual material. Even the publisher, Heinemann, was Heyer’s longtime, long-suffering publisher.

Summerson, John. Georgian London. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1946. This traces the history of architecture, urban planning, and residential and commercial developments during the 18th and early 19th centuries. Need to find a fashionable new neighborhood for your hero to build his house? Need to find some architects to design and some entrepreneurs to finance new buildings? You’ll find it all here.

Vickery, Amanda. The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998. With the title a nod to Jane Austen, this is another book to read straight through. The author concentrates on the lives of women in the gentry class, in the north of England, and, through the stories of their lives, looks at all the aspects of their world. Not everyone has an HEA, but their stories are more compelling for the honesty.

Now! Last chance to suggest any titles that you’ve found to be especially helpful in your research and writing.


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