Tuesday, July 10, 2012

TABLOIDS OF THE REGENCY



I find the modern-day tabloids almost impossible to read. I glance at the headlines while waiting in the supermarket line and usually think either, “What a load of garbage,” or “How can they be so unkind to {insert name of celebrity}?” Sometimes, I actually get back out of line to read an article—but that’s rare.

But when it comes to fiction, I find the Regency equivalent – the caricature – fascinating. Maybe it’s because those unkind cuts happened two hundred years ago, so they don’t hurt anyone anymore. Or maybe it’s because being rich, famous, and always in danger of mockery and even ruin make such good story fodder for historical romance.

Lots of people must read the tabloids, or they wouldn’t appear week after week on the supermarket shelves. It was the same back then. The rich would buy the latest caricatures; the poorer classes would gaze at them in a print shop window, with the written parts explained by anyone who could read.

In my new novella, To Rescue or Ravish?, the heroine faces scandal, mockery, ruin—and caricature—when she runs from an unwanted marriage. She doesn’t get away scot-free, but she does have a happy ending. :)

Do you read the tabloids? Why or why not? Do you think celebrities should be left alone, or are they fair game? Are most of the stories about them true, false, a combination of the two, truth with a twisted spin, or what...?

To Rescue or Ravish? is available now from HarlequinAmazon, and Barnes and Noble.  I have a free download to give away to someone who comments on this blog.

Blurb:

When heiress Arabella Wilbanks flees a forced betrothal in the middle of the night, the last person she expects to find at the reins of her getaway hackney is Matthew Worcester.  It’s been seven long years since they gave in to their mutual desires and shared the most incredible night of their lives, but Matthew still burns with regret for leaving her without a word.  He should escort her to safety, but the chance to reclaim and ravish her once more is proving impossible to resist!

Here's an excerpt:

London, January 1802

Arabella rapped hard on the roof of the coach. It lurched around a corner into darkness broken only by the glimmer of the hack’s carriage lamps and stopped.

She put down the window. “How far are we from Bunbury Place?”

The jarvey got down from the box and slouched against the coach, a nonchalant shape with an impertinent voice. “Not far, love. Changed your mind, have you?”

“I have not changed my mind. I am merely asking for information.” She put her hand through the window, proffering the guinea. “I trust this suffices. Kindly open the door and point me in the right direction. I shall walk the rest of the way.”

He didn’t take the coin. After a brief, horrid silence during which she concentrated on thinking of him as the jarvey and not her once-and-never-again lover, he said, “Can’t do that.”

“I beg your pardon?” She pushed on the door, but he had moved forward to block it.

“It’s not safe for a lady alone at night. This, er, Number Seventeen, Bunbury Place—it’s where you live, is it?”

How dare he? “Where I live is none of your business.” She shrank away from the door and kept her hood well over her face.

“So it’s not where you live. Who does live there, then?”

Why couldn’t she have just told him that yes, she lived there? Must every man in the entire country try to order her about? “Let me out at once.”

“Sorry, love. When I rescue a lady from deathly peril, I see her home safe and sound.”

Some shred of common sense deep inside her told her this was extraordinarily kind of him, but it made her want to slap his craggy, insolent face. Home wasn’t safe for her anymore. Nowhere was safe, and meanwhile Matthew Worcester was playing stupid games.

“Cat got your tongue?”

She exploded. “Damn you, Matthew! Stop playing at being a jarvey. It makes me positively ill.”

There was another ghastly silence. It stretched and stretched. Good God, what if he actually was a jarvey? Surely he hadn’t come down that far in the world. A different shame—a valid one—swelled inside her.

“You recognized me,” he said at last. “What a surprise.”




***


To find out about my other Regency novellas, please visit my website at www.BarbaraMonajem.com











21 comments:

PrincessFiona01 said...

I don't read more than the headlines at the supermarket checkout. Which often contradict each other. Love the old hand drawn sketches. Closest thing we have is probably political cartoonists.

Shelley B said...

The older I get, the less I care about celebrity news. I don't watch reality tv, either. My life is prettty full right now, and I guess I don't find them as fascinating as I used to. I'd rather spend my free time reading. Thanks!

Barbara Monajem said...

LOL. So true, Princess Fiona. I think it's hilarious how they take a picture where a celeb is grimacing -- for whatever reason -- and make up a whole crazy story about it.

Barbara Monajem said...

Shelley, I don't watch reality TV either. Like you, I'd much rather read. :)

Regencyresearcher said...

I have no desire to watch other people making themselves and others miserable. Tabloids are full of half truths and full blown falsehoods. I see them when I am at the checkout line at the grocery store and seldom am tempted.
I believe there must have been a Regency tabloid besides the cartoons but haven't found any copies of one. Such a broadsheet or newspaper would be the sort to be pput in birds' cages and used to wrap the fish at the market and not likely to be kept. Still, I keep hoping that someday a cache of Regency gossip will be uncovered someplace.

ellaquinnauthor said...

Great post, Barbara. I love your books.

I do not read modern tabloids. My husband's cousin used to work for one of them and told us all the stuff they make up. Also, I just don't find that sort of thing amusing.

Doogie said...

I love caricatures, even those lampooning modern celebs, but otherwise stay away from tabloids. They tend to depress me. They're the opposite of the Happily Ever After I get from my romances.

Barbara Monajem said...

Regency researcher -- Wouldn't it be fabulous if such a cache were found?? I think a few authors have put the equivalent of a Regency tabloid in books, haven't they?

Barbara Monajem said...

Ella -- Thanks for stopping by -- and confirming that a lot of that stuff is pure invention.

Barbara Monajem said...

Doogie - I don't see all that many modern caricatures, so I guess I'm looking in the wrong places... I used to notice political cartoons, but I don't read the newspapers anymore.

Hurray for Happily Ever After!

Alyssa Everett said...

I don't read the tabloids, though I do glance at front pages while I'm waiting in line at the store, mostly to guess at the real, not-so-shocking story behind the purposely misleading headline. But I have to admit, some of the regency caricatures make me feel sorry for their targets, even if they are long dead. Those cartoonists could be really vicious.

Barbara Monajem said...

Agreed, Alyssa -- They could be horribly unkind. I wonder if the caricaturists were ever lampooned in return, or if angry people just resorted to lawsuits, bribes, etc.

Mary Ricksen said...

I never read the tabloids. But I have read your books!!

Barbara Monajem said...

Well, Mary -- if you read To Rescue or Ravish you will have a little taste of the tabloids. ;)

Mary Marvella said...

I am not big on tabloids, but I can force myself to read the old ones for you. Should be interesting.

Linda said...

Nope, much prefer to spend my time reading bks in my fav genres. If I happen to come across it in the papers on online I might have a quick look over but i'd never buy a gossip rag.

Suzi said...

Barbara,
We must all do the same thing. Look at the tabloid headlines in the supermarket and ignore them. I feel sorry for celebrities these days. They get chased down streets, cameras flashing in their faces every time they go out, and have such weird stories made up about them.

But I have to admit, I do love Regency caricatures. Love seeing how they portrayed the Prince Regent, William Pitt, and all the others that the public liked to ridicule.
Your new book sounds wonderful. Can't wait to read it.
Suzi Love

Barbara Monajem said...

LOL - Mary M, Linda and Suzi -- I'm beginning to wonder who DOES buy those gossip rags! I don't think I'm ever seen anyone buy one...but somebody must!

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Barbara Monajem said...

Thanks so much for your comments, everyone. The winner of the free download is Alyssa Everett!

Me said...

I do find the headlines on tabloids quite entertaining, particularly when they're in complete contradiction to the one next to it/the article the published last week. :D