Mad and Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency

Grand Central. Sept. 2020. 272p. ISBN 9781538701010. pap. $17.99. HIST
As co-owner of the Ripped Bodice, an independent romance bookstore in the United States, Koch has a wealth of knowledge on Regency romance novels and the heroines who fill the pages, inspiring her to examine this brief period of British history (1810–20) in this debut book. In the vein of other feminist pop history books, such as Mackenzi Lee’s Bygone Badass Broads, Koch aims to bring to the forefront the real trailblazing women who continue to inspire historical romance writers. Featuring chapters dedicated to women in STEM, women of color, and the LGBTQ and Jewish communities, among others, the author reveals snippets of these women’s stories and succeeds in changing the narrative of what is “historically accurate” for the Regency. Those looking for more in-depth examinations of Regency women may find this a great starting point, with each chapter featuring recommended reading lists to guide further research.
VERDICT Recommended for fans of Regency romances and for casual feminist history readers as a brief overview of the period and the many influential figures who defied society’s expectations.
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