|Photo by Kathryn Huang Photography|
It's my pleasure to welcome Joanna Shupe to the Romance Dish today. I'm so excited about her new The Knickerbocker Club series, set in New York City during the Gilded Age, one of my favorite American historical periods. You can read Janga's reviews of TYCOON (a novella) and MAGNATE (first book in the series) here.
Joanna Shupe has always loved history, a fact that is clearly evident in her writing. She was the 2013 winner of RWA's Golden Heart® for Best Historical, her first Regency historical, The Courtesan Duchess was nominated as Best First Historical by RT Book Reviews, and The Lady Hellion was named one of the Washington Post's top five romance novels. Joanna can be found online at: Facebook Twitter.
The Gilded Age vs. The Regency
Thanks for hosting me on The Romance Dish today! I’m excited to be here today to discuss the Gilded Age, which serves as the setting for my new historical romance, MAGNATE.
In Romancelandia, we know all about the Regency. It’s the beloved time in British history of Jane Austen, Byron, and the Prince Regent. Just say the word and we imagine balls, dukes, fancy gowns, and strict social conventions that heroines love to skirt.
Most romance readers are less familiar with the American Gilded Age, a pocket of extreme wealth
All that stuff you love about the Regency era? The Gilded Age has it, too. Let’s break it down…
In the Regency, English ladies wore elegant gowns with empire waists and long flowing skirts. The Gilded Age had gowns, too, and wealthy American women had oodles of money to spend on the very best, which usually meant dresses designed by the House of Worth, the originators of haute couture as we know it today.
Just search “House of Worth Gowns” on Pinterest. You. Will. Not. Be. Sorry.
The Gilded Age had fancy balls, as well as debutantes. And yes, the balls were just as exclusive as the Regency soirees. You might have heard the term “The Four Hundred,” which originated because Mrs. Astor’s ballroom only held four hundred people. Needless to say, this quickly established a list of who’s who in New York society.
With so much money on hand for the Gilded Age’s elite, the balls were extravagant. Want 10,000 butterflies shipped in from Brazil? What about swans floating in a real pond as a centerpiece? Or party favors of gold pencil cases, jewelry, or cash? All of these actually happened.
In Regency romance, we adore our dukes. And little wonder: the British aristocracy is an exclusive club not many could join. The high society of New York, however, operated in much the same way. No matter how wealthy you were, if your roots couldn’t be traced all the way back to the Dutch settlers of Manhattan, you were too gauche for this crowd.
This was why many of the nouveau riche in America married their daughters off to English noblemen; they couldn’t buy acceptance in society, so they hoped to gain it through a British title.
There are more similarities—from stately mansions and scandals, to class struggles and social upheaval—but one major difference between the two eras are the industrial advances.
The Gilded Age had more modern toys, including railroads, the telegraph, and telephones. Even the automobile comes in at the tail end. Thankfully, there were still carriages and horses for those quick romantic rides across town. Have you watched The Age of Innocence, when Daniel Day-Lewis seduces Michelle Pfeiffer in the carriage? Gilded Age hotness!
If you like historical romance, I hope you will give the Gilded Age a try. It’s a fascinating era, and my very favorite.
What’s your favorite historical movie? Comment below with your answer for the chance to win a signed paperback copy of MAGNATE!
Born in the slums of Five Points, Emmett Cavanaugh climbed his way to the top of a booming steel empire and now holds court in an opulent Fifth Avenue mansion. His rise in stations, however, has done little to elevate his taste in women. He loathes the city’s “high society” types, but a rebellious and beautiful blue-blood just might change all that.
Elizabeth Sloane’s mind is filled with more than the latest parlor room gossip. Lizzie can play the Stock Exchange as deftly as New York’s most accomplished brokers—but she needs a man to put her skills to use. Emmett reluctantly agrees when the stunning socialite asks him to back her trades and split the profits. But love and business make strange bedfellows, and as their fragile partnership begins to crack, they’ll discover a passion more frenzied than the trading room floor…