Sophie Dash: Why I love Regency Novels

May 2016

My regency obsession began with Sean Bean

It wasn’t Pride and Prejudice, it wasn’t Vanity Fair, it was Sean Bean, shirtless, in the ITV show Sharpe. There was action, adventure, romance and betrayal, with the Napoleonic War as a backdrop. I was obsessed. So obsessed that I went on to read the entire series of Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell. I then explored Forester’s Hornblower (and watched the show, with the dishy Ioan Gruffudd). I saw all my favourite Jane Austen works in a new light, with these grand and terrifying battles happening in the background and it was the young men who paid the price.

So when I set about writing my own regency romance, I knew it was going to be a little different.

I wanted heroes who were rough and ready, who had seen the worst and come through the other side. There had to be action, pistols at dawn, struggle and a happy ending that felt deserved.

In my latest regency story, To Wed a Rebel, the hero is a man who has forsaken his duty, shucked off his honour and forgotten whatever moral fibre he had. Isaac Roscoe once served in the Navy, he took the lash for another, he aided a friend at great cost to himself and yet, when he gets back to dry land, he abandons the man he was. Isaac descends into drink and illegal boxing matches, and worse still, he becomes a ruiner of reputations. If the price is right, he’ll do it, regardless of the cost to others – and the cost to his own soul.


What wild, ragged flora did they grow off the Cornish coast?
What wild, ragged men, for that matter?


It takes the heroine, Ruth Osbourne, a meek, accommodating young woman, to remind him of who he once was – and to find herself and her own strength in the process. As for how that happens, you’ll have to read the book to find out…

To Wed a Rebel is released on 23rd May. Preorder your copy today.