Saturday, May 9, 2009

Barbara Allister: The Impulsive Governess

This is another illustrated cover of Allan Kass. The Impulsive Governess was published in January 1993 by Signet. Allan did many regency illustrations set outdoors. Notice the leafy trees and river in the background and the simplicity of the couple's picnic attire. The plot of this book is that Frederica is a governess in the home of Lord Lucian, who has assumed the guardianship of 4 children. At that time, the only "job" a woman could hold was as a governess.

A Regency Romance is a book set during the years of 1810-1820, which was a bridge in history between the Georgian reign (think George the 3rd, who lost the American colonies) and the Victorian reign of Queen Victoria. It was a time of great achievements in art, music, poetry, and fashion. Famous people from this time are Lord Byron, Percy and Mary Shelly, Beau Brummell, and Jane Austen. George the 4th was regent, or ruler in charge, during this time since his father was insane. He was a leader of fashion and a lover and collector of art. He designed the Pavilion in Brighton and lived at Carlton House in London.

Regencies are different from other romances in the wittiness and lightness of the writing and little to no sexual scenes in the stories. Jane Austen was considered the first regency writer with Georgette Heyer her successor! Regencies became popular around the mid 1970's when Barbara Cartland and others, riding on the popularity of Georgette Heyer, began writing. The heyday of the regency romance was definitely in the 1980's with current popular authors Mary Balogh, Marion Chesney, Kasey Michaels, Joan Wolf, Catherine Coulter, and Barbara Metzger all getting their beginning with regencies. Soon as many as 10 books a month were being published by Signet, Zebra, Avon, Jove, and Harlequin publishers, but, unfortunately, not all of them were well written. The rise in popularity of the paranormal genre, along with the higher cost of books set the stage for the demise of the regency romance. Any "regencies" written nowadays are found under the historical romance genre (think Julia Quinn and Stephanie Laurens).

I'm not sure alphabetically is the best way to list Allan's bookcovers. I'd rather list by year, but I know that I'm missing some of his older book illustrations. Please feel free to comment or contact me.

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