A regency romance novel, is a subgenre of the romance novel set in Regency England, the period of English history from 1811-1820 when the future King George IV governed England as Prince Regent in the stead of his father George III, who had become incapacitated due to mental illness.
Heavily influenced by the works of Jane Austen and the 19th century novel of manners, regency novels typically follow the story of a young female protagonist, usually in straitened financial or social circumstances, who has to make difficult choices regarding one or more dashing male suitors. Regency novels have a unique set of stylistic conventions and often pay great attention to historical detail, including dress, manners, food, and correct early-19th century vocabulary.
Regency novels are known for their witty repartee between protagonists and feature little or no explicit sex scenes, a fact which fans of the genre are quick to point out as a crucial difference between their books and the more trashy brand of historical romance novel denigratingly known as a "bodice-ripper." Another more unfortunate trait of regency novels is their tendency to prattle on ad nauseum about parties and balls and what people wear at said parties and balls.
Some well-known authors of regency romances include (warning! pseudonym alert!):
Alice Chetwynd Ley
Mary Jo Putney