I have this strange dichotomy in romance. When I read het romance I adore regencies. But when I read m/m (which is the bulk of what I read) I prefer contemporaries. Of course, a romance set in regency England between and man and a woman is a much different beast than a romance in the same era with two men. For one thing it was, oh, illegal
and regarded as a terrible perversion. That's not necessarily the sort of angst I want to deal with while enjoying a sexy romantic romp.
That's not to say there aren't a few intrepid writers who make it work. Jamie Fessenden with The Christmas Wager
is a fine example. It's a well-written piece, a longish novella or shortish novel(265 pages on my ipad). Here's what it has that I love about regencies:
* It's Christmas with the great country house bedecked with boughs of evergreens, a Christmas dance, dozens of Christmas trees, a Yule log, etc.
* It features a romance between a Lord's second, estranged son and a wealthy-but-not-titled young friend.
* It has all those lovely British characters -- jolly and loyal servants, the workaholic brother, the brother's dead wife and neglected child, the belligerent father who walks around with his shotgun and his hounds, the lady of the manor who is externally placid but secretly wise, etc.
* One MC is resisting his long-time desire for the other MC; that MC is clueless.
* Hunky male MC(s).
* Bathtub scenes, adjoining rooms, sex. Say no more.
The author doesn't shy away from the realities of being gay in this era at all. But the romance still works out in the end and the angst, guilt, and shame levels are never so strong that they overpower the cozy pleasure of the read.
Recommend for fans of Christmas stories, regencies and m/m.