Mad & Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch is a tidy compilation of women’s roles during the Regency era. Bea Koch, a bookseller and bookstore owner, wrote this book to shed light and truth to the forgotten women who ruled the short era that is Regency England.
The women in the book, much like real life, come from varied backgrounds and of different religions. Bea Koch focuses on the women who made strides in astrology as much as on the Jewish women who dedicated their lives to education. It’s a fun and fascinating read, especially if you are interested in a diverse representation of women’s history. And if you love reading Regency romance novels then you’ll love reading this book.
All of the women featured are interesting, but the woman that touched my heart the most is Mary Seacole. A nurse just as good, if not better, as Florence Nightingale, she was ill-treated because of the color of her skin. She was refused a nursing position in the Crimea so she funded her own travels to help with the war effort. However, once there, she was rebuffed by Florence Nightingale. Nevertheless, she operated a hotel in Crimea for wounded soldiers and continued on with her nursing duties. Much like the women who came before and after her, she persevered through the racism.
What I love:
- Each chapter ends with a conclusion and a list of recommended reading.
- The book is timely because it’s about how history attempts to erase contributions of non-Whites. Something that continues to this day.
- The men are blobbed out of the famous painting on the cover.
- I can’t think of another book that compiles into one slim volume the important women of the Regency.
While the book has a few grammatical errors and some sentences seem overly chunky or stilted, I was able to overlook them enough to allow myself to get lost in Regency England.
Have you read Mad & Bad?