Audiobook Review: Mad and Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch

Narrated by: Rengin Altay
Genre: Non-Fiction – History
Age: Adult
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Format: Audiobook
Release Date: September 1st, 2020

Rating: 5/5 Stars

This book is a series of biographies on various women from the Regency era, paying particular attention to difference between the popular portrayal of the era from Romance novels and shows like Bridgerton, to the actual reality of what Regency England was like. There’s just enough information for each woman to get you hooked into finding out more, without it becoming so overbearing there’s too much information here (especially considering the number of women covered).

I listened to the audio version of this, which Altay did a great job with, but I would love to get a physical copy of this book to keep for referencing, and to have it to hand to find out more about this wide-ranging group of women.

Koch also does an excellent job of linking this history to the present day, highlighting issues that are still being tackled, and presenting comparisons with how we view the time period. There’s brief discussions around present day controversies, as well as information about how some of these women were viewed by their contemporaries.

I really liked the way the book was outlined, with particular focus paid to marginalised groups within Regency England – there are chapters that focus on Black women, gay women, and Jewish women, underlining how Regency England was much more diverse than many people realised, and showing how, actually, having diverse casting for a show like Bridgerton isn’t ‘historically inaccurate’, as racists like to claim.

Honestly, if you have any interest in the Regency period but know little outside pop culture portrayals, this book is a good starting point and one that will serve as an excellent springboard into researching the women from the period.

Reading Challenge
2023 Tarot Reading Challenge
Prompt: The High Priestess Reversed
Progress: 1/164 Completed


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