It is a truth universally acknowledged…

It is a truth universally acknowledged…

I was 14 when I first read Pride and Prejudice. I remember watching the BBC series with my mum, the Colin Firth version and falling in love with the story and the characters. I got the book out of the library, devoured it and fell even more in love.

From there it was straight on to Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion. After Jane Austen it was onto the Brontes. And somehow from there I managed to find Georgette Heyer and fell in love with Regency romances.

Sadly, as a teenager I knew I had to hide this love – see also classical music. As we all know, you can’t like the wrong thing and I quickly learned that historical romance was Not The Right Thing to like. Hell, reading wasn’t cool so I just agreed that I liked the same TV shows/movies/music as everyone else.

I continued to mask this love for most of my adult life, if I’m completely honest. No-one else I knew read the same sorts of things as I did. There were a couple of brief moments where historical fiction was cool – usually a movie or a TV show came out, but then the general enjoyment disappeared again.

I don’t even think Bash knew quite how much I loved regency romance until lockdown. Working from home, I’d stopped masking almost completely and was actually being myself all day every day. I fully rediscovered my love for classic literature, for regency romance, for dark romanticism. Bash says he fell in love with me more that summer than he had the previous 9 years, that I became so alive! He also rediscovered his love for fishing, DIY and chess. We started dancing and walking and playing card games and I saw this whole new side of my man that sparkled!

Fast forward to Christmas Day 2020. Bridgerton exploded on to Netflix. I remember reading the books in my 20s and I couldn’t believe how much everyone was suddenly absolutely loving it. Passionately and aloud and it didn’t die down, it didn’t go away and the wrong thing I’ve been shamed into hiding my love for isn’t the wrong thing anymore. Regency romance is still in full on explosion, my Kindle and library are full of it and I’m adoring having people to talk to about my special interest

As Mirabelle grows, we want her to see us being passionately and authentically ourselves, not being ashamed or needing to hide who we are and what/how we love. I’m still learning how to do that, after more than 25 years of hiding it but I am thoroughly enjoying learning how to be me and love the things I love without fear.

Allow me to introduce myself

Allow me to introduce myself

Hi, I’m Jem. Or, Jemima if you’re my dad who refuses to use nicknames and Dove if you’re my maternal grandmother who, upon discovering Jemima meant ‘dove’, has called me nothing else for the last 38 years, much to my parents chagrin. But I prefer Jem. Clearly, since that’s how I introduced myself.

I’m a 41 year old Moroccan-British woman. I am pansexual but have been with my boyfriend Bash for long enough that people have stopped bothering to ask when we’re getting married11 years now. We have a 13 month old daughter Mirabelle and I am 15 weeks pregnant with baby 2 (sex unknown, current name options are Albert, Genevieve, Vivienne or Walker).

I am autistic (self-diagnosed), a Buddhist, dyslexic, I have a Liberal Arts degree and work in finance. I enjoy making things – baking, cooking, dancing, embroidery, gardening, jewellery, painting and sewing. Long hot summer days that end with a thunderstorm are my favourites. My radio is usually tuned to classic.fm. I am completely obsessed with all things Regency.

My other main hobby is reading. I love historical fiction – especially romance – and particularly those set in the regency era. Jane Austen has been my favourite since my teens, and I am currently completely obsessed with all things Bridgerton and Sanditon, and thoroughly enjoying the fact my passion is ‘cool’ again.