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

Mad & Bad Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch. Image Courtesy Grand Central Publishing
Mad & Bad Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch. Image Courtesy Grand Central Publishing /

A review of Bea Koch’s new regency book about women of the era

If you are looking to learn more about the amazing women of the Regency era, look no further than Bea Koch’s Mad & Bad Real Heroines of the Regency. And if you think you know who these women are, be prepared to have your mind blown. After all, they aren’t called Mad and Bad for nothing.

I’ll admit that this is not a book that I was able to sit down and finish in one sitting. But a lot of that has to do with the fact that a book like this deserves to be savored. There is so much information packed between the front and back covers of this book that not only will you be entertained, you will actually learn about some pretty incredible women along the way.

What Koch did with this book is to give us a glimpse into the lives of regency women who give a whole new meaning to the idea of feminism. After all, the regency was a time where men held all the power, and women were never meant to be in the spotlight making a difference in the world. And yet, here are women who refused to let men dictate who they were and what they could become.

Bea Koch introduces us to regency women who really were mad and bad!

If ever there was time to remember women of the past who helped pave the way for our future, it feels like 2020 is that time. And Mad & Bad Real Heroines of the Regency truly shines a spotlight on women who refused to fade into the background, even when history tried to force them into the shadows.

Perhaps the thing that stood out the most to me was the fact that in many cases these are names that never really stood out. Had you ever heard of Lady Caroline Lamb? And even if you did know the name, what did you know about her.

Did you know that Lamb was an author in her own right, and not just an ex of one of the most famous poets of the era, Lord George Byron? And it is not just her writing that she should be remembered for. As is, her love life is one that could be the stuff of romance novels today.

And Lady Caroline Lamb is just one of many regency women who deserves to have her story told. Within the pages of this book, we learn more about women such as Anne Lister (who not only had a common-law wife, but chose to live openly with the woman!), Rolinda Sharples (a painter who gave us iconic art that represents the Regency), and even Judith Montefiore (a writer who shared Jewish teachings, including a cookbook of Jewish offerings).

As you read through each of these chapters, you get a deeper understanding of not only who these women were, but also the things they were forced to deal with in order to live lives that were beyond the ordinary in a time when women were much more likely to be seen and not heard. However, these are not women who faded into the background. These were women who used every gift at their disposal to lead lives that others could only dare to reach for.

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After reading Mad & Bad Real Heroines of the Regency, I can only hope that Bea Koch decides to give us more books like this. With this book, she shines a spotlight on a group of women who deserve to live as more than footnotes in history, and it would be nice to see even more underrepresented individuals given a historical spotlight.

This is a book that deserves all the attention it can get, and so do these women, some forgotten to the past, and others whose history was tarnished by those who did not understand who they were.