Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Roche, Regina Maria

ROCHE, Mrs. REGINA MARIA (1764?–1845), novelist, born about 1764 in the south of Ireland, was daughter of parents named Dalton. In 1793 appeared her first novel, ‘The Vicar of Lansdowne,’ by Regina Maria Dalton, and it was at once followed by ‘The Maid of the Hamlet,’ in 2 vols. She soon afterwards married a gentleman named Roche. In 1798 she sprang into fame on the publication of her ‘Children of the Abbey’ (4 vols.), a story abounding in sentimentality, and almost rivalling in popularity Mrs. Radcliffe's ‘Mysteries of Udolpho,’ which was published in 1797. Many editions of it were called for, and until her death she industriously worked at a similar style of fiction. She died, aged 81, at her residence on the Mall, Waterford, 17 May 1845.

Her works are: 1. ‘The Vicar of Lansdowne,’ 2nd ed., 2 vols., London, 1793. 2. ‘The Maid of the Hamlet,’ 12mo, 3 vols., 1793. 3. ‘The Children of the Abbey,’ 4 vols. 1798 (numerous other editions). 4. ‘Clermont,’ 12mo, 4 vols. London, 1798. 5. ‘The Nocturnal Visit,’ 4 vols. 12mo, 1800 (a French version appeared in 1801 in 5 vols.). 6. ‘The Discarded Son, or the Haunt of the Banditti,’ 5 vols. 12mo, 1807. 7. ‘The Houses of Osma and Almeria, or the Convent of St. Ildefonso,’ 3 vols. 12mo, London, 1810. 8. ‘The Monastery of St. Colomba,’ 5 vols. 12mo, 1812. 9. ‘Trecothiek Bower,’ 3 vols. 12mo, 1813. 10. ‘London Tales’ (anonymously), 2 vols., 1814. 11. ‘The Munster Cottage Boy,’ 4 vols. 1819. 12. ‘The Bridal of Dunamore’ and ‘Lost and Won,’ two tales, 3 vols. 12mo, London, 1823. 13. ‘The Castle Chapel,’ 3 vols. 12mo, London, 1825 (a French version appeared the same year). 14. ‘Contrast,’ 3 vols., London, 1828. 15. ‘The Nun's Picture,’ 3 vols. 12mo, 1834. 16. ‘The Tradition of the Castle, or Scenes in the Emerald Isle,’ 4 vols. 12mo, London, 1824.

[Gent. Mag. 1845, ii. 86 (reprinting the Literary Gazette); Notes and Queries, 6th ser. ix. 509, x. 36, 119; Allibone's Dict. of Engl. Lit. vol. iii.; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Dict. of Living Authors, 1816.]

D. J. O'D.