Everlyn: Historical romances don’t change—or do they?

Cat 243 Dover by Mary Jo

Jo Beverley and I have previously commented on the upcoming (November 2nd) UK publication of our books by Everlyn, a new imprint specifically set up to bring American historical romances to the British market.  As you might imagine, we both think this is totally cool, particularly for Jo, who is returning home to England at exactly the time when her books will start to become readily available there. 

Jo even gets to do a book tour along a path that includes the route her Lady Notorious characters take.  I think this is brilliant promotion, while at the same time I’m glad I’m a safe 3000 miles away. <G>  But I’ll enjoy reading the blog of her Lady Notorious tour once she starts next week. 

You might enjoy looking at the Everlyn site, which shows the lovely covers, has articles by Jo and me, and also gives some background on the company.  Richard and Lynda Tunnicliffe live in Wales and got their start in publishing with Welsh language editions of popular children’s books.  Hobby became vocation, a family member picked up a delightful historical romance while traveling in the US, and an idea was born. 

Fallen Angel cover Everlyn is starting with my Regency Fallen Angels series and Jo’s Georgian Mallorens makes a nice contrast in time period.  My first book for Everlyn, Fallen Angel, was published in the US as Thunder and Roses.  The title was changed because the Everlyn publisher couldn’t figure out what Thunder and Roses meant, and I had no good explanation.   (“He’s thunderous and like most roses, she comes well equipped with thorns, and we had to come up with a title overnight” is the real answer. <G>) 

The whole experience is making me think about the different flavors of romantic historicals.  Stories set in the past have always been popular, and Sir Walter Scott is sometimes considered the father of the historical novel.  Most of those early books featured swashbuckling male heroes, though.  Even books Scarlet Pimpernel by female authors, such as Baroness Orczy’s The Scarlet Pimpernel, generally had male leads, though there was often a good romance woven into the story.

But the genre keeps evolving.  The saga with a female lead is very well established, and then there were the Gothic romances like those of Victoria Holt, which were a transition to modern historical romance. 

As I understand, many British romantic historicals these days are “clogs and shawls” stories, a saga-ish type of women’s fiction featuring a northern working class heroine who is struggling for a better life.  (Naturally that includes romance!)  The late Catherine Cookson was the goddess of this sort of story.

Other Boleyn Girl There are also the queen books, a subgenre practically invented by Philippa Gregory, and which now has many authors of fine books focused real historical women.  (Such as Lady Macbeth by Lady Macbeth our own Susan Fraser King.) 

In contrast, the American style historical romance is a courtship book that focuses very strongly on the developing relationship.  Generally the points of view of both heroine and hero are offered, and the heroine's emotions and character arc are central.  Plus, we insist on our happy endings.  Harlequin Historicals follow this same pattern and the books are much like single title American romances, though generally shorter.

Even so, the genre keeps changing.  The first historical romances by writers like Kathleen Woodiwiss and Rosemary Rogers were big, sprawling stories 150K words and up, and often globetrotting was involved as characters sailed the seas, were kidnapped by gypsies, or separated by wars.  Usually there was a LOT of plot—and plot has been the first thing to go as book lengths have become shorter due to reduced attention spans and cost cutting. 

Dancing on the Wind So I look at the first three of my Fallen Angels books which Evelyn has scheduled for November, February and June, and I know that they are not the same as what I’m doing now, primarily because my current books are 40K or more words shorter.  I still like the same kinds of characters and challenges (torture those heroes, yes!), but there is now less history, fewer subplots, and fewer secondary characters. 

Longer isn’t always better—I’ve fallen asleep trying to read some of those big sprawling early books.  It take a lot of skill to maintain tension and character arc over 150K. 

It’s still possible to have real history in books under 100K, though it’s harder, and there will probably be less of it.  Becoming more focused and using words with more precision isn’t a bad thing, at least for me.  I just hope that word lengths will never fall to the point where the books can’t deliver the romantic hit we readers want.

All of which is a lot of rumination to be inspired by the happy fact that my stories are about to be published in the UK!  I hear from enough British readers to think that  Everlyn books will find an audience, and my feeling is that the UK readership will probably like the longer books with more layers and history.  We’ll find out soon!

By the way, if you want to buy Everlyn books in the US (some of them are no longer in print here) the British website  The Book Depository ships books world wide with free shipping, and no minimum charge.  The company is a great resource for British books.  Everlyn will also have a contest giving away signed copies of the first two books–I imagine details will be on their website soon.

In the meantime, how do you feel about the evolving historical romance genre?  Do you miss those big, juicy early historicals?  Or does your busy schedule mean that you fare better with the shorter romances being published today?  Are there other forms of historical novel you also read?  I’d like to hear—

Mary Jo

110 thoughts on “Everlyn: Historical romances don’t change—or do they?”

  1. Mary Jo – and here I always thought that you took the title ‘Thunder and Roses’ from Theodore Sturgeon’s famous 50s sf story of the same name, as a sort of homage, since he’s a word craftsman anybody could admire. What a surprise to find you came up with it independently.

    Reply
  2. Mary Jo – and here I always thought that you took the title ‘Thunder and Roses’ from Theodore Sturgeon’s famous 50s sf story of the same name, as a sort of homage, since he’s a word craftsman anybody could admire. What a surprise to find you came up with it independently.

    Reply
  3. Mary Jo – and here I always thought that you took the title ‘Thunder and Roses’ from Theodore Sturgeon’s famous 50s sf story of the same name, as a sort of homage, since he’s a word craftsman anybody could admire. What a surprise to find you came up with it independently.

    Reply
  4. Mary Jo – and here I always thought that you took the title ‘Thunder and Roses’ from Theodore Sturgeon’s famous 50s sf story of the same name, as a sort of homage, since he’s a word craftsman anybody could admire. What a surprise to find you came up with it independently.

    Reply
  5. Mary Jo – and here I always thought that you took the title ‘Thunder and Roses’ from Theodore Sturgeon’s famous 50s sf story of the same name, as a sort of homage, since he’s a word craftsman anybody could admire. What a surprise to find you came up with it independently.

    Reply
  6. I’m reading more and more books on my Blackberry, so a shorter novel is easier to navigate. But I love the sweep of the larger novels. It’s hard to develop a cast of characters such as those in the Fallen Angels series (not to mention the Silk or Bride series) in the shorter lengths.
    In the end, though, it’s the quality of the writing that matters…and you WOrd Wenches have that covered!
    Bill Page
    Manhattan

    Reply
  7. I’m reading more and more books on my Blackberry, so a shorter novel is easier to navigate. But I love the sweep of the larger novels. It’s hard to develop a cast of characters such as those in the Fallen Angels series (not to mention the Silk or Bride series) in the shorter lengths.
    In the end, though, it’s the quality of the writing that matters…and you WOrd Wenches have that covered!
    Bill Page
    Manhattan

    Reply
  8. I’m reading more and more books on my Blackberry, so a shorter novel is easier to navigate. But I love the sweep of the larger novels. It’s hard to develop a cast of characters such as those in the Fallen Angels series (not to mention the Silk or Bride series) in the shorter lengths.
    In the end, though, it’s the quality of the writing that matters…and you WOrd Wenches have that covered!
    Bill Page
    Manhattan

    Reply
  9. I’m reading more and more books on my Blackberry, so a shorter novel is easier to navigate. But I love the sweep of the larger novels. It’s hard to develop a cast of characters such as those in the Fallen Angels series (not to mention the Silk or Bride series) in the shorter lengths.
    In the end, though, it’s the quality of the writing that matters…and you WOrd Wenches have that covered!
    Bill Page
    Manhattan

    Reply
  10. I’m reading more and more books on my Blackberry, so a shorter novel is easier to navigate. But I love the sweep of the larger novels. It’s hard to develop a cast of characters such as those in the Fallen Angels series (not to mention the Silk or Bride series) in the shorter lengths.
    In the end, though, it’s the quality of the writing that matters…and you WOrd Wenches have that covered!
    Bill Page
    Manhattan

    Reply
  11. From MJP:
    Janice–I never heard of the Sturgeon story! I’ve read him, but I’m not usually much on short stories–I like something long enough to wallow in. I suppose few titles are unique.
    We came up with Thunder and Roses because it was one of the earlier historical romance naming traditions–two elements, one for him, one for her. THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER. THE WOLF AND THE DOVE. Etc.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  12. From MJP:
    Janice–I never heard of the Sturgeon story! I’ve read him, but I’m not usually much on short stories–I like something long enough to wallow in. I suppose few titles are unique.
    We came up with Thunder and Roses because it was one of the earlier historical romance naming traditions–two elements, one for him, one for her. THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER. THE WOLF AND THE DOVE. Etc.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  13. From MJP:
    Janice–I never heard of the Sturgeon story! I’ve read him, but I’m not usually much on short stories–I like something long enough to wallow in. I suppose few titles are unique.
    We came up with Thunder and Roses because it was one of the earlier historical romance naming traditions–two elements, one for him, one for her. THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER. THE WOLF AND THE DOVE. Etc.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  14. From MJP:
    Janice–I never heard of the Sturgeon story! I’ve read him, but I’m not usually much on short stories–I like something long enough to wallow in. I suppose few titles are unique.
    We came up with Thunder and Roses because it was one of the earlier historical romance naming traditions–two elements, one for him, one for her. THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER. THE WOLF AND THE DOVE. Etc.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  15. From MJP:
    Janice–I never heard of the Sturgeon story! I’ve read him, but I’m not usually much on short stories–I like something long enough to wallow in. I suppose few titles are unique.
    We came up with Thunder and Roses because it was one of the earlier historical romance naming traditions–two elements, one for him, one for her. THE FLAME AND THE FLOWER. THE WOLF AND THE DOVE. Etc.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  16. From MJP:
    Bill, you make a good point about the shorter book lengths working better on electronic reading devices, which have their advantages but still aren’t as easy to read as traditional print books.
    Series do allow more complexity to develop over time and multiple titles–but 7 books at 95K each are never going to equal the richness of 7 books averaging 135K. Sigh.
    Thanks for the kind words about wenchly work!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  17. From MJP:
    Bill, you make a good point about the shorter book lengths working better on electronic reading devices, which have their advantages but still aren’t as easy to read as traditional print books.
    Series do allow more complexity to develop over time and multiple titles–but 7 books at 95K each are never going to equal the richness of 7 books averaging 135K. Sigh.
    Thanks for the kind words about wenchly work!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  18. From MJP:
    Bill, you make a good point about the shorter book lengths working better on electronic reading devices, which have their advantages but still aren’t as easy to read as traditional print books.
    Series do allow more complexity to develop over time and multiple titles–but 7 books at 95K each are never going to equal the richness of 7 books averaging 135K. Sigh.
    Thanks for the kind words about wenchly work!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  19. From MJP:
    Bill, you make a good point about the shorter book lengths working better on electronic reading devices, which have their advantages but still aren’t as easy to read as traditional print books.
    Series do allow more complexity to develop over time and multiple titles–but 7 books at 95K each are never going to equal the richness of 7 books averaging 135K. Sigh.
    Thanks for the kind words about wenchly work!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  20. From MJP:
    Bill, you make a good point about the shorter book lengths working better on electronic reading devices, which have their advantages but still aren’t as easy to read as traditional print books.
    Series do allow more complexity to develop over time and multiple titles–but 7 books at 95K each are never going to equal the richness of 7 books averaging 135K. Sigh.
    Thanks for the kind words about wenchly work!
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  21. First off, congratulations to you both for the new imprint! How exciting 🙂 May you have many, many more releases through them.
    I ended up going through and looking at some of my favorite books, both the historical and contemporaries and I realized that most all of the stories I like are well over the 300 page count. Obviously, I prefer the better development of story and character!
    I ‘cut my teeth’ on Victoria Holt when I was a young girl (very young, but we won’t go there 😉 ) and have been hooked ever since. Maybe that’s why I prefer a story with some substance.
    I think it’s a very sad thing that romance/historicals are becoming shorter and shorter. It detracts from the wordsmith’s art in many ways.
    I just finished again, for the umpteenth time, A Rose in Winter by Woodiwiss. It’s 576 pages long. I cannot imagine losing 300 pages of that story! What a shallow husk it would become without them.
    But I do expect, regardless of the word count, to have read a finely crafted, wonderful story at the end. Which is a big reason why I hang around here! The WW’s have that well in hand. 🙂

    Reply
  22. First off, congratulations to you both for the new imprint! How exciting 🙂 May you have many, many more releases through them.
    I ended up going through and looking at some of my favorite books, both the historical and contemporaries and I realized that most all of the stories I like are well over the 300 page count. Obviously, I prefer the better development of story and character!
    I ‘cut my teeth’ on Victoria Holt when I was a young girl (very young, but we won’t go there 😉 ) and have been hooked ever since. Maybe that’s why I prefer a story with some substance.
    I think it’s a very sad thing that romance/historicals are becoming shorter and shorter. It detracts from the wordsmith’s art in many ways.
    I just finished again, for the umpteenth time, A Rose in Winter by Woodiwiss. It’s 576 pages long. I cannot imagine losing 300 pages of that story! What a shallow husk it would become without them.
    But I do expect, regardless of the word count, to have read a finely crafted, wonderful story at the end. Which is a big reason why I hang around here! The WW’s have that well in hand. 🙂

    Reply
  23. First off, congratulations to you both for the new imprint! How exciting 🙂 May you have many, many more releases through them.
    I ended up going through and looking at some of my favorite books, both the historical and contemporaries and I realized that most all of the stories I like are well over the 300 page count. Obviously, I prefer the better development of story and character!
    I ‘cut my teeth’ on Victoria Holt when I was a young girl (very young, but we won’t go there 😉 ) and have been hooked ever since. Maybe that’s why I prefer a story with some substance.
    I think it’s a very sad thing that romance/historicals are becoming shorter and shorter. It detracts from the wordsmith’s art in many ways.
    I just finished again, for the umpteenth time, A Rose in Winter by Woodiwiss. It’s 576 pages long. I cannot imagine losing 300 pages of that story! What a shallow husk it would become without them.
    But I do expect, regardless of the word count, to have read a finely crafted, wonderful story at the end. Which is a big reason why I hang around here! The WW’s have that well in hand. 🙂

    Reply
  24. First off, congratulations to you both for the new imprint! How exciting 🙂 May you have many, many more releases through them.
    I ended up going through and looking at some of my favorite books, both the historical and contemporaries and I realized that most all of the stories I like are well over the 300 page count. Obviously, I prefer the better development of story and character!
    I ‘cut my teeth’ on Victoria Holt when I was a young girl (very young, but we won’t go there 😉 ) and have been hooked ever since. Maybe that’s why I prefer a story with some substance.
    I think it’s a very sad thing that romance/historicals are becoming shorter and shorter. It detracts from the wordsmith’s art in many ways.
    I just finished again, for the umpteenth time, A Rose in Winter by Woodiwiss. It’s 576 pages long. I cannot imagine losing 300 pages of that story! What a shallow husk it would become without them.
    But I do expect, regardless of the word count, to have read a finely crafted, wonderful story at the end. Which is a big reason why I hang around here! The WW’s have that well in hand. 🙂

    Reply
  25. First off, congratulations to you both for the new imprint! How exciting 🙂 May you have many, many more releases through them.
    I ended up going through and looking at some of my favorite books, both the historical and contemporaries and I realized that most all of the stories I like are well over the 300 page count. Obviously, I prefer the better development of story and character!
    I ‘cut my teeth’ on Victoria Holt when I was a young girl (very young, but we won’t go there 😉 ) and have been hooked ever since. Maybe that’s why I prefer a story with some substance.
    I think it’s a very sad thing that romance/historicals are becoming shorter and shorter. It detracts from the wordsmith’s art in many ways.
    I just finished again, for the umpteenth time, A Rose in Winter by Woodiwiss. It’s 576 pages long. I cannot imagine losing 300 pages of that story! What a shallow husk it would become without them.
    But I do expect, regardless of the word count, to have read a finely crafted, wonderful story at the end. Which is a big reason why I hang around here! The WW’s have that well in hand. 🙂

    Reply
  26. No, I don’t miss the lengthy saga type tomes. I never read them any more simply because they required too much of my free time to get the “And they lived happily ever after, SIGH” thrill, the reason I read. I want to be able to finish the book within about 6 hours of reading time. Get a book much longer than 450 pages and you’ll lose me unless I’ve got nothing else to do but read. And I’m not too crazy about the series that follow the same heroine for several books, either. (Especially since these take several years to complete!) There has to be plenty of developing romance (sex not necessary) between her and her hero (no bed hopping, either) or the story loses my attention.

    Reply
  27. No, I don’t miss the lengthy saga type tomes. I never read them any more simply because they required too much of my free time to get the “And they lived happily ever after, SIGH” thrill, the reason I read. I want to be able to finish the book within about 6 hours of reading time. Get a book much longer than 450 pages and you’ll lose me unless I’ve got nothing else to do but read. And I’m not too crazy about the series that follow the same heroine for several books, either. (Especially since these take several years to complete!) There has to be plenty of developing romance (sex not necessary) between her and her hero (no bed hopping, either) or the story loses my attention.

    Reply
  28. No, I don’t miss the lengthy saga type tomes. I never read them any more simply because they required too much of my free time to get the “And they lived happily ever after, SIGH” thrill, the reason I read. I want to be able to finish the book within about 6 hours of reading time. Get a book much longer than 450 pages and you’ll lose me unless I’ve got nothing else to do but read. And I’m not too crazy about the series that follow the same heroine for several books, either. (Especially since these take several years to complete!) There has to be plenty of developing romance (sex not necessary) between her and her hero (no bed hopping, either) or the story loses my attention.

    Reply
  29. No, I don’t miss the lengthy saga type tomes. I never read them any more simply because they required too much of my free time to get the “And they lived happily ever after, SIGH” thrill, the reason I read. I want to be able to finish the book within about 6 hours of reading time. Get a book much longer than 450 pages and you’ll lose me unless I’ve got nothing else to do but read. And I’m not too crazy about the series that follow the same heroine for several books, either. (Especially since these take several years to complete!) There has to be plenty of developing romance (sex not necessary) between her and her hero (no bed hopping, either) or the story loses my attention.

    Reply
  30. No, I don’t miss the lengthy saga type tomes. I never read them any more simply because they required too much of my free time to get the “And they lived happily ever after, SIGH” thrill, the reason I read. I want to be able to finish the book within about 6 hours of reading time. Get a book much longer than 450 pages and you’ll lose me unless I’ve got nothing else to do but read. And I’m not too crazy about the series that follow the same heroine for several books, either. (Especially since these take several years to complete!) There has to be plenty of developing romance (sex not necessary) between her and her hero (no bed hopping, either) or the story loses my attention.

    Reply
  31. I’ve wallowed in every kind of romance written but I believe one result is that I now know too much history. I fear education detracts from the fantasy of historical romance. “G” It was fun writing about castles and cowboys as long as we just wrote about the people, but if we want to include real history, the story gets a lot grittier. So maybe shorter is better in some ways.

    Reply
  32. I’ve wallowed in every kind of romance written but I believe one result is that I now know too much history. I fear education detracts from the fantasy of historical romance. “G” It was fun writing about castles and cowboys as long as we just wrote about the people, but if we want to include real history, the story gets a lot grittier. So maybe shorter is better in some ways.

    Reply
  33. I’ve wallowed in every kind of romance written but I believe one result is that I now know too much history. I fear education detracts from the fantasy of historical romance. “G” It was fun writing about castles and cowboys as long as we just wrote about the people, but if we want to include real history, the story gets a lot grittier. So maybe shorter is better in some ways.

    Reply
  34. I’ve wallowed in every kind of romance written but I believe one result is that I now know too much history. I fear education detracts from the fantasy of historical romance. “G” It was fun writing about castles and cowboys as long as we just wrote about the people, but if we want to include real history, the story gets a lot grittier. So maybe shorter is better in some ways.

    Reply
  35. I’ve wallowed in every kind of romance written but I believe one result is that I now know too much history. I fear education detracts from the fantasy of historical romance. “G” It was fun writing about castles and cowboys as long as we just wrote about the people, but if we want to include real history, the story gets a lot grittier. So maybe shorter is better in some ways.

    Reply
  36. From MJP:
    You have a point about knowing too much history occasionally getting in the way, Pat. *g* I can get knocked out of stories by things of which I was once blissfully ignorant.
    From the comments of Theo and Denise, it’s clear that there is still room for books of all lengths. But my guess is there is room for fewer of the very long books. Shortage of time to read is a pandemic!
    Mary Jo, who still reads, but only has time because of not watching television.

    Reply
  37. From MJP:
    You have a point about knowing too much history occasionally getting in the way, Pat. *g* I can get knocked out of stories by things of which I was once blissfully ignorant.
    From the comments of Theo and Denise, it’s clear that there is still room for books of all lengths. But my guess is there is room for fewer of the very long books. Shortage of time to read is a pandemic!
    Mary Jo, who still reads, but only has time because of not watching television.

    Reply
  38. From MJP:
    You have a point about knowing too much history occasionally getting in the way, Pat. *g* I can get knocked out of stories by things of which I was once blissfully ignorant.
    From the comments of Theo and Denise, it’s clear that there is still room for books of all lengths. But my guess is there is room for fewer of the very long books. Shortage of time to read is a pandemic!
    Mary Jo, who still reads, but only has time because of not watching television.

    Reply
  39. From MJP:
    You have a point about knowing too much history occasionally getting in the way, Pat. *g* I can get knocked out of stories by things of which I was once blissfully ignorant.
    From the comments of Theo and Denise, it’s clear that there is still room for books of all lengths. But my guess is there is room for fewer of the very long books. Shortage of time to read is a pandemic!
    Mary Jo, who still reads, but only has time because of not watching television.

    Reply
  40. From MJP:
    You have a point about knowing too much history occasionally getting in the way, Pat. *g* I can get knocked out of stories by things of which I was once blissfully ignorant.
    From the comments of Theo and Denise, it’s clear that there is still room for books of all lengths. But my guess is there is room for fewer of the very long books. Shortage of time to read is a pandemic!
    Mary Jo, who still reads, but only has time because of not watching television.

    Reply
  41. Mary Jo and Jo, congratulations on your Uk releases. I’m sure you’ll find a lot of readers there who already know and love your books.
    I think the reason why some US written historical novels don’t ‘hit the spot’ with UK readers is that they either don’t get the facts right, or they get the facts but not the tone right (which is a form of historical inaccuracy, too.) And UK readers don’t like that.
    Point in case, when I did the novelization of the first series of “The Tudors” TV show, I used the script as my “bible”, and the script writer had made a LOT of changes in the history (I presume because it made dramatic presentation in a short amount of time easier.) The amazon US reviews of that book are almost all positive, concentrating on the story and the writing. The amazon UK reviews almost all can it, outraged by the messing about with history.
    That said, you and Jo should go down a treat because you get the facts and the tone right.
    I’ve always read and loved historical novels, even as a kid. Read everything of Rosemary Sutcliff, Henry Treece, Heyer and so on. And well before Philippa Gregory there was Jean Plaidy, who wrote fabulous meaty novels about the the lives of almost every dead royal you could think of. I certainly learned a LOT of history from her.

    Reply
  42. Mary Jo and Jo, congratulations on your Uk releases. I’m sure you’ll find a lot of readers there who already know and love your books.
    I think the reason why some US written historical novels don’t ‘hit the spot’ with UK readers is that they either don’t get the facts right, or they get the facts but not the tone right (which is a form of historical inaccuracy, too.) And UK readers don’t like that.
    Point in case, when I did the novelization of the first series of “The Tudors” TV show, I used the script as my “bible”, and the script writer had made a LOT of changes in the history (I presume because it made dramatic presentation in a short amount of time easier.) The amazon US reviews of that book are almost all positive, concentrating on the story and the writing. The amazon UK reviews almost all can it, outraged by the messing about with history.
    That said, you and Jo should go down a treat because you get the facts and the tone right.
    I’ve always read and loved historical novels, even as a kid. Read everything of Rosemary Sutcliff, Henry Treece, Heyer and so on. And well before Philippa Gregory there was Jean Plaidy, who wrote fabulous meaty novels about the the lives of almost every dead royal you could think of. I certainly learned a LOT of history from her.

    Reply
  43. Mary Jo and Jo, congratulations on your Uk releases. I’m sure you’ll find a lot of readers there who already know and love your books.
    I think the reason why some US written historical novels don’t ‘hit the spot’ with UK readers is that they either don’t get the facts right, or they get the facts but not the tone right (which is a form of historical inaccuracy, too.) And UK readers don’t like that.
    Point in case, when I did the novelization of the first series of “The Tudors” TV show, I used the script as my “bible”, and the script writer had made a LOT of changes in the history (I presume because it made dramatic presentation in a short amount of time easier.) The amazon US reviews of that book are almost all positive, concentrating on the story and the writing. The amazon UK reviews almost all can it, outraged by the messing about with history.
    That said, you and Jo should go down a treat because you get the facts and the tone right.
    I’ve always read and loved historical novels, even as a kid. Read everything of Rosemary Sutcliff, Henry Treece, Heyer and so on. And well before Philippa Gregory there was Jean Plaidy, who wrote fabulous meaty novels about the the lives of almost every dead royal you could think of. I certainly learned a LOT of history from her.

    Reply
  44. Mary Jo and Jo, congratulations on your Uk releases. I’m sure you’ll find a lot of readers there who already know and love your books.
    I think the reason why some US written historical novels don’t ‘hit the spot’ with UK readers is that they either don’t get the facts right, or they get the facts but not the tone right (which is a form of historical inaccuracy, too.) And UK readers don’t like that.
    Point in case, when I did the novelization of the first series of “The Tudors” TV show, I used the script as my “bible”, and the script writer had made a LOT of changes in the history (I presume because it made dramatic presentation in a short amount of time easier.) The amazon US reviews of that book are almost all positive, concentrating on the story and the writing. The amazon UK reviews almost all can it, outraged by the messing about with history.
    That said, you and Jo should go down a treat because you get the facts and the tone right.
    I’ve always read and loved historical novels, even as a kid. Read everything of Rosemary Sutcliff, Henry Treece, Heyer and so on. And well before Philippa Gregory there was Jean Plaidy, who wrote fabulous meaty novels about the the lives of almost every dead royal you could think of. I certainly learned a LOT of history from her.

    Reply
  45. Mary Jo and Jo, congratulations on your Uk releases. I’m sure you’ll find a lot of readers there who already know and love your books.
    I think the reason why some US written historical novels don’t ‘hit the spot’ with UK readers is that they either don’t get the facts right, or they get the facts but not the tone right (which is a form of historical inaccuracy, too.) And UK readers don’t like that.
    Point in case, when I did the novelization of the first series of “The Tudors” TV show, I used the script as my “bible”, and the script writer had made a LOT of changes in the history (I presume because it made dramatic presentation in a short amount of time easier.) The amazon US reviews of that book are almost all positive, concentrating on the story and the writing. The amazon UK reviews almost all can it, outraged by the messing about with history.
    That said, you and Jo should go down a treat because you get the facts and the tone right.
    I’ve always read and loved historical novels, even as a kid. Read everything of Rosemary Sutcliff, Henry Treece, Heyer and so on. And well before Philippa Gregory there was Jean Plaidy, who wrote fabulous meaty novels about the the lives of almost every dead royal you could think of. I certainly learned a LOT of history from her.

    Reply
  46. Length: I will read any length if it’s by an author I like, from the oldfashioned short trads to the Karleen Koen style doorstops. However, my strong preference is for novels in which the setting & era are as important & given as much attention as the hero & heroine, and which include interesting subsidiary characters. Although a genius writer can do that in a shorter length – look how much Georgette Heyer was able to pack into her short stories! – normal writers probably could use the extra length. Length and padding are not the same thing; every word counts!
    As for reading time, I understand that it does take longer to read a long book than a short one – obviously – but if it’s a worthwhile book, I am happy to invest the extra time. The only time I really feel ripped off of moments I cannot recover is when I have invested time in a bad book, of any length – I can never get that time back!
    Mary Jo, go read Sturgeon’s ‘Thunder and Roses’ – it may be 50 years old, but its message is just as relevant today, if not more so. I have always liked Sturgeon because he was one of the first sf writers to write about women as if they were people too, not some alien lab species 🙂

    Reply
  47. Length: I will read any length if it’s by an author I like, from the oldfashioned short trads to the Karleen Koen style doorstops. However, my strong preference is for novels in which the setting & era are as important & given as much attention as the hero & heroine, and which include interesting subsidiary characters. Although a genius writer can do that in a shorter length – look how much Georgette Heyer was able to pack into her short stories! – normal writers probably could use the extra length. Length and padding are not the same thing; every word counts!
    As for reading time, I understand that it does take longer to read a long book than a short one – obviously – but if it’s a worthwhile book, I am happy to invest the extra time. The only time I really feel ripped off of moments I cannot recover is when I have invested time in a bad book, of any length – I can never get that time back!
    Mary Jo, go read Sturgeon’s ‘Thunder and Roses’ – it may be 50 years old, but its message is just as relevant today, if not more so. I have always liked Sturgeon because he was one of the first sf writers to write about women as if they were people too, not some alien lab species 🙂

    Reply
  48. Length: I will read any length if it’s by an author I like, from the oldfashioned short trads to the Karleen Koen style doorstops. However, my strong preference is for novels in which the setting & era are as important & given as much attention as the hero & heroine, and which include interesting subsidiary characters. Although a genius writer can do that in a shorter length – look how much Georgette Heyer was able to pack into her short stories! – normal writers probably could use the extra length. Length and padding are not the same thing; every word counts!
    As for reading time, I understand that it does take longer to read a long book than a short one – obviously – but if it’s a worthwhile book, I am happy to invest the extra time. The only time I really feel ripped off of moments I cannot recover is when I have invested time in a bad book, of any length – I can never get that time back!
    Mary Jo, go read Sturgeon’s ‘Thunder and Roses’ – it may be 50 years old, but its message is just as relevant today, if not more so. I have always liked Sturgeon because he was one of the first sf writers to write about women as if they were people too, not some alien lab species 🙂

    Reply
  49. Length: I will read any length if it’s by an author I like, from the oldfashioned short trads to the Karleen Koen style doorstops. However, my strong preference is for novels in which the setting & era are as important & given as much attention as the hero & heroine, and which include interesting subsidiary characters. Although a genius writer can do that in a shorter length – look how much Georgette Heyer was able to pack into her short stories! – normal writers probably could use the extra length. Length and padding are not the same thing; every word counts!
    As for reading time, I understand that it does take longer to read a long book than a short one – obviously – but if it’s a worthwhile book, I am happy to invest the extra time. The only time I really feel ripped off of moments I cannot recover is when I have invested time in a bad book, of any length – I can never get that time back!
    Mary Jo, go read Sturgeon’s ‘Thunder and Roses’ – it may be 50 years old, but its message is just as relevant today, if not more so. I have always liked Sturgeon because he was one of the first sf writers to write about women as if they were people too, not some alien lab species 🙂

    Reply
  50. Length: I will read any length if it’s by an author I like, from the oldfashioned short trads to the Karleen Koen style doorstops. However, my strong preference is for novels in which the setting & era are as important & given as much attention as the hero & heroine, and which include interesting subsidiary characters. Although a genius writer can do that in a shorter length – look how much Georgette Heyer was able to pack into her short stories! – normal writers probably could use the extra length. Length and padding are not the same thing; every word counts!
    As for reading time, I understand that it does take longer to read a long book than a short one – obviously – but if it’s a worthwhile book, I am happy to invest the extra time. The only time I really feel ripped off of moments I cannot recover is when I have invested time in a bad book, of any length – I can never get that time back!
    Mary Jo, go read Sturgeon’s ‘Thunder and Roses’ – it may be 50 years old, but its message is just as relevant today, if not more so. I have always liked Sturgeon because he was one of the first sf writers to write about women as if they were people too, not some alien lab species 🙂

    Reply
  51. Mary Jo, congrats to you and Jo on the UK releases. The covers are absolutely gorgeous—Everlyn obviously has great taste!
    We all keep hearing about shorter attention spans, which is often given as a reason for the shorter word counts. That may be true, plus people have less “quiet” time in general to spend reading. I have no quibble with being asked to craft tighter stories. I just wish there were variations, and that the possibility existed to write a longer book if I came up with a story that I felt really called for it.
    The real problem, IMO, is that editors these days seem to want to keep forcing books into not only similar lengths but similar formulas. Like most readers, I prefer to read lots different types of “voices”. Too many similar stories in a row and I begin to get bored. I jump around from history to romance to mystery to non-fiction for the variety and textures that each genre offers. I happen to love long, sweeping historicals with plenty of period detail woven into the plot—and wish there were more of them, like in the “old” days. But books and book publishing keep evolving and so we have to work within the parameters.
    That said, there are still oodles of wonderful books being written—and released in new versions for a new audience to savor. So once again, a toast to Mary Jo and Jo for their UK editions!

    Reply
  52. Mary Jo, congrats to you and Jo on the UK releases. The covers are absolutely gorgeous—Everlyn obviously has great taste!
    We all keep hearing about shorter attention spans, which is often given as a reason for the shorter word counts. That may be true, plus people have less “quiet” time in general to spend reading. I have no quibble with being asked to craft tighter stories. I just wish there were variations, and that the possibility existed to write a longer book if I came up with a story that I felt really called for it.
    The real problem, IMO, is that editors these days seem to want to keep forcing books into not only similar lengths but similar formulas. Like most readers, I prefer to read lots different types of “voices”. Too many similar stories in a row and I begin to get bored. I jump around from history to romance to mystery to non-fiction for the variety and textures that each genre offers. I happen to love long, sweeping historicals with plenty of period detail woven into the plot—and wish there were more of them, like in the “old” days. But books and book publishing keep evolving and so we have to work within the parameters.
    That said, there are still oodles of wonderful books being written—and released in new versions for a new audience to savor. So once again, a toast to Mary Jo and Jo for their UK editions!

    Reply
  53. Mary Jo, congrats to you and Jo on the UK releases. The covers are absolutely gorgeous—Everlyn obviously has great taste!
    We all keep hearing about shorter attention spans, which is often given as a reason for the shorter word counts. That may be true, plus people have less “quiet” time in general to spend reading. I have no quibble with being asked to craft tighter stories. I just wish there were variations, and that the possibility existed to write a longer book if I came up with a story that I felt really called for it.
    The real problem, IMO, is that editors these days seem to want to keep forcing books into not only similar lengths but similar formulas. Like most readers, I prefer to read lots different types of “voices”. Too many similar stories in a row and I begin to get bored. I jump around from history to romance to mystery to non-fiction for the variety and textures that each genre offers. I happen to love long, sweeping historicals with plenty of period detail woven into the plot—and wish there were more of them, like in the “old” days. But books and book publishing keep evolving and so we have to work within the parameters.
    That said, there are still oodles of wonderful books being written—and released in new versions for a new audience to savor. So once again, a toast to Mary Jo and Jo for their UK editions!

    Reply
  54. Mary Jo, congrats to you and Jo on the UK releases. The covers are absolutely gorgeous—Everlyn obviously has great taste!
    We all keep hearing about shorter attention spans, which is often given as a reason for the shorter word counts. That may be true, plus people have less “quiet” time in general to spend reading. I have no quibble with being asked to craft tighter stories. I just wish there were variations, and that the possibility existed to write a longer book if I came up with a story that I felt really called for it.
    The real problem, IMO, is that editors these days seem to want to keep forcing books into not only similar lengths but similar formulas. Like most readers, I prefer to read lots different types of “voices”. Too many similar stories in a row and I begin to get bored. I jump around from history to romance to mystery to non-fiction for the variety and textures that each genre offers. I happen to love long, sweeping historicals with plenty of period detail woven into the plot—and wish there were more of them, like in the “old” days. But books and book publishing keep evolving and so we have to work within the parameters.
    That said, there are still oodles of wonderful books being written—and released in new versions for a new audience to savor. So once again, a toast to Mary Jo and Jo for their UK editions!

    Reply
  55. Mary Jo, congrats to you and Jo on the UK releases. The covers are absolutely gorgeous—Everlyn obviously has great taste!
    We all keep hearing about shorter attention spans, which is often given as a reason for the shorter word counts. That may be true, plus people have less “quiet” time in general to spend reading. I have no quibble with being asked to craft tighter stories. I just wish there were variations, and that the possibility existed to write a longer book if I came up with a story that I felt really called for it.
    The real problem, IMO, is that editors these days seem to want to keep forcing books into not only similar lengths but similar formulas. Like most readers, I prefer to read lots different types of “voices”. Too many similar stories in a row and I begin to get bored. I jump around from history to romance to mystery to non-fiction for the variety and textures that each genre offers. I happen to love long, sweeping historicals with plenty of period detail woven into the plot—and wish there were more of them, like in the “old” days. But books and book publishing keep evolving and so we have to work within the parameters.
    That said, there are still oodles of wonderful books being written—and released in new versions for a new audience to savor. So once again, a toast to Mary Jo and Jo for their UK editions!

    Reply
  56. From MJP:
    I look for that story. You’re so right that a lot of those early sf writers never really figured out gurlzz. *g*
    Anne, I’m really tickled that the “Englishness” of my writing was up to Everlyn standards. Jo, of course, is the real thing, but while I’ve lived in the UK, have a degree in BritLit, and have certainly read tons of books by British authors, I’m still aware of the fact that I’m basically faking it.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  57. From MJP:
    I look for that story. You’re so right that a lot of those early sf writers never really figured out gurlzz. *g*
    Anne, I’m really tickled that the “Englishness” of my writing was up to Everlyn standards. Jo, of course, is the real thing, but while I’ve lived in the UK, have a degree in BritLit, and have certainly read tons of books by British authors, I’m still aware of the fact that I’m basically faking it.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  58. From MJP:
    I look for that story. You’re so right that a lot of those early sf writers never really figured out gurlzz. *g*
    Anne, I’m really tickled that the “Englishness” of my writing was up to Everlyn standards. Jo, of course, is the real thing, but while I’ve lived in the UK, have a degree in BritLit, and have certainly read tons of books by British authors, I’m still aware of the fact that I’m basically faking it.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  59. From MJP:
    I look for that story. You’re so right that a lot of those early sf writers never really figured out gurlzz. *g*
    Anne, I’m really tickled that the “Englishness” of my writing was up to Everlyn standards. Jo, of course, is the real thing, but while I’ve lived in the UK, have a degree in BritLit, and have certainly read tons of books by British authors, I’m still aware of the fact that I’m basically faking it.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  60. From MJP:
    I look for that story. You’re so right that a lot of those early sf writers never really figured out gurlzz. *g*
    Anne, I’m really tickled that the “Englishness” of my writing was up to Everlyn standards. Jo, of course, is the real thing, but while I’ve lived in the UK, have a degree in BritLit, and have certainly read tons of books by British authors, I’m still aware of the fact that I’m basically faking it.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  61. Your British covers are beautiful. I wish there were more like them in the US.
    Romance length is one of my hot buttons. I love a great big book. If I really like the story, the longer the better.
    Maybe it’s just as well that most romances now are shorter. I read a lot of new historical authors and they’re mostly the same–boring. Very little story or historical detail and lots of sex. But they’re published. At this rate, we might as well read contemporaries, because that’s what we’re getting.
    Says Linda, whose 95,000 word Regency might never see the light of day or else be hacked to pieces

    Reply
  62. Your British covers are beautiful. I wish there were more like them in the US.
    Romance length is one of my hot buttons. I love a great big book. If I really like the story, the longer the better.
    Maybe it’s just as well that most romances now are shorter. I read a lot of new historical authors and they’re mostly the same–boring. Very little story or historical detail and lots of sex. But they’re published. At this rate, we might as well read contemporaries, because that’s what we’re getting.
    Says Linda, whose 95,000 word Regency might never see the light of day or else be hacked to pieces

    Reply
  63. Your British covers are beautiful. I wish there were more like them in the US.
    Romance length is one of my hot buttons. I love a great big book. If I really like the story, the longer the better.
    Maybe it’s just as well that most romances now are shorter. I read a lot of new historical authors and they’re mostly the same–boring. Very little story or historical detail and lots of sex. But they’re published. At this rate, we might as well read contemporaries, because that’s what we’re getting.
    Says Linda, whose 95,000 word Regency might never see the light of day or else be hacked to pieces

    Reply
  64. Your British covers are beautiful. I wish there were more like them in the US.
    Romance length is one of my hot buttons. I love a great big book. If I really like the story, the longer the better.
    Maybe it’s just as well that most romances now are shorter. I read a lot of new historical authors and they’re mostly the same–boring. Very little story or historical detail and lots of sex. But they’re published. At this rate, we might as well read contemporaries, because that’s what we’re getting.
    Says Linda, whose 95,000 word Regency might never see the light of day or else be hacked to pieces

    Reply
  65. Your British covers are beautiful. I wish there were more like them in the US.
    Romance length is one of my hot buttons. I love a great big book. If I really like the story, the longer the better.
    Maybe it’s just as well that most romances now are shorter. I read a lot of new historical authors and they’re mostly the same–boring. Very little story or historical detail and lots of sex. But they’re published. At this rate, we might as well read contemporaries, because that’s what we’re getting.
    Says Linda, whose 95,000 word Regency might never see the light of day or else be hacked to pieces

    Reply
  66. I am in full accord with Linda- some of the newer books have little plot, less history, and too much contemporary style sex. When I love a book, I am always sorry to see it end, so longer works are fine with me. Like Mary Jo, I make time for reading by skipping television- which nowadays has even less plot, character, or history!

    Reply
  67. I am in full accord with Linda- some of the newer books have little plot, less history, and too much contemporary style sex. When I love a book, I am always sorry to see it end, so longer works are fine with me. Like Mary Jo, I make time for reading by skipping television- which nowadays has even less plot, character, or history!

    Reply
  68. I am in full accord with Linda- some of the newer books have little plot, less history, and too much contemporary style sex. When I love a book, I am always sorry to see it end, so longer works are fine with me. Like Mary Jo, I make time for reading by skipping television- which nowadays has even less plot, character, or history!

    Reply
  69. I am in full accord with Linda- some of the newer books have little plot, less history, and too much contemporary style sex. When I love a book, I am always sorry to see it end, so longer works are fine with me. Like Mary Jo, I make time for reading by skipping television- which nowadays has even less plot, character, or history!

    Reply
  70. I am in full accord with Linda- some of the newer books have little plot, less history, and too much contemporary style sex. When I love a book, I am always sorry to see it end, so longer works are fine with me. Like Mary Jo, I make time for reading by skipping television- which nowadays has even less plot, character, or history!

    Reply
  71. Not to hijack the thread here, but I’m curious as to what constitutes ‘contemporary style sex.’ Sex has been sex through the ages. Is it the way things are phrased? Sade used very blunt, crass phrasing, nothing that isn’t used now, so I would really like to know 🙂

    Reply
  72. Not to hijack the thread here, but I’m curious as to what constitutes ‘contemporary style sex.’ Sex has been sex through the ages. Is it the way things are phrased? Sade used very blunt, crass phrasing, nothing that isn’t used now, so I would really like to know 🙂

    Reply
  73. Not to hijack the thread here, but I’m curious as to what constitutes ‘contemporary style sex.’ Sex has been sex through the ages. Is it the way things are phrased? Sade used very blunt, crass phrasing, nothing that isn’t used now, so I would really like to know 🙂

    Reply
  74. Not to hijack the thread here, but I’m curious as to what constitutes ‘contemporary style sex.’ Sex has been sex through the ages. Is it the way things are phrased? Sade used very blunt, crass phrasing, nothing that isn’t used now, so I would really like to know 🙂

    Reply
  75. Not to hijack the thread here, but I’m curious as to what constitutes ‘contemporary style sex.’ Sex has been sex through the ages. Is it the way things are phrased? Sade used very blunt, crass phrasing, nothing that isn’t used now, so I would really like to know 🙂

    Reply
  76. From MJP:
    Linda, it was really sad when the last of the traditional Regency imprints closed down, because they has such a distinct flavor of language and tone that was different from the Regency historicals. (Not that I don’t like the latter, too!)
    Theo, I’m just guessing at Gretchen’s meaning here, but “contemporary style sex” might not mean that sec has actually changed (because really, I don’t think it has. *g*)
    Rather, I think it’s because so many current romances have very graphic sex scenes. Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen wrote wonderful stories without explicit sex, but these days, it would be hard to sell a historical romance without graphic scenes unless it was for an inspirational imprint.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  77. From MJP:
    Linda, it was really sad when the last of the traditional Regency imprints closed down, because they has such a distinct flavor of language and tone that was different from the Regency historicals. (Not that I don’t like the latter, too!)
    Theo, I’m just guessing at Gretchen’s meaning here, but “contemporary style sex” might not mean that sec has actually changed (because really, I don’t think it has. *g*)
    Rather, I think it’s because so many current romances have very graphic sex scenes. Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen wrote wonderful stories without explicit sex, but these days, it would be hard to sell a historical romance without graphic scenes unless it was for an inspirational imprint.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  78. From MJP:
    Linda, it was really sad when the last of the traditional Regency imprints closed down, because they has such a distinct flavor of language and tone that was different from the Regency historicals. (Not that I don’t like the latter, too!)
    Theo, I’m just guessing at Gretchen’s meaning here, but “contemporary style sex” might not mean that sec has actually changed (because really, I don’t think it has. *g*)
    Rather, I think it’s because so many current romances have very graphic sex scenes. Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen wrote wonderful stories without explicit sex, but these days, it would be hard to sell a historical romance without graphic scenes unless it was for an inspirational imprint.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  79. From MJP:
    Linda, it was really sad when the last of the traditional Regency imprints closed down, because they has such a distinct flavor of language and tone that was different from the Regency historicals. (Not that I don’t like the latter, too!)
    Theo, I’m just guessing at Gretchen’s meaning here, but “contemporary style sex” might not mean that sec has actually changed (because really, I don’t think it has. *g*)
    Rather, I think it’s because so many current romances have very graphic sex scenes. Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen wrote wonderful stories without explicit sex, but these days, it would be hard to sell a historical romance without graphic scenes unless it was for an inspirational imprint.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  80. From MJP:
    Linda, it was really sad when the last of the traditional Regency imprints closed down, because they has such a distinct flavor of language and tone that was different from the Regency historicals. (Not that I don’t like the latter, too!)
    Theo, I’m just guessing at Gretchen’s meaning here, but “contemporary style sex” might not mean that sec has actually changed (because really, I don’t think it has. *g*)
    Rather, I think it’s because so many current romances have very graphic sex scenes. Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen wrote wonderful stories without explicit sex, but these days, it would be hard to sell a historical romance without graphic scenes unless it was for an inspirational imprint.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  81. ‘Contemporary style sex’ – in the past a man might well not ask a woman he respected to do some of the things (trying not to get graphic here) which are more commonplace now. Nor would a respected woman permit them, let alone ask for them herself. Readers would have been uncomfortable reading such material as well. The double standard for sexual pleasure hasn’t been eliminated but it’s been reduced quite a bit. Of couse it’s all fantasy lovemaking anyway.
    I’ve thought for a long time that too many current day historicals have 21st century people dressed up in funny old clothes. They’re not an honest attempt to reflect attitudes of the era they’re set in; they’re highly colored sex fantasies for modern readers. I have read some very good books along these lines, but have been left to wonder if that’s what the writer really wanted to do: am I reading the book she would have written if she’d had a choice?

    Reply
  82. ‘Contemporary style sex’ – in the past a man might well not ask a woman he respected to do some of the things (trying not to get graphic here) which are more commonplace now. Nor would a respected woman permit them, let alone ask for them herself. Readers would have been uncomfortable reading such material as well. The double standard for sexual pleasure hasn’t been eliminated but it’s been reduced quite a bit. Of couse it’s all fantasy lovemaking anyway.
    I’ve thought for a long time that too many current day historicals have 21st century people dressed up in funny old clothes. They’re not an honest attempt to reflect attitudes of the era they’re set in; they’re highly colored sex fantasies for modern readers. I have read some very good books along these lines, but have been left to wonder if that’s what the writer really wanted to do: am I reading the book she would have written if she’d had a choice?

    Reply
  83. ‘Contemporary style sex’ – in the past a man might well not ask a woman he respected to do some of the things (trying not to get graphic here) which are more commonplace now. Nor would a respected woman permit them, let alone ask for them herself. Readers would have been uncomfortable reading such material as well. The double standard for sexual pleasure hasn’t been eliminated but it’s been reduced quite a bit. Of couse it’s all fantasy lovemaking anyway.
    I’ve thought for a long time that too many current day historicals have 21st century people dressed up in funny old clothes. They’re not an honest attempt to reflect attitudes of the era they’re set in; they’re highly colored sex fantasies for modern readers. I have read some very good books along these lines, but have been left to wonder if that’s what the writer really wanted to do: am I reading the book she would have written if she’d had a choice?

    Reply
  84. ‘Contemporary style sex’ – in the past a man might well not ask a woman he respected to do some of the things (trying not to get graphic here) which are more commonplace now. Nor would a respected woman permit them, let alone ask for them herself. Readers would have been uncomfortable reading such material as well. The double standard for sexual pleasure hasn’t been eliminated but it’s been reduced quite a bit. Of couse it’s all fantasy lovemaking anyway.
    I’ve thought for a long time that too many current day historicals have 21st century people dressed up in funny old clothes. They’re not an honest attempt to reflect attitudes of the era they’re set in; they’re highly colored sex fantasies for modern readers. I have read some very good books along these lines, but have been left to wonder if that’s what the writer really wanted to do: am I reading the book she would have written if she’d had a choice?

    Reply
  85. ‘Contemporary style sex’ – in the past a man might well not ask a woman he respected to do some of the things (trying not to get graphic here) which are more commonplace now. Nor would a respected woman permit them, let alone ask for them herself. Readers would have been uncomfortable reading such material as well. The double standard for sexual pleasure hasn’t been eliminated but it’s been reduced quite a bit. Of couse it’s all fantasy lovemaking anyway.
    I’ve thought for a long time that too many current day historicals have 21st century people dressed up in funny old clothes. They’re not an honest attempt to reflect attitudes of the era they’re set in; they’re highly colored sex fantasies for modern readers. I have read some very good books along these lines, but have been left to wonder if that’s what the writer really wanted to do: am I reading the book she would have written if she’d had a choice?

    Reply
  86. Jo here, adding a comment in the midst of preparing for next week’s travels.
    BTW, if you want to see my route, it’s at http://www.jobev.com/appear.html
    If you happen to be in the UK and nearby, do stop by. There are signings but also some informal chats which could be even better. 🙂
    About modern sex, I’m not sure you’re right Janice. The average woman in the past didn’t record much about their sex lives, but we see hints of lusty sex that might well have involved more than the basics. Also trying not to be too graphic.
    Perhaps it’s true that wives in the past might not expect much, whereas today women have more awareness of the possibilities, but then some men in the past wouldn’t have been that aware, either. Brothels and pornography weren’t a normal part of the lives of many men.
    Interesting subject really. Could we blog about it without making the internet blush?
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  87. Jo here, adding a comment in the midst of preparing for next week’s travels.
    BTW, if you want to see my route, it’s at http://www.jobev.com/appear.html
    If you happen to be in the UK and nearby, do stop by. There are signings but also some informal chats which could be even better. 🙂
    About modern sex, I’m not sure you’re right Janice. The average woman in the past didn’t record much about their sex lives, but we see hints of lusty sex that might well have involved more than the basics. Also trying not to be too graphic.
    Perhaps it’s true that wives in the past might not expect much, whereas today women have more awareness of the possibilities, but then some men in the past wouldn’t have been that aware, either. Brothels and pornography weren’t a normal part of the lives of many men.
    Interesting subject really. Could we blog about it without making the internet blush?
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  88. Jo here, adding a comment in the midst of preparing for next week’s travels.
    BTW, if you want to see my route, it’s at http://www.jobev.com/appear.html
    If you happen to be in the UK and nearby, do stop by. There are signings but also some informal chats which could be even better. 🙂
    About modern sex, I’m not sure you’re right Janice. The average woman in the past didn’t record much about their sex lives, but we see hints of lusty sex that might well have involved more than the basics. Also trying not to be too graphic.
    Perhaps it’s true that wives in the past might not expect much, whereas today women have more awareness of the possibilities, but then some men in the past wouldn’t have been that aware, either. Brothels and pornography weren’t a normal part of the lives of many men.
    Interesting subject really. Could we blog about it without making the internet blush?
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  89. Jo here, adding a comment in the midst of preparing for next week’s travels.
    BTW, if you want to see my route, it’s at http://www.jobev.com/appear.html
    If you happen to be in the UK and nearby, do stop by. There are signings but also some informal chats which could be even better. 🙂
    About modern sex, I’m not sure you’re right Janice. The average woman in the past didn’t record much about their sex lives, but we see hints of lusty sex that might well have involved more than the basics. Also trying not to be too graphic.
    Perhaps it’s true that wives in the past might not expect much, whereas today women have more awareness of the possibilities, but then some men in the past wouldn’t have been that aware, either. Brothels and pornography weren’t a normal part of the lives of many men.
    Interesting subject really. Could we blog about it without making the internet blush?
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  90. Jo here, adding a comment in the midst of preparing for next week’s travels.
    BTW, if you want to see my route, it’s at http://www.jobev.com/appear.html
    If you happen to be in the UK and nearby, do stop by. There are signings but also some informal chats which could be even better. 🙂
    About modern sex, I’m not sure you’re right Janice. The average woman in the past didn’t record much about their sex lives, but we see hints of lusty sex that might well have involved more than the basics. Also trying not to be too graphic.
    Perhaps it’s true that wives in the past might not expect much, whereas today women have more awareness of the possibilities, but then some men in the past wouldn’t have been that aware, either. Brothels and pornography weren’t a normal part of the lives of many men.
    Interesting subject really. Could we blog about it without making the internet blush?
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  91. Jo: I think we’d have to get into an act by act catalog to opine about what was and was not considered OK (to do, not to read about) in the 18th-19th centuries, and this isn’t the place for it. Also, our impressions of women’s pleasure in sex back then is filtered through decades of Victorian and post-Victorian thinking, which taught that a True Lady didn’t feel those emotions, that they were base, animal lusts & she was Above That.
    There was also the very real fear of the pain of childbirth and perhaps even dying from it. One would think that with knowledge of forms of sex which didn’t cause pregnancy, they would have been used more often, but so many women had a child a year until their bodies just wore out. We spread a romantic rosy mist over the era, but it was a cruel time to be a woman.

    Reply
  92. Jo: I think we’d have to get into an act by act catalog to opine about what was and was not considered OK (to do, not to read about) in the 18th-19th centuries, and this isn’t the place for it. Also, our impressions of women’s pleasure in sex back then is filtered through decades of Victorian and post-Victorian thinking, which taught that a True Lady didn’t feel those emotions, that they were base, animal lusts & she was Above That.
    There was also the very real fear of the pain of childbirth and perhaps even dying from it. One would think that with knowledge of forms of sex which didn’t cause pregnancy, they would have been used more often, but so many women had a child a year until their bodies just wore out. We spread a romantic rosy mist over the era, but it was a cruel time to be a woman.

    Reply
  93. Jo: I think we’d have to get into an act by act catalog to opine about what was and was not considered OK (to do, not to read about) in the 18th-19th centuries, and this isn’t the place for it. Also, our impressions of women’s pleasure in sex back then is filtered through decades of Victorian and post-Victorian thinking, which taught that a True Lady didn’t feel those emotions, that they were base, animal lusts & she was Above That.
    There was also the very real fear of the pain of childbirth and perhaps even dying from it. One would think that with knowledge of forms of sex which didn’t cause pregnancy, they would have been used more often, but so many women had a child a year until their bodies just wore out. We spread a romantic rosy mist over the era, but it was a cruel time to be a woman.

    Reply
  94. Jo: I think we’d have to get into an act by act catalog to opine about what was and was not considered OK (to do, not to read about) in the 18th-19th centuries, and this isn’t the place for it. Also, our impressions of women’s pleasure in sex back then is filtered through decades of Victorian and post-Victorian thinking, which taught that a True Lady didn’t feel those emotions, that they were base, animal lusts & she was Above That.
    There was also the very real fear of the pain of childbirth and perhaps even dying from it. One would think that with knowledge of forms of sex which didn’t cause pregnancy, they would have been used more often, but so many women had a child a year until their bodies just wore out. We spread a romantic rosy mist over the era, but it was a cruel time to be a woman.

    Reply
  95. Jo: I think we’d have to get into an act by act catalog to opine about what was and was not considered OK (to do, not to read about) in the 18th-19th centuries, and this isn’t the place for it. Also, our impressions of women’s pleasure in sex back then is filtered through decades of Victorian and post-Victorian thinking, which taught that a True Lady didn’t feel those emotions, that they were base, animal lusts & she was Above That.
    There was also the very real fear of the pain of childbirth and perhaps even dying from it. One would think that with knowledge of forms of sex which didn’t cause pregnancy, they would have been used more often, but so many women had a child a year until their bodies just wore out. We spread a romantic rosy mist over the era, but it was a cruel time to be a woman.

    Reply
  96. *interesting subject really. Could we blog about it without making the internet blush?*
    Oh, I think we all could manage 🙂
    I really find this all fascinating. I think we have a very skewed vision of Victorian England presented to us mostly by “repressed” females writing the Victorian romance novel. Let’s face it, the stories we write carry our imagination with it so it’s no surprise we would read what they imagined more than what they lived, just as we do now.
    It’s more well known now, but very little was written at the time about the multitudes of women who went to the doctor to be treated for their “hysteria.” Um…yeah. 😉
    A really good, well researched book on London through the ages is CITY OF SIN by Giles Emerson. Some eye opening stuff, that.

    Reply
  97. *interesting subject really. Could we blog about it without making the internet blush?*
    Oh, I think we all could manage 🙂
    I really find this all fascinating. I think we have a very skewed vision of Victorian England presented to us mostly by “repressed” females writing the Victorian romance novel. Let’s face it, the stories we write carry our imagination with it so it’s no surprise we would read what they imagined more than what they lived, just as we do now.
    It’s more well known now, but very little was written at the time about the multitudes of women who went to the doctor to be treated for their “hysteria.” Um…yeah. 😉
    A really good, well researched book on London through the ages is CITY OF SIN by Giles Emerson. Some eye opening stuff, that.

    Reply
  98. *interesting subject really. Could we blog about it without making the internet blush?*
    Oh, I think we all could manage 🙂
    I really find this all fascinating. I think we have a very skewed vision of Victorian England presented to us mostly by “repressed” females writing the Victorian romance novel. Let’s face it, the stories we write carry our imagination with it so it’s no surprise we would read what they imagined more than what they lived, just as we do now.
    It’s more well known now, but very little was written at the time about the multitudes of women who went to the doctor to be treated for their “hysteria.” Um…yeah. 😉
    A really good, well researched book on London through the ages is CITY OF SIN by Giles Emerson. Some eye opening stuff, that.

    Reply
  99. *interesting subject really. Could we blog about it without making the internet blush?*
    Oh, I think we all could manage 🙂
    I really find this all fascinating. I think we have a very skewed vision of Victorian England presented to us mostly by “repressed” females writing the Victorian romance novel. Let’s face it, the stories we write carry our imagination with it so it’s no surprise we would read what they imagined more than what they lived, just as we do now.
    It’s more well known now, but very little was written at the time about the multitudes of women who went to the doctor to be treated for their “hysteria.” Um…yeah. 😉
    A really good, well researched book on London through the ages is CITY OF SIN by Giles Emerson. Some eye opening stuff, that.

    Reply
  100. *interesting subject really. Could we blog about it without making the internet blush?*
    Oh, I think we all could manage 🙂
    I really find this all fascinating. I think we have a very skewed vision of Victorian England presented to us mostly by “repressed” females writing the Victorian romance novel. Let’s face it, the stories we write carry our imagination with it so it’s no surprise we would read what they imagined more than what they lived, just as we do now.
    It’s more well known now, but very little was written at the time about the multitudes of women who went to the doctor to be treated for their “hysteria.” Um…yeah. 😉
    A really good, well researched book on London through the ages is CITY OF SIN by Giles Emerson. Some eye opening stuff, that.

    Reply

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