I read an article the other day in which an author said that no one wrote books about friends anymore. (Sorry, lost the link.) It struck me as strange, as books about women friends seem common. There are probably as many with men friends, but perhaps they're more like comrades-in-arms?
That led me to ask on my facebook page about favorite friends in historical romance. I didn't want it to look like a promo troll, so I banned mention of my Company of Rogues unless people wanted to point to particular friendships within the group. There were some interesting replies, but I'll pose the question again here.
What are your favorite one-sex friendships in historical romance? Two women or two men, and not sisters or brothers.
The post threw up some comments that made me think. One was that in our modern world close family is rarer than close friendships, so in fiction we emphasize family more. What do you think of that? There certainly are some notable families in historical romance. My Mallorens, Julia Quinn's Bridgertons, and Mary Balogh's Bedwyns come to mind. There are many others. Suggest your favorites.
Do you buy the argument about family being our rare and treasured fictional prize these days?
Another comment was that female friendships were rarer in romances because the love relationship will interfere. I don't like any implication that female friends will inevitably become rivals for the hero, but do women neglect friends when they fall in love? Or do they turn to them for help and support?
Do men? Do men falling in love neglect their buddies?
Here's a photo of my father and three friends when young. They kept in touch all their lives.
Can you think of historical romances in which friendships suffer because of love?
A diversion, but I came across this page about female friends having a bad time at parties in the past. I've included one of the pictures, but do go over there and enjoy the captions as well. Enjoy!
Thinking over my own books, friendships vary, as I like to write differently each time. In A Shocking Delight Lucy had a close friend — a BFF as people would say today — but the storyline took them apart, as did their futures. There's a thread in the book about how the group of childhood friends is fracturing as they marry and move.
That makes me realize that upper class marriage back then generally meant that the woman would move to the husband's home, probably disturbing earlier friendships. In my novella, Saint Agnes and the Black Sheep, one of the reasons Agnes is determined not to marry is that she values her community and her friends. Of course she finds a gentleman without an estate who's willing to move to her place.
In reality ladies often kept in touch with old friends by letter, but I don't think we see this much in books. That's a bit odd, really. We're accustomed to friendships enhanced and preserved through e-mail and social media, so why isn't there more of the equivalent in historical romances in which the heroine is married?
In my upcoming book, Hermione is without a friend. Circumstances have moved her from her home, and her companion is her sister, but they are not particularly close or in harmony. In addition, her girlhood friends are marrying, moving, and being absorbed by their new life whilst she is remaining a spinster.
So, what are your thoughts about the part friendships play in historical romance, and perhaps your thoughts on how you'd like them to play? Or are close family ties more important these days? There's a copy of Too Dangerous for a Lady to one lucky commenter.