Tentacles in my genre?

Here’s Jo! And yes, this topic is far too racy for Cabbage Patch Kids.
Lomhol

That’s my only picture. it’s from my first historical and it’s the closest I’ve ever been to a cover that could be rape. And that’s the book that has the closest to a rape in it, but it’s a wedding consummation, and there are reasons. It’s still not a comfortable situation, and I don’t think any reader would have been thrilled by it.

Yes, right after sex, we have… rape. Rape, whipping, or any other kind of highly undesirable behaviour on the part of the hero toward the woman who’s suppose to become the loving love of his life. There is actually a term – “heroic rape” — back from the dark ages of the true bodice ripper. The time when I stopped reading romance.

There’s been a lot of debate around the web recently about a book in which the “hero” imprisons and rapes the heroine. I don’t want to name it or get into it because I haven’t read the book so that would be unfair. What is bothering me is an idea that’s floated to the surface during this furore – that rape and abuse is okay in a historical romance, but not in a contemporary romance.

Huh? Does that strike you as badly as it does me?

One explanation is that, well, men didn’t know any better in the past. What?

Certainly some men back then thought they had a right to any woman they fancied, especially a poor one, or one they came across in the wrong part of town. That doesn’t happen now?

There were men who thought once they had a woman she didn’t get to leave until they said so, so if she didn’t want sex, that was too damn bad. That doesn’t happen now?

There have been all kinds of reasons that men in the past raped women, including as part of hostilities, but all those reasons happen today. The thing is, with the probably exception of warfare, few of those men would think it was okay, and few of their fellow men would if they knew about it. No more than today, at least.

And unless the woman was the man’s wife (those marital rights) it was a crime. A serious crime. If the victim was poor the law might not work as keenly as if she were rich. If her virtue was soiled, the offence might be seen as less vile than if she were virtuous. If the rapist was powerful, he might not be pursued, or at least might have good lawyers. But that doesn’t happen now?

An extension of the men not knowing any better, is the very peculiar idea that an author has no choice but to have her historical romance hero whip, imprison, rape etc, because all men were like that back then. Nonsense. One thing I know, and I remind myself of it as I write, everything I put in a book, everything, is a choice I make. I don’t get to say that history made me do it. If I don’t like what a particular aspect of history involves, I won’t go there.

Then someone said that a hero harming a heroine was understandable because he was a duke.

Boggle.

Is it that being an aristocrat, especially a duke, makes morals and self control impossible? The poor 6th Duke of Devonshire. You’d never guess what wickedness lurked, would you?

There are too many dukes in historical romance. Way too many, but…

Ah, that’s the explanation! We’ve run out of reasonable ones and are now getting transmogrified alien dukes from the planet Ugh, where they truly don’t know any better. And anyway, we all know aliens are instantly smitten with lust for Earth women and just can’t help themselves.

Hey, keep those slimy tentacles to yourself, your grace!

But seriously, I don’t like the idea that historical romance is a suitable place for fantasies that readers couldn’t take in contemporaries. What do you think?

Come to think of it, are there already contemporaries with these sorts of situations?

Jo

272 thoughts on “Tentacles in my genre?”

  1. I hold historical heroes and heroines to many of my modern sensibilities. Historical accuracy is all well and good, but I don’t want to read about historically accurate couples; I want to read about couples I like. So I’m with you–if something should be outlawed in a contemporary, it should be outlawed in a historical.
    I don’t think anything should be outlawed, though.
    In “the book” in question, I actually thought that it was very modern–at least psychologically. Much of the furor I think results from the fact that both characters are a little whacked, and they react almost exactly as you’d expect them to. In the book, both characters recognize it was rape. My personal reading of that book is that the rapist was never redeemed; he just managed to drag the heroine down with him. It was a deeply unsettling book, but I don’t think it can be easily dismissed as a return to “rape romance.” At least, that’s my take!
    In all honesty, I felt much the same way about this historical book in question as I did about a modern contemporary where the hero tries to kill the heroine for much of the book, and goes after her sexually as a way to assert his own loss of control.
    Squick! But I judge them by the same standard. The only reason I liked the historical better is that I felt the characters were more true to life–sick and twisted as they both were.

    Reply
  2. I hold historical heroes and heroines to many of my modern sensibilities. Historical accuracy is all well and good, but I don’t want to read about historically accurate couples; I want to read about couples I like. So I’m with you–if something should be outlawed in a contemporary, it should be outlawed in a historical.
    I don’t think anything should be outlawed, though.
    In “the book” in question, I actually thought that it was very modern–at least psychologically. Much of the furor I think results from the fact that both characters are a little whacked, and they react almost exactly as you’d expect them to. In the book, both characters recognize it was rape. My personal reading of that book is that the rapist was never redeemed; he just managed to drag the heroine down with him. It was a deeply unsettling book, but I don’t think it can be easily dismissed as a return to “rape romance.” At least, that’s my take!
    In all honesty, I felt much the same way about this historical book in question as I did about a modern contemporary where the hero tries to kill the heroine for much of the book, and goes after her sexually as a way to assert his own loss of control.
    Squick! But I judge them by the same standard. The only reason I liked the historical better is that I felt the characters were more true to life–sick and twisted as they both were.

    Reply
  3. I hold historical heroes and heroines to many of my modern sensibilities. Historical accuracy is all well and good, but I don’t want to read about historically accurate couples; I want to read about couples I like. So I’m with you–if something should be outlawed in a contemporary, it should be outlawed in a historical.
    I don’t think anything should be outlawed, though.
    In “the book” in question, I actually thought that it was very modern–at least psychologically. Much of the furor I think results from the fact that both characters are a little whacked, and they react almost exactly as you’d expect them to. In the book, both characters recognize it was rape. My personal reading of that book is that the rapist was never redeemed; he just managed to drag the heroine down with him. It was a deeply unsettling book, but I don’t think it can be easily dismissed as a return to “rape romance.” At least, that’s my take!
    In all honesty, I felt much the same way about this historical book in question as I did about a modern contemporary where the hero tries to kill the heroine for much of the book, and goes after her sexually as a way to assert his own loss of control.
    Squick! But I judge them by the same standard. The only reason I liked the historical better is that I felt the characters were more true to life–sick and twisted as they both were.

    Reply
  4. I hold historical heroes and heroines to many of my modern sensibilities. Historical accuracy is all well and good, but I don’t want to read about historically accurate couples; I want to read about couples I like. So I’m with you–if something should be outlawed in a contemporary, it should be outlawed in a historical.
    I don’t think anything should be outlawed, though.
    In “the book” in question, I actually thought that it was very modern–at least psychologically. Much of the furor I think results from the fact that both characters are a little whacked, and they react almost exactly as you’d expect them to. In the book, both characters recognize it was rape. My personal reading of that book is that the rapist was never redeemed; he just managed to drag the heroine down with him. It was a deeply unsettling book, but I don’t think it can be easily dismissed as a return to “rape romance.” At least, that’s my take!
    In all honesty, I felt much the same way about this historical book in question as I did about a modern contemporary where the hero tries to kill the heroine for much of the book, and goes after her sexually as a way to assert his own loss of control.
    Squick! But I judge them by the same standard. The only reason I liked the historical better is that I felt the characters were more true to life–sick and twisted as they both were.

    Reply
  5. Oh I so agree with your sentiments here, Jo. I don’t believe for one minute that all men of the past were of only one type. Brutish and domineering. Just like there is not one sort of man now. You just can’t put everyone in a little box and declare that’s the way it was/is.
    I only read one of the bodice ripper romance back in the dark ages. Ugh. Put me off of reading romance again until just a few years ago.
    Although I do like historical to be a bit accurate to the time portrayed, in any book of any era, I care more about whether or not I like the h/h. If I wanted historical accuracy to the extreme, I would buy a history book. I want more to be entertained than educated.
    I enjoy boy historical and contemporary reads. And I can get just as annoyed with an overbearing, condescending male in the modern era as I can one of his ancestors.
    Thanks for the thought provoking post, Jo.

    Reply
  6. Oh I so agree with your sentiments here, Jo. I don’t believe for one minute that all men of the past were of only one type. Brutish and domineering. Just like there is not one sort of man now. You just can’t put everyone in a little box and declare that’s the way it was/is.
    I only read one of the bodice ripper romance back in the dark ages. Ugh. Put me off of reading romance again until just a few years ago.
    Although I do like historical to be a bit accurate to the time portrayed, in any book of any era, I care more about whether or not I like the h/h. If I wanted historical accuracy to the extreme, I would buy a history book. I want more to be entertained than educated.
    I enjoy boy historical and contemporary reads. And I can get just as annoyed with an overbearing, condescending male in the modern era as I can one of his ancestors.
    Thanks for the thought provoking post, Jo.

    Reply
  7. Oh I so agree with your sentiments here, Jo. I don’t believe for one minute that all men of the past were of only one type. Brutish and domineering. Just like there is not one sort of man now. You just can’t put everyone in a little box and declare that’s the way it was/is.
    I only read one of the bodice ripper romance back in the dark ages. Ugh. Put me off of reading romance again until just a few years ago.
    Although I do like historical to be a bit accurate to the time portrayed, in any book of any era, I care more about whether or not I like the h/h. If I wanted historical accuracy to the extreme, I would buy a history book. I want more to be entertained than educated.
    I enjoy boy historical and contemporary reads. And I can get just as annoyed with an overbearing, condescending male in the modern era as I can one of his ancestors.
    Thanks for the thought provoking post, Jo.

    Reply
  8. Oh I so agree with your sentiments here, Jo. I don’t believe for one minute that all men of the past were of only one type. Brutish and domineering. Just like there is not one sort of man now. You just can’t put everyone in a little box and declare that’s the way it was/is.
    I only read one of the bodice ripper romance back in the dark ages. Ugh. Put me off of reading romance again until just a few years ago.
    Although I do like historical to be a bit accurate to the time portrayed, in any book of any era, I care more about whether or not I like the h/h. If I wanted historical accuracy to the extreme, I would buy a history book. I want more to be entertained than educated.
    I enjoy boy historical and contemporary reads. And I can get just as annoyed with an overbearing, condescending male in the modern era as I can one of his ancestors.
    Thanks for the thought provoking post, Jo.

    Reply
  9. Less rape, more tentacles that’s what I always say!
    Mmmmmm, dreamboat laser pistol-wearing space-Dukes with lots and lots of tentacles…
    …It’s gotta be next big hero thing after shapeshifting dragons, it’s just gotta, I’m telling you 😉

    Reply
  10. Less rape, more tentacles that’s what I always say!
    Mmmmmm, dreamboat laser pistol-wearing space-Dukes with lots and lots of tentacles…
    …It’s gotta be next big hero thing after shapeshifting dragons, it’s just gotta, I’m telling you 😉

    Reply
  11. Less rape, more tentacles that’s what I always say!
    Mmmmmm, dreamboat laser pistol-wearing space-Dukes with lots and lots of tentacles…
    …It’s gotta be next big hero thing after shapeshifting dragons, it’s just gotta, I’m telling you 😉

    Reply
  12. Less rape, more tentacles that’s what I always say!
    Mmmmmm, dreamboat laser pistol-wearing space-Dukes with lots and lots of tentacles…
    …It’s gotta be next big hero thing after shapeshifting dragons, it’s just gotta, I’m telling you 😉

    Reply
  13. I don’t know which book you’re talking about (though now I would like to know!) however I think it is easier for a reader to suspend their disbelief about scenes set in the past, whether that is accurate or not.
    In some societies there really is (or was) no conception of a rape as a crime. Or as rape really. I’ve definitely read about this in isolated small island communities somewhere. So the the “victim” doesn’t think they’re a victim of a crime, and reacts accordingly.
    Has anyone read “The Sheik” by EM Hull? (film 1921) This goes back way further than the modern “bodice ripper”.

    Reply
  14. I don’t know which book you’re talking about (though now I would like to know!) however I think it is easier for a reader to suspend their disbelief about scenes set in the past, whether that is accurate or not.
    In some societies there really is (or was) no conception of a rape as a crime. Or as rape really. I’ve definitely read about this in isolated small island communities somewhere. So the the “victim” doesn’t think they’re a victim of a crime, and reacts accordingly.
    Has anyone read “The Sheik” by EM Hull? (film 1921) This goes back way further than the modern “bodice ripper”.

    Reply
  15. I don’t know which book you’re talking about (though now I would like to know!) however I think it is easier for a reader to suspend their disbelief about scenes set in the past, whether that is accurate or not.
    In some societies there really is (or was) no conception of a rape as a crime. Or as rape really. I’ve definitely read about this in isolated small island communities somewhere. So the the “victim” doesn’t think they’re a victim of a crime, and reacts accordingly.
    Has anyone read “The Sheik” by EM Hull? (film 1921) This goes back way further than the modern “bodice ripper”.

    Reply
  16. I don’t know which book you’re talking about (though now I would like to know!) however I think it is easier for a reader to suspend their disbelief about scenes set in the past, whether that is accurate or not.
    In some societies there really is (or was) no conception of a rape as a crime. Or as rape really. I’ve definitely read about this in isolated small island communities somewhere. So the the “victim” doesn’t think they’re a victim of a crime, and reacts accordingly.
    Has anyone read “The Sheik” by EM Hull? (film 1921) This goes back way further than the modern “bodice ripper”.

    Reply
  17. My only reaction is that today’s women are more likely to use a baseball bat or a knee than the rather brain-washed women of the past. Judging from the newspaper reports, contemporary women are less protected, cherished, etc. — perhaps by their own need for independence and freedom. Which is/was better? You pays your money and you takes you choice! If given any!!

    Reply
  18. My only reaction is that today’s women are more likely to use a baseball bat or a knee than the rather brain-washed women of the past. Judging from the newspaper reports, contemporary women are less protected, cherished, etc. — perhaps by their own need for independence and freedom. Which is/was better? You pays your money and you takes you choice! If given any!!

    Reply
  19. My only reaction is that today’s women are more likely to use a baseball bat or a knee than the rather brain-washed women of the past. Judging from the newspaper reports, contemporary women are less protected, cherished, etc. — perhaps by their own need for independence and freedom. Which is/was better? You pays your money and you takes you choice! If given any!!

    Reply
  20. My only reaction is that today’s women are more likely to use a baseball bat or a knee than the rather brain-washed women of the past. Judging from the newspaper reports, contemporary women are less protected, cherished, etc. — perhaps by their own need for independence and freedom. Which is/was better? You pays your money and you takes you choice! If given any!!

    Reply
  21. Jo here. Interesting comments, CM. As I said, I’d rather this not focus on one book, because it’s certainly not the only one. There’s the flogging duke in Whitney My Love, though that is so long ago now that’s it’s almost historical in its own right.
    These books aren’t my taste so I avoid them if I can, but there was a pirate one a couple of years back where the heroine resisted the hero so he locked her up and starved her into submission. Of course, a true pirate _would_ probably have raped her (always assuming he wasn’t gay.)
    So it’s really the question of whether the past gives readers permission to enjoy reading about things that they wouldn’t tolerate in the fictional present.I think you’re a no — it’s the same to you?
    Margaret, I think I get even more turned off by dominating heroes in a contemporary, so I suppose I’m a bit more tolerant in the past, too! Whoops!
    Whoops on this too. I just realized I do have a rape in one of my books. Serena rapes Francis in FORBIDDEN.My excuse is that she truly thought he’d like it (you’ll have to read the book.) And she certainly didn’t realize he was a virgin.
    LOL on the pistol-wearing space dukes, Skapusniak! (Hope it’s okay to call you that.) I love that. To me, the Liaden novels by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are a bit like that. Check them out.
    Oh, the Sheik, yes, Francois. I thrilled to that as a teenager, but I was a bit fuzzy as to what was going on. Later, I didn’t like it. But I really didn’t like Sons of the Sheik, largely because E M Hull made him such a miserable bundle of repentence. I think one reason I don’t like acting-very-badly heroes is that the great grovel gives me no satisfaction at all. I don’t like bullies, but I get no pleasure from seeing them crawling. But I know many readers put up with atrocious hero behaviour because the great grovel is the pay off. We have many different tastes in our genre.
    But The Sheik was contemporary for the author, even though it might look historical now. What side of the question does that put it on, I wonder.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  22. Jo here. Interesting comments, CM. As I said, I’d rather this not focus on one book, because it’s certainly not the only one. There’s the flogging duke in Whitney My Love, though that is so long ago now that’s it’s almost historical in its own right.
    These books aren’t my taste so I avoid them if I can, but there was a pirate one a couple of years back where the heroine resisted the hero so he locked her up and starved her into submission. Of course, a true pirate _would_ probably have raped her (always assuming he wasn’t gay.)
    So it’s really the question of whether the past gives readers permission to enjoy reading about things that they wouldn’t tolerate in the fictional present.I think you’re a no — it’s the same to you?
    Margaret, I think I get even more turned off by dominating heroes in a contemporary, so I suppose I’m a bit more tolerant in the past, too! Whoops!
    Whoops on this too. I just realized I do have a rape in one of my books. Serena rapes Francis in FORBIDDEN.My excuse is that she truly thought he’d like it (you’ll have to read the book.) And she certainly didn’t realize he was a virgin.
    LOL on the pistol-wearing space dukes, Skapusniak! (Hope it’s okay to call you that.) I love that. To me, the Liaden novels by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are a bit like that. Check them out.
    Oh, the Sheik, yes, Francois. I thrilled to that as a teenager, but I was a bit fuzzy as to what was going on. Later, I didn’t like it. But I really didn’t like Sons of the Sheik, largely because E M Hull made him such a miserable bundle of repentence. I think one reason I don’t like acting-very-badly heroes is that the great grovel gives me no satisfaction at all. I don’t like bullies, but I get no pleasure from seeing them crawling. But I know many readers put up with atrocious hero behaviour because the great grovel is the pay off. We have many different tastes in our genre.
    But The Sheik was contemporary for the author, even though it might look historical now. What side of the question does that put it on, I wonder.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  23. Jo here. Interesting comments, CM. As I said, I’d rather this not focus on one book, because it’s certainly not the only one. There’s the flogging duke in Whitney My Love, though that is so long ago now that’s it’s almost historical in its own right.
    These books aren’t my taste so I avoid them if I can, but there was a pirate one a couple of years back where the heroine resisted the hero so he locked her up and starved her into submission. Of course, a true pirate _would_ probably have raped her (always assuming he wasn’t gay.)
    So it’s really the question of whether the past gives readers permission to enjoy reading about things that they wouldn’t tolerate in the fictional present.I think you’re a no — it’s the same to you?
    Margaret, I think I get even more turned off by dominating heroes in a contemporary, so I suppose I’m a bit more tolerant in the past, too! Whoops!
    Whoops on this too. I just realized I do have a rape in one of my books. Serena rapes Francis in FORBIDDEN.My excuse is that she truly thought he’d like it (you’ll have to read the book.) And she certainly didn’t realize he was a virgin.
    LOL on the pistol-wearing space dukes, Skapusniak! (Hope it’s okay to call you that.) I love that. To me, the Liaden novels by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are a bit like that. Check them out.
    Oh, the Sheik, yes, Francois. I thrilled to that as a teenager, but I was a bit fuzzy as to what was going on. Later, I didn’t like it. But I really didn’t like Sons of the Sheik, largely because E M Hull made him such a miserable bundle of repentence. I think one reason I don’t like acting-very-badly heroes is that the great grovel gives me no satisfaction at all. I don’t like bullies, but I get no pleasure from seeing them crawling. But I know many readers put up with atrocious hero behaviour because the great grovel is the pay off. We have many different tastes in our genre.
    But The Sheik was contemporary for the author, even though it might look historical now. What side of the question does that put it on, I wonder.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  24. Jo here. Interesting comments, CM. As I said, I’d rather this not focus on one book, because it’s certainly not the only one. There’s the flogging duke in Whitney My Love, though that is so long ago now that’s it’s almost historical in its own right.
    These books aren’t my taste so I avoid them if I can, but there was a pirate one a couple of years back where the heroine resisted the hero so he locked her up and starved her into submission. Of course, a true pirate _would_ probably have raped her (always assuming he wasn’t gay.)
    So it’s really the question of whether the past gives readers permission to enjoy reading about things that they wouldn’t tolerate in the fictional present.I think you’re a no — it’s the same to you?
    Margaret, I think I get even more turned off by dominating heroes in a contemporary, so I suppose I’m a bit more tolerant in the past, too! Whoops!
    Whoops on this too. I just realized I do have a rape in one of my books. Serena rapes Francis in FORBIDDEN.My excuse is that she truly thought he’d like it (you’ll have to read the book.) And she certainly didn’t realize he was a virgin.
    LOL on the pistol-wearing space dukes, Skapusniak! (Hope it’s okay to call you that.) I love that. To me, the Liaden novels by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are a bit like that. Check them out.
    Oh, the Sheik, yes, Francois. I thrilled to that as a teenager, but I was a bit fuzzy as to what was going on. Later, I didn’t like it. But I really didn’t like Sons of the Sheik, largely because E M Hull made him such a miserable bundle of repentence. I think one reason I don’t like acting-very-badly heroes is that the great grovel gives me no satisfaction at all. I don’t like bullies, but I get no pleasure from seeing them crawling. But I know many readers put up with atrocious hero behaviour because the great grovel is the pay off. We have many different tastes in our genre.
    But The Sheik was contemporary for the author, even though it might look historical now. What side of the question does that put it on, I wonder.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  25. The whole “rape is historically accurate” things makes snakes explode out of my head (and it does not help that this argument is frequently advanced by a certain best-selling non-Wench to justify her heroes’ behavior). Yes men rape. They did it in the past. They do it now. But I DO NOT want to read about a rapist “hero” (oxymoron much?).
    I’m so glad to see such a mighty Wench weigh in on this so eloquently. Thanks, Jo.

    Reply
  26. The whole “rape is historically accurate” things makes snakes explode out of my head (and it does not help that this argument is frequently advanced by a certain best-selling non-Wench to justify her heroes’ behavior). Yes men rape. They did it in the past. They do it now. But I DO NOT want to read about a rapist “hero” (oxymoron much?).
    I’m so glad to see such a mighty Wench weigh in on this so eloquently. Thanks, Jo.

    Reply
  27. The whole “rape is historically accurate” things makes snakes explode out of my head (and it does not help that this argument is frequently advanced by a certain best-selling non-Wench to justify her heroes’ behavior). Yes men rape. They did it in the past. They do it now. But I DO NOT want to read about a rapist “hero” (oxymoron much?).
    I’m so glad to see such a mighty Wench weigh in on this so eloquently. Thanks, Jo.

    Reply
  28. The whole “rape is historically accurate” things makes snakes explode out of my head (and it does not help that this argument is frequently advanced by a certain best-selling non-Wench to justify her heroes’ behavior). Yes men rape. They did it in the past. They do it now. But I DO NOT want to read about a rapist “hero” (oxymoron much?).
    I’m so glad to see such a mighty Wench weigh in on this so eloquently. Thanks, Jo.

    Reply
  29. Hmm… thought provoking post. I think that I may know of the book in question (although I don’t recall any whipping in it.) Is the book in question one where the heroine is a courtesan?
    If indeed it is the book that I read, I enjoyed the book, overall, and thought that the hero redeemed himself in the end. He recognized his ill-treatment of the heroine and she gained some strength of character. I guess I viewed the story as fiction and, as such, didn’t get outraged over his treatment of her. Maybe that is too superficial of me, but by the end of the book, I felt that both characters became better people and he was not going to ever treat her like that again.
    So, while yes, he did force himself on her during the first half of the book, I didn’t become outraged over it. Therefore, shame on him and shame on me ???
    -Beth

    Reply
  30. Hmm… thought provoking post. I think that I may know of the book in question (although I don’t recall any whipping in it.) Is the book in question one where the heroine is a courtesan?
    If indeed it is the book that I read, I enjoyed the book, overall, and thought that the hero redeemed himself in the end. He recognized his ill-treatment of the heroine and she gained some strength of character. I guess I viewed the story as fiction and, as such, didn’t get outraged over his treatment of her. Maybe that is too superficial of me, but by the end of the book, I felt that both characters became better people and he was not going to ever treat her like that again.
    So, while yes, he did force himself on her during the first half of the book, I didn’t become outraged over it. Therefore, shame on him and shame on me ???
    -Beth

    Reply
  31. Hmm… thought provoking post. I think that I may know of the book in question (although I don’t recall any whipping in it.) Is the book in question one where the heroine is a courtesan?
    If indeed it is the book that I read, I enjoyed the book, overall, and thought that the hero redeemed himself in the end. He recognized his ill-treatment of the heroine and she gained some strength of character. I guess I viewed the story as fiction and, as such, didn’t get outraged over his treatment of her. Maybe that is too superficial of me, but by the end of the book, I felt that both characters became better people and he was not going to ever treat her like that again.
    So, while yes, he did force himself on her during the first half of the book, I didn’t become outraged over it. Therefore, shame on him and shame on me ???
    -Beth

    Reply
  32. Hmm… thought provoking post. I think that I may know of the book in question (although I don’t recall any whipping in it.) Is the book in question one where the heroine is a courtesan?
    If indeed it is the book that I read, I enjoyed the book, overall, and thought that the hero redeemed himself in the end. He recognized his ill-treatment of the heroine and she gained some strength of character. I guess I viewed the story as fiction and, as such, didn’t get outraged over his treatment of her. Maybe that is too superficial of me, but by the end of the book, I felt that both characters became better people and he was not going to ever treat her like that again.
    So, while yes, he did force himself on her during the first half of the book, I didn’t become outraged over it. Therefore, shame on him and shame on me ???
    -Beth

    Reply
  33. I am indeed a “no”: I don’t think that I hold historicals and contemporaries to a different standard. And most especially no because “it was okay” back then.
    But I also don’t think that I would say that rape should per se be avoided in romance novels. Just that if it’s there, it needs to be dealt with in a believable manner.

    Reply
  34. I am indeed a “no”: I don’t think that I hold historicals and contemporaries to a different standard. And most especially no because “it was okay” back then.
    But I also don’t think that I would say that rape should per se be avoided in romance novels. Just that if it’s there, it needs to be dealt with in a believable manner.

    Reply
  35. I am indeed a “no”: I don’t think that I hold historicals and contemporaries to a different standard. And most especially no because “it was okay” back then.
    But I also don’t think that I would say that rape should per se be avoided in romance novels. Just that if it’s there, it needs to be dealt with in a believable manner.

    Reply
  36. I am indeed a “no”: I don’t think that I hold historicals and contemporaries to a different standard. And most especially no because “it was okay” back then.
    But I also don’t think that I would say that rape should per se be avoided in romance novels. Just that if it’s there, it needs to be dealt with in a believable manner.

    Reply
  37. That book is on my TBR pile. And it reminds me of a kind of funny story. Well, to me. A different Avon author put a book out that had a quasi rape in it, but I thought she was purposely referencing the 80’s rapefest and subverting it and I was going on and on about it while my friends were turning up their nose. No! I said, it’s a satire! A feminist reexamination! and…. then her second book came out. Um, er, never mind, I said.
    Allegedly sex research keeps showing that the rape fantasy is paramount. It’s not for me, and I think for most women who have known any kind of sexual violence in their lives it becomes just about impossible to forgive the hero in any way. I have encounted a few contemps that try to work around abuse or sexual violence and ‘redeem’ the relationship, but frankly I found myself never able to read the author again.
    I think the ‘didn’t know better’ canard is just a way of hiding that you (said person) enjoy reading a rape fantasy and you’d rather not examine/defend that. I have a girlfriend who is black and who LOVES the plantation rape novels of the 80’s, but she doesn’t try to pretend it’s something noble when it’s sordid and by her own statement ‘odd and possibly indicative of Deep Personal Issues’.
    I think bodice rippers are cycling back in. People are again demanding ‘hot hot hot’ reads and a fair number of people define that as hot – for whatever reason. I define deep personal introspection and growth as hot. it’s not my turn in the Great Genre Cycle.

    Reply
  38. That book is on my TBR pile. And it reminds me of a kind of funny story. Well, to me. A different Avon author put a book out that had a quasi rape in it, but I thought she was purposely referencing the 80’s rapefest and subverting it and I was going on and on about it while my friends were turning up their nose. No! I said, it’s a satire! A feminist reexamination! and…. then her second book came out. Um, er, never mind, I said.
    Allegedly sex research keeps showing that the rape fantasy is paramount. It’s not for me, and I think for most women who have known any kind of sexual violence in their lives it becomes just about impossible to forgive the hero in any way. I have encounted a few contemps that try to work around abuse or sexual violence and ‘redeem’ the relationship, but frankly I found myself never able to read the author again.
    I think the ‘didn’t know better’ canard is just a way of hiding that you (said person) enjoy reading a rape fantasy and you’d rather not examine/defend that. I have a girlfriend who is black and who LOVES the plantation rape novels of the 80’s, but she doesn’t try to pretend it’s something noble when it’s sordid and by her own statement ‘odd and possibly indicative of Deep Personal Issues’.
    I think bodice rippers are cycling back in. People are again demanding ‘hot hot hot’ reads and a fair number of people define that as hot – for whatever reason. I define deep personal introspection and growth as hot. it’s not my turn in the Great Genre Cycle.

    Reply
  39. That book is on my TBR pile. And it reminds me of a kind of funny story. Well, to me. A different Avon author put a book out that had a quasi rape in it, but I thought she was purposely referencing the 80’s rapefest and subverting it and I was going on and on about it while my friends were turning up their nose. No! I said, it’s a satire! A feminist reexamination! and…. then her second book came out. Um, er, never mind, I said.
    Allegedly sex research keeps showing that the rape fantasy is paramount. It’s not for me, and I think for most women who have known any kind of sexual violence in their lives it becomes just about impossible to forgive the hero in any way. I have encounted a few contemps that try to work around abuse or sexual violence and ‘redeem’ the relationship, but frankly I found myself never able to read the author again.
    I think the ‘didn’t know better’ canard is just a way of hiding that you (said person) enjoy reading a rape fantasy and you’d rather not examine/defend that. I have a girlfriend who is black and who LOVES the plantation rape novels of the 80’s, but she doesn’t try to pretend it’s something noble when it’s sordid and by her own statement ‘odd and possibly indicative of Deep Personal Issues’.
    I think bodice rippers are cycling back in. People are again demanding ‘hot hot hot’ reads and a fair number of people define that as hot – for whatever reason. I define deep personal introspection and growth as hot. it’s not my turn in the Great Genre Cycle.

    Reply
  40. That book is on my TBR pile. And it reminds me of a kind of funny story. Well, to me. A different Avon author put a book out that had a quasi rape in it, but I thought she was purposely referencing the 80’s rapefest and subverting it and I was going on and on about it while my friends were turning up their nose. No! I said, it’s a satire! A feminist reexamination! and…. then her second book came out. Um, er, never mind, I said.
    Allegedly sex research keeps showing that the rape fantasy is paramount. It’s not for me, and I think for most women who have known any kind of sexual violence in their lives it becomes just about impossible to forgive the hero in any way. I have encounted a few contemps that try to work around abuse or sexual violence and ‘redeem’ the relationship, but frankly I found myself never able to read the author again.
    I think the ‘didn’t know better’ canard is just a way of hiding that you (said person) enjoy reading a rape fantasy and you’d rather not examine/defend that. I have a girlfriend who is black and who LOVES the plantation rape novels of the 80’s, but she doesn’t try to pretend it’s something noble when it’s sordid and by her own statement ‘odd and possibly indicative of Deep Personal Issues’.
    I think bodice rippers are cycling back in. People are again demanding ‘hot hot hot’ reads and a fair number of people define that as hot – for whatever reason. I define deep personal introspection and growth as hot. it’s not my turn in the Great Genre Cycle.

    Reply
  41. No shame, Beth! Unless, perhaps, you wouldn’t have tolerated it if the book had been set in the here and now. No, I don’t mean that, only that this topic isn’t about what we’re allowed to read and enjoy. I really want to talk about the different expectations in historical and contemporary.
    Let’s say there’s this billionaire senator decides his mistress doesn’t get to leave him (sorry for any detail discrepencies. I haven’t read the book.) so he locks her up and forces sex on her until she changes her mind. Do you think it would be a different reader experience for you?
    Okay, I only left out the title because I didn’t want to pick on one book. I included whipping exactly because it isn’t in the book as best I know. There have been many historical romances with heroes who behave in a way I dislike and I’m talking about all of them AND accepting that they are some people’s favorites.
    I had a hero hit a heroine and plenty of readers thought that was intolerable, even in a historical. And it was, which was my point.
    So many different tastes and angles, which is what makes our genre so fascinating.
    The title is Claiming the Courtesan. It’s out now. But please, don’t turn this into a debate on that one book. Let’s look at genre expectations and tolerances.
    I’m off to write, so talk among yourselves on this one.
    No guilt, no shame, no flame wars!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  42. No shame, Beth! Unless, perhaps, you wouldn’t have tolerated it if the book had been set in the here and now. No, I don’t mean that, only that this topic isn’t about what we’re allowed to read and enjoy. I really want to talk about the different expectations in historical and contemporary.
    Let’s say there’s this billionaire senator decides his mistress doesn’t get to leave him (sorry for any detail discrepencies. I haven’t read the book.) so he locks her up and forces sex on her until she changes her mind. Do you think it would be a different reader experience for you?
    Okay, I only left out the title because I didn’t want to pick on one book. I included whipping exactly because it isn’t in the book as best I know. There have been many historical romances with heroes who behave in a way I dislike and I’m talking about all of them AND accepting that they are some people’s favorites.
    I had a hero hit a heroine and plenty of readers thought that was intolerable, even in a historical. And it was, which was my point.
    So many different tastes and angles, which is what makes our genre so fascinating.
    The title is Claiming the Courtesan. It’s out now. But please, don’t turn this into a debate on that one book. Let’s look at genre expectations and tolerances.
    I’m off to write, so talk among yourselves on this one.
    No guilt, no shame, no flame wars!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  43. No shame, Beth! Unless, perhaps, you wouldn’t have tolerated it if the book had been set in the here and now. No, I don’t mean that, only that this topic isn’t about what we’re allowed to read and enjoy. I really want to talk about the different expectations in historical and contemporary.
    Let’s say there’s this billionaire senator decides his mistress doesn’t get to leave him (sorry for any detail discrepencies. I haven’t read the book.) so he locks her up and forces sex on her until she changes her mind. Do you think it would be a different reader experience for you?
    Okay, I only left out the title because I didn’t want to pick on one book. I included whipping exactly because it isn’t in the book as best I know. There have been many historical romances with heroes who behave in a way I dislike and I’m talking about all of them AND accepting that they are some people’s favorites.
    I had a hero hit a heroine and plenty of readers thought that was intolerable, even in a historical. And it was, which was my point.
    So many different tastes and angles, which is what makes our genre so fascinating.
    The title is Claiming the Courtesan. It’s out now. But please, don’t turn this into a debate on that one book. Let’s look at genre expectations and tolerances.
    I’m off to write, so talk among yourselves on this one.
    No guilt, no shame, no flame wars!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  44. No shame, Beth! Unless, perhaps, you wouldn’t have tolerated it if the book had been set in the here and now. No, I don’t mean that, only that this topic isn’t about what we’re allowed to read and enjoy. I really want to talk about the different expectations in historical and contemporary.
    Let’s say there’s this billionaire senator decides his mistress doesn’t get to leave him (sorry for any detail discrepencies. I haven’t read the book.) so he locks her up and forces sex on her until she changes her mind. Do you think it would be a different reader experience for you?
    Okay, I only left out the title because I didn’t want to pick on one book. I included whipping exactly because it isn’t in the book as best I know. There have been many historical romances with heroes who behave in a way I dislike and I’m talking about all of them AND accepting that they are some people’s favorites.
    I had a hero hit a heroine and plenty of readers thought that was intolerable, even in a historical. And it was, which was my point.
    So many different tastes and angles, which is what makes our genre so fascinating.
    The title is Claiming the Courtesan. It’s out now. But please, don’t turn this into a debate on that one book. Let’s look at genre expectations and tolerances.
    I’m off to write, so talk among yourselves on this one.
    No guilt, no shame, no flame wars!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  45. Jo, I am with you. I don’t believe in abuse in any era. It was wrong back then ( even though men thought they had a right to beat, torture and rape their wives)
    Being a masterful and abusive are totally different I believe. Some men have been dogs since the beginning of time. I believe the
    men knew it was wrong then too.

    Reply
  46. Jo, I am with you. I don’t believe in abuse in any era. It was wrong back then ( even though men thought they had a right to beat, torture and rape their wives)
    Being a masterful and abusive are totally different I believe. Some men have been dogs since the beginning of time. I believe the
    men knew it was wrong then too.

    Reply
  47. Jo, I am with you. I don’t believe in abuse in any era. It was wrong back then ( even though men thought they had a right to beat, torture and rape their wives)
    Being a masterful and abusive are totally different I believe. Some men have been dogs since the beginning of time. I believe the
    men knew it was wrong then too.

    Reply
  48. Jo, I am with you. I don’t believe in abuse in any era. It was wrong back then ( even though men thought they had a right to beat, torture and rape their wives)
    Being a masterful and abusive are totally different I believe. Some men have been dogs since the beginning of time. I believe the
    men knew it was wrong then too.

    Reply
  49. “The whole “rape is historically accurate” things makes snakes explode out of my head…”
    Mine too! It was probably easier to get by with commiting rape in most previous eras, at least in the sense of avoiding legal consequences, but that doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t make it something most men did. IMHO people who make this argument are saying that the only thing keeping perfectly decent modern men from raping women is that the laws are tougher and women have more power nowadays. And I just don’t accept that. A man like my husband or my dad would no more have been capable of committing rape in 1207 or 1807 than in 2007.
    On a somewhat related note, I *do* find I’m more willing to accept heroes (or heroines) who murder in historicals than in contemporaries, but only in cases where vigilante justice is the only kind possible. I.e. if it’s a frontier-type situation or there’s systemic injustice such that a murderer, rapist, traitor, or similar will escape unpunished unless the hero or heroine takes justice into his/her own hands and kills the villain, I’ll cheer him/her on. In fact, I especially love it when the hero kills a rapist–it’s such lovely satisfying vengeance. Maybe that makes me a violent person, but that’s my honest reaction.
    So I won’t be reading any books with “heroic rape,” because my fantasy isn’t to see the rapist redeemed, it’s to see someone like Richard Sharpe walk in and kill the guy, so I’m obviously not the target market!

    Reply
  50. “The whole “rape is historically accurate” things makes snakes explode out of my head…”
    Mine too! It was probably easier to get by with commiting rape in most previous eras, at least in the sense of avoiding legal consequences, but that doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t make it something most men did. IMHO people who make this argument are saying that the only thing keeping perfectly decent modern men from raping women is that the laws are tougher and women have more power nowadays. And I just don’t accept that. A man like my husband or my dad would no more have been capable of committing rape in 1207 or 1807 than in 2007.
    On a somewhat related note, I *do* find I’m more willing to accept heroes (or heroines) who murder in historicals than in contemporaries, but only in cases where vigilante justice is the only kind possible. I.e. if it’s a frontier-type situation or there’s systemic injustice such that a murderer, rapist, traitor, or similar will escape unpunished unless the hero or heroine takes justice into his/her own hands and kills the villain, I’ll cheer him/her on. In fact, I especially love it when the hero kills a rapist–it’s such lovely satisfying vengeance. Maybe that makes me a violent person, but that’s my honest reaction.
    So I won’t be reading any books with “heroic rape,” because my fantasy isn’t to see the rapist redeemed, it’s to see someone like Richard Sharpe walk in and kill the guy, so I’m obviously not the target market!

    Reply
  51. “The whole “rape is historically accurate” things makes snakes explode out of my head…”
    Mine too! It was probably easier to get by with commiting rape in most previous eras, at least in the sense of avoiding legal consequences, but that doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t make it something most men did. IMHO people who make this argument are saying that the only thing keeping perfectly decent modern men from raping women is that the laws are tougher and women have more power nowadays. And I just don’t accept that. A man like my husband or my dad would no more have been capable of committing rape in 1207 or 1807 than in 2007.
    On a somewhat related note, I *do* find I’m more willing to accept heroes (or heroines) who murder in historicals than in contemporaries, but only in cases where vigilante justice is the only kind possible. I.e. if it’s a frontier-type situation or there’s systemic injustice such that a murderer, rapist, traitor, or similar will escape unpunished unless the hero or heroine takes justice into his/her own hands and kills the villain, I’ll cheer him/her on. In fact, I especially love it when the hero kills a rapist–it’s such lovely satisfying vengeance. Maybe that makes me a violent person, but that’s my honest reaction.
    So I won’t be reading any books with “heroic rape,” because my fantasy isn’t to see the rapist redeemed, it’s to see someone like Richard Sharpe walk in and kill the guy, so I’m obviously not the target market!

    Reply
  52. “The whole “rape is historically accurate” things makes snakes explode out of my head…”
    Mine too! It was probably easier to get by with commiting rape in most previous eras, at least in the sense of avoiding legal consequences, but that doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t make it something most men did. IMHO people who make this argument are saying that the only thing keeping perfectly decent modern men from raping women is that the laws are tougher and women have more power nowadays. And I just don’t accept that. A man like my husband or my dad would no more have been capable of committing rape in 1207 or 1807 than in 2007.
    On a somewhat related note, I *do* find I’m more willing to accept heroes (or heroines) who murder in historicals than in contemporaries, but only in cases where vigilante justice is the only kind possible. I.e. if it’s a frontier-type situation or there’s systemic injustice such that a murderer, rapist, traitor, or similar will escape unpunished unless the hero or heroine takes justice into his/her own hands and kills the villain, I’ll cheer him/her on. In fact, I especially love it when the hero kills a rapist–it’s such lovely satisfying vengeance. Maybe that makes me a violent person, but that’s my honest reaction.
    So I won’t be reading any books with “heroic rape,” because my fantasy isn’t to see the rapist redeemed, it’s to see someone like Richard Sharpe walk in and kill the guy, so I’m obviously not the target market!

    Reply
  53. Not to focus on the one question, but I think the why of the rape matters.
    If the billionaire senator locks his mistress up because he thinks, “I’m powerful, who can stop me?” I will throw the book against the wall. No matter the time period.
    If the billionaire senator locks his mistress up because he is crazy–or because he’s misled as to what she wants–that’s a different story altogether.

    Reply
  54. Not to focus on the one question, but I think the why of the rape matters.
    If the billionaire senator locks his mistress up because he thinks, “I’m powerful, who can stop me?” I will throw the book against the wall. No matter the time period.
    If the billionaire senator locks his mistress up because he is crazy–or because he’s misled as to what she wants–that’s a different story altogether.

    Reply
  55. Not to focus on the one question, but I think the why of the rape matters.
    If the billionaire senator locks his mistress up because he thinks, “I’m powerful, who can stop me?” I will throw the book against the wall. No matter the time period.
    If the billionaire senator locks his mistress up because he is crazy–or because he’s misled as to what she wants–that’s a different story altogether.

    Reply
  56. Not to focus on the one question, but I think the why of the rape matters.
    If the billionaire senator locks his mistress up because he thinks, “I’m powerful, who can stop me?” I will throw the book against the wall. No matter the time period.
    If the billionaire senator locks his mistress up because he is crazy–or because he’s misled as to what she wants–that’s a different story altogether.

    Reply
  57. “And she certainly didn’t realize he was a virgin.”
    Virgin hero books! I love them!
    And Kalen, snakes exploding out of your head? LOL! I want to see that!
    I used to work in the mental health industry, and one day I went to use the copier. It was jammed, and whoever jammed it had left it that way and fled. So I opened up the copier and fiddled around until I found the stuck paper and pulled it out.
    Shock! Outrage! Horror! It was a porn picture with accompanying story, obviously copied from a magazine. Just then one of the counselors walked in, and in self-righteous accents I told her what I’d found. She said very calmly, “Isn’t it fortunate that the person has an appropriate outlet for their fantasies.”
    Oops. That brought me up short. What I labeled as smut, someone else labeled as an entertaining read. While I have to admit that the huge upswing in sexually graphic romances isn’t my cuppa, I’m also intrigued that the two fastest growing markets are erotica *and* inspirational, and now I hear there is a subgenre of erotic inspirationals. Wow.

    Reply
  58. “And she certainly didn’t realize he was a virgin.”
    Virgin hero books! I love them!
    And Kalen, snakes exploding out of your head? LOL! I want to see that!
    I used to work in the mental health industry, and one day I went to use the copier. It was jammed, and whoever jammed it had left it that way and fled. So I opened up the copier and fiddled around until I found the stuck paper and pulled it out.
    Shock! Outrage! Horror! It was a porn picture with accompanying story, obviously copied from a magazine. Just then one of the counselors walked in, and in self-righteous accents I told her what I’d found. She said very calmly, “Isn’t it fortunate that the person has an appropriate outlet for their fantasies.”
    Oops. That brought me up short. What I labeled as smut, someone else labeled as an entertaining read. While I have to admit that the huge upswing in sexually graphic romances isn’t my cuppa, I’m also intrigued that the two fastest growing markets are erotica *and* inspirational, and now I hear there is a subgenre of erotic inspirationals. Wow.

    Reply
  59. “And she certainly didn’t realize he was a virgin.”
    Virgin hero books! I love them!
    And Kalen, snakes exploding out of your head? LOL! I want to see that!
    I used to work in the mental health industry, and one day I went to use the copier. It was jammed, and whoever jammed it had left it that way and fled. So I opened up the copier and fiddled around until I found the stuck paper and pulled it out.
    Shock! Outrage! Horror! It was a porn picture with accompanying story, obviously copied from a magazine. Just then one of the counselors walked in, and in self-righteous accents I told her what I’d found. She said very calmly, “Isn’t it fortunate that the person has an appropriate outlet for their fantasies.”
    Oops. That brought me up short. What I labeled as smut, someone else labeled as an entertaining read. While I have to admit that the huge upswing in sexually graphic romances isn’t my cuppa, I’m also intrigued that the two fastest growing markets are erotica *and* inspirational, and now I hear there is a subgenre of erotic inspirationals. Wow.

    Reply
  60. “And she certainly didn’t realize he was a virgin.”
    Virgin hero books! I love them!
    And Kalen, snakes exploding out of your head? LOL! I want to see that!
    I used to work in the mental health industry, and one day I went to use the copier. It was jammed, and whoever jammed it had left it that way and fled. So I opened up the copier and fiddled around until I found the stuck paper and pulled it out.
    Shock! Outrage! Horror! It was a porn picture with accompanying story, obviously copied from a magazine. Just then one of the counselors walked in, and in self-righteous accents I told her what I’d found. She said very calmly, “Isn’t it fortunate that the person has an appropriate outlet for their fantasies.”
    Oops. That brought me up short. What I labeled as smut, someone else labeled as an entertaining read. While I have to admit that the huge upswing in sexually graphic romances isn’t my cuppa, I’m also intrigued that the two fastest growing markets are erotica *and* inspirational, and now I hear there is a subgenre of erotic inspirationals. Wow.

    Reply
  61. Jo,
    I apologize – you are correct, this subject wasn’t meant to be a book critique. You are just referring to the act and would it still be considered acceptable in a contemporary novel?
    My response is – context is everything. (How’s that for a cop-out? 😉
    If, in the course of the novel, the contemporary hero realizes the errors of his ways, apologizes and does things to redeem himself and asks forgiveness, then I guess I would still be alright with it. It is how the subject of the “rape” is resolved, more so then what time period it happened within.
    In the case of this novel, the hero recognized his actions were wrong and was prepared to sacrifice himself and his happiness to give the heroine a chance to leave him at the end. That, to me, redeemed his actions (not excused them) and allowed him to become an acceptable hero. It was the context of the story which enabled him to redeem himself.
    If same context occured in a contemporary novel, yes, I would probably still feel that the hero was an okay guy at the end of the novel.
    My additional two cents 🙂
    -Beth

    Reply
  62. Jo,
    I apologize – you are correct, this subject wasn’t meant to be a book critique. You are just referring to the act and would it still be considered acceptable in a contemporary novel?
    My response is – context is everything. (How’s that for a cop-out? 😉
    If, in the course of the novel, the contemporary hero realizes the errors of his ways, apologizes and does things to redeem himself and asks forgiveness, then I guess I would still be alright with it. It is how the subject of the “rape” is resolved, more so then what time period it happened within.
    In the case of this novel, the hero recognized his actions were wrong and was prepared to sacrifice himself and his happiness to give the heroine a chance to leave him at the end. That, to me, redeemed his actions (not excused them) and allowed him to become an acceptable hero. It was the context of the story which enabled him to redeem himself.
    If same context occured in a contemporary novel, yes, I would probably still feel that the hero was an okay guy at the end of the novel.
    My additional two cents 🙂
    -Beth

    Reply
  63. Jo,
    I apologize – you are correct, this subject wasn’t meant to be a book critique. You are just referring to the act and would it still be considered acceptable in a contemporary novel?
    My response is – context is everything. (How’s that for a cop-out? 😉
    If, in the course of the novel, the contemporary hero realizes the errors of his ways, apologizes and does things to redeem himself and asks forgiveness, then I guess I would still be alright with it. It is how the subject of the “rape” is resolved, more so then what time period it happened within.
    In the case of this novel, the hero recognized his actions were wrong and was prepared to sacrifice himself and his happiness to give the heroine a chance to leave him at the end. That, to me, redeemed his actions (not excused them) and allowed him to become an acceptable hero. It was the context of the story which enabled him to redeem himself.
    If same context occured in a contemporary novel, yes, I would probably still feel that the hero was an okay guy at the end of the novel.
    My additional two cents 🙂
    -Beth

    Reply
  64. Jo,
    I apologize – you are correct, this subject wasn’t meant to be a book critique. You are just referring to the act and would it still be considered acceptable in a contemporary novel?
    My response is – context is everything. (How’s that for a cop-out? 😉
    If, in the course of the novel, the contemporary hero realizes the errors of his ways, apologizes and does things to redeem himself and asks forgiveness, then I guess I would still be alright with it. It is how the subject of the “rape” is resolved, more so then what time period it happened within.
    In the case of this novel, the hero recognized his actions were wrong and was prepared to sacrifice himself and his happiness to give the heroine a chance to leave him at the end. That, to me, redeemed his actions (not excused them) and allowed him to become an acceptable hero. It was the context of the story which enabled him to redeem himself.
    If same context occured in a contemporary novel, yes, I would probably still feel that the hero was an okay guy at the end of the novel.
    My additional two cents 🙂
    -Beth

    Reply
  65. Jo,
    I apologize – you are correct, this subject wasn’t meant to be a book critique. You are just referring to the act and would it still be considered acceptable in a contemporary novel?
    My response is – context is everything. (How’s that for a cop-out? 😉
    If, in the course of the novel, the contemporary hero realizes the errors of his ways, apologizes and does things to redeem himself and asks forgiveness, then I guess I would still be alright with it. It is how the subject of the “rape” is resolved, more so then what time period it happened within.
    In the case of this novel, the hero recognized his actions were wrong and was prepared to sacrifice himself and his happiness to give the heroine a chance to leave him at the end. That, to me, redeemed his actions (not excused them) and allowed him to become an acceptable hero. It was the context of the story which enabled him to redeem himself.
    If same context occured in a contemporary novel, yes, I would probably still feel that the hero was an okay guy at the end of the novel.
    My additional two cents 🙂
    -Beth

    Reply
  66. Jo,
    I apologize – you are correct, this subject wasn’t meant to be a book critique. You are just referring to the act and would it still be considered acceptable in a contemporary novel?
    My response is – context is everything. (How’s that for a cop-out? 😉
    If, in the course of the novel, the contemporary hero realizes the errors of his ways, apologizes and does things to redeem himself and asks forgiveness, then I guess I would still be alright with it. It is how the subject of the “rape” is resolved, more so then what time period it happened within.
    In the case of this novel, the hero recognized his actions were wrong and was prepared to sacrifice himself and his happiness to give the heroine a chance to leave him at the end. That, to me, redeemed his actions (not excused them) and allowed him to become an acceptable hero. It was the context of the story which enabled him to redeem himself.
    If same context occured in a contemporary novel, yes, I would probably still feel that the hero was an okay guy at the end of the novel.
    My additional two cents 🙂
    -Beth

    Reply
  67. Jo,
    I apologize – you are correct, this subject wasn’t meant to be a book critique. You are just referring to the act and would it still be considered acceptable in a contemporary novel?
    My response is – context is everything. (How’s that for a cop-out? 😉
    If, in the course of the novel, the contemporary hero realizes the errors of his ways, apologizes and does things to redeem himself and asks forgiveness, then I guess I would still be alright with it. It is how the subject of the “rape” is resolved, more so then what time period it happened within.
    In the case of this novel, the hero recognized his actions were wrong and was prepared to sacrifice himself and his happiness to give the heroine a chance to leave him at the end. That, to me, redeemed his actions (not excused them) and allowed him to become an acceptable hero. It was the context of the story which enabled him to redeem himself.
    If same context occured in a contemporary novel, yes, I would probably still feel that the hero was an okay guy at the end of the novel.
    My additional two cents 🙂
    -Beth

    Reply
  68. Jo,
    I apologize – you are correct, this subject wasn’t meant to be a book critique. You are just referring to the act and would it still be considered acceptable in a contemporary novel?
    My response is – context is everything. (How’s that for a cop-out? 😉
    If, in the course of the novel, the contemporary hero realizes the errors of his ways, apologizes and does things to redeem himself and asks forgiveness, then I guess I would still be alright with it. It is how the subject of the “rape” is resolved, more so then what time period it happened within.
    In the case of this novel, the hero recognized his actions were wrong and was prepared to sacrifice himself and his happiness to give the heroine a chance to leave him at the end. That, to me, redeemed his actions (not excused them) and allowed him to become an acceptable hero. It was the context of the story which enabled him to redeem himself.
    If same context occured in a contemporary novel, yes, I would probably still feel that the hero was an okay guy at the end of the novel.
    My additional two cents 🙂
    -Beth

    Reply
  69. I have to agree with Jo on this one. I have read all of her books and she has written a couple of scenes that make me squirm – one heroine was abused by her father, one heroine was abused by her former husband. What I LIKED about these books is that these folks past history had impact on their interaction with the characters they encountered throughout the book. Violence leaves traces in the psyche even if it leaves no trace on the skin.
    Carla Kelly and Roberta Gellis have both had heroes who almost participated in ‘conquest rapes’ where soldiers took a town and treated the women as another spoil of war. They are either haunted by that behavior or horrified that ‘their women’ might have experienced it. They KNEW it was wrong when they either did it themselves, or let their troops do it. Conquest rape is a punishment – to the women, to the town, whatever.
    If an author is planning to use violence as a plot device or as a way to explain who the character is now – either a former victim or a former perpetrator – I can cope with that – but I will never be able to accept that as ‘heroic’ behavior. And it cannot be current behavior inflicted now…
    Heck, I have a problem with some heroes who push the heroine long past the first, second and third, “no”. I cannot respect an author who perpetuates the ‘no means maybe’ myth. No may mean maybe the first time, but by the third time – it really means no… don’t know how others feel about that particular myth?

    Reply
  70. I have to agree with Jo on this one. I have read all of her books and she has written a couple of scenes that make me squirm – one heroine was abused by her father, one heroine was abused by her former husband. What I LIKED about these books is that these folks past history had impact on their interaction with the characters they encountered throughout the book. Violence leaves traces in the psyche even if it leaves no trace on the skin.
    Carla Kelly and Roberta Gellis have both had heroes who almost participated in ‘conquest rapes’ where soldiers took a town and treated the women as another spoil of war. They are either haunted by that behavior or horrified that ‘their women’ might have experienced it. They KNEW it was wrong when they either did it themselves, or let their troops do it. Conquest rape is a punishment – to the women, to the town, whatever.
    If an author is planning to use violence as a plot device or as a way to explain who the character is now – either a former victim or a former perpetrator – I can cope with that – but I will never be able to accept that as ‘heroic’ behavior. And it cannot be current behavior inflicted now…
    Heck, I have a problem with some heroes who push the heroine long past the first, second and third, “no”. I cannot respect an author who perpetuates the ‘no means maybe’ myth. No may mean maybe the first time, but by the third time – it really means no… don’t know how others feel about that particular myth?

    Reply
  71. I have to agree with Jo on this one. I have read all of her books and she has written a couple of scenes that make me squirm – one heroine was abused by her father, one heroine was abused by her former husband. What I LIKED about these books is that these folks past history had impact on their interaction with the characters they encountered throughout the book. Violence leaves traces in the psyche even if it leaves no trace on the skin.
    Carla Kelly and Roberta Gellis have both had heroes who almost participated in ‘conquest rapes’ where soldiers took a town and treated the women as another spoil of war. They are either haunted by that behavior or horrified that ‘their women’ might have experienced it. They KNEW it was wrong when they either did it themselves, or let their troops do it. Conquest rape is a punishment – to the women, to the town, whatever.
    If an author is planning to use violence as a plot device or as a way to explain who the character is now – either a former victim or a former perpetrator – I can cope with that – but I will never be able to accept that as ‘heroic’ behavior. And it cannot be current behavior inflicted now…
    Heck, I have a problem with some heroes who push the heroine long past the first, second and third, “no”. I cannot respect an author who perpetuates the ‘no means maybe’ myth. No may mean maybe the first time, but by the third time – it really means no… don’t know how others feel about that particular myth?

    Reply
  72. I have to agree with Jo on this one. I have read all of her books and she has written a couple of scenes that make me squirm – one heroine was abused by her father, one heroine was abused by her former husband. What I LIKED about these books is that these folks past history had impact on their interaction with the characters they encountered throughout the book. Violence leaves traces in the psyche even if it leaves no trace on the skin.
    Carla Kelly and Roberta Gellis have both had heroes who almost participated in ‘conquest rapes’ where soldiers took a town and treated the women as another spoil of war. They are either haunted by that behavior or horrified that ‘their women’ might have experienced it. They KNEW it was wrong when they either did it themselves, or let their troops do it. Conquest rape is a punishment – to the women, to the town, whatever.
    If an author is planning to use violence as a plot device or as a way to explain who the character is now – either a former victim or a former perpetrator – I can cope with that – but I will never be able to accept that as ‘heroic’ behavior. And it cannot be current behavior inflicted now…
    Heck, I have a problem with some heroes who push the heroine long past the first, second and third, “no”. I cannot respect an author who perpetuates the ‘no means maybe’ myth. No may mean maybe the first time, but by the third time – it really means no… don’t know how others feel about that particular myth?

    Reply
  73. So taking it back to expectations of historicals vs contemps – I was actually thinking just yesterday that certain contemporary authors are getting too violent for me. I said above that I had dropped 2 for trying to redeem an abuser, but this is less clear cut.
    For example (and she’s by no means the only one) I’m wildly uncomfortable with the direction Iris J is taking in the Duncan series. I’m ok with it not being one h/h forever in a long running series, but what’s troubling me is the men being painted as attractive. They’re murdering freaks. The excuses being given are that they are products of their enviornment (south america) or events (dead wives) and maybe not as bad as they ‘seem’ (even though their actions are pretty bad) and because they’re nice to some (or all) women, they’re actually ok.
    Well no, no they aren’t. I don’t care if you put it in another country and give them a freedom fighting motive, people who engage in wholesale slaughter and fun mini militias are not heros to me. Mafia, by any other name, is still organized crime. and yet- if those same guys were off killing in the Napoleonic era, would I feel the same? I THINK I would, but historicals do have their fair share of murders, so I don’t KNOW I would.
    I’m more likely in a contemp to have a personal narrative about the acceptability of a person’s actions to me than I am in a historical. Which is not to say I give the historicals a pass, I just tolerate a smidge more. I think.

    Reply
  74. So taking it back to expectations of historicals vs contemps – I was actually thinking just yesterday that certain contemporary authors are getting too violent for me. I said above that I had dropped 2 for trying to redeem an abuser, but this is less clear cut.
    For example (and she’s by no means the only one) I’m wildly uncomfortable with the direction Iris J is taking in the Duncan series. I’m ok with it not being one h/h forever in a long running series, but what’s troubling me is the men being painted as attractive. They’re murdering freaks. The excuses being given are that they are products of their enviornment (south america) or events (dead wives) and maybe not as bad as they ‘seem’ (even though their actions are pretty bad) and because they’re nice to some (or all) women, they’re actually ok.
    Well no, no they aren’t. I don’t care if you put it in another country and give them a freedom fighting motive, people who engage in wholesale slaughter and fun mini militias are not heros to me. Mafia, by any other name, is still organized crime. and yet- if those same guys were off killing in the Napoleonic era, would I feel the same? I THINK I would, but historicals do have their fair share of murders, so I don’t KNOW I would.
    I’m more likely in a contemp to have a personal narrative about the acceptability of a person’s actions to me than I am in a historical. Which is not to say I give the historicals a pass, I just tolerate a smidge more. I think.

    Reply
  75. So taking it back to expectations of historicals vs contemps – I was actually thinking just yesterday that certain contemporary authors are getting too violent for me. I said above that I had dropped 2 for trying to redeem an abuser, but this is less clear cut.
    For example (and she’s by no means the only one) I’m wildly uncomfortable with the direction Iris J is taking in the Duncan series. I’m ok with it not being one h/h forever in a long running series, but what’s troubling me is the men being painted as attractive. They’re murdering freaks. The excuses being given are that they are products of their enviornment (south america) or events (dead wives) and maybe not as bad as they ‘seem’ (even though their actions are pretty bad) and because they’re nice to some (or all) women, they’re actually ok.
    Well no, no they aren’t. I don’t care if you put it in another country and give them a freedom fighting motive, people who engage in wholesale slaughter and fun mini militias are not heros to me. Mafia, by any other name, is still organized crime. and yet- if those same guys were off killing in the Napoleonic era, would I feel the same? I THINK I would, but historicals do have their fair share of murders, so I don’t KNOW I would.
    I’m more likely in a contemp to have a personal narrative about the acceptability of a person’s actions to me than I am in a historical. Which is not to say I give the historicals a pass, I just tolerate a smidge more. I think.

    Reply
  76. So taking it back to expectations of historicals vs contemps – I was actually thinking just yesterday that certain contemporary authors are getting too violent for me. I said above that I had dropped 2 for trying to redeem an abuser, but this is less clear cut.
    For example (and she’s by no means the only one) I’m wildly uncomfortable with the direction Iris J is taking in the Duncan series. I’m ok with it not being one h/h forever in a long running series, but what’s troubling me is the men being painted as attractive. They’re murdering freaks. The excuses being given are that they are products of their enviornment (south america) or events (dead wives) and maybe not as bad as they ‘seem’ (even though their actions are pretty bad) and because they’re nice to some (or all) women, they’re actually ok.
    Well no, no they aren’t. I don’t care if you put it in another country and give them a freedom fighting motive, people who engage in wholesale slaughter and fun mini militias are not heros to me. Mafia, by any other name, is still organized crime. and yet- if those same guys were off killing in the Napoleonic era, would I feel the same? I THINK I would, but historicals do have their fair share of murders, so I don’t KNOW I would.
    I’m more likely in a contemp to have a personal narrative about the acceptability of a person’s actions to me than I am in a historical. Which is not to say I give the historicals a pass, I just tolerate a smidge more. I think.

    Reply
  77. I really think that nothing will make me drop a book quicker than implied or stated violence against women -especially by the hero. I can sort of accept it as part of the story line if it is a) in her past or b) comes to naught because of her ability to fight back, or rescue by someone. But whether it is contemporary or not, I’m not buying (or finishing if I’ve bought it unaware) a book that contains a graphic rape by anyone.

    Reply
  78. I really think that nothing will make me drop a book quicker than implied or stated violence against women -especially by the hero. I can sort of accept it as part of the story line if it is a) in her past or b) comes to naught because of her ability to fight back, or rescue by someone. But whether it is contemporary or not, I’m not buying (or finishing if I’ve bought it unaware) a book that contains a graphic rape by anyone.

    Reply
  79. I really think that nothing will make me drop a book quicker than implied or stated violence against women -especially by the hero. I can sort of accept it as part of the story line if it is a) in her past or b) comes to naught because of her ability to fight back, or rescue by someone. But whether it is contemporary or not, I’m not buying (or finishing if I’ve bought it unaware) a book that contains a graphic rape by anyone.

    Reply
  80. I really think that nothing will make me drop a book quicker than implied or stated violence against women -especially by the hero. I can sort of accept it as part of the story line if it is a) in her past or b) comes to naught because of her ability to fight back, or rescue by someone. But whether it is contemporary or not, I’m not buying (or finishing if I’ve bought it unaware) a book that contains a graphic rape by anyone.

    Reply
  81. Hi Jo and wenches,
    Some of the most meaningful books I’ve read in my life include elements of violence and rape/sexual violence(Toni Morrison’s BELOVED, Alice Walker’s COLOR PURPLE, IIRC). Sexual violence against women (and violence in general) has existed since the dawn of time and exists still, and I believe that to ignore that aspect of life is to deny the simple reality of many women’s lives, then and now, and the significance of their achievement in coping with that reality.
    That said, I think we have to look seriously at the sexual and other violence in our romance reading and writing. What is the purpose and meaning of the violence? Is it an essential part of the character’s background, environment and/or psychological formation? Is it an obstacle which is risen above, a crime which is repented (or revenged, or punished), a flaw which is redeemed? Or is the violence extraneous, included to thrill, or titillate, or sexually gratify the reader? Does violence serve the story, or does the story serve the violence? (Does anyone remember A Clockwork Orange?)
    This is all so interesting to me because, of course, I find violence of any kind (especially sexual violence) abhorrent and repulsive. However, I am a representative of a faith tradition which some might say is built on violence–which could be seen as celebrating the torture and brutal execution of our central figure (I do sometimes these days squirm during Holy Week and that whole crucifixion narrative, to be honest). CAN violence and/or suffering be redemptive and/or meaningful? It’s a question I struggle with–but ultimately, my hope would always be that repentance/redemption/change of life/personal growth is possible even for the most villainous of villains–or heroes, LOL!
    I read JANE EYRE for the first time at the age of 13 and I remember being so SHOCKED and DISMAYED that poor misguided Jane actually MARRIED Mr R after he had lied to her and tricked her. At that age, and with my life experience up to then, Mr R’s deception was a deal-breaker. Of course, now, with an adult’s sense of love and longing, and with a more fully developed understanding of the power of forgiveness, I completely understand and admire Jane and I find it beautifully romantic.
    What am I saying? I don’t really know. . .Thanks for letting me say it, though.
    Melinda

    Reply
  82. Hi Jo and wenches,
    Some of the most meaningful books I’ve read in my life include elements of violence and rape/sexual violence(Toni Morrison’s BELOVED, Alice Walker’s COLOR PURPLE, IIRC). Sexual violence against women (and violence in general) has existed since the dawn of time and exists still, and I believe that to ignore that aspect of life is to deny the simple reality of many women’s lives, then and now, and the significance of their achievement in coping with that reality.
    That said, I think we have to look seriously at the sexual and other violence in our romance reading and writing. What is the purpose and meaning of the violence? Is it an essential part of the character’s background, environment and/or psychological formation? Is it an obstacle which is risen above, a crime which is repented (or revenged, or punished), a flaw which is redeemed? Or is the violence extraneous, included to thrill, or titillate, or sexually gratify the reader? Does violence serve the story, or does the story serve the violence? (Does anyone remember A Clockwork Orange?)
    This is all so interesting to me because, of course, I find violence of any kind (especially sexual violence) abhorrent and repulsive. However, I am a representative of a faith tradition which some might say is built on violence–which could be seen as celebrating the torture and brutal execution of our central figure (I do sometimes these days squirm during Holy Week and that whole crucifixion narrative, to be honest). CAN violence and/or suffering be redemptive and/or meaningful? It’s a question I struggle with–but ultimately, my hope would always be that repentance/redemption/change of life/personal growth is possible even for the most villainous of villains–or heroes, LOL!
    I read JANE EYRE for the first time at the age of 13 and I remember being so SHOCKED and DISMAYED that poor misguided Jane actually MARRIED Mr R after he had lied to her and tricked her. At that age, and with my life experience up to then, Mr R’s deception was a deal-breaker. Of course, now, with an adult’s sense of love and longing, and with a more fully developed understanding of the power of forgiveness, I completely understand and admire Jane and I find it beautifully romantic.
    What am I saying? I don’t really know. . .Thanks for letting me say it, though.
    Melinda

    Reply
  83. Hi Jo and wenches,
    Some of the most meaningful books I’ve read in my life include elements of violence and rape/sexual violence(Toni Morrison’s BELOVED, Alice Walker’s COLOR PURPLE, IIRC). Sexual violence against women (and violence in general) has existed since the dawn of time and exists still, and I believe that to ignore that aspect of life is to deny the simple reality of many women’s lives, then and now, and the significance of their achievement in coping with that reality.
    That said, I think we have to look seriously at the sexual and other violence in our romance reading and writing. What is the purpose and meaning of the violence? Is it an essential part of the character’s background, environment and/or psychological formation? Is it an obstacle which is risen above, a crime which is repented (or revenged, or punished), a flaw which is redeemed? Or is the violence extraneous, included to thrill, or titillate, or sexually gratify the reader? Does violence serve the story, or does the story serve the violence? (Does anyone remember A Clockwork Orange?)
    This is all so interesting to me because, of course, I find violence of any kind (especially sexual violence) abhorrent and repulsive. However, I am a representative of a faith tradition which some might say is built on violence–which could be seen as celebrating the torture and brutal execution of our central figure (I do sometimes these days squirm during Holy Week and that whole crucifixion narrative, to be honest). CAN violence and/or suffering be redemptive and/or meaningful? It’s a question I struggle with–but ultimately, my hope would always be that repentance/redemption/change of life/personal growth is possible even for the most villainous of villains–or heroes, LOL!
    I read JANE EYRE for the first time at the age of 13 and I remember being so SHOCKED and DISMAYED that poor misguided Jane actually MARRIED Mr R after he had lied to her and tricked her. At that age, and with my life experience up to then, Mr R’s deception was a deal-breaker. Of course, now, with an adult’s sense of love and longing, and with a more fully developed understanding of the power of forgiveness, I completely understand and admire Jane and I find it beautifully romantic.
    What am I saying? I don’t really know. . .Thanks for letting me say it, though.
    Melinda

    Reply
  84. Hi Jo and wenches,
    Some of the most meaningful books I’ve read in my life include elements of violence and rape/sexual violence(Toni Morrison’s BELOVED, Alice Walker’s COLOR PURPLE, IIRC). Sexual violence against women (and violence in general) has existed since the dawn of time and exists still, and I believe that to ignore that aspect of life is to deny the simple reality of many women’s lives, then and now, and the significance of their achievement in coping with that reality.
    That said, I think we have to look seriously at the sexual and other violence in our romance reading and writing. What is the purpose and meaning of the violence? Is it an essential part of the character’s background, environment and/or psychological formation? Is it an obstacle which is risen above, a crime which is repented (or revenged, or punished), a flaw which is redeemed? Or is the violence extraneous, included to thrill, or titillate, or sexually gratify the reader? Does violence serve the story, or does the story serve the violence? (Does anyone remember A Clockwork Orange?)
    This is all so interesting to me because, of course, I find violence of any kind (especially sexual violence) abhorrent and repulsive. However, I am a representative of a faith tradition which some might say is built on violence–which could be seen as celebrating the torture and brutal execution of our central figure (I do sometimes these days squirm during Holy Week and that whole crucifixion narrative, to be honest). CAN violence and/or suffering be redemptive and/or meaningful? It’s a question I struggle with–but ultimately, my hope would always be that repentance/redemption/change of life/personal growth is possible even for the most villainous of villains–or heroes, LOL!
    I read JANE EYRE for the first time at the age of 13 and I remember being so SHOCKED and DISMAYED that poor misguided Jane actually MARRIED Mr R after he had lied to her and tricked her. At that age, and with my life experience up to then, Mr R’s deception was a deal-breaker. Of course, now, with an adult’s sense of love and longing, and with a more fully developed understanding of the power of forgiveness, I completely understand and admire Jane and I find it beautifully romantic.
    What am I saying? I don’t really know. . .Thanks for letting me say it, though.
    Melinda

    Reply
  85. Fascinating topic, Jo! Actually, violence haunts my books: when is it appropriate, when is it always wrong. My very first historical, Dearly Beloved, was my “subversion of the rape fantasy novel,” wherein the rape, even under complicated circumstances, was wrong, the man knew, and much of the book is about the consequences and getting beyond them.
    I’ve done variations of this theme in other books. Good people sometimes do bad things–but that doesn’t mean there are no consequences! Reconciliation and redemption are even bigger themes for me.
    Who was it who said that context is all?
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  86. Fascinating topic, Jo! Actually, violence haunts my books: when is it appropriate, when is it always wrong. My very first historical, Dearly Beloved, was my “subversion of the rape fantasy novel,” wherein the rape, even under complicated circumstances, was wrong, the man knew, and much of the book is about the consequences and getting beyond them.
    I’ve done variations of this theme in other books. Good people sometimes do bad things–but that doesn’t mean there are no consequences! Reconciliation and redemption are even bigger themes for me.
    Who was it who said that context is all?
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  87. Fascinating topic, Jo! Actually, violence haunts my books: when is it appropriate, when is it always wrong. My very first historical, Dearly Beloved, was my “subversion of the rape fantasy novel,” wherein the rape, even under complicated circumstances, was wrong, the man knew, and much of the book is about the consequences and getting beyond them.
    I’ve done variations of this theme in other books. Good people sometimes do bad things–but that doesn’t mean there are no consequences! Reconciliation and redemption are even bigger themes for me.
    Who was it who said that context is all?
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  88. Fascinating topic, Jo! Actually, violence haunts my books: when is it appropriate, when is it always wrong. My very first historical, Dearly Beloved, was my “subversion of the rape fantasy novel,” wherein the rape, even under complicated circumstances, was wrong, the man knew, and much of the book is about the consequences and getting beyond them.
    I’ve done variations of this theme in other books. Good people sometimes do bad things–but that doesn’t mean there are no consequences! Reconciliation and redemption are even bigger themes for me.
    Who was it who said that context is all?
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  89. Definitely on context, but as you said, CM, it’s the psychological/emotional context that’s key, not the historical period.
    In my almost life-long career as a historical romance reader, I’ve come across some completely unrepentant abusers, and my dislike of that has never changed. Often it’s been explained as “he’s a warlord” he had to flog her.
    In fact, talking of subversion, I subverted this in Lord of My Heart. In that, the hero’s authority is threatened by the heroine’s rebellion and he needs to beat her. So he drags her off and pretends and she acts the part. But she also realized how unfair she’s being to be putting him in this position.
    Then there’s Imogen in Dark Champion, who commits a capital crime when she knocks her husband out. (Attacking a husband was petit treason up into the 19th century.) That puts them both in a difficult situation.
    Then (goodness, I’ve been there more often than I remember) there’s the adulterous Jehanne in The Shattered Rose. Galeran has to hit her because anything less will probably get her burned at the stake.
    But my point is that none of these men took the excuse to flog their wives, and they used their intelligence to solve the problem. I do love an intelligent hero.
    So, is he dumb or is he clever, or does he really enjoy beating women?
    That’s how I see it, and to me the difference between a historical or contemporary on this one is that nowadays it’s illegal to strike a woman, even a wife, everywhere in the western world. Isn’t it?
    Please tell me it is.
    Jo

    Reply
  90. Definitely on context, but as you said, CM, it’s the psychological/emotional context that’s key, not the historical period.
    In my almost life-long career as a historical romance reader, I’ve come across some completely unrepentant abusers, and my dislike of that has never changed. Often it’s been explained as “he’s a warlord” he had to flog her.
    In fact, talking of subversion, I subverted this in Lord of My Heart. In that, the hero’s authority is threatened by the heroine’s rebellion and he needs to beat her. So he drags her off and pretends and she acts the part. But she also realized how unfair she’s being to be putting him in this position.
    Then there’s Imogen in Dark Champion, who commits a capital crime when she knocks her husband out. (Attacking a husband was petit treason up into the 19th century.) That puts them both in a difficult situation.
    Then (goodness, I’ve been there more often than I remember) there’s the adulterous Jehanne in The Shattered Rose. Galeran has to hit her because anything less will probably get her burned at the stake.
    But my point is that none of these men took the excuse to flog their wives, and they used their intelligence to solve the problem. I do love an intelligent hero.
    So, is he dumb or is he clever, or does he really enjoy beating women?
    That’s how I see it, and to me the difference between a historical or contemporary on this one is that nowadays it’s illegal to strike a woman, even a wife, everywhere in the western world. Isn’t it?
    Please tell me it is.
    Jo

    Reply
  91. Definitely on context, but as you said, CM, it’s the psychological/emotional context that’s key, not the historical period.
    In my almost life-long career as a historical romance reader, I’ve come across some completely unrepentant abusers, and my dislike of that has never changed. Often it’s been explained as “he’s a warlord” he had to flog her.
    In fact, talking of subversion, I subverted this in Lord of My Heart. In that, the hero’s authority is threatened by the heroine’s rebellion and he needs to beat her. So he drags her off and pretends and she acts the part. But she also realized how unfair she’s being to be putting him in this position.
    Then there’s Imogen in Dark Champion, who commits a capital crime when she knocks her husband out. (Attacking a husband was petit treason up into the 19th century.) That puts them both in a difficult situation.
    Then (goodness, I’ve been there more often than I remember) there’s the adulterous Jehanne in The Shattered Rose. Galeran has to hit her because anything less will probably get her burned at the stake.
    But my point is that none of these men took the excuse to flog their wives, and they used their intelligence to solve the problem. I do love an intelligent hero.
    So, is he dumb or is he clever, or does he really enjoy beating women?
    That’s how I see it, and to me the difference between a historical or contemporary on this one is that nowadays it’s illegal to strike a woman, even a wife, everywhere in the western world. Isn’t it?
    Please tell me it is.
    Jo

    Reply
  92. Definitely on context, but as you said, CM, it’s the psychological/emotional context that’s key, not the historical period.
    In my almost life-long career as a historical romance reader, I’ve come across some completely unrepentant abusers, and my dislike of that has never changed. Often it’s been explained as “he’s a warlord” he had to flog her.
    In fact, talking of subversion, I subverted this in Lord of My Heart. In that, the hero’s authority is threatened by the heroine’s rebellion and he needs to beat her. So he drags her off and pretends and she acts the part. But she also realized how unfair she’s being to be putting him in this position.
    Then there’s Imogen in Dark Champion, who commits a capital crime when she knocks her husband out. (Attacking a husband was petit treason up into the 19th century.) That puts them both in a difficult situation.
    Then (goodness, I’ve been there more often than I remember) there’s the adulterous Jehanne in The Shattered Rose. Galeran has to hit her because anything less will probably get her burned at the stake.
    But my point is that none of these men took the excuse to flog their wives, and they used their intelligence to solve the problem. I do love an intelligent hero.
    So, is he dumb or is he clever, or does he really enjoy beating women?
    That’s how I see it, and to me the difference between a historical or contemporary on this one is that nowadays it’s illegal to strike a woman, even a wife, everywhere in the western world. Isn’t it?
    Please tell me it is.
    Jo

    Reply
  93. Great post, Jo!
    Sherrie said…”What I labeled as smut, someone else labeled as an entertaining read.”
    While I find rape an unforgivable act and have sentenced a few such books to the shredder for it, I have to wonder if we aren’t seeing an upswing in “hotter sex” because “we” are becoming desensitized to the “old way of doing things” much the way a generation can get use to violence. For example — witch/Christian burnings, Madame Guillotine, hangings, genocide. We are horrified but the society in which these things have occurred or is occurring, for the most part, watch.
    Just a thought.

    Reply
  94. Great post, Jo!
    Sherrie said…”What I labeled as smut, someone else labeled as an entertaining read.”
    While I find rape an unforgivable act and have sentenced a few such books to the shredder for it, I have to wonder if we aren’t seeing an upswing in “hotter sex” because “we” are becoming desensitized to the “old way of doing things” much the way a generation can get use to violence. For example — witch/Christian burnings, Madame Guillotine, hangings, genocide. We are horrified but the society in which these things have occurred or is occurring, for the most part, watch.
    Just a thought.

    Reply
  95. Great post, Jo!
    Sherrie said…”What I labeled as smut, someone else labeled as an entertaining read.”
    While I find rape an unforgivable act and have sentenced a few such books to the shredder for it, I have to wonder if we aren’t seeing an upswing in “hotter sex” because “we” are becoming desensitized to the “old way of doing things” much the way a generation can get use to violence. For example — witch/Christian burnings, Madame Guillotine, hangings, genocide. We are horrified but the society in which these things have occurred or is occurring, for the most part, watch.
    Just a thought.

    Reply
  96. Great post, Jo!
    Sherrie said…”What I labeled as smut, someone else labeled as an entertaining read.”
    While I find rape an unforgivable act and have sentenced a few such books to the shredder for it, I have to wonder if we aren’t seeing an upswing in “hotter sex” because “we” are becoming desensitized to the “old way of doing things” much the way a generation can get use to violence. For example — witch/Christian burnings, Madame Guillotine, hangings, genocide. We are horrified but the society in which these things have occurred or is occurring, for the most part, watch.
    Just a thought.

    Reply
  97. “My only reaction is that today’s women are more likely to use a baseball bat or a knee than the rather brain-washed women of the past.”
    Certainly in Spain in the Middle Ages, the women were, if anything ‘brainwashed’ into fighting back, furiously. It was expected of them and if they didn’t, the law might not recognise what had happened as rape. That’s not just peasant women – aristocratic women would have known about the story of the rape of Lucretia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucretia and it was recounted in the Middle Ages and onwards as an example of womanly virtue (though, of course, Christian women were not supposed to commit suicide).
    And the law in medieval Castile punished even assault against a woman very, very severely: ‘At twelfth-century Calatayud and Marañón the murder fine was called for when a man hit or dishevelled a married woman’ and ‘Zorita de los Canes, Alcalá de Henares and Ledesma awarded any woman exorbitant damages when a man dared to wrestle her to the ground and pin her down as though he were going to rape her.’ If she was raped, and ‘Rapists were invariably classed among the worst kinds of men who came before the bar of municipal justice’, she had to raise a hue and cry and ‘Self-inflicted scratches on the victim’s cheeks, with and without the hue and cry, were commonplace requirements at most late twelfth- and thirteenth-century communities. They constituted an important distinction between a woman who had been raped or merely abducted’.
    Anyway, that’s all from Heath Dillard’s book about women and the law in medieval Castile, which can be found here: http://libro.uca.edu/dillard/dr7.htm
    My point is that rape was seen as wrong then. Rape happened, of course, but it’s not historically accurate to think that men in the past thought that rape was OK. They did not (though, as Jo pointed out, it might be different if the woman involved was a wife or a prostitute).
    I give historical characters leeway in other areas e.g. regarding the education of women, having a mistress, racism, attitudes towards the use of violence (e.g. duelling) because it wouldn’t be historically accurate for them to have modern views on these issues.

    Reply
  98. “My only reaction is that today’s women are more likely to use a baseball bat or a knee than the rather brain-washed women of the past.”
    Certainly in Spain in the Middle Ages, the women were, if anything ‘brainwashed’ into fighting back, furiously. It was expected of them and if they didn’t, the law might not recognise what had happened as rape. That’s not just peasant women – aristocratic women would have known about the story of the rape of Lucretia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucretia and it was recounted in the Middle Ages and onwards as an example of womanly virtue (though, of course, Christian women were not supposed to commit suicide).
    And the law in medieval Castile punished even assault against a woman very, very severely: ‘At twelfth-century Calatayud and Marañón the murder fine was called for when a man hit or dishevelled a married woman’ and ‘Zorita de los Canes, Alcalá de Henares and Ledesma awarded any woman exorbitant damages when a man dared to wrestle her to the ground and pin her down as though he were going to rape her.’ If she was raped, and ‘Rapists were invariably classed among the worst kinds of men who came before the bar of municipal justice’, she had to raise a hue and cry and ‘Self-inflicted scratches on the victim’s cheeks, with and without the hue and cry, were commonplace requirements at most late twelfth- and thirteenth-century communities. They constituted an important distinction between a woman who had been raped or merely abducted’.
    Anyway, that’s all from Heath Dillard’s book about women and the law in medieval Castile, which can be found here: http://libro.uca.edu/dillard/dr7.htm
    My point is that rape was seen as wrong then. Rape happened, of course, but it’s not historically accurate to think that men in the past thought that rape was OK. They did not (though, as Jo pointed out, it might be different if the woman involved was a wife or a prostitute).
    I give historical characters leeway in other areas e.g. regarding the education of women, having a mistress, racism, attitudes towards the use of violence (e.g. duelling) because it wouldn’t be historically accurate for them to have modern views on these issues.

    Reply
  99. “My only reaction is that today’s women are more likely to use a baseball bat or a knee than the rather brain-washed women of the past.”
    Certainly in Spain in the Middle Ages, the women were, if anything ‘brainwashed’ into fighting back, furiously. It was expected of them and if they didn’t, the law might not recognise what had happened as rape. That’s not just peasant women – aristocratic women would have known about the story of the rape of Lucretia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucretia and it was recounted in the Middle Ages and onwards as an example of womanly virtue (though, of course, Christian women were not supposed to commit suicide).
    And the law in medieval Castile punished even assault against a woman very, very severely: ‘At twelfth-century Calatayud and Marañón the murder fine was called for when a man hit or dishevelled a married woman’ and ‘Zorita de los Canes, Alcalá de Henares and Ledesma awarded any woman exorbitant damages when a man dared to wrestle her to the ground and pin her down as though he were going to rape her.’ If she was raped, and ‘Rapists were invariably classed among the worst kinds of men who came before the bar of municipal justice’, she had to raise a hue and cry and ‘Self-inflicted scratches on the victim’s cheeks, with and without the hue and cry, were commonplace requirements at most late twelfth- and thirteenth-century communities. They constituted an important distinction between a woman who had been raped or merely abducted’.
    Anyway, that’s all from Heath Dillard’s book about women and the law in medieval Castile, which can be found here: http://libro.uca.edu/dillard/dr7.htm
    My point is that rape was seen as wrong then. Rape happened, of course, but it’s not historically accurate to think that men in the past thought that rape was OK. They did not (though, as Jo pointed out, it might be different if the woman involved was a wife or a prostitute).
    I give historical characters leeway in other areas e.g. regarding the education of women, having a mistress, racism, attitudes towards the use of violence (e.g. duelling) because it wouldn’t be historically accurate for them to have modern views on these issues.

    Reply
  100. “My only reaction is that today’s women are more likely to use a baseball bat or a knee than the rather brain-washed women of the past.”
    Certainly in Spain in the Middle Ages, the women were, if anything ‘brainwashed’ into fighting back, furiously. It was expected of them and if they didn’t, the law might not recognise what had happened as rape. That’s not just peasant women – aristocratic women would have known about the story of the rape of Lucretia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucretia and it was recounted in the Middle Ages and onwards as an example of womanly virtue (though, of course, Christian women were not supposed to commit suicide).
    And the law in medieval Castile punished even assault against a woman very, very severely: ‘At twelfth-century Calatayud and Marañón the murder fine was called for when a man hit or dishevelled a married woman’ and ‘Zorita de los Canes, Alcalá de Henares and Ledesma awarded any woman exorbitant damages when a man dared to wrestle her to the ground and pin her down as though he were going to rape her.’ If she was raped, and ‘Rapists were invariably classed among the worst kinds of men who came before the bar of municipal justice’, she had to raise a hue and cry and ‘Self-inflicted scratches on the victim’s cheeks, with and without the hue and cry, were commonplace requirements at most late twelfth- and thirteenth-century communities. They constituted an important distinction between a woman who had been raped or merely abducted’.
    Anyway, that’s all from Heath Dillard’s book about women and the law in medieval Castile, which can be found here: http://libro.uca.edu/dillard/dr7.htm
    My point is that rape was seen as wrong then. Rape happened, of course, but it’s not historically accurate to think that men in the past thought that rape was OK. They did not (though, as Jo pointed out, it might be different if the woman involved was a wife or a prostitute).
    I give historical characters leeway in other areas e.g. regarding the education of women, having a mistress, racism, attitudes towards the use of violence (e.g. duelling) because it wouldn’t be historically accurate for them to have modern views on these issues.

    Reply
  101. “Some of the most meaningful books I’ve read in my life include elements of violence and rape/sexual violence”
    Of course, and I’m not saying that no character in a romance can ever be raped, I’m just saying that the guy who does the raping is NOT hero material. At least not for me.
    Jo, is it one of your books where the heroine is raped by the hero’s twin brother? That book totally worked (and the rapist was truly horrified by his own alcohol/drug induced actions to the woman he thought was a willing prostitute).

    Reply
  102. “Some of the most meaningful books I’ve read in my life include elements of violence and rape/sexual violence”
    Of course, and I’m not saying that no character in a romance can ever be raped, I’m just saying that the guy who does the raping is NOT hero material. At least not for me.
    Jo, is it one of your books where the heroine is raped by the hero’s twin brother? That book totally worked (and the rapist was truly horrified by his own alcohol/drug induced actions to the woman he thought was a willing prostitute).

    Reply
  103. “Some of the most meaningful books I’ve read in my life include elements of violence and rape/sexual violence”
    Of course, and I’m not saying that no character in a romance can ever be raped, I’m just saying that the guy who does the raping is NOT hero material. At least not for me.
    Jo, is it one of your books where the heroine is raped by the hero’s twin brother? That book totally worked (and the rapist was truly horrified by his own alcohol/drug induced actions to the woman he thought was a willing prostitute).

    Reply
  104. “Some of the most meaningful books I’ve read in my life include elements of violence and rape/sexual violence”
    Of course, and I’m not saying that no character in a romance can ever be raped, I’m just saying that the guy who does the raping is NOT hero material. At least not for me.
    Jo, is it one of your books where the heroine is raped by the hero’s twin brother? That book totally worked (and the rapist was truly horrified by his own alcohol/drug induced actions to the woman he thought was a willing prostitute).

    Reply
  105. Tentacles and exploding snakes, oh my! Excellent topic, Jo. “G”
    I think I have to hold violence of any sort to the standards set by the setting and time period. And I will hold the characters to those same standards. Even though I fell for the early bodice rippers and understand the rape fantasy, the author has to prove the characters are not normally reprehensible brutal people before I’ll have any interest in the book at all. Really, I want love out of a romance, not violence, and I simply cannot find a relationship built on violence believable. So even in my earlier ignorance, I rejected the bodice rippers of those so-called alpha heroes who walked all over everyone around them. And I believe there were a few heroines who were similarly inclined. The same goes for the alphas in contemporary romance and the purely dreadful ones in a lot of the paranormals out there. I have no interest in Neanderthals, whatever their setting. At least Neanderthals didn’t know better.

    Reply
  106. Tentacles and exploding snakes, oh my! Excellent topic, Jo. “G”
    I think I have to hold violence of any sort to the standards set by the setting and time period. And I will hold the characters to those same standards. Even though I fell for the early bodice rippers and understand the rape fantasy, the author has to prove the characters are not normally reprehensible brutal people before I’ll have any interest in the book at all. Really, I want love out of a romance, not violence, and I simply cannot find a relationship built on violence believable. So even in my earlier ignorance, I rejected the bodice rippers of those so-called alpha heroes who walked all over everyone around them. And I believe there were a few heroines who were similarly inclined. The same goes for the alphas in contemporary romance and the purely dreadful ones in a lot of the paranormals out there. I have no interest in Neanderthals, whatever their setting. At least Neanderthals didn’t know better.

    Reply
  107. Tentacles and exploding snakes, oh my! Excellent topic, Jo. “G”
    I think I have to hold violence of any sort to the standards set by the setting and time period. And I will hold the characters to those same standards. Even though I fell for the early bodice rippers and understand the rape fantasy, the author has to prove the characters are not normally reprehensible brutal people before I’ll have any interest in the book at all. Really, I want love out of a romance, not violence, and I simply cannot find a relationship built on violence believable. So even in my earlier ignorance, I rejected the bodice rippers of those so-called alpha heroes who walked all over everyone around them. And I believe there were a few heroines who were similarly inclined. The same goes for the alphas in contemporary romance and the purely dreadful ones in a lot of the paranormals out there. I have no interest in Neanderthals, whatever their setting. At least Neanderthals didn’t know better.

    Reply
  108. Tentacles and exploding snakes, oh my! Excellent topic, Jo. “G”
    I think I have to hold violence of any sort to the standards set by the setting and time period. And I will hold the characters to those same standards. Even though I fell for the early bodice rippers and understand the rape fantasy, the author has to prove the characters are not normally reprehensible brutal people before I’ll have any interest in the book at all. Really, I want love out of a romance, not violence, and I simply cannot find a relationship built on violence believable. So even in my earlier ignorance, I rejected the bodice rippers of those so-called alpha heroes who walked all over everyone around them. And I believe there were a few heroines who were similarly inclined. The same goes for the alphas in contemporary romance and the purely dreadful ones in a lot of the paranormals out there. I have no interest in Neanderthals, whatever their setting. At least Neanderthals didn’t know better.

    Reply
  109. “At least Neanderthals didn’t know better.”
    Total tangent, but this made me recall that the first fictional rape I ever read was committed by a Neanderthal–whats-his-face the leader’s son attacking Ayla in CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR. And my first sex scenes were Jondalar’s woman-making exploits in THE VALLEY OF HORSES. I wonder how many other women of my generation could say exactly the same thing. Those are also the first of many books to elicit a “Why is this guy the hero? I like the rival better” reaction from me. If I were Ayla, I’d *totally* have stayed with the Mamutoi. Ranec is much more my type.

    Reply
  110. “At least Neanderthals didn’t know better.”
    Total tangent, but this made me recall that the first fictional rape I ever read was committed by a Neanderthal–whats-his-face the leader’s son attacking Ayla in CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR. And my first sex scenes were Jondalar’s woman-making exploits in THE VALLEY OF HORSES. I wonder how many other women of my generation could say exactly the same thing. Those are also the first of many books to elicit a “Why is this guy the hero? I like the rival better” reaction from me. If I were Ayla, I’d *totally* have stayed with the Mamutoi. Ranec is much more my type.

    Reply
  111. “At least Neanderthals didn’t know better.”
    Total tangent, but this made me recall that the first fictional rape I ever read was committed by a Neanderthal–whats-his-face the leader’s son attacking Ayla in CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR. And my first sex scenes were Jondalar’s woman-making exploits in THE VALLEY OF HORSES. I wonder how many other women of my generation could say exactly the same thing. Those are also the first of many books to elicit a “Why is this guy the hero? I like the rival better” reaction from me. If I were Ayla, I’d *totally* have stayed with the Mamutoi. Ranec is much more my type.

    Reply
  112. “At least Neanderthals didn’t know better.”
    Total tangent, but this made me recall that the first fictional rape I ever read was committed by a Neanderthal–whats-his-face the leader’s son attacking Ayla in CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR. And my first sex scenes were Jondalar’s woman-making exploits in THE VALLEY OF HORSES. I wonder how many other women of my generation could say exactly the same thing. Those are also the first of many books to elicit a “Why is this guy the hero? I like the rival better” reaction from me. If I were Ayla, I’d *totally* have stayed with the Mamutoi. Ranec is much more my type.

    Reply
  113. Fascinating details, Laura. Thank you. Isn’t that in the Bible — the business of the woman having to have fought to prove it was rape? I think it was used until very recently. “Did she scream?”
    Web (is that your name, sorry if not) I’ve been reading argh ink on this. I went over to post the brain chemistry of rakes thing. But I wanted to take the cause of the historical romance, not the whole of romance, so I opened this particular discussion here, which is:
    Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one. And if so, what does that mean?
    I totally get that it seems distant and therefore safer. I don’t get that it was okay back then. That’s my distinction.
    Another twist occurs to me. Comments please.
    Does it make any difference when and where?
    Susan mentioned Clan of the Cave Bear. Can’t get any father away than that! Is it less bothersome in the middle ages than in 1500, or 1800? What about 1920?
    Or, would it be different in 1820 England, Italy, Tasmania, or New York?
    I definitely have different reactions to the middle ages, but it was a very different age. To me, the Regency after feels much like today.
    This really is fascinating psychology, isn’t it?
    Jo

    Reply
  114. Fascinating details, Laura. Thank you. Isn’t that in the Bible — the business of the woman having to have fought to prove it was rape? I think it was used until very recently. “Did she scream?”
    Web (is that your name, sorry if not) I’ve been reading argh ink on this. I went over to post the brain chemistry of rakes thing. But I wanted to take the cause of the historical romance, not the whole of romance, so I opened this particular discussion here, which is:
    Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one. And if so, what does that mean?
    I totally get that it seems distant and therefore safer. I don’t get that it was okay back then. That’s my distinction.
    Another twist occurs to me. Comments please.
    Does it make any difference when and where?
    Susan mentioned Clan of the Cave Bear. Can’t get any father away than that! Is it less bothersome in the middle ages than in 1500, or 1800? What about 1920?
    Or, would it be different in 1820 England, Italy, Tasmania, or New York?
    I definitely have different reactions to the middle ages, but it was a very different age. To me, the Regency after feels much like today.
    This really is fascinating psychology, isn’t it?
    Jo

    Reply
  115. Fascinating details, Laura. Thank you. Isn’t that in the Bible — the business of the woman having to have fought to prove it was rape? I think it was used until very recently. “Did she scream?”
    Web (is that your name, sorry if not) I’ve been reading argh ink on this. I went over to post the brain chemistry of rakes thing. But I wanted to take the cause of the historical romance, not the whole of romance, so I opened this particular discussion here, which is:
    Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one. And if so, what does that mean?
    I totally get that it seems distant and therefore safer. I don’t get that it was okay back then. That’s my distinction.
    Another twist occurs to me. Comments please.
    Does it make any difference when and where?
    Susan mentioned Clan of the Cave Bear. Can’t get any father away than that! Is it less bothersome in the middle ages than in 1500, or 1800? What about 1920?
    Or, would it be different in 1820 England, Italy, Tasmania, or New York?
    I definitely have different reactions to the middle ages, but it was a very different age. To me, the Regency after feels much like today.
    This really is fascinating psychology, isn’t it?
    Jo

    Reply
  116. Fascinating details, Laura. Thank you. Isn’t that in the Bible — the business of the woman having to have fought to prove it was rape? I think it was used until very recently. “Did she scream?”
    Web (is that your name, sorry if not) I’ve been reading argh ink on this. I went over to post the brain chemistry of rakes thing. But I wanted to take the cause of the historical romance, not the whole of romance, so I opened this particular discussion here, which is:
    Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one. And if so, what does that mean?
    I totally get that it seems distant and therefore safer. I don’t get that it was okay back then. That’s my distinction.
    Another twist occurs to me. Comments please.
    Does it make any difference when and where?
    Susan mentioned Clan of the Cave Bear. Can’t get any father away than that! Is it less bothersome in the middle ages than in 1500, or 1800? What about 1920?
    Or, would it be different in 1820 England, Italy, Tasmania, or New York?
    I definitely have different reactions to the middle ages, but it was a very different age. To me, the Regency after feels much like today.
    This really is fascinating psychology, isn’t it?
    Jo

    Reply
  117. >>”Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one. And if so, what does that mean?”<< I have the impression that some readers read historical romances in a way that's similar to the way that they read vampire or other paranormal romances i.e. for them the setting is one which signals that the characters are in a 'fantasy'/'romantic' setting. I suspect that's why 'wallpaper' historicals are popular with many readers. They're not looking for total historical accuracy (though they may at times invoke supposed historical accuracy to justify brutish behaviour on the part of the hero), and they want to believe that in that historical context characters can be larger than life and do things that wouldn't be OK in contemporary everyday life. >>”Does it make any difference when and where?”<< Yes. I would expect medieval characters to have a different attitudes from Regency ones, because it's a different period. Ideas about love changed rather a lot, for instance. And I do think it's a bit odd if the hero is a Medieval/Renaissance noble and there isn't much mention of politics. There was an awful lot of political intrigue going on among the nobility in that period, certainly that's the impression I got from the Castilian history I've read, and some of the advice written to young nobles by an aristocrat such as Don Juan Manuel. He's machiavellian in the extreme (though earlier than Machiavelli, since he was born in the late 13th-century). Although, there's also a lack of political activity among Regency aristocratic heroes (for some reason they prefer to be spies 😉 ). You'd expect more of them to turn up at least occasionally in the House of Lords, but I can accept that some weren't interested/weren't as involved. That seems much, much less credible in earlier periods. Actually, that spy thing is probably often the Regency romance equivalent of a contemporary about Navy SEALS. I suspect that most romance readers would consider their activities sexier than those of politicians.

    Reply
  118. >>”Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one. And if so, what does that mean?”<< I have the impression that some readers read historical romances in a way that's similar to the way that they read vampire or other paranormal romances i.e. for them the setting is one which signals that the characters are in a 'fantasy'/'romantic' setting. I suspect that's why 'wallpaper' historicals are popular with many readers. They're not looking for total historical accuracy (though they may at times invoke supposed historical accuracy to justify brutish behaviour on the part of the hero), and they want to believe that in that historical context characters can be larger than life and do things that wouldn't be OK in contemporary everyday life. >>”Does it make any difference when and where?”<< Yes. I would expect medieval characters to have a different attitudes from Regency ones, because it's a different period. Ideas about love changed rather a lot, for instance. And I do think it's a bit odd if the hero is a Medieval/Renaissance noble and there isn't much mention of politics. There was an awful lot of political intrigue going on among the nobility in that period, certainly that's the impression I got from the Castilian history I've read, and some of the advice written to young nobles by an aristocrat such as Don Juan Manuel. He's machiavellian in the extreme (though earlier than Machiavelli, since he was born in the late 13th-century). Although, there's also a lack of political activity among Regency aristocratic heroes (for some reason they prefer to be spies 😉 ). You'd expect more of them to turn up at least occasionally in the House of Lords, but I can accept that some weren't interested/weren't as involved. That seems much, much less credible in earlier periods. Actually, that spy thing is probably often the Regency romance equivalent of a contemporary about Navy SEALS. I suspect that most romance readers would consider their activities sexier than those of politicians.

    Reply
  119. >>”Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one. And if so, what does that mean?”<< I have the impression that some readers read historical romances in a way that's similar to the way that they read vampire or other paranormal romances i.e. for them the setting is one which signals that the characters are in a 'fantasy'/'romantic' setting. I suspect that's why 'wallpaper' historicals are popular with many readers. They're not looking for total historical accuracy (though they may at times invoke supposed historical accuracy to justify brutish behaviour on the part of the hero), and they want to believe that in that historical context characters can be larger than life and do things that wouldn't be OK in contemporary everyday life. >>”Does it make any difference when and where?”<< Yes. I would expect medieval characters to have a different attitudes from Regency ones, because it's a different period. Ideas about love changed rather a lot, for instance. And I do think it's a bit odd if the hero is a Medieval/Renaissance noble and there isn't much mention of politics. There was an awful lot of political intrigue going on among the nobility in that period, certainly that's the impression I got from the Castilian history I've read, and some of the advice written to young nobles by an aristocrat such as Don Juan Manuel. He's machiavellian in the extreme (though earlier than Machiavelli, since he was born in the late 13th-century). Although, there's also a lack of political activity among Regency aristocratic heroes (for some reason they prefer to be spies 😉 ). You'd expect more of them to turn up at least occasionally in the House of Lords, but I can accept that some weren't interested/weren't as involved. That seems much, much less credible in earlier periods. Actually, that spy thing is probably often the Regency romance equivalent of a contemporary about Navy SEALS. I suspect that most romance readers would consider their activities sexier than those of politicians.

    Reply
  120. >>”Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one. And if so, what does that mean?”<< I have the impression that some readers read historical romances in a way that's similar to the way that they read vampire or other paranormal romances i.e. for them the setting is one which signals that the characters are in a 'fantasy'/'romantic' setting. I suspect that's why 'wallpaper' historicals are popular with many readers. They're not looking for total historical accuracy (though they may at times invoke supposed historical accuracy to justify brutish behaviour on the part of the hero), and they want to believe that in that historical context characters can be larger than life and do things that wouldn't be OK in contemporary everyday life. >>”Does it make any difference when and where?”<< Yes. I would expect medieval characters to have a different attitudes from Regency ones, because it's a different period. Ideas about love changed rather a lot, for instance. And I do think it's a bit odd if the hero is a Medieval/Renaissance noble and there isn't much mention of politics. There was an awful lot of political intrigue going on among the nobility in that period, certainly that's the impression I got from the Castilian history I've read, and some of the advice written to young nobles by an aristocrat such as Don Juan Manuel. He's machiavellian in the extreme (though earlier than Machiavelli, since he was born in the late 13th-century). Although, there's also a lack of political activity among Regency aristocratic heroes (for some reason they prefer to be spies 😉 ). You'd expect more of them to turn up at least occasionally in the House of Lords, but I can accept that some weren't interested/weren't as involved. That seems much, much less credible in earlier periods. Actually, that spy thing is probably often the Regency romance equivalent of a contemporary about Navy SEALS. I suspect that most romance readers would consider their activities sexier than those of politicians.

    Reply
  121. “Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one. And if so, what does that mean?”
    Sorry, I must have done something strange in my formatting because I lost a paragraph. My answer to this question was that I have the impression that some readers read historical romances in a way that’s similar to the way that they read vampire or other paranormal romances i.e. for them the setting is one which signals that the characters are in a ‘fantasy’/’romantic’ setting. I suspect that’s why ‘wallpaper’ historicals are popular with many readers. They’re not looking for total historical accuracy (though they may at times invoke supposed historical accuracy to justify brutish behaviour on the part of the hero), and they want to believe that in that historical context characters can be larger than life and do things that wouldn’t be OK in contemporary everyday life.
    [I’m not being dismissive of ‘wallpaper’ historicals. I think it’s quite valid to write sort of ‘fantasy history’ (in art some of the Pre-Raphaelites definitely give me that feeling). But I do think that it’s worth making the distinction between historicals which try to use history in as accurate a way as possible, and historicals which are more focussed on using the historical setting to provide a bit of colour or to make particular plot twists plausible.]

    Reply
  122. “Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one. And if so, what does that mean?”
    Sorry, I must have done something strange in my formatting because I lost a paragraph. My answer to this question was that I have the impression that some readers read historical romances in a way that’s similar to the way that they read vampire or other paranormal romances i.e. for them the setting is one which signals that the characters are in a ‘fantasy’/’romantic’ setting. I suspect that’s why ‘wallpaper’ historicals are popular with many readers. They’re not looking for total historical accuracy (though they may at times invoke supposed historical accuracy to justify brutish behaviour on the part of the hero), and they want to believe that in that historical context characters can be larger than life and do things that wouldn’t be OK in contemporary everyday life.
    [I’m not being dismissive of ‘wallpaper’ historicals. I think it’s quite valid to write sort of ‘fantasy history’ (in art some of the Pre-Raphaelites definitely give me that feeling). But I do think that it’s worth making the distinction between historicals which try to use history in as accurate a way as possible, and historicals which are more focussed on using the historical setting to provide a bit of colour or to make particular plot twists plausible.]

    Reply
  123. “Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one. And if so, what does that mean?”
    Sorry, I must have done something strange in my formatting because I lost a paragraph. My answer to this question was that I have the impression that some readers read historical romances in a way that’s similar to the way that they read vampire or other paranormal romances i.e. for them the setting is one which signals that the characters are in a ‘fantasy’/’romantic’ setting. I suspect that’s why ‘wallpaper’ historicals are popular with many readers. They’re not looking for total historical accuracy (though they may at times invoke supposed historical accuracy to justify brutish behaviour on the part of the hero), and they want to believe that in that historical context characters can be larger than life and do things that wouldn’t be OK in contemporary everyday life.
    [I’m not being dismissive of ‘wallpaper’ historicals. I think it’s quite valid to write sort of ‘fantasy history’ (in art some of the Pre-Raphaelites definitely give me that feeling). But I do think that it’s worth making the distinction between historicals which try to use history in as accurate a way as possible, and historicals which are more focussed on using the historical setting to provide a bit of colour or to make particular plot twists plausible.]

    Reply
  124. “Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one. And if so, what does that mean?”
    Sorry, I must have done something strange in my formatting because I lost a paragraph. My answer to this question was that I have the impression that some readers read historical romances in a way that’s similar to the way that they read vampire or other paranormal romances i.e. for them the setting is one which signals that the characters are in a ‘fantasy’/’romantic’ setting. I suspect that’s why ‘wallpaper’ historicals are popular with many readers. They’re not looking for total historical accuracy (though they may at times invoke supposed historical accuracy to justify brutish behaviour on the part of the hero), and they want to believe that in that historical context characters can be larger than life and do things that wouldn’t be OK in contemporary everyday life.
    [I’m not being dismissive of ‘wallpaper’ historicals. I think it’s quite valid to write sort of ‘fantasy history’ (in art some of the Pre-Raphaelites definitely give me that feeling). But I do think that it’s worth making the distinction between historicals which try to use history in as accurate a way as possible, and historicals which are more focussed on using the historical setting to provide a bit of colour or to make particular plot twists plausible.]

    Reply
  125. …Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one? And if so, what does that mean?”>”Does it make any difference when and where?..
    Hey Jo —
    I’ve been back to this post a couple of times today, turning your questions over and over in my mind and I keep coming back to the same thing. For the hero to rape the heroine for any reason in any era says to me that he hasn’t done his job as the hero and wooed his heroine. Thusly, he does not deserve her or to be the hero. To have rape in a book set in any time is real life but the hero best not be the one doing it. He may have done so with other women in the past and changes his ways when he meets the heroine but to resort so such low life tactics, IMHO, takes him off the hero list. Even if the book is set in a world where rape is “normal” or “accepted”, I don’t want an ordinary hero, I want an extraordinary hero. One I can see myself loving, though I may not want to live with him. .
    Nina

    Reply
  126. …Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one? And if so, what does that mean?”>”Does it make any difference when and where?..
    Hey Jo —
    I’ve been back to this post a couple of times today, turning your questions over and over in my mind and I keep coming back to the same thing. For the hero to rape the heroine for any reason in any era says to me that he hasn’t done his job as the hero and wooed his heroine. Thusly, he does not deserve her or to be the hero. To have rape in a book set in any time is real life but the hero best not be the one doing it. He may have done so with other women in the past and changes his ways when he meets the heroine but to resort so such low life tactics, IMHO, takes him off the hero list. Even if the book is set in a world where rape is “normal” or “accepted”, I don’t want an ordinary hero, I want an extraordinary hero. One I can see myself loving, though I may not want to live with him. .
    Nina

    Reply
  127. …Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one? And if so, what does that mean?”>”Does it make any difference when and where?..
    Hey Jo —
    I’ve been back to this post a couple of times today, turning your questions over and over in my mind and I keep coming back to the same thing. For the hero to rape the heroine for any reason in any era says to me that he hasn’t done his job as the hero and wooed his heroine. Thusly, he does not deserve her or to be the hero. To have rape in a book set in any time is real life but the hero best not be the one doing it. He may have done so with other women in the past and changes his ways when he meets the heroine but to resort so such low life tactics, IMHO, takes him off the hero list. Even if the book is set in a world where rape is “normal” or “accepted”, I don’t want an ordinary hero, I want an extraordinary hero. One I can see myself loving, though I may not want to live with him. .
    Nina

    Reply
  128. …Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one? And if so, what does that mean?”>”Does it make any difference when and where?..
    Hey Jo —
    I’ve been back to this post a couple of times today, turning your questions over and over in my mind and I keep coming back to the same thing. For the hero to rape the heroine for any reason in any era says to me that he hasn’t done his job as the hero and wooed his heroine. Thusly, he does not deserve her or to be the hero. To have rape in a book set in any time is real life but the hero best not be the one doing it. He may have done so with other women in the past and changes his ways when he meets the heroine but to resort so such low life tactics, IMHO, takes him off the hero list. Even if the book is set in a world where rape is “normal” or “accepted”, I don’t want an ordinary hero, I want an extraordinary hero. One I can see myself loving, though I may not want to live with him. .
    Nina

    Reply
  129. “Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one.”
    I do. (you may now kiss the bride) Things like racism, slavery, class distinction, political intrigue, and a male-dominated society were part of many cultures in older times. Some of it still happens today, but it’s far less tolerated these days, not to mention being downright illegal–which it wasn’t back then.
    “And if so, what does that mean?”
    I take off my 21st-Century-woman hat when reading historicals. The historical mindset was different, and I understand and accept that, and I also find that it adds richness to the story. Except in extreme cases, where the behavior of an individual would be abhorrent in any century, I can put up with things like an arrogant duke in a historical, where I’d set aside a contemporary featuring an arrogant CEO. (And speaking of too many dukes, it seems to me that earls are coming out of the woodwork! But then I’m still reading older romances, maybe that was before the duke storms.)

    Reply
  130. “Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one.”
    I do. (you may now kiss the bride) Things like racism, slavery, class distinction, political intrigue, and a male-dominated society were part of many cultures in older times. Some of it still happens today, but it’s far less tolerated these days, not to mention being downright illegal–which it wasn’t back then.
    “And if so, what does that mean?”
    I take off my 21st-Century-woman hat when reading historicals. The historical mindset was different, and I understand and accept that, and I also find that it adds richness to the story. Except in extreme cases, where the behavior of an individual would be abhorrent in any century, I can put up with things like an arrogant duke in a historical, where I’d set aside a contemporary featuring an arrogant CEO. (And speaking of too many dukes, it seems to me that earls are coming out of the woodwork! But then I’m still reading older romances, maybe that was before the duke storms.)

    Reply
  131. “Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one.”
    I do. (you may now kiss the bride) Things like racism, slavery, class distinction, political intrigue, and a male-dominated society were part of many cultures in older times. Some of it still happens today, but it’s far less tolerated these days, not to mention being downright illegal–which it wasn’t back then.
    “And if so, what does that mean?”
    I take off my 21st-Century-woman hat when reading historicals. The historical mindset was different, and I understand and accept that, and I also find that it adds richness to the story. Except in extreme cases, where the behavior of an individual would be abhorrent in any century, I can put up with things like an arrogant duke in a historical, where I’d set aside a contemporary featuring an arrogant CEO. (And speaking of too many dukes, it seems to me that earls are coming out of the woodwork! But then I’m still reading older romances, maybe that was before the duke storms.)

    Reply
  132. “Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one.”
    I do. (you may now kiss the bride) Things like racism, slavery, class distinction, political intrigue, and a male-dominated society were part of many cultures in older times. Some of it still happens today, but it’s far less tolerated these days, not to mention being downright illegal–which it wasn’t back then.
    “And if so, what does that mean?”
    I take off my 21st-Century-woman hat when reading historicals. The historical mindset was different, and I understand and accept that, and I also find that it adds richness to the story. Except in extreme cases, where the behavior of an individual would be abhorrent in any century, I can put up with things like an arrogant duke in a historical, where I’d set aside a contemporary featuring an arrogant CEO. (And speaking of too many dukes, it seems to me that earls are coming out of the woodwork! But then I’m still reading older romances, maybe that was before the duke storms.)

    Reply
  133. “Does it make any difference when and where?…Susan mentioned Clan of the Cave Bear. Can’t get any father away than that!”
    Well, FWIW, the rape in that book is presented exactly as such–the attacker is the villain, not the hero. It’s true that his actions are sanctioned by his *culture*, but I can accept that because we have no way of knowing what Neanderthal culture was really like–writing prehistory is almost like writing science fiction or fantasy in that way. All we have to go on are a handful of bones and artifacts, so Auel’s guess is as good as anyone’s.
    But I wouldn’t accept such behavior from a romantic hero in any era, and I wouldn’t accept a Regency (or medieval or Victorian or whatever) where rape was seen as fine and dandy, just what you’d expect from a duke, because there’s an extensive historical record to contradict such a view.
    I see Laura’s point on “fantasy-history,” though I tend to prefer realistic history, because I’m a great big history geek and think I owe the real people who lived in the history I fictionalize the respect of trying to get their world right. I guess I feel like if you’re not going to try for realism at all, you should make your story’s dateline “once upon a time” rather than “London, 1817.” And if you take heroic rape out of the equation, I can have a lot of fun with fantasy-histories that are clearly not even trying for realism, things like PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN or SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. (The latter, of course, is hardly “once upon a time,” but it screams playful, unrealistic romp in other ways.) It just drives my inner history geek straight up the wall when readers and/or writers can’t tell the difference!

    Reply
  134. “Does it make any difference when and where?…Susan mentioned Clan of the Cave Bear. Can’t get any father away than that!”
    Well, FWIW, the rape in that book is presented exactly as such–the attacker is the villain, not the hero. It’s true that his actions are sanctioned by his *culture*, but I can accept that because we have no way of knowing what Neanderthal culture was really like–writing prehistory is almost like writing science fiction or fantasy in that way. All we have to go on are a handful of bones and artifacts, so Auel’s guess is as good as anyone’s.
    But I wouldn’t accept such behavior from a romantic hero in any era, and I wouldn’t accept a Regency (or medieval or Victorian or whatever) where rape was seen as fine and dandy, just what you’d expect from a duke, because there’s an extensive historical record to contradict such a view.
    I see Laura’s point on “fantasy-history,” though I tend to prefer realistic history, because I’m a great big history geek and think I owe the real people who lived in the history I fictionalize the respect of trying to get their world right. I guess I feel like if you’re not going to try for realism at all, you should make your story’s dateline “once upon a time” rather than “London, 1817.” And if you take heroic rape out of the equation, I can have a lot of fun with fantasy-histories that are clearly not even trying for realism, things like PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN or SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. (The latter, of course, is hardly “once upon a time,” but it screams playful, unrealistic romp in other ways.) It just drives my inner history geek straight up the wall when readers and/or writers can’t tell the difference!

    Reply
  135. “Does it make any difference when and where?…Susan mentioned Clan of the Cave Bear. Can’t get any father away than that!”
    Well, FWIW, the rape in that book is presented exactly as such–the attacker is the villain, not the hero. It’s true that his actions are sanctioned by his *culture*, but I can accept that because we have no way of knowing what Neanderthal culture was really like–writing prehistory is almost like writing science fiction or fantasy in that way. All we have to go on are a handful of bones and artifacts, so Auel’s guess is as good as anyone’s.
    But I wouldn’t accept such behavior from a romantic hero in any era, and I wouldn’t accept a Regency (or medieval or Victorian or whatever) where rape was seen as fine and dandy, just what you’d expect from a duke, because there’s an extensive historical record to contradict such a view.
    I see Laura’s point on “fantasy-history,” though I tend to prefer realistic history, because I’m a great big history geek and think I owe the real people who lived in the history I fictionalize the respect of trying to get their world right. I guess I feel like if you’re not going to try for realism at all, you should make your story’s dateline “once upon a time” rather than “London, 1817.” And if you take heroic rape out of the equation, I can have a lot of fun with fantasy-histories that are clearly not even trying for realism, things like PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN or SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. (The latter, of course, is hardly “once upon a time,” but it screams playful, unrealistic romp in other ways.) It just drives my inner history geek straight up the wall when readers and/or writers can’t tell the difference!

    Reply
  136. “Does it make any difference when and where?…Susan mentioned Clan of the Cave Bear. Can’t get any father away than that!”
    Well, FWIW, the rape in that book is presented exactly as such–the attacker is the villain, not the hero. It’s true that his actions are sanctioned by his *culture*, but I can accept that because we have no way of knowing what Neanderthal culture was really like–writing prehistory is almost like writing science fiction or fantasy in that way. All we have to go on are a handful of bones and artifacts, so Auel’s guess is as good as anyone’s.
    But I wouldn’t accept such behavior from a romantic hero in any era, and I wouldn’t accept a Regency (or medieval or Victorian or whatever) where rape was seen as fine and dandy, just what you’d expect from a duke, because there’s an extensive historical record to contradict such a view.
    I see Laura’s point on “fantasy-history,” though I tend to prefer realistic history, because I’m a great big history geek and think I owe the real people who lived in the history I fictionalize the respect of trying to get their world right. I guess I feel like if you’re not going to try for realism at all, you should make your story’s dateline “once upon a time” rather than “London, 1817.” And if you take heroic rape out of the equation, I can have a lot of fun with fantasy-histories that are clearly not even trying for realism, things like PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN or SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. (The latter, of course, is hardly “once upon a time,” but it screams playful, unrealistic romp in other ways.) It just drives my inner history geek straight up the wall when readers and/or writers can’t tell the difference!

    Reply
  137. “…Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one? And if so, what does that mean?”>”Does it make any difference when and where?..”
    The whole motif of rapist-turned-hero has been done often (and often very successfully) in the “contemporary setting” of daytime television soap operas (tho’ one _could_ make the argument that these are an alternate universe of their own. . .)–As the World Turns and Young and the Restless are two that come to mind.
    (Does anyone remember the loony evil lawyer Michael–who stalked, kidnapped, and terrorized fellow lawyer Christine? Last time I saw Y & R, Michael was a completely rehabilitated handsome hero, and was sharing a law practice with Christine! I think they were even in love for a while. Weird..)
    Perhaps the most famous example of this is General Hospital’s iconic pair Luke and Laura–it all started when he raped her, as you (might) recall, and yet he managed to redeem himself in a bad boy sort of way, became a Hero, and they got married (a couple of times, LOL) and lived–well not always happily, but ever after in fairly stable soap opera adventure and turmoil.

    Reply
  138. “…Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one? And if so, what does that mean?”>”Does it make any difference when and where?..”
    The whole motif of rapist-turned-hero has been done often (and often very successfully) in the “contemporary setting” of daytime television soap operas (tho’ one _could_ make the argument that these are an alternate universe of their own. . .)–As the World Turns and Young and the Restless are two that come to mind.
    (Does anyone remember the loony evil lawyer Michael–who stalked, kidnapped, and terrorized fellow lawyer Christine? Last time I saw Y & R, Michael was a completely rehabilitated handsome hero, and was sharing a law practice with Christine! I think they were even in love for a while. Weird..)
    Perhaps the most famous example of this is General Hospital’s iconic pair Luke and Laura–it all started when he raped her, as you (might) recall, and yet he managed to redeem himself in a bad boy sort of way, became a Hero, and they got married (a couple of times, LOL) and lived–well not always happily, but ever after in fairly stable soap opera adventure and turmoil.

    Reply
  139. “…Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one? And if so, what does that mean?”>”Does it make any difference when and where?..”
    The whole motif of rapist-turned-hero has been done often (and often very successfully) in the “contemporary setting” of daytime television soap operas (tho’ one _could_ make the argument that these are an alternate universe of their own. . .)–As the World Turns and Young and the Restless are two that come to mind.
    (Does anyone remember the loony evil lawyer Michael–who stalked, kidnapped, and terrorized fellow lawyer Christine? Last time I saw Y & R, Michael was a completely rehabilitated handsome hero, and was sharing a law practice with Christine! I think they were even in love for a while. Weird..)
    Perhaps the most famous example of this is General Hospital’s iconic pair Luke and Laura–it all started when he raped her, as you (might) recall, and yet he managed to redeem himself in a bad boy sort of way, became a Hero, and they got married (a couple of times, LOL) and lived–well not always happily, but ever after in fairly stable soap opera adventure and turmoil.

    Reply
  140. “…Do readers tolerate things in a historical context that they won’t tolerate in a contemporary one? And if so, what does that mean?”>”Does it make any difference when and where?..”
    The whole motif of rapist-turned-hero has been done often (and often very successfully) in the “contemporary setting” of daytime television soap operas (tho’ one _could_ make the argument that these are an alternate universe of their own. . .)–As the World Turns and Young and the Restless are two that come to mind.
    (Does anyone remember the loony evil lawyer Michael–who stalked, kidnapped, and terrorized fellow lawyer Christine? Last time I saw Y & R, Michael was a completely rehabilitated handsome hero, and was sharing a law practice with Christine! I think they were even in love for a while. Weird..)
    Perhaps the most famous example of this is General Hospital’s iconic pair Luke and Laura–it all started when he raped her, as you (might) recall, and yet he managed to redeem himself in a bad boy sort of way, became a Hero, and they got married (a couple of times, LOL) and lived–well not always happily, but ever after in fairly stable soap opera adventure and turmoil.

    Reply
  141. Jo wrote: “But my point is that none of these men took the excuse to flog their wives, and they used their intelligence to solve the problem. I do love an intelligent hero.”
    I was outraged when, in Outlander, Jamie beat Claire — but it was totally appropriate, so I applauded it as well. I don’t want my historical heroes to be brutes, but nor do I want them to be modern men. I like seeing the h&h struggle toward equality in their relationship in spite of the standards of the age in which they live. I also like to see them making compromises because of those standards. That, for me, is more realistic and more relevant to life nowadays.
    I’m halfway through Claiming the Courtesan and am finding it riveting.

    Reply
  142. Jo wrote: “But my point is that none of these men took the excuse to flog their wives, and they used their intelligence to solve the problem. I do love an intelligent hero.”
    I was outraged when, in Outlander, Jamie beat Claire — but it was totally appropriate, so I applauded it as well. I don’t want my historical heroes to be brutes, but nor do I want them to be modern men. I like seeing the h&h struggle toward equality in their relationship in spite of the standards of the age in which they live. I also like to see them making compromises because of those standards. That, for me, is more realistic and more relevant to life nowadays.
    I’m halfway through Claiming the Courtesan and am finding it riveting.

    Reply
  143. Jo wrote: “But my point is that none of these men took the excuse to flog their wives, and they used their intelligence to solve the problem. I do love an intelligent hero.”
    I was outraged when, in Outlander, Jamie beat Claire — but it was totally appropriate, so I applauded it as well. I don’t want my historical heroes to be brutes, but nor do I want them to be modern men. I like seeing the h&h struggle toward equality in their relationship in spite of the standards of the age in which they live. I also like to see them making compromises because of those standards. That, for me, is more realistic and more relevant to life nowadays.
    I’m halfway through Claiming the Courtesan and am finding it riveting.

    Reply
  144. Jo wrote: “But my point is that none of these men took the excuse to flog their wives, and they used their intelligence to solve the problem. I do love an intelligent hero.”
    I was outraged when, in Outlander, Jamie beat Claire — but it was totally appropriate, so I applauded it as well. I don’t want my historical heroes to be brutes, but nor do I want them to be modern men. I like seeing the h&h struggle toward equality in their relationship in spite of the standards of the age in which they live. I also like to see them making compromises because of those standards. That, for me, is more realistic and more relevant to life nowadays.
    I’m halfway through Claiming the Courtesan and am finding it riveting.

    Reply
  145. it’s the writers’ attitudes towards rape that comes through in how the characters are developed, and what happens around a rape. So, if the “maybe it’s Ok– or not so bad” message comes through, it’s not for me. What I think is frightening in popular media, especially TV, is the abundance of violence, which may de-sensitize people to the pain of violence, and lead to violence is acceptable–or not really so bad. Did “fear factor” contribute to Abu Ghraib? (forgive my spelling)
    Also, rape is about power. To me a romance isn’t a romance if it isn’t in some way about moving towards equality in a relationship. And if you think this is a modern or post-feminist sensibility I suggest you re-read Pride and Prejudice.
    Merry

    Reply
  146. it’s the writers’ attitudes towards rape that comes through in how the characters are developed, and what happens around a rape. So, if the “maybe it’s Ok– or not so bad” message comes through, it’s not for me. What I think is frightening in popular media, especially TV, is the abundance of violence, which may de-sensitize people to the pain of violence, and lead to violence is acceptable–or not really so bad. Did “fear factor” contribute to Abu Ghraib? (forgive my spelling)
    Also, rape is about power. To me a romance isn’t a romance if it isn’t in some way about moving towards equality in a relationship. And if you think this is a modern or post-feminist sensibility I suggest you re-read Pride and Prejudice.
    Merry

    Reply
  147. it’s the writers’ attitudes towards rape that comes through in how the characters are developed, and what happens around a rape. So, if the “maybe it’s Ok– or not so bad” message comes through, it’s not for me. What I think is frightening in popular media, especially TV, is the abundance of violence, which may de-sensitize people to the pain of violence, and lead to violence is acceptable–or not really so bad. Did “fear factor” contribute to Abu Ghraib? (forgive my spelling)
    Also, rape is about power. To me a romance isn’t a romance if it isn’t in some way about moving towards equality in a relationship. And if you think this is a modern or post-feminist sensibility I suggest you re-read Pride and Prejudice.
    Merry

    Reply
  148. it’s the writers’ attitudes towards rape that comes through in how the characters are developed, and what happens around a rape. So, if the “maybe it’s Ok– or not so bad” message comes through, it’s not for me. What I think is frightening in popular media, especially TV, is the abundance of violence, which may de-sensitize people to the pain of violence, and lead to violence is acceptable–or not really so bad. Did “fear factor” contribute to Abu Ghraib? (forgive my spelling)
    Also, rape is about power. To me a romance isn’t a romance if it isn’t in some way about moving towards equality in a relationship. And if you think this is a modern or post-feminist sensibility I suggest you re-read Pride and Prejudice.
    Merry

    Reply
  149. I remember about the Luke and Laura thing, but no details. Was the viewer’s reaction to the rape shock? Anger?
    Hmmm, Barbara, I never did buy that Jamie needed to beat Claire, especially so severely, and I couldn’t like him thereafter. Clearly millions disagree, which is fine.
    But I don’t think historical heroes need to be “modern men” to be tender, thoughtful, capable of complex understanding and communication,and averse to hurting without cause. There are so many real historical examples.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  150. I remember about the Luke and Laura thing, but no details. Was the viewer’s reaction to the rape shock? Anger?
    Hmmm, Barbara, I never did buy that Jamie needed to beat Claire, especially so severely, and I couldn’t like him thereafter. Clearly millions disagree, which is fine.
    But I don’t think historical heroes need to be “modern men” to be tender, thoughtful, capable of complex understanding and communication,and averse to hurting without cause. There are so many real historical examples.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  151. I remember about the Luke and Laura thing, but no details. Was the viewer’s reaction to the rape shock? Anger?
    Hmmm, Barbara, I never did buy that Jamie needed to beat Claire, especially so severely, and I couldn’t like him thereafter. Clearly millions disagree, which is fine.
    But I don’t think historical heroes need to be “modern men” to be tender, thoughtful, capable of complex understanding and communication,and averse to hurting without cause. There are so many real historical examples.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  152. I remember about the Luke and Laura thing, but no details. Was the viewer’s reaction to the rape shock? Anger?
    Hmmm, Barbara, I never did buy that Jamie needed to beat Claire, especially so severely, and I couldn’t like him thereafter. Clearly millions disagree, which is fine.
    But I don’t think historical heroes need to be “modern men” to be tender, thoughtful, capable of complex understanding and communication,and averse to hurting without cause. There are so many real historical examples.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  153. Ooh boy, CTC is on it’s to me now in the mail, a prize all the way from down under! I shall, however, keep a very open mind.
    Violence in art has its place. I believe I’ve mentioned the KIll Bill movies here as an example. (And RevMelinda, I do remember Clockwork Orange, IMO, it serves the art. It’s chilling.)
    Personally, the fantasy-rape does nothing for me, as I see rape as a violent act meant to dominate, demean and degrade. This is why soldiers use it against enemy soldiers in war. (But then again, there are people who get off on being dominated, demeaned, and degraded, so who am I to judge if it’s consensual?)
    But a rape can be used to ratchet up a plot, as in Jo’s An Arranged Marriage. Did you forget one, Jo?
    But, in that book, the reader is shown the psychological pressures Lord Stainbridge is under, and even though he commits the crime, he is not totally without the reader’s sympathy. Quite a feat.

    Reply
  154. Ooh boy, CTC is on it’s to me now in the mail, a prize all the way from down under! I shall, however, keep a very open mind.
    Violence in art has its place. I believe I’ve mentioned the KIll Bill movies here as an example. (And RevMelinda, I do remember Clockwork Orange, IMO, it serves the art. It’s chilling.)
    Personally, the fantasy-rape does nothing for me, as I see rape as a violent act meant to dominate, demean and degrade. This is why soldiers use it against enemy soldiers in war. (But then again, there are people who get off on being dominated, demeaned, and degraded, so who am I to judge if it’s consensual?)
    But a rape can be used to ratchet up a plot, as in Jo’s An Arranged Marriage. Did you forget one, Jo?
    But, in that book, the reader is shown the psychological pressures Lord Stainbridge is under, and even though he commits the crime, he is not totally without the reader’s sympathy. Quite a feat.

    Reply
  155. Ooh boy, CTC is on it’s to me now in the mail, a prize all the way from down under! I shall, however, keep a very open mind.
    Violence in art has its place. I believe I’ve mentioned the KIll Bill movies here as an example. (And RevMelinda, I do remember Clockwork Orange, IMO, it serves the art. It’s chilling.)
    Personally, the fantasy-rape does nothing for me, as I see rape as a violent act meant to dominate, demean and degrade. This is why soldiers use it against enemy soldiers in war. (But then again, there are people who get off on being dominated, demeaned, and degraded, so who am I to judge if it’s consensual?)
    But a rape can be used to ratchet up a plot, as in Jo’s An Arranged Marriage. Did you forget one, Jo?
    But, in that book, the reader is shown the psychological pressures Lord Stainbridge is under, and even though he commits the crime, he is not totally without the reader’s sympathy. Quite a feat.

    Reply
  156. Ooh boy, CTC is on it’s to me now in the mail, a prize all the way from down under! I shall, however, keep a very open mind.
    Violence in art has its place. I believe I’ve mentioned the KIll Bill movies here as an example. (And RevMelinda, I do remember Clockwork Orange, IMO, it serves the art. It’s chilling.)
    Personally, the fantasy-rape does nothing for me, as I see rape as a violent act meant to dominate, demean and degrade. This is why soldiers use it against enemy soldiers in war. (But then again, there are people who get off on being dominated, demeaned, and degraded, so who am I to judge if it’s consensual?)
    But a rape can be used to ratchet up a plot, as in Jo’s An Arranged Marriage. Did you forget one, Jo?
    But, in that book, the reader is shown the psychological pressures Lord Stainbridge is under, and even though he commits the crime, he is not totally without the reader’s sympathy. Quite a feat.

    Reply
  157. RevMelinda – kind of interesting you used Luke and Laura. That was a period where it seemed rape was ‘ok’ in media (certainly genre fiction) but a few years ago when they revisted the event they gave Luke a bucket load of trauma from it, forced both characters to settle the debate with a clear, yup, rape, and then drove Laura stark raving mad to stare at padded walls for life. It was almost like they had to punish the characters for not being punished before.

    Reply
  158. RevMelinda – kind of interesting you used Luke and Laura. That was a period where it seemed rape was ‘ok’ in media (certainly genre fiction) but a few years ago when they revisted the event they gave Luke a bucket load of trauma from it, forced both characters to settle the debate with a clear, yup, rape, and then drove Laura stark raving mad to stare at padded walls for life. It was almost like they had to punish the characters for not being punished before.

    Reply
  159. RevMelinda – kind of interesting you used Luke and Laura. That was a period where it seemed rape was ‘ok’ in media (certainly genre fiction) but a few years ago when they revisted the event they gave Luke a bucket load of trauma from it, forced both characters to settle the debate with a clear, yup, rape, and then drove Laura stark raving mad to stare at padded walls for life. It was almost like they had to punish the characters for not being punished before.

    Reply
  160. RevMelinda – kind of interesting you used Luke and Laura. That was a period where it seemed rape was ‘ok’ in media (certainly genre fiction) but a few years ago when they revisted the event they gave Luke a bucket load of trauma from it, forced both characters to settle the debate with a clear, yup, rape, and then drove Laura stark raving mad to stare at padded walls for life. It was almost like they had to punish the characters for not being punished before.

    Reply
  161. Oops. kinda got de-railed and didn’t answer the question.
    No. I don’t think that particular behavior can be redeemed in a hero. (But perhaps the book will convince me!) And I definitely don’t think the historical justification hold water.
    This means something, coming from me, because my books, contemporary or historical, are consistently about redemption. I’m a loser who won, so I like to write stories about losers who win, as opposed to losers in the act of losing, which can be poetic (Bukowski, Genet) but gets a boring after a bit. 🙂 I write about redemption and I’ve never been tempted to go the rape route. It’s never even occurred to me.

    Reply
  162. Oops. kinda got de-railed and didn’t answer the question.
    No. I don’t think that particular behavior can be redeemed in a hero. (But perhaps the book will convince me!) And I definitely don’t think the historical justification hold water.
    This means something, coming from me, because my books, contemporary or historical, are consistently about redemption. I’m a loser who won, so I like to write stories about losers who win, as opposed to losers in the act of losing, which can be poetic (Bukowski, Genet) but gets a boring after a bit. 🙂 I write about redemption and I’ve never been tempted to go the rape route. It’s never even occurred to me.

    Reply
  163. Oops. kinda got de-railed and didn’t answer the question.
    No. I don’t think that particular behavior can be redeemed in a hero. (But perhaps the book will convince me!) And I definitely don’t think the historical justification hold water.
    This means something, coming from me, because my books, contemporary or historical, are consistently about redemption. I’m a loser who won, so I like to write stories about losers who win, as opposed to losers in the act of losing, which can be poetic (Bukowski, Genet) but gets a boring after a bit. 🙂 I write about redemption and I’ve never been tempted to go the rape route. It’s never even occurred to me.

    Reply
  164. Oops. kinda got de-railed and didn’t answer the question.
    No. I don’t think that particular behavior can be redeemed in a hero. (But perhaps the book will convince me!) And I definitely don’t think the historical justification hold water.
    This means something, coming from me, because my books, contemporary or historical, are consistently about redemption. I’m a loser who won, so I like to write stories about losers who win, as opposed to losers in the act of losing, which can be poetic (Bukowski, Genet) but gets a boring after a bit. 🙂 I write about redemption and I’ve never been tempted to go the rape route. It’s never even occurred to me.

    Reply
  165. Liz, ouch! I guess it’s been Quite A Few Years since I last saw GH. . .what an appalling twist for their story. (I do wonder, though, if Laura might not return to sanity someday when the writers and the ratings ned her to.) (Or she could be mistakenly released and come to town as a villainess–thus making the villain-to-hero-to-villain cycle complete.)

    Reply
  166. Liz, ouch! I guess it’s been Quite A Few Years since I last saw GH. . .what an appalling twist for their story. (I do wonder, though, if Laura might not return to sanity someday when the writers and the ratings ned her to.) (Or she could be mistakenly released and come to town as a villainess–thus making the villain-to-hero-to-villain cycle complete.)

    Reply
  167. Liz, ouch! I guess it’s been Quite A Few Years since I last saw GH. . .what an appalling twist for their story. (I do wonder, though, if Laura might not return to sanity someday when the writers and the ratings ned her to.) (Or she could be mistakenly released and come to town as a villainess–thus making the villain-to-hero-to-villain cycle complete.)

    Reply
  168. Liz, ouch! I guess it’s been Quite A Few Years since I last saw GH. . .what an appalling twist for their story. (I do wonder, though, if Laura might not return to sanity someday when the writers and the ratings ned her to.) (Or she could be mistakenly released and come to town as a villainess–thus making the villain-to-hero-to-villain cycle complete.)

    Reply
  169. Jane, I didn’t really forget about the rape that opens An Arranged Marriage, but I was talking more about hero actions. Heroes who rape,imprison, whip,or otherwise dominate the woman they’ll eventually bond with for life and whether our acceptance or tolerance of that increases when it’s in a historical context.
    I certainly don’t like writing about the book’s heroine being raped by a bad guy, but it’s not something I’d shirk from, obviously, if that was the story I needed to tell. It is a great dramatic element if not used only for shock effect.
    Side issue, I suppose, but is the hero being raped different for the reader? I’d really be thinking anal rape by another man, I think, to be truly equal, or is that not so?
    Has there been a romance where that happened?
    The same would go for the heroine (or the hero, of course) being imprisoned by some nasty party, or tortured, or flogged, or… well, could be anything.
    Generally things like that don’t make stories I enjoy reading so I’m unlikely to write them. But sometimes, they’re simply the truth of the story.
    In Devilish, Diana is captured, tied up, threatened with a knife and almost raped, but definitely not by Rothgar!
    Chastity is beaten by her father in My Lady Notorious, but he’s a foul abuser all around and came to a bad end. I’d have liked to make it badder, but not in front of royalty.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    Reply
  170. Jane, I didn’t really forget about the rape that opens An Arranged Marriage, but I was talking more about hero actions. Heroes who rape,imprison, whip,or otherwise dominate the woman they’ll eventually bond with for life and whether our acceptance or tolerance of that increases when it’s in a historical context.
    I certainly don’t like writing about the book’s heroine being raped by a bad guy, but it’s not something I’d shirk from, obviously, if that was the story I needed to tell. It is a great dramatic element if not used only for shock effect.
    Side issue, I suppose, but is the hero being raped different for the reader? I’d really be thinking anal rape by another man, I think, to be truly equal, or is that not so?
    Has there been a romance where that happened?
    The same would go for the heroine (or the hero, of course) being imprisoned by some nasty party, or tortured, or flogged, or… well, could be anything.
    Generally things like that don’t make stories I enjoy reading so I’m unlikely to write them. But sometimes, they’re simply the truth of the story.
    In Devilish, Diana is captured, tied up, threatened with a knife and almost raped, but definitely not by Rothgar!
    Chastity is beaten by her father in My Lady Notorious, but he’s a foul abuser all around and came to a bad end. I’d have liked to make it badder, but not in front of royalty.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    Reply
  171. Jane, I didn’t really forget about the rape that opens An Arranged Marriage, but I was talking more about hero actions. Heroes who rape,imprison, whip,or otherwise dominate the woman they’ll eventually bond with for life and whether our acceptance or tolerance of that increases when it’s in a historical context.
    I certainly don’t like writing about the book’s heroine being raped by a bad guy, but it’s not something I’d shirk from, obviously, if that was the story I needed to tell. It is a great dramatic element if not used only for shock effect.
    Side issue, I suppose, but is the hero being raped different for the reader? I’d really be thinking anal rape by another man, I think, to be truly equal, or is that not so?
    Has there been a romance where that happened?
    The same would go for the heroine (or the hero, of course) being imprisoned by some nasty party, or tortured, or flogged, or… well, could be anything.
    Generally things like that don’t make stories I enjoy reading so I’m unlikely to write them. But sometimes, they’re simply the truth of the story.
    In Devilish, Diana is captured, tied up, threatened with a knife and almost raped, but definitely not by Rothgar!
    Chastity is beaten by her father in My Lady Notorious, but he’s a foul abuser all around and came to a bad end. I’d have liked to make it badder, but not in front of royalty.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    Reply
  172. Jane, I didn’t really forget about the rape that opens An Arranged Marriage, but I was talking more about hero actions. Heroes who rape,imprison, whip,or otherwise dominate the woman they’ll eventually bond with for life and whether our acceptance or tolerance of that increases when it’s in a historical context.
    I certainly don’t like writing about the book’s heroine being raped by a bad guy, but it’s not something I’d shirk from, obviously, if that was the story I needed to tell. It is a great dramatic element if not used only for shock effect.
    Side issue, I suppose, but is the hero being raped different for the reader? I’d really be thinking anal rape by another man, I think, to be truly equal, or is that not so?
    Has there been a romance where that happened?
    The same would go for the heroine (or the hero, of course) being imprisoned by some nasty party, or tortured, or flogged, or… well, could be anything.
    Generally things like that don’t make stories I enjoy reading so I’m unlikely to write them. But sometimes, they’re simply the truth of the story.
    In Devilish, Diana is captured, tied up, threatened with a knife and almost raped, but definitely not by Rothgar!
    Chastity is beaten by her father in My Lady Notorious, but he’s a foul abuser all around and came to a bad end. I’d have liked to make it badder, but not in front of royalty.
    Cheers,
    Jo

    Reply
  173. “But then again, there are people who get off on being dominated, demeaned, and degraded, so who am I to judge if it’s consensual?”
    But then it’s not rape.
    And for me the era makes NO difference whatsoever. The kind of man who would rape a woman in 1066 would rape in 1811 and in 2007 (if he thought he could get away with it!). And I NEVER buy the “redeemed” rapist. People don’t just suddenly stop being abusers. He may change his outward actions for the time being, but the fact that he is a rapist is always out there, coloring every interaction. He can never be trusted, because the threat of a repeat offense is always going to be there, the elephant in the room.

    Reply
  174. “But then again, there are people who get off on being dominated, demeaned, and degraded, so who am I to judge if it’s consensual?”
    But then it’s not rape.
    And for me the era makes NO difference whatsoever. The kind of man who would rape a woman in 1066 would rape in 1811 and in 2007 (if he thought he could get away with it!). And I NEVER buy the “redeemed” rapist. People don’t just suddenly stop being abusers. He may change his outward actions for the time being, but the fact that he is a rapist is always out there, coloring every interaction. He can never be trusted, because the threat of a repeat offense is always going to be there, the elephant in the room.

    Reply
  175. “But then again, there are people who get off on being dominated, demeaned, and degraded, so who am I to judge if it’s consensual?”
    But then it’s not rape.
    And for me the era makes NO difference whatsoever. The kind of man who would rape a woman in 1066 would rape in 1811 and in 2007 (if he thought he could get away with it!). And I NEVER buy the “redeemed” rapist. People don’t just suddenly stop being abusers. He may change his outward actions for the time being, but the fact that he is a rapist is always out there, coloring every interaction. He can never be trusted, because the threat of a repeat offense is always going to be there, the elephant in the room.

    Reply
  176. “But then again, there are people who get off on being dominated, demeaned, and degraded, so who am I to judge if it’s consensual?”
    But then it’s not rape.
    And for me the era makes NO difference whatsoever. The kind of man who would rape a woman in 1066 would rape in 1811 and in 2007 (if he thought he could get away with it!). And I NEVER buy the “redeemed” rapist. People don’t just suddenly stop being abusers. He may change his outward actions for the time being, but the fact that he is a rapist is always out there, coloring every interaction. He can never be trusted, because the threat of a repeat offense is always going to be there, the elephant in the room.

    Reply
  177. Jo –
    There have been a handful of books where the hero was raped either by a male or a female. I loathe the Jamie/Claire books so I don’t mean those – it’s almost always something that happened to him as a boy that he’s recovering from, mostly by a woman, occasionally by a man (and I disagree it would have to be anal to be equivelant)
    There was an Avon at least five years back where the hero confessed to having been in some situation (prison? the east/ can’t recall) that led to him being raped as an adult and after his escape the heroine helping him recover, but all the trauma was offstage. I wish I could recall but I’m terrible with titles.

    Reply
  178. Jo –
    There have been a handful of books where the hero was raped either by a male or a female. I loathe the Jamie/Claire books so I don’t mean those – it’s almost always something that happened to him as a boy that he’s recovering from, mostly by a woman, occasionally by a man (and I disagree it would have to be anal to be equivelant)
    There was an Avon at least five years back where the hero confessed to having been in some situation (prison? the east/ can’t recall) that led to him being raped as an adult and after his escape the heroine helping him recover, but all the trauma was offstage. I wish I could recall but I’m terrible with titles.

    Reply
  179. Jo –
    There have been a handful of books where the hero was raped either by a male or a female. I loathe the Jamie/Claire books so I don’t mean those – it’s almost always something that happened to him as a boy that he’s recovering from, mostly by a woman, occasionally by a man (and I disagree it would have to be anal to be equivelant)
    There was an Avon at least five years back where the hero confessed to having been in some situation (prison? the east/ can’t recall) that led to him being raped as an adult and after his escape the heroine helping him recover, but all the trauma was offstage. I wish I could recall but I’m terrible with titles.

    Reply
  180. Jo –
    There have been a handful of books where the hero was raped either by a male or a female. I loathe the Jamie/Claire books so I don’t mean those – it’s almost always something that happened to him as a boy that he’s recovering from, mostly by a woman, occasionally by a man (and I disagree it would have to be anal to be equivelant)
    There was an Avon at least five years back where the hero confessed to having been in some situation (prison? the east/ can’t recall) that led to him being raped as an adult and after his escape the heroine helping him recover, but all the trauma was offstage. I wish I could recall but I’m terrible with titles.

    Reply
  181. Jo asked,
    “was there a hero who was raped?” Yes. Jamie was raped in “Outlander” and he allowed it to save Claire’s life. Diana G didn’t gloss over the mental and emotional pain he suffered from the act, but he DID heal.

    Reply
  182. Jo asked,
    “was there a hero who was raped?” Yes. Jamie was raped in “Outlander” and he allowed it to save Claire’s life. Diana G didn’t gloss over the mental and emotional pain he suffered from the act, but he DID heal.

    Reply
  183. Jo asked,
    “was there a hero who was raped?” Yes. Jamie was raped in “Outlander” and he allowed it to save Claire’s life. Diana G didn’t gloss over the mental and emotional pain he suffered from the act, but he DID heal.

    Reply
  184. Jo asked,
    “was there a hero who was raped?” Yes. Jamie was raped in “Outlander” and he allowed it to save Claire’s life. Diana G didn’t gloss over the mental and emotional pain he suffered from the act, but he DID heal.

    Reply
  185. Rev Melinda –
    Totally hijacking the thread – they’ve brought Laura back once but made it clear it was a one time thing. It’s really very interesting what they’ve done – all the punishment for the relationship after rape has fallen on Laura, not Luke. They fired Genie and kept Tony (for whatever reason, not keeping both of them) so the initial ‘toss Laura in the looney bin’ made sense. It’s what they’ve done AFTER that which is so loaded.
    Luke is the TRUE victim of the rape, as they have played the storyline out these past few years. Laura is slowly being shown as having been toxic for him, that their relationship held him back or victimized him. Also they are strongly playing up his personal anguish at having done that (in total disregard of history) and turning Laura’s husband into a murderer who is also a villian to Luke’s hero. Laura is Luke’s ‘property’ and the fact that Scott was married to her at the time of the rape and tried to win her back at various points afterward is put as being about hating Luke, not loving his raped wife/ex-wife. So Luke, having raped her, then loved her, then lost her to his overprotective and controlling machinations (he drove her insane by ‘protecting’ this angel too good for the world and unable to cope with reality) is the one who has been sinned against, in the new equation.
    It’s odd. Interesting that we can blame the woman so completely. Laura’s full return is unlikely – they pimped Genie out for some ratings recently by Luke giving her a drug he knew would bring her out of her catatonic state for a week, but then plunge her back into a semi-vegatative state forever. Everyone is duly grateful to Luke for doing this. Except Scott, but he’s a bad guy.
    So in the old equation Laura forgave Luke for raping her, therefore redeeming his life (how early 80’s) in the new equation, Laura has ruined Luke by forgiving him and therefore ensnaring him in a life that is slowly destroying him. If only she hadn’t ‘let him’ rape her, none of this would have happened to him.

    Reply
  186. Rev Melinda –
    Totally hijacking the thread – they’ve brought Laura back once but made it clear it was a one time thing. It’s really very interesting what they’ve done – all the punishment for the relationship after rape has fallen on Laura, not Luke. They fired Genie and kept Tony (for whatever reason, not keeping both of them) so the initial ‘toss Laura in the looney bin’ made sense. It’s what they’ve done AFTER that which is so loaded.
    Luke is the TRUE victim of the rape, as they have played the storyline out these past few years. Laura is slowly being shown as having been toxic for him, that their relationship held him back or victimized him. Also they are strongly playing up his personal anguish at having done that (in total disregard of history) and turning Laura’s husband into a murderer who is also a villian to Luke’s hero. Laura is Luke’s ‘property’ and the fact that Scott was married to her at the time of the rape and tried to win her back at various points afterward is put as being about hating Luke, not loving his raped wife/ex-wife. So Luke, having raped her, then loved her, then lost her to his overprotective and controlling machinations (he drove her insane by ‘protecting’ this angel too good for the world and unable to cope with reality) is the one who has been sinned against, in the new equation.
    It’s odd. Interesting that we can blame the woman so completely. Laura’s full return is unlikely – they pimped Genie out for some ratings recently by Luke giving her a drug he knew would bring her out of her catatonic state for a week, but then plunge her back into a semi-vegatative state forever. Everyone is duly grateful to Luke for doing this. Except Scott, but he’s a bad guy.
    So in the old equation Laura forgave Luke for raping her, therefore redeeming his life (how early 80’s) in the new equation, Laura has ruined Luke by forgiving him and therefore ensnaring him in a life that is slowly destroying him. If only she hadn’t ‘let him’ rape her, none of this would have happened to him.

    Reply
  187. Rev Melinda –
    Totally hijacking the thread – they’ve brought Laura back once but made it clear it was a one time thing. It’s really very interesting what they’ve done – all the punishment for the relationship after rape has fallen on Laura, not Luke. They fired Genie and kept Tony (for whatever reason, not keeping both of them) so the initial ‘toss Laura in the looney bin’ made sense. It’s what they’ve done AFTER that which is so loaded.
    Luke is the TRUE victim of the rape, as they have played the storyline out these past few years. Laura is slowly being shown as having been toxic for him, that their relationship held him back or victimized him. Also they are strongly playing up his personal anguish at having done that (in total disregard of history) and turning Laura’s husband into a murderer who is also a villian to Luke’s hero. Laura is Luke’s ‘property’ and the fact that Scott was married to her at the time of the rape and tried to win her back at various points afterward is put as being about hating Luke, not loving his raped wife/ex-wife. So Luke, having raped her, then loved her, then lost her to his overprotective and controlling machinations (he drove her insane by ‘protecting’ this angel too good for the world and unable to cope with reality) is the one who has been sinned against, in the new equation.
    It’s odd. Interesting that we can blame the woman so completely. Laura’s full return is unlikely – they pimped Genie out for some ratings recently by Luke giving her a drug he knew would bring her out of her catatonic state for a week, but then plunge her back into a semi-vegatative state forever. Everyone is duly grateful to Luke for doing this. Except Scott, but he’s a bad guy.
    So in the old equation Laura forgave Luke for raping her, therefore redeeming his life (how early 80’s) in the new equation, Laura has ruined Luke by forgiving him and therefore ensnaring him in a life that is slowly destroying him. If only she hadn’t ‘let him’ rape her, none of this would have happened to him.

    Reply
  188. Rev Melinda –
    Totally hijacking the thread – they’ve brought Laura back once but made it clear it was a one time thing. It’s really very interesting what they’ve done – all the punishment for the relationship after rape has fallen on Laura, not Luke. They fired Genie and kept Tony (for whatever reason, not keeping both of them) so the initial ‘toss Laura in the looney bin’ made sense. It’s what they’ve done AFTER that which is so loaded.
    Luke is the TRUE victim of the rape, as they have played the storyline out these past few years. Laura is slowly being shown as having been toxic for him, that their relationship held him back or victimized him. Also they are strongly playing up his personal anguish at having done that (in total disregard of history) and turning Laura’s husband into a murderer who is also a villian to Luke’s hero. Laura is Luke’s ‘property’ and the fact that Scott was married to her at the time of the rape and tried to win her back at various points afterward is put as being about hating Luke, not loving his raped wife/ex-wife. So Luke, having raped her, then loved her, then lost her to his overprotective and controlling machinations (he drove her insane by ‘protecting’ this angel too good for the world and unable to cope with reality) is the one who has been sinned against, in the new equation.
    It’s odd. Interesting that we can blame the woman so completely. Laura’s full return is unlikely – they pimped Genie out for some ratings recently by Luke giving her a drug he knew would bring her out of her catatonic state for a week, but then plunge her back into a semi-vegatative state forever. Everyone is duly grateful to Luke for doing this. Except Scott, but he’s a bad guy.
    So in the old equation Laura forgave Luke for raping her, therefore redeeming his life (how early 80’s) in the new equation, Laura has ruined Luke by forgiving him and therefore ensnaring him in a life that is slowly destroying him. If only she hadn’t ‘let him’ rape her, none of this would have happened to him.

    Reply
  189. To sort of answer the question, I enjoy historical when the characters actions seem believable for the time. The heroine’s acceptance of the need for consummation in Lord of My Heart is much more plausible than if she had made a big stink about it. On the other hand, Jo made the protest of the consummation in Dark Champion plausible too.

    Reply
  190. To sort of answer the question, I enjoy historical when the characters actions seem believable for the time. The heroine’s acceptance of the need for consummation in Lord of My Heart is much more plausible than if she had made a big stink about it. On the other hand, Jo made the protest of the consummation in Dark Champion plausible too.

    Reply
  191. To sort of answer the question, I enjoy historical when the characters actions seem believable for the time. The heroine’s acceptance of the need for consummation in Lord of My Heart is much more plausible than if she had made a big stink about it. On the other hand, Jo made the protest of the consummation in Dark Champion plausible too.

    Reply
  192. To sort of answer the question, I enjoy historical when the characters actions seem believable for the time. The heroine’s acceptance of the need for consummation in Lord of My Heart is much more plausible than if she had made a big stink about it. On the other hand, Jo made the protest of the consummation in Dark Champion plausible too.

    Reply
  193. Susan W said: “A man like my husband or my dad would no more have been capable of committing rape in 1207 or 1807 than in 2007.”
    Susan, Lord knows I don’t want to disagree with you, but I think I have to. I believe that any of us are capable of horrific acts (rape, murder, genocide, etc) if pushed to the limit of our psychological, physical, emotional, and/or spiritual resources.
    Certainly there have been “good men”—husbands, sons, and fathers—who committed war crimes and then returned home to live blameless and ordinary lives. Before the genocide in Rwanda the Hutus and Tutsis were neighbors and friends. Same for the former Czechoslovakia before it exploded into ethnic violence. And growing up in the South I certainly knew men (and women) who had been staunch and strident segregationists, said and done awful things, and yet came to know regret and shame for those attitudes later on and began to live with (if not advocate for) racial justice.
    Jpoorman has already mentioned one romance novel example. In Carla Kelly’s ONE GOOD TURN, the heroine Liria Valencia, who was violently gang-raped by British soldiers after Badajoz, encounters them again years later at a dinner given by the hero Benedict. The conundrum Kelly presents to her hero, heroine, and the reader is that these law-abiding and ordinary fathers, husbands, and citizen soldiers gathered around a peace-time dinner table are the very same men who committed this horrific act of rape (and the murder of Liria’s sister) after a battle.
    It’s an excruciating and soul-searching moment. Are these men good? Or are they evil? Or are they some bewildering mixture of both? And if they are—maybe we are, too.
    Still wrestling,
    Melinda
    PS Liz, thank you for the GH update. Yuck and double yuck!

    Reply
  194. Susan W said: “A man like my husband or my dad would no more have been capable of committing rape in 1207 or 1807 than in 2007.”
    Susan, Lord knows I don’t want to disagree with you, but I think I have to. I believe that any of us are capable of horrific acts (rape, murder, genocide, etc) if pushed to the limit of our psychological, physical, emotional, and/or spiritual resources.
    Certainly there have been “good men”—husbands, sons, and fathers—who committed war crimes and then returned home to live blameless and ordinary lives. Before the genocide in Rwanda the Hutus and Tutsis were neighbors and friends. Same for the former Czechoslovakia before it exploded into ethnic violence. And growing up in the South I certainly knew men (and women) who had been staunch and strident segregationists, said and done awful things, and yet came to know regret and shame for those attitudes later on and began to live with (if not advocate for) racial justice.
    Jpoorman has already mentioned one romance novel example. In Carla Kelly’s ONE GOOD TURN, the heroine Liria Valencia, who was violently gang-raped by British soldiers after Badajoz, encounters them again years later at a dinner given by the hero Benedict. The conundrum Kelly presents to her hero, heroine, and the reader is that these law-abiding and ordinary fathers, husbands, and citizen soldiers gathered around a peace-time dinner table are the very same men who committed this horrific act of rape (and the murder of Liria’s sister) after a battle.
    It’s an excruciating and soul-searching moment. Are these men good? Or are they evil? Or are they some bewildering mixture of both? And if they are—maybe we are, too.
    Still wrestling,
    Melinda
    PS Liz, thank you for the GH update. Yuck and double yuck!

    Reply
  195. Susan W said: “A man like my husband or my dad would no more have been capable of committing rape in 1207 or 1807 than in 2007.”
    Susan, Lord knows I don’t want to disagree with you, but I think I have to. I believe that any of us are capable of horrific acts (rape, murder, genocide, etc) if pushed to the limit of our psychological, physical, emotional, and/or spiritual resources.
    Certainly there have been “good men”—husbands, sons, and fathers—who committed war crimes and then returned home to live blameless and ordinary lives. Before the genocide in Rwanda the Hutus and Tutsis were neighbors and friends. Same for the former Czechoslovakia before it exploded into ethnic violence. And growing up in the South I certainly knew men (and women) who had been staunch and strident segregationists, said and done awful things, and yet came to know regret and shame for those attitudes later on and began to live with (if not advocate for) racial justice.
    Jpoorman has already mentioned one romance novel example. In Carla Kelly’s ONE GOOD TURN, the heroine Liria Valencia, who was violently gang-raped by British soldiers after Badajoz, encounters them again years later at a dinner given by the hero Benedict. The conundrum Kelly presents to her hero, heroine, and the reader is that these law-abiding and ordinary fathers, husbands, and citizen soldiers gathered around a peace-time dinner table are the very same men who committed this horrific act of rape (and the murder of Liria’s sister) after a battle.
    It’s an excruciating and soul-searching moment. Are these men good? Or are they evil? Or are they some bewildering mixture of both? And if they are—maybe we are, too.
    Still wrestling,
    Melinda
    PS Liz, thank you for the GH update. Yuck and double yuck!

    Reply
  196. Susan W said: “A man like my husband or my dad would no more have been capable of committing rape in 1207 or 1807 than in 2007.”
    Susan, Lord knows I don’t want to disagree with you, but I think I have to. I believe that any of us are capable of horrific acts (rape, murder, genocide, etc) if pushed to the limit of our psychological, physical, emotional, and/or spiritual resources.
    Certainly there have been “good men”—husbands, sons, and fathers—who committed war crimes and then returned home to live blameless and ordinary lives. Before the genocide in Rwanda the Hutus and Tutsis were neighbors and friends. Same for the former Czechoslovakia before it exploded into ethnic violence. And growing up in the South I certainly knew men (and women) who had been staunch and strident segregationists, said and done awful things, and yet came to know regret and shame for those attitudes later on and began to live with (if not advocate for) racial justice.
    Jpoorman has already mentioned one romance novel example. In Carla Kelly’s ONE GOOD TURN, the heroine Liria Valencia, who was violently gang-raped by British soldiers after Badajoz, encounters them again years later at a dinner given by the hero Benedict. The conundrum Kelly presents to her hero, heroine, and the reader is that these law-abiding and ordinary fathers, husbands, and citizen soldiers gathered around a peace-time dinner table are the very same men who committed this horrific act of rape (and the murder of Liria’s sister) after a battle.
    It’s an excruciating and soul-searching moment. Are these men good? Or are they evil? Or are they some bewildering mixture of both? And if they are—maybe we are, too.
    Still wrestling,
    Melinda
    PS Liz, thank you for the GH update. Yuck and double yuck!

    Reply
  197. Oh, Laura, yes, of course that’s what I meant! (It did sound so wrong when I was typing it. . .I’m embarrassed. . .thank you for the correction.)
    The Stanford Prison Experiment is fascinating. . . I was also thinking of Stanley Milgram’s “Obedience to Authority” experiment. . .but I’m not sure it’s applicable?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

    Reply
  198. Oh, Laura, yes, of course that’s what I meant! (It did sound so wrong when I was typing it. . .I’m embarrassed. . .thank you for the correction.)
    The Stanford Prison Experiment is fascinating. . . I was also thinking of Stanley Milgram’s “Obedience to Authority” experiment. . .but I’m not sure it’s applicable?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

    Reply
  199. Oh, Laura, yes, of course that’s what I meant! (It did sound so wrong when I was typing it. . .I’m embarrassed. . .thank you for the correction.)
    The Stanford Prison Experiment is fascinating. . . I was also thinking of Stanley Milgram’s “Obedience to Authority” experiment. . .but I’m not sure it’s applicable?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

    Reply
  200. Oh, Laura, yes, of course that’s what I meant! (It did sound so wrong when I was typing it. . .I’m embarrassed. . .thank you for the correction.)
    The Stanford Prison Experiment is fascinating. . . I was also thinking of Stanley Milgram’s “Obedience to Authority” experiment. . .but I’m not sure it’s applicable?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment

    Reply
  201. I have absolutely no expertise at all in psychology, but just from reading about it, I think the Milgram experiment findings would be applicable in cases where there’s an authority figure/propaganda/an ideology built up which makes the individual feel less responsible for his/her actions and the Stanford experiment shows what happens when a group ideology builds up and there’s a dehumanisation of the victim. I can imagine that these are the sorts of circumstances which are present in the cases of many of the rapes which occur during wars.

    Reply
  202. I have absolutely no expertise at all in psychology, but just from reading about it, I think the Milgram experiment findings would be applicable in cases where there’s an authority figure/propaganda/an ideology built up which makes the individual feel less responsible for his/her actions and the Stanford experiment shows what happens when a group ideology builds up and there’s a dehumanisation of the victim. I can imagine that these are the sorts of circumstances which are present in the cases of many of the rapes which occur during wars.

    Reply
  203. I have absolutely no expertise at all in psychology, but just from reading about it, I think the Milgram experiment findings would be applicable in cases where there’s an authority figure/propaganda/an ideology built up which makes the individual feel less responsible for his/her actions and the Stanford experiment shows what happens when a group ideology builds up and there’s a dehumanisation of the victim. I can imagine that these are the sorts of circumstances which are present in the cases of many of the rapes which occur during wars.

    Reply
  204. I have absolutely no expertise at all in psychology, but just from reading about it, I think the Milgram experiment findings would be applicable in cases where there’s an authority figure/propaganda/an ideology built up which makes the individual feel less responsible for his/her actions and the Stanford experiment shows what happens when a group ideology builds up and there’s a dehumanisation of the victim. I can imagine that these are the sorts of circumstances which are present in the cases of many of the rapes which occur during wars.

    Reply
  205. I do think the Luke and Laura stuff is relevant because we were trying to contrast modern context with historical context, though I have to say I don’t know what to make of it. It sounds appalling.
    If anyone knows, are the regular viewers fine with this? Has there been any protest?
    I suppose soap operas are accepted as an unreal place.Things don’t really try to make sense, do they?
    Is there anyone reading here that’s not North American? Anyone British. As best I remember, Coronation Street tried to stick close to reality. Extreme storylines sometimes, but not crazy ones.
    So, for many readers, is the historical romance seen as another unreal place, where things don’t really have to make sense? Of course as a hist rom writer who likes the challenge of working within historical reality that bothers me, because hist rom is “my genre” more than “romance” is.
    “Romance” has become so elastic it’s sometimes hard to say what it is. I liken it to an amoeba, always changing shape, and sometimes creating extensions that break off.
    We can all keep talking here, of course, but I think this is my last question/point. I hinted at it earlier, but not explicitly.
    I’m a hist rom writer. I’m also English, born and bred. I sometimes have a feeling that North Americans see English history, especially with a royal or aristocratic context, and excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on that they/you really wouldn’t like to think of as going on in the Boston, Philadelphia, or even New Orleans of the same time.
    Any truth to that?
    What other locations in history would be similar? The court of Versailles? 16th century Venice? South America — about whose history I know shamefully little.
    And if you’re a non-North American, how does that situation look to you?
    Jo, busy today, but trying to keep up.

    Reply
  206. I do think the Luke and Laura stuff is relevant because we were trying to contrast modern context with historical context, though I have to say I don’t know what to make of it. It sounds appalling.
    If anyone knows, are the regular viewers fine with this? Has there been any protest?
    I suppose soap operas are accepted as an unreal place.Things don’t really try to make sense, do they?
    Is there anyone reading here that’s not North American? Anyone British. As best I remember, Coronation Street tried to stick close to reality. Extreme storylines sometimes, but not crazy ones.
    So, for many readers, is the historical romance seen as another unreal place, where things don’t really have to make sense? Of course as a hist rom writer who likes the challenge of working within historical reality that bothers me, because hist rom is “my genre” more than “romance” is.
    “Romance” has become so elastic it’s sometimes hard to say what it is. I liken it to an amoeba, always changing shape, and sometimes creating extensions that break off.
    We can all keep talking here, of course, but I think this is my last question/point. I hinted at it earlier, but not explicitly.
    I’m a hist rom writer. I’m also English, born and bred. I sometimes have a feeling that North Americans see English history, especially with a royal or aristocratic context, and excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on that they/you really wouldn’t like to think of as going on in the Boston, Philadelphia, or even New Orleans of the same time.
    Any truth to that?
    What other locations in history would be similar? The court of Versailles? 16th century Venice? South America — about whose history I know shamefully little.
    And if you’re a non-North American, how does that situation look to you?
    Jo, busy today, but trying to keep up.

    Reply
  207. I do think the Luke and Laura stuff is relevant because we were trying to contrast modern context with historical context, though I have to say I don’t know what to make of it. It sounds appalling.
    If anyone knows, are the regular viewers fine with this? Has there been any protest?
    I suppose soap operas are accepted as an unreal place.Things don’t really try to make sense, do they?
    Is there anyone reading here that’s not North American? Anyone British. As best I remember, Coronation Street tried to stick close to reality. Extreme storylines sometimes, but not crazy ones.
    So, for many readers, is the historical romance seen as another unreal place, where things don’t really have to make sense? Of course as a hist rom writer who likes the challenge of working within historical reality that bothers me, because hist rom is “my genre” more than “romance” is.
    “Romance” has become so elastic it’s sometimes hard to say what it is. I liken it to an amoeba, always changing shape, and sometimes creating extensions that break off.
    We can all keep talking here, of course, but I think this is my last question/point. I hinted at it earlier, but not explicitly.
    I’m a hist rom writer. I’m also English, born and bred. I sometimes have a feeling that North Americans see English history, especially with a royal or aristocratic context, and excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on that they/you really wouldn’t like to think of as going on in the Boston, Philadelphia, or even New Orleans of the same time.
    Any truth to that?
    What other locations in history would be similar? The court of Versailles? 16th century Venice? South America — about whose history I know shamefully little.
    And if you’re a non-North American, how does that situation look to you?
    Jo, busy today, but trying to keep up.

    Reply
  208. I do think the Luke and Laura stuff is relevant because we were trying to contrast modern context with historical context, though I have to say I don’t know what to make of it. It sounds appalling.
    If anyone knows, are the regular viewers fine with this? Has there been any protest?
    I suppose soap operas are accepted as an unreal place.Things don’t really try to make sense, do they?
    Is there anyone reading here that’s not North American? Anyone British. As best I remember, Coronation Street tried to stick close to reality. Extreme storylines sometimes, but not crazy ones.
    So, for many readers, is the historical romance seen as another unreal place, where things don’t really have to make sense? Of course as a hist rom writer who likes the challenge of working within historical reality that bothers me, because hist rom is “my genre” more than “romance” is.
    “Romance” has become so elastic it’s sometimes hard to say what it is. I liken it to an amoeba, always changing shape, and sometimes creating extensions that break off.
    We can all keep talking here, of course, but I think this is my last question/point. I hinted at it earlier, but not explicitly.
    I’m a hist rom writer. I’m also English, born and bred. I sometimes have a feeling that North Americans see English history, especially with a royal or aristocratic context, and excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on that they/you really wouldn’t like to think of as going on in the Boston, Philadelphia, or even New Orleans of the same time.
    Any truth to that?
    What other locations in history would be similar? The court of Versailles? 16th century Venice? South America — about whose history I know shamefully little.
    And if you’re a non-North American, how does that situation look to you?
    Jo, busy today, but trying to keep up.

    Reply
  209. “But then again, there are people who get off on being dominated, demeaned, and degraded, so who am I to judge if it’s consensual?”
    Kalen said: But then it’s not rape.
    Jane answers: Well, yeah. That’s why I mentioned it. But the more I think about it, I wonder, “Isn’t it?” I’m not an expert on BDSM, but logically it seems to me that if the intent is mere playacting than it defeats the purpose. There would be no journey, no transformation, and my impression is that BDSM is a deliberate, cerebral process.
    Because romances are fantasies, there’s not as much leeway with “hero material” but I hope criterion don’t get too narrow or we’ll all be reading about the same guy over and over.
    And how about rape or near-rape in paranormals? Does being a werewolf cut a guy any slack? Are readers more accepting of aggressive behavior in this context? I confess I’ve read a total of one werewolf book, so a comment from a paranormal fan would be appreciated.
    I write mostly about characters whose worst crimes have been against themselves, who turn their anger inward, not outward. But what about the others? What human crimes are beyond redemption? Is there a line across which sympathy and forgiveness cannot go?
    In that vein, I thought this article was thought-provoking:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/pariah03042006.html

    Reply
  210. “But then again, there are people who get off on being dominated, demeaned, and degraded, so who am I to judge if it’s consensual?”
    Kalen said: But then it’s not rape.
    Jane answers: Well, yeah. That’s why I mentioned it. But the more I think about it, I wonder, “Isn’t it?” I’m not an expert on BDSM, but logically it seems to me that if the intent is mere playacting than it defeats the purpose. There would be no journey, no transformation, and my impression is that BDSM is a deliberate, cerebral process.
    Because romances are fantasies, there’s not as much leeway with “hero material” but I hope criterion don’t get too narrow or we’ll all be reading about the same guy over and over.
    And how about rape or near-rape in paranormals? Does being a werewolf cut a guy any slack? Are readers more accepting of aggressive behavior in this context? I confess I’ve read a total of one werewolf book, so a comment from a paranormal fan would be appreciated.
    I write mostly about characters whose worst crimes have been against themselves, who turn their anger inward, not outward. But what about the others? What human crimes are beyond redemption? Is there a line across which sympathy and forgiveness cannot go?
    In that vein, I thought this article was thought-provoking:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/pariah03042006.html

    Reply
  211. “But then again, there are people who get off on being dominated, demeaned, and degraded, so who am I to judge if it’s consensual?”
    Kalen said: But then it’s not rape.
    Jane answers: Well, yeah. That’s why I mentioned it. But the more I think about it, I wonder, “Isn’t it?” I’m not an expert on BDSM, but logically it seems to me that if the intent is mere playacting than it defeats the purpose. There would be no journey, no transformation, and my impression is that BDSM is a deliberate, cerebral process.
    Because romances are fantasies, there’s not as much leeway with “hero material” but I hope criterion don’t get too narrow or we’ll all be reading about the same guy over and over.
    And how about rape or near-rape in paranormals? Does being a werewolf cut a guy any slack? Are readers more accepting of aggressive behavior in this context? I confess I’ve read a total of one werewolf book, so a comment from a paranormal fan would be appreciated.
    I write mostly about characters whose worst crimes have been against themselves, who turn their anger inward, not outward. But what about the others? What human crimes are beyond redemption? Is there a line across which sympathy and forgiveness cannot go?
    In that vein, I thought this article was thought-provoking:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/pariah03042006.html

    Reply
  212. “But then again, there are people who get off on being dominated, demeaned, and degraded, so who am I to judge if it’s consensual?”
    Kalen said: But then it’s not rape.
    Jane answers: Well, yeah. That’s why I mentioned it. But the more I think about it, I wonder, “Isn’t it?” I’m not an expert on BDSM, but logically it seems to me that if the intent is mere playacting than it defeats the purpose. There would be no journey, no transformation, and my impression is that BDSM is a deliberate, cerebral process.
    Because romances are fantasies, there’s not as much leeway with “hero material” but I hope criterion don’t get too narrow or we’ll all be reading about the same guy over and over.
    And how about rape or near-rape in paranormals? Does being a werewolf cut a guy any slack? Are readers more accepting of aggressive behavior in this context? I confess I’ve read a total of one werewolf book, so a comment from a paranormal fan would be appreciated.
    I write mostly about characters whose worst crimes have been against themselves, who turn their anger inward, not outward. But what about the others? What human crimes are beyond redemption? Is there a line across which sympathy and forgiveness cannot go?
    In that vein, I thought this article was thought-provoking:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/pariah03042006.html

    Reply
  213. “. . . North Americans see English history. . . as excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on that they/you really wouldn’t like to think of as going on in the Boston. . .”
    I think that’s an interesting comment, Jo, because I tend to think of 17th, 18th, 19th century English history as the land of style and manners and American history in those same centuries as the land of the rude, crude, and filthy (guns, horse-thieving, the OK Corral, Custer, Trail of Tears, lynchings, squalid tenements, the Mob–and did I mention guns?)

    Reply
  214. “. . . North Americans see English history. . . as excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on that they/you really wouldn’t like to think of as going on in the Boston. . .”
    I think that’s an interesting comment, Jo, because I tend to think of 17th, 18th, 19th century English history as the land of style and manners and American history in those same centuries as the land of the rude, crude, and filthy (guns, horse-thieving, the OK Corral, Custer, Trail of Tears, lynchings, squalid tenements, the Mob–and did I mention guns?)

    Reply
  215. “. . . North Americans see English history. . . as excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on that they/you really wouldn’t like to think of as going on in the Boston. . .”
    I think that’s an interesting comment, Jo, because I tend to think of 17th, 18th, 19th century English history as the land of style and manners and American history in those same centuries as the land of the rude, crude, and filthy (guns, horse-thieving, the OK Corral, Custer, Trail of Tears, lynchings, squalid tenements, the Mob–and did I mention guns?)

    Reply
  216. “. . . North Americans see English history. . . as excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on that they/you really wouldn’t like to think of as going on in the Boston. . .”
    I think that’s an interesting comment, Jo, because I tend to think of 17th, 18th, 19th century English history as the land of style and manners and American history in those same centuries as the land of the rude, crude, and filthy (guns, horse-thieving, the OK Corral, Custer, Trail of Tears, lynchings, squalid tenements, the Mob–and did I mention guns?)

    Reply
  217. Jo – you started raveling a really interesting ball of string with this!
    Mary Jo Putney has a couple of heroes who have been raped. Both in their childhood – one sold into slavery in a historical and one contemporary where the heroe was abandoned or sold into prostitution by his mother. Both were excellent books and bear out my point that the violence the characters experienced at an earlier point in their lives remains in their psyche and influences their actions and reactions now.
    Now in terms of setting – I think of England, France and the Austro-German principalities (sp?) in the 17th, 18th & 19th centuries as wealthy enough to have entrenched societies. And wealthy enough to generate a little decadence. During that same time I think of North and South America (and Australia/New Zealand) as still struggling to build their cities. While life may have been rude & crude it was also filled with a certain amount of social mobility and a different kind of energy (thinking of De Tocquevilles ‘Democracy in America’). While I am sure there was as much mystery, mayhem and lechery/debauchery in the Americas as there was in Europe – its the backdrop that makes the difference. The stratified society and strict adherence to clothing, manners, and certainly at least lipservice to morals – that makes the mystery, mayhem, lechery and debauchery so much more shocking and entertaining. You featured something like it in the story of the young man in Canada who married what would have been a perfectly acceptable bride – had he stayed in Canada. It was when he brought her back to England that her social status and background became a big issue for the couple.

    Reply
  218. Jo – you started raveling a really interesting ball of string with this!
    Mary Jo Putney has a couple of heroes who have been raped. Both in their childhood – one sold into slavery in a historical and one contemporary where the heroe was abandoned or sold into prostitution by his mother. Both were excellent books and bear out my point that the violence the characters experienced at an earlier point in their lives remains in their psyche and influences their actions and reactions now.
    Now in terms of setting – I think of England, France and the Austro-German principalities (sp?) in the 17th, 18th & 19th centuries as wealthy enough to have entrenched societies. And wealthy enough to generate a little decadence. During that same time I think of North and South America (and Australia/New Zealand) as still struggling to build their cities. While life may have been rude & crude it was also filled with a certain amount of social mobility and a different kind of energy (thinking of De Tocquevilles ‘Democracy in America’). While I am sure there was as much mystery, mayhem and lechery/debauchery in the Americas as there was in Europe – its the backdrop that makes the difference. The stratified society and strict adherence to clothing, manners, and certainly at least lipservice to morals – that makes the mystery, mayhem, lechery and debauchery so much more shocking and entertaining. You featured something like it in the story of the young man in Canada who married what would have been a perfectly acceptable bride – had he stayed in Canada. It was when he brought her back to England that her social status and background became a big issue for the couple.

    Reply
  219. Jo – you started raveling a really interesting ball of string with this!
    Mary Jo Putney has a couple of heroes who have been raped. Both in their childhood – one sold into slavery in a historical and one contemporary where the heroe was abandoned or sold into prostitution by his mother. Both were excellent books and bear out my point that the violence the characters experienced at an earlier point in their lives remains in their psyche and influences their actions and reactions now.
    Now in terms of setting – I think of England, France and the Austro-German principalities (sp?) in the 17th, 18th & 19th centuries as wealthy enough to have entrenched societies. And wealthy enough to generate a little decadence. During that same time I think of North and South America (and Australia/New Zealand) as still struggling to build their cities. While life may have been rude & crude it was also filled with a certain amount of social mobility and a different kind of energy (thinking of De Tocquevilles ‘Democracy in America’). While I am sure there was as much mystery, mayhem and lechery/debauchery in the Americas as there was in Europe – its the backdrop that makes the difference. The stratified society and strict adherence to clothing, manners, and certainly at least lipservice to morals – that makes the mystery, mayhem, lechery and debauchery so much more shocking and entertaining. You featured something like it in the story of the young man in Canada who married what would have been a perfectly acceptable bride – had he stayed in Canada. It was when he brought her back to England that her social status and background became a big issue for the couple.

    Reply
  220. Jo – you started raveling a really interesting ball of string with this!
    Mary Jo Putney has a couple of heroes who have been raped. Both in their childhood – one sold into slavery in a historical and one contemporary where the heroe was abandoned or sold into prostitution by his mother. Both were excellent books and bear out my point that the violence the characters experienced at an earlier point in their lives remains in their psyche and influences their actions and reactions now.
    Now in terms of setting – I think of England, France and the Austro-German principalities (sp?) in the 17th, 18th & 19th centuries as wealthy enough to have entrenched societies. And wealthy enough to generate a little decadence. During that same time I think of North and South America (and Australia/New Zealand) as still struggling to build their cities. While life may have been rude & crude it was also filled with a certain amount of social mobility and a different kind of energy (thinking of De Tocquevilles ‘Democracy in America’). While I am sure there was as much mystery, mayhem and lechery/debauchery in the Americas as there was in Europe – its the backdrop that makes the difference. The stratified society and strict adherence to clothing, manners, and certainly at least lipservice to morals – that makes the mystery, mayhem, lechery and debauchery so much more shocking and entertaining. You featured something like it in the story of the young man in Canada who married what would have been a perfectly acceptable bride – had he stayed in Canada. It was when he brought her back to England that her social status and background became a big issue for the couple.

    Reply
  221. “Is there anyone reading here that’s not North American? Anyone British. As best I remember, Coronation Street tried to stick close to reality. Extreme storylines sometimes, but not crazy ones.”
    I’m in the UK, but I don’t watch TV, so can’t help with this one. The Archers has got rather too exciting for me in the past few years, with adultery, a secret baby (for a while, till it stopped being secret), suicide, drugs. Not exactly an ‘everyday story of country folk’ any more. I mean, it may be ‘realistic’ but it’s definitely got more extreme.
    ‘I sometimes have a feeling that North Americans see English history, especially with a royal or aristocratic context, and excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on’
    I tend to see any time or place as likely to have a mixture of people, some of whom may be decadent/dangerous/corrupt and many others who are just (relatively) ordinary people doing (relatively) ordinary things. Actually, that’s one of the themes in Northanger Abbey. Henry tries to point out that the dark horrors of the gothic romance couldn’t happen in England (which is sort of true, perhaps, because they could’t happen in exactly that form, but Richardson’s Clarissa and Wilkie Collins’ The Lady in White go in that direction, even if there aren’t literally evil monks and isolated castles.
    I suppose if you want really rich, sophisticated, evil, decadent people then you do have to limit yourself to societies where such people might have existed, so some periods during the Roman Empire (e.g. Nero), some people in the Middle Ages (the Sheriff of Nottingham and Bad King John get cast in that sort of role), the Renaissance (lots of Machiavellian goings on, intrigue at the courts of the Tudors), on to the Marquis de Sade and the world of Les liaisons dangereuses, in England there’s the Hellfire Club and then the Nazis definitely get given roles as evil, powerful and decadent characters in many films.
    Poor evil people can be found in Westerns, but the sophisticated, powerful ones have to be in richer/more sophisticated settings. It’s like Count Dracula. He’d really have to dress down if he wanted to fit in with cowboys. But I suspect he’d do OK in some of the settings created by Edith Wharton.
    Evil (but not rich and sophisticated) can be done in very ‘primitive’ locations e.g. Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness, or the children on a desert island in Lord of the Flies.

    Reply
  222. “Is there anyone reading here that’s not North American? Anyone British. As best I remember, Coronation Street tried to stick close to reality. Extreme storylines sometimes, but not crazy ones.”
    I’m in the UK, but I don’t watch TV, so can’t help with this one. The Archers has got rather too exciting for me in the past few years, with adultery, a secret baby (for a while, till it stopped being secret), suicide, drugs. Not exactly an ‘everyday story of country folk’ any more. I mean, it may be ‘realistic’ but it’s definitely got more extreme.
    ‘I sometimes have a feeling that North Americans see English history, especially with a royal or aristocratic context, and excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on’
    I tend to see any time or place as likely to have a mixture of people, some of whom may be decadent/dangerous/corrupt and many others who are just (relatively) ordinary people doing (relatively) ordinary things. Actually, that’s one of the themes in Northanger Abbey. Henry tries to point out that the dark horrors of the gothic romance couldn’t happen in England (which is sort of true, perhaps, because they could’t happen in exactly that form, but Richardson’s Clarissa and Wilkie Collins’ The Lady in White go in that direction, even if there aren’t literally evil monks and isolated castles.
    I suppose if you want really rich, sophisticated, evil, decadent people then you do have to limit yourself to societies where such people might have existed, so some periods during the Roman Empire (e.g. Nero), some people in the Middle Ages (the Sheriff of Nottingham and Bad King John get cast in that sort of role), the Renaissance (lots of Machiavellian goings on, intrigue at the courts of the Tudors), on to the Marquis de Sade and the world of Les liaisons dangereuses, in England there’s the Hellfire Club and then the Nazis definitely get given roles as evil, powerful and decadent characters in many films.
    Poor evil people can be found in Westerns, but the sophisticated, powerful ones have to be in richer/more sophisticated settings. It’s like Count Dracula. He’d really have to dress down if he wanted to fit in with cowboys. But I suspect he’d do OK in some of the settings created by Edith Wharton.
    Evil (but not rich and sophisticated) can be done in very ‘primitive’ locations e.g. Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness, or the children on a desert island in Lord of the Flies.

    Reply
  223. “Is there anyone reading here that’s not North American? Anyone British. As best I remember, Coronation Street tried to stick close to reality. Extreme storylines sometimes, but not crazy ones.”
    I’m in the UK, but I don’t watch TV, so can’t help with this one. The Archers has got rather too exciting for me in the past few years, with adultery, a secret baby (for a while, till it stopped being secret), suicide, drugs. Not exactly an ‘everyday story of country folk’ any more. I mean, it may be ‘realistic’ but it’s definitely got more extreme.
    ‘I sometimes have a feeling that North Americans see English history, especially with a royal or aristocratic context, and excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on’
    I tend to see any time or place as likely to have a mixture of people, some of whom may be decadent/dangerous/corrupt and many others who are just (relatively) ordinary people doing (relatively) ordinary things. Actually, that’s one of the themes in Northanger Abbey. Henry tries to point out that the dark horrors of the gothic romance couldn’t happen in England (which is sort of true, perhaps, because they could’t happen in exactly that form, but Richardson’s Clarissa and Wilkie Collins’ The Lady in White go in that direction, even if there aren’t literally evil monks and isolated castles.
    I suppose if you want really rich, sophisticated, evil, decadent people then you do have to limit yourself to societies where such people might have existed, so some periods during the Roman Empire (e.g. Nero), some people in the Middle Ages (the Sheriff of Nottingham and Bad King John get cast in that sort of role), the Renaissance (lots of Machiavellian goings on, intrigue at the courts of the Tudors), on to the Marquis de Sade and the world of Les liaisons dangereuses, in England there’s the Hellfire Club and then the Nazis definitely get given roles as evil, powerful and decadent characters in many films.
    Poor evil people can be found in Westerns, but the sophisticated, powerful ones have to be in richer/more sophisticated settings. It’s like Count Dracula. He’d really have to dress down if he wanted to fit in with cowboys. But I suspect he’d do OK in some of the settings created by Edith Wharton.
    Evil (but not rich and sophisticated) can be done in very ‘primitive’ locations e.g. Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness, or the children on a desert island in Lord of the Flies.

    Reply
  224. “Is there anyone reading here that’s not North American? Anyone British. As best I remember, Coronation Street tried to stick close to reality. Extreme storylines sometimes, but not crazy ones.”
    I’m in the UK, but I don’t watch TV, so can’t help with this one. The Archers has got rather too exciting for me in the past few years, with adultery, a secret baby (for a while, till it stopped being secret), suicide, drugs. Not exactly an ‘everyday story of country folk’ any more. I mean, it may be ‘realistic’ but it’s definitely got more extreme.
    ‘I sometimes have a feeling that North Americans see English history, especially with a royal or aristocratic context, and excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on’
    I tend to see any time or place as likely to have a mixture of people, some of whom may be decadent/dangerous/corrupt and many others who are just (relatively) ordinary people doing (relatively) ordinary things. Actually, that’s one of the themes in Northanger Abbey. Henry tries to point out that the dark horrors of the gothic romance couldn’t happen in England (which is sort of true, perhaps, because they could’t happen in exactly that form, but Richardson’s Clarissa and Wilkie Collins’ The Lady in White go in that direction, even if there aren’t literally evil monks and isolated castles.
    I suppose if you want really rich, sophisticated, evil, decadent people then you do have to limit yourself to societies where such people might have existed, so some periods during the Roman Empire (e.g. Nero), some people in the Middle Ages (the Sheriff of Nottingham and Bad King John get cast in that sort of role), the Renaissance (lots of Machiavellian goings on, intrigue at the courts of the Tudors), on to the Marquis de Sade and the world of Les liaisons dangereuses, in England there’s the Hellfire Club and then the Nazis definitely get given roles as evil, powerful and decadent characters in many films.
    Poor evil people can be found in Westerns, but the sophisticated, powerful ones have to be in richer/more sophisticated settings. It’s like Count Dracula. He’d really have to dress down if he wanted to fit in with cowboys. But I suspect he’d do OK in some of the settings created by Edith Wharton.
    Evil (but not rich and sophisticated) can be done in very ‘primitive’ locations e.g. Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness, or the children on a desert island in Lord of the Flies.

    Reply
  225. “I sometimes have a feeling that North Americans see English history, especially with a royal or aristocratic context, and excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on”
    I also wonder how this ties in with Americans’ view of America. For example, if Americans like to think of Europe as somehow old, past its best, tired, corrupt etc, then maybe they’ll project that back onto their view of British history? It’s the impression I’ve got from some romances which feature the plucky American heroine who with her unconventional ways is a breath of fresh air in the stultifying atmosphere of aristocratic London. Or maybe it’s just that the scientific and technological progress involved in the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions isn’t ‘romantic’ so doesn’t appear very often in romances?

    Reply
  226. “I sometimes have a feeling that North Americans see English history, especially with a royal or aristocratic context, and excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on”
    I also wonder how this ties in with Americans’ view of America. For example, if Americans like to think of Europe as somehow old, past its best, tired, corrupt etc, then maybe they’ll project that back onto their view of British history? It’s the impression I’ve got from some romances which feature the plucky American heroine who with her unconventional ways is a breath of fresh air in the stultifying atmosphere of aristocratic London. Or maybe it’s just that the scientific and technological progress involved in the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions isn’t ‘romantic’ so doesn’t appear very often in romances?

    Reply
  227. “I sometimes have a feeling that North Americans see English history, especially with a royal or aristocratic context, and excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on”
    I also wonder how this ties in with Americans’ view of America. For example, if Americans like to think of Europe as somehow old, past its best, tired, corrupt etc, then maybe they’ll project that back onto their view of British history? It’s the impression I’ve got from some romances which feature the plucky American heroine who with her unconventional ways is a breath of fresh air in the stultifying atmosphere of aristocratic London. Or maybe it’s just that the scientific and technological progress involved in the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions isn’t ‘romantic’ so doesn’t appear very often in romances?

    Reply
  228. “I sometimes have a feeling that North Americans see English history, especially with a royal or aristocratic context, and excellent ground for darkly questionable goings on”
    I also wonder how this ties in with Americans’ view of America. For example, if Americans like to think of Europe as somehow old, past its best, tired, corrupt etc, then maybe they’ll project that back onto their view of British history? It’s the impression I’ve got from some romances which feature the plucky American heroine who with her unconventional ways is a breath of fresh air in the stultifying atmosphere of aristocratic London. Or maybe it’s just that the scientific and technological progress involved in the Agricultural and Industrial revolutions isn’t ‘romantic’ so doesn’t appear very often in romances?

    Reply
  229. Sorry, posting yet again. Just to clarify that I’m not suggesting that all Americans have the same view of Europe, but there was that rhetoric from Rumsfeld about ‘old Europe’, which made me wonder if that was a common perception among some Americans.

    Reply
  230. Sorry, posting yet again. Just to clarify that I’m not suggesting that all Americans have the same view of Europe, but there was that rhetoric from Rumsfeld about ‘old Europe’, which made me wonder if that was a common perception among some Americans.

    Reply
  231. Sorry, posting yet again. Just to clarify that I’m not suggesting that all Americans have the same view of Europe, but there was that rhetoric from Rumsfeld about ‘old Europe’, which made me wonder if that was a common perception among some Americans.

    Reply
  232. Sorry, posting yet again. Just to clarify that I’m not suggesting that all Americans have the same view of Europe, but there was that rhetoric from Rumsfeld about ‘old Europe’, which made me wonder if that was a common perception among some Americans.

    Reply
  233. Excellent comments, Laura.
    Personally, that feisty heiress showing the decadent Europeans how to do better — and them applauding her — sets my teeth on edge. But I understand why it might appeal from the other side.
    Thanks everyone for a stimulating and enlightening discussion. I’ve got some new thoughts and ideas zipping alound my brain, which I always find a treat.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  234. Excellent comments, Laura.
    Personally, that feisty heiress showing the decadent Europeans how to do better — and them applauding her — sets my teeth on edge. But I understand why it might appeal from the other side.
    Thanks everyone for a stimulating and enlightening discussion. I’ve got some new thoughts and ideas zipping alound my brain, which I always find a treat.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  235. Excellent comments, Laura.
    Personally, that feisty heiress showing the decadent Europeans how to do better — and them applauding her — sets my teeth on edge. But I understand why it might appeal from the other side.
    Thanks everyone for a stimulating and enlightening discussion. I’ve got some new thoughts and ideas zipping alound my brain, which I always find a treat.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  236. Excellent comments, Laura.
    Personally, that feisty heiress showing the decadent Europeans how to do better — and them applauding her — sets my teeth on edge. But I understand why it might appeal from the other side.
    Thanks everyone for a stimulating and enlightening discussion. I’ve got some new thoughts and ideas zipping alound my brain, which I always find a treat.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  237. Interesting topic. I thought of this issue when Susan/Miranda
    posted Bring Sexy Back. I totally object to violence related to sex scenes. I agree with Piper “I really think that nothing will make me drop a book quicker than implied or stated violence against women -especially by the hero. I can sort of accept it as part of the story line if it is a) in her past…”. Historical novelists have a choice of characters, and if they choose to portray those who are violent, I won’t buy their books again. If their characters have been treated violently before the book takes place, that is OK. I think MJP did this very well in The Spiral Path.

    Reply
  238. Interesting topic. I thought of this issue when Susan/Miranda
    posted Bring Sexy Back. I totally object to violence related to sex scenes. I agree with Piper “I really think that nothing will make me drop a book quicker than implied or stated violence against women -especially by the hero. I can sort of accept it as part of the story line if it is a) in her past…”. Historical novelists have a choice of characters, and if they choose to portray those who are violent, I won’t buy their books again. If their characters have been treated violently before the book takes place, that is OK. I think MJP did this very well in The Spiral Path.

    Reply
  239. Interesting topic. I thought of this issue when Susan/Miranda
    posted Bring Sexy Back. I totally object to violence related to sex scenes. I agree with Piper “I really think that nothing will make me drop a book quicker than implied or stated violence against women -especially by the hero. I can sort of accept it as part of the story line if it is a) in her past…”. Historical novelists have a choice of characters, and if they choose to portray those who are violent, I won’t buy their books again. If their characters have been treated violently before the book takes place, that is OK. I think MJP did this very well in The Spiral Path.

    Reply
  240. Interesting topic. I thought of this issue when Susan/Miranda
    posted Bring Sexy Back. I totally object to violence related to sex scenes. I agree with Piper “I really think that nothing will make me drop a book quicker than implied or stated violence against women -especially by the hero. I can sort of accept it as part of the story line if it is a) in her past…”. Historical novelists have a choice of characters, and if they choose to portray those who are violent, I won’t buy their books again. If their characters have been treated violently before the book takes place, that is OK. I think MJP did this very well in The Spiral Path.

    Reply
  241. Late to the party, as usual, but my internet at home isn’t working. 🙁
    I agree that forced sex, regardless of context, is just not romantic in any way to me. There’s also a whole genre of sex involving domination that I wouldn’t consider rape – sado/ masochistic relationships, etc – that I still don’t enjoy in a romance. Seduction followed by regret, I can see that. But no means no, male or female, at any point in human history. I don’t see how a woman could ever trust a man enough to truly love him if he had ever raped her.
    I do love a strong, alpha male character. But “alpha male” isn’t synonomous with “sexual beast”.
    One trend in country music that I’ve seen in recent years is a trend I hope doesn’t show up in romances – women harming men or their things, usually in retaliation, and it’s presented as edgy and even funny. The Dixie Chicks song “Earl” is one; Carrie Underwood’s latest about beating up her ex-boyfriend’s car with a bat is another. Bad behavior doesn’t gain cachet just because a woman does it. And that includes rape.

    Reply
  242. Late to the party, as usual, but my internet at home isn’t working. 🙁
    I agree that forced sex, regardless of context, is just not romantic in any way to me. There’s also a whole genre of sex involving domination that I wouldn’t consider rape – sado/ masochistic relationships, etc – that I still don’t enjoy in a romance. Seduction followed by regret, I can see that. But no means no, male or female, at any point in human history. I don’t see how a woman could ever trust a man enough to truly love him if he had ever raped her.
    I do love a strong, alpha male character. But “alpha male” isn’t synonomous with “sexual beast”.
    One trend in country music that I’ve seen in recent years is a trend I hope doesn’t show up in romances – women harming men or their things, usually in retaliation, and it’s presented as edgy and even funny. The Dixie Chicks song “Earl” is one; Carrie Underwood’s latest about beating up her ex-boyfriend’s car with a bat is another. Bad behavior doesn’t gain cachet just because a woman does it. And that includes rape.

    Reply
  243. Late to the party, as usual, but my internet at home isn’t working. 🙁
    I agree that forced sex, regardless of context, is just not romantic in any way to me. There’s also a whole genre of sex involving domination that I wouldn’t consider rape – sado/ masochistic relationships, etc – that I still don’t enjoy in a romance. Seduction followed by regret, I can see that. But no means no, male or female, at any point in human history. I don’t see how a woman could ever trust a man enough to truly love him if he had ever raped her.
    I do love a strong, alpha male character. But “alpha male” isn’t synonomous with “sexual beast”.
    One trend in country music that I’ve seen in recent years is a trend I hope doesn’t show up in romances – women harming men or their things, usually in retaliation, and it’s presented as edgy and even funny. The Dixie Chicks song “Earl” is one; Carrie Underwood’s latest about beating up her ex-boyfriend’s car with a bat is another. Bad behavior doesn’t gain cachet just because a woman does it. And that includes rape.

    Reply
  244. Late to the party, as usual, but my internet at home isn’t working. 🙁
    I agree that forced sex, regardless of context, is just not romantic in any way to me. There’s also a whole genre of sex involving domination that I wouldn’t consider rape – sado/ masochistic relationships, etc – that I still don’t enjoy in a romance. Seduction followed by regret, I can see that. But no means no, male or female, at any point in human history. I don’t see how a woman could ever trust a man enough to truly love him if he had ever raped her.
    I do love a strong, alpha male character. But “alpha male” isn’t synonomous with “sexual beast”.
    One trend in country music that I’ve seen in recent years is a trend I hope doesn’t show up in romances – women harming men or their things, usually in retaliation, and it’s presented as edgy and even funny. The Dixie Chicks song “Earl” is one; Carrie Underwood’s latest about beating up her ex-boyfriend’s car with a bat is another. Bad behavior doesn’t gain cachet just because a woman does it. And that includes rape.

    Reply
  245. Susanna, I so agree with you on man-hating.I don’t see why women can make derogatory statements about men when men get fired for doing that about women. Equality means equal responsibility, IMO.
    If a woman in a novel gets angry and damages things, that could be great, realistic behaviour. But for it to be funny and admirable, the guy would have to be a total jerk, therefore not the hero. I think.
    I’m open to examples of when it worked, mind you. If anyone’s still reading here.
    Jo

    Reply
  246. Susanna, I so agree with you on man-hating.I don’t see why women can make derogatory statements about men when men get fired for doing that about women. Equality means equal responsibility, IMO.
    If a woman in a novel gets angry and damages things, that could be great, realistic behaviour. But for it to be funny and admirable, the guy would have to be a total jerk, therefore not the hero. I think.
    I’m open to examples of when it worked, mind you. If anyone’s still reading here.
    Jo

    Reply
  247. Susanna, I so agree with you on man-hating.I don’t see why women can make derogatory statements about men when men get fired for doing that about women. Equality means equal responsibility, IMO.
    If a woman in a novel gets angry and damages things, that could be great, realistic behaviour. But for it to be funny and admirable, the guy would have to be a total jerk, therefore not the hero. I think.
    I’m open to examples of when it worked, mind you. If anyone’s still reading here.
    Jo

    Reply
  248. Susanna, I so agree with you on man-hating.I don’t see why women can make derogatory statements about men when men get fired for doing that about women. Equality means equal responsibility, IMO.
    If a woman in a novel gets angry and damages things, that could be great, realistic behaviour. But for it to be funny and admirable, the guy would have to be a total jerk, therefore not the hero. I think.
    I’m open to examples of when it worked, mind you. If anyone’s still reading here.
    Jo

    Reply
  249. Coming into this again way late:
    Kathy wrote:
    “Jamie was raped in “Outlander” and he allowed it to save Claire’s life. Diana G didn’t gloss over the mental and emotional pain he suffered from the act, but he DID heal.”
    Although I could see the logic behind Jamie’s beating Claire – even reread the scene several times — I never did finish Outlander. I got to the rape of Jamie, skimmed it, looked at the ending, and decided not to read any more. It was too distasteful for me. Interesting, isn’t it, what varying thresholds of tolerance people have?

    Reply
  250. Coming into this again way late:
    Kathy wrote:
    “Jamie was raped in “Outlander” and he allowed it to save Claire’s life. Diana G didn’t gloss over the mental and emotional pain he suffered from the act, but he DID heal.”
    Although I could see the logic behind Jamie’s beating Claire – even reread the scene several times — I never did finish Outlander. I got to the rape of Jamie, skimmed it, looked at the ending, and decided not to read any more. It was too distasteful for me. Interesting, isn’t it, what varying thresholds of tolerance people have?

    Reply
  251. Coming into this again way late:
    Kathy wrote:
    “Jamie was raped in “Outlander” and he allowed it to save Claire’s life. Diana G didn’t gloss over the mental and emotional pain he suffered from the act, but he DID heal.”
    Although I could see the logic behind Jamie’s beating Claire – even reread the scene several times — I never did finish Outlander. I got to the rape of Jamie, skimmed it, looked at the ending, and decided not to read any more. It was too distasteful for me. Interesting, isn’t it, what varying thresholds of tolerance people have?

    Reply
  252. Coming into this again way late:
    Kathy wrote:
    “Jamie was raped in “Outlander” and he allowed it to save Claire’s life. Diana G didn’t gloss over the mental and emotional pain he suffered from the act, but he DID heal.”
    Although I could see the logic behind Jamie’s beating Claire – even reread the scene several times — I never did finish Outlander. I got to the rape of Jamie, skimmed it, looked at the ending, and decided not to read any more. It was too distasteful for me. Interesting, isn’t it, what varying thresholds of tolerance people have?

    Reply

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