Historical Delights

Hi, this is Jo.
Trh1

After a long weekend of national celebrations, back to work.

There seems to be trouble in historical romance these days. Many, many books are being sold and enjoyed, but not as many as in the past. And many readers seem to feel that what they want to read, in style, in period, in setting, isn’t available any more.

Is it true? It’s hard to tell, but it can be hard to tell at a glance what sort of romance a book is, and in addition, some books simply don’t make it to many shelves.

So I’ve started a yahoogroups list called Historical Delights to try to bring the depth and breadth of historical romance to the readers. It’s for links to excerpts, delivered into readers’ e-mail boxes. Try before you buy!

You can visit the list at Historical Delights

Or you can simply join by sending an e-mail to historicaldelights-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

Though the main purpose is for authors to send a message telling people about an excerpt up on their web page, readers are welcome to post links to excerpts of books they particularly enjoyed. You don’t even need to join the group to send a message, but all posts are moderated and their are some rules. You can read them on the page above. There will be no chat. There are already groups for that.

You send a message to historicaldelights@yahoogroups.com. But do please read the rules first.

The list is for “mainstream” historical romance, the ones people seem to feel aren’t around in enough quantity and variety. Historical settings that include large amounts of other subgenres such as mystery, erotica, fantasy etc may not be seen as suited to this list.

I hope this turns out to be useful and fun.

And for discussion, what do you think of the historical romance selection these days? Are you finding what you want? If not, what do you think has happened to the genre?

Jo 🙂

57 thoughts on “Historical Delights”

  1. Sounds like a fantastic idea to me. I’ve gone and joined.
    I can see the decline of good historical romances. Top named authors are still seen today (I am not going to mention that some of the best are on this blog. Nope, not going to say it) though they, too, seam to be wondering away from the genre.
    Of course, as it has in the past and as it will in the future, historical romances are bound to bounce back. Look at bell bottoms. And I’m sure leg warmers will be back soon, too (though why, I have no idea!).
    Happy Writing,
    Amber

    Reply
  2. Sounds like a fantastic idea to me. I’ve gone and joined.
    I can see the decline of good historical romances. Top named authors are still seen today (I am not going to mention that some of the best are on this blog. Nope, not going to say it) though they, too, seam to be wondering away from the genre.
    Of course, as it has in the past and as it will in the future, historical romances are bound to bounce back. Look at bell bottoms. And I’m sure leg warmers will be back soon, too (though why, I have no idea!).
    Happy Writing,
    Amber

    Reply
  3. Sounds like a fantastic idea to me. I’ve gone and joined.
    I can see the decline of good historical romances. Top named authors are still seen today (I am not going to mention that some of the best are on this blog. Nope, not going to say it) though they, too, seam to be wondering away from the genre.
    Of course, as it has in the past and as it will in the future, historical romances are bound to bounce back. Look at bell bottoms. And I’m sure leg warmers will be back soon, too (though why, I have no idea!).
    Happy Writing,
    Amber

    Reply
  4. As a reader, I am delighted to have this means of sampling books that I might otherwise never hear about. Perhaps the sampling will encourage me to be more adventurous in my reading. 🙂
    Jo, do we have your permission to spread the word on Historical Delights to other online communities to which we belong?

    Reply
  5. As a reader, I am delighted to have this means of sampling books that I might otherwise never hear about. Perhaps the sampling will encourage me to be more adventurous in my reading. 🙂
    Jo, do we have your permission to spread the word on Historical Delights to other online communities to which we belong?

    Reply
  6. As a reader, I am delighted to have this means of sampling books that I might otherwise never hear about. Perhaps the sampling will encourage me to be more adventurous in my reading. 🙂
    Jo, do we have your permission to spread the word on Historical Delights to other online communities to which we belong?

    Reply
  7. “Jo, do we have your permission to spread the word on Historical Delights to other online communities to which we belong?”
    Absolutely, Wylene. Perhaps we can start a mass movement!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  8. “Jo, do we have your permission to spread the word on Historical Delights to other online communities to which we belong?”
    Absolutely, Wylene. Perhaps we can start a mass movement!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  9. “Jo, do we have your permission to spread the word on Historical Delights to other online communities to which we belong?”
    Absolutely, Wylene. Perhaps we can start a mass movement!
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  10. Jo,
    This is a fantastic idea! Can’t wait to read the examples of new historical romances that will be posted.
    I have to admit that I’ve grown very disenchanted with historically set romances over the last few years.Not only are they far too similiar, with almost all of them set in the British Regency, but they’ve become so light-weight. An example: not long ago a friend reccommended a new author to me, and I went to find it at the store. The story began with a sentence about how the hero was having “a bad heir day.” Talk about wall-bangers! Needless to say, I did not buy the book.
    Most of the writers on this blog respect their readers too much to do this silliness, and a big THANK YOU for it.
    I like old-fashioned books with stories grounded in history and strong, real characters. I hate the books that read like I LOVE LUCY at Almacks. This is why I buy more books by authors like Philipa Gregory and Margaret St. George, than the ones in the romance section.
    Great blog, ladies! Keep up the good work!
    Sandy

    Reply
  11. Jo,
    This is a fantastic idea! Can’t wait to read the examples of new historical romances that will be posted.
    I have to admit that I’ve grown very disenchanted with historically set romances over the last few years.Not only are they far too similiar, with almost all of them set in the British Regency, but they’ve become so light-weight. An example: not long ago a friend reccommended a new author to me, and I went to find it at the store. The story began with a sentence about how the hero was having “a bad heir day.” Talk about wall-bangers! Needless to say, I did not buy the book.
    Most of the writers on this blog respect their readers too much to do this silliness, and a big THANK YOU for it.
    I like old-fashioned books with stories grounded in history and strong, real characters. I hate the books that read like I LOVE LUCY at Almacks. This is why I buy more books by authors like Philipa Gregory and Margaret St. George, than the ones in the romance section.
    Great blog, ladies! Keep up the good work!
    Sandy

    Reply
  12. Jo,
    This is a fantastic idea! Can’t wait to read the examples of new historical romances that will be posted.
    I have to admit that I’ve grown very disenchanted with historically set romances over the last few years.Not only are they far too similiar, with almost all of them set in the British Regency, but they’ve become so light-weight. An example: not long ago a friend reccommended a new author to me, and I went to find it at the store. The story began with a sentence about how the hero was having “a bad heir day.” Talk about wall-bangers! Needless to say, I did not buy the book.
    Most of the writers on this blog respect their readers too much to do this silliness, and a big THANK YOU for it.
    I like old-fashioned books with stories grounded in history and strong, real characters. I hate the books that read like I LOVE LUCY at Almacks. This is why I buy more books by authors like Philipa Gregory and Margaret St. George, than the ones in the romance section.
    Great blog, ladies! Keep up the good work!
    Sandy

    Reply
  13. Thanks for starting this, Jo! I’ve joined.
    I feel like I’m an atypical reader in that *history* is really my ruling passion, and when I pick up historical fiction of any genre, I’m hoping for a sort of mental time travel. And if I don’t get that, it doesn’t matter how good the love story, mystery, adventure, or whatever is. That’s my gripe with a lot of historical romance these days, the stories feel too contemporary, or like they’re being acted out by modern people in pretty costumes against a painted backdrop rather than immersed in a past that the author brings vividly to life.
    (And one reason I love this blog so much is that it’s such a great concentration of authors who *do* take me back in time when I read your books)
    So I love the idea of having access to excerpts like this. It’s very hard to judge from reviews, cover blurbs, etc. whether a new author’s work will satisfy that “time travel” desire or not.

    Reply
  14. Thanks for starting this, Jo! I’ve joined.
    I feel like I’m an atypical reader in that *history* is really my ruling passion, and when I pick up historical fiction of any genre, I’m hoping for a sort of mental time travel. And if I don’t get that, it doesn’t matter how good the love story, mystery, adventure, or whatever is. That’s my gripe with a lot of historical romance these days, the stories feel too contemporary, or like they’re being acted out by modern people in pretty costumes against a painted backdrop rather than immersed in a past that the author brings vividly to life.
    (And one reason I love this blog so much is that it’s such a great concentration of authors who *do* take me back in time when I read your books)
    So I love the idea of having access to excerpts like this. It’s very hard to judge from reviews, cover blurbs, etc. whether a new author’s work will satisfy that “time travel” desire or not.

    Reply
  15. Thanks for starting this, Jo! I’ve joined.
    I feel like I’m an atypical reader in that *history* is really my ruling passion, and when I pick up historical fiction of any genre, I’m hoping for a sort of mental time travel. And if I don’t get that, it doesn’t matter how good the love story, mystery, adventure, or whatever is. That’s my gripe with a lot of historical romance these days, the stories feel too contemporary, or like they’re being acted out by modern people in pretty costumes against a painted backdrop rather than immersed in a past that the author brings vividly to life.
    (And one reason I love this blog so much is that it’s such a great concentration of authors who *do* take me back in time when I read your books)
    So I love the idea of having access to excerpts like this. It’s very hard to judge from reviews, cover blurbs, etc. whether a new author’s work will satisfy that “time travel” desire or not.

    Reply
  16. Although I enjoy Regencies and romances set in medieval times, I must confess that I wish for more variety in the romantic fiction genre: Elizabethan, Victorian, Georgian, etc.
    The tales must be authentic to hold my interest, in terms of voice, setting, dialogue, costume and attitude. Probably the biggest turn-off is a modern-day colloquialism.
    Btw, I only read historical romances (unless a friend has penned a contemporary romance, of course).

    Reply
  17. Although I enjoy Regencies and romances set in medieval times, I must confess that I wish for more variety in the romantic fiction genre: Elizabethan, Victorian, Georgian, etc.
    The tales must be authentic to hold my interest, in terms of voice, setting, dialogue, costume and attitude. Probably the biggest turn-off is a modern-day colloquialism.
    Btw, I only read historical romances (unless a friend has penned a contemporary romance, of course).

    Reply
  18. Although I enjoy Regencies and romances set in medieval times, I must confess that I wish for more variety in the romantic fiction genre: Elizabethan, Victorian, Georgian, etc.
    The tales must be authentic to hold my interest, in terms of voice, setting, dialogue, costume and attitude. Probably the biggest turn-off is a modern-day colloquialism.
    Btw, I only read historical romances (unless a friend has penned a contemporary romance, of course).

    Reply
  19. I think many of you would be interested in Monday’s blog on “History and ‘Wallpaper’ History” at Teach Me Tonight: Musings on Romance Fiction from an Academic Perspective. The comments indicated, I think, that Laura Vivanco touched a nerve with this blog.
    http://teachmetonight.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  20. I think many of you would be interested in Monday’s blog on “History and ‘Wallpaper’ History” at Teach Me Tonight: Musings on Romance Fiction from an Academic Perspective. The comments indicated, I think, that Laura Vivanco touched a nerve with this blog.
    http://teachmetonight.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  21. I think many of you would be interested in Monday’s blog on “History and ‘Wallpaper’ History” at Teach Me Tonight: Musings on Romance Fiction from an Academic Perspective. The comments indicated, I think, that Laura Vivanco touched a nerve with this blog.
    http://teachmetonight.blogspot.com/

    Reply
  22. I agree that this is a good idea. But we do have to allow some room for diversity. Take, for example, the somewhat maligned “bad heir day”. I find this author refreshingly funny and just right for days when I feel in need of pick-me-up. If the first sentence was all you read, you might have missed a good book. I bought it because I have read a previous book by this author and thoroughly enjoyed it though it did not quite follow the usual regency formula a la Heyer. It does have a bit of a mystery in it but only as to which of a set of twins was actually the first-born.
    I welcome a chance to see what different writers have to offer and I’ve read historicals, or at least Regencies, by all but one of the authors listed here. I’ve enjoyed all of them. For me, the lack of books is perhaps not as crucial as for others since I still have huge boxes of books waiting to be read. I’d almost say that I’m reluctant to find new authors but I do it anyway.
    I definitely draw my line at erotica and too much mystery but I’m not sure about the fantasy part. What does that include? After all, by strict definition all fiction is fantasy except where it touches actual historic events.
    But yes, I’d like to join. Like Susan, my first focus was always on the historical context of a book and I’ve read many historical novels as opposed to historical romances. Those were books mainly by men which did include romantic elements. Some of those authors were Thomas B. Costain and to a lesser degree his daughter, Molly Costain Haycraft, Samuel Shellaberger, Gwen Bristow, Elswyth Thane, Constance Fecher/Heaven, Noel B. Gerson, Eleanor Burford Hibbert (pseudonyms,e.g., Jean Plaidy), Bruce Lancaster, Rafael Sabatini, Lawrence Schoonover, Frank G. Slaughter, Jan Westcott, Frank Yerby. Some of these were authors that my father had and through them I learned a lot about history. I’m not sure if I read them because I loved history already at that time or if I learned to love history because of what I learned through them.

    Reply
  23. I agree that this is a good idea. But we do have to allow some room for diversity. Take, for example, the somewhat maligned “bad heir day”. I find this author refreshingly funny and just right for days when I feel in need of pick-me-up. If the first sentence was all you read, you might have missed a good book. I bought it because I have read a previous book by this author and thoroughly enjoyed it though it did not quite follow the usual regency formula a la Heyer. It does have a bit of a mystery in it but only as to which of a set of twins was actually the first-born.
    I welcome a chance to see what different writers have to offer and I’ve read historicals, or at least Regencies, by all but one of the authors listed here. I’ve enjoyed all of them. For me, the lack of books is perhaps not as crucial as for others since I still have huge boxes of books waiting to be read. I’d almost say that I’m reluctant to find new authors but I do it anyway.
    I definitely draw my line at erotica and too much mystery but I’m not sure about the fantasy part. What does that include? After all, by strict definition all fiction is fantasy except where it touches actual historic events.
    But yes, I’d like to join. Like Susan, my first focus was always on the historical context of a book and I’ve read many historical novels as opposed to historical romances. Those were books mainly by men which did include romantic elements. Some of those authors were Thomas B. Costain and to a lesser degree his daughter, Molly Costain Haycraft, Samuel Shellaberger, Gwen Bristow, Elswyth Thane, Constance Fecher/Heaven, Noel B. Gerson, Eleanor Burford Hibbert (pseudonyms,e.g., Jean Plaidy), Bruce Lancaster, Rafael Sabatini, Lawrence Schoonover, Frank G. Slaughter, Jan Westcott, Frank Yerby. Some of these were authors that my father had and through them I learned a lot about history. I’m not sure if I read them because I loved history already at that time or if I learned to love history because of what I learned through them.

    Reply
  24. I agree that this is a good idea. But we do have to allow some room for diversity. Take, for example, the somewhat maligned “bad heir day”. I find this author refreshingly funny and just right for days when I feel in need of pick-me-up. If the first sentence was all you read, you might have missed a good book. I bought it because I have read a previous book by this author and thoroughly enjoyed it though it did not quite follow the usual regency formula a la Heyer. It does have a bit of a mystery in it but only as to which of a set of twins was actually the first-born.
    I welcome a chance to see what different writers have to offer and I’ve read historicals, or at least Regencies, by all but one of the authors listed here. I’ve enjoyed all of them. For me, the lack of books is perhaps not as crucial as for others since I still have huge boxes of books waiting to be read. I’d almost say that I’m reluctant to find new authors but I do it anyway.
    I definitely draw my line at erotica and too much mystery but I’m not sure about the fantasy part. What does that include? After all, by strict definition all fiction is fantasy except where it touches actual historic events.
    But yes, I’d like to join. Like Susan, my first focus was always on the historical context of a book and I’ve read many historical novels as opposed to historical romances. Those were books mainly by men which did include romantic elements. Some of those authors were Thomas B. Costain and to a lesser degree his daughter, Molly Costain Haycraft, Samuel Shellaberger, Gwen Bristow, Elswyth Thane, Constance Fecher/Heaven, Noel B. Gerson, Eleanor Burford Hibbert (pseudonyms,e.g., Jean Plaidy), Bruce Lancaster, Rafael Sabatini, Lawrence Schoonover, Frank G. Slaughter, Jan Westcott, Frank Yerby. Some of these were authors that my father had and through them I learned a lot about history. I’m not sure if I read them because I loved history already at that time or if I learned to love history because of what I learned through them.

    Reply
  25. I’m actually a lot more broadminded about historical fiction than I might seem. I see the books as “lite” or “convincing” for lack of better terms. Same thing in SF&F and mystery, actually.
    If a book is clearly not taking itself too serious and does that well — which is the sticking point — I can enjoy it as a romp. If it feel like time travel but doesn’t try to dump gobbets of research on me, I love it.
    It’s the in-between ones I have trouble with. The ones that go half way toward convincing but have so many details wrong it drives me scatty.
    And in my periods, I notice a lot more inaccuracies than most, which is a problem. But I do think it’s a professional author’s job to get the basics correct, such as who could marry whom, when, and with whose permission. And the distance/traveling time between X and Z.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  26. I’m actually a lot more broadminded about historical fiction than I might seem. I see the books as “lite” or “convincing” for lack of better terms. Same thing in SF&F and mystery, actually.
    If a book is clearly not taking itself too serious and does that well — which is the sticking point — I can enjoy it as a romp. If it feel like time travel but doesn’t try to dump gobbets of research on me, I love it.
    It’s the in-between ones I have trouble with. The ones that go half way toward convincing but have so many details wrong it drives me scatty.
    And in my periods, I notice a lot more inaccuracies than most, which is a problem. But I do think it’s a professional author’s job to get the basics correct, such as who could marry whom, when, and with whose permission. And the distance/traveling time between X and Z.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  27. I’m actually a lot more broadminded about historical fiction than I might seem. I see the books as “lite” or “convincing” for lack of better terms. Same thing in SF&F and mystery, actually.
    If a book is clearly not taking itself too serious and does that well — which is the sticking point — I can enjoy it as a romp. If it feel like time travel but doesn’t try to dump gobbets of research on me, I love it.
    It’s the in-between ones I have trouble with. The ones that go half way toward convincing but have so many details wrong it drives me scatty.
    And in my periods, I notice a lot more inaccuracies than most, which is a problem. But I do think it’s a professional author’s job to get the basics correct, such as who could marry whom, when, and with whose permission. And the distance/traveling time between X and Z.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  28. “what do you think of the historical romance selection these days? Are you finding what you want? If not, what do you think has happened to the genre?”
    Hi Jo:
    I’ve been thinking a lot about your questions, today.
    As I’m very new to the historical romance genre, I began talking to a few of my office mates who I know to be well read. I was surprised to learn none of them read romance, of any kind. Their reasons ranged from ‘wouldn’t be caught dead with a cover like that’ to a dead pan stare that said ‘that’s a little below me, don’t ya think?’.
    On the drive home, I began to theorize why this might be. Perhaps it’s because the heroes tend to be rather far removed from this century’s SOs and DHs. Maybe because, in reality, the guy doesn’t always get the girl or the other way around. Maybe because the heroines are too beautiful, too slim, too something that we can’t imagine being one of them. The reach is just too high. Too lofty. It’s just no fun to turn the last page ‘knowing’ you can’t or won’t ever be able to have what ‘she’ got.
    So, what’s a romance writer to do with all of this? I don’t know. That’s probably why I leave romance to the professionals. 🙂
    Nina
    – the littlest wenchling who’s having a great time exploring historical romance

    Reply
  29. “what do you think of the historical romance selection these days? Are you finding what you want? If not, what do you think has happened to the genre?”
    Hi Jo:
    I’ve been thinking a lot about your questions, today.
    As I’m very new to the historical romance genre, I began talking to a few of my office mates who I know to be well read. I was surprised to learn none of them read romance, of any kind. Their reasons ranged from ‘wouldn’t be caught dead with a cover like that’ to a dead pan stare that said ‘that’s a little below me, don’t ya think?’.
    On the drive home, I began to theorize why this might be. Perhaps it’s because the heroes tend to be rather far removed from this century’s SOs and DHs. Maybe because, in reality, the guy doesn’t always get the girl or the other way around. Maybe because the heroines are too beautiful, too slim, too something that we can’t imagine being one of them. The reach is just too high. Too lofty. It’s just no fun to turn the last page ‘knowing’ you can’t or won’t ever be able to have what ‘she’ got.
    So, what’s a romance writer to do with all of this? I don’t know. That’s probably why I leave romance to the professionals. 🙂
    Nina
    – the littlest wenchling who’s having a great time exploring historical romance

    Reply
  30. “what do you think of the historical romance selection these days? Are you finding what you want? If not, what do you think has happened to the genre?”
    Hi Jo:
    I’ve been thinking a lot about your questions, today.
    As I’m very new to the historical romance genre, I began talking to a few of my office mates who I know to be well read. I was surprised to learn none of them read romance, of any kind. Their reasons ranged from ‘wouldn’t be caught dead with a cover like that’ to a dead pan stare that said ‘that’s a little below me, don’t ya think?’.
    On the drive home, I began to theorize why this might be. Perhaps it’s because the heroes tend to be rather far removed from this century’s SOs and DHs. Maybe because, in reality, the guy doesn’t always get the girl or the other way around. Maybe because the heroines are too beautiful, too slim, too something that we can’t imagine being one of them. The reach is just too high. Too lofty. It’s just no fun to turn the last page ‘knowing’ you can’t or won’t ever be able to have what ‘she’ got.
    So, what’s a romance writer to do with all of this? I don’t know. That’s probably why I leave romance to the professionals. 🙂
    Nina
    – the littlest wenchling who’s having a great time exploring historical romance

    Reply
  31. I think there are a couple of reasons historical romances are having trouble. First, I think many authors and publishers have abandoned their original styles in an effort to appeal to a more varied audience and, in turn, have alienated their biggest fans. Authors, experienced and new, think they have to appeal to regular fiction audiences in order to make it big. That may be so, but what happens to those of us who don’t like regular fiction? We have fewer and fewer authors that appeal so we buy fewer and fewer books. The romance genre as a whole is losing its defining characteristics. Instead of romances, we get mysteries or thrillers with a little romance thrown in.
    Second, and don’t throw any rotten tomatoes my way, but I think there are too many self-important critics and reviewers who over-analyze everything. It seems that everyone has their opinion on why such-and-such author or book is bad and you’ve got to be an idiot to like it when they obviously are so much more intelligent than you and have told you that it isn’t worth reading (and they have their own blog at this link to tell you more of what you should or shouldn’t read). PHOOEY! I don’t want to hear it. I’m intelligent enough to decide for myself what I like, thank you. Just tell me what the story was about and whether you liked it. Don’t pick the book apart and trash it or the author simply because the style or theme doesn’t appeal to you. That doesn’t make it a bad book. It appealed to someone or it wouldn’t have gotten published.
    And, of course, we always have those who look down on the genre as beneath them, not intellectual enough, not realistic enough. I guess we’ll always fight that battle.

    Reply
  32. I think there are a couple of reasons historical romances are having trouble. First, I think many authors and publishers have abandoned their original styles in an effort to appeal to a more varied audience and, in turn, have alienated their biggest fans. Authors, experienced and new, think they have to appeal to regular fiction audiences in order to make it big. That may be so, but what happens to those of us who don’t like regular fiction? We have fewer and fewer authors that appeal so we buy fewer and fewer books. The romance genre as a whole is losing its defining characteristics. Instead of romances, we get mysteries or thrillers with a little romance thrown in.
    Second, and don’t throw any rotten tomatoes my way, but I think there are too many self-important critics and reviewers who over-analyze everything. It seems that everyone has their opinion on why such-and-such author or book is bad and you’ve got to be an idiot to like it when they obviously are so much more intelligent than you and have told you that it isn’t worth reading (and they have their own blog at this link to tell you more of what you should or shouldn’t read). PHOOEY! I don’t want to hear it. I’m intelligent enough to decide for myself what I like, thank you. Just tell me what the story was about and whether you liked it. Don’t pick the book apart and trash it or the author simply because the style or theme doesn’t appeal to you. That doesn’t make it a bad book. It appealed to someone or it wouldn’t have gotten published.
    And, of course, we always have those who look down on the genre as beneath them, not intellectual enough, not realistic enough. I guess we’ll always fight that battle.

    Reply
  33. I think there are a couple of reasons historical romances are having trouble. First, I think many authors and publishers have abandoned their original styles in an effort to appeal to a more varied audience and, in turn, have alienated their biggest fans. Authors, experienced and new, think they have to appeal to regular fiction audiences in order to make it big. That may be so, but what happens to those of us who don’t like regular fiction? We have fewer and fewer authors that appeal so we buy fewer and fewer books. The romance genre as a whole is losing its defining characteristics. Instead of romances, we get mysteries or thrillers with a little romance thrown in.
    Second, and don’t throw any rotten tomatoes my way, but I think there are too many self-important critics and reviewers who over-analyze everything. It seems that everyone has their opinion on why such-and-such author or book is bad and you’ve got to be an idiot to like it when they obviously are so much more intelligent than you and have told you that it isn’t worth reading (and they have their own blog at this link to tell you more of what you should or shouldn’t read). PHOOEY! I don’t want to hear it. I’m intelligent enough to decide for myself what I like, thank you. Just tell me what the story was about and whether you liked it. Don’t pick the book apart and trash it or the author simply because the style or theme doesn’t appeal to you. That doesn’t make it a bad book. It appealed to someone or it wouldn’t have gotten published.
    And, of course, we always have those who look down on the genre as beneath them, not intellectual enough, not realistic enough. I guess we’ll always fight that battle.

    Reply
  34. I liked the ‘bad heir day’ book.
    But yea, I do have trouble. Especially since Signet axed my beloved short Regencies. I just think I’m out of the reading mainstream. To me, Barbara Metzger’s Queen of Diamonds was pretty much a perfect book. While I won’t drop a book for having a lot of sex (I like the Cahill series Joyce has going) if a book looks too soft-core I’ll pass. I’m really not a fan of reading long descriptive passages about sex, I’m there for the relationships and the stories, not the number of thrusts (seriously, I read one mainstream HR where the heroine counted them)
    I’m not a big paranormal fan, I just assume I’m out of the majority. If I were the reading majority, Edith Layton would be outselling Stephen King. By a lot. Also, the books I like tend to have smaller runs and I sometimes have to resort to Amazon. (The new LaFoy & Byrd sold out at my locals in a day or so)
    I’m occasionally easy going about accuracy – I can tell the difference between a fun read and a serious romance. But I appreciate a serious romance that’s a fun read like no one else!

    Reply
  35. I liked the ‘bad heir day’ book.
    But yea, I do have trouble. Especially since Signet axed my beloved short Regencies. I just think I’m out of the reading mainstream. To me, Barbara Metzger’s Queen of Diamonds was pretty much a perfect book. While I won’t drop a book for having a lot of sex (I like the Cahill series Joyce has going) if a book looks too soft-core I’ll pass. I’m really not a fan of reading long descriptive passages about sex, I’m there for the relationships and the stories, not the number of thrusts (seriously, I read one mainstream HR where the heroine counted them)
    I’m not a big paranormal fan, I just assume I’m out of the majority. If I were the reading majority, Edith Layton would be outselling Stephen King. By a lot. Also, the books I like tend to have smaller runs and I sometimes have to resort to Amazon. (The new LaFoy & Byrd sold out at my locals in a day or so)
    I’m occasionally easy going about accuracy – I can tell the difference between a fun read and a serious romance. But I appreciate a serious romance that’s a fun read like no one else!

    Reply
  36. I liked the ‘bad heir day’ book.
    But yea, I do have trouble. Especially since Signet axed my beloved short Regencies. I just think I’m out of the reading mainstream. To me, Barbara Metzger’s Queen of Diamonds was pretty much a perfect book. While I won’t drop a book for having a lot of sex (I like the Cahill series Joyce has going) if a book looks too soft-core I’ll pass. I’m really not a fan of reading long descriptive passages about sex, I’m there for the relationships and the stories, not the number of thrusts (seriously, I read one mainstream HR where the heroine counted them)
    I’m not a big paranormal fan, I just assume I’m out of the majority. If I were the reading majority, Edith Layton would be outselling Stephen King. By a lot. Also, the books I like tend to have smaller runs and I sometimes have to resort to Amazon. (The new LaFoy & Byrd sold out at my locals in a day or so)
    I’m occasionally easy going about accuracy – I can tell the difference between a fun read and a serious romance. But I appreciate a serious romance that’s a fun read like no one else!

    Reply
  37. I have read historical romance for approx. 16 years and I find that most historical romances published today have been “sanitized and dumbed down for your protection.” The characters in historicals have 21st C. sensibilities, values, language and beliefs. It’s as if the writers write about modern people – just dress them up in costumes appropriate for the time period they happen to be writing about.
    The following is from the inside jacket of Wicked Loving Lies by Rosemary Rogers 1976:
    “In this romantic thriller by the author of the best-selling Sweet Savage Love and Dark Fires, an aristocratic beauty’s struggle to survive in a turbulent ear takes her from the serenity of a Spanish convent to captivity in a Moorish harem … from the intimacy of Napoleon’s boudoir to defilement among Comanche warriors.
    When defiant, golden-haired Marisa learns her father’s plan to marry her off to a man she has never met, she flees the safety of a nunnery only to fall prey to Domonic Challenger, a dashing sea rogue who takes his pleasure without regard for Marisa’s innocence or virtue.
    Her exquisite beauty and fiery temperament make other men equally determined to possess her. There’s a handsome young Englishman who vows to take Marisa away with him to a new life…the sensual Turkish captain who is prepared to relinquish his harem and make her his only wife…the Emperor Napoleon, who takes her as his mistress…and the unscrupulous Don Pedro Arteaga, the man her father had chosen for her. Her tainted past only increases Don Pedro’s desires, and he will do anything to have her as his own – even if it means sparing the life of the only man Marisa has ever loved.”
    Marisa is forced into a marriage with the man she thinks killed her father. She is then raped by a man – who literally brands her – only to find out later that it was in fact her husband who raped and branded her. She suffers a miscarriage at the hands of her husband.
    She is taken captive and is the mistress of a captain in the Janissaries in Tripoli. (When is the last time you read about Janissaries or a historical set in Tripoli?!) Because of the vows the captain has taken he can’t make love to Marisa the usual way – so…”He invariably aroused her with his aphrodisiac wines and his caresses to the point where the unusual way he chose to penetrate her no longer mattered.” (WWL p. 252)
    Marisa learns that she’s pregnant while with the captain and he suggests she have an abortion. When she declines his offer – he decided to let her keep the baby – if it’s a girl. If the baby is a boy – he plans to let her think it died and sell it – so that it would grow up to be a slave or a male prostitute. The baby was a girl but, Marisa is led to believe that the baby died – they told her the cord was wrapped around its neck.
    Books like WLL aren’t published anymore. With the abuse Marisa suffers, anal sex, multiple sex partners, and one of the heroine’s lovers suggesting she have an abortion — all these subjects are taboo in the historicals published today. Writers today wouldn’t touch topics like these with a ten-foot pole.
    The majority of the romances published today are “light” and “fluffly.” There’s very little emotional intensity. They are all “vanilla” – it’s hard to tell one from another. You tend to remember stories like WLL – weather you think it’s good, bad or indifferent.
    I agree that we all need “fluff” from time to time. But there’s no balance in the historicals published now. They all tend to be “I Love Lucy at Almacks.” What happened to Gothics? Where are the epics? Why must all historicals be set in Regency England? What happened to books set in France or India?
    Sorry for the rant. JMHO.

    Reply
  38. I have read historical romance for approx. 16 years and I find that most historical romances published today have been “sanitized and dumbed down for your protection.” The characters in historicals have 21st C. sensibilities, values, language and beliefs. It’s as if the writers write about modern people – just dress them up in costumes appropriate for the time period they happen to be writing about.
    The following is from the inside jacket of Wicked Loving Lies by Rosemary Rogers 1976:
    “In this romantic thriller by the author of the best-selling Sweet Savage Love and Dark Fires, an aristocratic beauty’s struggle to survive in a turbulent ear takes her from the serenity of a Spanish convent to captivity in a Moorish harem … from the intimacy of Napoleon’s boudoir to defilement among Comanche warriors.
    When defiant, golden-haired Marisa learns her father’s plan to marry her off to a man she has never met, she flees the safety of a nunnery only to fall prey to Domonic Challenger, a dashing sea rogue who takes his pleasure without regard for Marisa’s innocence or virtue.
    Her exquisite beauty and fiery temperament make other men equally determined to possess her. There’s a handsome young Englishman who vows to take Marisa away with him to a new life…the sensual Turkish captain who is prepared to relinquish his harem and make her his only wife…the Emperor Napoleon, who takes her as his mistress…and the unscrupulous Don Pedro Arteaga, the man her father had chosen for her. Her tainted past only increases Don Pedro’s desires, and he will do anything to have her as his own – even if it means sparing the life of the only man Marisa has ever loved.”
    Marisa is forced into a marriage with the man she thinks killed her father. She is then raped by a man – who literally brands her – only to find out later that it was in fact her husband who raped and branded her. She suffers a miscarriage at the hands of her husband.
    She is taken captive and is the mistress of a captain in the Janissaries in Tripoli. (When is the last time you read about Janissaries or a historical set in Tripoli?!) Because of the vows the captain has taken he can’t make love to Marisa the usual way – so…”He invariably aroused her with his aphrodisiac wines and his caresses to the point where the unusual way he chose to penetrate her no longer mattered.” (WWL p. 252)
    Marisa learns that she’s pregnant while with the captain and he suggests she have an abortion. When she declines his offer – he decided to let her keep the baby – if it’s a girl. If the baby is a boy – he plans to let her think it died and sell it – so that it would grow up to be a slave or a male prostitute. The baby was a girl but, Marisa is led to believe that the baby died – they told her the cord was wrapped around its neck.
    Books like WLL aren’t published anymore. With the abuse Marisa suffers, anal sex, multiple sex partners, and one of the heroine’s lovers suggesting she have an abortion — all these subjects are taboo in the historicals published today. Writers today wouldn’t touch topics like these with a ten-foot pole.
    The majority of the romances published today are “light” and “fluffly.” There’s very little emotional intensity. They are all “vanilla” – it’s hard to tell one from another. You tend to remember stories like WLL – weather you think it’s good, bad or indifferent.
    I agree that we all need “fluff” from time to time. But there’s no balance in the historicals published now. They all tend to be “I Love Lucy at Almacks.” What happened to Gothics? Where are the epics? Why must all historicals be set in Regency England? What happened to books set in France or India?
    Sorry for the rant. JMHO.

    Reply
  39. I have read historical romance for approx. 16 years and I find that most historical romances published today have been “sanitized and dumbed down for your protection.” The characters in historicals have 21st C. sensibilities, values, language and beliefs. It’s as if the writers write about modern people – just dress them up in costumes appropriate for the time period they happen to be writing about.
    The following is from the inside jacket of Wicked Loving Lies by Rosemary Rogers 1976:
    “In this romantic thriller by the author of the best-selling Sweet Savage Love and Dark Fires, an aristocratic beauty’s struggle to survive in a turbulent ear takes her from the serenity of a Spanish convent to captivity in a Moorish harem … from the intimacy of Napoleon’s boudoir to defilement among Comanche warriors.
    When defiant, golden-haired Marisa learns her father’s plan to marry her off to a man she has never met, she flees the safety of a nunnery only to fall prey to Domonic Challenger, a dashing sea rogue who takes his pleasure without regard for Marisa’s innocence or virtue.
    Her exquisite beauty and fiery temperament make other men equally determined to possess her. There’s a handsome young Englishman who vows to take Marisa away with him to a new life…the sensual Turkish captain who is prepared to relinquish his harem and make her his only wife…the Emperor Napoleon, who takes her as his mistress…and the unscrupulous Don Pedro Arteaga, the man her father had chosen for her. Her tainted past only increases Don Pedro’s desires, and he will do anything to have her as his own – even if it means sparing the life of the only man Marisa has ever loved.”
    Marisa is forced into a marriage with the man she thinks killed her father. She is then raped by a man – who literally brands her – only to find out later that it was in fact her husband who raped and branded her. She suffers a miscarriage at the hands of her husband.
    She is taken captive and is the mistress of a captain in the Janissaries in Tripoli. (When is the last time you read about Janissaries or a historical set in Tripoli?!) Because of the vows the captain has taken he can’t make love to Marisa the usual way – so…”He invariably aroused her with his aphrodisiac wines and his caresses to the point where the unusual way he chose to penetrate her no longer mattered.” (WWL p. 252)
    Marisa learns that she’s pregnant while with the captain and he suggests she have an abortion. When she declines his offer – he decided to let her keep the baby – if it’s a girl. If the baby is a boy – he plans to let her think it died and sell it – so that it would grow up to be a slave or a male prostitute. The baby was a girl but, Marisa is led to believe that the baby died – they told her the cord was wrapped around its neck.
    Books like WLL aren’t published anymore. With the abuse Marisa suffers, anal sex, multiple sex partners, and one of the heroine’s lovers suggesting she have an abortion — all these subjects are taboo in the historicals published today. Writers today wouldn’t touch topics like these with a ten-foot pole.
    The majority of the romances published today are “light” and “fluffly.” There’s very little emotional intensity. They are all “vanilla” – it’s hard to tell one from another. You tend to remember stories like WLL – weather you think it’s good, bad or indifferent.
    I agree that we all need “fluff” from time to time. But there’s no balance in the historicals published now. They all tend to be “I Love Lucy at Almacks.” What happened to Gothics? Where are the epics? Why must all historicals be set in Regency England? What happened to books set in France or India?
    Sorry for the rant. JMHO.

    Reply
  40. Although I agree with some of your stricturse, Steffany, I must say that WICKED LOVING LIES is not my idea of a good time!
    HER HUSBAND rapes and brands her? I prefer the sort of romance in which he would not live to tell the tale!
    —Mole, who has to deal with the fact that if her mate met one of their offspring in the tunnels, he’d be less likely to say “That’s my kid!” than “That’s my lunch!” Try putting THAT in a romance novel!!!!

    Reply
  41. Although I agree with some of your stricturse, Steffany, I must say that WICKED LOVING LIES is not my idea of a good time!
    HER HUSBAND rapes and brands her? I prefer the sort of romance in which he would not live to tell the tale!
    —Mole, who has to deal with the fact that if her mate met one of their offspring in the tunnels, he’d be less likely to say “That’s my kid!” than “That’s my lunch!” Try putting THAT in a romance novel!!!!

    Reply
  42. Although I agree with some of your stricturse, Steffany, I must say that WICKED LOVING LIES is not my idea of a good time!
    HER HUSBAND rapes and brands her? I prefer the sort of romance in which he would not live to tell the tale!
    —Mole, who has to deal with the fact that if her mate met one of their offspring in the tunnels, he’d be less likely to say “That’s my kid!” than “That’s my lunch!” Try putting THAT in a romance novel!!!!

    Reply
  43. talpinna,
    Wicked Loving Lives is not for everyone. I chose it to help illustrate my point in how far historicals have come in being “sanitized” and “dumbed down.”
    I was rooting for Marissa to find her HEA after the hell Rosemary Rogers put her through. *g* In so many historicals puslished today I don’t feel a real “connection” to the characters.
    I liked the element of surprise in the older historicals – you never knew what was going to happen in the next chapter. Now I can look at the title and author and publisher and with a certain degree of certainty say, “Oh, this is another ‘I Love Lucy at Almacks’ – a few slap stick scenes, a misunderstanding and the HEA all wrapped up in 250 pages.”

    Reply
  44. talpinna,
    Wicked Loving Lives is not for everyone. I chose it to help illustrate my point in how far historicals have come in being “sanitized” and “dumbed down.”
    I was rooting for Marissa to find her HEA after the hell Rosemary Rogers put her through. *g* In so many historicals puslished today I don’t feel a real “connection” to the characters.
    I liked the element of surprise in the older historicals – you never knew what was going to happen in the next chapter. Now I can look at the title and author and publisher and with a certain degree of certainty say, “Oh, this is another ‘I Love Lucy at Almacks’ – a few slap stick scenes, a misunderstanding and the HEA all wrapped up in 250 pages.”

    Reply
  45. talpinna,
    Wicked Loving Lives is not for everyone. I chose it to help illustrate my point in how far historicals have come in being “sanitized” and “dumbed down.”
    I was rooting for Marissa to find her HEA after the hell Rosemary Rogers put her through. *g* In so many historicals puslished today I don’t feel a real “connection” to the characters.
    I liked the element of surprise in the older historicals – you never knew what was going to happen in the next chapter. Now I can look at the title and author and publisher and with a certain degree of certainty say, “Oh, this is another ‘I Love Lucy at Almacks’ – a few slap stick scenes, a misunderstanding and the HEA all wrapped up in 250 pages.”

    Reply
  46. Steffany,
    I agree that some historicals written today are a bit predictable and even tame, but I have to disagree with Wicked, Loving Lies and such books being in some way more accurate.
    That sort of saga of violent misadventure was as unlikely then as now. Especially surviving it and finding love!
    In researching Barbary slaves for my book Skylark I discovered that they hardly ever kept women from northern Europe, because if such women came into their range they were usually wealthy and worth far more in ransom. Same went for rich men, too.
    Most of their slaves, in and out of harems, were peasants from coastal villages of the Mediterranean, and most of them were used as servants and for hard labor.
    The Ottomans did get some harem women from lands already under their power, but few from piratical capture, I believe.
    I love the fantasy harem story, too, but we have to recognize it for what it was.
    But again, I, too, want more epic and dramatic historical romances, with some buckles being swashed and some ladies being carried away by dashing men on black steeds.
    But no rape.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  47. Steffany,
    I agree that some historicals written today are a bit predictable and even tame, but I have to disagree with Wicked, Loving Lies and such books being in some way more accurate.
    That sort of saga of violent misadventure was as unlikely then as now. Especially surviving it and finding love!
    In researching Barbary slaves for my book Skylark I discovered that they hardly ever kept women from northern Europe, because if such women came into their range they were usually wealthy and worth far more in ransom. Same went for rich men, too.
    Most of their slaves, in and out of harems, were peasants from coastal villages of the Mediterranean, and most of them were used as servants and for hard labor.
    The Ottomans did get some harem women from lands already under their power, but few from piratical capture, I believe.
    I love the fantasy harem story, too, but we have to recognize it for what it was.
    But again, I, too, want more epic and dramatic historical romances, with some buckles being swashed and some ladies being carried away by dashing men on black steeds.
    But no rape.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  48. Steffany,
    I agree that some historicals written today are a bit predictable and even tame, but I have to disagree with Wicked, Loving Lies and such books being in some way more accurate.
    That sort of saga of violent misadventure was as unlikely then as now. Especially surviving it and finding love!
    In researching Barbary slaves for my book Skylark I discovered that they hardly ever kept women from northern Europe, because if such women came into their range they were usually wealthy and worth far more in ransom. Same went for rich men, too.
    Most of their slaves, in and out of harems, were peasants from coastal villages of the Mediterranean, and most of them were used as servants and for hard labor.
    The Ottomans did get some harem women from lands already under their power, but few from piratical capture, I believe.
    I love the fantasy harem story, too, but we have to recognize it for what it was.
    But again, I, too, want more epic and dramatic historical romances, with some buckles being swashed and some ladies being carried away by dashing men on black steeds.
    But no rape.
    Jo 🙂

    Reply
  49. Jo,
    I realize that historicals are fiction, therefore not 100% factual. I am willing to suspend disbelief up to a point. I’m sure that Rogers stretched reality a bit when she sent Marissa on her globetrotting adventure, but look at women like Lady Hester Stanhope.
    The historical inaccuracies I’m referring to are glaring examples that jar you right out of a story. For example, the link below is of a Regency in which a character wears plastic birds on her hat.
    http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=1044
    I didn’t read the book after reading the review, so I can’t comment on it. But it’s dumbed down historicals like these, and there seem to be quite a lot of them after reading AAR (not to mention Mrs. Giggles and Romantic Tims) reviews for years, that have turned me off reading historical romance. It’s books like these that force me to “vote with my dollars” for contemporaries.
    I hope your new yahoo list will point me in the right/new direction for “sleeper” historical romance! Thank you for taking the time to set this up.

    Reply
  50. Jo,
    I realize that historicals are fiction, therefore not 100% factual. I am willing to suspend disbelief up to a point. I’m sure that Rogers stretched reality a bit when she sent Marissa on her globetrotting adventure, but look at women like Lady Hester Stanhope.
    The historical inaccuracies I’m referring to are glaring examples that jar you right out of a story. For example, the link below is of a Regency in which a character wears plastic birds on her hat.
    http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=1044
    I didn’t read the book after reading the review, so I can’t comment on it. But it’s dumbed down historicals like these, and there seem to be quite a lot of them after reading AAR (not to mention Mrs. Giggles and Romantic Tims) reviews for years, that have turned me off reading historical romance. It’s books like these that force me to “vote with my dollars” for contemporaries.
    I hope your new yahoo list will point me in the right/new direction for “sleeper” historical romance! Thank you for taking the time to set this up.

    Reply
  51. Jo,
    I realize that historicals are fiction, therefore not 100% factual. I am willing to suspend disbelief up to a point. I’m sure that Rogers stretched reality a bit when she sent Marissa on her globetrotting adventure, but look at women like Lady Hester Stanhope.
    The historical inaccuracies I’m referring to are glaring examples that jar you right out of a story. For example, the link below is of a Regency in which a character wears plastic birds on her hat.
    http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=1044
    I didn’t read the book after reading the review, so I can’t comment on it. But it’s dumbed down historicals like these, and there seem to be quite a lot of them after reading AAR (not to mention Mrs. Giggles and Romantic Tims) reviews for years, that have turned me off reading historical romance. It’s books like these that force me to “vote with my dollars” for contemporaries.
    I hope your new yahoo list will point me in the right/new direction for “sleeper” historical romance! Thank you for taking the time to set this up.

    Reply

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