The triumph of normal

Ermitage
Jo here, using a romantic picture.

I’m springboarding off another blog, the excellent Teach Me Tonight, which is based around the academic study of romance novels. It truly is most interesting and at times thought provoking.
Link to Teach Me Tonight.

In the most recent message there, Laura Vivanco, who also posts here in Wenches, addresses the question of accuracy in romance novels, which, of course, we’ve also talked about here. She references recent debate at All About Romance, another excellent site, this time mostly reader driven.
Link to the discussion boards.

There are two threads on historical accuracy here and a thread on poll results here.

Having got through that preamble…*G* I was struck by a particular part of Laura’s blog.

Laura quoted MarianneM at AAR: "There have always been rebels, like Lady Hester Stanhope, who are
willing to go outside the rules of society, and pay the social price,
to defy the rules and triumph. But first the writer needs to know the
‘rules and regs’ of the society in which his hero or heroine developed
in order to show what a triumph his protagonist has achieved in going
against those rules.
"

(Apologies to Marianne if I’m quoting out of context here. Secondary quoting. Bad, bad.)

That got me thinking in so many ways at once my head was spinning like that kid in The Exorcist! First, I really wish people wouldn’t pull out the unusual characters as excuse for there being a plethora of oddities in historical novels. If there were many such people, they wouldn’t have become so famous that we know about them!

What’s more, and more important to me, if characters are social misfits, what sort of happy ending will they have? I have this problem — I want them all to live socially contributive lives from comfortable homes in pleasant and congenial communities, and have ample friends and laughter. Not all that much to ask, is it, after we put them through hell?

Ylady
Yoff

But that raises one the the questions I’m asking today. Do you want to read about the really, really odd people of a time and place or about the interesting ones among the normal ones? (I’m assuming no one wants to read about the boring ones, odd or not!)

(I put in those pictures because they’re a set, I believe, so probably married or to be, and they look like ordinary people.)

Second, Lady Hester Stanhope is to me just as interesting for her life before she went a-wandering, but that gets little press. At age 27 she became hostess and household manager for her uncle, Pitt, the Prime Minister. She was known for her skills in these tasks and for her lively, witty conversation. In other words, qualities that were exceptional, but didn’t make her peculiar, and which an excellent heroine of a romance novel could possess. Uncommon, but not odd, and not breaking rules every which way.

This was the bit that really got me thinking, though. "But first the writer needs to know the
‘rules and regs’ of the society in which his hero or heroine developed
in order to show what a triumph his protagonist has achieved in going
against those rules.
"

True, but why, I ask, is going against rules a triumph? Couldn’t one write, "But first the writer needs to know the
‘rules and regs’ of the society in which his hero or heroine developed
in order to show how clueless the protagonist has been/what destruction (s)he has caused/how they’ve made any sort of decent future impossible in going
against those rules."

Sometimes it is admirable to break rules, but the rebellion in romance novels, especially on the part of the heroine, is too often not for social justice, to bring about necessary reforms, or even to struggle against her own oppression, but a "don’t wanna!"

(I’m thinking about this even more because I’m reading through page proofs of two older books right nowLlfront
— The Fortune Hunter and Deirdre and Don Juan, which will be out together as Lovers and Ladies next April. These are all conventional people living conventional lives. In both cases, the protagonists are acting within the rules and regs and do the right thing. But I don’t think the books are boring, even read now.  DADJ won a RITA.)

What’s wrong with a heroine who’s really good at being a woman of her time? Who includes in her skills running a household brilliantly and being an elegant and gracious hostess. A woman who looks forward to devoting a lot of her time and energy to being a mother and who enjoys the commoner leisure activities of music, art, needlework and good company.

Any idea why some readers don’t want that?

Isn’t the basic story of the romance novel — the sparks of attraction and conflict, the challenges of circumstances or society the triumph of pulling it all together and making it work — interesting enough? Yes, clearly it is as so many bestselling historical romances fit into that group. But what is it with the other sort?

It’s probably in keeping here to mention the song I have playing on my My Space space. The Old Fashioned Way, by James Kasper. You can hear it here without belonging to My Space.
Go to My Space.

Amoldoval
"I want to do it the old fashioned way.
With chivalry and grace
Tenderly with taste
With a romantic chase….

Let all your violent ways
Useless angry days, wash ashore.
Have a little quiet time
Leave temper tantrums behind
Push away the wars…."

So, let’s hear it for good old fashioned romance.

Unleash your comments!

Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

245 thoughts on “The triumph of normal”

  1. I’m glad you find TMT interesting, Jo.
    I’ve been thinking about this a bit more and I wonder if the “feisty” (i.e. she fights to be different for no good reason, and then suddenly decides that she really does want marriage, children and social acceptance after all) heroine is the female equivalent of the “bad boy” rake hero.
    How many romance rakes are like a real rake, after all? Despite their sometimes legendary status as lovers, they never catch syphillis and, often, with the arrival of the heroine they, like the “feisty” heroine, quickly settle down for a life of happy monogamy and social acceptance.
    So what I’m wondering is whether, often, the rebellion (whether on the part of the hero or heroine) is just a shorthand way of showing that these are exceptional, special characters. It’s the equivalent of making both of them unbelievably beautiful/handsome. It’s just a way to make them stand out and give them heroic status, and show them having a “triumph.”
    Yet the fact that it’s not really about considering such exceptional behaviour a “triumph” is suggested by the endings in which they abruptly abandon so many of the things which made them different in the first place.
    This isn’t true of all romances, of course, Loretta was saying just recently http://wordwenches.typepad.com/word_wenches/2007/11/lord-of-scoundr.html#comment-90502564 that “NOT reforming Dain was so crucial to this story. Whatever Jessica did, I wanted it to help Dain find his true self yet not diminish his larger-than-life persona in any way” but often the hero is mainly a “bad boy” in order to give the heroine the opportunity to “tame” him (and thus show her power) and she’s made feisty and unusual to show how exceptional she is (and thus why she, unlike other women, is the only one able to tame the hero).
    That’s my current theory, at any rate ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  2. I’m glad you find TMT interesting, Jo.
    I’ve been thinking about this a bit more and I wonder if the “feisty” (i.e. she fights to be different for no good reason, and then suddenly decides that she really does want marriage, children and social acceptance after all) heroine is the female equivalent of the “bad boy” rake hero.
    How many romance rakes are like a real rake, after all? Despite their sometimes legendary status as lovers, they never catch syphillis and, often, with the arrival of the heroine they, like the “feisty” heroine, quickly settle down for a life of happy monogamy and social acceptance.
    So what I’m wondering is whether, often, the rebellion (whether on the part of the hero or heroine) is just a shorthand way of showing that these are exceptional, special characters. It’s the equivalent of making both of them unbelievably beautiful/handsome. It’s just a way to make them stand out and give them heroic status, and show them having a “triumph.”
    Yet the fact that it’s not really about considering such exceptional behaviour a “triumph” is suggested by the endings in which they abruptly abandon so many of the things which made them different in the first place.
    This isn’t true of all romances, of course, Loretta was saying just recently http://wordwenches.typepad.com/word_wenches/2007/11/lord-of-scoundr.html#comment-90502564 that “NOT reforming Dain was so crucial to this story. Whatever Jessica did, I wanted it to help Dain find his true self yet not diminish his larger-than-life persona in any way” but often the hero is mainly a “bad boy” in order to give the heroine the opportunity to “tame” him (and thus show her power) and she’s made feisty and unusual to show how exceptional she is (and thus why she, unlike other women, is the only one able to tame the hero).
    That’s my current theory, at any rate ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  3. I’m glad you find TMT interesting, Jo.
    I’ve been thinking about this a bit more and I wonder if the “feisty” (i.e. she fights to be different for no good reason, and then suddenly decides that she really does want marriage, children and social acceptance after all) heroine is the female equivalent of the “bad boy” rake hero.
    How many romance rakes are like a real rake, after all? Despite their sometimes legendary status as lovers, they never catch syphillis and, often, with the arrival of the heroine they, like the “feisty” heroine, quickly settle down for a life of happy monogamy and social acceptance.
    So what I’m wondering is whether, often, the rebellion (whether on the part of the hero or heroine) is just a shorthand way of showing that these are exceptional, special characters. It’s the equivalent of making both of them unbelievably beautiful/handsome. It’s just a way to make them stand out and give them heroic status, and show them having a “triumph.”
    Yet the fact that it’s not really about considering such exceptional behaviour a “triumph” is suggested by the endings in which they abruptly abandon so many of the things which made them different in the first place.
    This isn’t true of all romances, of course, Loretta was saying just recently http://wordwenches.typepad.com/word_wenches/2007/11/lord-of-scoundr.html#comment-90502564 that “NOT reforming Dain was so crucial to this story. Whatever Jessica did, I wanted it to help Dain find his true self yet not diminish his larger-than-life persona in any way” but often the hero is mainly a “bad boy” in order to give the heroine the opportunity to “tame” him (and thus show her power) and she’s made feisty and unusual to show how exceptional she is (and thus why she, unlike other women, is the only one able to tame the hero).
    That’s my current theory, at any rate ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  4. I’m glad you find TMT interesting, Jo.
    I’ve been thinking about this a bit more and I wonder if the “feisty” (i.e. she fights to be different for no good reason, and then suddenly decides that she really does want marriage, children and social acceptance after all) heroine is the female equivalent of the “bad boy” rake hero.
    How many romance rakes are like a real rake, after all? Despite their sometimes legendary status as lovers, they never catch syphillis and, often, with the arrival of the heroine they, like the “feisty” heroine, quickly settle down for a life of happy monogamy and social acceptance.
    So what I’m wondering is whether, often, the rebellion (whether on the part of the hero or heroine) is just a shorthand way of showing that these are exceptional, special characters. It’s the equivalent of making both of them unbelievably beautiful/handsome. It’s just a way to make them stand out and give them heroic status, and show them having a “triumph.”
    Yet the fact that it’s not really about considering such exceptional behaviour a “triumph” is suggested by the endings in which they abruptly abandon so many of the things which made them different in the first place.
    This isn’t true of all romances, of course, Loretta was saying just recently http://wordwenches.typepad.com/word_wenches/2007/11/lord-of-scoundr.html#comment-90502564 that “NOT reforming Dain was so crucial to this story. Whatever Jessica did, I wanted it to help Dain find his true self yet not diminish his larger-than-life persona in any way” but often the hero is mainly a “bad boy” in order to give the heroine the opportunity to “tame” him (and thus show her power) and she’s made feisty and unusual to show how exceptional she is (and thus why she, unlike other women, is the only one able to tame the hero).
    That’s my current theory, at any rate ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  5. I’m glad you find TMT interesting, Jo.
    I’ve been thinking about this a bit more and I wonder if the “feisty” (i.e. she fights to be different for no good reason, and then suddenly decides that she really does want marriage, children and social acceptance after all) heroine is the female equivalent of the “bad boy” rake hero.
    How many romance rakes are like a real rake, after all? Despite their sometimes legendary status as lovers, they never catch syphillis and, often, with the arrival of the heroine they, like the “feisty” heroine, quickly settle down for a life of happy monogamy and social acceptance.
    So what I’m wondering is whether, often, the rebellion (whether on the part of the hero or heroine) is just a shorthand way of showing that these are exceptional, special characters. It’s the equivalent of making both of them unbelievably beautiful/handsome. It’s just a way to make them stand out and give them heroic status, and show them having a “triumph.”
    Yet the fact that it’s not really about considering such exceptional behaviour a “triumph” is suggested by the endings in which they abruptly abandon so many of the things which made them different in the first place.
    This isn’t true of all romances, of course, Loretta was saying just recently http://wordwenches.typepad.com/word_wenches/2007/11/lord-of-scoundr.html#comment-90502564 that “NOT reforming Dain was so crucial to this story. Whatever Jessica did, I wanted it to help Dain find his true self yet not diminish his larger-than-life persona in any way” but often the hero is mainly a “bad boy” in order to give the heroine the opportunity to “tame” him (and thus show her power) and she’s made feisty and unusual to show how exceptional she is (and thus why she, unlike other women, is the only one able to tame the hero).
    That’s my current theory, at any rate ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  6. You might hear me groaning as I come across another anachronistic heroine who is too feisty for anybody’s own good, but I think she will continue to be written. We modern women chafe at the idea that females had no rights, property or otherwise, and could be married off at 15 or 16 or 17 at the whim of one’s father. It’s hard to come up with a compelling plot involving a biddable girl and a balding peer. So therefore we wind up reading about the 29 year old spinster who manages her underage brother’s estate, rides astride and can shoot a hole through the hero’s head with her eyes closed, quoting Wollstonecraft.It’s fiction, after all.
    And I do find the rush to bed pre-marriage problematic, but it doesn’t stop me from reading those passages.*g*
    I think there’s a place for everyone in Romanceland, and have been discovering some “sweeter” storylines lately, which I do appreciate.
    I’ll be lining up for your rereleases.

    Reply
  7. You might hear me groaning as I come across another anachronistic heroine who is too feisty for anybody’s own good, but I think she will continue to be written. We modern women chafe at the idea that females had no rights, property or otherwise, and could be married off at 15 or 16 or 17 at the whim of one’s father. It’s hard to come up with a compelling plot involving a biddable girl and a balding peer. So therefore we wind up reading about the 29 year old spinster who manages her underage brother’s estate, rides astride and can shoot a hole through the hero’s head with her eyes closed, quoting Wollstonecraft.It’s fiction, after all.
    And I do find the rush to bed pre-marriage problematic, but it doesn’t stop me from reading those passages.*g*
    I think there’s a place for everyone in Romanceland, and have been discovering some “sweeter” storylines lately, which I do appreciate.
    I’ll be lining up for your rereleases.

    Reply
  8. You might hear me groaning as I come across another anachronistic heroine who is too feisty for anybody’s own good, but I think she will continue to be written. We modern women chafe at the idea that females had no rights, property or otherwise, and could be married off at 15 or 16 or 17 at the whim of one’s father. It’s hard to come up with a compelling plot involving a biddable girl and a balding peer. So therefore we wind up reading about the 29 year old spinster who manages her underage brother’s estate, rides astride and can shoot a hole through the hero’s head with her eyes closed, quoting Wollstonecraft.It’s fiction, after all.
    And I do find the rush to bed pre-marriage problematic, but it doesn’t stop me from reading those passages.*g*
    I think there’s a place for everyone in Romanceland, and have been discovering some “sweeter” storylines lately, which I do appreciate.
    I’ll be lining up for your rereleases.

    Reply
  9. You might hear me groaning as I come across another anachronistic heroine who is too feisty for anybody’s own good, but I think she will continue to be written. We modern women chafe at the idea that females had no rights, property or otherwise, and could be married off at 15 or 16 or 17 at the whim of one’s father. It’s hard to come up with a compelling plot involving a biddable girl and a balding peer. So therefore we wind up reading about the 29 year old spinster who manages her underage brother’s estate, rides astride and can shoot a hole through the hero’s head with her eyes closed, quoting Wollstonecraft.It’s fiction, after all.
    And I do find the rush to bed pre-marriage problematic, but it doesn’t stop me from reading those passages.*g*
    I think there’s a place for everyone in Romanceland, and have been discovering some “sweeter” storylines lately, which I do appreciate.
    I’ll be lining up for your rereleases.

    Reply
  10. You might hear me groaning as I come across another anachronistic heroine who is too feisty for anybody’s own good, but I think she will continue to be written. We modern women chafe at the idea that females had no rights, property or otherwise, and could be married off at 15 or 16 or 17 at the whim of one’s father. It’s hard to come up with a compelling plot involving a biddable girl and a balding peer. So therefore we wind up reading about the 29 year old spinster who manages her underage brother’s estate, rides astride and can shoot a hole through the hero’s head with her eyes closed, quoting Wollstonecraft.It’s fiction, after all.
    And I do find the rush to bed pre-marriage problematic, but it doesn’t stop me from reading those passages.*g*
    I think there’s a place for everyone in Romanceland, and have been discovering some “sweeter” storylines lately, which I do appreciate.
    I’ll be lining up for your rereleases.

    Reply
  11. I like feisty heroines if they are written well. I’m not really too ken on the three friends who are spy heroines and can kick the bad guys in the head with the karate they learned in the secret school for orphan girls story. I do love the old fashion love stories, but I suspect they’re harder to write. I think it takes a really talented writer to create conflict that only involves the main characters growing love for each other and not insert some kind of outside distraction to fill the pages. And, you know what else I miss, even though I dislike infidelity in romance novels, I find myself missing the good old days when there used to be mistresses that were creating conflicts. In most of the books I’ve read lately, the hero is either in between mistresses or drops his present one as soon as he spots the heroine.
    Jo: Your man in the portrait has red hair…and he’s still cute.

    Reply
  12. I like feisty heroines if they are written well. I’m not really too ken on the three friends who are spy heroines and can kick the bad guys in the head with the karate they learned in the secret school for orphan girls story. I do love the old fashion love stories, but I suspect they’re harder to write. I think it takes a really talented writer to create conflict that only involves the main characters growing love for each other and not insert some kind of outside distraction to fill the pages. And, you know what else I miss, even though I dislike infidelity in romance novels, I find myself missing the good old days when there used to be mistresses that were creating conflicts. In most of the books I’ve read lately, the hero is either in between mistresses or drops his present one as soon as he spots the heroine.
    Jo: Your man in the portrait has red hair…and he’s still cute.

    Reply
  13. I like feisty heroines if they are written well. I’m not really too ken on the three friends who are spy heroines and can kick the bad guys in the head with the karate they learned in the secret school for orphan girls story. I do love the old fashion love stories, but I suspect they’re harder to write. I think it takes a really talented writer to create conflict that only involves the main characters growing love for each other and not insert some kind of outside distraction to fill the pages. And, you know what else I miss, even though I dislike infidelity in romance novels, I find myself missing the good old days when there used to be mistresses that were creating conflicts. In most of the books I’ve read lately, the hero is either in between mistresses or drops his present one as soon as he spots the heroine.
    Jo: Your man in the portrait has red hair…and he’s still cute.

    Reply
  14. I like feisty heroines if they are written well. I’m not really too ken on the three friends who are spy heroines and can kick the bad guys in the head with the karate they learned in the secret school for orphan girls story. I do love the old fashion love stories, but I suspect they’re harder to write. I think it takes a really talented writer to create conflict that only involves the main characters growing love for each other and not insert some kind of outside distraction to fill the pages. And, you know what else I miss, even though I dislike infidelity in romance novels, I find myself missing the good old days when there used to be mistresses that were creating conflicts. In most of the books I’ve read lately, the hero is either in between mistresses or drops his present one as soon as he spots the heroine.
    Jo: Your man in the portrait has red hair…and he’s still cute.

    Reply
  15. I like feisty heroines if they are written well. I’m not really too ken on the three friends who are spy heroines and can kick the bad guys in the head with the karate they learned in the secret school for orphan girls story. I do love the old fashion love stories, but I suspect they’re harder to write. I think it takes a really talented writer to create conflict that only involves the main characters growing love for each other and not insert some kind of outside distraction to fill the pages. And, you know what else I miss, even though I dislike infidelity in romance novels, I find myself missing the good old days when there used to be mistresses that were creating conflicts. In most of the books I’ve read lately, the hero is either in between mistresses or drops his present one as soon as he spots the heroine.
    Jo: Your man in the portrait has red hair…and he’s still cute.

    Reply
  16. I’ve said before- I like the heroine who knows how to work the system. And maybe because I am from the last generation raised to think marriage was a career, I have no problem with a heroine who has home and family as her main goal. Sometimes I feel like a living fossil- I really remember when Moms could stay home if they wanted to- maybe one appeal of the historical romance novel for me is nostalgia for earlier standards of behavior and a simpler lifestyle. I, too, look forward to your re-releases, Jo. I own acopy of Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed, complet with the wimpy looking hero on the cover-LOL_ and I can’t wait to read your other early works.

    Reply
  17. I’ve said before- I like the heroine who knows how to work the system. And maybe because I am from the last generation raised to think marriage was a career, I have no problem with a heroine who has home and family as her main goal. Sometimes I feel like a living fossil- I really remember when Moms could stay home if they wanted to- maybe one appeal of the historical romance novel for me is nostalgia for earlier standards of behavior and a simpler lifestyle. I, too, look forward to your re-releases, Jo. I own acopy of Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed, complet with the wimpy looking hero on the cover-LOL_ and I can’t wait to read your other early works.

    Reply
  18. I’ve said before- I like the heroine who knows how to work the system. And maybe because I am from the last generation raised to think marriage was a career, I have no problem with a heroine who has home and family as her main goal. Sometimes I feel like a living fossil- I really remember when Moms could stay home if they wanted to- maybe one appeal of the historical romance novel for me is nostalgia for earlier standards of behavior and a simpler lifestyle. I, too, look forward to your re-releases, Jo. I own acopy of Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed, complet with the wimpy looking hero on the cover-LOL_ and I can’t wait to read your other early works.

    Reply
  19. I’ve said before- I like the heroine who knows how to work the system. And maybe because I am from the last generation raised to think marriage was a career, I have no problem with a heroine who has home and family as her main goal. Sometimes I feel like a living fossil- I really remember when Moms could stay home if they wanted to- maybe one appeal of the historical romance novel for me is nostalgia for earlier standards of behavior and a simpler lifestyle. I, too, look forward to your re-releases, Jo. I own acopy of Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed, complet with the wimpy looking hero on the cover-LOL_ and I can’t wait to read your other early works.

    Reply
  20. I’ve said before- I like the heroine who knows how to work the system. And maybe because I am from the last generation raised to think marriage was a career, I have no problem with a heroine who has home and family as her main goal. Sometimes I feel like a living fossil- I really remember when Moms could stay home if they wanted to- maybe one appeal of the historical romance novel for me is nostalgia for earlier standards of behavior and a simpler lifestyle. I, too, look forward to your re-releases, Jo. I own acopy of Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed, complet with the wimpy looking hero on the cover-LOL_ and I can’t wait to read your other early works.

    Reply
  21. Jo here.
    Good point, Laura, about reforming rakes etc. But the romance rake is mainly defined by promiscuity and that can change while leaving the rest of him more or less untouched. I have a whole theory on how and why this works linked into brain chemistry so that it could well be a “normal” part of human behavior.
    The rebellious heroine, OTOH, is often defined by her rebellious nature. That is the only thing that sets her apart from the “simpering misses.” I really, really dislike the way ordinary women living ordinary lives are sometimes put down in romance novels by comparison to the heroine.
    But, if she decides to join the ranks of ordinary, it seems like a bubble popping showing that it was all air anyway.
    Clearly this isn’t true of all rebellious historical heroines, but it does occur.
    As for “taming” the hero — or heroine, for that matter — I shudder. Courtship, love, and marriage should never be about taming anyone!
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  22. Jo here.
    Good point, Laura, about reforming rakes etc. But the romance rake is mainly defined by promiscuity and that can change while leaving the rest of him more or less untouched. I have a whole theory on how and why this works linked into brain chemistry so that it could well be a “normal” part of human behavior.
    The rebellious heroine, OTOH, is often defined by her rebellious nature. That is the only thing that sets her apart from the “simpering misses.” I really, really dislike the way ordinary women living ordinary lives are sometimes put down in romance novels by comparison to the heroine.
    But, if she decides to join the ranks of ordinary, it seems like a bubble popping showing that it was all air anyway.
    Clearly this isn’t true of all rebellious historical heroines, but it does occur.
    As for “taming” the hero — or heroine, for that matter — I shudder. Courtship, love, and marriage should never be about taming anyone!
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  23. Jo here.
    Good point, Laura, about reforming rakes etc. But the romance rake is mainly defined by promiscuity and that can change while leaving the rest of him more or less untouched. I have a whole theory on how and why this works linked into brain chemistry so that it could well be a “normal” part of human behavior.
    The rebellious heroine, OTOH, is often defined by her rebellious nature. That is the only thing that sets her apart from the “simpering misses.” I really, really dislike the way ordinary women living ordinary lives are sometimes put down in romance novels by comparison to the heroine.
    But, if she decides to join the ranks of ordinary, it seems like a bubble popping showing that it was all air anyway.
    Clearly this isn’t true of all rebellious historical heroines, but it does occur.
    As for “taming” the hero — or heroine, for that matter — I shudder. Courtship, love, and marriage should never be about taming anyone!
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  24. Jo here.
    Good point, Laura, about reforming rakes etc. But the romance rake is mainly defined by promiscuity and that can change while leaving the rest of him more or less untouched. I have a whole theory on how and why this works linked into brain chemistry so that it could well be a “normal” part of human behavior.
    The rebellious heroine, OTOH, is often defined by her rebellious nature. That is the only thing that sets her apart from the “simpering misses.” I really, really dislike the way ordinary women living ordinary lives are sometimes put down in romance novels by comparison to the heroine.
    But, if she decides to join the ranks of ordinary, it seems like a bubble popping showing that it was all air anyway.
    Clearly this isn’t true of all rebellious historical heroines, but it does occur.
    As for “taming” the hero — or heroine, for that matter — I shudder. Courtship, love, and marriage should never be about taming anyone!
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  25. Jo here.
    Good point, Laura, about reforming rakes etc. But the romance rake is mainly defined by promiscuity and that can change while leaving the rest of him more or less untouched. I have a whole theory on how and why this works linked into brain chemistry so that it could well be a “normal” part of human behavior.
    The rebellious heroine, OTOH, is often defined by her rebellious nature. That is the only thing that sets her apart from the “simpering misses.” I really, really dislike the way ordinary women living ordinary lives are sometimes put down in romance novels by comparison to the heroine.
    But, if she decides to join the ranks of ordinary, it seems like a bubble popping showing that it was all air anyway.
    Clearly this isn’t true of all rebellious historical heroines, but it does occur.
    As for “taming” the hero — or heroine, for that matter — I shudder. Courtship, love, and marriage should never be about taming anyone!
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  26. Jo here again.
    Maggie wrote: So therefore we wind up reading about the 29 year old spinster who manages her underage brother’s estate, rides astride and can shoot a hole through the hero’s head with her eyes closed, quoting Wollstonecraft.It’s fiction, after all.”
    Apart from the riding astride, the above is not out of range of normal, I don’t think. In the 18th century many ladies hosted salons where politics and philosophy were discussed as well as the arts.
    Even in the Regency, upper class women could do things other than dressing and partying, and sometimes they did so from preference instead of necessity. If most of them were home based (anything from still room work to designing house renovations) isn’t that still the case? In fact, isn’t it the idle romance heroine who’s the aberration?
    Argue with me, please. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m tossing out ideas as they come to me and would love to have dents knocked in them. That’s how they take shape.
    It wasn’t abnormal for a lady to run an estate in the same way that a gentleman would — as opposed to being employed to do it. I don’t know how many women learned to shoot a pistol, but if she was likely to need one, why not?
    I do think most of them would be puzzled by the obsessive desire to ride astride as they actually preferred to ride in a carriage for any meaningful travel — as did men. Much more comfortable. (How many women today are longing to ride a motorbike to work instead of driving a car?) Women did commonly drive themselves in various vehicles. Jane Austen had a donkey cart.
    Some wanted to hunt and the side saddle was a problem there until the development of the leaping horn, but again, some managed.
    Perhaps the problem with the odd heroine is because we’ve somehow decided a “normal” one is an airhead social fribble?
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  27. Jo here again.
    Maggie wrote: So therefore we wind up reading about the 29 year old spinster who manages her underage brother’s estate, rides astride and can shoot a hole through the hero’s head with her eyes closed, quoting Wollstonecraft.It’s fiction, after all.”
    Apart from the riding astride, the above is not out of range of normal, I don’t think. In the 18th century many ladies hosted salons where politics and philosophy were discussed as well as the arts.
    Even in the Regency, upper class women could do things other than dressing and partying, and sometimes they did so from preference instead of necessity. If most of them were home based (anything from still room work to designing house renovations) isn’t that still the case? In fact, isn’t it the idle romance heroine who’s the aberration?
    Argue with me, please. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m tossing out ideas as they come to me and would love to have dents knocked in them. That’s how they take shape.
    It wasn’t abnormal for a lady to run an estate in the same way that a gentleman would — as opposed to being employed to do it. I don’t know how many women learned to shoot a pistol, but if she was likely to need one, why not?
    I do think most of them would be puzzled by the obsessive desire to ride astride as they actually preferred to ride in a carriage for any meaningful travel — as did men. Much more comfortable. (How many women today are longing to ride a motorbike to work instead of driving a car?) Women did commonly drive themselves in various vehicles. Jane Austen had a donkey cart.
    Some wanted to hunt and the side saddle was a problem there until the development of the leaping horn, but again, some managed.
    Perhaps the problem with the odd heroine is because we’ve somehow decided a “normal” one is an airhead social fribble?
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  28. Jo here again.
    Maggie wrote: So therefore we wind up reading about the 29 year old spinster who manages her underage brother’s estate, rides astride and can shoot a hole through the hero’s head with her eyes closed, quoting Wollstonecraft.It’s fiction, after all.”
    Apart from the riding astride, the above is not out of range of normal, I don’t think. In the 18th century many ladies hosted salons where politics and philosophy were discussed as well as the arts.
    Even in the Regency, upper class women could do things other than dressing and partying, and sometimes they did so from preference instead of necessity. If most of them were home based (anything from still room work to designing house renovations) isn’t that still the case? In fact, isn’t it the idle romance heroine who’s the aberration?
    Argue with me, please. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m tossing out ideas as they come to me and would love to have dents knocked in them. That’s how they take shape.
    It wasn’t abnormal for a lady to run an estate in the same way that a gentleman would — as opposed to being employed to do it. I don’t know how many women learned to shoot a pistol, but if she was likely to need one, why not?
    I do think most of them would be puzzled by the obsessive desire to ride astride as they actually preferred to ride in a carriage for any meaningful travel — as did men. Much more comfortable. (How many women today are longing to ride a motorbike to work instead of driving a car?) Women did commonly drive themselves in various vehicles. Jane Austen had a donkey cart.
    Some wanted to hunt and the side saddle was a problem there until the development of the leaping horn, but again, some managed.
    Perhaps the problem with the odd heroine is because we’ve somehow decided a “normal” one is an airhead social fribble?
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  29. Jo here again.
    Maggie wrote: So therefore we wind up reading about the 29 year old spinster who manages her underage brother’s estate, rides astride and can shoot a hole through the hero’s head with her eyes closed, quoting Wollstonecraft.It’s fiction, after all.”
    Apart from the riding astride, the above is not out of range of normal, I don’t think. In the 18th century many ladies hosted salons where politics and philosophy were discussed as well as the arts.
    Even in the Regency, upper class women could do things other than dressing and partying, and sometimes they did so from preference instead of necessity. If most of them were home based (anything from still room work to designing house renovations) isn’t that still the case? In fact, isn’t it the idle romance heroine who’s the aberration?
    Argue with me, please. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m tossing out ideas as they come to me and would love to have dents knocked in them. That’s how they take shape.
    It wasn’t abnormal for a lady to run an estate in the same way that a gentleman would — as opposed to being employed to do it. I don’t know how many women learned to shoot a pistol, but if she was likely to need one, why not?
    I do think most of them would be puzzled by the obsessive desire to ride astride as they actually preferred to ride in a carriage for any meaningful travel — as did men. Much more comfortable. (How many women today are longing to ride a motorbike to work instead of driving a car?) Women did commonly drive themselves in various vehicles. Jane Austen had a donkey cart.
    Some wanted to hunt and the side saddle was a problem there until the development of the leaping horn, but again, some managed.
    Perhaps the problem with the odd heroine is because we’ve somehow decided a “normal” one is an airhead social fribble?
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  30. Jo here again.
    Maggie wrote: So therefore we wind up reading about the 29 year old spinster who manages her underage brother’s estate, rides astride and can shoot a hole through the hero’s head with her eyes closed, quoting Wollstonecraft.It’s fiction, after all.”
    Apart from the riding astride, the above is not out of range of normal, I don’t think. In the 18th century many ladies hosted salons where politics and philosophy were discussed as well as the arts.
    Even in the Regency, upper class women could do things other than dressing and partying, and sometimes they did so from preference instead of necessity. If most of them were home based (anything from still room work to designing house renovations) isn’t that still the case? In fact, isn’t it the idle romance heroine who’s the aberration?
    Argue with me, please. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m tossing out ideas as they come to me and would love to have dents knocked in them. That’s how they take shape.
    It wasn’t abnormal for a lady to run an estate in the same way that a gentleman would — as opposed to being employed to do it. I don’t know how many women learned to shoot a pistol, but if she was likely to need one, why not?
    I do think most of them would be puzzled by the obsessive desire to ride astride as they actually preferred to ride in a carriage for any meaningful travel — as did men. Much more comfortable. (How many women today are longing to ride a motorbike to work instead of driving a car?) Women did commonly drive themselves in various vehicles. Jane Austen had a donkey cart.
    Some wanted to hunt and the side saddle was a problem there until the development of the leaping horn, but again, some managed.
    Perhaps the problem with the odd heroine is because we’ve somehow decided a “normal” one is an airhead social fribble?
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  31. Jo here again. Well, it’s my day and I can talk if I wan’t to… (to paraphrase an old song.)
    Kay wrote: “I find myself missing the good old days when there used to be mistresses that were creating conflicts. In most of the books I’ve read lately, the hero is either in between mistresses or drops his present one as soon as he spots the heroine.”
    Ah, the “red fingernailed lady.” That’s what she’s tagged, because in the typical book the heroine was pure and wholesome and of course didn’t wear make up or have any fashion sense and the rich, powerful hero hung with a set full of sleek, beautiful women — with red fingernails, of course. Shocking!
    When tossed into his milieu (governess, secretary, companion to his grandmother)our heroine is shocked by the worldly wickedness but soldiers on in her duties while secretly longing for the dark and powerful hero who watches her from hooded, dark eyes, a sardonic smile on his cruel lips….
    (Sorry, getting carried away there.)
    But when the hero realizes the tender heroine is what he wants, his prime lady slithers in to poison her mind with bad advice, predictions of disaster, or outright lies that he’s engaged to marry her, and of course our little twit believes her and runs off to Australia.
    No, sorry, that’s the beginning of another story. ๐Ÿ™‚
    But I was actually thinking the same thing, Kay. The other woman who is also holding a better hand than the heroine in this game, is a classic and therefore probably useful element in romance fiction and I want to try to use a variant in the book I’m writing. I’ll report back.
    “Jo: Your man in the portrait has red hair…and he’s still cute.”
    Why is everyone down on redheads? He is cute, isn’t he? I wish I knew who those two were so I could try to find out about them. I hope they had a lovely life, but I keep thinking of him heading off to the Peninsular or Waterloo and getting killed.
    Jo

    Reply
  32. Jo here again. Well, it’s my day and I can talk if I wan’t to… (to paraphrase an old song.)
    Kay wrote: “I find myself missing the good old days when there used to be mistresses that were creating conflicts. In most of the books I’ve read lately, the hero is either in between mistresses or drops his present one as soon as he spots the heroine.”
    Ah, the “red fingernailed lady.” That’s what she’s tagged, because in the typical book the heroine was pure and wholesome and of course didn’t wear make up or have any fashion sense and the rich, powerful hero hung with a set full of sleek, beautiful women — with red fingernails, of course. Shocking!
    When tossed into his milieu (governess, secretary, companion to his grandmother)our heroine is shocked by the worldly wickedness but soldiers on in her duties while secretly longing for the dark and powerful hero who watches her from hooded, dark eyes, a sardonic smile on his cruel lips….
    (Sorry, getting carried away there.)
    But when the hero realizes the tender heroine is what he wants, his prime lady slithers in to poison her mind with bad advice, predictions of disaster, or outright lies that he’s engaged to marry her, and of course our little twit believes her and runs off to Australia.
    No, sorry, that’s the beginning of another story. ๐Ÿ™‚
    But I was actually thinking the same thing, Kay. The other woman who is also holding a better hand than the heroine in this game, is a classic and therefore probably useful element in romance fiction and I want to try to use a variant in the book I’m writing. I’ll report back.
    “Jo: Your man in the portrait has red hair…and he’s still cute.”
    Why is everyone down on redheads? He is cute, isn’t he? I wish I knew who those two were so I could try to find out about them. I hope they had a lovely life, but I keep thinking of him heading off to the Peninsular or Waterloo and getting killed.
    Jo

    Reply
  33. Jo here again. Well, it’s my day and I can talk if I wan’t to… (to paraphrase an old song.)
    Kay wrote: “I find myself missing the good old days when there used to be mistresses that were creating conflicts. In most of the books I’ve read lately, the hero is either in between mistresses or drops his present one as soon as he spots the heroine.”
    Ah, the “red fingernailed lady.” That’s what she’s tagged, because in the typical book the heroine was pure and wholesome and of course didn’t wear make up or have any fashion sense and the rich, powerful hero hung with a set full of sleek, beautiful women — with red fingernails, of course. Shocking!
    When tossed into his milieu (governess, secretary, companion to his grandmother)our heroine is shocked by the worldly wickedness but soldiers on in her duties while secretly longing for the dark and powerful hero who watches her from hooded, dark eyes, a sardonic smile on his cruel lips….
    (Sorry, getting carried away there.)
    But when the hero realizes the tender heroine is what he wants, his prime lady slithers in to poison her mind with bad advice, predictions of disaster, or outright lies that he’s engaged to marry her, and of course our little twit believes her and runs off to Australia.
    No, sorry, that’s the beginning of another story. ๐Ÿ™‚
    But I was actually thinking the same thing, Kay. The other woman who is also holding a better hand than the heroine in this game, is a classic and therefore probably useful element in romance fiction and I want to try to use a variant in the book I’m writing. I’ll report back.
    “Jo: Your man in the portrait has red hair…and he’s still cute.”
    Why is everyone down on redheads? He is cute, isn’t he? I wish I knew who those two were so I could try to find out about them. I hope they had a lovely life, but I keep thinking of him heading off to the Peninsular or Waterloo and getting killed.
    Jo

    Reply
  34. Jo here again. Well, it’s my day and I can talk if I wan’t to… (to paraphrase an old song.)
    Kay wrote: “I find myself missing the good old days when there used to be mistresses that were creating conflicts. In most of the books I’ve read lately, the hero is either in between mistresses or drops his present one as soon as he spots the heroine.”
    Ah, the “red fingernailed lady.” That’s what she’s tagged, because in the typical book the heroine was pure and wholesome and of course didn’t wear make up or have any fashion sense and the rich, powerful hero hung with a set full of sleek, beautiful women — with red fingernails, of course. Shocking!
    When tossed into his milieu (governess, secretary, companion to his grandmother)our heroine is shocked by the worldly wickedness but soldiers on in her duties while secretly longing for the dark and powerful hero who watches her from hooded, dark eyes, a sardonic smile on his cruel lips….
    (Sorry, getting carried away there.)
    But when the hero realizes the tender heroine is what he wants, his prime lady slithers in to poison her mind with bad advice, predictions of disaster, or outright lies that he’s engaged to marry her, and of course our little twit believes her and runs off to Australia.
    No, sorry, that’s the beginning of another story. ๐Ÿ™‚
    But I was actually thinking the same thing, Kay. The other woman who is also holding a better hand than the heroine in this game, is a classic and therefore probably useful element in romance fiction and I want to try to use a variant in the book I’m writing. I’ll report back.
    “Jo: Your man in the portrait has red hair…and he’s still cute.”
    Why is everyone down on redheads? He is cute, isn’t he? I wish I knew who those two were so I could try to find out about them. I hope they had a lovely life, but I keep thinking of him heading off to the Peninsular or Waterloo and getting killed.
    Jo

    Reply
  35. Jo here again. Well, it’s my day and I can talk if I wan’t to… (to paraphrase an old song.)
    Kay wrote: “I find myself missing the good old days when there used to be mistresses that were creating conflicts. In most of the books I’ve read lately, the hero is either in between mistresses or drops his present one as soon as he spots the heroine.”
    Ah, the “red fingernailed lady.” That’s what she’s tagged, because in the typical book the heroine was pure and wholesome and of course didn’t wear make up or have any fashion sense and the rich, powerful hero hung with a set full of sleek, beautiful women — with red fingernails, of course. Shocking!
    When tossed into his milieu (governess, secretary, companion to his grandmother)our heroine is shocked by the worldly wickedness but soldiers on in her duties while secretly longing for the dark and powerful hero who watches her from hooded, dark eyes, a sardonic smile on his cruel lips….
    (Sorry, getting carried away there.)
    But when the hero realizes the tender heroine is what he wants, his prime lady slithers in to poison her mind with bad advice, predictions of disaster, or outright lies that he’s engaged to marry her, and of course our little twit believes her and runs off to Australia.
    No, sorry, that’s the beginning of another story. ๐Ÿ™‚
    But I was actually thinking the same thing, Kay. The other woman who is also holding a better hand than the heroine in this game, is a classic and therefore probably useful element in romance fiction and I want to try to use a variant in the book I’m writing. I’ll report back.
    “Jo: Your man in the portrait has red hair…and he’s still cute.”
    Why is everyone down on redheads? He is cute, isn’t he? I wish I knew who those two were so I could try to find out about them. I hope they had a lovely life, but I keep thinking of him heading off to the Peninsular or Waterloo and getting killed.
    Jo

    Reply
  36. To answer “Any idea why some readers don’t want that?”
    Yes. I’ve had many conversations, online and IRL where someone is ranting about a book I thought was well put together and at some point the other person says “Well, I wouldn’t do that.” Yes, that’s beside the point. Would the heroine? The way the author has structured her social situation, her background and her personality, would SHE do that? “I wouldn’t do it.” And there it ends.
    Romance is a genre where some readers aren’t reading the story itself, the struggle between two people, but a fantasy about themselves. Unless they are or could somehow be the heroine, the story has no merit. Since they can’t project themselves into contentment in the actual or average life of the typical regency era woman, the heroine cannot be a typical woman.
    Edith’s mismatch book (Annabelle’s? Have to think – ) caused all kinds of drama on this issue. Instead of seeing what a great exploration it was of what a mismatch REALLY meant, that reader sees a lot of drama about something that shouldn’t matter. Nevermind that it did.
    And lastly, since I’m going long – never mind the mistress causing problems. I want more books like The Fire Flower. Because in times of arranged and monetary marriage there had to be many couples who met too late.

    Reply
  37. To answer “Any idea why some readers don’t want that?”
    Yes. I’ve had many conversations, online and IRL where someone is ranting about a book I thought was well put together and at some point the other person says “Well, I wouldn’t do that.” Yes, that’s beside the point. Would the heroine? The way the author has structured her social situation, her background and her personality, would SHE do that? “I wouldn’t do it.” And there it ends.
    Romance is a genre where some readers aren’t reading the story itself, the struggle between two people, but a fantasy about themselves. Unless they are or could somehow be the heroine, the story has no merit. Since they can’t project themselves into contentment in the actual or average life of the typical regency era woman, the heroine cannot be a typical woman.
    Edith’s mismatch book (Annabelle’s? Have to think – ) caused all kinds of drama on this issue. Instead of seeing what a great exploration it was of what a mismatch REALLY meant, that reader sees a lot of drama about something that shouldn’t matter. Nevermind that it did.
    And lastly, since I’m going long – never mind the mistress causing problems. I want more books like The Fire Flower. Because in times of arranged and monetary marriage there had to be many couples who met too late.

    Reply
  38. To answer “Any idea why some readers don’t want that?”
    Yes. I’ve had many conversations, online and IRL where someone is ranting about a book I thought was well put together and at some point the other person says “Well, I wouldn’t do that.” Yes, that’s beside the point. Would the heroine? The way the author has structured her social situation, her background and her personality, would SHE do that? “I wouldn’t do it.” And there it ends.
    Romance is a genre where some readers aren’t reading the story itself, the struggle between two people, but a fantasy about themselves. Unless they are or could somehow be the heroine, the story has no merit. Since they can’t project themselves into contentment in the actual or average life of the typical regency era woman, the heroine cannot be a typical woman.
    Edith’s mismatch book (Annabelle’s? Have to think – ) caused all kinds of drama on this issue. Instead of seeing what a great exploration it was of what a mismatch REALLY meant, that reader sees a lot of drama about something that shouldn’t matter. Nevermind that it did.
    And lastly, since I’m going long – never mind the mistress causing problems. I want more books like The Fire Flower. Because in times of arranged and monetary marriage there had to be many couples who met too late.

    Reply
  39. To answer “Any idea why some readers don’t want that?”
    Yes. I’ve had many conversations, online and IRL where someone is ranting about a book I thought was well put together and at some point the other person says “Well, I wouldn’t do that.” Yes, that’s beside the point. Would the heroine? The way the author has structured her social situation, her background and her personality, would SHE do that? “I wouldn’t do it.” And there it ends.
    Romance is a genre where some readers aren’t reading the story itself, the struggle between two people, but a fantasy about themselves. Unless they are or could somehow be the heroine, the story has no merit. Since they can’t project themselves into contentment in the actual or average life of the typical regency era woman, the heroine cannot be a typical woman.
    Edith’s mismatch book (Annabelle’s? Have to think – ) caused all kinds of drama on this issue. Instead of seeing what a great exploration it was of what a mismatch REALLY meant, that reader sees a lot of drama about something that shouldn’t matter. Nevermind that it did.
    And lastly, since I’m going long – never mind the mistress causing problems. I want more books like The Fire Flower. Because in times of arranged and monetary marriage there had to be many couples who met too late.

    Reply
  40. To answer “Any idea why some readers don’t want that?”
    Yes. I’ve had many conversations, online and IRL where someone is ranting about a book I thought was well put together and at some point the other person says “Well, I wouldn’t do that.” Yes, that’s beside the point. Would the heroine? The way the author has structured her social situation, her background and her personality, would SHE do that? “I wouldn’t do it.” And there it ends.
    Romance is a genre where some readers aren’t reading the story itself, the struggle between two people, but a fantasy about themselves. Unless they are or could somehow be the heroine, the story has no merit. Since they can’t project themselves into contentment in the actual or average life of the typical regency era woman, the heroine cannot be a typical woman.
    Edith’s mismatch book (Annabelle’s? Have to think – ) caused all kinds of drama on this issue. Instead of seeing what a great exploration it was of what a mismatch REALLY meant, that reader sees a lot of drama about something that shouldn’t matter. Nevermind that it did.
    And lastly, since I’m going long – never mind the mistress causing problems. I want more books like The Fire Flower. Because in times of arranged and monetary marriage there had to be many couples who met too late.

    Reply
  41. The first book I read by you,Jo, was Lord of Midnight, and what made me like it so much (and find all your others) was that the people were of their time and the problem the heroine had to solve (how to think of a trial by combat, which was forcing her to choose between the honor of her father and that of her husband) was NOT solved by dismissing the idea of a divinely decided trial by combat as absurd.
    In historical romances I’m always interested in how women with different life options and goals–both for occupations and for spouses–act and feel. What yanks me right out of the story is heavy-handed anachronistic thinking to accomodate current ideas of what is right or natural. (Sex, politics, and religion, usually.) I love that Loretta made Dain a total Tory snob! Of course he is–he’s a MARQUESS. I love that Jessica decides to marry him rather than live in penury and obscurity. Because she’s a rational creature with none of the strange pride that sometimes afflicts heroines (“I’d rather my child by you starve in a disease-infested village than take your money!”) Naturally I like the people of romances, and understand that they are heroes and heroines, whether flashily so or strong-and-silents. Yet I find it hard to believe, for example, that many women of the Regency felt caged in a house. In Austen’s novels, they all seem to be searching for a house in which to live out the rest of their days without fear of poverty and isolation.
    Okay, enough rambling by me.

    Reply
  42. The first book I read by you,Jo, was Lord of Midnight, and what made me like it so much (and find all your others) was that the people were of their time and the problem the heroine had to solve (how to think of a trial by combat, which was forcing her to choose between the honor of her father and that of her husband) was NOT solved by dismissing the idea of a divinely decided trial by combat as absurd.
    In historical romances I’m always interested in how women with different life options and goals–both for occupations and for spouses–act and feel. What yanks me right out of the story is heavy-handed anachronistic thinking to accomodate current ideas of what is right or natural. (Sex, politics, and religion, usually.) I love that Loretta made Dain a total Tory snob! Of course he is–he’s a MARQUESS. I love that Jessica decides to marry him rather than live in penury and obscurity. Because she’s a rational creature with none of the strange pride that sometimes afflicts heroines (“I’d rather my child by you starve in a disease-infested village than take your money!”) Naturally I like the people of romances, and understand that they are heroes and heroines, whether flashily so or strong-and-silents. Yet I find it hard to believe, for example, that many women of the Regency felt caged in a house. In Austen’s novels, they all seem to be searching for a house in which to live out the rest of their days without fear of poverty and isolation.
    Okay, enough rambling by me.

    Reply
  43. The first book I read by you,Jo, was Lord of Midnight, and what made me like it so much (and find all your others) was that the people were of their time and the problem the heroine had to solve (how to think of a trial by combat, which was forcing her to choose between the honor of her father and that of her husband) was NOT solved by dismissing the idea of a divinely decided trial by combat as absurd.
    In historical romances I’m always interested in how women with different life options and goals–both for occupations and for spouses–act and feel. What yanks me right out of the story is heavy-handed anachronistic thinking to accomodate current ideas of what is right or natural. (Sex, politics, and religion, usually.) I love that Loretta made Dain a total Tory snob! Of course he is–he’s a MARQUESS. I love that Jessica decides to marry him rather than live in penury and obscurity. Because she’s a rational creature with none of the strange pride that sometimes afflicts heroines (“I’d rather my child by you starve in a disease-infested village than take your money!”) Naturally I like the people of romances, and understand that they are heroes and heroines, whether flashily so or strong-and-silents. Yet I find it hard to believe, for example, that many women of the Regency felt caged in a house. In Austen’s novels, they all seem to be searching for a house in which to live out the rest of their days without fear of poverty and isolation.
    Okay, enough rambling by me.

    Reply
  44. The first book I read by you,Jo, was Lord of Midnight, and what made me like it so much (and find all your others) was that the people were of their time and the problem the heroine had to solve (how to think of a trial by combat, which was forcing her to choose between the honor of her father and that of her husband) was NOT solved by dismissing the idea of a divinely decided trial by combat as absurd.
    In historical romances I’m always interested in how women with different life options and goals–both for occupations and for spouses–act and feel. What yanks me right out of the story is heavy-handed anachronistic thinking to accomodate current ideas of what is right or natural. (Sex, politics, and religion, usually.) I love that Loretta made Dain a total Tory snob! Of course he is–he’s a MARQUESS. I love that Jessica decides to marry him rather than live in penury and obscurity. Because she’s a rational creature with none of the strange pride that sometimes afflicts heroines (“I’d rather my child by you starve in a disease-infested village than take your money!”) Naturally I like the people of romances, and understand that they are heroes and heroines, whether flashily so or strong-and-silents. Yet I find it hard to believe, for example, that many women of the Regency felt caged in a house. In Austen’s novels, they all seem to be searching for a house in which to live out the rest of their days without fear of poverty and isolation.
    Okay, enough rambling by me.

    Reply
  45. The first book I read by you,Jo, was Lord of Midnight, and what made me like it so much (and find all your others) was that the people were of their time and the problem the heroine had to solve (how to think of a trial by combat, which was forcing her to choose between the honor of her father and that of her husband) was NOT solved by dismissing the idea of a divinely decided trial by combat as absurd.
    In historical romances I’m always interested in how women with different life options and goals–both for occupations and for spouses–act and feel. What yanks me right out of the story is heavy-handed anachronistic thinking to accomodate current ideas of what is right or natural. (Sex, politics, and religion, usually.) I love that Loretta made Dain a total Tory snob! Of course he is–he’s a MARQUESS. I love that Jessica decides to marry him rather than live in penury and obscurity. Because she’s a rational creature with none of the strange pride that sometimes afflicts heroines (“I’d rather my child by you starve in a disease-infested village than take your money!”) Naturally I like the people of romances, and understand that they are heroes and heroines, whether flashily so or strong-and-silents. Yet I find it hard to believe, for example, that many women of the Regency felt caged in a house. In Austen’s novels, they all seem to be searching for a house in which to live out the rest of their days without fear of poverty and isolation.
    Okay, enough rambling by me.

    Reply
  46. I completely echo Laura V’s comments, who said it more eloquently and efficiently than I could. However, my views are also colored by having gone last Friday to see a production of “The Taming of the Shrew”. The production was an excellent one (anyone visiting Washington DC should always try to visit The Shakespeare Theatre, if possible), but the final speech remains so troubling. Kate is quite the shrew, and it’s very easy to impose 21st C views as to why she is so (her father loved Bianca best, she’s trapped in a world that allows her no freedom). She could be seen as a variant of the “feisty” heroine who is not satisfied with the role imposed on her by her society and class. OTOH, her bubble is so completely burst at the end, and her speech of being less than the dirt under her husband’s shoe is so dispiriting — I’ve yet to read an analysis of it that makes it anything other than depressing to me. Perhaps that’s why I loved “Lord of Scoundrels” or “An Unwilling Bride”, because the characters were allowed to remain who they were, prickles and all, to the end. It’s also one reason I’m often disatisfied with contemporary romances where the heroine is a CEO before 30, the greatest computer whiz or surgeon ever, yet gives it all up once she finds her One True Love. I don’t really care what choices she makes except that it seems pointless to have given her those characteristics only to have her, as Laura notes, abandon everything that made her unique at the end.

    Reply
  47. I completely echo Laura V’s comments, who said it more eloquently and efficiently than I could. However, my views are also colored by having gone last Friday to see a production of “The Taming of the Shrew”. The production was an excellent one (anyone visiting Washington DC should always try to visit The Shakespeare Theatre, if possible), but the final speech remains so troubling. Kate is quite the shrew, and it’s very easy to impose 21st C views as to why she is so (her father loved Bianca best, she’s trapped in a world that allows her no freedom). She could be seen as a variant of the “feisty” heroine who is not satisfied with the role imposed on her by her society and class. OTOH, her bubble is so completely burst at the end, and her speech of being less than the dirt under her husband’s shoe is so dispiriting — I’ve yet to read an analysis of it that makes it anything other than depressing to me. Perhaps that’s why I loved “Lord of Scoundrels” or “An Unwilling Bride”, because the characters were allowed to remain who they were, prickles and all, to the end. It’s also one reason I’m often disatisfied with contemporary romances where the heroine is a CEO before 30, the greatest computer whiz or surgeon ever, yet gives it all up once she finds her One True Love. I don’t really care what choices she makes except that it seems pointless to have given her those characteristics only to have her, as Laura notes, abandon everything that made her unique at the end.

    Reply
  48. I completely echo Laura V’s comments, who said it more eloquently and efficiently than I could. However, my views are also colored by having gone last Friday to see a production of “The Taming of the Shrew”. The production was an excellent one (anyone visiting Washington DC should always try to visit The Shakespeare Theatre, if possible), but the final speech remains so troubling. Kate is quite the shrew, and it’s very easy to impose 21st C views as to why she is so (her father loved Bianca best, she’s trapped in a world that allows her no freedom). She could be seen as a variant of the “feisty” heroine who is not satisfied with the role imposed on her by her society and class. OTOH, her bubble is so completely burst at the end, and her speech of being less than the dirt under her husband’s shoe is so dispiriting — I’ve yet to read an analysis of it that makes it anything other than depressing to me. Perhaps that’s why I loved “Lord of Scoundrels” or “An Unwilling Bride”, because the characters were allowed to remain who they were, prickles and all, to the end. It’s also one reason I’m often disatisfied with contemporary romances where the heroine is a CEO before 30, the greatest computer whiz or surgeon ever, yet gives it all up once she finds her One True Love. I don’t really care what choices she makes except that it seems pointless to have given her those characteristics only to have her, as Laura notes, abandon everything that made her unique at the end.

    Reply
  49. I completely echo Laura V’s comments, who said it more eloquently and efficiently than I could. However, my views are also colored by having gone last Friday to see a production of “The Taming of the Shrew”. The production was an excellent one (anyone visiting Washington DC should always try to visit The Shakespeare Theatre, if possible), but the final speech remains so troubling. Kate is quite the shrew, and it’s very easy to impose 21st C views as to why she is so (her father loved Bianca best, she’s trapped in a world that allows her no freedom). She could be seen as a variant of the “feisty” heroine who is not satisfied with the role imposed on her by her society and class. OTOH, her bubble is so completely burst at the end, and her speech of being less than the dirt under her husband’s shoe is so dispiriting — I’ve yet to read an analysis of it that makes it anything other than depressing to me. Perhaps that’s why I loved “Lord of Scoundrels” or “An Unwilling Bride”, because the characters were allowed to remain who they were, prickles and all, to the end. It’s also one reason I’m often disatisfied with contemporary romances where the heroine is a CEO before 30, the greatest computer whiz or surgeon ever, yet gives it all up once she finds her One True Love. I don’t really care what choices she makes except that it seems pointless to have given her those characteristics only to have her, as Laura notes, abandon everything that made her unique at the end.

    Reply
  50. I completely echo Laura V’s comments, who said it more eloquently and efficiently than I could. However, my views are also colored by having gone last Friday to see a production of “The Taming of the Shrew”. The production was an excellent one (anyone visiting Washington DC should always try to visit The Shakespeare Theatre, if possible), but the final speech remains so troubling. Kate is quite the shrew, and it’s very easy to impose 21st C views as to why she is so (her father loved Bianca best, she’s trapped in a world that allows her no freedom). She could be seen as a variant of the “feisty” heroine who is not satisfied with the role imposed on her by her society and class. OTOH, her bubble is so completely burst at the end, and her speech of being less than the dirt under her husband’s shoe is so dispiriting — I’ve yet to read an analysis of it that makes it anything other than depressing to me. Perhaps that’s why I loved “Lord of Scoundrels” or “An Unwilling Bride”, because the characters were allowed to remain who they were, prickles and all, to the end. It’s also one reason I’m often disatisfied with contemporary romances where the heroine is a CEO before 30, the greatest computer whiz or surgeon ever, yet gives it all up once she finds her One True Love. I don’t really care what choices she makes except that it seems pointless to have given her those characteristics only to have her, as Laura notes, abandon everything that made her unique at the end.

    Reply
  51. Well, I don’t know, Ms. Beverley, but it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting. That kind of heroine, after all, can be watched, with a little change in setting, any day of the week. Even were such a heroine interesting, I think she would only be so if the qualities you mentioned were extraordinary.
    And, you know, I can’t think of a single one of your heroines who fit the mold you’re lauding. For that matter, I can’t think of a single one of your heroes who would have wanted her if she had fit the mold.

    Reply
  52. Well, I don’t know, Ms. Beverley, but it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting. That kind of heroine, after all, can be watched, with a little change in setting, any day of the week. Even were such a heroine interesting, I think she would only be so if the qualities you mentioned were extraordinary.
    And, you know, I can’t think of a single one of your heroines who fit the mold you’re lauding. For that matter, I can’t think of a single one of your heroes who would have wanted her if she had fit the mold.

    Reply
  53. Well, I don’t know, Ms. Beverley, but it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting. That kind of heroine, after all, can be watched, with a little change in setting, any day of the week. Even were such a heroine interesting, I think she would only be so if the qualities you mentioned were extraordinary.
    And, you know, I can’t think of a single one of your heroines who fit the mold you’re lauding. For that matter, I can’t think of a single one of your heroes who would have wanted her if she had fit the mold.

    Reply
  54. Well, I don’t know, Ms. Beverley, but it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting. That kind of heroine, after all, can be watched, with a little change in setting, any day of the week. Even were such a heroine interesting, I think she would only be so if the qualities you mentioned were extraordinary.
    And, you know, I can’t think of a single one of your heroines who fit the mold you’re lauding. For that matter, I can’t think of a single one of your heroes who would have wanted her if she had fit the mold.

    Reply
  55. Well, I don’t know, Ms. Beverley, but it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting. That kind of heroine, after all, can be watched, with a little change in setting, any day of the week. Even were such a heroine interesting, I think she would only be so if the qualities you mentioned were extraordinary.
    And, you know, I can’t think of a single one of your heroines who fit the mold you’re lauding. For that matter, I can’t think of a single one of your heroes who would have wanted her if she had fit the mold.

    Reply
  56. I agree with you on “Taming of the Shrew”, always hated that last speech. Would it have been different if written by a woman…or was it?
    I believe there is room in romance novels for the feisty/strong heroine without making her cork-brained.
    Also, I’d like to see more marriage of convenience stories. I’m in my rocking chair now remembering a book by Julia Jeffries called The Chadwick Ring (Signet). It had everything that might be considered a taboo if it had been written today…a marriage of convenience, a mistress, a son who is in love with the wife and a giant age difference between the hero and heroine. What a great story. I wish she’d written more.

    Reply
  57. I agree with you on “Taming of the Shrew”, always hated that last speech. Would it have been different if written by a woman…or was it?
    I believe there is room in romance novels for the feisty/strong heroine without making her cork-brained.
    Also, I’d like to see more marriage of convenience stories. I’m in my rocking chair now remembering a book by Julia Jeffries called The Chadwick Ring (Signet). It had everything that might be considered a taboo if it had been written today…a marriage of convenience, a mistress, a son who is in love with the wife and a giant age difference between the hero and heroine. What a great story. I wish she’d written more.

    Reply
  58. I agree with you on “Taming of the Shrew”, always hated that last speech. Would it have been different if written by a woman…or was it?
    I believe there is room in romance novels for the feisty/strong heroine without making her cork-brained.
    Also, I’d like to see more marriage of convenience stories. I’m in my rocking chair now remembering a book by Julia Jeffries called The Chadwick Ring (Signet). It had everything that might be considered a taboo if it had been written today…a marriage of convenience, a mistress, a son who is in love with the wife and a giant age difference between the hero and heroine. What a great story. I wish she’d written more.

    Reply
  59. I agree with you on “Taming of the Shrew”, always hated that last speech. Would it have been different if written by a woman…or was it?
    I believe there is room in romance novels for the feisty/strong heroine without making her cork-brained.
    Also, I’d like to see more marriage of convenience stories. I’m in my rocking chair now remembering a book by Julia Jeffries called The Chadwick Ring (Signet). It had everything that might be considered a taboo if it had been written today…a marriage of convenience, a mistress, a son who is in love with the wife and a giant age difference between the hero and heroine. What a great story. I wish she’d written more.

    Reply
  60. I agree with you on “Taming of the Shrew”, always hated that last speech. Would it have been different if written by a woman…or was it?
    I believe there is room in romance novels for the feisty/strong heroine without making her cork-brained.
    Also, I’d like to see more marriage of convenience stories. I’m in my rocking chair now remembering a book by Julia Jeffries called The Chadwick Ring (Signet). It had everything that might be considered a taboo if it had been written today…a marriage of convenience, a mistress, a son who is in love with the wife and a giant age difference between the hero and heroine. What a great story. I wish she’d written more.

    Reply
  61. Well, I would have thought that Ann would have fit the description of a classic person of her time, and she certainly was book worthy. I also liked Emily, and (her name escapes me) “Lord Wraybourne’s bethrothed”. In fact, I thought the last was superb. And I adored Ann.

    Reply
  62. Well, I would have thought that Ann would have fit the description of a classic person of her time, and she certainly was book worthy. I also liked Emily, and (her name escapes me) “Lord Wraybourne’s bethrothed”. In fact, I thought the last was superb. And I adored Ann.

    Reply
  63. Well, I would have thought that Ann would have fit the description of a classic person of her time, and she certainly was book worthy. I also liked Emily, and (her name escapes me) “Lord Wraybourne’s bethrothed”. In fact, I thought the last was superb. And I adored Ann.

    Reply
  64. Well, I would have thought that Ann would have fit the description of a classic person of her time, and she certainly was book worthy. I also liked Emily, and (her name escapes me) “Lord Wraybourne’s bethrothed”. In fact, I thought the last was superb. And I adored Ann.

    Reply
  65. Well, I would have thought that Ann would have fit the description of a classic person of her time, and she certainly was book worthy. I also liked Emily, and (her name escapes me) “Lord Wraybourne’s bethrothed”. In fact, I thought the last was superb. And I adored Ann.

    Reply
  66. I like both kinds of story–that of the rebel/misfit, if it’s done with reasonable historical accuracy and the rebel/misfit character’s motivation goes deeper than “don’t wanna,” and that of characters with more typical ambitions and desires. With this as with many other topics, I like variety! I don’t want to feel like I’m reading the same book again and again. Or at least, I want to have a few dozen types of story to re-read instead of just one or two.
    I do, in general, like stories of mobility–characters crossing class lines, building new lives in new places, etc. I think that’s largely because I can relate to it so well. I’m not the girl who stayed in my small-town hometown and married my high school sweetheart; I’m the one who went to a big city college a thousand miles away and never seriously looked back. But just because I enjoy those stories don’t mean they’re the ONLY kind I want to read.
    This is probably another topic altogether, but I confess myself baffled by readers who’ll only read one type of story, or who say they’ll NEVER read X, whether X is a whole genre, anything in first person POV, anything with a red-haired hero, etc. I definitely have genres/settings/plots/etc. I’m drawn to more than others, but I’ll try anything once. Life is more interesting that way, IMHO.

    Reply
  67. I like both kinds of story–that of the rebel/misfit, if it’s done with reasonable historical accuracy and the rebel/misfit character’s motivation goes deeper than “don’t wanna,” and that of characters with more typical ambitions and desires. With this as with many other topics, I like variety! I don’t want to feel like I’m reading the same book again and again. Or at least, I want to have a few dozen types of story to re-read instead of just one or two.
    I do, in general, like stories of mobility–characters crossing class lines, building new lives in new places, etc. I think that’s largely because I can relate to it so well. I’m not the girl who stayed in my small-town hometown and married my high school sweetheart; I’m the one who went to a big city college a thousand miles away and never seriously looked back. But just because I enjoy those stories don’t mean they’re the ONLY kind I want to read.
    This is probably another topic altogether, but I confess myself baffled by readers who’ll only read one type of story, or who say they’ll NEVER read X, whether X is a whole genre, anything in first person POV, anything with a red-haired hero, etc. I definitely have genres/settings/plots/etc. I’m drawn to more than others, but I’ll try anything once. Life is more interesting that way, IMHO.

    Reply
  68. I like both kinds of story–that of the rebel/misfit, if it’s done with reasonable historical accuracy and the rebel/misfit character’s motivation goes deeper than “don’t wanna,” and that of characters with more typical ambitions and desires. With this as with many other topics, I like variety! I don’t want to feel like I’m reading the same book again and again. Or at least, I want to have a few dozen types of story to re-read instead of just one or two.
    I do, in general, like stories of mobility–characters crossing class lines, building new lives in new places, etc. I think that’s largely because I can relate to it so well. I’m not the girl who stayed in my small-town hometown and married my high school sweetheart; I’m the one who went to a big city college a thousand miles away and never seriously looked back. But just because I enjoy those stories don’t mean they’re the ONLY kind I want to read.
    This is probably another topic altogether, but I confess myself baffled by readers who’ll only read one type of story, or who say they’ll NEVER read X, whether X is a whole genre, anything in first person POV, anything with a red-haired hero, etc. I definitely have genres/settings/plots/etc. I’m drawn to more than others, but I’ll try anything once. Life is more interesting that way, IMHO.

    Reply
  69. I like both kinds of story–that of the rebel/misfit, if it’s done with reasonable historical accuracy and the rebel/misfit character’s motivation goes deeper than “don’t wanna,” and that of characters with more typical ambitions and desires. With this as with many other topics, I like variety! I don’t want to feel like I’m reading the same book again and again. Or at least, I want to have a few dozen types of story to re-read instead of just one or two.
    I do, in general, like stories of mobility–characters crossing class lines, building new lives in new places, etc. I think that’s largely because I can relate to it so well. I’m not the girl who stayed in my small-town hometown and married my high school sweetheart; I’m the one who went to a big city college a thousand miles away and never seriously looked back. But just because I enjoy those stories don’t mean they’re the ONLY kind I want to read.
    This is probably another topic altogether, but I confess myself baffled by readers who’ll only read one type of story, or who say they’ll NEVER read X, whether X is a whole genre, anything in first person POV, anything with a red-haired hero, etc. I definitely have genres/settings/plots/etc. I’m drawn to more than others, but I’ll try anything once. Life is more interesting that way, IMHO.

    Reply
  70. I like both kinds of story–that of the rebel/misfit, if it’s done with reasonable historical accuracy and the rebel/misfit character’s motivation goes deeper than “don’t wanna,” and that of characters with more typical ambitions and desires. With this as with many other topics, I like variety! I don’t want to feel like I’m reading the same book again and again. Or at least, I want to have a few dozen types of story to re-read instead of just one or two.
    I do, in general, like stories of mobility–characters crossing class lines, building new lives in new places, etc. I think that’s largely because I can relate to it so well. I’m not the girl who stayed in my small-town hometown and married my high school sweetheart; I’m the one who went to a big city college a thousand miles away and never seriously looked back. But just because I enjoy those stories don’t mean they’re the ONLY kind I want to read.
    This is probably another topic altogether, but I confess myself baffled by readers who’ll only read one type of story, or who say they’ll NEVER read X, whether X is a whole genre, anything in first person POV, anything with a red-haired hero, etc. I definitely have genres/settings/plots/etc. I’m drawn to more than others, but I’ll try anything once. Life is more interesting that way, IMHO.

    Reply
  71. One thing that I personally don’t get is – why do the hero/heroine have to be reconciled with the rest of society at all cost? Or to put it differently, why is it not a romance between two people, but between two people and society? I can count books on one fingers where the main couple decided “what the heck, they loved each other but since society did not accept them, they would just ignore them”. Now, if you just want to live the quiet country life, that is unlikely, of course, but I am sure plenty of people had different ideas. They could have gone to America or traveled on the continent, gone to India or just created their own world. People did. It is a myth that those who were out of favour with the ton would be cut EVERYWHERE. And who’s to say they were not happier because the ton was not talking to them? Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying an ordinary life is bad – I do enjoy “normal” historical courtships as much as the next girl. But when I read a book about a truely different heroine, I do not need her to be accepted everywhere to believe the love story. Funny enough, there are several such couples who are the parents of one of the main players. The father of the heroine of the “Masqueraders” (by Georgette Heyer) comes to mind – he ran off with a farmer’s daughter, married her, and never regretted his choices. I would love to read about such a love story every now and then, without the farmer’s daughter having to turn out as a lost aristocrat or anything. I think it does limit the scope of romance to not have “unsuitable” maches included, meaning those which remained unsuitable… I am not expressing myself well I fear, sorry for that!

    Reply
  72. One thing that I personally don’t get is – why do the hero/heroine have to be reconciled with the rest of society at all cost? Or to put it differently, why is it not a romance between two people, but between two people and society? I can count books on one fingers where the main couple decided “what the heck, they loved each other but since society did not accept them, they would just ignore them”. Now, if you just want to live the quiet country life, that is unlikely, of course, but I am sure plenty of people had different ideas. They could have gone to America or traveled on the continent, gone to India or just created their own world. People did. It is a myth that those who were out of favour with the ton would be cut EVERYWHERE. And who’s to say they were not happier because the ton was not talking to them? Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying an ordinary life is bad – I do enjoy “normal” historical courtships as much as the next girl. But when I read a book about a truely different heroine, I do not need her to be accepted everywhere to believe the love story. Funny enough, there are several such couples who are the parents of one of the main players. The father of the heroine of the “Masqueraders” (by Georgette Heyer) comes to mind – he ran off with a farmer’s daughter, married her, and never regretted his choices. I would love to read about such a love story every now and then, without the farmer’s daughter having to turn out as a lost aristocrat or anything. I think it does limit the scope of romance to not have “unsuitable” maches included, meaning those which remained unsuitable… I am not expressing myself well I fear, sorry for that!

    Reply
  73. One thing that I personally don’t get is – why do the hero/heroine have to be reconciled with the rest of society at all cost? Or to put it differently, why is it not a romance between two people, but between two people and society? I can count books on one fingers where the main couple decided “what the heck, they loved each other but since society did not accept them, they would just ignore them”. Now, if you just want to live the quiet country life, that is unlikely, of course, but I am sure plenty of people had different ideas. They could have gone to America or traveled on the continent, gone to India or just created their own world. People did. It is a myth that those who were out of favour with the ton would be cut EVERYWHERE. And who’s to say they were not happier because the ton was not talking to them? Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying an ordinary life is bad – I do enjoy “normal” historical courtships as much as the next girl. But when I read a book about a truely different heroine, I do not need her to be accepted everywhere to believe the love story. Funny enough, there are several such couples who are the parents of one of the main players. The father of the heroine of the “Masqueraders” (by Georgette Heyer) comes to mind – he ran off with a farmer’s daughter, married her, and never regretted his choices. I would love to read about such a love story every now and then, without the farmer’s daughter having to turn out as a lost aristocrat or anything. I think it does limit the scope of romance to not have “unsuitable” maches included, meaning those which remained unsuitable… I am not expressing myself well I fear, sorry for that!

    Reply
  74. One thing that I personally don’t get is – why do the hero/heroine have to be reconciled with the rest of society at all cost? Or to put it differently, why is it not a romance between two people, but between two people and society? I can count books on one fingers where the main couple decided “what the heck, they loved each other but since society did not accept them, they would just ignore them”. Now, if you just want to live the quiet country life, that is unlikely, of course, but I am sure plenty of people had different ideas. They could have gone to America or traveled on the continent, gone to India or just created their own world. People did. It is a myth that those who were out of favour with the ton would be cut EVERYWHERE. And who’s to say they were not happier because the ton was not talking to them? Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying an ordinary life is bad – I do enjoy “normal” historical courtships as much as the next girl. But when I read a book about a truely different heroine, I do not need her to be accepted everywhere to believe the love story. Funny enough, there are several such couples who are the parents of one of the main players. The father of the heroine of the “Masqueraders” (by Georgette Heyer) comes to mind – he ran off with a farmer’s daughter, married her, and never regretted his choices. I would love to read about such a love story every now and then, without the farmer’s daughter having to turn out as a lost aristocrat or anything. I think it does limit the scope of romance to not have “unsuitable” maches included, meaning those which remained unsuitable… I am not expressing myself well I fear, sorry for that!

    Reply
  75. One thing that I personally don’t get is – why do the hero/heroine have to be reconciled with the rest of society at all cost? Or to put it differently, why is it not a romance between two people, but between two people and society? I can count books on one fingers where the main couple decided “what the heck, they loved each other but since society did not accept them, they would just ignore them”. Now, if you just want to live the quiet country life, that is unlikely, of course, but I am sure plenty of people had different ideas. They could have gone to America or traveled on the continent, gone to India or just created their own world. People did. It is a myth that those who were out of favour with the ton would be cut EVERYWHERE. And who’s to say they were not happier because the ton was not talking to them? Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying an ordinary life is bad – I do enjoy “normal” historical courtships as much as the next girl. But when I read a book about a truely different heroine, I do not need her to be accepted everywhere to believe the love story. Funny enough, there are several such couples who are the parents of one of the main players. The father of the heroine of the “Masqueraders” (by Georgette Heyer) comes to mind – he ran off with a farmer’s daughter, married her, and never regretted his choices. I would love to read about such a love story every now and then, without the farmer’s daughter having to turn out as a lost aristocrat or anything. I think it does limit the scope of romance to not have “unsuitable” maches included, meaning those which remained unsuitable… I am not expressing myself well I fear, sorry for that!

    Reply
  76. Hi Jo:
    Great article. Love the blog. You have given us much food for thought.
    For me – I just want to feel connected to the hero and heroine – I want them to feel like real people who are experiencing real emotions -even in the most fantastical stories we read – what is true and consistent in the great books is that the characters shine through with qualities that we admire – that we relate to or that we aspire to. And in romance fiction – everything is a little more idealized – I don’t have a problem with authors taking liberties with their stories – I believe in artistic license – as long as the core of a character resonates with me and as long as there is emotional truth in the story then I will connect with it. This is a big topic – we could ponder this one for days! Thanks for being so though provoking.
    cheers
    Joanna D’Angelo

    Reply
  77. Hi Jo:
    Great article. Love the blog. You have given us much food for thought.
    For me – I just want to feel connected to the hero and heroine – I want them to feel like real people who are experiencing real emotions -even in the most fantastical stories we read – what is true and consistent in the great books is that the characters shine through with qualities that we admire – that we relate to or that we aspire to. And in romance fiction – everything is a little more idealized – I don’t have a problem with authors taking liberties with their stories – I believe in artistic license – as long as the core of a character resonates with me and as long as there is emotional truth in the story then I will connect with it. This is a big topic – we could ponder this one for days! Thanks for being so though provoking.
    cheers
    Joanna D’Angelo

    Reply
  78. Hi Jo:
    Great article. Love the blog. You have given us much food for thought.
    For me – I just want to feel connected to the hero and heroine – I want them to feel like real people who are experiencing real emotions -even in the most fantastical stories we read – what is true and consistent in the great books is that the characters shine through with qualities that we admire – that we relate to or that we aspire to. And in romance fiction – everything is a little more idealized – I don’t have a problem with authors taking liberties with their stories – I believe in artistic license – as long as the core of a character resonates with me and as long as there is emotional truth in the story then I will connect with it. This is a big topic – we could ponder this one for days! Thanks for being so though provoking.
    cheers
    Joanna D’Angelo

    Reply
  79. Hi Jo:
    Great article. Love the blog. You have given us much food for thought.
    For me – I just want to feel connected to the hero and heroine – I want them to feel like real people who are experiencing real emotions -even in the most fantastical stories we read – what is true and consistent in the great books is that the characters shine through with qualities that we admire – that we relate to or that we aspire to. And in romance fiction – everything is a little more idealized – I don’t have a problem with authors taking liberties with their stories – I believe in artistic license – as long as the core of a character resonates with me and as long as there is emotional truth in the story then I will connect with it. This is a big topic – we could ponder this one for days! Thanks for being so though provoking.
    cheers
    Joanna D’Angelo

    Reply
  80. Hi Jo:
    Great article. Love the blog. You have given us much food for thought.
    For me – I just want to feel connected to the hero and heroine – I want them to feel like real people who are experiencing real emotions -even in the most fantastical stories we read – what is true and consistent in the great books is that the characters shine through with qualities that we admire – that we relate to or that we aspire to. And in romance fiction – everything is a little more idealized – I don’t have a problem with authors taking liberties with their stories – I believe in artistic license – as long as the core of a character resonates with me and as long as there is emotional truth in the story then I will connect with it. This is a big topic – we could ponder this one for days! Thanks for being so though provoking.
    cheers
    Joanna D’Angelo

    Reply
  81. IMO each type of hero/heroine — rebel and conformist — have particular challenges. I like both types of books. In fact, some of my favorite books are those that cross well-plowed ground, running back over said territory with what feel like *real* characters.
    I think we tend to get locked in false dichotomies in a lot of these discussions (historical accuracy v. primary of romance, extraordinary characters v. ordinary characters), when the real meat of the debate is somewhere in the middle.
    I know it’s been said a million times, but I think it’s still true that a fresh-feeling story can be woven from well-worn threads, and that ultimately what moves readers is the power of the story *as a whole* and the power of the storyteller’s voice. Just think about how many extraordinary sonnets have been written, or how many excellent haikus, despite the severe limitations those forms impose.

    Reply
  82. IMO each type of hero/heroine — rebel and conformist — have particular challenges. I like both types of books. In fact, some of my favorite books are those that cross well-plowed ground, running back over said territory with what feel like *real* characters.
    I think we tend to get locked in false dichotomies in a lot of these discussions (historical accuracy v. primary of romance, extraordinary characters v. ordinary characters), when the real meat of the debate is somewhere in the middle.
    I know it’s been said a million times, but I think it’s still true that a fresh-feeling story can be woven from well-worn threads, and that ultimately what moves readers is the power of the story *as a whole* and the power of the storyteller’s voice. Just think about how many extraordinary sonnets have been written, or how many excellent haikus, despite the severe limitations those forms impose.

    Reply
  83. IMO each type of hero/heroine — rebel and conformist — have particular challenges. I like both types of books. In fact, some of my favorite books are those that cross well-plowed ground, running back over said territory with what feel like *real* characters.
    I think we tend to get locked in false dichotomies in a lot of these discussions (historical accuracy v. primary of romance, extraordinary characters v. ordinary characters), when the real meat of the debate is somewhere in the middle.
    I know it’s been said a million times, but I think it’s still true that a fresh-feeling story can be woven from well-worn threads, and that ultimately what moves readers is the power of the story *as a whole* and the power of the storyteller’s voice. Just think about how many extraordinary sonnets have been written, or how many excellent haikus, despite the severe limitations those forms impose.

    Reply
  84. IMO each type of hero/heroine — rebel and conformist — have particular challenges. I like both types of books. In fact, some of my favorite books are those that cross well-plowed ground, running back over said territory with what feel like *real* characters.
    I think we tend to get locked in false dichotomies in a lot of these discussions (historical accuracy v. primary of romance, extraordinary characters v. ordinary characters), when the real meat of the debate is somewhere in the middle.
    I know it’s been said a million times, but I think it’s still true that a fresh-feeling story can be woven from well-worn threads, and that ultimately what moves readers is the power of the story *as a whole* and the power of the storyteller’s voice. Just think about how many extraordinary sonnets have been written, or how many excellent haikus, despite the severe limitations those forms impose.

    Reply
  85. IMO each type of hero/heroine — rebel and conformist — have particular challenges. I like both types of books. In fact, some of my favorite books are those that cross well-plowed ground, running back over said territory with what feel like *real* characters.
    I think we tend to get locked in false dichotomies in a lot of these discussions (historical accuracy v. primary of romance, extraordinary characters v. ordinary characters), when the real meat of the debate is somewhere in the middle.
    I know it’s been said a million times, but I think it’s still true that a fresh-feeling story can be woven from well-worn threads, and that ultimately what moves readers is the power of the story *as a whole* and the power of the storyteller’s voice. Just think about how many extraordinary sonnets have been written, or how many excellent haikus, despite the severe limitations those forms impose.

    Reply
  86. Jo here.
    Dick said:”Well, I don’t know, Ms. Beverley, but it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting.”
    But we can take that heroine and put her in a challenging situation and then have a story, no?
    I think you’ll find that’s often what I do — take fairly normal people for their time, place, and class and disrupt their lives. Their struggle, therefore, is to regain the comfortable normality.
    Going back a few books.
    To Rescue A Rogue. Simon did want adventure, but he’s burned off that and wants to return to his comfortable home. He’s not particularly unusual. Jancy was dealt an odd hand from the start but she’s been striving for normality all along and keeps getting knocked back.
    To Rescue a Rogue. Dare wanted adventure, to be part of a great events (is there a pattern here?*G*) and it creates a huge problem for him, but again apart from that urge which was very common at the time, he’s a conventional fellow. Mara is an absolutely typical young lady of spirit and determination (which are not odd qualities in themselves) who again is pitched into disaster by behaving oddly and very much regrets it.
    Thea in Lady Beware is extremely ordinary for a duke’s daughter, though busily engaged in all that involves. I toss her Darien, who turns her life upside down but she’s fighting all along to get back to even ground. Darien, too, desperately wants normality and all the gifts it brings, but I gave him the family from hell.
    The point is, none of these characters by their nature are or wish to be peculiar. Some of my protagonists are exceptionally gifted in some way, but still within the range of normal for their world.
    That’s how I see it, anyway. Am I wrong?
    I don’t think I’ve ever written a heroine who’s been pacing her drawing room like a caged tiger wanting to be an actress, join the army, or even that standby — write a novel.
    Ah, I forgot Elf Malloren, who was straining at the leash, yes, but she wanted a manly man and sex.*G*
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  87. Jo here.
    Dick said:”Well, I don’t know, Ms. Beverley, but it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting.”
    But we can take that heroine and put her in a challenging situation and then have a story, no?
    I think you’ll find that’s often what I do — take fairly normal people for their time, place, and class and disrupt their lives. Their struggle, therefore, is to regain the comfortable normality.
    Going back a few books.
    To Rescue A Rogue. Simon did want adventure, but he’s burned off that and wants to return to his comfortable home. He’s not particularly unusual. Jancy was dealt an odd hand from the start but she’s been striving for normality all along and keeps getting knocked back.
    To Rescue a Rogue. Dare wanted adventure, to be part of a great events (is there a pattern here?*G*) and it creates a huge problem for him, but again apart from that urge which was very common at the time, he’s a conventional fellow. Mara is an absolutely typical young lady of spirit and determination (which are not odd qualities in themselves) who again is pitched into disaster by behaving oddly and very much regrets it.
    Thea in Lady Beware is extremely ordinary for a duke’s daughter, though busily engaged in all that involves. I toss her Darien, who turns her life upside down but she’s fighting all along to get back to even ground. Darien, too, desperately wants normality and all the gifts it brings, but I gave him the family from hell.
    The point is, none of these characters by their nature are or wish to be peculiar. Some of my protagonists are exceptionally gifted in some way, but still within the range of normal for their world.
    That’s how I see it, anyway. Am I wrong?
    I don’t think I’ve ever written a heroine who’s been pacing her drawing room like a caged tiger wanting to be an actress, join the army, or even that standby — write a novel.
    Ah, I forgot Elf Malloren, who was straining at the leash, yes, but she wanted a manly man and sex.*G*
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  88. Jo here.
    Dick said:”Well, I don’t know, Ms. Beverley, but it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting.”
    But we can take that heroine and put her in a challenging situation and then have a story, no?
    I think you’ll find that’s often what I do — take fairly normal people for their time, place, and class and disrupt their lives. Their struggle, therefore, is to regain the comfortable normality.
    Going back a few books.
    To Rescue A Rogue. Simon did want adventure, but he’s burned off that and wants to return to his comfortable home. He’s not particularly unusual. Jancy was dealt an odd hand from the start but she’s been striving for normality all along and keeps getting knocked back.
    To Rescue a Rogue. Dare wanted adventure, to be part of a great events (is there a pattern here?*G*) and it creates a huge problem for him, but again apart from that urge which was very common at the time, he’s a conventional fellow. Mara is an absolutely typical young lady of spirit and determination (which are not odd qualities in themselves) who again is pitched into disaster by behaving oddly and very much regrets it.
    Thea in Lady Beware is extremely ordinary for a duke’s daughter, though busily engaged in all that involves. I toss her Darien, who turns her life upside down but she’s fighting all along to get back to even ground. Darien, too, desperately wants normality and all the gifts it brings, but I gave him the family from hell.
    The point is, none of these characters by their nature are or wish to be peculiar. Some of my protagonists are exceptionally gifted in some way, but still within the range of normal for their world.
    That’s how I see it, anyway. Am I wrong?
    I don’t think I’ve ever written a heroine who’s been pacing her drawing room like a caged tiger wanting to be an actress, join the army, or even that standby — write a novel.
    Ah, I forgot Elf Malloren, who was straining at the leash, yes, but she wanted a manly man and sex.*G*
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  89. Jo here.
    Dick said:”Well, I don’t know, Ms. Beverley, but it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting.”
    But we can take that heroine and put her in a challenging situation and then have a story, no?
    I think you’ll find that’s often what I do — take fairly normal people for their time, place, and class and disrupt their lives. Their struggle, therefore, is to regain the comfortable normality.
    Going back a few books.
    To Rescue A Rogue. Simon did want adventure, but he’s burned off that and wants to return to his comfortable home. He’s not particularly unusual. Jancy was dealt an odd hand from the start but she’s been striving for normality all along and keeps getting knocked back.
    To Rescue a Rogue. Dare wanted adventure, to be part of a great events (is there a pattern here?*G*) and it creates a huge problem for him, but again apart from that urge which was very common at the time, he’s a conventional fellow. Mara is an absolutely typical young lady of spirit and determination (which are not odd qualities in themselves) who again is pitched into disaster by behaving oddly and very much regrets it.
    Thea in Lady Beware is extremely ordinary for a duke’s daughter, though busily engaged in all that involves. I toss her Darien, who turns her life upside down but she’s fighting all along to get back to even ground. Darien, too, desperately wants normality and all the gifts it brings, but I gave him the family from hell.
    The point is, none of these characters by their nature are or wish to be peculiar. Some of my protagonists are exceptionally gifted in some way, but still within the range of normal for their world.
    That’s how I see it, anyway. Am I wrong?
    I don’t think I’ve ever written a heroine who’s been pacing her drawing room like a caged tiger wanting to be an actress, join the army, or even that standby — write a novel.
    Ah, I forgot Elf Malloren, who was straining at the leash, yes, but she wanted a manly man and sex.*G*
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  90. Jo here.
    Dick said:”Well, I don’t know, Ms. Beverley, but it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting.”
    But we can take that heroine and put her in a challenging situation and then have a story, no?
    I think you’ll find that’s often what I do — take fairly normal people for their time, place, and class and disrupt their lives. Their struggle, therefore, is to regain the comfortable normality.
    Going back a few books.
    To Rescue A Rogue. Simon did want adventure, but he’s burned off that and wants to return to his comfortable home. He’s not particularly unusual. Jancy was dealt an odd hand from the start but she’s been striving for normality all along and keeps getting knocked back.
    To Rescue a Rogue. Dare wanted adventure, to be part of a great events (is there a pattern here?*G*) and it creates a huge problem for him, but again apart from that urge which was very common at the time, he’s a conventional fellow. Mara is an absolutely typical young lady of spirit and determination (which are not odd qualities in themselves) who again is pitched into disaster by behaving oddly and very much regrets it.
    Thea in Lady Beware is extremely ordinary for a duke’s daughter, though busily engaged in all that involves. I toss her Darien, who turns her life upside down but she’s fighting all along to get back to even ground. Darien, too, desperately wants normality and all the gifts it brings, but I gave him the family from hell.
    The point is, none of these characters by their nature are or wish to be peculiar. Some of my protagonists are exceptionally gifted in some way, but still within the range of normal for their world.
    That’s how I see it, anyway. Am I wrong?
    I don’t think I’ve ever written a heroine who’s been pacing her drawing room like a caged tiger wanting to be an actress, join the army, or even that standby — write a novel.
    Ah, I forgot Elf Malloren, who was straining at the leash, yes, but she wanted a manly man and sex.*G*
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  91. Jo again.
    LizA wrote: “One thing that I personally don’t get is – why do the hero/heroine have to be reconciled with the rest of society at all cost? Or to put it differently, why is it not a romance between two people, but between two people and society?”
    Excellent question. I know why I like it, and it’s to do with being an immigrant. But I can also give a possible reason that it’s a constant factor in romances and we’re back to sociobiology, brain chemistry etc.
    Classically, and therefore in our old brain where all the interesting stuff lurks, mating was for procreation. Procreation is much more comfortable and safe if the female is in a nurturing community. It’s even suggested that women live long beyond menopause, when their reproductive purpose ends, because even after they’ve raised their own children their value as grandmothers is huge.
    So especially in the historical setting when things were much chancier, I think the reader’s old brain is thinking that the future looks much rosier for our heroine if she’s in the bosom of an extended family and living in a supportive community than if she’s a stranger somewhere, or breaking a new frontier.
    Of course in the past many women did survive and prosper in adventurous ways, but if one reads diaries etc so very often there’s a longing underneath for family and home, especially when things get tough.
    Jo

    Reply
  92. Jo again.
    LizA wrote: “One thing that I personally don’t get is – why do the hero/heroine have to be reconciled with the rest of society at all cost? Or to put it differently, why is it not a romance between two people, but between two people and society?”
    Excellent question. I know why I like it, and it’s to do with being an immigrant. But I can also give a possible reason that it’s a constant factor in romances and we’re back to sociobiology, brain chemistry etc.
    Classically, and therefore in our old brain where all the interesting stuff lurks, mating was for procreation. Procreation is much more comfortable and safe if the female is in a nurturing community. It’s even suggested that women live long beyond menopause, when their reproductive purpose ends, because even after they’ve raised their own children their value as grandmothers is huge.
    So especially in the historical setting when things were much chancier, I think the reader’s old brain is thinking that the future looks much rosier for our heroine if she’s in the bosom of an extended family and living in a supportive community than if she’s a stranger somewhere, or breaking a new frontier.
    Of course in the past many women did survive and prosper in adventurous ways, but if one reads diaries etc so very often there’s a longing underneath for family and home, especially when things get tough.
    Jo

    Reply
  93. Jo again.
    LizA wrote: “One thing that I personally don’t get is – why do the hero/heroine have to be reconciled with the rest of society at all cost? Or to put it differently, why is it not a romance between two people, but between two people and society?”
    Excellent question. I know why I like it, and it’s to do with being an immigrant. But I can also give a possible reason that it’s a constant factor in romances and we’re back to sociobiology, brain chemistry etc.
    Classically, and therefore in our old brain where all the interesting stuff lurks, mating was for procreation. Procreation is much more comfortable and safe if the female is in a nurturing community. It’s even suggested that women live long beyond menopause, when their reproductive purpose ends, because even after they’ve raised their own children their value as grandmothers is huge.
    So especially in the historical setting when things were much chancier, I think the reader’s old brain is thinking that the future looks much rosier for our heroine if she’s in the bosom of an extended family and living in a supportive community than if she’s a stranger somewhere, or breaking a new frontier.
    Of course in the past many women did survive and prosper in adventurous ways, but if one reads diaries etc so very often there’s a longing underneath for family and home, especially when things get tough.
    Jo

    Reply
  94. Jo again.
    LizA wrote: “One thing that I personally don’t get is – why do the hero/heroine have to be reconciled with the rest of society at all cost? Or to put it differently, why is it not a romance between two people, but between two people and society?”
    Excellent question. I know why I like it, and it’s to do with being an immigrant. But I can also give a possible reason that it’s a constant factor in romances and we’re back to sociobiology, brain chemistry etc.
    Classically, and therefore in our old brain where all the interesting stuff lurks, mating was for procreation. Procreation is much more comfortable and safe if the female is in a nurturing community. It’s even suggested that women live long beyond menopause, when their reproductive purpose ends, because even after they’ve raised their own children their value as grandmothers is huge.
    So especially in the historical setting when things were much chancier, I think the reader’s old brain is thinking that the future looks much rosier for our heroine if she’s in the bosom of an extended family and living in a supportive community than if she’s a stranger somewhere, or breaking a new frontier.
    Of course in the past many women did survive and prosper in adventurous ways, but if one reads diaries etc so very often there’s a longing underneath for family and home, especially when things get tough.
    Jo

    Reply
  95. Jo again.
    LizA wrote: “One thing that I personally don’t get is – why do the hero/heroine have to be reconciled with the rest of society at all cost? Or to put it differently, why is it not a romance between two people, but between two people and society?”
    Excellent question. I know why I like it, and it’s to do with being an immigrant. But I can also give a possible reason that it’s a constant factor in romances and we’re back to sociobiology, brain chemistry etc.
    Classically, and therefore in our old brain where all the interesting stuff lurks, mating was for procreation. Procreation is much more comfortable and safe if the female is in a nurturing community. It’s even suggested that women live long beyond menopause, when their reproductive purpose ends, because even after they’ve raised their own children their value as grandmothers is huge.
    So especially in the historical setting when things were much chancier, I think the reader’s old brain is thinking that the future looks much rosier for our heroine if she’s in the bosom of an extended family and living in a supportive community than if she’s a stranger somewhere, or breaking a new frontier.
    Of course in the past many women did survive and prosper in adventurous ways, but if one reads diaries etc so very often there’s a longing underneath for family and home, especially when things get tough.
    Jo

    Reply
  96. Jo again.
    Amen, Robin, on the way the ordinary story can be reworked in new, fresh ways.
    And yes — going back up a bit — I’ve never been able to take Taming of the Shrew. People can try to reframe it as they wish. To me, it’s a nasty piece of misogyny and though I’m not into censorship, I can’t imagine why any company would choose that play.
    So there, Shakespeare!
    Jo

    Reply
  97. Jo again.
    Amen, Robin, on the way the ordinary story can be reworked in new, fresh ways.
    And yes — going back up a bit — I’ve never been able to take Taming of the Shrew. People can try to reframe it as they wish. To me, it’s a nasty piece of misogyny and though I’m not into censorship, I can’t imagine why any company would choose that play.
    So there, Shakespeare!
    Jo

    Reply
  98. Jo again.
    Amen, Robin, on the way the ordinary story can be reworked in new, fresh ways.
    And yes — going back up a bit — I’ve never been able to take Taming of the Shrew. People can try to reframe it as they wish. To me, it’s a nasty piece of misogyny and though I’m not into censorship, I can’t imagine why any company would choose that play.
    So there, Shakespeare!
    Jo

    Reply
  99. Jo again.
    Amen, Robin, on the way the ordinary story can be reworked in new, fresh ways.
    And yes — going back up a bit — I’ve never been able to take Taming of the Shrew. People can try to reframe it as they wish. To me, it’s a nasty piece of misogyny and though I’m not into censorship, I can’t imagine why any company would choose that play.
    So there, Shakespeare!
    Jo

    Reply
  100. Jo again.
    Amen, Robin, on the way the ordinary story can be reworked in new, fresh ways.
    And yes — going back up a bit — I’ve never been able to take Taming of the Shrew. People can try to reframe it as they wish. To me, it’s a nasty piece of misogyny and though I’m not into censorship, I can’t imagine why any company would choose that play.
    So there, Shakespeare!
    Jo

    Reply
  101. Amen, Robin, on the way the ordinary story can be reworked in new, fresh ways.
    Of course it would have helped if I had proofed my comment before hitting Submit. Too bad I can’t abuse grammar and spelling in new, fresh ways — at least that can be entertaining.

    Reply
  102. Amen, Robin, on the way the ordinary story can be reworked in new, fresh ways.
    Of course it would have helped if I had proofed my comment before hitting Submit. Too bad I can’t abuse grammar and spelling in new, fresh ways — at least that can be entertaining.

    Reply
  103. Amen, Robin, on the way the ordinary story can be reworked in new, fresh ways.
    Of course it would have helped if I had proofed my comment before hitting Submit. Too bad I can’t abuse grammar and spelling in new, fresh ways — at least that can be entertaining.

    Reply
  104. Amen, Robin, on the way the ordinary story can be reworked in new, fresh ways.
    Of course it would have helped if I had proofed my comment before hitting Submit. Too bad I can’t abuse grammar and spelling in new, fresh ways — at least that can be entertaining.

    Reply
  105. Amen, Robin, on the way the ordinary story can be reworked in new, fresh ways.
    Of course it would have helped if I had proofed my comment before hitting Submit. Too bad I can’t abuse grammar and spelling in new, fresh ways — at least that can be entertaining.

    Reply
  106. “I know why I like it, and it’s to do with being an immigrant.”
    I’m not an immigrant, since I’m still living in my country of birth, but I’m on the far side of the continent from the one I was born on. And I have exactly the *opposite* reaction. I just don’t connect to stories where the home and community you grew up with are portrayed as the only route to happiness. Leaving my hometown at 18 was the smartest move I ever made. I still love that place and will defend it against outsider attacks, but I could never be content living there. It was just a bad fit for me. It’s not that I don’t believe community is important, but I think a community you find can be as good or better than the one you were born to.
    I know I said above that I didn’t understand readers who say, “I’ll never read X,” but I come awfully close to saying that about that thread of contemporary romances where the heroine leaves her hometown and goes off to the big city, only to come home unhappy and discover that the only REAL happiness is with some high school sweetheart. Because I can connect to a Regency governess or a Peninsular War soldier or a queen of a fantasy kingdom, but a woman who made the same choices I made and then turns her back on them? THAT baffles me!

    Reply
  107. “I know why I like it, and it’s to do with being an immigrant.”
    I’m not an immigrant, since I’m still living in my country of birth, but I’m on the far side of the continent from the one I was born on. And I have exactly the *opposite* reaction. I just don’t connect to stories where the home and community you grew up with are portrayed as the only route to happiness. Leaving my hometown at 18 was the smartest move I ever made. I still love that place and will defend it against outsider attacks, but I could never be content living there. It was just a bad fit for me. It’s not that I don’t believe community is important, but I think a community you find can be as good or better than the one you were born to.
    I know I said above that I didn’t understand readers who say, “I’ll never read X,” but I come awfully close to saying that about that thread of contemporary romances where the heroine leaves her hometown and goes off to the big city, only to come home unhappy and discover that the only REAL happiness is with some high school sweetheart. Because I can connect to a Regency governess or a Peninsular War soldier or a queen of a fantasy kingdom, but a woman who made the same choices I made and then turns her back on them? THAT baffles me!

    Reply
  108. “I know why I like it, and it’s to do with being an immigrant.”
    I’m not an immigrant, since I’m still living in my country of birth, but I’m on the far side of the continent from the one I was born on. And I have exactly the *opposite* reaction. I just don’t connect to stories where the home and community you grew up with are portrayed as the only route to happiness. Leaving my hometown at 18 was the smartest move I ever made. I still love that place and will defend it against outsider attacks, but I could never be content living there. It was just a bad fit for me. It’s not that I don’t believe community is important, but I think a community you find can be as good or better than the one you were born to.
    I know I said above that I didn’t understand readers who say, “I’ll never read X,” but I come awfully close to saying that about that thread of contemporary romances where the heroine leaves her hometown and goes off to the big city, only to come home unhappy and discover that the only REAL happiness is with some high school sweetheart. Because I can connect to a Regency governess or a Peninsular War soldier or a queen of a fantasy kingdom, but a woman who made the same choices I made and then turns her back on them? THAT baffles me!

    Reply
  109. “I know why I like it, and it’s to do with being an immigrant.”
    I’m not an immigrant, since I’m still living in my country of birth, but I’m on the far side of the continent from the one I was born on. And I have exactly the *opposite* reaction. I just don’t connect to stories where the home and community you grew up with are portrayed as the only route to happiness. Leaving my hometown at 18 was the smartest move I ever made. I still love that place and will defend it against outsider attacks, but I could never be content living there. It was just a bad fit for me. It’s not that I don’t believe community is important, but I think a community you find can be as good or better than the one you were born to.
    I know I said above that I didn’t understand readers who say, “I’ll never read X,” but I come awfully close to saying that about that thread of contemporary romances where the heroine leaves her hometown and goes off to the big city, only to come home unhappy and discover that the only REAL happiness is with some high school sweetheart. Because I can connect to a Regency governess or a Peninsular War soldier or a queen of a fantasy kingdom, but a woman who made the same choices I made and then turns her back on them? THAT baffles me!

    Reply
  110. “I know why I like it, and it’s to do with being an immigrant.”
    I’m not an immigrant, since I’m still living in my country of birth, but I’m on the far side of the continent from the one I was born on. And I have exactly the *opposite* reaction. I just don’t connect to stories where the home and community you grew up with are portrayed as the only route to happiness. Leaving my hometown at 18 was the smartest move I ever made. I still love that place and will defend it against outsider attacks, but I could never be content living there. It was just a bad fit for me. It’s not that I don’t believe community is important, but I think a community you find can be as good or better than the one you were born to.
    I know I said above that I didn’t understand readers who say, “I’ll never read X,” but I come awfully close to saying that about that thread of contemporary romances where the heroine leaves her hometown and goes off to the big city, only to come home unhappy and discover that the only REAL happiness is with some high school sweetheart. Because I can connect to a Regency governess or a Peninsular War soldier or a queen of a fantasy kingdom, but a woman who made the same choices I made and then turns her back on them? THAT baffles me!

    Reply
  111. I’ve been thinking on this some more… there seems to be a black-and-white mentality behind these scenarios, never middle ground. Seems like the hero/heroine has to fit into the society of their birth, and can never change it or influence it at all. In order to be a good heroine, you have to fit into that society. You cannot decide, together with your husband, that you don’t really care for the stuffy ways of the ton and want to follow the drum, or travel to America to start a new life there. Such a choice would not be completely disregarding the rules, but still a tad more adventurus than decorously living out your remaining years on a country estate. It depends on the heroine, of course, but I wish there was more than one solution!

    Reply
  112. I’ve been thinking on this some more… there seems to be a black-and-white mentality behind these scenarios, never middle ground. Seems like the hero/heroine has to fit into the society of their birth, and can never change it or influence it at all. In order to be a good heroine, you have to fit into that society. You cannot decide, together with your husband, that you don’t really care for the stuffy ways of the ton and want to follow the drum, or travel to America to start a new life there. Such a choice would not be completely disregarding the rules, but still a tad more adventurus than decorously living out your remaining years on a country estate. It depends on the heroine, of course, but I wish there was more than one solution!

    Reply
  113. I’ve been thinking on this some more… there seems to be a black-and-white mentality behind these scenarios, never middle ground. Seems like the hero/heroine has to fit into the society of their birth, and can never change it or influence it at all. In order to be a good heroine, you have to fit into that society. You cannot decide, together with your husband, that you don’t really care for the stuffy ways of the ton and want to follow the drum, or travel to America to start a new life there. Such a choice would not be completely disregarding the rules, but still a tad more adventurus than decorously living out your remaining years on a country estate. It depends on the heroine, of course, but I wish there was more than one solution!

    Reply
  114. I’ve been thinking on this some more… there seems to be a black-and-white mentality behind these scenarios, never middle ground. Seems like the hero/heroine has to fit into the society of their birth, and can never change it or influence it at all. In order to be a good heroine, you have to fit into that society. You cannot decide, together with your husband, that you don’t really care for the stuffy ways of the ton and want to follow the drum, or travel to America to start a new life there. Such a choice would not be completely disregarding the rules, but still a tad more adventurus than decorously living out your remaining years on a country estate. It depends on the heroine, of course, but I wish there was more than one solution!

    Reply
  115. I’ve been thinking on this some more… there seems to be a black-and-white mentality behind these scenarios, never middle ground. Seems like the hero/heroine has to fit into the society of their birth, and can never change it or influence it at all. In order to be a good heroine, you have to fit into that society. You cannot decide, together with your husband, that you don’t really care for the stuffy ways of the ton and want to follow the drum, or travel to America to start a new life there. Such a choice would not be completely disregarding the rules, but still a tad more adventurus than decorously living out your remaining years on a country estate. It depends on the heroine, of course, but I wish there was more than one solution!

    Reply
  116. Jo here again.
    LizA wrote. “I’ve been thinking on this some more… there seems to be a black-and-white mentality behind these scenarios, never middle ground. Seems like the hero/heroine has to fit into the society of their birth, and can never change it or influence it at all.”
    I certainly didn’t mean to imply that. I said, I believe, that I wanted them to be settled in a congenial supportive community. That doesn’t have to be their birth/upraising location, and in fact in many cases they two people have different home areas.
    For me, it’s the extent of the move and how it’s presented, but, if they’re heading off to American, Australia, or Antarctica the author is going to have to show me them going there, arriving and finding that community. If they stay somewhere closer she can do that more easily.
    I’m certainly not saying people can’t enjoy stories where the happy-together couple head out on adventures, merely that they don’t seem to work for me.
    My underlying point is that I don’t view it as “normal”, especially in the past with hardly any means of communication or hope of return to head off to settle in a foreign land. Most people who have done so have been pushed pretty hard by conditions back home, and I think most people regard things like the highland clearances, the African slave trade, the Irish famine emigration, or the expulsion of the Acadians from the Canadian maritimes as tragedies, not life enhancing opportunities, regardless of how it all turned out in the end.
    Comments?
    Jo

    Reply
  117. Jo here again.
    LizA wrote. “I’ve been thinking on this some more… there seems to be a black-and-white mentality behind these scenarios, never middle ground. Seems like the hero/heroine has to fit into the society of their birth, and can never change it or influence it at all.”
    I certainly didn’t mean to imply that. I said, I believe, that I wanted them to be settled in a congenial supportive community. That doesn’t have to be their birth/upraising location, and in fact in many cases they two people have different home areas.
    For me, it’s the extent of the move and how it’s presented, but, if they’re heading off to American, Australia, or Antarctica the author is going to have to show me them going there, arriving and finding that community. If they stay somewhere closer she can do that more easily.
    I’m certainly not saying people can’t enjoy stories where the happy-together couple head out on adventures, merely that they don’t seem to work for me.
    My underlying point is that I don’t view it as “normal”, especially in the past with hardly any means of communication or hope of return to head off to settle in a foreign land. Most people who have done so have been pushed pretty hard by conditions back home, and I think most people regard things like the highland clearances, the African slave trade, the Irish famine emigration, or the expulsion of the Acadians from the Canadian maritimes as tragedies, not life enhancing opportunities, regardless of how it all turned out in the end.
    Comments?
    Jo

    Reply
  118. Jo here again.
    LizA wrote. “I’ve been thinking on this some more… there seems to be a black-and-white mentality behind these scenarios, never middle ground. Seems like the hero/heroine has to fit into the society of their birth, and can never change it or influence it at all.”
    I certainly didn’t mean to imply that. I said, I believe, that I wanted them to be settled in a congenial supportive community. That doesn’t have to be their birth/upraising location, and in fact in many cases they two people have different home areas.
    For me, it’s the extent of the move and how it’s presented, but, if they’re heading off to American, Australia, or Antarctica the author is going to have to show me them going there, arriving and finding that community. If they stay somewhere closer she can do that more easily.
    I’m certainly not saying people can’t enjoy stories where the happy-together couple head out on adventures, merely that they don’t seem to work for me.
    My underlying point is that I don’t view it as “normal”, especially in the past with hardly any means of communication or hope of return to head off to settle in a foreign land. Most people who have done so have been pushed pretty hard by conditions back home, and I think most people regard things like the highland clearances, the African slave trade, the Irish famine emigration, or the expulsion of the Acadians from the Canadian maritimes as tragedies, not life enhancing opportunities, regardless of how it all turned out in the end.
    Comments?
    Jo

    Reply
  119. Jo here again.
    LizA wrote. “I’ve been thinking on this some more… there seems to be a black-and-white mentality behind these scenarios, never middle ground. Seems like the hero/heroine has to fit into the society of their birth, and can never change it or influence it at all.”
    I certainly didn’t mean to imply that. I said, I believe, that I wanted them to be settled in a congenial supportive community. That doesn’t have to be their birth/upraising location, and in fact in many cases they two people have different home areas.
    For me, it’s the extent of the move and how it’s presented, but, if they’re heading off to American, Australia, or Antarctica the author is going to have to show me them going there, arriving and finding that community. If they stay somewhere closer she can do that more easily.
    I’m certainly not saying people can’t enjoy stories where the happy-together couple head out on adventures, merely that they don’t seem to work for me.
    My underlying point is that I don’t view it as “normal”, especially in the past with hardly any means of communication or hope of return to head off to settle in a foreign land. Most people who have done so have been pushed pretty hard by conditions back home, and I think most people regard things like the highland clearances, the African slave trade, the Irish famine emigration, or the expulsion of the Acadians from the Canadian maritimes as tragedies, not life enhancing opportunities, regardless of how it all turned out in the end.
    Comments?
    Jo

    Reply
  120. Jo here again.
    LizA wrote. “I’ve been thinking on this some more… there seems to be a black-and-white mentality behind these scenarios, never middle ground. Seems like the hero/heroine has to fit into the society of their birth, and can never change it or influence it at all.”
    I certainly didn’t mean to imply that. I said, I believe, that I wanted them to be settled in a congenial supportive community. That doesn’t have to be their birth/upraising location, and in fact in many cases they two people have different home areas.
    For me, it’s the extent of the move and how it’s presented, but, if they’re heading off to American, Australia, or Antarctica the author is going to have to show me them going there, arriving and finding that community. If they stay somewhere closer she can do that more easily.
    I’m certainly not saying people can’t enjoy stories where the happy-together couple head out on adventures, merely that they don’t seem to work for me.
    My underlying point is that I don’t view it as “normal”, especially in the past with hardly any means of communication or hope of return to head off to settle in a foreign land. Most people who have done so have been pushed pretty hard by conditions back home, and I think most people regard things like the highland clearances, the African slave trade, the Irish famine emigration, or the expulsion of the Acadians from the Canadian maritimes as tragedies, not life enhancing opportunities, regardless of how it all turned out in the end.
    Comments?
    Jo

    Reply
  121. “I think most people regard things like the highland clearances, the African slave trade, the Irish famine emigration, or the expulsion of the Acadians from the Canadian maritimes as tragedies, not life enhancing opportunities, regardless of how it all turned out in the end.”
    Well, there are non-tragic reasons to roam the world–a diplomatic or military career, a younger son or ambitious non-aristocrat seeking his fortune in a colonial outpost, etc. And IMHO a crisis or tragedy forcing a move can be a good starting point for a story about rebuilding and finding happiness in a new place.
    I know that if I were really thrown back in time 200 years I’d find the lack of email, phones, and airplanes something of an impediment to my wanderlustful lifestyle. But when I read or just imagine myself into the past, I’m drawn to the idea of a world that hasn’t been so thoroughly explored and isn’t so crowded as the one I’m living in. So the historical fantasy version of me is generally tagging along with Lewis & Clark or following the drum or going out to India to find a husband. I don’t know if that’s what I would’ve really wanted if I’d been born 200 years earlier, but as a fantasy/fiction it has a powerful hold on my imagination.

    Reply
  122. “I think most people regard things like the highland clearances, the African slave trade, the Irish famine emigration, or the expulsion of the Acadians from the Canadian maritimes as tragedies, not life enhancing opportunities, regardless of how it all turned out in the end.”
    Well, there are non-tragic reasons to roam the world–a diplomatic or military career, a younger son or ambitious non-aristocrat seeking his fortune in a colonial outpost, etc. And IMHO a crisis or tragedy forcing a move can be a good starting point for a story about rebuilding and finding happiness in a new place.
    I know that if I were really thrown back in time 200 years I’d find the lack of email, phones, and airplanes something of an impediment to my wanderlustful lifestyle. But when I read or just imagine myself into the past, I’m drawn to the idea of a world that hasn’t been so thoroughly explored and isn’t so crowded as the one I’m living in. So the historical fantasy version of me is generally tagging along with Lewis & Clark or following the drum or going out to India to find a husband. I don’t know if that’s what I would’ve really wanted if I’d been born 200 years earlier, but as a fantasy/fiction it has a powerful hold on my imagination.

    Reply
  123. “I think most people regard things like the highland clearances, the African slave trade, the Irish famine emigration, or the expulsion of the Acadians from the Canadian maritimes as tragedies, not life enhancing opportunities, regardless of how it all turned out in the end.”
    Well, there are non-tragic reasons to roam the world–a diplomatic or military career, a younger son or ambitious non-aristocrat seeking his fortune in a colonial outpost, etc. And IMHO a crisis or tragedy forcing a move can be a good starting point for a story about rebuilding and finding happiness in a new place.
    I know that if I were really thrown back in time 200 years I’d find the lack of email, phones, and airplanes something of an impediment to my wanderlustful lifestyle. But when I read or just imagine myself into the past, I’m drawn to the idea of a world that hasn’t been so thoroughly explored and isn’t so crowded as the one I’m living in. So the historical fantasy version of me is generally tagging along with Lewis & Clark or following the drum or going out to India to find a husband. I don’t know if that’s what I would’ve really wanted if I’d been born 200 years earlier, but as a fantasy/fiction it has a powerful hold on my imagination.

    Reply
  124. “I think most people regard things like the highland clearances, the African slave trade, the Irish famine emigration, or the expulsion of the Acadians from the Canadian maritimes as tragedies, not life enhancing opportunities, regardless of how it all turned out in the end.”
    Well, there are non-tragic reasons to roam the world–a diplomatic or military career, a younger son or ambitious non-aristocrat seeking his fortune in a colonial outpost, etc. And IMHO a crisis or tragedy forcing a move can be a good starting point for a story about rebuilding and finding happiness in a new place.
    I know that if I were really thrown back in time 200 years I’d find the lack of email, phones, and airplanes something of an impediment to my wanderlustful lifestyle. But when I read or just imagine myself into the past, I’m drawn to the idea of a world that hasn’t been so thoroughly explored and isn’t so crowded as the one I’m living in. So the historical fantasy version of me is generally tagging along with Lewis & Clark or following the drum or going out to India to find a husband. I don’t know if that’s what I would’ve really wanted if I’d been born 200 years earlier, but as a fantasy/fiction it has a powerful hold on my imagination.

    Reply
  125. “I think most people regard things like the highland clearances, the African slave trade, the Irish famine emigration, or the expulsion of the Acadians from the Canadian maritimes as tragedies, not life enhancing opportunities, regardless of how it all turned out in the end.”
    Well, there are non-tragic reasons to roam the world–a diplomatic or military career, a younger son or ambitious non-aristocrat seeking his fortune in a colonial outpost, etc. And IMHO a crisis or tragedy forcing a move can be a good starting point for a story about rebuilding and finding happiness in a new place.
    I know that if I were really thrown back in time 200 years I’d find the lack of email, phones, and airplanes something of an impediment to my wanderlustful lifestyle. But when I read or just imagine myself into the past, I’m drawn to the idea of a world that hasn’t been so thoroughly explored and isn’t so crowded as the one I’m living in. So the historical fantasy version of me is generally tagging along with Lewis & Clark or following the drum or going out to India to find a husband. I don’t know if that’s what I would’ve really wanted if I’d been born 200 years earlier, but as a fantasy/fiction it has a powerful hold on my imagination.

    Reply
  126. Jo –
    Thanks for making the point that leaving your family often meant forever. When a character off to America says cheerily, “We’ll come back every six months!” I start calculating travel times, etc. While commerce and travel between countries was routine for certain professions international tourism wasn’t routine for entire families. And in the case of setting out to build a life in another nation, your new business/farm/whatever could suffer greatly if you left for months at a time. So mentally I say “Suuuuuure you will.” because in my own family we left a country and didn’t go back. Family in the host country was family lost, and many of these immigrants had plenty of cash had they chosen to use it on travel.
    And to the other issue – of why do the couple need to be reintegrated into society, or society ultimately approve of their choice – it’s much easier to live in your culture than outside of it, expecially in times without a social safety net. Love in a cottage lasts till the thatch roof leaks, or something like that. Many books start out with the unfortunate child of the unacceptable match, and I think that’s not just a cliche.
    On the other hand, the (coulda been) Tsar of Russia spends his time making shrinky dink art, so sometimes you don’t go back. (No, really – he just put a book out)

    Reply
  127. Jo –
    Thanks for making the point that leaving your family often meant forever. When a character off to America says cheerily, “We’ll come back every six months!” I start calculating travel times, etc. While commerce and travel between countries was routine for certain professions international tourism wasn’t routine for entire families. And in the case of setting out to build a life in another nation, your new business/farm/whatever could suffer greatly if you left for months at a time. So mentally I say “Suuuuuure you will.” because in my own family we left a country and didn’t go back. Family in the host country was family lost, and many of these immigrants had plenty of cash had they chosen to use it on travel.
    And to the other issue – of why do the couple need to be reintegrated into society, or society ultimately approve of their choice – it’s much easier to live in your culture than outside of it, expecially in times without a social safety net. Love in a cottage lasts till the thatch roof leaks, or something like that. Many books start out with the unfortunate child of the unacceptable match, and I think that’s not just a cliche.
    On the other hand, the (coulda been) Tsar of Russia spends his time making shrinky dink art, so sometimes you don’t go back. (No, really – he just put a book out)

    Reply
  128. Jo –
    Thanks for making the point that leaving your family often meant forever. When a character off to America says cheerily, “We’ll come back every six months!” I start calculating travel times, etc. While commerce and travel between countries was routine for certain professions international tourism wasn’t routine for entire families. And in the case of setting out to build a life in another nation, your new business/farm/whatever could suffer greatly if you left for months at a time. So mentally I say “Suuuuuure you will.” because in my own family we left a country and didn’t go back. Family in the host country was family lost, and many of these immigrants had plenty of cash had they chosen to use it on travel.
    And to the other issue – of why do the couple need to be reintegrated into society, or society ultimately approve of their choice – it’s much easier to live in your culture than outside of it, expecially in times without a social safety net. Love in a cottage lasts till the thatch roof leaks, or something like that. Many books start out with the unfortunate child of the unacceptable match, and I think that’s not just a cliche.
    On the other hand, the (coulda been) Tsar of Russia spends his time making shrinky dink art, so sometimes you don’t go back. (No, really – he just put a book out)

    Reply
  129. Jo –
    Thanks for making the point that leaving your family often meant forever. When a character off to America says cheerily, “We’ll come back every six months!” I start calculating travel times, etc. While commerce and travel between countries was routine for certain professions international tourism wasn’t routine for entire families. And in the case of setting out to build a life in another nation, your new business/farm/whatever could suffer greatly if you left for months at a time. So mentally I say “Suuuuuure you will.” because in my own family we left a country and didn’t go back. Family in the host country was family lost, and many of these immigrants had plenty of cash had they chosen to use it on travel.
    And to the other issue – of why do the couple need to be reintegrated into society, or society ultimately approve of their choice – it’s much easier to live in your culture than outside of it, expecially in times without a social safety net. Love in a cottage lasts till the thatch roof leaks, or something like that. Many books start out with the unfortunate child of the unacceptable match, and I think that’s not just a cliche.
    On the other hand, the (coulda been) Tsar of Russia spends his time making shrinky dink art, so sometimes you don’t go back. (No, really – he just put a book out)

    Reply
  130. Jo –
    Thanks for making the point that leaving your family often meant forever. When a character off to America says cheerily, “We’ll come back every six months!” I start calculating travel times, etc. While commerce and travel between countries was routine for certain professions international tourism wasn’t routine for entire families. And in the case of setting out to build a life in another nation, your new business/farm/whatever could suffer greatly if you left for months at a time. So mentally I say “Suuuuuure you will.” because in my own family we left a country and didn’t go back. Family in the host country was family lost, and many of these immigrants had plenty of cash had they chosen to use it on travel.
    And to the other issue – of why do the couple need to be reintegrated into society, or society ultimately approve of their choice – it’s much easier to live in your culture than outside of it, expecially in times without a social safety net. Love in a cottage lasts till the thatch roof leaks, or something like that. Many books start out with the unfortunate child of the unacceptable match, and I think that’s not just a cliche.
    On the other hand, the (coulda been) Tsar of Russia spends his time making shrinky dink art, so sometimes you don’t go back. (No, really – he just put a book out)

    Reply
  131. I do enjoy reading about characters who are genuinely out of step with their times. These people are often groundbreaking thinkers.
    I do not enjoy disingenuous characters who consciously choose to behave peculiarly, whether out of a need for attention or the belief that such behavior will make them a groundbreaking thinker. :-)(Or the writer’s belief it will make them interesting.)
    Jo, what I enjoy about many of your characters is that even if they’re predominantly left-brained like Stephen Ball or Rothgar, they are possessed of a right-brained big-picture intelligence. Even Elf has great insight and pulls it all together in the end.
    It is this intelligence that continually draws me back to your books.
    Emma, Lizzie B., Elinor, Jane Eyre are all constrained provincial misses who nevertheless are intelligent, and it is their observations, especially when wrong, that make them interesting.
    I think what I’m trying to say is that I like the characters I’m reading about to be *genuine.* A cliched, card-board cut-out character can never be authentic. And that’s what we’re really talking about with most rakes and feisties.
    Oooh, the waning wintry moon, softened and hazy, just rose above my hill. It’s beautiful!

    Reply
  132. I do enjoy reading about characters who are genuinely out of step with their times. These people are often groundbreaking thinkers.
    I do not enjoy disingenuous characters who consciously choose to behave peculiarly, whether out of a need for attention or the belief that such behavior will make them a groundbreaking thinker. :-)(Or the writer’s belief it will make them interesting.)
    Jo, what I enjoy about many of your characters is that even if they’re predominantly left-brained like Stephen Ball or Rothgar, they are possessed of a right-brained big-picture intelligence. Even Elf has great insight and pulls it all together in the end.
    It is this intelligence that continually draws me back to your books.
    Emma, Lizzie B., Elinor, Jane Eyre are all constrained provincial misses who nevertheless are intelligent, and it is their observations, especially when wrong, that make them interesting.
    I think what I’m trying to say is that I like the characters I’m reading about to be *genuine.* A cliched, card-board cut-out character can never be authentic. And that’s what we’re really talking about with most rakes and feisties.
    Oooh, the waning wintry moon, softened and hazy, just rose above my hill. It’s beautiful!

    Reply
  133. I do enjoy reading about characters who are genuinely out of step with their times. These people are often groundbreaking thinkers.
    I do not enjoy disingenuous characters who consciously choose to behave peculiarly, whether out of a need for attention or the belief that such behavior will make them a groundbreaking thinker. :-)(Or the writer’s belief it will make them interesting.)
    Jo, what I enjoy about many of your characters is that even if they’re predominantly left-brained like Stephen Ball or Rothgar, they are possessed of a right-brained big-picture intelligence. Even Elf has great insight and pulls it all together in the end.
    It is this intelligence that continually draws me back to your books.
    Emma, Lizzie B., Elinor, Jane Eyre are all constrained provincial misses who nevertheless are intelligent, and it is their observations, especially when wrong, that make them interesting.
    I think what I’m trying to say is that I like the characters I’m reading about to be *genuine.* A cliched, card-board cut-out character can never be authentic. And that’s what we’re really talking about with most rakes and feisties.
    Oooh, the waning wintry moon, softened and hazy, just rose above my hill. It’s beautiful!

    Reply
  134. I do enjoy reading about characters who are genuinely out of step with their times. These people are often groundbreaking thinkers.
    I do not enjoy disingenuous characters who consciously choose to behave peculiarly, whether out of a need for attention or the belief that such behavior will make them a groundbreaking thinker. :-)(Or the writer’s belief it will make them interesting.)
    Jo, what I enjoy about many of your characters is that even if they’re predominantly left-brained like Stephen Ball or Rothgar, they are possessed of a right-brained big-picture intelligence. Even Elf has great insight and pulls it all together in the end.
    It is this intelligence that continually draws me back to your books.
    Emma, Lizzie B., Elinor, Jane Eyre are all constrained provincial misses who nevertheless are intelligent, and it is their observations, especially when wrong, that make them interesting.
    I think what I’m trying to say is that I like the characters I’m reading about to be *genuine.* A cliched, card-board cut-out character can never be authentic. And that’s what we’re really talking about with most rakes and feisties.
    Oooh, the waning wintry moon, softened and hazy, just rose above my hill. It’s beautiful!

    Reply
  135. I do enjoy reading about characters who are genuinely out of step with their times. These people are often groundbreaking thinkers.
    I do not enjoy disingenuous characters who consciously choose to behave peculiarly, whether out of a need for attention or the belief that such behavior will make them a groundbreaking thinker. :-)(Or the writer’s belief it will make them interesting.)
    Jo, what I enjoy about many of your characters is that even if they’re predominantly left-brained like Stephen Ball or Rothgar, they are possessed of a right-brained big-picture intelligence. Even Elf has great insight and pulls it all together in the end.
    It is this intelligence that continually draws me back to your books.
    Emma, Lizzie B., Elinor, Jane Eyre are all constrained provincial misses who nevertheless are intelligent, and it is their observations, especially when wrong, that make them interesting.
    I think what I’m trying to say is that I like the characters I’m reading about to be *genuine.* A cliched, card-board cut-out character can never be authentic. And that’s what we’re really talking about with most rakes and feisties.
    Oooh, the waning wintry moon, softened and hazy, just rose above my hill. It’s beautiful!

    Reply
  136. How true, Liz, about novels starting out with the children who’ve suffered an unwise match.
    Which coulda been Tsar? But I suppose they have to do something.
    When I think about it, the number of people in the past who’ve moved countries as a family, intending it to be permanent is quite small, isn’t it, if one leaves out the ones fleeing fairly bad conditions or evicted by politics.
    I just don’t see many examples of people who seemed to think, “Well, it’s nice here, but boring. Let’s go a thousand miles away and see if it’s better.”
    I’m not talking about Nomadic people, obviously. Their home is their tribe.
    Jo

    Reply
  137. How true, Liz, about novels starting out with the children who’ve suffered an unwise match.
    Which coulda been Tsar? But I suppose they have to do something.
    When I think about it, the number of people in the past who’ve moved countries as a family, intending it to be permanent is quite small, isn’t it, if one leaves out the ones fleeing fairly bad conditions or evicted by politics.
    I just don’t see many examples of people who seemed to think, “Well, it’s nice here, but boring. Let’s go a thousand miles away and see if it’s better.”
    I’m not talking about Nomadic people, obviously. Their home is their tribe.
    Jo

    Reply
  138. How true, Liz, about novels starting out with the children who’ve suffered an unwise match.
    Which coulda been Tsar? But I suppose they have to do something.
    When I think about it, the number of people in the past who’ve moved countries as a family, intending it to be permanent is quite small, isn’t it, if one leaves out the ones fleeing fairly bad conditions or evicted by politics.
    I just don’t see many examples of people who seemed to think, “Well, it’s nice here, but boring. Let’s go a thousand miles away and see if it’s better.”
    I’m not talking about Nomadic people, obviously. Their home is their tribe.
    Jo

    Reply
  139. How true, Liz, about novels starting out with the children who’ve suffered an unwise match.
    Which coulda been Tsar? But I suppose they have to do something.
    When I think about it, the number of people in the past who’ve moved countries as a family, intending it to be permanent is quite small, isn’t it, if one leaves out the ones fleeing fairly bad conditions or evicted by politics.
    I just don’t see many examples of people who seemed to think, “Well, it’s nice here, but boring. Let’s go a thousand miles away and see if it’s better.”
    I’m not talking about Nomadic people, obviously. Their home is their tribe.
    Jo

    Reply
  140. How true, Liz, about novels starting out with the children who’ve suffered an unwise match.
    Which coulda been Tsar? But I suppose they have to do something.
    When I think about it, the number of people in the past who’ve moved countries as a family, intending it to be permanent is quite small, isn’t it, if one leaves out the ones fleeing fairly bad conditions or evicted by politics.
    I just don’t see many examples of people who seemed to think, “Well, it’s nice here, but boring. Let’s go a thousand miles away and see if it’s better.”
    I’m not talking about Nomadic people, obviously. Their home is their tribe.
    Jo

    Reply
  141. I feel like I must be expressing myself poorly, because I’m not talking about having characters say, “This is kind of boring. Let’s go someplace else.” I’m talking about characters who either have a disconnect with where they are now that prevents them from fitting in there or else the kind of people who have a profound drive to explore. And I’m not saying that’s the only kind of story I want to read, not by any means–it’s just one that happens to resonate powerfully with me when it’s done well.

    Reply
  142. I feel like I must be expressing myself poorly, because I’m not talking about having characters say, “This is kind of boring. Let’s go someplace else.” I’m talking about characters who either have a disconnect with where they are now that prevents them from fitting in there or else the kind of people who have a profound drive to explore. And I’m not saying that’s the only kind of story I want to read, not by any means–it’s just one that happens to resonate powerfully with me when it’s done well.

    Reply
  143. I feel like I must be expressing myself poorly, because I’m not talking about having characters say, “This is kind of boring. Let’s go someplace else.” I’m talking about characters who either have a disconnect with where they are now that prevents them from fitting in there or else the kind of people who have a profound drive to explore. And I’m not saying that’s the only kind of story I want to read, not by any means–it’s just one that happens to resonate powerfully with me when it’s done well.

    Reply
  144. I feel like I must be expressing myself poorly, because I’m not talking about having characters say, “This is kind of boring. Let’s go someplace else.” I’m talking about characters who either have a disconnect with where they are now that prevents them from fitting in there or else the kind of people who have a profound drive to explore. And I’m not saying that’s the only kind of story I want to read, not by any means–it’s just one that happens to resonate powerfully with me when it’s done well.

    Reply
  145. I feel like I must be expressing myself poorly, because I’m not talking about having characters say, “This is kind of boring. Let’s go someplace else.” I’m talking about characters who either have a disconnect with where they are now that prevents them from fitting in there or else the kind of people who have a profound drive to explore. And I’m not saying that’s the only kind of story I want to read, not by any means–it’s just one that happens to resonate powerfully with me when it’s done well.

    Reply
  146. Jo, I am loving this discussion even though I can’t participate much (my kids are computer hogs–I mean, who cares if they have homework to do, right?). I do really enjoy the “ordinary hero/heroine forced to rise to the occasion and do extraordinary things” motif myself.
    (This is one of the reasons for my endless fascination with Sir Anthony Fanshawe from GH’s Masqueraders–he seems dull and sleepy, but when properly motivated (by LOVE) he can hold up a coach and fight a duel with the best of them!) (Sorry I keep bringing up Sir Anthony. . .he’s kind of like an old crush. I had a thing for him long before I met my husband. . .)
    Jo, on the topic of red hair, I am fascinated by accounts I have read in the news of “anti-ginger prejudice” in the UK. I’d love to see one of the wenches blog at length about this someday, given all those red-haired heroines out there.
    (Here’s a story about a family being forced out of their home in Newcastle because they’re all red-heads. . .)
    http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article1873119.ece
    Thanks for the great discussion, computer being handed back over to the younger generation, sigh.
    Melinda

    Reply
  147. Jo, I am loving this discussion even though I can’t participate much (my kids are computer hogs–I mean, who cares if they have homework to do, right?). I do really enjoy the “ordinary hero/heroine forced to rise to the occasion and do extraordinary things” motif myself.
    (This is one of the reasons for my endless fascination with Sir Anthony Fanshawe from GH’s Masqueraders–he seems dull and sleepy, but when properly motivated (by LOVE) he can hold up a coach and fight a duel with the best of them!) (Sorry I keep bringing up Sir Anthony. . .he’s kind of like an old crush. I had a thing for him long before I met my husband. . .)
    Jo, on the topic of red hair, I am fascinated by accounts I have read in the news of “anti-ginger prejudice” in the UK. I’d love to see one of the wenches blog at length about this someday, given all those red-haired heroines out there.
    (Here’s a story about a family being forced out of their home in Newcastle because they’re all red-heads. . .)
    http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article1873119.ece
    Thanks for the great discussion, computer being handed back over to the younger generation, sigh.
    Melinda

    Reply
  148. Jo, I am loving this discussion even though I can’t participate much (my kids are computer hogs–I mean, who cares if they have homework to do, right?). I do really enjoy the “ordinary hero/heroine forced to rise to the occasion and do extraordinary things” motif myself.
    (This is one of the reasons for my endless fascination with Sir Anthony Fanshawe from GH’s Masqueraders–he seems dull and sleepy, but when properly motivated (by LOVE) he can hold up a coach and fight a duel with the best of them!) (Sorry I keep bringing up Sir Anthony. . .he’s kind of like an old crush. I had a thing for him long before I met my husband. . .)
    Jo, on the topic of red hair, I am fascinated by accounts I have read in the news of “anti-ginger prejudice” in the UK. I’d love to see one of the wenches blog at length about this someday, given all those red-haired heroines out there.
    (Here’s a story about a family being forced out of their home in Newcastle because they’re all red-heads. . .)
    http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article1873119.ece
    Thanks for the great discussion, computer being handed back over to the younger generation, sigh.
    Melinda

    Reply
  149. Jo, I am loving this discussion even though I can’t participate much (my kids are computer hogs–I mean, who cares if they have homework to do, right?). I do really enjoy the “ordinary hero/heroine forced to rise to the occasion and do extraordinary things” motif myself.
    (This is one of the reasons for my endless fascination with Sir Anthony Fanshawe from GH’s Masqueraders–he seems dull and sleepy, but when properly motivated (by LOVE) he can hold up a coach and fight a duel with the best of them!) (Sorry I keep bringing up Sir Anthony. . .he’s kind of like an old crush. I had a thing for him long before I met my husband. . .)
    Jo, on the topic of red hair, I am fascinated by accounts I have read in the news of “anti-ginger prejudice” in the UK. I’d love to see one of the wenches blog at length about this someday, given all those red-haired heroines out there.
    (Here’s a story about a family being forced out of their home in Newcastle because they’re all red-heads. . .)
    http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article1873119.ece
    Thanks for the great discussion, computer being handed back over to the younger generation, sigh.
    Melinda

    Reply
  150. Jo, I am loving this discussion even though I can’t participate much (my kids are computer hogs–I mean, who cares if they have homework to do, right?). I do really enjoy the “ordinary hero/heroine forced to rise to the occasion and do extraordinary things” motif myself.
    (This is one of the reasons for my endless fascination with Sir Anthony Fanshawe from GH’s Masqueraders–he seems dull and sleepy, but when properly motivated (by LOVE) he can hold up a coach and fight a duel with the best of them!) (Sorry I keep bringing up Sir Anthony. . .he’s kind of like an old crush. I had a thing for him long before I met my husband. . .)
    Jo, on the topic of red hair, I am fascinated by accounts I have read in the news of “anti-ginger prejudice” in the UK. I’d love to see one of the wenches blog at length about this someday, given all those red-haired heroines out there.
    (Here’s a story about a family being forced out of their home in Newcastle because they’re all red-heads. . .)
    http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article1873119.ece
    Thanks for the great discussion, computer being handed back over to the younger generation, sigh.
    Melinda

    Reply
  151. ***it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting***
    Doesn’t this pretty much describe all of Austen’s heroines, and not a few of Heyerโ€™s? Itโ€™s the intelligence of the women they wrote that sets them apart (my own problem with the โ€œfeistyโ€ heroines being their general stupidity, not their desire to be masters of their own destiny).
    Jo really nailed my main complaint with โ€œthe rebellion in romance novels, especially on the part of the heroine, is too often not for social justice, to bring about necessary reforms, or even to struggle against her own oppression, but a โ€˜don’t wanna!โ€™โ€ The heroine wants to remain single, be a doctor, vet, spy, etc. simply because she wants to do so, end of story. Thereโ€™s no larger issue or story arc that explains, motivates, or justifies her abnormality. And she IS abnormal for the time period. Abnormal need not = bad, but it does not = good simply by virtue of being more akin to a modern womanโ€™s expectations and experiences.
    But then, like Jo, I find Hester Stanhopeโ€™s earlier years far more interesting than the later ones.

    Reply
  152. ***it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting***
    Doesn’t this pretty much describe all of Austen’s heroines, and not a few of Heyerโ€™s? Itโ€™s the intelligence of the women they wrote that sets them apart (my own problem with the โ€œfeistyโ€ heroines being their general stupidity, not their desire to be masters of their own destiny).
    Jo really nailed my main complaint with โ€œthe rebellion in romance novels, especially on the part of the heroine, is too often not for social justice, to bring about necessary reforms, or even to struggle against her own oppression, but a โ€˜don’t wanna!โ€™โ€ The heroine wants to remain single, be a doctor, vet, spy, etc. simply because she wants to do so, end of story. Thereโ€™s no larger issue or story arc that explains, motivates, or justifies her abnormality. And she IS abnormal for the time period. Abnormal need not = bad, but it does not = good simply by virtue of being more akin to a modern womanโ€™s expectations and experiences.
    But then, like Jo, I find Hester Stanhopeโ€™s earlier years far more interesting than the later ones.

    Reply
  153. ***it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting***
    Doesn’t this pretty much describe all of Austen’s heroines, and not a few of Heyerโ€™s? Itโ€™s the intelligence of the women they wrote that sets them apart (my own problem with the โ€œfeistyโ€ heroines being their general stupidity, not their desire to be masters of their own destiny).
    Jo really nailed my main complaint with โ€œthe rebellion in romance novels, especially on the part of the heroine, is too often not for social justice, to bring about necessary reforms, or even to struggle against her own oppression, but a โ€˜don’t wanna!โ€™โ€ The heroine wants to remain single, be a doctor, vet, spy, etc. simply because she wants to do so, end of story. Thereโ€™s no larger issue or story arc that explains, motivates, or justifies her abnormality. And she IS abnormal for the time period. Abnormal need not = bad, but it does not = good simply by virtue of being more akin to a modern womanโ€™s expectations and experiences.
    But then, like Jo, I find Hester Stanhopeโ€™s earlier years far more interesting than the later ones.

    Reply
  154. ***it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting***
    Doesn’t this pretty much describe all of Austen’s heroines, and not a few of Heyerโ€™s? Itโ€™s the intelligence of the women they wrote that sets them apart (my own problem with the โ€œfeistyโ€ heroines being their general stupidity, not their desire to be masters of their own destiny).
    Jo really nailed my main complaint with โ€œthe rebellion in romance novels, especially on the part of the heroine, is too often not for social justice, to bring about necessary reforms, or even to struggle against her own oppression, but a โ€˜don’t wanna!โ€™โ€ The heroine wants to remain single, be a doctor, vet, spy, etc. simply because she wants to do so, end of story. Thereโ€™s no larger issue or story arc that explains, motivates, or justifies her abnormality. And she IS abnormal for the time period. Abnormal need not = bad, but it does not = good simply by virtue of being more akin to a modern womanโ€™s expectations and experiences.
    But then, like Jo, I find Hester Stanhopeโ€™s earlier years far more interesting than the later ones.

    Reply
  155. ***it doesn’t seem to me that common, run-of-the-mill heroines who serve tea well and can act the proper host would be very interesting***
    Doesn’t this pretty much describe all of Austen’s heroines, and not a few of Heyerโ€™s? Itโ€™s the intelligence of the women they wrote that sets them apart (my own problem with the โ€œfeistyโ€ heroines being their general stupidity, not their desire to be masters of their own destiny).
    Jo really nailed my main complaint with โ€œthe rebellion in romance novels, especially on the part of the heroine, is too often not for social justice, to bring about necessary reforms, or even to struggle against her own oppression, but a โ€˜don’t wanna!โ€™โ€ The heroine wants to remain single, be a doctor, vet, spy, etc. simply because she wants to do so, end of story. Thereโ€™s no larger issue or story arc that explains, motivates, or justifies her abnormality. And she IS abnormal for the time period. Abnormal need not = bad, but it does not = good simply by virtue of being more akin to a modern womanโ€™s expectations and experiences.
    But then, like Jo, I find Hester Stanhopeโ€™s earlier years far more interesting than the later ones.

    Reply
  156. “I do not enjoy disingenuous characters who consciously choose to behave peculiarly, whether out of a need for attention or the belief that such behavior will make them a groundbreaking thinker. :-)(Or the writer’s belief it will make them interesting.)”
    This bring to mind a saying. “Just because no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist.” ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sir Anthony. Yes! And he is a great example of an ordinary person who can do the extraordinary but has no desire to BE extraordinary. Heyer is full of those characters, isn’t she, often paired up with the over-the-top romantic couple who probably would take ship for Xanadu on a whim.
    Susan, sorry if you feel misunderstood. I do understand, actually, but I keep riffing off your interesting posts in other directions.
    Yes, there certainly are people who are personally at odds with their setting. There’s nothing wrong with where they are for most people, but it’s absolutely not right for them and if they can’t leave they’ll be miserable.
    So I can imagine a romance in which that is the theme and plot, but in my mind part of the book is finding that other place and achieving it as the prize, not having them set out at the end in the hope of finding it. I need that closure, but many may not. What’s your opinion on that?
    Wanting to be other than where they are is a frequent plot in historical romances, I think, especially for heroines, whose most likely escape was through marriage. The heroine in an unloving family. (Eleanor in An Arranged Marriage.) The heroine in a poverty stricken family. (Meg in Forbidden Magic.) The heroine whose family will insist on taking her to London to balls and the theatre who’d rather stay home and muck out the stables. (Example of the odd bird, but I’ve read it.)
    Lady Anne in Hazard partly dislikes society because of her crippled foot and the pity it causes, but she also really truly wants to be an archivist and could happily spend the rest of her life exploring the neglected part of her ducal family’s muniment room. Her loving family is convinced she only does such a dull thing because she’s unlikely to marry, and so they tag their happiness to her making a “good marriage,” which will involve moving away from home and also being supposed to dedicate herself to running some great estate, being a grand hostess etc.
    Race de Vere strikes out on all her family’s counts, but he loves her and his negatives are actually positives. His lack of money and family means he has no estate to take her away to, and his work as a secretary has created a love of old papers and the exploration and management of them. So their happy ending is that her father gives her a small house on his estate, they live on her large dowry, and can devote themselves to the family paperwork forever more.
    Commonplace? No. Unlikely? Not really. Happily settled, very, and not in a geographically different location as far as Anne’s concerned, but it a very different social location. She’s won the prize of something that to begin with seemed out of reach, and that’s the basic underlying theme of most romances, isn’t it, if not most fiction.
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  157. “I do not enjoy disingenuous characters who consciously choose to behave peculiarly, whether out of a need for attention or the belief that such behavior will make them a groundbreaking thinker. :-)(Or the writer’s belief it will make them interesting.)”
    This bring to mind a saying. “Just because no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist.” ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sir Anthony. Yes! And he is a great example of an ordinary person who can do the extraordinary but has no desire to BE extraordinary. Heyer is full of those characters, isn’t she, often paired up with the over-the-top romantic couple who probably would take ship for Xanadu on a whim.
    Susan, sorry if you feel misunderstood. I do understand, actually, but I keep riffing off your interesting posts in other directions.
    Yes, there certainly are people who are personally at odds with their setting. There’s nothing wrong with where they are for most people, but it’s absolutely not right for them and if they can’t leave they’ll be miserable.
    So I can imagine a romance in which that is the theme and plot, but in my mind part of the book is finding that other place and achieving it as the prize, not having them set out at the end in the hope of finding it. I need that closure, but many may not. What’s your opinion on that?
    Wanting to be other than where they are is a frequent plot in historical romances, I think, especially for heroines, whose most likely escape was through marriage. The heroine in an unloving family. (Eleanor in An Arranged Marriage.) The heroine in a poverty stricken family. (Meg in Forbidden Magic.) The heroine whose family will insist on taking her to London to balls and the theatre who’d rather stay home and muck out the stables. (Example of the odd bird, but I’ve read it.)
    Lady Anne in Hazard partly dislikes society because of her crippled foot and the pity it causes, but she also really truly wants to be an archivist and could happily spend the rest of her life exploring the neglected part of her ducal family’s muniment room. Her loving family is convinced she only does such a dull thing because she’s unlikely to marry, and so they tag their happiness to her making a “good marriage,” which will involve moving away from home and also being supposed to dedicate herself to running some great estate, being a grand hostess etc.
    Race de Vere strikes out on all her family’s counts, but he loves her and his negatives are actually positives. His lack of money and family means he has no estate to take her away to, and his work as a secretary has created a love of old papers and the exploration and management of them. So their happy ending is that her father gives her a small house on his estate, they live on her large dowry, and can devote themselves to the family paperwork forever more.
    Commonplace? No. Unlikely? Not really. Happily settled, very, and not in a geographically different location as far as Anne’s concerned, but it a very different social location. She’s won the prize of something that to begin with seemed out of reach, and that’s the basic underlying theme of most romances, isn’t it, if not most fiction.
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  158. “I do not enjoy disingenuous characters who consciously choose to behave peculiarly, whether out of a need for attention or the belief that such behavior will make them a groundbreaking thinker. :-)(Or the writer’s belief it will make them interesting.)”
    This bring to mind a saying. “Just because no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist.” ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sir Anthony. Yes! And he is a great example of an ordinary person who can do the extraordinary but has no desire to BE extraordinary. Heyer is full of those characters, isn’t she, often paired up with the over-the-top romantic couple who probably would take ship for Xanadu on a whim.
    Susan, sorry if you feel misunderstood. I do understand, actually, but I keep riffing off your interesting posts in other directions.
    Yes, there certainly are people who are personally at odds with their setting. There’s nothing wrong with where they are for most people, but it’s absolutely not right for them and if they can’t leave they’ll be miserable.
    So I can imagine a romance in which that is the theme and plot, but in my mind part of the book is finding that other place and achieving it as the prize, not having them set out at the end in the hope of finding it. I need that closure, but many may not. What’s your opinion on that?
    Wanting to be other than where they are is a frequent plot in historical romances, I think, especially for heroines, whose most likely escape was through marriage. The heroine in an unloving family. (Eleanor in An Arranged Marriage.) The heroine in a poverty stricken family. (Meg in Forbidden Magic.) The heroine whose family will insist on taking her to London to balls and the theatre who’d rather stay home and muck out the stables. (Example of the odd bird, but I’ve read it.)
    Lady Anne in Hazard partly dislikes society because of her crippled foot and the pity it causes, but she also really truly wants to be an archivist and could happily spend the rest of her life exploring the neglected part of her ducal family’s muniment room. Her loving family is convinced she only does such a dull thing because she’s unlikely to marry, and so they tag their happiness to her making a “good marriage,” which will involve moving away from home and also being supposed to dedicate herself to running some great estate, being a grand hostess etc.
    Race de Vere strikes out on all her family’s counts, but he loves her and his negatives are actually positives. His lack of money and family means he has no estate to take her away to, and his work as a secretary has created a love of old papers and the exploration and management of them. So their happy ending is that her father gives her a small house on his estate, they live on her large dowry, and can devote themselves to the family paperwork forever more.
    Commonplace? No. Unlikely? Not really. Happily settled, very, and not in a geographically different location as far as Anne’s concerned, but it a very different social location. She’s won the prize of something that to begin with seemed out of reach, and that’s the basic underlying theme of most romances, isn’t it, if not most fiction.
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  159. “I do not enjoy disingenuous characters who consciously choose to behave peculiarly, whether out of a need for attention or the belief that such behavior will make them a groundbreaking thinker. :-)(Or the writer’s belief it will make them interesting.)”
    This bring to mind a saying. “Just because no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist.” ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sir Anthony. Yes! And he is a great example of an ordinary person who can do the extraordinary but has no desire to BE extraordinary. Heyer is full of those characters, isn’t she, often paired up with the over-the-top romantic couple who probably would take ship for Xanadu on a whim.
    Susan, sorry if you feel misunderstood. I do understand, actually, but I keep riffing off your interesting posts in other directions.
    Yes, there certainly are people who are personally at odds with their setting. There’s nothing wrong with where they are for most people, but it’s absolutely not right for them and if they can’t leave they’ll be miserable.
    So I can imagine a romance in which that is the theme and plot, but in my mind part of the book is finding that other place and achieving it as the prize, not having them set out at the end in the hope of finding it. I need that closure, but many may not. What’s your opinion on that?
    Wanting to be other than where they are is a frequent plot in historical romances, I think, especially for heroines, whose most likely escape was through marriage. The heroine in an unloving family. (Eleanor in An Arranged Marriage.) The heroine in a poverty stricken family. (Meg in Forbidden Magic.) The heroine whose family will insist on taking her to London to balls and the theatre who’d rather stay home and muck out the stables. (Example of the odd bird, but I’ve read it.)
    Lady Anne in Hazard partly dislikes society because of her crippled foot and the pity it causes, but she also really truly wants to be an archivist and could happily spend the rest of her life exploring the neglected part of her ducal family’s muniment room. Her loving family is convinced she only does such a dull thing because she’s unlikely to marry, and so they tag their happiness to her making a “good marriage,” which will involve moving away from home and also being supposed to dedicate herself to running some great estate, being a grand hostess etc.
    Race de Vere strikes out on all her family’s counts, but he loves her and his negatives are actually positives. His lack of money and family means he has no estate to take her away to, and his work as a secretary has created a love of old papers and the exploration and management of them. So their happy ending is that her father gives her a small house on his estate, they live on her large dowry, and can devote themselves to the family paperwork forever more.
    Commonplace? No. Unlikely? Not really. Happily settled, very, and not in a geographically different location as far as Anne’s concerned, but it a very different social location. She’s won the prize of something that to begin with seemed out of reach, and that’s the basic underlying theme of most romances, isn’t it, if not most fiction.
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  160. “I do not enjoy disingenuous characters who consciously choose to behave peculiarly, whether out of a need for attention or the belief that such behavior will make them a groundbreaking thinker. :-)(Or the writer’s belief it will make them interesting.)”
    This bring to mind a saying. “Just because no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist.” ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sir Anthony. Yes! And he is a great example of an ordinary person who can do the extraordinary but has no desire to BE extraordinary. Heyer is full of those characters, isn’t she, often paired up with the over-the-top romantic couple who probably would take ship for Xanadu on a whim.
    Susan, sorry if you feel misunderstood. I do understand, actually, but I keep riffing off your interesting posts in other directions.
    Yes, there certainly are people who are personally at odds with their setting. There’s nothing wrong with where they are for most people, but it’s absolutely not right for them and if they can’t leave they’ll be miserable.
    So I can imagine a romance in which that is the theme and plot, but in my mind part of the book is finding that other place and achieving it as the prize, not having them set out at the end in the hope of finding it. I need that closure, but many may not. What’s your opinion on that?
    Wanting to be other than where they are is a frequent plot in historical romances, I think, especially for heroines, whose most likely escape was through marriage. The heroine in an unloving family. (Eleanor in An Arranged Marriage.) The heroine in a poverty stricken family. (Meg in Forbidden Magic.) The heroine whose family will insist on taking her to London to balls and the theatre who’d rather stay home and muck out the stables. (Example of the odd bird, but I’ve read it.)
    Lady Anne in Hazard partly dislikes society because of her crippled foot and the pity it causes, but she also really truly wants to be an archivist and could happily spend the rest of her life exploring the neglected part of her ducal family’s muniment room. Her loving family is convinced she only does such a dull thing because she’s unlikely to marry, and so they tag their happiness to her making a “good marriage,” which will involve moving away from home and also being supposed to dedicate herself to running some great estate, being a grand hostess etc.
    Race de Vere strikes out on all her family’s counts, but he loves her and his negatives are actually positives. His lack of money and family means he has no estate to take her away to, and his work as a secretary has created a love of old papers and the exploration and management of them. So their happy ending is that her father gives her a small house on his estate, they live on her large dowry, and can devote themselves to the family paperwork forever more.
    Commonplace? No. Unlikely? Not really. Happily settled, very, and not in a geographically different location as far as Anne’s concerned, but it a very different social location. She’s won the prize of something that to begin with seemed out of reach, and that’s the basic underlying theme of most romances, isn’t it, if not most fiction.
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  161. I wish I’d had time to come to this discussion earlier because now there are so many threads I want to riff on that my brain has frozen. “G”
    I dislike stupid characters, period. I don’t care if they’re ladylike and placid and behaving as they ought or if they’re feisty and kickboxing villains. If they’re stupid, I won’t read them. So if we have books out there now with feisty rebellious heroines who don’ wanna, I haven’t read them. I suppose, if their stupidity is part of the story, and their stupidity is admitted, then I might buy into it, but mostly, we see TSTL characters.
    I think, if there really are these kind of characters prevailing these days, it’s because we’re all striving to do something unique, and it’s become increasingly difficult within the proper English settings most publishers are looking for. We used to be able to take a heroine who didn’t fit into her time and place and send her off to the colonies, where she was right at home, fighting wolves or Indians or prejudice or whatever. (I totally understand what Susan is saying)
    But even though I thoroughly enjoy a rebellious heroine who doesn’t fit into her time and place, I agree that in romance, she needs to become part of a community that will make her happy. Finding that community becomes as much a part of the story as any other conflict, IMO, even if that community is the hero’s hermit-like family. “G”
    Great discussion!

    Reply
  162. I wish I’d had time to come to this discussion earlier because now there are so many threads I want to riff on that my brain has frozen. “G”
    I dislike stupid characters, period. I don’t care if they’re ladylike and placid and behaving as they ought or if they’re feisty and kickboxing villains. If they’re stupid, I won’t read them. So if we have books out there now with feisty rebellious heroines who don’ wanna, I haven’t read them. I suppose, if their stupidity is part of the story, and their stupidity is admitted, then I might buy into it, but mostly, we see TSTL characters.
    I think, if there really are these kind of characters prevailing these days, it’s because we’re all striving to do something unique, and it’s become increasingly difficult within the proper English settings most publishers are looking for. We used to be able to take a heroine who didn’t fit into her time and place and send her off to the colonies, where she was right at home, fighting wolves or Indians or prejudice or whatever. (I totally understand what Susan is saying)
    But even though I thoroughly enjoy a rebellious heroine who doesn’t fit into her time and place, I agree that in romance, she needs to become part of a community that will make her happy. Finding that community becomes as much a part of the story as any other conflict, IMO, even if that community is the hero’s hermit-like family. “G”
    Great discussion!

    Reply
  163. I wish I’d had time to come to this discussion earlier because now there are so many threads I want to riff on that my brain has frozen. “G”
    I dislike stupid characters, period. I don’t care if they’re ladylike and placid and behaving as they ought or if they’re feisty and kickboxing villains. If they’re stupid, I won’t read them. So if we have books out there now with feisty rebellious heroines who don’ wanna, I haven’t read them. I suppose, if their stupidity is part of the story, and their stupidity is admitted, then I might buy into it, but mostly, we see TSTL characters.
    I think, if there really are these kind of characters prevailing these days, it’s because we’re all striving to do something unique, and it’s become increasingly difficult within the proper English settings most publishers are looking for. We used to be able to take a heroine who didn’t fit into her time and place and send her off to the colonies, where she was right at home, fighting wolves or Indians or prejudice or whatever. (I totally understand what Susan is saying)
    But even though I thoroughly enjoy a rebellious heroine who doesn’t fit into her time and place, I agree that in romance, she needs to become part of a community that will make her happy. Finding that community becomes as much a part of the story as any other conflict, IMO, even if that community is the hero’s hermit-like family. “G”
    Great discussion!

    Reply
  164. I wish I’d had time to come to this discussion earlier because now there are so many threads I want to riff on that my brain has frozen. “G”
    I dislike stupid characters, period. I don’t care if they’re ladylike and placid and behaving as they ought or if they’re feisty and kickboxing villains. If they’re stupid, I won’t read them. So if we have books out there now with feisty rebellious heroines who don’ wanna, I haven’t read them. I suppose, if their stupidity is part of the story, and their stupidity is admitted, then I might buy into it, but mostly, we see TSTL characters.
    I think, if there really are these kind of characters prevailing these days, it’s because we’re all striving to do something unique, and it’s become increasingly difficult within the proper English settings most publishers are looking for. We used to be able to take a heroine who didn’t fit into her time and place and send her off to the colonies, where she was right at home, fighting wolves or Indians or prejudice or whatever. (I totally understand what Susan is saying)
    But even though I thoroughly enjoy a rebellious heroine who doesn’t fit into her time and place, I agree that in romance, she needs to become part of a community that will make her happy. Finding that community becomes as much a part of the story as any other conflict, IMO, even if that community is the hero’s hermit-like family. “G”
    Great discussion!

    Reply
  165. I wish I’d had time to come to this discussion earlier because now there are so many threads I want to riff on that my brain has frozen. “G”
    I dislike stupid characters, period. I don’t care if they’re ladylike and placid and behaving as they ought or if they’re feisty and kickboxing villains. If they’re stupid, I won’t read them. So if we have books out there now with feisty rebellious heroines who don’ wanna, I haven’t read them. I suppose, if their stupidity is part of the story, and their stupidity is admitted, then I might buy into it, but mostly, we see TSTL characters.
    I think, if there really are these kind of characters prevailing these days, it’s because we’re all striving to do something unique, and it’s become increasingly difficult within the proper English settings most publishers are looking for. We used to be able to take a heroine who didn’t fit into her time and place and send her off to the colonies, where she was right at home, fighting wolves or Indians or prejudice or whatever. (I totally understand what Susan is saying)
    But even though I thoroughly enjoy a rebellious heroine who doesn’t fit into her time and place, I agree that in romance, she needs to become part of a community that will make her happy. Finding that community becomes as much a part of the story as any other conflict, IMO, even if that community is the hero’s hermit-like family. “G”
    Great discussion!

    Reply
  166. I must admit that the only reason I went to see “The Taming of the Shrew” was that tickets were going for $10, and I was hoping against hope that the director (a woman) would have found some way to redeem the ending. Unfortunately, the answer was no.
    As for Ms. Wilbanks, I think we may have been separated at birth. I too grew up in a beautiful part of the country and at 18 traveled far away for college, only to discover that my new community felt far more like home to me than my original ever had. I truly believe that there are wonderful people everywhere but that places do have personalities and we mesh better in some places than in others. I can read about women who make it in the Big City but then return home to find happiness with their high school sweetheart, but I resent it when in such books “Evil” Big City seems to be the required descriptor.

    Reply
  167. I must admit that the only reason I went to see “The Taming of the Shrew” was that tickets were going for $10, and I was hoping against hope that the director (a woman) would have found some way to redeem the ending. Unfortunately, the answer was no.
    As for Ms. Wilbanks, I think we may have been separated at birth. I too grew up in a beautiful part of the country and at 18 traveled far away for college, only to discover that my new community felt far more like home to me than my original ever had. I truly believe that there are wonderful people everywhere but that places do have personalities and we mesh better in some places than in others. I can read about women who make it in the Big City but then return home to find happiness with their high school sweetheart, but I resent it when in such books “Evil” Big City seems to be the required descriptor.

    Reply
  168. I must admit that the only reason I went to see “The Taming of the Shrew” was that tickets were going for $10, and I was hoping against hope that the director (a woman) would have found some way to redeem the ending. Unfortunately, the answer was no.
    As for Ms. Wilbanks, I think we may have been separated at birth. I too grew up in a beautiful part of the country and at 18 traveled far away for college, only to discover that my new community felt far more like home to me than my original ever had. I truly believe that there are wonderful people everywhere but that places do have personalities and we mesh better in some places than in others. I can read about women who make it in the Big City but then return home to find happiness with their high school sweetheart, but I resent it when in such books “Evil” Big City seems to be the required descriptor.

    Reply
  169. I must admit that the only reason I went to see “The Taming of the Shrew” was that tickets were going for $10, and I was hoping against hope that the director (a woman) would have found some way to redeem the ending. Unfortunately, the answer was no.
    As for Ms. Wilbanks, I think we may have been separated at birth. I too grew up in a beautiful part of the country and at 18 traveled far away for college, only to discover that my new community felt far more like home to me than my original ever had. I truly believe that there are wonderful people everywhere but that places do have personalities and we mesh better in some places than in others. I can read about women who make it in the Big City but then return home to find happiness with their high school sweetheart, but I resent it when in such books “Evil” Big City seems to be the required descriptor.

    Reply
  170. I must admit that the only reason I went to see “The Taming of the Shrew” was that tickets were going for $10, and I was hoping against hope that the director (a woman) would have found some way to redeem the ending. Unfortunately, the answer was no.
    As for Ms. Wilbanks, I think we may have been separated at birth. I too grew up in a beautiful part of the country and at 18 traveled far away for college, only to discover that my new community felt far more like home to me than my original ever had. I truly believe that there are wonderful people everywhere but that places do have personalities and we mesh better in some places than in others. I can read about women who make it in the Big City but then return home to find happiness with their high school sweetheart, but I resent it when in such books “Evil” Big City seems to be the required descriptor.

    Reply
  171. “So I can imagine a romance in which that is the theme and plot, but in my mind part of the book is finding that other place and achieving it as the prize, not having them set out at the end in the hope of finding it. I need that closure, but many may not. What’s your opinion on that?”
    Either one works for me, basically. I certainly enjoy the former version, but if the couple is happy together and I can believe there’s a good community to be found at their destination, I’m also perfectly happy with a “sailing off into the sunset” ending.

    Reply
  172. “So I can imagine a romance in which that is the theme and plot, but in my mind part of the book is finding that other place and achieving it as the prize, not having them set out at the end in the hope of finding it. I need that closure, but many may not. What’s your opinion on that?”
    Either one works for me, basically. I certainly enjoy the former version, but if the couple is happy together and I can believe there’s a good community to be found at their destination, I’m also perfectly happy with a “sailing off into the sunset” ending.

    Reply
  173. “So I can imagine a romance in which that is the theme and plot, but in my mind part of the book is finding that other place and achieving it as the prize, not having them set out at the end in the hope of finding it. I need that closure, but many may not. What’s your opinion on that?”
    Either one works for me, basically. I certainly enjoy the former version, but if the couple is happy together and I can believe there’s a good community to be found at their destination, I’m also perfectly happy with a “sailing off into the sunset” ending.

    Reply
  174. “So I can imagine a romance in which that is the theme and plot, but in my mind part of the book is finding that other place and achieving it as the prize, not having them set out at the end in the hope of finding it. I need that closure, but many may not. What’s your opinion on that?”
    Either one works for me, basically. I certainly enjoy the former version, but if the couple is happy together and I can believe there’s a good community to be found at their destination, I’m also perfectly happy with a “sailing off into the sunset” ending.

    Reply
  175. “So I can imagine a romance in which that is the theme and plot, but in my mind part of the book is finding that other place and achieving it as the prize, not having them set out at the end in the hope of finding it. I need that closure, but many may not. What’s your opinion on that?”
    Either one works for me, basically. I certainly enjoy the former version, but if the couple is happy together and I can believe there’s a good community to be found at their destination, I’m also perfectly happy with a “sailing off into the sunset” ending.

    Reply
  176. Actually, I am the other way round. I do not need that closure. For me, the closure is having found your soulmate. If I believe in the love the characters share, I can believe they will achieve everything they set out to do. One of my favourite books, Marsha Canham’s Pride of Lions (or is it the blood of roses? I always read them together so I can never tell which is the first one and which the second one) ends with a very open ending. You know the main couple have to go to exile, will have to start over, and their past has been destroyed completely. Yet I always believed they’s make it, and in fact I sometimes imagine how the story went on, which gives me great pleasure! ๐Ÿ™‚
    By the way, my previous post was more a general observation than a comment on any specific book.

    Reply
  177. Actually, I am the other way round. I do not need that closure. For me, the closure is having found your soulmate. If I believe in the love the characters share, I can believe they will achieve everything they set out to do. One of my favourite books, Marsha Canham’s Pride of Lions (or is it the blood of roses? I always read them together so I can never tell which is the first one and which the second one) ends with a very open ending. You know the main couple have to go to exile, will have to start over, and their past has been destroyed completely. Yet I always believed they’s make it, and in fact I sometimes imagine how the story went on, which gives me great pleasure! ๐Ÿ™‚
    By the way, my previous post was more a general observation than a comment on any specific book.

    Reply
  178. Actually, I am the other way round. I do not need that closure. For me, the closure is having found your soulmate. If I believe in the love the characters share, I can believe they will achieve everything they set out to do. One of my favourite books, Marsha Canham’s Pride of Lions (or is it the blood of roses? I always read them together so I can never tell which is the first one and which the second one) ends with a very open ending. You know the main couple have to go to exile, will have to start over, and their past has been destroyed completely. Yet I always believed they’s make it, and in fact I sometimes imagine how the story went on, which gives me great pleasure! ๐Ÿ™‚
    By the way, my previous post was more a general observation than a comment on any specific book.

    Reply
  179. Actually, I am the other way round. I do not need that closure. For me, the closure is having found your soulmate. If I believe in the love the characters share, I can believe they will achieve everything they set out to do. One of my favourite books, Marsha Canham’s Pride of Lions (or is it the blood of roses? I always read them together so I can never tell which is the first one and which the second one) ends with a very open ending. You know the main couple have to go to exile, will have to start over, and their past has been destroyed completely. Yet I always believed they’s make it, and in fact I sometimes imagine how the story went on, which gives me great pleasure! ๐Ÿ™‚
    By the way, my previous post was more a general observation than a comment on any specific book.

    Reply
  180. Actually, I am the other way round. I do not need that closure. For me, the closure is having found your soulmate. If I believe in the love the characters share, I can believe they will achieve everything they set out to do. One of my favourite books, Marsha Canham’s Pride of Lions (or is it the blood of roses? I always read them together so I can never tell which is the first one and which the second one) ends with a very open ending. You know the main couple have to go to exile, will have to start over, and their past has been destroyed completely. Yet I always believed they’s make it, and in fact I sometimes imagine how the story went on, which gives me great pleasure! ๐Ÿ™‚
    By the way, my previous post was more a general observation than a comment on any specific book.

    Reply
  181. what a great topic. I only today finished rereading Sense and Sensibility. I can’t help wondering everytime I read Jane Austen, how did those ladies entertain themselves all day. Socializing with the same friends, day after day, going over the same gossip. I would go crazy, but I still love to read them. I think those ladies obeyed the ‘regs’ of their roles, and who can argue with the quality and loveliness of the stories. The heroine and hero do not have to be social rebels if the story is well-written. Romance is about the interpersonal relationships after all. Elinor is not boring. She’s strong, mature beyond her years and a role model for any generation.
    I think today’s woman likes reading about strong-willed women, but I don’t think historical accuracy must be ignored to make a woman appear strong or intelligent when her behavior might actually have made such behavior appear rude and obscene. Thanks, Jo, for starting such a terrific discussion.

    Reply
  182. what a great topic. I only today finished rereading Sense and Sensibility. I can’t help wondering everytime I read Jane Austen, how did those ladies entertain themselves all day. Socializing with the same friends, day after day, going over the same gossip. I would go crazy, but I still love to read them. I think those ladies obeyed the ‘regs’ of their roles, and who can argue with the quality and loveliness of the stories. The heroine and hero do not have to be social rebels if the story is well-written. Romance is about the interpersonal relationships after all. Elinor is not boring. She’s strong, mature beyond her years and a role model for any generation.
    I think today’s woman likes reading about strong-willed women, but I don’t think historical accuracy must be ignored to make a woman appear strong or intelligent when her behavior might actually have made such behavior appear rude and obscene. Thanks, Jo, for starting such a terrific discussion.

    Reply
  183. what a great topic. I only today finished rereading Sense and Sensibility. I can’t help wondering everytime I read Jane Austen, how did those ladies entertain themselves all day. Socializing with the same friends, day after day, going over the same gossip. I would go crazy, but I still love to read them. I think those ladies obeyed the ‘regs’ of their roles, and who can argue with the quality and loveliness of the stories. The heroine and hero do not have to be social rebels if the story is well-written. Romance is about the interpersonal relationships after all. Elinor is not boring. She’s strong, mature beyond her years and a role model for any generation.
    I think today’s woman likes reading about strong-willed women, but I don’t think historical accuracy must be ignored to make a woman appear strong or intelligent when her behavior might actually have made such behavior appear rude and obscene. Thanks, Jo, for starting such a terrific discussion.

    Reply
  184. what a great topic. I only today finished rereading Sense and Sensibility. I can’t help wondering everytime I read Jane Austen, how did those ladies entertain themselves all day. Socializing with the same friends, day after day, going over the same gossip. I would go crazy, but I still love to read them. I think those ladies obeyed the ‘regs’ of their roles, and who can argue with the quality and loveliness of the stories. The heroine and hero do not have to be social rebels if the story is well-written. Romance is about the interpersonal relationships after all. Elinor is not boring. She’s strong, mature beyond her years and a role model for any generation.
    I think today’s woman likes reading about strong-willed women, but I don’t think historical accuracy must be ignored to make a woman appear strong or intelligent when her behavior might actually have made such behavior appear rude and obscene. Thanks, Jo, for starting such a terrific discussion.

    Reply
  185. what a great topic. I only today finished rereading Sense and Sensibility. I can’t help wondering everytime I read Jane Austen, how did those ladies entertain themselves all day. Socializing with the same friends, day after day, going over the same gossip. I would go crazy, but I still love to read them. I think those ladies obeyed the ‘regs’ of their roles, and who can argue with the quality and loveliness of the stories. The heroine and hero do not have to be social rebels if the story is well-written. Romance is about the interpersonal relationships after all. Elinor is not boring. She’s strong, mature beyond her years and a role model for any generation.
    I think today’s woman likes reading about strong-willed women, but I don’t think historical accuracy must be ignored to make a woman appear strong or intelligent when her behavior might actually have made such behavior appear rude and obscene. Thanks, Jo, for starting such a terrific discussion.

    Reply
  186. Susan Kelley wrote: “I think today’s woman likes reading about strong-willed women, but I don’t think historical accuracy must be ignored to make a woman appear strong or intelligent when her behavior might actually have made such behavior appear rude and obscene.”
    What a great point. Strong will and intelligence don’t actually have anything to do with the way a person lives their life, do they, unless they’re fiddling it away on nothings.
    I mean, a person can be fiddling it away as a high-power executive if what they’re doing means nothing to them, and another can living a great life farming goats and cooking nourishing meals.
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  187. Susan Kelley wrote: “I think today’s woman likes reading about strong-willed women, but I don’t think historical accuracy must be ignored to make a woman appear strong or intelligent when her behavior might actually have made such behavior appear rude and obscene.”
    What a great point. Strong will and intelligence don’t actually have anything to do with the way a person lives their life, do they, unless they’re fiddling it away on nothings.
    I mean, a person can be fiddling it away as a high-power executive if what they’re doing means nothing to them, and another can living a great life farming goats and cooking nourishing meals.
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  188. Susan Kelley wrote: “I think today’s woman likes reading about strong-willed women, but I don’t think historical accuracy must be ignored to make a woman appear strong or intelligent when her behavior might actually have made such behavior appear rude and obscene.”
    What a great point. Strong will and intelligence don’t actually have anything to do with the way a person lives their life, do they, unless they’re fiddling it away on nothings.
    I mean, a person can be fiddling it away as a high-power executive if what they’re doing means nothing to them, and another can living a great life farming goats and cooking nourishing meals.
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  189. Susan Kelley wrote: “I think today’s woman likes reading about strong-willed women, but I don’t think historical accuracy must be ignored to make a woman appear strong or intelligent when her behavior might actually have made such behavior appear rude and obscene.”
    What a great point. Strong will and intelligence don’t actually have anything to do with the way a person lives their life, do they, unless they’re fiddling it away on nothings.
    I mean, a person can be fiddling it away as a high-power executive if what they’re doing means nothing to them, and another can living a great life farming goats and cooking nourishing meals.
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  190. Susan Kelley wrote: “I think today’s woman likes reading about strong-willed women, but I don’t think historical accuracy must be ignored to make a woman appear strong or intelligent when her behavior might actually have made such behavior appear rude and obscene.”
    What a great point. Strong will and intelligence don’t actually have anything to do with the way a person lives their life, do they, unless they’re fiddling it away on nothings.
    I mean, a person can be fiddling it away as a high-power executive if what they’re doing means nothing to them, and another can living a great life farming goats and cooking nourishing meals.
    Jo ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  191. Jo, I think you are describing yourself (only in your initial post however) as far more conventional than you could possibly be, or your characters would not be what they are. I agree with whoever wrote (I think it was Robin)that this is not an either/ or dichotomy. I find that many of the romances I like have an intelligent heroine who struggles with finding out in what ways she can remain outside the most cripling demands of convention, and be herself, while also intelligently evaluating the realities of her world. In other words, most push the envelope, but have to figure out how not to push it too much. Thus, the contrast between Elizabeth and Lidia Bennet.
    Jo, you also state:
    “Sometimes it is admirable to break rules, but the rebellion in romance novels, especially on the part of the heroine, is too often not for social justice, to bring about necessary reforms, or even to struggle against her own oppression, but a “don’t wanna!”
    Maybe it’s just my selective taste, but it seems to me that the heroines in romance novels are almost always struggling for social justice, for necessary reforms, or against their own oppression. Of course the examples that come most immediately to mind are from Mary Jo’s books– Is that cheating?
    I am glad that this discussion has reminded us that there have been strong and unconventional women throughout history. There have been intelligent women throughout history, there have been women who valued education throughout history, and there have been Lydias throughout history. There have always been women who pushed the envelope. If the background and character development make sense of what a heroine rebels against and why, we can find it believable. If actions are gratuitous or stupid— well, that is probably not an author I’ll read much.
    Were you being a bit of a devil’s advocate, in order to bring the argument about conventionality into balance?
    Merry

    Reply
  192. Jo, I think you are describing yourself (only in your initial post however) as far more conventional than you could possibly be, or your characters would not be what they are. I agree with whoever wrote (I think it was Robin)that this is not an either/ or dichotomy. I find that many of the romances I like have an intelligent heroine who struggles with finding out in what ways she can remain outside the most cripling demands of convention, and be herself, while also intelligently evaluating the realities of her world. In other words, most push the envelope, but have to figure out how not to push it too much. Thus, the contrast between Elizabeth and Lidia Bennet.
    Jo, you also state:
    “Sometimes it is admirable to break rules, but the rebellion in romance novels, especially on the part of the heroine, is too often not for social justice, to bring about necessary reforms, or even to struggle against her own oppression, but a “don’t wanna!”
    Maybe it’s just my selective taste, but it seems to me that the heroines in romance novels are almost always struggling for social justice, for necessary reforms, or against their own oppression. Of course the examples that come most immediately to mind are from Mary Jo’s books– Is that cheating?
    I am glad that this discussion has reminded us that there have been strong and unconventional women throughout history. There have been intelligent women throughout history, there have been women who valued education throughout history, and there have been Lydias throughout history. There have always been women who pushed the envelope. If the background and character development make sense of what a heroine rebels against and why, we can find it believable. If actions are gratuitous or stupid— well, that is probably not an author I’ll read much.
    Were you being a bit of a devil’s advocate, in order to bring the argument about conventionality into balance?
    Merry

    Reply
  193. Jo, I think you are describing yourself (only in your initial post however) as far more conventional than you could possibly be, or your characters would not be what they are. I agree with whoever wrote (I think it was Robin)that this is not an either/ or dichotomy. I find that many of the romances I like have an intelligent heroine who struggles with finding out in what ways she can remain outside the most cripling demands of convention, and be herself, while also intelligently evaluating the realities of her world. In other words, most push the envelope, but have to figure out how not to push it too much. Thus, the contrast between Elizabeth and Lidia Bennet.
    Jo, you also state:
    “Sometimes it is admirable to break rules, but the rebellion in romance novels, especially on the part of the heroine, is too often not for social justice, to bring about necessary reforms, or even to struggle against her own oppression, but a “don’t wanna!”
    Maybe it’s just my selective taste, but it seems to me that the heroines in romance novels are almost always struggling for social justice, for necessary reforms, or against their own oppression. Of course the examples that come most immediately to mind are from Mary Jo’s books– Is that cheating?
    I am glad that this discussion has reminded us that there have been strong and unconventional women throughout history. There have been intelligent women throughout history, there have been women who valued education throughout history, and there have been Lydias throughout history. There have always been women who pushed the envelope. If the background and character development make sense of what a heroine rebels against and why, we can find it believable. If actions are gratuitous or stupid— well, that is probably not an author I’ll read much.
    Were you being a bit of a devil’s advocate, in order to bring the argument about conventionality into balance?
    Merry

    Reply
  194. Jo, I think you are describing yourself (only in your initial post however) as far more conventional than you could possibly be, or your characters would not be what they are. I agree with whoever wrote (I think it was Robin)that this is not an either/ or dichotomy. I find that many of the romances I like have an intelligent heroine who struggles with finding out in what ways she can remain outside the most cripling demands of convention, and be herself, while also intelligently evaluating the realities of her world. In other words, most push the envelope, but have to figure out how not to push it too much. Thus, the contrast between Elizabeth and Lidia Bennet.
    Jo, you also state:
    “Sometimes it is admirable to break rules, but the rebellion in romance novels, especially on the part of the heroine, is too often not for social justice, to bring about necessary reforms, or even to struggle against her own oppression, but a “don’t wanna!”
    Maybe it’s just my selective taste, but it seems to me that the heroines in romance novels are almost always struggling for social justice, for necessary reforms, or against their own oppression. Of course the examples that come most immediately to mind are from Mary Jo’s books– Is that cheating?
    I am glad that this discussion has reminded us that there have been strong and unconventional women throughout history. There have been intelligent women throughout history, there have been women who valued education throughout history, and there have been Lydias throughout history. There have always been women who pushed the envelope. If the background and character development make sense of what a heroine rebels against and why, we can find it believable. If actions are gratuitous or stupid— well, that is probably not an author I’ll read much.
    Were you being a bit of a devil’s advocate, in order to bring the argument about conventionality into balance?
    Merry

    Reply
  195. Jo, I think you are describing yourself (only in your initial post however) as far more conventional than you could possibly be, or your characters would not be what they are. I agree with whoever wrote (I think it was Robin)that this is not an either/ or dichotomy. I find that many of the romances I like have an intelligent heroine who struggles with finding out in what ways she can remain outside the most cripling demands of convention, and be herself, while also intelligently evaluating the realities of her world. In other words, most push the envelope, but have to figure out how not to push it too much. Thus, the contrast between Elizabeth and Lidia Bennet.
    Jo, you also state:
    “Sometimes it is admirable to break rules, but the rebellion in romance novels, especially on the part of the heroine, is too often not for social justice, to bring about necessary reforms, or even to struggle against her own oppression, but a “don’t wanna!”
    Maybe it’s just my selective taste, but it seems to me that the heroines in romance novels are almost always struggling for social justice, for necessary reforms, or against their own oppression. Of course the examples that come most immediately to mind are from Mary Jo’s books– Is that cheating?
    I am glad that this discussion has reminded us that there have been strong and unconventional women throughout history. There have been intelligent women throughout history, there have been women who valued education throughout history, and there have been Lydias throughout history. There have always been women who pushed the envelope. If the background and character development make sense of what a heroine rebels against and why, we can find it believable. If actions are gratuitous or stupid— well, that is probably not an author I’ll read much.
    Were you being a bit of a devil’s advocate, in order to bring the argument about conventionality into balance?
    Merry

    Reply
  196. Jo, Just to clarify my comment about your self-presentation– in your books the heroine is often struggling for genuine equality within marriage (which might not have been a conventional goal at the time– though it’s one that certainly some would strive for) Portia goes off with Fort to find her brother– beth insists that she take part in a break-in to share the risks, Eleanor sends Nickolas away— Conventional? who are you kidding, Jo?
    Merry

    Reply
  197. Jo, Just to clarify my comment about your self-presentation– in your books the heroine is often struggling for genuine equality within marriage (which might not have been a conventional goal at the time– though it’s one that certainly some would strive for) Portia goes off with Fort to find her brother– beth insists that she take part in a break-in to share the risks, Eleanor sends Nickolas away— Conventional? who are you kidding, Jo?
    Merry

    Reply
  198. Jo, Just to clarify my comment about your self-presentation– in your books the heroine is often struggling for genuine equality within marriage (which might not have been a conventional goal at the time– though it’s one that certainly some would strive for) Portia goes off with Fort to find her brother– beth insists that she take part in a break-in to share the risks, Eleanor sends Nickolas away— Conventional? who are you kidding, Jo?
    Merry

    Reply
  199. Jo, Just to clarify my comment about your self-presentation– in your books the heroine is often struggling for genuine equality within marriage (which might not have been a conventional goal at the time– though it’s one that certainly some would strive for) Portia goes off with Fort to find her brother– beth insists that she take part in a break-in to share the risks, Eleanor sends Nickolas away— Conventional? who are you kidding, Jo?
    Merry

    Reply
  200. Jo, Just to clarify my comment about your self-presentation– in your books the heroine is often struggling for genuine equality within marriage (which might not have been a conventional goal at the time– though it’s one that certainly some would strive for) Portia goes off with Fort to find her brother– beth insists that she take part in a break-in to share the risks, Eleanor sends Nickolas away— Conventional? who are you kidding, Jo?
    Merry

    Reply
  201. And this is why I love your novels, Jo. ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree with Jane George: “It is this intelligence that continually draws me back to your books.
    Emma, Lizzie B., Elinor, Jane Eyre are all constrained provincial misses who nevertheless are intelligent, and it is their observations, especially when wrong, that make them interesting.”
    And on the “Taming” topic, could not Kate’s speech be a bit of colusion with her husband? They have hammered out a peace (literally!) and now are having a joke on the shallow society around them? This was my Shakespeare prof’s opinion and I like it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great discussion here!

    Reply
  202. And this is why I love your novels, Jo. ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree with Jane George: “It is this intelligence that continually draws me back to your books.
    Emma, Lizzie B., Elinor, Jane Eyre are all constrained provincial misses who nevertheless are intelligent, and it is their observations, especially when wrong, that make them interesting.”
    And on the “Taming” topic, could not Kate’s speech be a bit of colusion with her husband? They have hammered out a peace (literally!) and now are having a joke on the shallow society around them? This was my Shakespeare prof’s opinion and I like it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great discussion here!

    Reply
  203. And this is why I love your novels, Jo. ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree with Jane George: “It is this intelligence that continually draws me back to your books.
    Emma, Lizzie B., Elinor, Jane Eyre are all constrained provincial misses who nevertheless are intelligent, and it is their observations, especially when wrong, that make them interesting.”
    And on the “Taming” topic, could not Kate’s speech be a bit of colusion with her husband? They have hammered out a peace (literally!) and now are having a joke on the shallow society around them? This was my Shakespeare prof’s opinion and I like it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great discussion here!

    Reply
  204. And this is why I love your novels, Jo. ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree with Jane George: “It is this intelligence that continually draws me back to your books.
    Emma, Lizzie B., Elinor, Jane Eyre are all constrained provincial misses who nevertheless are intelligent, and it is their observations, especially when wrong, that make them interesting.”
    And on the “Taming” topic, could not Kate’s speech be a bit of colusion with her husband? They have hammered out a peace (literally!) and now are having a joke on the shallow society around them? This was my Shakespeare prof’s opinion and I like it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great discussion here!

    Reply
  205. And this is why I love your novels, Jo. ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree with Jane George: “It is this intelligence that continually draws me back to your books.
    Emma, Lizzie B., Elinor, Jane Eyre are all constrained provincial misses who nevertheless are intelligent, and it is their observations, especially when wrong, that make them interesting.”
    And on the “Taming” topic, could not Kate’s speech be a bit of colusion with her husband? They have hammered out a peace (literally!) and now are having a joke on the shallow society around them? This was my Shakespeare prof’s opinion and I like it. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great discussion here!

    Reply
  206. I forgot to mention that I enjoyed your interview! Where’s part 2? I could only find part 1. You are lovely, just as I knew you would be. Could we have tea some time? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  207. I forgot to mention that I enjoyed your interview! Where’s part 2? I could only find part 1. You are lovely, just as I knew you would be. Could we have tea some time? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  208. I forgot to mention that I enjoyed your interview! Where’s part 2? I could only find part 1. You are lovely, just as I knew you would be. Could we have tea some time? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  209. I forgot to mention that I enjoyed your interview! Where’s part 2? I could only find part 1. You are lovely, just as I knew you would be. Could we have tea some time? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  210. I forgot to mention that I enjoyed your interview! Where’s part 2? I could only find part 1. You are lovely, just as I knew you would be. Could we have tea some time? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  211. Jo here again.
    Merry wrote:”Portia goes off with Fort to find her brother– beth insists that she take part in a break-in to share the risks, Eleanor sends Nickolas away— Conventional? who are you kidding,Jo?”
    Hmm. Good argument. But Eleanor, I would claim, is behaving fairly normally, as Nicholas indicates. Leaving aside domineering, abusive men, a wife’s main right of protest has always been to deny her bed and maybe the home to an offending husband.
    Portia is a bit of a wild child all along, isn’t she? To a fault, of course. And Beth is a revolutionary woman by belief. These are not typical of my heroines or of the women of their time and not, I think, presented as such?
    That’s my argument, anyway.
    And though I have meant everything I said here, yes I hoped to stimulate discussion. Intelligent, amiable debate is delightful and also helps us all clarify our own thoughts, I hope.
    Thanks to everyone who’s taken part.
    Anne, part 2 of the interview will be up shortly. I’ll announce it here and there. Watch my Jo Talk blog, for example. There’s a link in the sidebar here.
    No one has mentioned the song I linked to. Don’t you think it directly addresses the subject of the charm and power of the normal, the tradition?
    Jo

    Reply
  212. Jo here again.
    Merry wrote:”Portia goes off with Fort to find her brother– beth insists that she take part in a break-in to share the risks, Eleanor sends Nickolas away— Conventional? who are you kidding,Jo?”
    Hmm. Good argument. But Eleanor, I would claim, is behaving fairly normally, as Nicholas indicates. Leaving aside domineering, abusive men, a wife’s main right of protest has always been to deny her bed and maybe the home to an offending husband.
    Portia is a bit of a wild child all along, isn’t she? To a fault, of course. And Beth is a revolutionary woman by belief. These are not typical of my heroines or of the women of their time and not, I think, presented as such?
    That’s my argument, anyway.
    And though I have meant everything I said here, yes I hoped to stimulate discussion. Intelligent, amiable debate is delightful and also helps us all clarify our own thoughts, I hope.
    Thanks to everyone who’s taken part.
    Anne, part 2 of the interview will be up shortly. I’ll announce it here and there. Watch my Jo Talk blog, for example. There’s a link in the sidebar here.
    No one has mentioned the song I linked to. Don’t you think it directly addresses the subject of the charm and power of the normal, the tradition?
    Jo

    Reply
  213. Jo here again.
    Merry wrote:”Portia goes off with Fort to find her brother– beth insists that she take part in a break-in to share the risks, Eleanor sends Nickolas away— Conventional? who are you kidding,Jo?”
    Hmm. Good argument. But Eleanor, I would claim, is behaving fairly normally, as Nicholas indicates. Leaving aside domineering, abusive men, a wife’s main right of protest has always been to deny her bed and maybe the home to an offending husband.
    Portia is a bit of a wild child all along, isn’t she? To a fault, of course. And Beth is a revolutionary woman by belief. These are not typical of my heroines or of the women of their time and not, I think, presented as such?
    That’s my argument, anyway.
    And though I have meant everything I said here, yes I hoped to stimulate discussion. Intelligent, amiable debate is delightful and also helps us all clarify our own thoughts, I hope.
    Thanks to everyone who’s taken part.
    Anne, part 2 of the interview will be up shortly. I’ll announce it here and there. Watch my Jo Talk blog, for example. There’s a link in the sidebar here.
    No one has mentioned the song I linked to. Don’t you think it directly addresses the subject of the charm and power of the normal, the tradition?
    Jo

    Reply
  214. Jo here again.
    Merry wrote:”Portia goes off with Fort to find her brother– beth insists that she take part in a break-in to share the risks, Eleanor sends Nickolas away— Conventional? who are you kidding,Jo?”
    Hmm. Good argument. But Eleanor, I would claim, is behaving fairly normally, as Nicholas indicates. Leaving aside domineering, abusive men, a wife’s main right of protest has always been to deny her bed and maybe the home to an offending husband.
    Portia is a bit of a wild child all along, isn’t she? To a fault, of course. And Beth is a revolutionary woman by belief. These are not typical of my heroines or of the women of their time and not, I think, presented as such?
    That’s my argument, anyway.
    And though I have meant everything I said here, yes I hoped to stimulate discussion. Intelligent, amiable debate is delightful and also helps us all clarify our own thoughts, I hope.
    Thanks to everyone who’s taken part.
    Anne, part 2 of the interview will be up shortly. I’ll announce it here and there. Watch my Jo Talk blog, for example. There’s a link in the sidebar here.
    No one has mentioned the song I linked to. Don’t you think it directly addresses the subject of the charm and power of the normal, the tradition?
    Jo

    Reply
  215. Jo here again.
    Merry wrote:”Portia goes off with Fort to find her brother– beth insists that she take part in a break-in to share the risks, Eleanor sends Nickolas away— Conventional? who are you kidding,Jo?”
    Hmm. Good argument. But Eleanor, I would claim, is behaving fairly normally, as Nicholas indicates. Leaving aside domineering, abusive men, a wife’s main right of protest has always been to deny her bed and maybe the home to an offending husband.
    Portia is a bit of a wild child all along, isn’t she? To a fault, of course. And Beth is a revolutionary woman by belief. These are not typical of my heroines or of the women of their time and not, I think, presented as such?
    That’s my argument, anyway.
    And though I have meant everything I said here, yes I hoped to stimulate discussion. Intelligent, amiable debate is delightful and also helps us all clarify our own thoughts, I hope.
    Thanks to everyone who’s taken part.
    Anne, part 2 of the interview will be up shortly. I’ll announce it here and there. Watch my Jo Talk blog, for example. There’s a link in the sidebar here.
    No one has mentioned the song I linked to. Don’t you think it directly addresses the subject of the charm and power of the normal, the tradition?
    Jo

    Reply
  216. Jo again. Last minute addition. Someone pointed me to a fabulous blog on miniatures, so I’ve been having a mini holiday playing there, and I came across one of a wax miniature by a woman.
    Working female artists weren’t that unusual, but here’s a good example of one, commissioned by the royal household, in fact.
    “http://british-miniatures.blogspot.com/
    Scroll down to one of the king. The text says: Andras, Catherine – portrait of George III
    This miniature portrait is in wax and is signed below the bust “C Andras A D 1820”. Catherine Andras (1775-1860) was a wax modeller who worked in London. This wax model of George III is recorded in Pyke’s Dictionary. On the rear of the frame there is a typed note recording “Inside the back of this frame is the origimal receipt made out as follows :- Portrait of / His Late Majesty George the Third/ Modelled by Catherine Andras / Modeller in Wax to His Late Majesty / Published (?) as his aide directed July 4th 1821 / No. 30 Pall Mall / 2 Guineas”. 1093
    Of course she’s forty five at this time and I haven’t chased down her youth or personal details. But it occurs to me we could get a richer view of women’s lives through secondary characters, both in the hero and heroine’s families and the people they interact with day to day,
    Jo

    Reply
  217. Jo again. Last minute addition. Someone pointed me to a fabulous blog on miniatures, so I’ve been having a mini holiday playing there, and I came across one of a wax miniature by a woman.
    Working female artists weren’t that unusual, but here’s a good example of one, commissioned by the royal household, in fact.
    “http://british-miniatures.blogspot.com/
    Scroll down to one of the king. The text says: Andras, Catherine – portrait of George III
    This miniature portrait is in wax and is signed below the bust “C Andras A D 1820”. Catherine Andras (1775-1860) was a wax modeller who worked in London. This wax model of George III is recorded in Pyke’s Dictionary. On the rear of the frame there is a typed note recording “Inside the back of this frame is the origimal receipt made out as follows :- Portrait of / His Late Majesty George the Third/ Modelled by Catherine Andras / Modeller in Wax to His Late Majesty / Published (?) as his aide directed July 4th 1821 / No. 30 Pall Mall / 2 Guineas”. 1093
    Of course she’s forty five at this time and I haven’t chased down her youth or personal details. But it occurs to me we could get a richer view of women’s lives through secondary characters, both in the hero and heroine’s families and the people they interact with day to day,
    Jo

    Reply
  218. Jo again. Last minute addition. Someone pointed me to a fabulous blog on miniatures, so I’ve been having a mini holiday playing there, and I came across one of a wax miniature by a woman.
    Working female artists weren’t that unusual, but here’s a good example of one, commissioned by the royal household, in fact.
    “http://british-miniatures.blogspot.com/
    Scroll down to one of the king. The text says: Andras, Catherine – portrait of George III
    This miniature portrait is in wax and is signed below the bust “C Andras A D 1820”. Catherine Andras (1775-1860) was a wax modeller who worked in London. This wax model of George III is recorded in Pyke’s Dictionary. On the rear of the frame there is a typed note recording “Inside the back of this frame is the origimal receipt made out as follows :- Portrait of / His Late Majesty George the Third/ Modelled by Catherine Andras / Modeller in Wax to His Late Majesty / Published (?) as his aide directed July 4th 1821 / No. 30 Pall Mall / 2 Guineas”. 1093
    Of course she’s forty five at this time and I haven’t chased down her youth or personal details. But it occurs to me we could get a richer view of women’s lives through secondary characters, both in the hero and heroine’s families and the people they interact with day to day,
    Jo

    Reply
  219. Jo again. Last minute addition. Someone pointed me to a fabulous blog on miniatures, so I’ve been having a mini holiday playing there, and I came across one of a wax miniature by a woman.
    Working female artists weren’t that unusual, but here’s a good example of one, commissioned by the royal household, in fact.
    “http://british-miniatures.blogspot.com/
    Scroll down to one of the king. The text says: Andras, Catherine – portrait of George III
    This miniature portrait is in wax and is signed below the bust “C Andras A D 1820”. Catherine Andras (1775-1860) was a wax modeller who worked in London. This wax model of George III is recorded in Pyke’s Dictionary. On the rear of the frame there is a typed note recording “Inside the back of this frame is the origimal receipt made out as follows :- Portrait of / His Late Majesty George the Third/ Modelled by Catherine Andras / Modeller in Wax to His Late Majesty / Published (?) as his aide directed July 4th 1821 / No. 30 Pall Mall / 2 Guineas”. 1093
    Of course she’s forty five at this time and I haven’t chased down her youth or personal details. But it occurs to me we could get a richer view of women’s lives through secondary characters, both in the hero and heroine’s families and the people they interact with day to day,
    Jo

    Reply
  220. Jo again. Last minute addition. Someone pointed me to a fabulous blog on miniatures, so I’ve been having a mini holiday playing there, and I came across one of a wax miniature by a woman.
    Working female artists weren’t that unusual, but here’s a good example of one, commissioned by the royal household, in fact.
    “http://british-miniatures.blogspot.com/
    Scroll down to one of the king. The text says: Andras, Catherine – portrait of George III
    This miniature portrait is in wax and is signed below the bust “C Andras A D 1820”. Catherine Andras (1775-1860) was a wax modeller who worked in London. This wax model of George III is recorded in Pyke’s Dictionary. On the rear of the frame there is a typed note recording “Inside the back of this frame is the origimal receipt made out as follows :- Portrait of / His Late Majesty George the Third/ Modelled by Catherine Andras / Modeller in Wax to His Late Majesty / Published (?) as his aide directed July 4th 1821 / No. 30 Pall Mall / 2 Guineas”. 1093
    Of course she’s forty five at this time and I haven’t chased down her youth or personal details. But it occurs to me we could get a richer view of women’s lives through secondary characters, both in the hero and heroine’s families and the people they interact with day to day,
    Jo

    Reply

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