One Nation, Under Written About

It’s Sunday, so it’s Edith!

(Checked the mirror. Yup. Me.)
Rwb_quilt_1This weekend marking the birth of our nation (sort of, we always fudge when the 4th falls on a weekday) I felt it was only fitting to ask you loverly readers (and editors who may stray here) a question.

Why don’t you buy romances set in Early America?

You love books set in Early England.

You even tolerate books set far back in the early ages of Italy and France.

And enjoy Romances set in the more recent history of Australia too.

But the U. S. of A.?

Uh uh.

They just don’t move off the shelves, or so I’ve been told.

Someone with a brain once opined that was because we all remember American History as it was taught in elementary school and High School. Dates, and memorizing them. People would sooner buy a romance set in Trigonometry.

I figured that was the answer unti I realized that European History was taught that way too.

So, what it is that makes editors and readers shudder when they hear: “13 original colonies?”

Is it the lure of those long gone all powerful Aristrocrats in Europe, which we lacked?

Is it the equality in America in those days?
Natives
(A rhetorical question. C’mon. Equality? The slaves, bond servants, most recent immgrants, and Native Americans were certainly not equal to the Founding Fathers, no matter what their Constitution said. Well, in fact, it only said we were all created equal, actually. Not that our houses, food and clothing were going to be equal.

So what is it?

Why don’t readers and editors swoon for snarky Colonial American men the way they do for dissolute English Dukes?
Sexy_colonial_man
Exhibit: Hot Colonial American

After all, we did win that war. American men could have had those thews of iron, and rippling thighs too. Or is that Americans lacked those too cool accents? Or did they? Heck, American colonial men could have even started out as Englishmen!

Why don’t American maidens in peril attract readers like English ones do? They were just as pretty as those charming Brit damsels in distress. Well, maybe they had a few more calluses on their hands from doing all the laundry, not having so many servants at their beck and call… But why do readers shun them?

Don’t ask me.

I asked you.

Any ideas?

Best,
Edith, not perishing to write an American Historical Romance either, y’know.

P. S. OOPS! I was on the road yesterday and didn’t get a chance to read Saturday’s blog until I had already put this up. honest! Sorry Jo,I didn’t know I was riffing on your Canadian idea until just now. Must the 4th’s patriotism floating in the Cosmic Consciousness.

81 thoughts on “One Nation, Under Written About”

  1. My agent and I were just discussing this very issue with respect to the War of 1812. My theory was that we as American romance readers are so used to rooting for the British when they’re fighting the French that we get all confused when it’s Britain vs. America in the same era!
    As for the broader question, it puzzles me, too. I’d love to read a good American historical–but not so much a Western, the only American genre that seems to have much life in it, but one that I’ve never cared for, for reasons I can’t even explain to myself.
    It’s especially baffling because you do see non-romance historical fiction set in 18th and 19th century America, and as far as I know it does well.

    Reply
  2. My agent and I were just discussing this very issue with respect to the War of 1812. My theory was that we as American romance readers are so used to rooting for the British when they’re fighting the French that we get all confused when it’s Britain vs. America in the same era!
    As for the broader question, it puzzles me, too. I’d love to read a good American historical–but not so much a Western, the only American genre that seems to have much life in it, but one that I’ve never cared for, for reasons I can’t even explain to myself.
    It’s especially baffling because you do see non-romance historical fiction set in 18th and 19th century America, and as far as I know it does well.

    Reply
  3. My agent and I were just discussing this very issue with respect to the War of 1812. My theory was that we as American romance readers are so used to rooting for the British when they’re fighting the French that we get all confused when it’s Britain vs. America in the same era!
    As for the broader question, it puzzles me, too. I’d love to read a good American historical–but not so much a Western, the only American genre that seems to have much life in it, but one that I’ve never cared for, for reasons I can’t even explain to myself.
    It’s especially baffling because you do see non-romance historical fiction set in 18th and 19th century America, and as far as I know it does well.

    Reply
  4. I would love to read an American set romance – and actually used to read a great many of them in the earl and mid-90’s when they were more plentiful – I have the entire works of Jill Marie Landis, most of Heather Graham’s pre-colonial, colonial and Civil War books, and I used to love Meaghan McKinney’s American romances. Teresa Medeiros wrote a fun semi-American book, Nobody’s Darling with a gunslinger hero and an English lady heroine. Lovely!
    As time went by, I noticed more and more that my American heroine was more often than not of the “feisty” variety, and while I find one or two of these to be palatable, a steady diet of them dulls the mind. The American Indian / white woman plot just never sang to me in any way. I enjoy the more unusual settings to American romance – Patricia Gaffney’s Crooked Hearts set in 1880’s San Francisco is a really fun read. I would love to find a new author writing American romances – and I did truly enjoy Jennifer St. Giles’ His Dark Desires, set in New Orleans – but there don’t seem to be a lot of them out there to find. 🙁
    I also loved the Virginia setting (being a transplanted Washingtonian) of The Challenge, which contains one of my husband’s favorite opening lines to a book, ever. He chanced to read it over my shoulder and has been intrigued ever since 🙂

    Reply
  5. I would love to read an American set romance – and actually used to read a great many of them in the earl and mid-90’s when they were more plentiful – I have the entire works of Jill Marie Landis, most of Heather Graham’s pre-colonial, colonial and Civil War books, and I used to love Meaghan McKinney’s American romances. Teresa Medeiros wrote a fun semi-American book, Nobody’s Darling with a gunslinger hero and an English lady heroine. Lovely!
    As time went by, I noticed more and more that my American heroine was more often than not of the “feisty” variety, and while I find one or two of these to be palatable, a steady diet of them dulls the mind. The American Indian / white woman plot just never sang to me in any way. I enjoy the more unusual settings to American romance – Patricia Gaffney’s Crooked Hearts set in 1880’s San Francisco is a really fun read. I would love to find a new author writing American romances – and I did truly enjoy Jennifer St. Giles’ His Dark Desires, set in New Orleans – but there don’t seem to be a lot of them out there to find. 🙁
    I also loved the Virginia setting (being a transplanted Washingtonian) of The Challenge, which contains one of my husband’s favorite opening lines to a book, ever. He chanced to read it over my shoulder and has been intrigued ever since 🙂

    Reply
  6. I would love to read an American set romance – and actually used to read a great many of them in the earl and mid-90’s when they were more plentiful – I have the entire works of Jill Marie Landis, most of Heather Graham’s pre-colonial, colonial and Civil War books, and I used to love Meaghan McKinney’s American romances. Teresa Medeiros wrote a fun semi-American book, Nobody’s Darling with a gunslinger hero and an English lady heroine. Lovely!
    As time went by, I noticed more and more that my American heroine was more often than not of the “feisty” variety, and while I find one or two of these to be palatable, a steady diet of them dulls the mind. The American Indian / white woman plot just never sang to me in any way. I enjoy the more unusual settings to American romance – Patricia Gaffney’s Crooked Hearts set in 1880’s San Francisco is a really fun read. I would love to find a new author writing American romances – and I did truly enjoy Jennifer St. Giles’ His Dark Desires, set in New Orleans – but there don’t seem to be a lot of them out there to find. 🙁
    I also loved the Virginia setting (being a transplanted Washingtonian) of The Challenge, which contains one of my husband’s favorite opening lines to a book, ever. He chanced to read it over my shoulder and has been intrigued ever since 🙂

    Reply
  7. I think a lot of the problem is that Britain and Europe have more fantasy value. Even rock-ribbed believers in equality for all (like me) can get a kick out of reading about lords and ladies. (This despite the fact that my British ancestors were surely farm laborers and scullery maids. Maybe -because- they were laborers and maids.)
    Plus, since I grew up on a farm, I have no fantasies involving the hard realities of frontier life. Give me indoor plumbing and a feather bed anytime! Early American romances lean toward either frontier hardship (like all those Westerns), or if you get into later periods, there is that Victorian stuffiness to contend with.
    There have been great historical romances written with American settings, but they definitely haven’t as much fantasy stardust as all those Regency dukes.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  8. I think a lot of the problem is that Britain and Europe have more fantasy value. Even rock-ribbed believers in equality for all (like me) can get a kick out of reading about lords and ladies. (This despite the fact that my British ancestors were surely farm laborers and scullery maids. Maybe -because- they were laborers and maids.)
    Plus, since I grew up on a farm, I have no fantasies involving the hard realities of frontier life. Give me indoor plumbing and a feather bed anytime! Early American romances lean toward either frontier hardship (like all those Westerns), or if you get into later periods, there is that Victorian stuffiness to contend with.
    There have been great historical romances written with American settings, but they definitely haven’t as much fantasy stardust as all those Regency dukes.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  9. I think a lot of the problem is that Britain and Europe have more fantasy value. Even rock-ribbed believers in equality for all (like me) can get a kick out of reading about lords and ladies. (This despite the fact that my British ancestors were surely farm laborers and scullery maids. Maybe -because- they were laborers and maids.)
    Plus, since I grew up on a farm, I have no fantasies involving the hard realities of frontier life. Give me indoor plumbing and a feather bed anytime! Early American romances lean toward either frontier hardship (like all those Westerns), or if you get into later periods, there is that Victorian stuffiness to contend with.
    There have been great historical romances written with American settings, but they definitely haven’t as much fantasy stardust as all those Regency dukes.
    Mary Jo

    Reply
  10. I agree with Mary Jo about the fantasy value. Lords and ladies seem romantic because we don’t have them and don’t have to live in that class system. America’s version of royalty (the high society of the Gilded Age, for instance, or the current cult of celebrity) is irritating–at least to me–as in Familiarity Breeds Contempt. I do know that a good deal of my personal aversion to U.S. History, though, is a reaction to elementary and secondary school. Though we were taught other kinds of history, U.S. history was the main thing, and it was our Duty to learn it and love it, no matter how dry and boring the teaching method.

    Reply
  11. I agree with Mary Jo about the fantasy value. Lords and ladies seem romantic because we don’t have them and don’t have to live in that class system. America’s version of royalty (the high society of the Gilded Age, for instance, or the current cult of celebrity) is irritating–at least to me–as in Familiarity Breeds Contempt. I do know that a good deal of my personal aversion to U.S. History, though, is a reaction to elementary and secondary school. Though we were taught other kinds of history, U.S. history was the main thing, and it was our Duty to learn it and love it, no matter how dry and boring the teaching method.

    Reply
  12. I agree with Mary Jo about the fantasy value. Lords and ladies seem romantic because we don’t have them and don’t have to live in that class system. America’s version of royalty (the high society of the Gilded Age, for instance, or the current cult of celebrity) is irritating–at least to me–as in Familiarity Breeds Contempt. I do know that a good deal of my personal aversion to U.S. History, though, is a reaction to elementary and secondary school. Though we were taught other kinds of history, U.S. history was the main thing, and it was our Duty to learn it and love it, no matter how dry and boring the teaching method.

    Reply
  13. An outsider comment.
    As Edith said, America is not and was not a completely equal society, and whatever it was in the early Federal period, it wasn’t that different from a few years back in the Colonial period.
    Some of the elite had left, but many remained with their big houses, servants/slaves, estates etc. Many of them sent their children to Europe to be educated.
    So to me the question really is if readers enjoy rich and glamourous, balls and picnics, silks and lace, why won’t they buy them set in Boston, Philadelphia et al?
    Jo 🙂
    So I don’t think it’s an equality v privilege situation.

    Reply
  14. An outsider comment.
    As Edith said, America is not and was not a completely equal society, and whatever it was in the early Federal period, it wasn’t that different from a few years back in the Colonial period.
    Some of the elite had left, but many remained with their big houses, servants/slaves, estates etc. Many of them sent their children to Europe to be educated.
    So to me the question really is if readers enjoy rich and glamourous, balls and picnics, silks and lace, why won’t they buy them set in Boston, Philadelphia et al?
    Jo 🙂
    So I don’t think it’s an equality v privilege situation.

    Reply
  15. An outsider comment.
    As Edith said, America is not and was not a completely equal society, and whatever it was in the early Federal period, it wasn’t that different from a few years back in the Colonial period.
    Some of the elite had left, but many remained with their big houses, servants/slaves, estates etc. Many of them sent their children to Europe to be educated.
    So to me the question really is if readers enjoy rich and glamourous, balls and picnics, silks and lace, why won’t they buy them set in Boston, Philadelphia et al?
    Jo 🙂
    So I don’t think it’s an equality v privilege situation.

    Reply
  16. Ahh, Edith, this is a most excellent question!! When I first sold in the early nineties, I wrote historicals with colonial American settings. But by the late nineties, both my editors and my agent pretty much ordered me to move my plots to England.
    Colonial America had slipped into the same Never-Neverland as actors, artists, and red-haired, bearded heros. For whatever reason, being dubbed the “Queen of Colonial Romance” by RT had come to have a fishy, Miss Congeniality feel to it these days. And so I’ve stayed in Europe ever since.
    I’ve heard one theory that it’s just too near and familiar to most readers. Readers never seem to tire of the doomed rebellions in 18th century Scotland — far enough in the past to romanticize, but still near enough for all those Americans of Scottish ancestory to find exciting. Yet there are virtually no Irish-American historical romances — apparently the “troubles” of the 19th and early 20th century are still too current in many families’ minds to be able to make it a satisfying setting. Who knows for sure?
    And you’re right about non-fiction 18th century America doing just fine. Put a founding father’s portrait on the cover, and you make the NYT. Non-romance fiction doesn’t have a problem with American settings, either.
    But despite the best efforts of Mel Gibson a few years back, there’s just nothin’ romantic in the colonies.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  17. Ahh, Edith, this is a most excellent question!! When I first sold in the early nineties, I wrote historicals with colonial American settings. But by the late nineties, both my editors and my agent pretty much ordered me to move my plots to England.
    Colonial America had slipped into the same Never-Neverland as actors, artists, and red-haired, bearded heros. For whatever reason, being dubbed the “Queen of Colonial Romance” by RT had come to have a fishy, Miss Congeniality feel to it these days. And so I’ve stayed in Europe ever since.
    I’ve heard one theory that it’s just too near and familiar to most readers. Readers never seem to tire of the doomed rebellions in 18th century Scotland — far enough in the past to romanticize, but still near enough for all those Americans of Scottish ancestory to find exciting. Yet there are virtually no Irish-American historical romances — apparently the “troubles” of the 19th and early 20th century are still too current in many families’ minds to be able to make it a satisfying setting. Who knows for sure?
    And you’re right about non-fiction 18th century America doing just fine. Put a founding father’s portrait on the cover, and you make the NYT. Non-romance fiction doesn’t have a problem with American settings, either.
    But despite the best efforts of Mel Gibson a few years back, there’s just nothin’ romantic in the colonies.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  18. Ahh, Edith, this is a most excellent question!! When I first sold in the early nineties, I wrote historicals with colonial American settings. But by the late nineties, both my editors and my agent pretty much ordered me to move my plots to England.
    Colonial America had slipped into the same Never-Neverland as actors, artists, and red-haired, bearded heros. For whatever reason, being dubbed the “Queen of Colonial Romance” by RT had come to have a fishy, Miss Congeniality feel to it these days. And so I’ve stayed in Europe ever since.
    I’ve heard one theory that it’s just too near and familiar to most readers. Readers never seem to tire of the doomed rebellions in 18th century Scotland — far enough in the past to romanticize, but still near enough for all those Americans of Scottish ancestory to find exciting. Yet there are virtually no Irish-American historical romances — apparently the “troubles” of the 19th and early 20th century are still too current in many families’ minds to be able to make it a satisfying setting. Who knows for sure?
    And you’re right about non-fiction 18th century America doing just fine. Put a founding father’s portrait on the cover, and you make the NYT. Non-romance fiction doesn’t have a problem with American settings, either.
    But despite the best efforts of Mel Gibson a few years back, there’s just nothin’ romantic in the colonies.
    Susan/Miranda

    Reply
  19. Perhaps I am an atypical reader, but I like American historical romances when they are well-written. The problem I have encountered is that so few of the ones I have tried merit that description.
    Elswyth Thane’s Williamsburg series may not be straight romance, but the books do have strong romantic elements; and I grew up reading those. I still cherish my copies and reread them from time to time. I also have American historicals by Pamela Morsi, Maggie Osborne, and Susan Wiggs on my keeper shelves. And I know in the recent AAR polling of favorite books by favorite authors, top titles for Morsi and Wiggs were their American historicals rather than their more recent women;s fiction titles.
    I also remember a couple of Edith Layton American
    historicals–The Gilded Cage and The Silvery Moon. 🙂

    Reply
  20. Perhaps I am an atypical reader, but I like American historical romances when they are well-written. The problem I have encountered is that so few of the ones I have tried merit that description.
    Elswyth Thane’s Williamsburg series may not be straight romance, but the books do have strong romantic elements; and I grew up reading those. I still cherish my copies and reread them from time to time. I also have American historicals by Pamela Morsi, Maggie Osborne, and Susan Wiggs on my keeper shelves. And I know in the recent AAR polling of favorite books by favorite authors, top titles for Morsi and Wiggs were their American historicals rather than their more recent women;s fiction titles.
    I also remember a couple of Edith Layton American
    historicals–The Gilded Cage and The Silvery Moon. 🙂

    Reply
  21. Perhaps I am an atypical reader, but I like American historical romances when they are well-written. The problem I have encountered is that so few of the ones I have tried merit that description.
    Elswyth Thane’s Williamsburg series may not be straight romance, but the books do have strong romantic elements; and I grew up reading those. I still cherish my copies and reread them from time to time. I also have American historicals by Pamela Morsi, Maggie Osborne, and Susan Wiggs on my keeper shelves. And I know in the recent AAR polling of favorite books by favorite authors, top titles for Morsi and Wiggs were their American historicals rather than their more recent women;s fiction titles.
    I also remember a couple of Edith Layton American
    historicals–The Gilded Cage and The Silvery Moon. 🙂

    Reply
  22. I have read some excellent historical novels set in the American past, but I don’t think many of them were ROMANCES–except perhaps, the most successful (come to think of it, I haven’t actually read it!) TO HAVE AND TO HOLD by Mary Johnston.
    Inglis Fletcher wrote a series of a dozen historical novels about the Carolinas, including RALEIGH’S EDEN, LUSTYWIND FOR CAROLINA, and THE SCOTSWOMAN (about Flora Macdonald).
    There is a great YA historical novel, THE HORNET’S NEST by Sally Watson, set in Williamsburg just prior to the Revolution.
    There is Stephen Vincent Benet’s classic short story “A Tooth for Paul Revere.”
    I know there was a series of “American Regencies” published a couple of decades ago, set in the US during the early 1800s, but it was not a success–probably because they were badly written (at least the ones I read were).
    And perhaps we were all scared off by the leaden prose (if often good stories) of James Fenimore Cooper. In the various discussions of romantic heroes I’ve been involved in lately, Daniel Day-Lewis in THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS always gets mentioned.
    Oh, I forgot Margaret Widdemer, and I’m probably the only one around who still reads her–though not her colonial-era historicals, RED CLOAK FLYING, GALLANT LADY, THE GOLDEN WILDCAT, though I do love her Gothic, set a bit later, THE RED CASTLE WOMEN.

    Reply
  23. I have read some excellent historical novels set in the American past, but I don’t think many of them were ROMANCES–except perhaps, the most successful (come to think of it, I haven’t actually read it!) TO HAVE AND TO HOLD by Mary Johnston.
    Inglis Fletcher wrote a series of a dozen historical novels about the Carolinas, including RALEIGH’S EDEN, LUSTYWIND FOR CAROLINA, and THE SCOTSWOMAN (about Flora Macdonald).
    There is a great YA historical novel, THE HORNET’S NEST by Sally Watson, set in Williamsburg just prior to the Revolution.
    There is Stephen Vincent Benet’s classic short story “A Tooth for Paul Revere.”
    I know there was a series of “American Regencies” published a couple of decades ago, set in the US during the early 1800s, but it was not a success–probably because they were badly written (at least the ones I read were).
    And perhaps we were all scared off by the leaden prose (if often good stories) of James Fenimore Cooper. In the various discussions of romantic heroes I’ve been involved in lately, Daniel Day-Lewis in THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS always gets mentioned.
    Oh, I forgot Margaret Widdemer, and I’m probably the only one around who still reads her–though not her colonial-era historicals, RED CLOAK FLYING, GALLANT LADY, THE GOLDEN WILDCAT, though I do love her Gothic, set a bit later, THE RED CASTLE WOMEN.

    Reply
  24. I have read some excellent historical novels set in the American past, but I don’t think many of them were ROMANCES–except perhaps, the most successful (come to think of it, I haven’t actually read it!) TO HAVE AND TO HOLD by Mary Johnston.
    Inglis Fletcher wrote a series of a dozen historical novels about the Carolinas, including RALEIGH’S EDEN, LUSTYWIND FOR CAROLINA, and THE SCOTSWOMAN (about Flora Macdonald).
    There is a great YA historical novel, THE HORNET’S NEST by Sally Watson, set in Williamsburg just prior to the Revolution.
    There is Stephen Vincent Benet’s classic short story “A Tooth for Paul Revere.”
    I know there was a series of “American Regencies” published a couple of decades ago, set in the US during the early 1800s, but it was not a success–probably because they were badly written (at least the ones I read were).
    And perhaps we were all scared off by the leaden prose (if often good stories) of James Fenimore Cooper. In the various discussions of romantic heroes I’ve been involved in lately, Daniel Day-Lewis in THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS always gets mentioned.
    Oh, I forgot Margaret Widdemer, and I’m probably the only one around who still reads her–though not her colonial-era historicals, RED CLOAK FLYING, GALLANT LADY, THE GOLDEN WILDCAT, though I do love her Gothic, set a bit later, THE RED CASTLE WOMEN.

    Reply
  25. From Sherrie:
    I rather liked the old Colonial romances, though there weren’t very many of them published. However, if I were given a choice of a Colonial romance vs. a Regency romance, I’d take the Regency, hands down. I love everything about Regency society, and it just seems such a fertile ground for cool romances.
    What I find interesting is that I often get Colonial romances in the contests that I judge. Seems odd that a writer would pen a novel that had little chance of getting published.
    Sherrie Holmes

    Reply
  26. From Sherrie:
    I rather liked the old Colonial romances, though there weren’t very many of them published. However, if I were given a choice of a Colonial romance vs. a Regency romance, I’d take the Regency, hands down. I love everything about Regency society, and it just seems such a fertile ground for cool romances.
    What I find interesting is that I often get Colonial romances in the contests that I judge. Seems odd that a writer would pen a novel that had little chance of getting published.
    Sherrie Holmes

    Reply
  27. From Sherrie:
    I rather liked the old Colonial romances, though there weren’t very many of them published. However, if I were given a choice of a Colonial romance vs. a Regency romance, I’d take the Regency, hands down. I love everything about Regency society, and it just seems such a fertile ground for cool romances.
    What I find interesting is that I often get Colonial romances in the contests that I judge. Seems odd that a writer would pen a novel that had little chance of getting published.
    Sherrie Holmes

    Reply
  28. I can only answer it with my own personal view that since I was a kid, I just always loved England, so once I discovered there was this thing called historical romances I was hooked with British set ones. But I like to think that the publishers are wrong, that if it’s out there, whatever the time period, people who are interested will by it. But hey, what do I know, I’m just a reader. LOL 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  29. I can only answer it with my own personal view that since I was a kid, I just always loved England, so once I discovered there was this thing called historical romances I was hooked with British set ones. But I like to think that the publishers are wrong, that if it’s out there, whatever the time period, people who are interested will by it. But hey, what do I know, I’m just a reader. LOL 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  30. I can only answer it with my own personal view that since I was a kid, I just always loved England, so once I discovered there was this thing called historical romances I was hooked with British set ones. But I like to think that the publishers are wrong, that if it’s out there, whatever the time period, people who are interested will by it. But hey, what do I know, I’m just a reader. LOL 🙂
    Lois

    Reply
  31. Well as an Englishman living in Scotland, I’m doubtless completely useless to you guys on this for actual serious thought. However here’s some from-the-gut notions. You may now point and laugh at my ignorance 😛
    I would say a lot of the reason that American Frontier doesn’t work for me is because I stupidly and innacurately associate it with ‘very flat landscape’, and flat is just not sexy to me. So if you’re writing something set on the American frontier then you’ll need to get your publisher to put some big obvious mountains on the cover 🙂
    Also I’ve obviously watched too much Sergio Leone and Road Runner, so if you’re not careful it’ll end up ‘flat, hot, semi-desert/desert, cactus’ and since I am a complete sucker for snow…
    Other problem with American Frontier, is that whole ‘we sucessfully wiped out the indigenous population’ thing. This is especially serious if you’ve got a Native American as either hero or heroine or both. It makes any HEA not at all credible to me. ‘I’m going to live in romantic bliss whilst with you whilst the rest of my tribe/nation is wiped off the map’. Yowsers. I don’t think so.
    Also, cowboys and The West means spitting, and tobacco, and spitting tobacco. Ugh!
    Civil War is right out. The ‘wrong but romantic’ doomed side are just really, really much too wrong. Not ‘we support a Stuart King’ wrong, but ‘keep the n*ggers in chains’ pure evil wrong. And being on the ‘right but repulsive’ side doesn’t make for a good romance. I don’t think the other ‘Now we are free!’ black or interracial possibility can work, because Radical Reconstruction is going to be abandoned and a lynch happy Ol’ Jim Crow is going to put the, albeit more virtual, chains on again. So African-American HEA problem similar to Native-American.
    Drat, I’ve just gone and torpedoed the two major USAian historical romance time-period franchises I can think of.
    Thoughts, for possible periods to use:
    The Revolutionary period itself. Prohibition. The Great Depression. Working class stone-cold Union man picket line heroes of Labour Romance! Great American Inventor Romance! Edison, the Wright Brothers, Alexander Graham Bell! Love in the time of the Model-T!
    …and how about some Canadian historicals, eh? 🙂

    Reply
  32. Well as an Englishman living in Scotland, I’m doubtless completely useless to you guys on this for actual serious thought. However here’s some from-the-gut notions. You may now point and laugh at my ignorance 😛
    I would say a lot of the reason that American Frontier doesn’t work for me is because I stupidly and innacurately associate it with ‘very flat landscape’, and flat is just not sexy to me. So if you’re writing something set on the American frontier then you’ll need to get your publisher to put some big obvious mountains on the cover 🙂
    Also I’ve obviously watched too much Sergio Leone and Road Runner, so if you’re not careful it’ll end up ‘flat, hot, semi-desert/desert, cactus’ and since I am a complete sucker for snow…
    Other problem with American Frontier, is that whole ‘we sucessfully wiped out the indigenous population’ thing. This is especially serious if you’ve got a Native American as either hero or heroine or both. It makes any HEA not at all credible to me. ‘I’m going to live in romantic bliss whilst with you whilst the rest of my tribe/nation is wiped off the map’. Yowsers. I don’t think so.
    Also, cowboys and The West means spitting, and tobacco, and spitting tobacco. Ugh!
    Civil War is right out. The ‘wrong but romantic’ doomed side are just really, really much too wrong. Not ‘we support a Stuart King’ wrong, but ‘keep the n*ggers in chains’ pure evil wrong. And being on the ‘right but repulsive’ side doesn’t make for a good romance. I don’t think the other ‘Now we are free!’ black or interracial possibility can work, because Radical Reconstruction is going to be abandoned and a lynch happy Ol’ Jim Crow is going to put the, albeit more virtual, chains on again. So African-American HEA problem similar to Native-American.
    Drat, I’ve just gone and torpedoed the two major USAian historical romance time-period franchises I can think of.
    Thoughts, for possible periods to use:
    The Revolutionary period itself. Prohibition. The Great Depression. Working class stone-cold Union man picket line heroes of Labour Romance! Great American Inventor Romance! Edison, the Wright Brothers, Alexander Graham Bell! Love in the time of the Model-T!
    …and how about some Canadian historicals, eh? 🙂

    Reply
  33. Well as an Englishman living in Scotland, I’m doubtless completely useless to you guys on this for actual serious thought. However here’s some from-the-gut notions. You may now point and laugh at my ignorance 😛
    I would say a lot of the reason that American Frontier doesn’t work for me is because I stupidly and innacurately associate it with ‘very flat landscape’, and flat is just not sexy to me. So if you’re writing something set on the American frontier then you’ll need to get your publisher to put some big obvious mountains on the cover 🙂
    Also I’ve obviously watched too much Sergio Leone and Road Runner, so if you’re not careful it’ll end up ‘flat, hot, semi-desert/desert, cactus’ and since I am a complete sucker for snow…
    Other problem with American Frontier, is that whole ‘we sucessfully wiped out the indigenous population’ thing. This is especially serious if you’ve got a Native American as either hero or heroine or both. It makes any HEA not at all credible to me. ‘I’m going to live in romantic bliss whilst with you whilst the rest of my tribe/nation is wiped off the map’. Yowsers. I don’t think so.
    Also, cowboys and The West means spitting, and tobacco, and spitting tobacco. Ugh!
    Civil War is right out. The ‘wrong but romantic’ doomed side are just really, really much too wrong. Not ‘we support a Stuart King’ wrong, but ‘keep the n*ggers in chains’ pure evil wrong. And being on the ‘right but repulsive’ side doesn’t make for a good romance. I don’t think the other ‘Now we are free!’ black or interracial possibility can work, because Radical Reconstruction is going to be abandoned and a lynch happy Ol’ Jim Crow is going to put the, albeit more virtual, chains on again. So African-American HEA problem similar to Native-American.
    Drat, I’ve just gone and torpedoed the two major USAian historical romance time-period franchises I can think of.
    Thoughts, for possible periods to use:
    The Revolutionary period itself. Prohibition. The Great Depression. Working class stone-cold Union man picket line heroes of Labour Romance! Great American Inventor Romance! Edison, the Wright Brothers, Alexander Graham Bell! Love in the time of the Model-T!
    …and how about some Canadian historicals, eh? 🙂

    Reply
  34. Wonderful, timely discussion. I have to laugh at the above commentary (sorry, really, you have a better grasp of American history than we do of Scots, so it’s your “voice” making me laugh, not any ignorance). I think I’ll take the stature of the American Rockies over the Highlands any day, but the other comments hit a few nails on the head.
    But I fear much of our inability to deal with American history (right now, since I read wonderful historicals ten and twenty years ago that covered the whole fabric of our country) is the “fantasy” elements mentioned. I am apparently only one of a meager few who love the working man struggle. It simply isn’t selling these days, no matter which side of the pond you set it on, or even if it’s set in today’s time. I don’t know if we’ve watched too much TV and think everyone ought to live in McMansions or castles, or if we all have a lottery mentality and dream of instant riches. But we want rich heroes. And rich heroes may populate American history, but they’re not living in castles with plumbing, or anywhere near Edinburgh or London. Apparently American readers like cartoon fantasies better than reality. They’re fun, and we seem to have a desperate craving for fun in a world that’s apparently gone slightly off kilter.

    Reply
  35. Wonderful, timely discussion. I have to laugh at the above commentary (sorry, really, you have a better grasp of American history than we do of Scots, so it’s your “voice” making me laugh, not any ignorance). I think I’ll take the stature of the American Rockies over the Highlands any day, but the other comments hit a few nails on the head.
    But I fear much of our inability to deal with American history (right now, since I read wonderful historicals ten and twenty years ago that covered the whole fabric of our country) is the “fantasy” elements mentioned. I am apparently only one of a meager few who love the working man struggle. It simply isn’t selling these days, no matter which side of the pond you set it on, or even if it’s set in today’s time. I don’t know if we’ve watched too much TV and think everyone ought to live in McMansions or castles, or if we all have a lottery mentality and dream of instant riches. But we want rich heroes. And rich heroes may populate American history, but they’re not living in castles with plumbing, or anywhere near Edinburgh or London. Apparently American readers like cartoon fantasies better than reality. They’re fun, and we seem to have a desperate craving for fun in a world that’s apparently gone slightly off kilter.

    Reply
  36. Wonderful, timely discussion. I have to laugh at the above commentary (sorry, really, you have a better grasp of American history than we do of Scots, so it’s your “voice” making me laugh, not any ignorance). I think I’ll take the stature of the American Rockies over the Highlands any day, but the other comments hit a few nails on the head.
    But I fear much of our inability to deal with American history (right now, since I read wonderful historicals ten and twenty years ago that covered the whole fabric of our country) is the “fantasy” elements mentioned. I am apparently only one of a meager few who love the working man struggle. It simply isn’t selling these days, no matter which side of the pond you set it on, or even if it’s set in today’s time. I don’t know if we’ve watched too much TV and think everyone ought to live in McMansions or castles, or if we all have a lottery mentality and dream of instant riches. But we want rich heroes. And rich heroes may populate American history, but they’re not living in castles with plumbing, or anywhere near Edinburgh or London. Apparently American readers like cartoon fantasies better than reality. They’re fun, and we seem to have a desperate craving for fun in a world that’s apparently gone slightly off kilter.

    Reply
  37. If you limit your question strictly to American Colonial and not all American vs. British, I have a feeling that our possible appreciation may be short-circuited by our indoctrination — we are expected to “Revere” that past as part of Our Grand Heritage, and many of our associations are limited to battles and drafting legal documents (high romance of a sort, but not the sort necessarily good for marketing romance novels). We aren’t expected to have the same attitude towards British history, and I think that gives a certain freedom to both author and reader.
    I’m fairly sure Jane Aiken Hodge wrote a couple set in the Revolution which were popular when they were first published.
    Another possible reason is that we see founding the country as Damn Hard Work (especially for women).

    Reply
  38. If you limit your question strictly to American Colonial and not all American vs. British, I have a feeling that our possible appreciation may be short-circuited by our indoctrination — we are expected to “Revere” that past as part of Our Grand Heritage, and many of our associations are limited to battles and drafting legal documents (high romance of a sort, but not the sort necessarily good for marketing romance novels). We aren’t expected to have the same attitude towards British history, and I think that gives a certain freedom to both author and reader.
    I’m fairly sure Jane Aiken Hodge wrote a couple set in the Revolution which were popular when they were first published.
    Another possible reason is that we see founding the country as Damn Hard Work (especially for women).

    Reply
  39. If you limit your question strictly to American Colonial and not all American vs. British, I have a feeling that our possible appreciation may be short-circuited by our indoctrination — we are expected to “Revere” that past as part of Our Grand Heritage, and many of our associations are limited to battles and drafting legal documents (high romance of a sort, but not the sort necessarily good for marketing romance novels). We aren’t expected to have the same attitude towards British history, and I think that gives a certain freedom to both author and reader.
    I’m fairly sure Jane Aiken Hodge wrote a couple set in the Revolution which were popular when they were first published.
    Another possible reason is that we see founding the country as Damn Hard Work (especially for women).

    Reply
  40. I think there are several reasons why the Regency period is so popular. Jane Austen is a big one, I think. The gorgeous clothes and homes of the very rich is another – especially for women who grew up dressing Barbies and wearing down their crayons on Cinderella coloring books. Given the power of the titled then, it’s mostly credible that they could push all obstacles out of their way, eventually. It’s also credible to believe that once the troubles in the story are over and the couple have married, their lives will be peaceful, full of ease and comfort. And, after having read so many books set in those times, it’s familiar and requires less work to follow. What romance reader needs more than the word “Almack’s” to have a full visual and social picture painted? Also, we are far enough in time from then not to know all the sticky social issues that we need the characters to have opinions on to determine whether we like them or not. The Regency period has become almost an alternate reality.
    I know (and like!) American history fairly well, so any book set here would have to address the historical and social context more for me to get into it. And then if the author is a bit different on it than I am, suddenly I’m pulled out of the story. (For the record, most Southerners didn’t have slaves, a lot of Northerners did, the Civil War wasn’t all about slavery, and Southerners weren’t by definition eevvviiilll, although some most definitely were. You see what I mean :).) It really jolts me to have modern social and political sensibilities overlaid on a historical story, and it’s easier for me to detect when I know the truth of the matter pretty well. Mid-1500s Scotland… for all that it’s my motherland, I couldn’t tell you the specific context without some ‘Net browsing, so I turn myself over to the hands of the writer.

    Reply
  41. I think there are several reasons why the Regency period is so popular. Jane Austen is a big one, I think. The gorgeous clothes and homes of the very rich is another – especially for women who grew up dressing Barbies and wearing down their crayons on Cinderella coloring books. Given the power of the titled then, it’s mostly credible that they could push all obstacles out of their way, eventually. It’s also credible to believe that once the troubles in the story are over and the couple have married, their lives will be peaceful, full of ease and comfort. And, after having read so many books set in those times, it’s familiar and requires less work to follow. What romance reader needs more than the word “Almack’s” to have a full visual and social picture painted? Also, we are far enough in time from then not to know all the sticky social issues that we need the characters to have opinions on to determine whether we like them or not. The Regency period has become almost an alternate reality.
    I know (and like!) American history fairly well, so any book set here would have to address the historical and social context more for me to get into it. And then if the author is a bit different on it than I am, suddenly I’m pulled out of the story. (For the record, most Southerners didn’t have slaves, a lot of Northerners did, the Civil War wasn’t all about slavery, and Southerners weren’t by definition eevvviiilll, although some most definitely were. You see what I mean :).) It really jolts me to have modern social and political sensibilities overlaid on a historical story, and it’s easier for me to detect when I know the truth of the matter pretty well. Mid-1500s Scotland… for all that it’s my motherland, I couldn’t tell you the specific context without some ‘Net browsing, so I turn myself over to the hands of the writer.

    Reply
  42. I think there are several reasons why the Regency period is so popular. Jane Austen is a big one, I think. The gorgeous clothes and homes of the very rich is another – especially for women who grew up dressing Barbies and wearing down their crayons on Cinderella coloring books. Given the power of the titled then, it’s mostly credible that they could push all obstacles out of their way, eventually. It’s also credible to believe that once the troubles in the story are over and the couple have married, their lives will be peaceful, full of ease and comfort. And, after having read so many books set in those times, it’s familiar and requires less work to follow. What romance reader needs more than the word “Almack’s” to have a full visual and social picture painted? Also, we are far enough in time from then not to know all the sticky social issues that we need the characters to have opinions on to determine whether we like them or not. The Regency period has become almost an alternate reality.
    I know (and like!) American history fairly well, so any book set here would have to address the historical and social context more for me to get into it. And then if the author is a bit different on it than I am, suddenly I’m pulled out of the story. (For the record, most Southerners didn’t have slaves, a lot of Northerners did, the Civil War wasn’t all about slavery, and Southerners weren’t by definition eevvviiilll, although some most definitely were. You see what I mean :).) It really jolts me to have modern social and political sensibilities overlaid on a historical story, and it’s easier for me to detect when I know the truth of the matter pretty well. Mid-1500s Scotland… for all that it’s my motherland, I couldn’t tell you the specific context without some ‘Net browsing, so I turn myself over to the hands of the writer.

    Reply
  43. One more dip into the fray after rereading the other comments. A romance story is a fantasy, it’s escapist reading. Reading about any kind of grinding struggle strips the romance right out of the story. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate men who’ve come up by their bootstraps – Lisa Kleypas has some great heroes like that. But if I want Upton Sinclair, I’ll read Upton Sinclair, not a historical romance. I don’t see why I should apologize for that.
    I think too that one of the reasons the Regencies work so well is that the rigid and often superficially founded social restrictions of high society become a villian in and of themselves.
    Maybe the challenge is for you wonderful writers to write a historical set in the US (or Canada, for that matter) that will make your editors eat their words while we devour yours. After all, who would have predicted the boom in paranormal and vampire romances 15 years ago?

    Reply
  44. One more dip into the fray after rereading the other comments. A romance story is a fantasy, it’s escapist reading. Reading about any kind of grinding struggle strips the romance right out of the story. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate men who’ve come up by their bootstraps – Lisa Kleypas has some great heroes like that. But if I want Upton Sinclair, I’ll read Upton Sinclair, not a historical romance. I don’t see why I should apologize for that.
    I think too that one of the reasons the Regencies work so well is that the rigid and often superficially founded social restrictions of high society become a villian in and of themselves.
    Maybe the challenge is for you wonderful writers to write a historical set in the US (or Canada, for that matter) that will make your editors eat their words while we devour yours. After all, who would have predicted the boom in paranormal and vampire romances 15 years ago?

    Reply
  45. One more dip into the fray after rereading the other comments. A romance story is a fantasy, it’s escapist reading. Reading about any kind of grinding struggle strips the romance right out of the story. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate men who’ve come up by their bootstraps – Lisa Kleypas has some great heroes like that. But if I want Upton Sinclair, I’ll read Upton Sinclair, not a historical romance. I don’t see why I should apologize for that.
    I think too that one of the reasons the Regencies work so well is that the rigid and often superficially founded social restrictions of high society become a villian in and of themselves.
    Maybe the challenge is for you wonderful writers to write a historical set in the US (or Canada, for that matter) that will make your editors eat their words while we devour yours. After all, who would have predicted the boom in paranormal and vampire romances 15 years ago?

    Reply
  46. Okay, if America history is simply too turbulent to have credible HEA’s for the rest of the characters lives, lacks the necessary inherited concentrations wealth and power to allow to the absence of indoor hot-water plumbing to be simply bulldozed, whilst the building of a nation is just too much of a grind, and the severe lack Kings and Emperors means none of the necessary Court Manners and Intrigues for the characters to contend with…
    …Then it’s obviously time to completely revise American history to better suit Romantic needs. Yes it’s time to blaze a trail into the brand new genre of the Alternate American History Steampunk Romance novel!
    Sounds like a big, big job tho’. Convincing alt.George Washington to take the throne of the United States, rather than be President, is, I feel, going to be complete bear.
    Also, remember to include plenty of Zeppelins — it’s not alt.history or steampunk if it doesn’t have Zeppelins — and enough descriptions of the Rockies and the Appalacians to remind my dumb subconsious that the country isn’t flat 😉
    But, I still think some sort of turn of the 20th century inventor romance should work. Mainly because I selfishly want to read one. 😛

    Reply
  47. Okay, if America history is simply too turbulent to have credible HEA’s for the rest of the characters lives, lacks the necessary inherited concentrations wealth and power to allow to the absence of indoor hot-water plumbing to be simply bulldozed, whilst the building of a nation is just too much of a grind, and the severe lack Kings and Emperors means none of the necessary Court Manners and Intrigues for the characters to contend with…
    …Then it’s obviously time to completely revise American history to better suit Romantic needs. Yes it’s time to blaze a trail into the brand new genre of the Alternate American History Steampunk Romance novel!
    Sounds like a big, big job tho’. Convincing alt.George Washington to take the throne of the United States, rather than be President, is, I feel, going to be complete bear.
    Also, remember to include plenty of Zeppelins — it’s not alt.history or steampunk if it doesn’t have Zeppelins — and enough descriptions of the Rockies and the Appalacians to remind my dumb subconsious that the country isn’t flat 😉
    But, I still think some sort of turn of the 20th century inventor romance should work. Mainly because I selfishly want to read one. 😛

    Reply
  48. Okay, if America history is simply too turbulent to have credible HEA’s for the rest of the characters lives, lacks the necessary inherited concentrations wealth and power to allow to the absence of indoor hot-water plumbing to be simply bulldozed, whilst the building of a nation is just too much of a grind, and the severe lack Kings and Emperors means none of the necessary Court Manners and Intrigues for the characters to contend with…
    …Then it’s obviously time to completely revise American history to better suit Romantic needs. Yes it’s time to blaze a trail into the brand new genre of the Alternate American History Steampunk Romance novel!
    Sounds like a big, big job tho’. Convincing alt.George Washington to take the throne of the United States, rather than be President, is, I feel, going to be complete bear.
    Also, remember to include plenty of Zeppelins — it’s not alt.history or steampunk if it doesn’t have Zeppelins — and enough descriptions of the Rockies and the Appalacians to remind my dumb subconsious that the country isn’t flat 😉
    But, I still think some sort of turn of the 20th century inventor romance should work. Mainly because I selfishly want to read one. 😛

    Reply
  49. There are some interesting comments above, though there seems to have been a tendency by some contributors to confuse American Colonial with later periods of American history – very different!
    As another outsider, I believe I should enjoy a well-written romance placed in an American setting anywhere within the 1650-1770 range. The 17th and 18th centuries were enormously interesting periods of change and revolution throughout the Western world.
    The appeal of aristocrats and suchlike to American readers is a complete red herring, in my view. Social stratification exists in all societies: only the terminology and the correct rituals change. A contemporary British reader finds the stylised antics and manners of the Regency aristocracy and gentry, as depicted in the classic comedy of manners, no less exotic than does an American. It is time that lends the glamour, not status.

    Reply
  50. There are some interesting comments above, though there seems to have been a tendency by some contributors to confuse American Colonial with later periods of American history – very different!
    As another outsider, I believe I should enjoy a well-written romance placed in an American setting anywhere within the 1650-1770 range. The 17th and 18th centuries were enormously interesting periods of change and revolution throughout the Western world.
    The appeal of aristocrats and suchlike to American readers is a complete red herring, in my view. Social stratification exists in all societies: only the terminology and the correct rituals change. A contemporary British reader finds the stylised antics and manners of the Regency aristocracy and gentry, as depicted in the classic comedy of manners, no less exotic than does an American. It is time that lends the glamour, not status.

    Reply
  51. There are some interesting comments above, though there seems to have been a tendency by some contributors to confuse American Colonial with later periods of American history – very different!
    As another outsider, I believe I should enjoy a well-written romance placed in an American setting anywhere within the 1650-1770 range. The 17th and 18th centuries were enormously interesting periods of change and revolution throughout the Western world.
    The appeal of aristocrats and suchlike to American readers is a complete red herring, in my view. Social stratification exists in all societies: only the terminology and the correct rituals change. A contemporary British reader finds the stylised antics and manners of the Regency aristocracy and gentry, as depicted in the classic comedy of manners, no less exotic than does an American. It is time that lends the glamour, not status.

    Reply
  52. What great comments!
    What it confirms, I think, is that readers love a good book, and while settings are important, there should be room for romances set in every era.
    (btw – if you worry about turbulent times ahead for characters who have a HEA, then you might as well not read or write any Historicals, because every county and era has its share of ghastly times.)
    I guess every romance is indebted to those classic lines: “Once Upon A Time…”
    And if written right, that can be any time.
    “It is Time that lends the gamour…” Right!
    And a time and place that is forever gone is the stuff of highest fantasy, right?
    Thanks for the insights,
    best,
    Edith

    Reply
  53. What great comments!
    What it confirms, I think, is that readers love a good book, and while settings are important, there should be room for romances set in every era.
    (btw – if you worry about turbulent times ahead for characters who have a HEA, then you might as well not read or write any Historicals, because every county and era has its share of ghastly times.)
    I guess every romance is indebted to those classic lines: “Once Upon A Time…”
    And if written right, that can be any time.
    “It is Time that lends the gamour…” Right!
    And a time and place that is forever gone is the stuff of highest fantasy, right?
    Thanks for the insights,
    best,
    Edith

    Reply
  54. What great comments!
    What it confirms, I think, is that readers love a good book, and while settings are important, there should be room for romances set in every era.
    (btw – if you worry about turbulent times ahead for characters who have a HEA, then you might as well not read or write any Historicals, because every county and era has its share of ghastly times.)
    I guess every romance is indebted to those classic lines: “Once Upon A Time…”
    And if written right, that can be any time.
    “It is Time that lends the gamour…” Right!
    And a time and place that is forever gone is the stuff of highest fantasy, right?
    Thanks for the insights,
    best,
    Edith

    Reply
  55. ugh!
    Did I send “county” instead of “country” and “gamour” instead of “glamour”?
    Sorry.
    Just washed my hands and can’t do a thing with them.
    (Oldest joke on record, originally found on a wall in a cave, next to a slightly weird rendition of a mastodon hunt.)
    Edith again

    Reply
  56. ugh!
    Did I send “county” instead of “country” and “gamour” instead of “glamour”?
    Sorry.
    Just washed my hands and can’t do a thing with them.
    (Oldest joke on record, originally found on a wall in a cave, next to a slightly weird rendition of a mastodon hunt.)
    Edith again

    Reply
  57. ugh!
    Did I send “county” instead of “country” and “gamour” instead of “glamour”?
    Sorry.
    Just washed my hands and can’t do a thing with them.
    (Oldest joke on record, originally found on a wall in a cave, next to a slightly weird rendition of a mastodon hunt.)
    Edith again

    Reply
  58. SKapusniak, have you read Poul Anderson’s A MIDSUMMER TEMPEST, which opens with a scene in which Prince Rupert of the Rhine escapes from the Roundheads by hijacking a steam locomotive?
    Shakespeare’s plays turn out to be true history (and I DON’T meant the historicals!).

    Reply
  59. SKapusniak, have you read Poul Anderson’s A MIDSUMMER TEMPEST, which opens with a scene in which Prince Rupert of the Rhine escapes from the Roundheads by hijacking a steam locomotive?
    Shakespeare’s plays turn out to be true history (and I DON’T meant the historicals!).

    Reply
  60. SKapusniak, have you read Poul Anderson’s A MIDSUMMER TEMPEST, which opens with a scene in which Prince Rupert of the Rhine escapes from the Roundheads by hijacking a steam locomotive?
    Shakespeare’s plays turn out to be true history (and I DON’T meant the historicals!).

    Reply
  61. Incidentally, Edith–want to know what really IS the oldest joke on record?
    Barber: How do you want your hair cut?
    Customer: In silence.
    It was found on a scrap from a papyrus from one of the plays of Menander (born at Athens, B.C. 342), which had been used as packing material in a sarcophagus.

    Reply
  62. Incidentally, Edith–want to know what really IS the oldest joke on record?
    Barber: How do you want your hair cut?
    Customer: In silence.
    It was found on a scrap from a papyrus from one of the plays of Menander (born at Athens, B.C. 342), which had been used as packing material in a sarcophagus.

    Reply
  63. Incidentally, Edith–want to know what really IS the oldest joke on record?
    Barber: How do you want your hair cut?
    Customer: In silence.
    It was found on a scrap from a papyrus from one of the plays of Menander (born at Athens, B.C. 342), which had been used as packing material in a sarcophagus.

    Reply
  64. Add me to the Gaffney plug –
    I say because we’ve been burned too many times + it’s hard to let go of our opinions about the times. burned because she’s always a gun toting piece of spunk, proud of her country and her accent and putting her chin forward the whole way! He’s usually either a gun toting loner or a rancher and never a politician. They’re InDePenDent and boring, boring, boring. Indian novels are either shamefully stereotyped or a polemic. Not a lot of balance going on.
    The Megan’s do a good job with American romance, but it’s not colonial. (Chance and McKinney) and you’ve got the whole slavery thing (since most people don’t know the history of slavery in either our nation or Europe they think we invented it). Hm. Hard to articulate.
    You know how in Romance there’s a lot of talk about making fortunes in India or going to India? Most American readers know zip about what England did in India so there’s no emotional blip on the radar – no judgement about that character based on that action. The pre-judgement factor is higher on home turf.
    I also (still speaking out of my hat) believe writers approach Colonial America differently – that they start telling the story from a different point. If you were to write a Regency period book in America without resorting to stock American characters but starting with stock English characters (drop the spunky rustic, drop the frontier spirit, pick up a young politician/diplomat and a debutante or a soldiers widow) AND you manged to get it on the shelves with some publicity (I know, right?) people would really enjoy it.
    It’s not England people love about Regency – (well, myself excluded, we know I feel atypical) but the set-up for the tale. when the curtain rises we know at least one character will be a fiscally comfortable establishment member and the other will be equally worthy but not (insert plot point here) and that their goal is to get together and go to totally fab parties while wage slaves (not real slaves!) gratefully toil to make the fab parties happen. Paris Hilton with a bit more class. Not poor Mrs Federline.

    Reply
  65. Add me to the Gaffney plug –
    I say because we’ve been burned too many times + it’s hard to let go of our opinions about the times. burned because she’s always a gun toting piece of spunk, proud of her country and her accent and putting her chin forward the whole way! He’s usually either a gun toting loner or a rancher and never a politician. They’re InDePenDent and boring, boring, boring. Indian novels are either shamefully stereotyped or a polemic. Not a lot of balance going on.
    The Megan’s do a good job with American romance, but it’s not colonial. (Chance and McKinney) and you’ve got the whole slavery thing (since most people don’t know the history of slavery in either our nation or Europe they think we invented it). Hm. Hard to articulate.
    You know how in Romance there’s a lot of talk about making fortunes in India or going to India? Most American readers know zip about what England did in India so there’s no emotional blip on the radar – no judgement about that character based on that action. The pre-judgement factor is higher on home turf.
    I also (still speaking out of my hat) believe writers approach Colonial America differently – that they start telling the story from a different point. If you were to write a Regency period book in America without resorting to stock American characters but starting with stock English characters (drop the spunky rustic, drop the frontier spirit, pick up a young politician/diplomat and a debutante or a soldiers widow) AND you manged to get it on the shelves with some publicity (I know, right?) people would really enjoy it.
    It’s not England people love about Regency – (well, myself excluded, we know I feel atypical) but the set-up for the tale. when the curtain rises we know at least one character will be a fiscally comfortable establishment member and the other will be equally worthy but not (insert plot point here) and that their goal is to get together and go to totally fab parties while wage slaves (not real slaves!) gratefully toil to make the fab parties happen. Paris Hilton with a bit more class. Not poor Mrs Federline.

    Reply
  66. Add me to the Gaffney plug –
    I say because we’ve been burned too many times + it’s hard to let go of our opinions about the times. burned because she’s always a gun toting piece of spunk, proud of her country and her accent and putting her chin forward the whole way! He’s usually either a gun toting loner or a rancher and never a politician. They’re InDePenDent and boring, boring, boring. Indian novels are either shamefully stereotyped or a polemic. Not a lot of balance going on.
    The Megan’s do a good job with American romance, but it’s not colonial. (Chance and McKinney) and you’ve got the whole slavery thing (since most people don’t know the history of slavery in either our nation or Europe they think we invented it). Hm. Hard to articulate.
    You know how in Romance there’s a lot of talk about making fortunes in India or going to India? Most American readers know zip about what England did in India so there’s no emotional blip on the radar – no judgement about that character based on that action. The pre-judgement factor is higher on home turf.
    I also (still speaking out of my hat) believe writers approach Colonial America differently – that they start telling the story from a different point. If you were to write a Regency period book in America without resorting to stock American characters but starting with stock English characters (drop the spunky rustic, drop the frontier spirit, pick up a young politician/diplomat and a debutante or a soldiers widow) AND you manged to get it on the shelves with some publicity (I know, right?) people would really enjoy it.
    It’s not England people love about Regency – (well, myself excluded, we know I feel atypical) but the set-up for the tale. when the curtain rises we know at least one character will be a fiscally comfortable establishment member and the other will be equally worthy but not (insert plot point here) and that their goal is to get together and go to totally fab parties while wage slaves (not real slaves!) gratefully toil to make the fab parties happen. Paris Hilton with a bit more class. Not poor Mrs Federline.

    Reply
  67. I think I have always chosen books with the English because even as a child (not knowing better) dreamed of having a title.Dressing up going to balls having maids. I even day dreamed that I marry a prince. LOL! Also living in Georgia there are still some that have strong feelings about the civil war. After reading all the comments I’m going to give a few early american books a try.

    Reply
  68. I think I have always chosen books with the English because even as a child (not knowing better) dreamed of having a title.Dressing up going to balls having maids. I even day dreamed that I marry a prince. LOL! Also living in Georgia there are still some that have strong feelings about the civil war. After reading all the comments I’m going to give a few early american books a try.

    Reply
  69. I think I have always chosen books with the English because even as a child (not knowing better) dreamed of having a title.Dressing up going to balls having maids. I even day dreamed that I marry a prince. LOL! Also living in Georgia there are still some that have strong feelings about the civil war. After reading all the comments I’m going to give a few early american books a try.

    Reply
  70. I think what I’ve found about American Colonial romance is that many of the books tend to be variations of the same story; he’s British, she’s a colonist, the war is on, the plot tension is the differing sides. Nine times out of ten one turns out to be a spy, making him or her an acceptable partner for the other.
    Over and over again. Insert and replay.
    So when I was able to find a different book, I ran with it. Judith Stanton’s Wild Indigo comes to mind, where the hero and heroine are Moravians (dealing with an arranged marriage) and how they dealt with war as pacifists. Really fascinating stuff.
    If there were more romances set in the colonial period, without necessarily falling into the “sides in the Revolutionary War” trap, that would be wonderful.
    Instead, there are only Regency historicals. Populated solely with dukes. Sigh.
    ml

    Reply
  71. I think what I’ve found about American Colonial romance is that many of the books tend to be variations of the same story; he’s British, she’s a colonist, the war is on, the plot tension is the differing sides. Nine times out of ten one turns out to be a spy, making him or her an acceptable partner for the other.
    Over and over again. Insert and replay.
    So when I was able to find a different book, I ran with it. Judith Stanton’s Wild Indigo comes to mind, where the hero and heroine are Moravians (dealing with an arranged marriage) and how they dealt with war as pacifists. Really fascinating stuff.
    If there were more romances set in the colonial period, without necessarily falling into the “sides in the Revolutionary War” trap, that would be wonderful.
    Instead, there are only Regency historicals. Populated solely with dukes. Sigh.
    ml

    Reply
  72. I think what I’ve found about American Colonial romance is that many of the books tend to be variations of the same story; he’s British, she’s a colonist, the war is on, the plot tension is the differing sides. Nine times out of ten one turns out to be a spy, making him or her an acceptable partner for the other.
    Over and over again. Insert and replay.
    So when I was able to find a different book, I ran with it. Judith Stanton’s Wild Indigo comes to mind, where the hero and heroine are Moravians (dealing with an arranged marriage) and how they dealt with war as pacifists. Really fascinating stuff.
    If there were more romances set in the colonial period, without necessarily falling into the “sides in the Revolutionary War” trap, that would be wonderful.
    Instead, there are only Regency historicals. Populated solely with dukes. Sigh.
    ml

    Reply
  73. Just for you, Edith!
    Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    As I walk through this world
    Nothing can stop the Duke of Earl
    And-a you, you are my girl
    And no one can hurt you, oh no
    Yes-a, I, oh I’m gonna love you, oh oh
    Come on let me hold you darlin’
    ‘Cause I’m the Duke of Earl
    So hey yea yea yeah
    And when I hold you
    You’ll be my Duchess, Duchess of Earl
    We’ll walk through my dukedom
    And a paradise we will share
    Yes-a, I, oh I’m gonna love you, oh oh
    Nothing can stop me now
    ‘Cause I’m the Duke of Earl
    So hey yeah yeah yeah
    Well, I, oh I’m gonna love you, oh oh
    Nothing can stop me now
    ‘Cause I’m the Duke of Earl
    So hey yeah yeah yeah

    Reply
  74. Just for you, Edith!
    Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    As I walk through this world
    Nothing can stop the Duke of Earl
    And-a you, you are my girl
    And no one can hurt you, oh no
    Yes-a, I, oh I’m gonna love you, oh oh
    Come on let me hold you darlin’
    ‘Cause I’m the Duke of Earl
    So hey yea yea yeah
    And when I hold you
    You’ll be my Duchess, Duchess of Earl
    We’ll walk through my dukedom
    And a paradise we will share
    Yes-a, I, oh I’m gonna love you, oh oh
    Nothing can stop me now
    ‘Cause I’m the Duke of Earl
    So hey yeah yeah yeah
    Well, I, oh I’m gonna love you, oh oh
    Nothing can stop me now
    ‘Cause I’m the Duke of Earl
    So hey yeah yeah yeah

    Reply
  75. Just for you, Edith!
    Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    Duke, Duke, Duke of Earl
    As I walk through this world
    Nothing can stop the Duke of Earl
    And-a you, you are my girl
    And no one can hurt you, oh no
    Yes-a, I, oh I’m gonna love you, oh oh
    Come on let me hold you darlin’
    ‘Cause I’m the Duke of Earl
    So hey yea yea yeah
    And when I hold you
    You’ll be my Duchess, Duchess of Earl
    We’ll walk through my dukedom
    And a paradise we will share
    Yes-a, I, oh I’m gonna love you, oh oh
    Nothing can stop me now
    ‘Cause I’m the Duke of Earl
    So hey yeah yeah yeah
    Well, I, oh I’m gonna love you, oh oh
    Nothing can stop me now
    ‘Cause I’m the Duke of Earl
    So hey yeah yeah yeah

    Reply
  76. I would enjoy romances set in Colonial America. I grew up reading Elswyth Thane’s Williamsburg series and read a number Inglis Fletcher’s books when I spent a summer in North Carolina, in fact I’m planning on reading them again, but there are always so many other good books to read! I do know of one Colonial American romance: Kathy Lynn Emerson’s Firebrand is set quite early in the Colonial period, in Plymouth and Maine, and has some paranormal aspects to it. And some of the research she did for it came in useful later for one of her Lady Appleton mysteries.

    Reply
  77. I would enjoy romances set in Colonial America. I grew up reading Elswyth Thane’s Williamsburg series and read a number Inglis Fletcher’s books when I spent a summer in North Carolina, in fact I’m planning on reading them again, but there are always so many other good books to read! I do know of one Colonial American romance: Kathy Lynn Emerson’s Firebrand is set quite early in the Colonial period, in Plymouth and Maine, and has some paranormal aspects to it. And some of the research she did for it came in useful later for one of her Lady Appleton mysteries.

    Reply
  78. I would enjoy romances set in Colonial America. I grew up reading Elswyth Thane’s Williamsburg series and read a number Inglis Fletcher’s books when I spent a summer in North Carolina, in fact I’m planning on reading them again, but there are always so many other good books to read! I do know of one Colonial American romance: Kathy Lynn Emerson’s Firebrand is set quite early in the Colonial period, in Plymouth and Maine, and has some paranormal aspects to it. And some of the research she did for it came in useful later for one of her Lady Appleton mysteries.

    Reply

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