Politics and Religion, Oh My!

W-DeskLady2Pat here:

I don’t have much time for historical research these days, which is a shame, because I enjoy the details of how we got where we are today. Unfortunately, my interest isn’t in how styles changed from chemises to brassieres, but how economies changed political structures and led to wars and industry. Hardly the stuff of romance, huh?

But I’m interested in economics and politics and religion because they affect everyone, including my romantic characters. Unlike most little girls, I was never much interested in dressing up my dolls. I wanted their stories. And stories require backgrounds, and that’s how I still write books today. It simply isn’t enough for me to know that Jane Heroine is wearing an elegant Regency era fashionpatterned muslin with a taffeta bow when she sets out to seduce Dangerous Hero. I think it’s more interesting that Hero brought that muslin back from India on a ship that could cover the seas in less than half the time of a previous decade because American ship captains had developed a racing schooner. And Jane’s father has lost his wealth because he refused to change to the new ships and cargo. Now we have a story.

Which pretty much explains how The Marquess and The English Heiress came about. Sure, we have dark and stormy nights and a forbidding PatRice_TheMarquess_200pxcastle and a scarred hero, his mysterious brother, and a pair of terrified heroines running from a killer. But how they got to that place was as interesting to me as how they end up. The clash of two impoverished Americans being flung into the midst of English Regency aristocracy is just too juicy to ignore.

But ignore that world conflict, we in romancelandia do. The Regency era is rife with comparisons to today’s contemporary problems. Young men torn from their families to fight a war defending the wealthy one percent return triumphant, only to live in poverty and shame because once they conquered Napoleon, they had no other purpose. By the Regency era, the aristocracy had grown so distant from their rural roots, that they scarcely knew their tenants. How many of the upper class actually cared for the well-being of the people whose toil had made them rich? But in our books, we show the pretty balls and the romantic horse rides and ignore the homeless soldiers and poor houses unless Jane Heroine happens to sponsor a charity. And touching on the Catholic Problem has practically outlawed Irish romances. So we create pink Disney confections.

I realize we read for escape. But at the same time, we jump all over authors who don’t get the dress Denialcode or the marriage and title laws right. Why do we never complain when the rest of Regency reality is ignored? Is it because we lack that knowledge or because we don’t care why our soldier hero is trying to petition parliament on behalf of his comrades? Is the fantasy only about pretty gowns and marriage? Spies are interesting but a homeless hero is not?

I think I probably know the answer to all those questions and what I really want to know is why am I so weird? Maybe I should write a dystopian Regency. But I keep looking for a niche in the marketplace that wants real history and romance, not Disney make-believe. I catch lovely glimpses of it in most wench novels, so I assume wenchly readers enjoy a brush of reality. Share your book finds—who else includes nice touches of history in their romance? Let’s go out and buy their books and show NYC that we like books with depth!

155 thoughts on “Politics and Religion, Oh My!”

  1. Wow, exactly. I want to just say thank you quickly and will try to think of recommendations later. By the way, between WW novels, I read the Consequences of the Peace by Keynes. If you want to see why WWII was inevitable as well as the link back to Vienna and the Franco/Prussian War, this is the best explanation.

    Reply
  2. Wow, exactly. I want to just say thank you quickly and will try to think of recommendations later. By the way, between WW novels, I read the Consequences of the Peace by Keynes. If you want to see why WWII was inevitable as well as the link back to Vienna and the Franco/Prussian War, this is the best explanation.

    Reply
  3. Wow, exactly. I want to just say thank you quickly and will try to think of recommendations later. By the way, between WW novels, I read the Consequences of the Peace by Keynes. If you want to see why WWII was inevitable as well as the link back to Vienna and the Franco/Prussian War, this is the best explanation.

    Reply
  4. Wow, exactly. I want to just say thank you quickly and will try to think of recommendations later. By the way, between WW novels, I read the Consequences of the Peace by Keynes. If you want to see why WWII was inevitable as well as the link back to Vienna and the Franco/Prussian War, this is the best explanation.

    Reply
  5. Wow, exactly. I want to just say thank you quickly and will try to think of recommendations later. By the way, between WW novels, I read the Consequences of the Peace by Keynes. If you want to see why WWII was inevitable as well as the link back to Vienna and the Franco/Prussian War, this is the best explanation.

    Reply
  6. I suspect it’s that we prefer the pretty and also that we don’t really have the background knowledge needed to realize that there was more going on than just parties.. Pretty much the same currently, how many really want to know the truth of the homeless veterans that stem from conflicts beginning with VietNam? Some of the first things cut from budgets are health care benefits to the military veterans. There’s been mental health issues stemming from every conflict – it’s just been called different things, like shell shock, battle fatigue, etc.

    Reply
  7. I suspect it’s that we prefer the pretty and also that we don’t really have the background knowledge needed to realize that there was more going on than just parties.. Pretty much the same currently, how many really want to know the truth of the homeless veterans that stem from conflicts beginning with VietNam? Some of the first things cut from budgets are health care benefits to the military veterans. There’s been mental health issues stemming from every conflict – it’s just been called different things, like shell shock, battle fatigue, etc.

    Reply
  8. I suspect it’s that we prefer the pretty and also that we don’t really have the background knowledge needed to realize that there was more going on than just parties.. Pretty much the same currently, how many really want to know the truth of the homeless veterans that stem from conflicts beginning with VietNam? Some of the first things cut from budgets are health care benefits to the military veterans. There’s been mental health issues stemming from every conflict – it’s just been called different things, like shell shock, battle fatigue, etc.

    Reply
  9. I suspect it’s that we prefer the pretty and also that we don’t really have the background knowledge needed to realize that there was more going on than just parties.. Pretty much the same currently, how many really want to know the truth of the homeless veterans that stem from conflicts beginning with VietNam? Some of the first things cut from budgets are health care benefits to the military veterans. There’s been mental health issues stemming from every conflict – it’s just been called different things, like shell shock, battle fatigue, etc.

    Reply
  10. I suspect it’s that we prefer the pretty and also that we don’t really have the background knowledge needed to realize that there was more going on than just parties.. Pretty much the same currently, how many really want to know the truth of the homeless veterans that stem from conflicts beginning with VietNam? Some of the first things cut from budgets are health care benefits to the military veterans. There’s been mental health issues stemming from every conflict – it’s just been called different things, like shell shock, battle fatigue, etc.

    Reply
  11. I just read Heather Snow’s Sweet Enemy and the hero in that book was fighting for the rights of soldiers he fought along side during the war. I loved that book!

    Reply
  12. I just read Heather Snow’s Sweet Enemy and the hero in that book was fighting for the rights of soldiers he fought along side during the war. I loved that book!

    Reply
  13. I just read Heather Snow’s Sweet Enemy and the hero in that book was fighting for the rights of soldiers he fought along side during the war. I loved that book!

    Reply
  14. I just read Heather Snow’s Sweet Enemy and the hero in that book was fighting for the rights of soldiers he fought along side during the war. I loved that book!

    Reply
  15. I just read Heather Snow’s Sweet Enemy and the hero in that book was fighting for the rights of soldiers he fought along side during the war. I loved that book!

    Reply
  16. I love the deep, political, economic history, but I don’t think most editors do (and I’m not sure a lot of readers do either). I get told it’s boring, or it takes too much focus away from the romance, and god forbid you spend too much time on the complicated politics of the era. I adore it when writers find ways to make all of that big picture stuff central to the plot in ways that keep the reader engaged (and wish I was skillful enough to do it myself, but alas I’m still working on it).

    Reply
  17. I love the deep, political, economic history, but I don’t think most editors do (and I’m not sure a lot of readers do either). I get told it’s boring, or it takes too much focus away from the romance, and god forbid you spend too much time on the complicated politics of the era. I adore it when writers find ways to make all of that big picture stuff central to the plot in ways that keep the reader engaged (and wish I was skillful enough to do it myself, but alas I’m still working on it).

    Reply
  18. I love the deep, political, economic history, but I don’t think most editors do (and I’m not sure a lot of readers do either). I get told it’s boring, or it takes too much focus away from the romance, and god forbid you spend too much time on the complicated politics of the era. I adore it when writers find ways to make all of that big picture stuff central to the plot in ways that keep the reader engaged (and wish I was skillful enough to do it myself, but alas I’m still working on it).

    Reply
  19. I love the deep, political, economic history, but I don’t think most editors do (and I’m not sure a lot of readers do either). I get told it’s boring, or it takes too much focus away from the romance, and god forbid you spend too much time on the complicated politics of the era. I adore it when writers find ways to make all of that big picture stuff central to the plot in ways that keep the reader engaged (and wish I was skillful enough to do it myself, but alas I’m still working on it).

    Reply
  20. I love the deep, political, economic history, but I don’t think most editors do (and I’m not sure a lot of readers do either). I get told it’s boring, or it takes too much focus away from the romance, and god forbid you spend too much time on the complicated politics of the era. I adore it when writers find ways to make all of that big picture stuff central to the plot in ways that keep the reader engaged (and wish I was skillful enough to do it myself, but alas I’m still working on it).

    Reply
  21. I find that the deep political and economic history is more easily found in historical fiction rather than historical romance. I read a non-fiction called Our Tempestuous Day by Carolly Erickson, a history of the Regency era, and it was definitely eye-opening.

    Reply
  22. I find that the deep political and economic history is more easily found in historical fiction rather than historical romance. I read a non-fiction called Our Tempestuous Day by Carolly Erickson, a history of the Regency era, and it was definitely eye-opening.

    Reply
  23. I find that the deep political and economic history is more easily found in historical fiction rather than historical romance. I read a non-fiction called Our Tempestuous Day by Carolly Erickson, a history of the Regency era, and it was definitely eye-opening.

    Reply
  24. I find that the deep political and economic history is more easily found in historical fiction rather than historical romance. I read a non-fiction called Our Tempestuous Day by Carolly Erickson, a history of the Regency era, and it was definitely eye-opening.

    Reply
  25. I find that the deep political and economic history is more easily found in historical fiction rather than historical romance. I read a non-fiction called Our Tempestuous Day by Carolly Erickson, a history of the Regency era, and it was definitely eye-opening.

    Reply
  26. The Book of a Thousand Days’ by Shannon Hale. Also YA, but well done story of Rapunzel with some Cyrano de Bergerac thrown in (the MC is NOT the princess!). I feel like this is part of a series of books that came out around the same time, but with different authors(I remember this because they had similar cover art). Good reads doesn’t have any information to back that up. But if you can find the info you’ll like the others.
    Also, Gail Carson Levine’s ‘Fairest’ and ‘Ella Enchanted’ are pretty good, but they’re written at a middle-grade level. (they’re still pretty fun)

    Reply
  27. The Book of a Thousand Days’ by Shannon Hale. Also YA, but well done story of Rapunzel with some Cyrano de Bergerac thrown in (the MC is NOT the princess!). I feel like this is part of a series of books that came out around the same time, but with different authors(I remember this because they had similar cover art). Good reads doesn’t have any information to back that up. But if you can find the info you’ll like the others.
    Also, Gail Carson Levine’s ‘Fairest’ and ‘Ella Enchanted’ are pretty good, but they’re written at a middle-grade level. (they’re still pretty fun)

    Reply
  28. The Book of a Thousand Days’ by Shannon Hale. Also YA, but well done story of Rapunzel with some Cyrano de Bergerac thrown in (the MC is NOT the princess!). I feel like this is part of a series of books that came out around the same time, but with different authors(I remember this because they had similar cover art). Good reads doesn’t have any information to back that up. But if you can find the info you’ll like the others.
    Also, Gail Carson Levine’s ‘Fairest’ and ‘Ella Enchanted’ are pretty good, but they’re written at a middle-grade level. (they’re still pretty fun)

    Reply
  29. The Book of a Thousand Days’ by Shannon Hale. Also YA, but well done story of Rapunzel with some Cyrano de Bergerac thrown in (the MC is NOT the princess!). I feel like this is part of a series of books that came out around the same time, but with different authors(I remember this because they had similar cover art). Good reads doesn’t have any information to back that up. But if you can find the info you’ll like the others.
    Also, Gail Carson Levine’s ‘Fairest’ and ‘Ella Enchanted’ are pretty good, but they’re written at a middle-grade level. (they’re still pretty fun)

    Reply
  30. The Book of a Thousand Days’ by Shannon Hale. Also YA, but well done story of Rapunzel with some Cyrano de Bergerac thrown in (the MC is NOT the princess!). I feel like this is part of a series of books that came out around the same time, but with different authors(I remember this because they had similar cover art). Good reads doesn’t have any information to back that up. But if you can find the info you’ll like the others.
    Also, Gail Carson Levine’s ‘Fairest’ and ‘Ella Enchanted’ are pretty good, but they’re written at a middle-grade level. (they’re still pretty fun)

    Reply
  31. The Heather Snow book was one of the romances that set me down this path. I loved that part of the hero’s conflict was the need to help his fellow soldiers.
    Erickson’s book gives an excellent overall view, although I’ve discovered some errors in it over the years. But to get a feel for the period, it’s great.
    I don’t read much YA but if they’re writing it with real history, hear me scream me in joy! Hooking kids with fictional reality (did I just invent a genre? “G”) in youth is ideal. Don’t we all remember those early books?

    Reply
  32. The Heather Snow book was one of the romances that set me down this path. I loved that part of the hero’s conflict was the need to help his fellow soldiers.
    Erickson’s book gives an excellent overall view, although I’ve discovered some errors in it over the years. But to get a feel for the period, it’s great.
    I don’t read much YA but if they’re writing it with real history, hear me scream me in joy! Hooking kids with fictional reality (did I just invent a genre? “G”) in youth is ideal. Don’t we all remember those early books?

    Reply
  33. The Heather Snow book was one of the romances that set me down this path. I loved that part of the hero’s conflict was the need to help his fellow soldiers.
    Erickson’s book gives an excellent overall view, although I’ve discovered some errors in it over the years. But to get a feel for the period, it’s great.
    I don’t read much YA but if they’re writing it with real history, hear me scream me in joy! Hooking kids with fictional reality (did I just invent a genre? “G”) in youth is ideal. Don’t we all remember those early books?

    Reply
  34. The Heather Snow book was one of the romances that set me down this path. I loved that part of the hero’s conflict was the need to help his fellow soldiers.
    Erickson’s book gives an excellent overall view, although I’ve discovered some errors in it over the years. But to get a feel for the period, it’s great.
    I don’t read much YA but if they’re writing it with real history, hear me scream me in joy! Hooking kids with fictional reality (did I just invent a genre? “G”) in youth is ideal. Don’t we all remember those early books?

    Reply
  35. The Heather Snow book was one of the romances that set me down this path. I loved that part of the hero’s conflict was the need to help his fellow soldiers.
    Erickson’s book gives an excellent overall view, although I’ve discovered some errors in it over the years. But to get a feel for the period, it’s great.
    I don’t read much YA but if they’re writing it with real history, hear me scream me in joy! Hooking kids with fictional reality (did I just invent a genre? “G”) in youth is ideal. Don’t we all remember those early books?

    Reply
  36. I’m sort of torn. I often enjoy the escapism of Romancelandia, set apart from the grim realities of the world, whether it be the Regency or any other period. But then there are times when I want to scream at the book, “Don’t you realize that there were plenty of people in England who considered Napoleon a liberator, not an oppressive tyrant?” And all those loyal servants, who never have a life of their own—really?
    I suppose it mainly depends on my mood. I am interested in the reality of the past, and the reality of what it was like to live then (whenever “then” is) can be depicted more vividly in a novel than in a history book or even in a biography.
    But then there are times when I put down the newspaper and want nothing more than a story that will take me far away from harsh realities.

    Reply
  37. I’m sort of torn. I often enjoy the escapism of Romancelandia, set apart from the grim realities of the world, whether it be the Regency or any other period. But then there are times when I want to scream at the book, “Don’t you realize that there were plenty of people in England who considered Napoleon a liberator, not an oppressive tyrant?” And all those loyal servants, who never have a life of their own—really?
    I suppose it mainly depends on my mood. I am interested in the reality of the past, and the reality of what it was like to live then (whenever “then” is) can be depicted more vividly in a novel than in a history book or even in a biography.
    But then there are times when I put down the newspaper and want nothing more than a story that will take me far away from harsh realities.

    Reply
  38. I’m sort of torn. I often enjoy the escapism of Romancelandia, set apart from the grim realities of the world, whether it be the Regency or any other period. But then there are times when I want to scream at the book, “Don’t you realize that there were plenty of people in England who considered Napoleon a liberator, not an oppressive tyrant?” And all those loyal servants, who never have a life of their own—really?
    I suppose it mainly depends on my mood. I am interested in the reality of the past, and the reality of what it was like to live then (whenever “then” is) can be depicted more vividly in a novel than in a history book or even in a biography.
    But then there are times when I put down the newspaper and want nothing more than a story that will take me far away from harsh realities.

    Reply
  39. I’m sort of torn. I often enjoy the escapism of Romancelandia, set apart from the grim realities of the world, whether it be the Regency or any other period. But then there are times when I want to scream at the book, “Don’t you realize that there were plenty of people in England who considered Napoleon a liberator, not an oppressive tyrant?” And all those loyal servants, who never have a life of their own—really?
    I suppose it mainly depends on my mood. I am interested in the reality of the past, and the reality of what it was like to live then (whenever “then” is) can be depicted more vividly in a novel than in a history book or even in a biography.
    But then there are times when I put down the newspaper and want nothing more than a story that will take me far away from harsh realities.

    Reply
  40. I’m sort of torn. I often enjoy the escapism of Romancelandia, set apart from the grim realities of the world, whether it be the Regency or any other period. But then there are times when I want to scream at the book, “Don’t you realize that there were plenty of people in England who considered Napoleon a liberator, not an oppressive tyrant?” And all those loyal servants, who never have a life of their own—really?
    I suppose it mainly depends on my mood. I am interested in the reality of the past, and the reality of what it was like to live then (whenever “then” is) can be depicted more vividly in a novel than in a history book or even in a biography.
    But then there are times when I put down the newspaper and want nothing more than a story that will take me far away from harsh realities.

    Reply
  41. I tend toward working it in around the edges. For example in one of my books almost all the servants of the hero’s family are black. Why? Because his uncle was one of the officers who was there when the British promised the American slaves freedom if they fought for them during the American Revolution. When the British lost, large numbers of these men were brought back to England and then not taken care of as promised. Hero’s uncle is angry about this and he’s doing what he can for his men by helping them find employment. It’s a fascinating bit of history (to me, anyway), but I not something I wanted to center the entire book around.

    Reply
  42. I tend toward working it in around the edges. For example in one of my books almost all the servants of the hero’s family are black. Why? Because his uncle was one of the officers who was there when the British promised the American slaves freedom if they fought for them during the American Revolution. When the British lost, large numbers of these men were brought back to England and then not taken care of as promised. Hero’s uncle is angry about this and he’s doing what he can for his men by helping them find employment. It’s a fascinating bit of history (to me, anyway), but I not something I wanted to center the entire book around.

    Reply
  43. I tend toward working it in around the edges. For example in one of my books almost all the servants of the hero’s family are black. Why? Because his uncle was one of the officers who was there when the British promised the American slaves freedom if they fought for them during the American Revolution. When the British lost, large numbers of these men were brought back to England and then not taken care of as promised. Hero’s uncle is angry about this and he’s doing what he can for his men by helping them find employment. It’s a fascinating bit of history (to me, anyway), but I not something I wanted to center the entire book around.

    Reply
  44. I tend toward working it in around the edges. For example in one of my books almost all the servants of the hero’s family are black. Why? Because his uncle was one of the officers who was there when the British promised the American slaves freedom if they fought for them during the American Revolution. When the British lost, large numbers of these men were brought back to England and then not taken care of as promised. Hero’s uncle is angry about this and he’s doing what he can for his men by helping them find employment. It’s a fascinating bit of history (to me, anyway), but I not something I wanted to center the entire book around.

    Reply
  45. I tend toward working it in around the edges. For example in one of my books almost all the servants of the hero’s family are black. Why? Because his uncle was one of the officers who was there when the British promised the American slaves freedom if they fought for them during the American Revolution. When the British lost, large numbers of these men were brought back to England and then not taken care of as promised. Hero’s uncle is angry about this and he’s doing what he can for his men by helping them find employment. It’s a fascinating bit of history (to me, anyway), but I not something I wanted to center the entire book around.

    Reply
  46. I suspect Jane is hitting on an ultimate truth–we want what we want, when we want it. I’m guilty of the same, which is why I’m usually reading 3 or 4 books at a time.
    And feeding fascinating bits of history in around the edge is an excellent means of giving me that crunch of reality along with the sweetness of romance. Sweet and savory, that’s what we need!

    Reply
  47. I suspect Jane is hitting on an ultimate truth–we want what we want, when we want it. I’m guilty of the same, which is why I’m usually reading 3 or 4 books at a time.
    And feeding fascinating bits of history in around the edge is an excellent means of giving me that crunch of reality along with the sweetness of romance. Sweet and savory, that’s what we need!

    Reply
  48. I suspect Jane is hitting on an ultimate truth–we want what we want, when we want it. I’m guilty of the same, which is why I’m usually reading 3 or 4 books at a time.
    And feeding fascinating bits of history in around the edge is an excellent means of giving me that crunch of reality along with the sweetness of romance. Sweet and savory, that’s what we need!

    Reply
  49. I suspect Jane is hitting on an ultimate truth–we want what we want, when we want it. I’m guilty of the same, which is why I’m usually reading 3 or 4 books at a time.
    And feeding fascinating bits of history in around the edge is an excellent means of giving me that crunch of reality along with the sweetness of romance. Sweet and savory, that’s what we need!

    Reply
  50. I suspect Jane is hitting on an ultimate truth–we want what we want, when we want it. I’m guilty of the same, which is why I’m usually reading 3 or 4 books at a time.
    And feeding fascinating bits of history in around the edge is an excellent means of giving me that crunch of reality along with the sweetness of romance. Sweet and savory, that’s what we need!

    Reply
  51. I have to say, I would like to see more “real life” in romances, but at the same time, I’m not really interested in picking up a romance novel and reading in depth about the politics of the era. Maybe a paragraph or two, but more than that and it tends to get boring. If I want to read about politics, I’ll get a nonfiction book.
    If an author is going to include any sort of history in their book, though, they’d better get it right. Titles and clothing are especially easy to spot if they’re wrong, and the authors who get these things wrong in the first place aren’t often the ones that write about more serious issues. (My own interests tend towards more frivolous details, such as what clothing exactly people were likely to be wearing, so that’s also what I’m most likely to pick up on.)
    Jane O: And all those loyal servants, who never have a life of their own—really?
    Many servants really didn’t have a life of their own. Frequently, masters would forbid the servants from having any contact with people outside the house, especially romantic contact. As for loyal servants, over the course of the 18th century, these were increasingly rare, and on average, servants would only stay in one position for a couple years.

    Reply
  52. I have to say, I would like to see more “real life” in romances, but at the same time, I’m not really interested in picking up a romance novel and reading in depth about the politics of the era. Maybe a paragraph or two, but more than that and it tends to get boring. If I want to read about politics, I’ll get a nonfiction book.
    If an author is going to include any sort of history in their book, though, they’d better get it right. Titles and clothing are especially easy to spot if they’re wrong, and the authors who get these things wrong in the first place aren’t often the ones that write about more serious issues. (My own interests tend towards more frivolous details, such as what clothing exactly people were likely to be wearing, so that’s also what I’m most likely to pick up on.)
    Jane O: And all those loyal servants, who never have a life of their own—really?
    Many servants really didn’t have a life of their own. Frequently, masters would forbid the servants from having any contact with people outside the house, especially romantic contact. As for loyal servants, over the course of the 18th century, these were increasingly rare, and on average, servants would only stay in one position for a couple years.

    Reply
  53. I have to say, I would like to see more “real life” in romances, but at the same time, I’m not really interested in picking up a romance novel and reading in depth about the politics of the era. Maybe a paragraph or two, but more than that and it tends to get boring. If I want to read about politics, I’ll get a nonfiction book.
    If an author is going to include any sort of history in their book, though, they’d better get it right. Titles and clothing are especially easy to spot if they’re wrong, and the authors who get these things wrong in the first place aren’t often the ones that write about more serious issues. (My own interests tend towards more frivolous details, such as what clothing exactly people were likely to be wearing, so that’s also what I’m most likely to pick up on.)
    Jane O: And all those loyal servants, who never have a life of their own—really?
    Many servants really didn’t have a life of their own. Frequently, masters would forbid the servants from having any contact with people outside the house, especially romantic contact. As for loyal servants, over the course of the 18th century, these were increasingly rare, and on average, servants would only stay in one position for a couple years.

    Reply
  54. I have to say, I would like to see more “real life” in romances, but at the same time, I’m not really interested in picking up a romance novel and reading in depth about the politics of the era. Maybe a paragraph or two, but more than that and it tends to get boring. If I want to read about politics, I’ll get a nonfiction book.
    If an author is going to include any sort of history in their book, though, they’d better get it right. Titles and clothing are especially easy to spot if they’re wrong, and the authors who get these things wrong in the first place aren’t often the ones that write about more serious issues. (My own interests tend towards more frivolous details, such as what clothing exactly people were likely to be wearing, so that’s also what I’m most likely to pick up on.)
    Jane O: And all those loyal servants, who never have a life of their own—really?
    Many servants really didn’t have a life of their own. Frequently, masters would forbid the servants from having any contact with people outside the house, especially romantic contact. As for loyal servants, over the course of the 18th century, these were increasingly rare, and on average, servants would only stay in one position for a couple years.

    Reply
  55. I have to say, I would like to see more “real life” in romances, but at the same time, I’m not really interested in picking up a romance novel and reading in depth about the politics of the era. Maybe a paragraph or two, but more than that and it tends to get boring. If I want to read about politics, I’ll get a nonfiction book.
    If an author is going to include any sort of history in their book, though, they’d better get it right. Titles and clothing are especially easy to spot if they’re wrong, and the authors who get these things wrong in the first place aren’t often the ones that write about more serious issues. (My own interests tend towards more frivolous details, such as what clothing exactly people were likely to be wearing, so that’s also what I’m most likely to pick up on.)
    Jane O: And all those loyal servants, who never have a life of their own—really?
    Many servants really didn’t have a life of their own. Frequently, masters would forbid the servants from having any contact with people outside the house, especially romantic contact. As for loyal servants, over the course of the 18th century, these were increasingly rare, and on average, servants would only stay in one position for a couple years.

    Reply
  56. I try to have some elements in my Regency stories that acknowledge the ordinary folk, especially the plight of wounded soldiers – in The Wild Card, Hero was an officer, wounded and now runs a small home for maimed ex-soldiers but the main story is the romance. I’m conscious of the need for the real world to cast its shadow over the gilded lives of the ton. I initially enjoyed the Sharpe books [one was just enough for a plane journey] but they became progressively more focused on savagery and lost me. I like Georgette Heyer’s presentation of such elements because she actually knew the society of wealthy aristocrats and their households, yet it was also a time of war.

    Reply
  57. I try to have some elements in my Regency stories that acknowledge the ordinary folk, especially the plight of wounded soldiers – in The Wild Card, Hero was an officer, wounded and now runs a small home for maimed ex-soldiers but the main story is the romance. I’m conscious of the need for the real world to cast its shadow over the gilded lives of the ton. I initially enjoyed the Sharpe books [one was just enough for a plane journey] but they became progressively more focused on savagery and lost me. I like Georgette Heyer’s presentation of such elements because she actually knew the society of wealthy aristocrats and their households, yet it was also a time of war.

    Reply
  58. I try to have some elements in my Regency stories that acknowledge the ordinary folk, especially the plight of wounded soldiers – in The Wild Card, Hero was an officer, wounded and now runs a small home for maimed ex-soldiers but the main story is the romance. I’m conscious of the need for the real world to cast its shadow over the gilded lives of the ton. I initially enjoyed the Sharpe books [one was just enough for a plane journey] but they became progressively more focused on savagery and lost me. I like Georgette Heyer’s presentation of such elements because she actually knew the society of wealthy aristocrats and their households, yet it was also a time of war.

    Reply
  59. I try to have some elements in my Regency stories that acknowledge the ordinary folk, especially the plight of wounded soldiers – in The Wild Card, Hero was an officer, wounded and now runs a small home for maimed ex-soldiers but the main story is the romance. I’m conscious of the need for the real world to cast its shadow over the gilded lives of the ton. I initially enjoyed the Sharpe books [one was just enough for a plane journey] but they became progressively more focused on savagery and lost me. I like Georgette Heyer’s presentation of such elements because she actually knew the society of wealthy aristocrats and their households, yet it was also a time of war.

    Reply
  60. I try to have some elements in my Regency stories that acknowledge the ordinary folk, especially the plight of wounded soldiers – in The Wild Card, Hero was an officer, wounded and now runs a small home for maimed ex-soldiers but the main story is the romance. I’m conscious of the need for the real world to cast its shadow over the gilded lives of the ton. I initially enjoyed the Sharpe books [one was just enough for a plane journey] but they became progressively more focused on savagery and lost me. I like Georgette Heyer’s presentation of such elements because she actually knew the society of wealthy aristocrats and their households, yet it was also a time of war.

    Reply
  61. Apologies, I meant I like GH’s presentation of society life, not of savagery!!
    Actually, Infamous Army is far better than any other story featuring the battle of Waterloo and totally readable, for all the bloodshed.

    Reply
  62. Apologies, I meant I like GH’s presentation of society life, not of savagery!!
    Actually, Infamous Army is far better than any other story featuring the battle of Waterloo and totally readable, for all the bloodshed.

    Reply
  63. Apologies, I meant I like GH’s presentation of society life, not of savagery!!
    Actually, Infamous Army is far better than any other story featuring the battle of Waterloo and totally readable, for all the bloodshed.

    Reply
  64. Apologies, I meant I like GH’s presentation of society life, not of savagery!!
    Actually, Infamous Army is far better than any other story featuring the battle of Waterloo and totally readable, for all the bloodshed.

    Reply
  65. Apologies, I meant I like GH’s presentation of society life, not of savagery!!
    Actually, Infamous Army is far better than any other story featuring the battle of Waterloo and totally readable, for all the bloodshed.

    Reply
  66. LOL, GH’s knowledge of savagery was probably directly related to sharp tongues in a drawing room. “G”
    I don’t think romances need to discuss parliamentary elections and all that tedium so much as to recognize there were issues then just as there are issues now. And how our characters address them reflect on who they are and their status in society. It all needs to be woven together for a richer tapestry.

    Reply
  67. LOL, GH’s knowledge of savagery was probably directly related to sharp tongues in a drawing room. “G”
    I don’t think romances need to discuss parliamentary elections and all that tedium so much as to recognize there were issues then just as there are issues now. And how our characters address them reflect on who they are and their status in society. It all needs to be woven together for a richer tapestry.

    Reply
  68. LOL, GH’s knowledge of savagery was probably directly related to sharp tongues in a drawing room. “G”
    I don’t think romances need to discuss parliamentary elections and all that tedium so much as to recognize there were issues then just as there are issues now. And how our characters address them reflect on who they are and their status in society. It all needs to be woven together for a richer tapestry.

    Reply
  69. LOL, GH’s knowledge of savagery was probably directly related to sharp tongues in a drawing room. “G”
    I don’t think romances need to discuss parliamentary elections and all that tedium so much as to recognize there were issues then just as there are issues now. And how our characters address them reflect on who they are and their status in society. It all needs to be woven together for a richer tapestry.

    Reply
  70. LOL, GH’s knowledge of savagery was probably directly related to sharp tongues in a drawing room. “G”
    I don’t think romances need to discuss parliamentary elections and all that tedium so much as to recognize there were issues then just as there are issues now. And how our characters address them reflect on who they are and their status in society. It all needs to be woven together for a richer tapestry.

    Reply
  71. Excellent post! I’m probably in the minority, but I prefer some romance with my history and politics rather than the other way around. I’m new to this site, and am working my way through the Wenches’ writing to discover that balance. So far, I’ve loved Joanna Bourne’s Spymaster series. I also highly recommend M. M. Bennett’s 1812 and Of Honest Fame.

    Reply
  72. Excellent post! I’m probably in the minority, but I prefer some romance with my history and politics rather than the other way around. I’m new to this site, and am working my way through the Wenches’ writing to discover that balance. So far, I’ve loved Joanna Bourne’s Spymaster series. I also highly recommend M. M. Bennett’s 1812 and Of Honest Fame.

    Reply
  73. Excellent post! I’m probably in the minority, but I prefer some romance with my history and politics rather than the other way around. I’m new to this site, and am working my way through the Wenches’ writing to discover that balance. So far, I’ve loved Joanna Bourne’s Spymaster series. I also highly recommend M. M. Bennett’s 1812 and Of Honest Fame.

    Reply
  74. Excellent post! I’m probably in the minority, but I prefer some romance with my history and politics rather than the other way around. I’m new to this site, and am working my way through the Wenches’ writing to discover that balance. So far, I’ve loved Joanna Bourne’s Spymaster series. I also highly recommend M. M. Bennett’s 1812 and Of Honest Fame.

    Reply
  75. Excellent post! I’m probably in the minority, but I prefer some romance with my history and politics rather than the other way around. I’m new to this site, and am working my way through the Wenches’ writing to discover that balance. So far, I’ve loved Joanna Bourne’s Spymaster series. I also highly recommend M. M. Bennett’s 1812 and Of Honest Fame.

    Reply
  76. I like reality and history in my books. The fact that despite diversity and real life, the hero and heroine make it together seems more gratifying in the end.
    Life isn’t perfect and real relationships take work, and that’s vastly more satifying to me.
    I love books that take historical romance readers to places outside of England (or even London) – like Meredith Duran’s Duke of Shadows. I loved the use of politics in the Knight series by Galen Foley.

    Reply
  77. I like reality and history in my books. The fact that despite diversity and real life, the hero and heroine make it together seems more gratifying in the end.
    Life isn’t perfect and real relationships take work, and that’s vastly more satifying to me.
    I love books that take historical romance readers to places outside of England (or even London) – like Meredith Duran’s Duke of Shadows. I loved the use of politics in the Knight series by Galen Foley.

    Reply
  78. I like reality and history in my books. The fact that despite diversity and real life, the hero and heroine make it together seems more gratifying in the end.
    Life isn’t perfect and real relationships take work, and that’s vastly more satifying to me.
    I love books that take historical romance readers to places outside of England (or even London) – like Meredith Duran’s Duke of Shadows. I loved the use of politics in the Knight series by Galen Foley.

    Reply
  79. I like reality and history in my books. The fact that despite diversity and real life, the hero and heroine make it together seems more gratifying in the end.
    Life isn’t perfect and real relationships take work, and that’s vastly more satifying to me.
    I love books that take historical romance readers to places outside of England (or even London) – like Meredith Duran’s Duke of Shadows. I loved the use of politics in the Knight series by Galen Foley.

    Reply
  80. I like reality and history in my books. The fact that despite diversity and real life, the hero and heroine make it together seems more gratifying in the end.
    Life isn’t perfect and real relationships take work, and that’s vastly more satifying to me.
    I love books that take historical romance readers to places outside of England (or even London) – like Meredith Duran’s Duke of Shadows. I loved the use of politics in the Knight series by Galen Foley.

    Reply
  81. SUCH an interesting post, Pat. (Love the idea of a dystopian Regency! Go for it!)
    Like you, I was not a dress-the-doll child. In fact, I was weird in that I wanted the toy soldiers because I could spend the afternoon making up far more interesting stories with them. (Boys, to my mind, got to do far more interesting things than girls did.)
    I prefer grit and complex backstories to my HEA stories. As you say, that’s what makes the characters and the plot compelling.

    Reply
  82. SUCH an interesting post, Pat. (Love the idea of a dystopian Regency! Go for it!)
    Like you, I was not a dress-the-doll child. In fact, I was weird in that I wanted the toy soldiers because I could spend the afternoon making up far more interesting stories with them. (Boys, to my mind, got to do far more interesting things than girls did.)
    I prefer grit and complex backstories to my HEA stories. As you say, that’s what makes the characters and the plot compelling.

    Reply
  83. SUCH an interesting post, Pat. (Love the idea of a dystopian Regency! Go for it!)
    Like you, I was not a dress-the-doll child. In fact, I was weird in that I wanted the toy soldiers because I could spend the afternoon making up far more interesting stories with them. (Boys, to my mind, got to do far more interesting things than girls did.)
    I prefer grit and complex backstories to my HEA stories. As you say, that’s what makes the characters and the plot compelling.

    Reply
  84. SUCH an interesting post, Pat. (Love the idea of a dystopian Regency! Go for it!)
    Like you, I was not a dress-the-doll child. In fact, I was weird in that I wanted the toy soldiers because I could spend the afternoon making up far more interesting stories with them. (Boys, to my mind, got to do far more interesting things than girls did.)
    I prefer grit and complex backstories to my HEA stories. As you say, that’s what makes the characters and the plot compelling.

    Reply
  85. SUCH an interesting post, Pat. (Love the idea of a dystopian Regency! Go for it!)
    Like you, I was not a dress-the-doll child. In fact, I was weird in that I wanted the toy soldiers because I could spend the afternoon making up far more interesting stories with them. (Boys, to my mind, got to do far more interesting things than girls did.)
    I prefer grit and complex backstories to my HEA stories. As you say, that’s what makes the characters and the plot compelling.

    Reply
  86. I just read the first five books books in Monica McCarty’s Highland Guard series. It takes place starting in 1305 when Robert the Bruce is struggling for control of Scotland – first from the English Edward I then the other Scottish clans. She weaves her fictional characters in with strong historical facts & also some license with what could have happened. She includes Authors notes at the end of each book where she comments on what is documented & where she embellished. Can’t wait for the rest of this series which will be 10-12 books. Each book has a love story too!

    Reply
  87. I just read the first five books books in Monica McCarty’s Highland Guard series. It takes place starting in 1305 when Robert the Bruce is struggling for control of Scotland – first from the English Edward I then the other Scottish clans. She weaves her fictional characters in with strong historical facts & also some license with what could have happened. She includes Authors notes at the end of each book where she comments on what is documented & where she embellished. Can’t wait for the rest of this series which will be 10-12 books. Each book has a love story too!

    Reply
  88. I just read the first five books books in Monica McCarty’s Highland Guard series. It takes place starting in 1305 when Robert the Bruce is struggling for control of Scotland – first from the English Edward I then the other Scottish clans. She weaves her fictional characters in with strong historical facts & also some license with what could have happened. She includes Authors notes at the end of each book where she comments on what is documented & where she embellished. Can’t wait for the rest of this series which will be 10-12 books. Each book has a love story too!

    Reply
  89. I just read the first five books books in Monica McCarty’s Highland Guard series. It takes place starting in 1305 when Robert the Bruce is struggling for control of Scotland – first from the English Edward I then the other Scottish clans. She weaves her fictional characters in with strong historical facts & also some license with what could have happened. She includes Authors notes at the end of each book where she comments on what is documented & where she embellished. Can’t wait for the rest of this series which will be 10-12 books. Each book has a love story too!

    Reply
  90. I just read the first five books books in Monica McCarty’s Highland Guard series. It takes place starting in 1305 when Robert the Bruce is struggling for control of Scotland – first from the English Edward I then the other Scottish clans. She weaves her fictional characters in with strong historical facts & also some license with what could have happened. She includes Authors notes at the end of each book where she comments on what is documented & where she embellished. Can’t wait for the rest of this series which will be 10-12 books. Each book has a love story too!

    Reply
  91. Welcome, Donna! Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and join the conversation anytime. Thank you for the recs! I’m making notes. Diane, you described a wonderful combination. Even though the Bruce’s period was fairly gruesome, so I avoid it, this sounds like an excellent series.
    And yes, Duran and Foley know how to work in history when it applies!

    Reply
  92. Welcome, Donna! Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and join the conversation anytime. Thank you for the recs! I’m making notes. Diane, you described a wonderful combination. Even though the Bruce’s period was fairly gruesome, so I avoid it, this sounds like an excellent series.
    And yes, Duran and Foley know how to work in history when it applies!

    Reply
  93. Welcome, Donna! Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and join the conversation anytime. Thank you for the recs! I’m making notes. Diane, you described a wonderful combination. Even though the Bruce’s period was fairly gruesome, so I avoid it, this sounds like an excellent series.
    And yes, Duran and Foley know how to work in history when it applies!

    Reply
  94. Welcome, Donna! Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and join the conversation anytime. Thank you for the recs! I’m making notes. Diane, you described a wonderful combination. Even though the Bruce’s period was fairly gruesome, so I avoid it, this sounds like an excellent series.
    And yes, Duran and Foley know how to work in history when it applies!

    Reply
  95. Welcome, Donna! Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and join the conversation anytime. Thank you for the recs! I’m making notes. Diane, you described a wonderful combination. Even though the Bruce’s period was fairly gruesome, so I avoid it, this sounds like an excellent series.
    And yes, Duran and Foley know how to work in history when it applies!

    Reply
  96. You raise a good point, which I resolve more or less as Isobel does. The Duke of Moreland can rant about veterans being homeless (which he does) but my readers aren’t coming to me for a history lesson. Fortunately, there are readers for books all along the historical reality scale.
    That said, I think the most compelling historical romances I’ve read (like, say, just for example, Jo Bourne’s) use the monolithic insurmountability of international conflict to make the Hero and Heroine’s plight something of an ongoing black moment. Meredith Duran tends in the same direction with her recent release, “At Your Pleasure.”
    I will think about your point, because it’s a good one.

    Reply
  97. You raise a good point, which I resolve more or less as Isobel does. The Duke of Moreland can rant about veterans being homeless (which he does) but my readers aren’t coming to me for a history lesson. Fortunately, there are readers for books all along the historical reality scale.
    That said, I think the most compelling historical romances I’ve read (like, say, just for example, Jo Bourne’s) use the monolithic insurmountability of international conflict to make the Hero and Heroine’s plight something of an ongoing black moment. Meredith Duran tends in the same direction with her recent release, “At Your Pleasure.”
    I will think about your point, because it’s a good one.

    Reply
  98. You raise a good point, which I resolve more or less as Isobel does. The Duke of Moreland can rant about veterans being homeless (which he does) but my readers aren’t coming to me for a history lesson. Fortunately, there are readers for books all along the historical reality scale.
    That said, I think the most compelling historical romances I’ve read (like, say, just for example, Jo Bourne’s) use the monolithic insurmountability of international conflict to make the Hero and Heroine’s plight something of an ongoing black moment. Meredith Duran tends in the same direction with her recent release, “At Your Pleasure.”
    I will think about your point, because it’s a good one.

    Reply
  99. You raise a good point, which I resolve more or less as Isobel does. The Duke of Moreland can rant about veterans being homeless (which he does) but my readers aren’t coming to me for a history lesson. Fortunately, there are readers for books all along the historical reality scale.
    That said, I think the most compelling historical romances I’ve read (like, say, just for example, Jo Bourne’s) use the monolithic insurmountability of international conflict to make the Hero and Heroine’s plight something of an ongoing black moment. Meredith Duran tends in the same direction with her recent release, “At Your Pleasure.”
    I will think about your point, because it’s a good one.

    Reply
  100. You raise a good point, which I resolve more or less as Isobel does. The Duke of Moreland can rant about veterans being homeless (which he does) but my readers aren’t coming to me for a history lesson. Fortunately, there are readers for books all along the historical reality scale.
    That said, I think the most compelling historical romances I’ve read (like, say, just for example, Jo Bourne’s) use the monolithic insurmountability of international conflict to make the Hero and Heroine’s plight something of an ongoing black moment. Meredith Duran tends in the same direction with her recent release, “At Your Pleasure.”
    I will think about your point, because it’s a good one.

    Reply
  101. I too love politics. Which is probably why I have an MS in it. But to say that the landed lords were remote from their tenants is only part of the story. The Regency was also a time of great developments in agriculture and Mr. Coke in Norfolk was the leader in the rise of the peerage becoming re-interested in their estates.

    Reply
  102. I too love politics. Which is probably why I have an MS in it. But to say that the landed lords were remote from their tenants is only part of the story. The Regency was also a time of great developments in agriculture and Mr. Coke in Norfolk was the leader in the rise of the peerage becoming re-interested in their estates.

    Reply
  103. I too love politics. Which is probably why I have an MS in it. But to say that the landed lords were remote from their tenants is only part of the story. The Regency was also a time of great developments in agriculture and Mr. Coke in Norfolk was the leader in the rise of the peerage becoming re-interested in their estates.

    Reply
  104. I too love politics. Which is probably why I have an MS in it. But to say that the landed lords were remote from their tenants is only part of the story. The Regency was also a time of great developments in agriculture and Mr. Coke in Norfolk was the leader in the rise of the peerage becoming re-interested in their estates.

    Reply
  105. I too love politics. Which is probably why I have an MS in it. But to say that the landed lords were remote from their tenants is only part of the story. The Regency was also a time of great developments in agriculture and Mr. Coke in Norfolk was the leader in the rise of the peerage becoming re-interested in their estates.

    Reply
  106. I loved this post and the comments! 😀 I can’t stand books without well developed historical and political and economical background. If we look only at the love story between two people in a room, the first 10 books would be fine, and all the other would be only copies… what’s magical in a book is the context and the why and who and how everything is like it is… (I know I’m not very clear, sorry, my English is always a little hard to come). I’m feminist and I fall in love with books which have political engaged characters or well developed political and historical explanation… I’m a big MJPuntey’s fan, but I found very interesting stories in Robin Schones books too (about victorian age with “scandalous lovers” and “cry for passion”). 🙂

    Reply
  107. I loved this post and the comments! 😀 I can’t stand books without well developed historical and political and economical background. If we look only at the love story between two people in a room, the first 10 books would be fine, and all the other would be only copies… what’s magical in a book is the context and the why and who and how everything is like it is… (I know I’m not very clear, sorry, my English is always a little hard to come). I’m feminist and I fall in love with books which have political engaged characters or well developed political and historical explanation… I’m a big MJPuntey’s fan, but I found very interesting stories in Robin Schones books too (about victorian age with “scandalous lovers” and “cry for passion”). 🙂

    Reply
  108. I loved this post and the comments! 😀 I can’t stand books without well developed historical and political and economical background. If we look only at the love story between two people in a room, the first 10 books would be fine, and all the other would be only copies… what’s magical in a book is the context and the why and who and how everything is like it is… (I know I’m not very clear, sorry, my English is always a little hard to come). I’m feminist and I fall in love with books which have political engaged characters or well developed political and historical explanation… I’m a big MJPuntey’s fan, but I found very interesting stories in Robin Schones books too (about victorian age with “scandalous lovers” and “cry for passion”). 🙂

    Reply
  109. I loved this post and the comments! 😀 I can’t stand books without well developed historical and political and economical background. If we look only at the love story between two people in a room, the first 10 books would be fine, and all the other would be only copies… what’s magical in a book is the context and the why and who and how everything is like it is… (I know I’m not very clear, sorry, my English is always a little hard to come). I’m feminist and I fall in love with books which have political engaged characters or well developed political and historical explanation… I’m a big MJPuntey’s fan, but I found very interesting stories in Robin Schones books too (about victorian age with “scandalous lovers” and “cry for passion”). 🙂

    Reply
  110. I loved this post and the comments! 😀 I can’t stand books without well developed historical and political and economical background. If we look only at the love story between two people in a room, the first 10 books would be fine, and all the other would be only copies… what’s magical in a book is the context and the why and who and how everything is like it is… (I know I’m not very clear, sorry, my English is always a little hard to come). I’m feminist and I fall in love with books which have political engaged characters or well developed political and historical explanation… I’m a big MJPuntey’s fan, but I found very interesting stories in Robin Schones books too (about victorian age with “scandalous lovers” and “cry for passion”). 🙂

    Reply
  111. I, too, agree that Meredith Duran and Joanna Bourne do a fantastic job of seamlessly including the political and social backdrop as part of their characters’ makeup. As a result, it never feels like a history lesson, but is integral to character development.
    I have found over the years that more and more, I like meatier books with real stuff than mere froth. I want to get involved in the story, I want to be thinking about it long after I’ve closed the book, I want to talk about it with other people–those are the kinds of books I like to read these days. Wallpaper books are uninteresting to me, especially the kind where the h/h do nothing other than sit in each other’s pockets and attend balls.
    Having said that, I do read some light stuff, primarily because those authors who do the light stuff do it really well, without sacrificing period detail for narrative.

    Reply
  112. I, too, agree that Meredith Duran and Joanna Bourne do a fantastic job of seamlessly including the political and social backdrop as part of their characters’ makeup. As a result, it never feels like a history lesson, but is integral to character development.
    I have found over the years that more and more, I like meatier books with real stuff than mere froth. I want to get involved in the story, I want to be thinking about it long after I’ve closed the book, I want to talk about it with other people–those are the kinds of books I like to read these days. Wallpaper books are uninteresting to me, especially the kind where the h/h do nothing other than sit in each other’s pockets and attend balls.
    Having said that, I do read some light stuff, primarily because those authors who do the light stuff do it really well, without sacrificing period detail for narrative.

    Reply
  113. I, too, agree that Meredith Duran and Joanna Bourne do a fantastic job of seamlessly including the political and social backdrop as part of their characters’ makeup. As a result, it never feels like a history lesson, but is integral to character development.
    I have found over the years that more and more, I like meatier books with real stuff than mere froth. I want to get involved in the story, I want to be thinking about it long after I’ve closed the book, I want to talk about it with other people–those are the kinds of books I like to read these days. Wallpaper books are uninteresting to me, especially the kind where the h/h do nothing other than sit in each other’s pockets and attend balls.
    Having said that, I do read some light stuff, primarily because those authors who do the light stuff do it really well, without sacrificing period detail for narrative.

    Reply
  114. I, too, agree that Meredith Duran and Joanna Bourne do a fantastic job of seamlessly including the political and social backdrop as part of their characters’ makeup. As a result, it never feels like a history lesson, but is integral to character development.
    I have found over the years that more and more, I like meatier books with real stuff than mere froth. I want to get involved in the story, I want to be thinking about it long after I’ve closed the book, I want to talk about it with other people–those are the kinds of books I like to read these days. Wallpaper books are uninteresting to me, especially the kind where the h/h do nothing other than sit in each other’s pockets and attend balls.
    Having said that, I do read some light stuff, primarily because those authors who do the light stuff do it really well, without sacrificing period detail for narrative.

    Reply
  115. I, too, agree that Meredith Duran and Joanna Bourne do a fantastic job of seamlessly including the political and social backdrop as part of their characters’ makeup. As a result, it never feels like a history lesson, but is integral to character development.
    I have found over the years that more and more, I like meatier books with real stuff than mere froth. I want to get involved in the story, I want to be thinking about it long after I’ve closed the book, I want to talk about it with other people–those are the kinds of books I like to read these days. Wallpaper books are uninteresting to me, especially the kind where the h/h do nothing other than sit in each other’s pockets and attend balls.
    Having said that, I do read some light stuff, primarily because those authors who do the light stuff do it really well, without sacrificing period detail for narrative.

    Reply
  116. Grace, your characterization is exquisite, so if you threw in an extra dollop of historical tension, I’d probably be a fan for life.
    Giovanna, you said what I feel extremely well. A love story is a love story. It’s the characters that make passion real, and the characters need depth.
    Thank you, Keira. I’m hoping this is a new wave of meatier books. Yes, I like light, too, but the whole entire market of light… Not so much. Jo’s books show what we can do with love and history!

    Reply
  117. Grace, your characterization is exquisite, so if you threw in an extra dollop of historical tension, I’d probably be a fan for life.
    Giovanna, you said what I feel extremely well. A love story is a love story. It’s the characters that make passion real, and the characters need depth.
    Thank you, Keira. I’m hoping this is a new wave of meatier books. Yes, I like light, too, but the whole entire market of light… Not so much. Jo’s books show what we can do with love and history!

    Reply
  118. Grace, your characterization is exquisite, so if you threw in an extra dollop of historical tension, I’d probably be a fan for life.
    Giovanna, you said what I feel extremely well. A love story is a love story. It’s the characters that make passion real, and the characters need depth.
    Thank you, Keira. I’m hoping this is a new wave of meatier books. Yes, I like light, too, but the whole entire market of light… Not so much. Jo’s books show what we can do with love and history!

    Reply
  119. Grace, your characterization is exquisite, so if you threw in an extra dollop of historical tension, I’d probably be a fan for life.
    Giovanna, you said what I feel extremely well. A love story is a love story. It’s the characters that make passion real, and the characters need depth.
    Thank you, Keira. I’m hoping this is a new wave of meatier books. Yes, I like light, too, but the whole entire market of light… Not so much. Jo’s books show what we can do with love and history!

    Reply
  120. Grace, your characterization is exquisite, so if you threw in an extra dollop of historical tension, I’d probably be a fan for life.
    Giovanna, you said what I feel extremely well. A love story is a love story. It’s the characters that make passion real, and the characters need depth.
    Thank you, Keira. I’m hoping this is a new wave of meatier books. Yes, I like light, too, but the whole entire market of light… Not so much. Jo’s books show what we can do with love and history!

    Reply
  121. It’s not a historical romance, but more of a historical ficitonal biography. Read Desiree by Annamarie Selinko. It is about Napoleon’s first mistress/love before Josephine. It’s an old book, written in 1953. Exellent read.

    Reply
  122. It’s not a historical romance, but more of a historical ficitonal biography. Read Desiree by Annamarie Selinko. It is about Napoleon’s first mistress/love before Josephine. It’s an old book, written in 1953. Exellent read.

    Reply
  123. It’s not a historical romance, but more of a historical ficitonal biography. Read Desiree by Annamarie Selinko. It is about Napoleon’s first mistress/love before Josephine. It’s an old book, written in 1953. Exellent read.

    Reply
  124. It’s not a historical romance, but more of a historical ficitonal biography. Read Desiree by Annamarie Selinko. It is about Napoleon’s first mistress/love before Josephine. It’s an old book, written in 1953. Exellent read.

    Reply
  125. It’s not a historical romance, but more of a historical ficitonal biography. Read Desiree by Annamarie Selinko. It is about Napoleon’s first mistress/love before Josephine. It’s an old book, written in 1953. Exellent read.

    Reply
  126. I cannot remember which romances cover the soldiers’ life after they return but I believe I have read several where the hero recognizing some ex-soldier puts him to work on his estate. I also believe I’ve read several regencies where the book discusses the corn laws, the Catholic question, the sentencing of petty criminals to death, and other political issues. Yes, the chief interest is romance (and maybe not as much descriptive sex) but I don’t think you can write about men and some women who affect England’s activities without discussing some of the changes occurring in England during the first part of the 19th century. Over all, l think that the good authors of historical romances blend history and romance quite well. I agree Desiree by Annamarie Selinko, Katharine by Anya Seton, Phillippa Gregory’s novels, and other writers also do excellent work describing British history and telling a story in their historical fiction. I have written before about the excellent way in which certain authors describe the effect of the Napoleonic Wars on their heroes and that also is dealing with real events.

    Reply
  127. I cannot remember which romances cover the soldiers’ life after they return but I believe I have read several where the hero recognizing some ex-soldier puts him to work on his estate. I also believe I’ve read several regencies where the book discusses the corn laws, the Catholic question, the sentencing of petty criminals to death, and other political issues. Yes, the chief interest is romance (and maybe not as much descriptive sex) but I don’t think you can write about men and some women who affect England’s activities without discussing some of the changes occurring in England during the first part of the 19th century. Over all, l think that the good authors of historical romances blend history and romance quite well. I agree Desiree by Annamarie Selinko, Katharine by Anya Seton, Phillippa Gregory’s novels, and other writers also do excellent work describing British history and telling a story in their historical fiction. I have written before about the excellent way in which certain authors describe the effect of the Napoleonic Wars on their heroes and that also is dealing with real events.

    Reply
  128. I cannot remember which romances cover the soldiers’ life after they return but I believe I have read several where the hero recognizing some ex-soldier puts him to work on his estate. I also believe I’ve read several regencies where the book discusses the corn laws, the Catholic question, the sentencing of petty criminals to death, and other political issues. Yes, the chief interest is romance (and maybe not as much descriptive sex) but I don’t think you can write about men and some women who affect England’s activities without discussing some of the changes occurring in England during the first part of the 19th century. Over all, l think that the good authors of historical romances blend history and romance quite well. I agree Desiree by Annamarie Selinko, Katharine by Anya Seton, Phillippa Gregory’s novels, and other writers also do excellent work describing British history and telling a story in their historical fiction. I have written before about the excellent way in which certain authors describe the effect of the Napoleonic Wars on their heroes and that also is dealing with real events.

    Reply
  129. I cannot remember which romances cover the soldiers’ life after they return but I believe I have read several where the hero recognizing some ex-soldier puts him to work on his estate. I also believe I’ve read several regencies where the book discusses the corn laws, the Catholic question, the sentencing of petty criminals to death, and other political issues. Yes, the chief interest is romance (and maybe not as much descriptive sex) but I don’t think you can write about men and some women who affect England’s activities without discussing some of the changes occurring in England during the first part of the 19th century. Over all, l think that the good authors of historical romances blend history and romance quite well. I agree Desiree by Annamarie Selinko, Katharine by Anya Seton, Phillippa Gregory’s novels, and other writers also do excellent work describing British history and telling a story in their historical fiction. I have written before about the excellent way in which certain authors describe the effect of the Napoleonic Wars on their heroes and that also is dealing with real events.

    Reply
  130. I cannot remember which romances cover the soldiers’ life after they return but I believe I have read several where the hero recognizing some ex-soldier puts him to work on his estate. I also believe I’ve read several regencies where the book discusses the corn laws, the Catholic question, the sentencing of petty criminals to death, and other political issues. Yes, the chief interest is romance (and maybe not as much descriptive sex) but I don’t think you can write about men and some women who affect England’s activities without discussing some of the changes occurring in England during the first part of the 19th century. Over all, l think that the good authors of historical romances blend history and romance quite well. I agree Desiree by Annamarie Selinko, Katharine by Anya Seton, Phillippa Gregory’s novels, and other writers also do excellent work describing British history and telling a story in their historical fiction. I have written before about the excellent way in which certain authors describe the effect of the Napoleonic Wars on their heroes and that also is dealing with real events.

    Reply
  131. Reading the Word Wenches blogs can be expensive … for example, as usual, this one had me browsing Amazon, but I couldn’t find one of the two books you mentioned, Patricia, The English Heiress. Is it another author’s work?
    Also, I want to say “me, too,” regarding Bourne’s and Duran’s books and their ability to include gritty reality as a important dynamic or character in their novels.
    I confess to also having a moderate library of silly, superficial, traditional, out of print Regencies. What can I say? Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.
    And since we’re throwing out names of amazing historical romance novels (I remember and loved Desiree), how about the first historical romance I ever read – Zemindar by Valerie Fitzgerald. Talk about gritty! It was the story of the Sepoy uprising in India.
    Thanks, Patricia, for getting my juices flowing. I’m gonna have to think about your dystopian Regency idea.
    I’d probably buy it if it had a warning label … awww, heck. I’d probably buy it because one of the Wenches wrote it!

    Reply
  132. Reading the Word Wenches blogs can be expensive … for example, as usual, this one had me browsing Amazon, but I couldn’t find one of the two books you mentioned, Patricia, The English Heiress. Is it another author’s work?
    Also, I want to say “me, too,” regarding Bourne’s and Duran’s books and their ability to include gritty reality as a important dynamic or character in their novels.
    I confess to also having a moderate library of silly, superficial, traditional, out of print Regencies. What can I say? Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.
    And since we’re throwing out names of amazing historical romance novels (I remember and loved Desiree), how about the first historical romance I ever read – Zemindar by Valerie Fitzgerald. Talk about gritty! It was the story of the Sepoy uprising in India.
    Thanks, Patricia, for getting my juices flowing. I’m gonna have to think about your dystopian Regency idea.
    I’d probably buy it if it had a warning label … awww, heck. I’d probably buy it because one of the Wenches wrote it!

    Reply
  133. Reading the Word Wenches blogs can be expensive … for example, as usual, this one had me browsing Amazon, but I couldn’t find one of the two books you mentioned, Patricia, The English Heiress. Is it another author’s work?
    Also, I want to say “me, too,” regarding Bourne’s and Duran’s books and their ability to include gritty reality as a important dynamic or character in their novels.
    I confess to also having a moderate library of silly, superficial, traditional, out of print Regencies. What can I say? Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.
    And since we’re throwing out names of amazing historical romance novels (I remember and loved Desiree), how about the first historical romance I ever read – Zemindar by Valerie Fitzgerald. Talk about gritty! It was the story of the Sepoy uprising in India.
    Thanks, Patricia, for getting my juices flowing. I’m gonna have to think about your dystopian Regency idea.
    I’d probably buy it if it had a warning label … awww, heck. I’d probably buy it because one of the Wenches wrote it!

    Reply
  134. Reading the Word Wenches blogs can be expensive … for example, as usual, this one had me browsing Amazon, but I couldn’t find one of the two books you mentioned, Patricia, The English Heiress. Is it another author’s work?
    Also, I want to say “me, too,” regarding Bourne’s and Duran’s books and their ability to include gritty reality as a important dynamic or character in their novels.
    I confess to also having a moderate library of silly, superficial, traditional, out of print Regencies. What can I say? Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.
    And since we’re throwing out names of amazing historical romance novels (I remember and loved Desiree), how about the first historical romance I ever read – Zemindar by Valerie Fitzgerald. Talk about gritty! It was the story of the Sepoy uprising in India.
    Thanks, Patricia, for getting my juices flowing. I’m gonna have to think about your dystopian Regency idea.
    I’d probably buy it if it had a warning label … awww, heck. I’d probably buy it because one of the Wenches wrote it!

    Reply
  135. Reading the Word Wenches blogs can be expensive … for example, as usual, this one had me browsing Amazon, but I couldn’t find one of the two books you mentioned, Patricia, The English Heiress. Is it another author’s work?
    Also, I want to say “me, too,” regarding Bourne’s and Duran’s books and their ability to include gritty reality as a important dynamic or character in their novels.
    I confess to also having a moderate library of silly, superficial, traditional, out of print Regencies. What can I say? Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t.
    And since we’re throwing out names of amazing historical romance novels (I remember and loved Desiree), how about the first historical romance I ever read – Zemindar by Valerie Fitzgerald. Talk about gritty! It was the story of the Sepoy uprising in India.
    Thanks, Patricia, for getting my juices flowing. I’m gonna have to think about your dystopian Regency idea.
    I’d probably buy it if it had a warning label … awww, heck. I’d probably buy it because one of the Wenches wrote it!

    Reply
  136. Well, you’ll certainly get enough of both in the following books, and I hope you don’t my mentioning a completely different author and era for historical novels. I’ve found a new author and a new country for vivid descriptions of history, politics and everyday life.
    The author is Anita Amirrezvani (http://www.bloodofflowers.com) who lives in California but writes about her homeland of Iran. The first book is “The Blood of Flowers” (2007) and her second, coming out this June, is “Equal of the Sun”. The books take place during the Safavid dynasty (1501-1722). Chronologically “Equal of the Sun” comes first (late 1570s), while “The Blood of Flowers” takes place in the 1620s and follows a young girl narrator from a country village to Isfahan. EOTS, so far, is more about political matters and is narrated by one of the court eunuchs. Now that gives you a different perspective on things. I won’t divulge anything more so that the rest is fresh for anybody who does decide to read either one or both of these books.

    Reply
  137. Well, you’ll certainly get enough of both in the following books, and I hope you don’t my mentioning a completely different author and era for historical novels. I’ve found a new author and a new country for vivid descriptions of history, politics and everyday life.
    The author is Anita Amirrezvani (http://www.bloodofflowers.com) who lives in California but writes about her homeland of Iran. The first book is “The Blood of Flowers” (2007) and her second, coming out this June, is “Equal of the Sun”. The books take place during the Safavid dynasty (1501-1722). Chronologically “Equal of the Sun” comes first (late 1570s), while “The Blood of Flowers” takes place in the 1620s and follows a young girl narrator from a country village to Isfahan. EOTS, so far, is more about political matters and is narrated by one of the court eunuchs. Now that gives you a different perspective on things. I won’t divulge anything more so that the rest is fresh for anybody who does decide to read either one or both of these books.

    Reply
  138. Well, you’ll certainly get enough of both in the following books, and I hope you don’t my mentioning a completely different author and era for historical novels. I’ve found a new author and a new country for vivid descriptions of history, politics and everyday life.
    The author is Anita Amirrezvani (http://www.bloodofflowers.com) who lives in California but writes about her homeland of Iran. The first book is “The Blood of Flowers” (2007) and her second, coming out this June, is “Equal of the Sun”. The books take place during the Safavid dynasty (1501-1722). Chronologically “Equal of the Sun” comes first (late 1570s), while “The Blood of Flowers” takes place in the 1620s and follows a young girl narrator from a country village to Isfahan. EOTS, so far, is more about political matters and is narrated by one of the court eunuchs. Now that gives you a different perspective on things. I won’t divulge anything more so that the rest is fresh for anybody who does decide to read either one or both of these books.

    Reply
  139. Well, you’ll certainly get enough of both in the following books, and I hope you don’t my mentioning a completely different author and era for historical novels. I’ve found a new author and a new country for vivid descriptions of history, politics and everyday life.
    The author is Anita Amirrezvani (http://www.bloodofflowers.com) who lives in California but writes about her homeland of Iran. The first book is “The Blood of Flowers” (2007) and her second, coming out this June, is “Equal of the Sun”. The books take place during the Safavid dynasty (1501-1722). Chronologically “Equal of the Sun” comes first (late 1570s), while “The Blood of Flowers” takes place in the 1620s and follows a young girl narrator from a country village to Isfahan. EOTS, so far, is more about political matters and is narrated by one of the court eunuchs. Now that gives you a different perspective on things. I won’t divulge anything more so that the rest is fresh for anybody who does decide to read either one or both of these books.

    Reply
  140. Well, you’ll certainly get enough of both in the following books, and I hope you don’t my mentioning a completely different author and era for historical novels. I’ve found a new author and a new country for vivid descriptions of history, politics and everyday life.
    The author is Anita Amirrezvani (http://www.bloodofflowers.com) who lives in California but writes about her homeland of Iran. The first book is “The Blood of Flowers” (2007) and her second, coming out this June, is “Equal of the Sun”. The books take place during the Safavid dynasty (1501-1722). Chronologically “Equal of the Sun” comes first (late 1570s), while “The Blood of Flowers” takes place in the 1620s and follows a young girl narrator from a country village to Isfahan. EOTS, so far, is more about political matters and is narrated by one of the court eunuchs. Now that gives you a different perspective on things. I won’t divulge anything more so that the rest is fresh for anybody who does decide to read either one or both of these books.

    Reply
  141. I forgot all about your original question.
    I’m one of the people who likes history–historic novels more than historical romances, if you will. Therefore my choice of new books. Once in a while I definitely like more of the romance, for a change and to get through a book more quickly: it took me days to read The Blood of Flowers, though maybe it was just a case of getting used to the style, new words, etc. There are definitely real problems and life-and- death situations in these books about Iran.
    P.S. I have an ARE of the second book.

    Reply
  142. I forgot all about your original question.
    I’m one of the people who likes history–historic novels more than historical romances, if you will. Therefore my choice of new books. Once in a while I definitely like more of the romance, for a change and to get through a book more quickly: it took me days to read The Blood of Flowers, though maybe it was just a case of getting used to the style, new words, etc. There are definitely real problems and life-and- death situations in these books about Iran.
    P.S. I have an ARE of the second book.

    Reply
  143. I forgot all about your original question.
    I’m one of the people who likes history–historic novels more than historical romances, if you will. Therefore my choice of new books. Once in a while I definitely like more of the romance, for a change and to get through a book more quickly: it took me days to read The Blood of Flowers, though maybe it was just a case of getting used to the style, new words, etc. There are definitely real problems and life-and- death situations in these books about Iran.
    P.S. I have an ARE of the second book.

    Reply
  144. I forgot all about your original question.
    I’m one of the people who likes history–historic novels more than historical romances, if you will. Therefore my choice of new books. Once in a while I definitely like more of the romance, for a change and to get through a book more quickly: it took me days to read The Blood of Flowers, though maybe it was just a case of getting used to the style, new words, etc. There are definitely real problems and life-and- death situations in these books about Iran.
    P.S. I have an ARE of the second book.

    Reply
  145. I forgot all about your original question.
    I’m one of the people who likes history–historic novels more than historical romances, if you will. Therefore my choice of new books. Once in a while I definitely like more of the romance, for a change and to get through a book more quickly: it took me days to read The Blood of Flowers, though maybe it was just a case of getting used to the style, new words, etc. There are definitely real problems and life-and- death situations in these books about Iran.
    P.S. I have an ARE of the second book.

    Reply
  146. Faith, my apologies for leading you astray. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in one of my projects that I forget everyone doesn’t know what I’m doing! THE ENGLISH HEIRESS is my July release. (Knock wood, it will be out at B&N in June) Thank you for looking and I hope you’ll remember when the time comes. But I won’t apologize for introducing you to more yummy books!
    Ranurgis, by all means, mention any good book that you think fits the bill. We’re all history lovers here, and Iran has a history that everyone really ought to know about.

    Reply
  147. Faith, my apologies for leading you astray. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in one of my projects that I forget everyone doesn’t know what I’m doing! THE ENGLISH HEIRESS is my July release. (Knock wood, it will be out at B&N in June) Thank you for looking and I hope you’ll remember when the time comes. But I won’t apologize for introducing you to more yummy books!
    Ranurgis, by all means, mention any good book that you think fits the bill. We’re all history lovers here, and Iran has a history that everyone really ought to know about.

    Reply
  148. Faith, my apologies for leading you astray. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in one of my projects that I forget everyone doesn’t know what I’m doing! THE ENGLISH HEIRESS is my July release. (Knock wood, it will be out at B&N in June) Thank you for looking and I hope you’ll remember when the time comes. But I won’t apologize for introducing you to more yummy books!
    Ranurgis, by all means, mention any good book that you think fits the bill. We’re all history lovers here, and Iran has a history that everyone really ought to know about.

    Reply
  149. Faith, my apologies for leading you astray. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in one of my projects that I forget everyone doesn’t know what I’m doing! THE ENGLISH HEIRESS is my July release. (Knock wood, it will be out at B&N in June) Thank you for looking and I hope you’ll remember when the time comes. But I won’t apologize for introducing you to more yummy books!
    Ranurgis, by all means, mention any good book that you think fits the bill. We’re all history lovers here, and Iran has a history that everyone really ought to know about.

    Reply
  150. Faith, my apologies for leading you astray. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in one of my projects that I forget everyone doesn’t know what I’m doing! THE ENGLISH HEIRESS is my July release. (Knock wood, it will be out at B&N in June) Thank you for looking and I hope you’ll remember when the time comes. But I won’t apologize for introducing you to more yummy books!
    Ranurgis, by all means, mention any good book that you think fits the bill. We’re all history lovers here, and Iran has a history that everyone really ought to know about.

    Reply
  151. In When Maidens Mourn by C.S. Harris, she discusses the upsurge of belief in the Arthurian legend during times of particular upheaval in England (in this case, Regency and Plantagenet) and how it may have been manipulated by both the French and the English. This added to my enjoyment of the book – I’m always pleased to learn something new. She also includes Author’s Notes at the back of the book where she explains which parts of the book are actually history and which she has tweaked to fit her story. I find this very helpful and interesting.

    Reply
  152. In When Maidens Mourn by C.S. Harris, she discusses the upsurge of belief in the Arthurian legend during times of particular upheaval in England (in this case, Regency and Plantagenet) and how it may have been manipulated by both the French and the English. This added to my enjoyment of the book – I’m always pleased to learn something new. She also includes Author’s Notes at the back of the book where she explains which parts of the book are actually history and which she has tweaked to fit her story. I find this very helpful and interesting.

    Reply
  153. In When Maidens Mourn by C.S. Harris, she discusses the upsurge of belief in the Arthurian legend during times of particular upheaval in England (in this case, Regency and Plantagenet) and how it may have been manipulated by both the French and the English. This added to my enjoyment of the book – I’m always pleased to learn something new. She also includes Author’s Notes at the back of the book where she explains which parts of the book are actually history and which she has tweaked to fit her story. I find this very helpful and interesting.

    Reply
  154. In When Maidens Mourn by C.S. Harris, she discusses the upsurge of belief in the Arthurian legend during times of particular upheaval in England (in this case, Regency and Plantagenet) and how it may have been manipulated by both the French and the English. This added to my enjoyment of the book – I’m always pleased to learn something new. She also includes Author’s Notes at the back of the book where she explains which parts of the book are actually history and which she has tweaked to fit her story. I find this very helpful and interesting.

    Reply
  155. In When Maidens Mourn by C.S. Harris, she discusses the upsurge of belief in the Arthurian legend during times of particular upheaval in England (in this case, Regency and Plantagenet) and how it may have been manipulated by both the French and the English. This added to my enjoyment of the book – I’m always pleased to learn something new. She also includes Author’s Notes at the back of the book where she explains which parts of the book are actually history and which she has tweaked to fit her story. I find this very helpful and interesting.

    Reply

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