Why American History Matters

Rice_MoonlightandMemories_276

Pat here: I promised in my last blog to continue my nattering about American history because it’s relevant and it’s interesting (which is why I wrote those six ROGUES AND DESPERADOES books early in my career!).

I don’t want to make any political points, but I’ve heard the arguments about whether the writers of the US Constitution were God-fearing Christians or Deists, which is to say they didn’t adhere to a particular religion. Both categories are an over-simplification. The 18th century is not the 21st. There are huge cultural differences. One must know American history to understand the background of our founding fathers.

I think most of us remember our basic elementary school history—the Pilgrims came to this country in pursuit of freedom of religion. England had just fought a bloody civil war between Protestants and Catholics, and they weren’t putting up with any more dissension, so anyone who didn’t agree with the Church of England was pretty much up a creek in the 17th and early 18th centuries. Although many of the dissenters originally fled to Europe, not everyone accepted them there either. Pilgrims1.w

Thus began the migration from the established religions of Europe to the Americas, where each colony could institute their own religious dictates—which they did, people being people. The Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, followed later by other dissenters and the Puritans. New York and New Jersey were settled by Dutch Reformists (my father’s family was among those early settlers—they included Hugenots from France who, like the Pilgrims before them, fled to the Netherlands in search of religious freedom). The Catholics took their religion to Maryland and Louisiana, and the Quakers went to Pennsylvania. Lots of fabulous history behind all of this but I’m simplifying and sticking to my point, eventually.

Colonial_Williamsburg_(3204927813)Our early colonies were a melting pot of religions, but each settlement had its own specific church and laws. One of the main reasons for this uniformity was that the church was the only form of village government available. The church collected taxes and tariffs to support the poor and run the town. Everyone had to belong to a church. Everyone had to contribute their fair share to the well-being of the community—the churches were an early form of town hall. So saying a founding father attended the Baptist Church is utterly irrelevant to what he actually believed. It simply meant his town was run by the Baptist Church and as a good law-abiding citizen, he tithed his fair share.

By the time of the American Revolution, a form of religious thinking called Deism raged through intellectual society. Because, as today, religion had caused so much strife in the world, rational thinkers strived to philosophize religious theories and apply them to the way they lived. Jefferson and Franklin in particular were known for their anti-clerical views; many others held hybrid views of religion. They may have attended church, but they did not necessarily believe in the church’s precepts. Calling them “Christians” or “Protestants” puts a pretty name to them but Jefferson didn’t even believe in Christ. The human need to compartmentalize does us no favors when applied to these intellectual free-thinkers and philosophers.

512px-Thomas_Jefferson_by_Mather_BrownIf anything, our founding fathers revered freedom. They were well-versed in the principles and history of the settlers who sought freedom in the Americas (you will note–they looked backward, not forward for their precepts, so women and slaves weren't in their philosophy). They understood what had worked and what had not. The theory of separation of church and state emerged far before the Constitution and was part of the backbone of their beliefs. It was first used to apply to governance in 1657 in what was called the Flushing Remonstrance (really, read this article—times never change!) in protest against New Netherland’s (New York) Director General Peter Stuyvesant ban on Quakers. The phrase may have originated from a treatise by Roger Williams in 1644, founder of the Baptist church and later paraphrased by Thomas Jefferson in 1802. Jefferson amended the original quote to read "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State."

So essentially, our founding fathers were like us—individual thinkers, supporters of the community, but not 512px-Declaration_independencealways religious or even God-believing Christians. They wanted freedom from the ills of the old world, most of which had been created in the name of religion. Because each representative came from a  colony established by a different religion, or no religion at all, they had to find some means of creating a constitution that encompassed all beliefs and all the colonies as one. By building that wall (what is it with people and walls?) between church and state, they ensured that all citizens could celebrate their individual religions without government intervention.

So those of us who know our history can counter those who throw sound-bites at us–baffle them with facts if not inform them is my motto!

While I’m fascinated with how history applies to today’s current events, and in the past I have explored major upheavals like the Civil War and the Irish Rebellions through the eyes of the characters affected, it’s difficult to use politics and religion in romance these days. Why do you think that is? Have we all been bombarded with unpleasantness too long? Are we looking for complete fantasies? Do you know of any romance books that explore controversial subjects that you’ve particularly enjoyed?

Rice-TwinGenius200x300In addendum: I've just been reminded I have a new release out Tuesday, TWIN GENIUS, the fourth book in the Family Genius mystery series, and it just happens to poke a little fun at politics and religion! Follow the link for an excerpt.

110 thoughts on “Why American History Matters”

  1. My reading habits have changed considerably over the years. There things I read when I was younger that I could not read today. A good example is IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote. I thought that book was awesome when I read it back in the day. I have no desire to read anything like that now. My reading was much more diverse back then.
    I discovered romance books in my middle years during a very depressed time in my life. I didn’t want to waste my time on anything that didn’t have a happy ending. Got over my depression and got busy with life and didn’t really read much until I retired.
    I read purely for enjoyment now. Romance, biographies, and mysteries make up most of my reading. I am an unapologetic romance junkie. Some of them do deal with class disparity and of course, war, and I don’t mind that as long as they have well drawn characters and happy endings.
    I just thought of a book I read by Joan Smith a few years back called SWEET AND TWENTY. Had to do with a local political campaign between the Whigs and Tories. Very funny book. I thought it read like a nineteenth century Daily Show skit. Humor is subjective, so I don’t know if everyone would find it as funny as I did.

    Reply
  2. My reading habits have changed considerably over the years. There things I read when I was younger that I could not read today. A good example is IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote. I thought that book was awesome when I read it back in the day. I have no desire to read anything like that now. My reading was much more diverse back then.
    I discovered romance books in my middle years during a very depressed time in my life. I didn’t want to waste my time on anything that didn’t have a happy ending. Got over my depression and got busy with life and didn’t really read much until I retired.
    I read purely for enjoyment now. Romance, biographies, and mysteries make up most of my reading. I am an unapologetic romance junkie. Some of them do deal with class disparity and of course, war, and I don’t mind that as long as they have well drawn characters and happy endings.
    I just thought of a book I read by Joan Smith a few years back called SWEET AND TWENTY. Had to do with a local political campaign between the Whigs and Tories. Very funny book. I thought it read like a nineteenth century Daily Show skit. Humor is subjective, so I don’t know if everyone would find it as funny as I did.

    Reply
  3. My reading habits have changed considerably over the years. There things I read when I was younger that I could not read today. A good example is IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote. I thought that book was awesome when I read it back in the day. I have no desire to read anything like that now. My reading was much more diverse back then.
    I discovered romance books in my middle years during a very depressed time in my life. I didn’t want to waste my time on anything that didn’t have a happy ending. Got over my depression and got busy with life and didn’t really read much until I retired.
    I read purely for enjoyment now. Romance, biographies, and mysteries make up most of my reading. I am an unapologetic romance junkie. Some of them do deal with class disparity and of course, war, and I don’t mind that as long as they have well drawn characters and happy endings.
    I just thought of a book I read by Joan Smith a few years back called SWEET AND TWENTY. Had to do with a local political campaign between the Whigs and Tories. Very funny book. I thought it read like a nineteenth century Daily Show skit. Humor is subjective, so I don’t know if everyone would find it as funny as I did.

    Reply
  4. My reading habits have changed considerably over the years. There things I read when I was younger that I could not read today. A good example is IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote. I thought that book was awesome when I read it back in the day. I have no desire to read anything like that now. My reading was much more diverse back then.
    I discovered romance books in my middle years during a very depressed time in my life. I didn’t want to waste my time on anything that didn’t have a happy ending. Got over my depression and got busy with life and didn’t really read much until I retired.
    I read purely for enjoyment now. Romance, biographies, and mysteries make up most of my reading. I am an unapologetic romance junkie. Some of them do deal with class disparity and of course, war, and I don’t mind that as long as they have well drawn characters and happy endings.
    I just thought of a book I read by Joan Smith a few years back called SWEET AND TWENTY. Had to do with a local political campaign between the Whigs and Tories. Very funny book. I thought it read like a nineteenth century Daily Show skit. Humor is subjective, so I don’t know if everyone would find it as funny as I did.

    Reply
  5. My reading habits have changed considerably over the years. There things I read when I was younger that I could not read today. A good example is IN COLD BLOOD by Truman Capote. I thought that book was awesome when I read it back in the day. I have no desire to read anything like that now. My reading was much more diverse back then.
    I discovered romance books in my middle years during a very depressed time in my life. I didn’t want to waste my time on anything that didn’t have a happy ending. Got over my depression and got busy with life and didn’t really read much until I retired.
    I read purely for enjoyment now. Romance, biographies, and mysteries make up most of my reading. I am an unapologetic romance junkie. Some of them do deal with class disparity and of course, war, and I don’t mind that as long as they have well drawn characters and happy endings.
    I just thought of a book I read by Joan Smith a few years back called SWEET AND TWENTY. Had to do with a local political campaign between the Whigs and Tories. Very funny book. I thought it read like a nineteenth century Daily Show skit. Humor is subjective, so I don’t know if everyone would find it as funny as I did.

    Reply
  6. Pat. thanks for a good clear discussion of complicated issues. I think you’re probably right that with so much conflict in the news, most romance readers want their books to focus on the characters rather than philosophical and religious conflicts. Human beings can come up with enough ways of disagreeing without without adding religion to the mix!

    Reply
  7. Pat. thanks for a good clear discussion of complicated issues. I think you’re probably right that with so much conflict in the news, most romance readers want their books to focus on the characters rather than philosophical and religious conflicts. Human beings can come up with enough ways of disagreeing without without adding religion to the mix!

    Reply
  8. Pat. thanks for a good clear discussion of complicated issues. I think you’re probably right that with so much conflict in the news, most romance readers want their books to focus on the characters rather than philosophical and religious conflicts. Human beings can come up with enough ways of disagreeing without without adding religion to the mix!

    Reply
  9. Pat. thanks for a good clear discussion of complicated issues. I think you’re probably right that with so much conflict in the news, most romance readers want their books to focus on the characters rather than philosophical and religious conflicts. Human beings can come up with enough ways of disagreeing without without adding religion to the mix!

    Reply
  10. Pat. thanks for a good clear discussion of complicated issues. I think you’re probably right that with so much conflict in the news, most romance readers want their books to focus on the characters rather than philosophical and religious conflicts. Human beings can come up with enough ways of disagreeing without without adding religion to the mix!

    Reply
  11. This is why I love our readers! I was wondering if my brain was degenerating because I no longer have the avid interest in the bestseller list and classics that I had when I was younger. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one. Let’s say we are now experienced and prefer to read what makes us happy these days! And now I’ll have to look up that Joan Smith book.

    Reply
  12. This is why I love our readers! I was wondering if my brain was degenerating because I no longer have the avid interest in the bestseller list and classics that I had when I was younger. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one. Let’s say we are now experienced and prefer to read what makes us happy these days! And now I’ll have to look up that Joan Smith book.

    Reply
  13. This is why I love our readers! I was wondering if my brain was degenerating because I no longer have the avid interest in the bestseller list and classics that I had when I was younger. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one. Let’s say we are now experienced and prefer to read what makes us happy these days! And now I’ll have to look up that Joan Smith book.

    Reply
  14. This is why I love our readers! I was wondering if my brain was degenerating because I no longer have the avid interest in the bestseller list and classics that I had when I was younger. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one. Let’s say we are now experienced and prefer to read what makes us happy these days! And now I’ll have to look up that Joan Smith book.

    Reply
  15. This is why I love our readers! I was wondering if my brain was degenerating because I no longer have the avid interest in the bestseller list and classics that I had when I was younger. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one. Let’s say we are now experienced and prefer to read what makes us happy these days! And now I’ll have to look up that Joan Smith book.

    Reply
  16. Thank you for a fascinating and perceptive article. I am intrigued by that period of time in the formation of our country. I enjoyed reading your insights.

    Reply
  17. Thank you for a fascinating and perceptive article. I am intrigued by that period of time in the formation of our country. I enjoyed reading your insights.

    Reply
  18. Thank you for a fascinating and perceptive article. I am intrigued by that period of time in the formation of our country. I enjoyed reading your insights.

    Reply
  19. Thank you for a fascinating and perceptive article. I am intrigued by that period of time in the formation of our country. I enjoyed reading your insights.

    Reply
  20. Thank you for a fascinating and perceptive article. I am intrigued by that period of time in the formation of our country. I enjoyed reading your insights.

    Reply
  21. I am like Mary T and Patricia, what I can read and enjoy has altered along the way. I too went through a time of “situational depression” and a form of PTSD. When I came out the other side, what I can read or watch in a film or TV show has changed.
    I found romance novels – and they were truly life savers for me. Happily Ever After – what a wonderful phrase.
    I am gonna look for that Joan Smith book too.

    Reply
  22. I am like Mary T and Patricia, what I can read and enjoy has altered along the way. I too went through a time of “situational depression” and a form of PTSD. When I came out the other side, what I can read or watch in a film or TV show has changed.
    I found romance novels – and they were truly life savers for me. Happily Ever After – what a wonderful phrase.
    I am gonna look for that Joan Smith book too.

    Reply
  23. I am like Mary T and Patricia, what I can read and enjoy has altered along the way. I too went through a time of “situational depression” and a form of PTSD. When I came out the other side, what I can read or watch in a film or TV show has changed.
    I found romance novels – and they were truly life savers for me. Happily Ever After – what a wonderful phrase.
    I am gonna look for that Joan Smith book too.

    Reply
  24. I am like Mary T and Patricia, what I can read and enjoy has altered along the way. I too went through a time of “situational depression” and a form of PTSD. When I came out the other side, what I can read or watch in a film or TV show has changed.
    I found romance novels – and they were truly life savers for me. Happily Ever After – what a wonderful phrase.
    I am gonna look for that Joan Smith book too.

    Reply
  25. I am like Mary T and Patricia, what I can read and enjoy has altered along the way. I too went through a time of “situational depression” and a form of PTSD. When I came out the other side, what I can read or watch in a film or TV show has changed.
    I found romance novels – and they were truly life savers for me. Happily Ever After – what a wonderful phrase.
    I am gonna look for that Joan Smith book too.

    Reply
  26. Mary, this sounds just like me with a difference in age – and I suppose I found romance much earlier.
    I, too, loved In Cold Blood when I was younger. I haven’t attempted to read it again, but I don’t think I could.

    Reply
  27. Mary, this sounds just like me with a difference in age – and I suppose I found romance much earlier.
    I, too, loved In Cold Blood when I was younger. I haven’t attempted to read it again, but I don’t think I could.

    Reply
  28. Mary, this sounds just like me with a difference in age – and I suppose I found romance much earlier.
    I, too, loved In Cold Blood when I was younger. I haven’t attempted to read it again, but I don’t think I could.

    Reply
  29. Mary, this sounds just like me with a difference in age – and I suppose I found romance much earlier.
    I, too, loved In Cold Blood when I was younger. I haven’t attempted to read it again, but I don’t think I could.

    Reply
  30. Mary, this sounds just like me with a difference in age – and I suppose I found romance much earlier.
    I, too, loved In Cold Blood when I was younger. I haven’t attempted to read it again, but I don’t think I could.

    Reply
  31. I wonder if there are any studies on how romance has been an emotional blessing for so many people? Writing is my means of dealing with the world at large, but I hadn’t expected so many readers to feel the same!

    Reply
  32. I wonder if there are any studies on how romance has been an emotional blessing for so many people? Writing is my means of dealing with the world at large, but I hadn’t expected so many readers to feel the same!

    Reply
  33. I wonder if there are any studies on how romance has been an emotional blessing for so many people? Writing is my means of dealing with the world at large, but I hadn’t expected so many readers to feel the same!

    Reply
  34. I wonder if there are any studies on how romance has been an emotional blessing for so many people? Writing is my means of dealing with the world at large, but I hadn’t expected so many readers to feel the same!

    Reply
  35. I wonder if there are any studies on how romance has been an emotional blessing for so many people? Writing is my means of dealing with the world at large, but I hadn’t expected so many readers to feel the same!

    Reply
  36. Fascinating post, Pat. So many people have no idea the kind of men our founding fathers were. One side tries to deify them, the other side sees them as monsters for reasons that would make them such by today’s standards, but they were men of their times. And in many aspects they were ahead of their times.In order to give birth to a new nation they had to pick their battles. And they did so at the risk of their lives, their fortunes, and the lives of their families. They won the revolution. Had they lost they would have hanged and that was the least of their worries!
    In today’s world I prefer to escape to heroics, gentility, romance, fun and happy endings. I tend to read about the past because it is over and somehow the human race survived it. Reading about the present and the future scares the hell out of me. I live in the moment, but thanks to wonderful romance writers like the Wenches, I don’t have to stay here 24/7! That way lies madness!

    Reply
  37. Fascinating post, Pat. So many people have no idea the kind of men our founding fathers were. One side tries to deify them, the other side sees them as monsters for reasons that would make them such by today’s standards, but they were men of their times. And in many aspects they were ahead of their times.In order to give birth to a new nation they had to pick their battles. And they did so at the risk of their lives, their fortunes, and the lives of their families. They won the revolution. Had they lost they would have hanged and that was the least of their worries!
    In today’s world I prefer to escape to heroics, gentility, romance, fun and happy endings. I tend to read about the past because it is over and somehow the human race survived it. Reading about the present and the future scares the hell out of me. I live in the moment, but thanks to wonderful romance writers like the Wenches, I don’t have to stay here 24/7! That way lies madness!

    Reply
  38. Fascinating post, Pat. So many people have no idea the kind of men our founding fathers were. One side tries to deify them, the other side sees them as monsters for reasons that would make them such by today’s standards, but they were men of their times. And in many aspects they were ahead of their times.In order to give birth to a new nation they had to pick their battles. And they did so at the risk of their lives, their fortunes, and the lives of their families. They won the revolution. Had they lost they would have hanged and that was the least of their worries!
    In today’s world I prefer to escape to heroics, gentility, romance, fun and happy endings. I tend to read about the past because it is over and somehow the human race survived it. Reading about the present and the future scares the hell out of me. I live in the moment, but thanks to wonderful romance writers like the Wenches, I don’t have to stay here 24/7! That way lies madness!

    Reply
  39. Fascinating post, Pat. So many people have no idea the kind of men our founding fathers were. One side tries to deify them, the other side sees them as monsters for reasons that would make them such by today’s standards, but they were men of their times. And in many aspects they were ahead of their times.In order to give birth to a new nation they had to pick their battles. And they did so at the risk of their lives, their fortunes, and the lives of their families. They won the revolution. Had they lost they would have hanged and that was the least of their worries!
    In today’s world I prefer to escape to heroics, gentility, romance, fun and happy endings. I tend to read about the past because it is over and somehow the human race survived it. Reading about the present and the future scares the hell out of me. I live in the moment, but thanks to wonderful romance writers like the Wenches, I don’t have to stay here 24/7! That way lies madness!

    Reply
  40. Fascinating post, Pat. So many people have no idea the kind of men our founding fathers were. One side tries to deify them, the other side sees them as monsters for reasons that would make them such by today’s standards, but they were men of their times. And in many aspects they were ahead of their times.In order to give birth to a new nation they had to pick their battles. And they did so at the risk of their lives, their fortunes, and the lives of their families. They won the revolution. Had they lost they would have hanged and that was the least of their worries!
    In today’s world I prefer to escape to heroics, gentility, romance, fun and happy endings. I tend to read about the past because it is over and somehow the human race survived it. Reading about the present and the future scares the hell out of me. I live in the moment, but thanks to wonderful romance writers like the Wenches, I don’t have to stay here 24/7! That way lies madness!

    Reply
  41. Thank you for the overview of religion in our early formative years. I knew much of this (I read histories and biographies); you put it all in very clear perspective.
    I’m with everyone else here my tastes in reading have changed.For 14 years I was a single working mother with 3 children. My reading was my retreat — my refreshment so that I could face another day. During that time I shared reading with the children — first on their level with Narnia, Little House books, The Hobbit, and Madeleine L’Engle. As they grew and their reading also grew and we no longer had difference in levels. We shared Science Fiction and the “gothic” romances with them. I still read SF and historic romance by preference.
    I am SO glad to see that the Twin Genius is available in a few hours!

    Reply
  42. Thank you for the overview of religion in our early formative years. I knew much of this (I read histories and biographies); you put it all in very clear perspective.
    I’m with everyone else here my tastes in reading have changed.For 14 years I was a single working mother with 3 children. My reading was my retreat — my refreshment so that I could face another day. During that time I shared reading with the children — first on their level with Narnia, Little House books, The Hobbit, and Madeleine L’Engle. As they grew and their reading also grew and we no longer had difference in levels. We shared Science Fiction and the “gothic” romances with them. I still read SF and historic romance by preference.
    I am SO glad to see that the Twin Genius is available in a few hours!

    Reply
  43. Thank you for the overview of religion in our early formative years. I knew much of this (I read histories and biographies); you put it all in very clear perspective.
    I’m with everyone else here my tastes in reading have changed.For 14 years I was a single working mother with 3 children. My reading was my retreat — my refreshment so that I could face another day. During that time I shared reading with the children — first on their level with Narnia, Little House books, The Hobbit, and Madeleine L’Engle. As they grew and their reading also grew and we no longer had difference in levels. We shared Science Fiction and the “gothic” romances with them. I still read SF and historic romance by preference.
    I am SO glad to see that the Twin Genius is available in a few hours!

    Reply
  44. Thank you for the overview of religion in our early formative years. I knew much of this (I read histories and biographies); you put it all in very clear perspective.
    I’m with everyone else here my tastes in reading have changed.For 14 years I was a single working mother with 3 children. My reading was my retreat — my refreshment so that I could face another day. During that time I shared reading with the children — first on their level with Narnia, Little House books, The Hobbit, and Madeleine L’Engle. As they grew and their reading also grew and we no longer had difference in levels. We shared Science Fiction and the “gothic” romances with them. I still read SF and historic romance by preference.
    I am SO glad to see that the Twin Genius is available in a few hours!

    Reply
  45. Thank you for the overview of religion in our early formative years. I knew much of this (I read histories and biographies); you put it all in very clear perspective.
    I’m with everyone else here my tastes in reading have changed.For 14 years I was a single working mother with 3 children. My reading was my retreat — my refreshment so that I could face another day. During that time I shared reading with the children — first on their level with Narnia, Little House books, The Hobbit, and Madeleine L’Engle. As they grew and their reading also grew and we no longer had difference in levels. We shared Science Fiction and the “gothic” romances with them. I still read SF and historic romance by preference.
    I am SO glad to see that the Twin Genius is available in a few hours!

    Reply
  46. My reading tastes have changed the past few years, but I seem to be diversifying my reading, if anything. On the one hand, I read to be entertained and on the other, I read to learn–I recently finished The Plantagenets and I’m in the middle of Henrietta Lacks right now.
    As for romances tackling complex issues–Courtney Milan’s The Countess War did a great job of tackling the woman’s place in Victorian society. I really loved her heroines in that series. They were the kind of women I recognized.
    I didn’t have that much of an interest in American history–I had to learn it in school, of course, and it just seemed so dry. But again, in the past few years, I’ve dipped into learning more about the foundations of the United States. My Hamilton obsession has given me a different and richer perspective on the Founders.

    Reply
  47. My reading tastes have changed the past few years, but I seem to be diversifying my reading, if anything. On the one hand, I read to be entertained and on the other, I read to learn–I recently finished The Plantagenets and I’m in the middle of Henrietta Lacks right now.
    As for romances tackling complex issues–Courtney Milan’s The Countess War did a great job of tackling the woman’s place in Victorian society. I really loved her heroines in that series. They were the kind of women I recognized.
    I didn’t have that much of an interest in American history–I had to learn it in school, of course, and it just seemed so dry. But again, in the past few years, I’ve dipped into learning more about the foundations of the United States. My Hamilton obsession has given me a different and richer perspective on the Founders.

    Reply
  48. My reading tastes have changed the past few years, but I seem to be diversifying my reading, if anything. On the one hand, I read to be entertained and on the other, I read to learn–I recently finished The Plantagenets and I’m in the middle of Henrietta Lacks right now.
    As for romances tackling complex issues–Courtney Milan’s The Countess War did a great job of tackling the woman’s place in Victorian society. I really loved her heroines in that series. They were the kind of women I recognized.
    I didn’t have that much of an interest in American history–I had to learn it in school, of course, and it just seemed so dry. But again, in the past few years, I’ve dipped into learning more about the foundations of the United States. My Hamilton obsession has given me a different and richer perspective on the Founders.

    Reply
  49. My reading tastes have changed the past few years, but I seem to be diversifying my reading, if anything. On the one hand, I read to be entertained and on the other, I read to learn–I recently finished The Plantagenets and I’m in the middle of Henrietta Lacks right now.
    As for romances tackling complex issues–Courtney Milan’s The Countess War did a great job of tackling the woman’s place in Victorian society. I really loved her heroines in that series. They were the kind of women I recognized.
    I didn’t have that much of an interest in American history–I had to learn it in school, of course, and it just seemed so dry. But again, in the past few years, I’ve dipped into learning more about the foundations of the United States. My Hamilton obsession has given me a different and richer perspective on the Founders.

    Reply
  50. My reading tastes have changed the past few years, but I seem to be diversifying my reading, if anything. On the one hand, I read to be entertained and on the other, I read to learn–I recently finished The Plantagenets and I’m in the middle of Henrietta Lacks right now.
    As for romances tackling complex issues–Courtney Milan’s The Countess War did a great job of tackling the woman’s place in Victorian society. I really loved her heroines in that series. They were the kind of women I recognized.
    I didn’t have that much of an interest in American history–I had to learn it in school, of course, and it just seemed so dry. But again, in the past few years, I’ve dipped into learning more about the foundations of the United States. My Hamilton obsession has given me a different and richer perspective on the Founders.

    Reply
  51. I suppose it’s a given that reading taste changes over the years, but I’m quite fascinated in what ways! Your children were very lucky to have you as a mother. I wish more parents took the time to read to their kids. And take them to the library! I’m appalled at how many kids are intimidated by libraries.

    Reply
  52. I suppose it’s a given that reading taste changes over the years, but I’m quite fascinated in what ways! Your children were very lucky to have you as a mother. I wish more parents took the time to read to their kids. And take them to the library! I’m appalled at how many kids are intimidated by libraries.

    Reply
  53. I suppose it’s a given that reading taste changes over the years, but I’m quite fascinated in what ways! Your children were very lucky to have you as a mother. I wish more parents took the time to read to their kids. And take them to the library! I’m appalled at how many kids are intimidated by libraries.

    Reply
  54. I suppose it’s a given that reading taste changes over the years, but I’m quite fascinated in what ways! Your children were very lucky to have you as a mother. I wish more parents took the time to read to their kids. And take them to the library! I’m appalled at how many kids are intimidated by libraries.

    Reply
  55. I suppose it’s a given that reading taste changes over the years, but I’m quite fascinated in what ways! Your children were very lucky to have you as a mother. I wish more parents took the time to read to their kids. And take them to the library! I’m appalled at how many kids are intimidated by libraries.

    Reply
  56. I love that your tastes are expanding. Do keep dipping into American history. I would recommend authors but their books were written decades ago and there might be better ones out there now. God bless Hamilton. 😉

    Reply
  57. I love that your tastes are expanding. Do keep dipping into American history. I would recommend authors but their books were written decades ago and there might be better ones out there now. God bless Hamilton. 😉

    Reply
  58. I love that your tastes are expanding. Do keep dipping into American history. I would recommend authors but their books were written decades ago and there might be better ones out there now. God bless Hamilton. 😉

    Reply
  59. I love that your tastes are expanding. Do keep dipping into American history. I would recommend authors but their books were written decades ago and there might be better ones out there now. God bless Hamilton. 😉

    Reply
  60. I love that your tastes are expanding. Do keep dipping into American history. I would recommend authors but their books were written decades ago and there might be better ones out there now. God bless Hamilton. 😉

    Reply
  61. Thank you, Pat. Great article and a great link to the article on the Flushing Remonstrance. Too bad we have to keep fighting the same battles over and over again. And re why we need/read romance: I recently received and reviewed an ARC of a new novel by a popular author that deals with contemporary hotbed issues, and though it was well-written, it most certainly didn’t fill the hole our modern world leaves in our souls. As Elizabeth Hoyt rightfully screamed at a workshop at a recent conference: “the world NEEDS romance now more than ever.” I know I do.

    Reply
  62. Thank you, Pat. Great article and a great link to the article on the Flushing Remonstrance. Too bad we have to keep fighting the same battles over and over again. And re why we need/read romance: I recently received and reviewed an ARC of a new novel by a popular author that deals with contemporary hotbed issues, and though it was well-written, it most certainly didn’t fill the hole our modern world leaves in our souls. As Elizabeth Hoyt rightfully screamed at a workshop at a recent conference: “the world NEEDS romance now more than ever.” I know I do.

    Reply
  63. Thank you, Pat. Great article and a great link to the article on the Flushing Remonstrance. Too bad we have to keep fighting the same battles over and over again. And re why we need/read romance: I recently received and reviewed an ARC of a new novel by a popular author that deals with contemporary hotbed issues, and though it was well-written, it most certainly didn’t fill the hole our modern world leaves in our souls. As Elizabeth Hoyt rightfully screamed at a workshop at a recent conference: “the world NEEDS romance now more than ever.” I know I do.

    Reply
  64. Thank you, Pat. Great article and a great link to the article on the Flushing Remonstrance. Too bad we have to keep fighting the same battles over and over again. And re why we need/read romance: I recently received and reviewed an ARC of a new novel by a popular author that deals with contemporary hotbed issues, and though it was well-written, it most certainly didn’t fill the hole our modern world leaves in our souls. As Elizabeth Hoyt rightfully screamed at a workshop at a recent conference: “the world NEEDS romance now more than ever.” I know I do.

    Reply
  65. Thank you, Pat. Great article and a great link to the article on the Flushing Remonstrance. Too bad we have to keep fighting the same battles over and over again. And re why we need/read romance: I recently received and reviewed an ARC of a new novel by a popular author that deals with contemporary hotbed issues, and though it was well-written, it most certainly didn’t fill the hole our modern world leaves in our souls. As Elizabeth Hoyt rightfully screamed at a workshop at a recent conference: “the world NEEDS romance now more than ever.” I know I do.

    Reply
  66. Aside from romance and mysteries, where the good end happily and the bad end unhappily, I find myself reading more history these days. Although the conflicts of the past may be very similar to those of the present, they are over and done with. They don’t tie my stomach up in knots the way news reports of current events do, and I don’t feel the same horrible impotence in the face of massacres and tragedies of centuries past that I do looking at the same situations today.
    In a way, the completion of the past—or at least the illusion of completeness, since many of the conflicts continue over the centuries—is as much an escape as reading romance.

    Reply
  67. Aside from romance and mysteries, where the good end happily and the bad end unhappily, I find myself reading more history these days. Although the conflicts of the past may be very similar to those of the present, they are over and done with. They don’t tie my stomach up in knots the way news reports of current events do, and I don’t feel the same horrible impotence in the face of massacres and tragedies of centuries past that I do looking at the same situations today.
    In a way, the completion of the past—or at least the illusion of completeness, since many of the conflicts continue over the centuries—is as much an escape as reading romance.

    Reply
  68. Aside from romance and mysteries, where the good end happily and the bad end unhappily, I find myself reading more history these days. Although the conflicts of the past may be very similar to those of the present, they are over and done with. They don’t tie my stomach up in knots the way news reports of current events do, and I don’t feel the same horrible impotence in the face of massacres and tragedies of centuries past that I do looking at the same situations today.
    In a way, the completion of the past—or at least the illusion of completeness, since many of the conflicts continue over the centuries—is as much an escape as reading romance.

    Reply
  69. Aside from romance and mysteries, where the good end happily and the bad end unhappily, I find myself reading more history these days. Although the conflicts of the past may be very similar to those of the present, they are over and done with. They don’t tie my stomach up in knots the way news reports of current events do, and I don’t feel the same horrible impotence in the face of massacres and tragedies of centuries past that I do looking at the same situations today.
    In a way, the completion of the past—or at least the illusion of completeness, since many of the conflicts continue over the centuries—is as much an escape as reading romance.

    Reply
  70. Aside from romance and mysteries, where the good end happily and the bad end unhappily, I find myself reading more history these days. Although the conflicts of the past may be very similar to those of the present, they are over and done with. They don’t tie my stomach up in knots the way news reports of current events do, and I don’t feel the same horrible impotence in the face of massacres and tragedies of centuries past that I do looking at the same situations today.
    In a way, the completion of the past—or at least the illusion of completeness, since many of the conflicts continue over the centuries—is as much an escape as reading romance.

    Reply
  71. I also read more difficult books when I was younger-John Barth, Thomas Mann, Dostoevsky. I just don’t have the attention span to do it anymore. Maybe when we’re in our teens and 20’s we have less on our minds, and more free time, which allows us to delve into a long difficult novel. If I had known romance novels existed I might have started reading them sooner, but I honestly had no idea they were out there!
    I enjoy politics in my historical romance, it’s far enough removed from our world that it’s not an unpleasant reminder of reality! Some authors who have tackled it include Rose Lerner, Julia Justiss in her current series & Tracy Grant, and I enjoy all their books.
    For my non-fiction history reading, for some reason I stick to the 20th century, especially WWII. Although the New York Times Civil War essay series “Disunion” got me interested in that era for the first time. Ben McIntyre’s books are great and entertaining. And Fitzroy Maclean’s autobiography, “Eastern Approaches” is more unbelievable than anything a novelist could invent, not to mention laugh out loud funny.

    Reply
  72. I also read more difficult books when I was younger-John Barth, Thomas Mann, Dostoevsky. I just don’t have the attention span to do it anymore. Maybe when we’re in our teens and 20’s we have less on our minds, and more free time, which allows us to delve into a long difficult novel. If I had known romance novels existed I might have started reading them sooner, but I honestly had no idea they were out there!
    I enjoy politics in my historical romance, it’s far enough removed from our world that it’s not an unpleasant reminder of reality! Some authors who have tackled it include Rose Lerner, Julia Justiss in her current series & Tracy Grant, and I enjoy all their books.
    For my non-fiction history reading, for some reason I stick to the 20th century, especially WWII. Although the New York Times Civil War essay series “Disunion” got me interested in that era for the first time. Ben McIntyre’s books are great and entertaining. And Fitzroy Maclean’s autobiography, “Eastern Approaches” is more unbelievable than anything a novelist could invent, not to mention laugh out loud funny.

    Reply
  73. I also read more difficult books when I was younger-John Barth, Thomas Mann, Dostoevsky. I just don’t have the attention span to do it anymore. Maybe when we’re in our teens and 20’s we have less on our minds, and more free time, which allows us to delve into a long difficult novel. If I had known romance novels existed I might have started reading them sooner, but I honestly had no idea they were out there!
    I enjoy politics in my historical romance, it’s far enough removed from our world that it’s not an unpleasant reminder of reality! Some authors who have tackled it include Rose Lerner, Julia Justiss in her current series & Tracy Grant, and I enjoy all their books.
    For my non-fiction history reading, for some reason I stick to the 20th century, especially WWII. Although the New York Times Civil War essay series “Disunion” got me interested in that era for the first time. Ben McIntyre’s books are great and entertaining. And Fitzroy Maclean’s autobiography, “Eastern Approaches” is more unbelievable than anything a novelist could invent, not to mention laugh out loud funny.

    Reply
  74. I also read more difficult books when I was younger-John Barth, Thomas Mann, Dostoevsky. I just don’t have the attention span to do it anymore. Maybe when we’re in our teens and 20’s we have less on our minds, and more free time, which allows us to delve into a long difficult novel. If I had known romance novels existed I might have started reading them sooner, but I honestly had no idea they were out there!
    I enjoy politics in my historical romance, it’s far enough removed from our world that it’s not an unpleasant reminder of reality! Some authors who have tackled it include Rose Lerner, Julia Justiss in her current series & Tracy Grant, and I enjoy all their books.
    For my non-fiction history reading, for some reason I stick to the 20th century, especially WWII. Although the New York Times Civil War essay series “Disunion” got me interested in that era for the first time. Ben McIntyre’s books are great and entertaining. And Fitzroy Maclean’s autobiography, “Eastern Approaches” is more unbelievable than anything a novelist could invent, not to mention laugh out loud funny.

    Reply
  75. I also read more difficult books when I was younger-John Barth, Thomas Mann, Dostoevsky. I just don’t have the attention span to do it anymore. Maybe when we’re in our teens and 20’s we have less on our minds, and more free time, which allows us to delve into a long difficult novel. If I had known romance novels existed I might have started reading them sooner, but I honestly had no idea they were out there!
    I enjoy politics in my historical romance, it’s far enough removed from our world that it’s not an unpleasant reminder of reality! Some authors who have tackled it include Rose Lerner, Julia Justiss in her current series & Tracy Grant, and I enjoy all their books.
    For my non-fiction history reading, for some reason I stick to the 20th century, especially WWII. Although the New York Times Civil War essay series “Disunion” got me interested in that era for the first time. Ben McIntyre’s books are great and entertaining. And Fitzroy Maclean’s autobiography, “Eastern Approaches” is more unbelievable than anything a novelist could invent, not to mention laugh out loud funny.

    Reply
  76. Your reading material in your younger days greatly resembles my own! It’s sad to think our attention spans decline with years, but we might also blame distractions like social media and TV, I suppose.
    I’ll have to look up Julia Justiss’s new series! I hadn’t seen those, thank you.

    Reply
  77. Your reading material in your younger days greatly resembles my own! It’s sad to think our attention spans decline with years, but we might also blame distractions like social media and TV, I suppose.
    I’ll have to look up Julia Justiss’s new series! I hadn’t seen those, thank you.

    Reply
  78. Your reading material in your younger days greatly resembles my own! It’s sad to think our attention spans decline with years, but we might also blame distractions like social media and TV, I suppose.
    I’ll have to look up Julia Justiss’s new series! I hadn’t seen those, thank you.

    Reply
  79. Your reading material in your younger days greatly resembles my own! It’s sad to think our attention spans decline with years, but we might also blame distractions like social media and TV, I suppose.
    I’ll have to look up Julia Justiss’s new series! I hadn’t seen those, thank you.

    Reply
  80. Your reading material in your younger days greatly resembles my own! It’s sad to think our attention spans decline with years, but we might also blame distractions like social media and TV, I suppose.
    I’ll have to look up Julia Justiss’s new series! I hadn’t seen those, thank you.

    Reply

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