Articles, Historical Romance

Different Flavors of Authors

Untitled designSo who are these women (and occasional males) that write historical romance novels?  As a reader, if you haven’t been following the ever-changing landscape in the publishing world, authors come in a variety pack.  From young to old, these are the people who pen your stories that you rate from one to five stars.  We all have favorite sub-genres.  We all have favorite eras.  We all have the likable type of hero and heroine.  However, with such a variety of authors, it may be hard to weed through the inundated market of romance these days.

The Traditional

These are the ones who have chosen the traditional publishing world.  They traveled the rough trail of submissions and rejections and paid their dues.  They were proficient in writing great query letters to hook agents. Others were persistent, knocking on doors of publishers that accept direct submissions.  Whatever gateway they have been fortunate enough to open, it has provided them support from big-named publishers and smaller publishing houses on the road to release. These authors have a unique experience with their publishers who do it all – editing, cover design, distribution, in addition to bearing the majority of costs associated with publishing a book.

The Indie

Once coined the vanity writers, self-published authors or “indies” as many call them, are an entirely different breed.  At first, they came out of the gate with a less than warm welcome or reputation, often coined as the slush pile rejects or wood-be, mediocre writers.  However, as the years have passed, the indies have taken over a large portion of the market, including reaching the USA Today and NYT best-seller lists. They have gained great strides in gaining respect and earnings. Supposedly, indies are control freaks. They enjoy full engagement in their artistic endeavors.  The smart ones seek out good editors to tone their content and talented graphic artists to do their covers. It’s a learning experience in ISBN’s, eBook formatting, printing, distribution, marketing, etc., because they immerse themselves in the publishing world in order to succeed.  They are the independent ones who bear the cost of getting their books into print.

The Hybrid

What in the world is a hybrid?  No, it’s not a new dinosaur about to hatch that will grow up to eat you or your book.  It’s an author who enjoys both worlds – the traditional and the self-published.    It’s a path that some individuals pursue in a variety of ways.  It’s not unusual for a traditionally published author to take a book when the rights have reverted back to her or him and self-published it afterward.  Frankly, it’s a sweet spot for many because they are well known as traditional authors who already have a fan base.  However, this route may take negotiation because some publishers insist on a non-compete clause that prevents authors from self-publishing while under contract.

In the end, I like to think that all three author varieties have one common goal — to spread the romance together.  At Historical Romance Books, whatever path to print you have chosen, you are welcome on our pages.

Historical Romance Books Admin

 

 

 

 

Historical Romance, New Releases

Once Upon a Christmas Eve by Elizabeth Hoyt

Once Upon A ChristmasAdam Rutledge, Viscount d’Arque, really rather loathes Christmas. The banal cheerfulness. The asinine party games. And, worst of all, the obligatory trip to the countryside. His grandmother, however, loves the holiday—and Adam loves his grandmother, so he’ll brave the fiercest snowstorm to please her. But when their carriage wheel snaps, they’re forced to seek shelter at the home of the most maddening, infuriating, and utterly beguiling woman he’s ever met . . .

Release Date December 5, 2017

Hachette Book Group

 

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Articles, Historical Romance

For November, A Romance Trio For ‘Hamilton’ Fans (And The Rest Of You, Too)

Historical Romance News!

Even if you haven’t seen the musical, you can keep warm this November with a delightful trio of novellas set in and around the battalion commanded by Alexander Hamilton at the siege of Yorktown.

Source: For November, A Romance Trio For ‘Hamilton’ Fans (And The Rest Of You, Too)

Articles, Historical Romance

The Perfect Hero

Lamina WaterhouseThe perfect hero in historical romance. Is there one? What fantasy do readers want?

In reality, as much as we are filled with fanciful and romantic thoughts, there probably isn’t a perfect man. Of course, it depends on how you define perfection. Like the variety of readers and their various tastes over heroines, there is no absence of criticism over the perfect male. Once again, I’ve strolled through the reviews of some best selling authors to find out what women are thinking.

There are the usual complaints of women who dislike emotionally scared men (except for Fifty Shades, apparently), along with arrogant aristocrats and walking cardboard characters (boy that term gets used a lot). Frankly, I think women who look for the perfect hero want a type of man they can fall in love with during the story. Women are looking for romance and ways to live vicariously through storytelling, no doubt to soothe our lack of it in real life. If you love historical romance, then no doubt you want a swoon-worthy, good-looking chap in breaches, boots, with a ruffled shirt, and white cravat.

So what is the perfect hero? If we look at the typical male stereotypes in works of centuries past, we can categorize them in a variety of ways.

The Darcy Type – Prideful and arrogant but humbled in the presence of one woman. His good sense and social class tell him to walk away. Instead, he bemoans his tortured and bewitched existence as if he’s helpless to resist. “In vain have I struggled, it will not do. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

The Knightly Type – A soulful, kindhearted, and wise man who is your friend. He supports you, chides you when needed, admires you silently, and gradually falls in love. He cares deeply about your well-being and sacrifices his own happiness to ensure your own. When his outward motives reveal a deeper love, he declares the obvious. “Marry me, my wonderful darling friend.”

The Captain Wentworth Type – He suffers in silence over a love lost but clings to the hope that he may regain what he desires. As he quietly watches from the sidelines the love of his life, he waits for the opportune time to once again profess his love. “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever…I have loved none but you.” Who can deny such a plea?

The Mr. Rochester Type – The tortured soul, who is moody and cynical about life. He has a dark secret, that binds him to another, while in the meantime he lures the innocent and young Jane into marrying him. Even though the Rochester type of hero should contain a warning label, women are drawn to his brooding character. His words of love are filled with desperation. “My very soul demands you: it will be satisfied: or it will take deadly vengeance on its frame.” It’s not until the ultimate tragedy plays out that happy ever after arrives.

The Mr. Thornton Type – A successful man of determination in his business and family life. A bit too close to his mother, annoyed by his sister, but nonetheless respected by his peers. He is drawn to a woman of strong character, like himself, and they clash repeatedly like a stormy sea. “He shrank from hearing Margaret’s very name mentioned; he, while he blamed her–while he was jealous of her–while he renounced her–he loved her sorely, in spite of himself.”

The men above are just a small sampling, and I bet you can think of more.

The Edward Ferrars Type
The Willoughby Type
The Colonel Brandon Type
The Mr. Bingley Type

It’s an endless list of possible men who can make you swoon.

I don’t know that there is necessarily a perfect hero by any means because I believe women are drawn to types and situations when they think of falling in love between the pages of a book. Whether they be an arrogant male, steadfast friend, silent sufferer, tortured soul, or irritating sod, they possess alluring and attractive qualities. Every woman has their type. Of course, that makes it difficult for authors to consistently write the perfect hero!

Do you have a particular type of man that you like to read about in historical romance? Frankly, I like the silent suffering male who cannot live without me, like Captain Wentworth.

All our best from Historical Romance Books!

 

Building Characters, Heroes, Heroines, Historical Romance, Reviews, Writing Historical Romance

"The Perfect Heroine" by Vicki Hopkins

In the past seven years, I have had the opportunity to craft female characters by the names of Suzette, Desiree, Charlotte, Angelique, Rachel, Ann, Mary, and Caroline.  Each woman is unique so that their character fits the theme of the story that I pen.
However, it’s been interesting to learn that crafting a female character who pleases the vast array of preferences that exist among readers, is a unique challenge. It’s safe to say that each one of my imaginary leading ladies has been a victim of harsh criticism, but a few have been lauded as brilliant. The ratings appear to hang upon whether the reader likes or dislikes the personality of the heroine. Since historical romance books are inherently written for the fantasies of the female audience, it makes perfect sense that female readers can be harsh critics. As I have said before, writing romance is a tough gig.
What I find utterly fascinating is that female readers appear to be more critical of their heroines than heroes. The damaged or flawed character of a handsome man is easily forgiven, rather than the shortcomings of a woman. The heartless rake who seduces a virgin in a passionate love scene is given absolution. His less than honorable motives are overlooked as well as his reputation. As long as he’s a good lover, is portrayed handsomely on the cover in a kilt or frock coat, all is well.
After all, ladies want to fall in love with the hero of the book for many reasons. We wouldn’t be reading them if we didn’t feel there was a void to be filled in our fantasies of what love should really be like. That is why we read historical romance to take us back to another time we blindly believe to be much better than the sneaker and blue jean society of our day. However, if the heroine doesn’t fit our preconceived idea of what we envision ourselves to be in her shoes, there could be trouble brewing in the ratings.
Why are we so critical of heroines? What is it about women who are harsh on other women – even if it’s just a make-believe character with no flesh, bones or soul?  Is it because women relate more closely with their gender than they do with men?  I think it boils down to what I believe I’m learning about this phenomenon – the men or heroes are fantasies in the mind of a female reader, while on the other hand heroines tend to be more personal as we walk that path of romance with them page by page vicariously.
Any author, who has taken a course or read a book on character building, will tell you that it takes talent to craft a hero or heroine and bring them to life.  We’ve all read complaints about cardboard characters (no depth) or characters that are run-of-the-mill remakes with no individuality.  The law of character building includes the pros and cons of that imaginary person. Can an evil person experience a pang of guilt or a saint have a sinful thought? Of course they can, because without dimension, they are not human. It’s the things we love and despise about people that make for good characters.  By the end of the story, the fictional individual should have grown in some way or changed for the better in spite of their flaws while conquering that obstacle that looms between them and their happy ending.  Let’s be honest – not every living being is perfect – so why do readers sometimes expect our characters to be as well?

I will raise my hand and admit that I tend to write prickly people because conflict is the spice of my stories. After reading other popular authors in the historical romance genre, I’m finding that I often dare to stray from the regulated norms. You will no doubt find more amiable and agreeable ladies elsewhere. An interesting exercise is to stroll through one-star reviews on best-selling historical romance books, and you’ll get a feel for how readers really view the heroine.  It’s usually a love/hate relationship based on personal preferences when it comes to romantic encounters between the pages.

From my own experience and reading the thoughts of other readers, here are some of the negatives that women do not like in their heroines:
  • Prickly women who come across as bitches.
  • Weak women who can’t stand up for themselves.
  • Disabled women who don’t match the standards of beauty or perfection.
  • Gullible women who swallow men’s lies and have no good sense.
  • Arrogant women who are snobs.
  • Unforgettable and uninteresting women with bland personalities.
  • Women with poor self-esteem.
I am sure the list could be expanded, but those complaints are the most obvious. It makes me wonder though if readers have placed twenty-first century expectations of behavior upon women of the Regency and Victorian eras. I wouldn’t be surprised if our thought processes actually wish for stronger women, which may not have been the case until the later part of the 19th century and early 20th century when women found a voice due to the suffrage movement.

Frankly, I think it is impossible to please every reader all of the time when it comes to historical romance. Each reader, like each character, is frankly unique in what they are looking for in a story. They have their perfect hero and heroine already in mind, and it’s the journey that the two must traverse to find an everlasting love that is the entertainment readers seek. I would only caution that sometimes a character can possess negative characteristics early in the story, but the author has plans to mellow them out or heal their flaws. Unfortunately, tales that instantly irritate are often discarded before the best is yet to come.

So is there a perfect heroine?  I sincerely doubt it.  If one existed, every historical romance writer would be a New York Times best-selling author because they didn’t irritate a reader with a less-than-stellar heroine.

Now as far as heroes?  Well, that’s an entirely different topic that I may tackle in another post.
Articles, Building Characters, Heroes, Heroines, Historical Romance, Reviews, Writing Historical Romance

“The Perfect Heroine” by Vicki Hopkins

In the past seven years, I have had the opportunity to craft female characters by the names of Suzette, Desiree, Charlotte, Angelique, Rachel, Ann, Mary, and Caroline.  Each woman is unique so that their character fits the theme of the story that I pen.

However, it’s been interesting to learn that crafting a female character who pleases the vast array of preferences that exist among readers, is a unique challenge. It’s safe to say that each one of my imaginary leading ladies has been a victim of harsh criticism, but a few have been lauded as brilliant. The ratings appear to hang upon whether the reader likes or dislikes the personality of the heroine. Since historical romance books are inherently written for the fantasies of the female audience, it makes perfect sense that female readers can be harsh critics. As I have said before, writing romance is a tough gig.

What I find utterly fascinating is that female readers appear to be more critical of their heroines than heroes. The damaged or flawed character of a handsome man is easily forgiven, rather than the shortcomings of a woman. The heartless rake who seduces a virgin in a passionate love scene is given absolution. His less than honorable motives are overlooked as well as his reputation. As long as he’s a good lover, is portrayed handsomely on the cover in a kilt or frock coat, all is well.

After all, ladies want to fall in love with the hero of the book for many reasons. We wouldn’t be reading them if we didn’t feel there was a void to be filled in our fantasies of what love should really be like. That is why we read historical romance to take us back to another time we blindly believe to be much better than the sneaker and blue jean society of our day. However, if the heroine doesn’t fit our preconceived idea of what we envision ourselves to be in her shoes, there could be trouble brewing in the ratings.

Why are we so critical of heroines? What is it about women who are harsh on other women – even if it’s just a make-believe character with no flesh, bones or soul?  Is it because women relate more closely with their gender than they do with men?  I think it boils down to what I believe I’m learning about this phenomenon – the men or heroes are fantasies in the mind of a female reader, while on the other hand heroines tend to be more personal as we walk that path of romance with them page by page vicariously.

Any author, who has taken a course or read a book on character building, will tell you that it takes talent to craft a hero or heroine and bring them to life.  We’ve all read complaints about cardboard characters (no depth) or characters that are run-of-the-mill remakes with no individuality.  The law of character building includes the pros and cons of that imaginary person. Can an evil person experience a pang of guilt or a saint have a sinful thought? Of course they can, because without dimension, they are not human. It’s the things we love and despise about people that make for good characters.  By the end of the story, the fictional individual should have grown in some way or changed for the better in spite of their flaws while conquering that obstacle that looms between them and their happy ending.  Let’s be honest – not every living being is perfect – so why do readers sometimes expect our characters to be as well?

I will raise my hand and admit that I tend to write prickly people because conflict is the spice of my stories. After reading other popular authors in the historical romance genre, I’m finding that I often dare to stray from the regulated norms. You will no doubt find more amiable and agreeable ladies elsewhere. An interesting exercise is to stroll through one-star reviews on best-selling historical romance books, and you’ll get a feel for how readers really view the heroine.  It’s usually a love/hate relationship based on personal preferences when it comes to romantic encounters between the pages.

From my own experience and reading the thoughts of other readers, here are some of the negatives that women do not like in their heroines:

  • Prickly women who come across as bitches.
  • Weak women who can’t stand up for themselves.
  • Disabled women who don’t match the standards of beauty or perfection.
  • Gullible women who swallow men’s lies and have no good sense.
  • Arrogant women who are snobs.
  • Unforgettable and uninteresting women with bland personalities.
  • Women with poor self-esteem.

I am sure the list could be expanded, but those complaints are the most obvious. It makes me wonder though if readers have placed twenty-first century expectations of behavior upon women of the Regency and Victorian eras. I wouldn’t be surprised if our thought processes actually wish for stronger women, which may not have been the case until the later part of the 19th century and early 20th century when women found a voice due to the suffrage movement.

Frankly, I think it is impossible to please every reader all of the time when it comes to historical romance. Each reader, like each character, is frankly unique in what they are looking for in a story. They have their perfect hero and heroine already in mind, and it’s the journey that the two must traverse to find an everlasting love that is the entertainment readers seek. I would only caution that sometimes a character can possess negative characteristics early in the story, but the author has plans to mellow them out or heal their flaws. Unfortunately, tales that instantly irritate are often discarded before the best is yet to come.

So is there a perfect heroine?  I sincerely doubt it.  If one existed, every historical romance writer would be a New York Times best-selling author because they didn’t irritate a reader with a less-than-stellar heroine.

Now as far as heroes?  Well, that’s an entirely different topic that I may tackle in another post.

Book Promo Blog, Historical Romance, Linda Rae Sande, The Passion of the Marquess

Book Promo: “The Passion of the Marquess” by Linda Rae Sande

Synopsis

They say you learn from mistakes … but what if they’re not your own?
After four Seasons and no prospects, Lady Samantha is resigned to life as a spinster. Her aunt, Caroline Fitzsimmons, Viscountess Chamberlain, insists they set sail to Italy for a tour she hopes might allow her charge to meet and marry a European aristocrat.
His mines having suffered a multitude of disasters, Ethan Range, Marquess of Plymouth, needs to secure an Italian invention to help alleviate fires. He’s none to happy to discover Lady Caroline traveling on the same ship as he is to Rome. He knows her secret and is rather incensed she’s been able to hide Samantha’s true past from the ton.
While taking a late-night stroll on deck, Samantha is confronted by the scowling marquess. Incensed by his assertion that Caroline is really her mother, Samantha barely has time to slap the man before a sudden storm sends a wave of water onto the ship, washing them both overboard.
Forced to save each other, the two end up as castaways on a deserted island in the Mediterranean. Although they face perils aplenty during the week they’re stranded, they have far more to fear from one another than from hunger, weather, and pirates. Can the two realize the mistakes of the past are not their own? Or will their week on the island lead to more turbulence? The heart may be the best life preserver in The Passion of a Marquess.
Book Promo Blog, His Captive Princess, Historical Romance, Knights, Samhain Publishing, Sandra Jones

Book Promo: “His Captive Princess” by Sandra Jones

SYNOPSIS

Earned respect is sweet…but deserved revenge is sweeter.
Warren de Tracy was assured the Welsh village of Dinefwr would be an easy conquest, as would the widow of its fallen prince. Wedding her will appease the locals and win the respect of his liege, the usurper King Stephen.
Instead, Warren is ambushed, taken prisoner by a hooded Welshwoman with skin that glows like moonlight. If he must die at her hands, at least his honorable death will silence the whispers of disloyalty hanging over his name.
Princess Eleri has never seen a knight as stoic—and as eager to die—as Warren. She’d love to oblige the bastard, but something in his ocean-blue eyes stays her hand. Plus, suspicion nags at her, for the arrows that wounded him and killed his men are Norman, not Welsh.
A ghostly prophecy portends danger that thrusts the enemies closer together, where hate explodes into passion that won’t allow Eleri to surrender Warren to her vengeful clan. But returning him to his king breaks more than it mends…and for Warren, retaliation will be sweet, indeed.

Warning: Contains a Norman warrior with a thirst for justice, a Welsh rebel princess with second sight and a steady bow hand, magical prophecies, and a plot of royal proportions.

Buy Links: Amazon | Nooks B&N

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter
Bibi Rizer, Book Promo Blog, Historical Romance, Kindle Unlimited, The Shield Maiden's Revenge, Viking Romance

Book Promo: “The Shield Maiden’s Revenge” by Bibi Rizer

Synopsis

Katla Grímsdóttir has lived with her Viking father’s anger and abuse for all of her eighteen years. And she has watched him mistreat the two people she loves most in the world – her twin sister Gull and their slave “milk brother” Freyvior – until her heart is nothing but fire and steel. When Gull is sold in marriage to one of their father’s brutish warlords, Katla turns that fire and steel into the strength of fury.
She can no longer deny that her love for her beautiful slave Freyvior has changed, nor can she resist her desire to be owned by him, body and soul. But while together they awaken a fierce storm of passion between them, they must also face a violent destiny as they set out to rescue Gull. And first, those who have betrayed and abused them will be made to face the young shield maiden’s long repressed wrath.
 Buy Links:  Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter
Book Promo Blog, Historical Romance, Karyn Gerrard, The Baron and the Mistress

"The Baron and the Mistress" by Karyn Gerrard

Synopsis

Forget the Horrors. Remember…me.
A shivering young woman leans against a lamppost in the most notorious street of ill repute in all London. For Asher Colborne, Baron of Wenlock, this is a haunting vision of beauty and wretchedness. Uncharacteristically halting his carriage, he is shocked to discover the thin, dressed-in-rags creature is none other than Chastity Armitage, a beautiful angel who captured his heart at a grand ball more than two years past. For Colborne, her circumstance is a mystery he feels honor bound to unravel.
Chastity and her siblings have been on the run for more than two years. Desperate for food and lodging money, she is forced to sell herself. She never expected a tall, handsome man to appear as if from mist and change her life forever. She is given a choice, continue down the path of never-ending poverty or become the baron’s mistress.
Though they are both determined the arrangement remain an emotionless business transaction, the attraction between them is scorching. Many barriers and obstacles lay in Chastity and Ash’s path. Can the baron and the mistress embrace true love?
Book Promo Blog, Historical Romance, Karyn Gerrard, The Baron and the Mistress

“The Baron and the Mistress” by Karyn Gerrard

Synopsis

Forget the Horrors. Remember…me.
A shivering young woman leans against a lamppost in the most notorious street of ill repute in all London. For Asher Colborne, Baron of Wenlock, this is a haunting vision of beauty and wretchedness. Uncharacteristically halting his carriage, he is shocked to discover the thin, dressed-in-rags creature is none other than Chastity Armitage, a beautiful angel who captured his heart at a grand ball more than two years past. For Colborne, her circumstance is a mystery he feels honor bound to unravel.
Chastity and her siblings have been on the run for more than two years. Desperate for food and lodging money, she is forced to sell herself. She never expected a tall, handsome man to appear as if from mist and change her life forever. She is given a choice, continue down the path of never-ending poverty or become the baron’s mistress.
Though they are both determined the arrangement remain an emotionless business transaction, the attraction between them is scorching. Many barriers and obstacles lay in Chastity and Ash’s path. Can the baron and the mistress embrace true love?
Book Blogs, Breach of Promise of Marriage, Historical Romance, Vicki Hopkins

"Breach of Promise of Marriage" Guest Post by Vicki Hopkins

One of my hobbies is researching my British ancestry on my mother’s side of the family. Part of that process includes reading British newspapers in search of articles on my ancestors. My second grand uncle was a Justice of the Peace, Alderman, and successful businessman, so I’m always looking for articles regarding his life and have found quite a few (over thirty thus far).

While doing so, I stumbled across another fascinating area in the lives of men and women from 1800-1850 in regards to lawsuits for the “breach of promise of marriage.” My search has uncovered over 6,000 links to articles in newspapers across England regarding such cases.

I thought I would share with you what I noted but must do so in generic terms. Unfortunately, I cannot quote any of the articles due to copyright restrictions.  I imagine, however, the situations were common.  What I love most about reading these articles is the language used that is so “Jane Austen” in prose. In addition, the evidence of love letters are printed in the newspapers sometimes just referencing the content but other times printing the entire letter. Juicy indeed!

As far as jury settlements, the poor received much less, while the wealthy were assessed large sums of money.  The jury deliberations were usually under an hour. The highest I have discovered out of a sampling of ten articles is £4,000 and the smallest £60.  Surprisingly, not only women filed cases, but also men sued women for breach of marriage. Marriage was big business, and both parties had much to lose if one broke the engagement. Losses did not involve mere matters of the heart but the promise of fortunes gained and lost.

Here are few generalizations of what I have read:

 

  • The ages of the parties varied. Girls as young as eighteen accepted proposals from men over the age of fifty.
  • First cousins married, sometimes knowing each other from infancy and later forming attachments. This scenario reminded me of Mr. Knightly and Emma since he was sixteen years of age when she was born.
  • Men courted for the purpose of seduction. Tsk. Tsk. And yes, once they got what they wanted, they abandoned the young lady breaking their promise of marriage. The court, apparently, did not look kindly upon such instances. Unfortunately, the inevitable pregnancy happened, too, and the lady was left without support.
  • Men or women could be of humble means or possess considerable property being independently wealthy. It appeared the men pursued women for money (think Willoughby), and when the engagement fell through, they sued for damages.
  • Those in service together with the same employer (think Downton Abbey) fell in love but broke engagements.
  • The few reasons I noted for the “breach of promise of marriage” were as follows:  a) the family objected to the match (seemed to be common); b) inability to provide for both immediate family (parents) and wives at the same time; c) immoral gain of seduction without love; and d) change of heart with no other particular reason given.  Solicitors painted pictures of ruined ladies who were downcast, depressed, and in ill-health both physically and mentally due to abandonment.
These articles are a goldmine of fascinating reading. The language used is priceless, and the situations typical of those in want of a wife or husband in the early 19th century. It’s a soap opera of epic proportions that I will probably enjoy reading for months to come. No doubt, they will inspire a few stories.


Vicki

Articles, Book Blogs, Breach of Promise of Marriage, Historical Romance, Vicki Hopkins

“Breach of Promise of Marriage” Guest Post by Vicki Hopkins

One of my hobbies is researching my British ancestry on my mother’s side of the family. Part of that process includes reading British newspapers in search of articles on my ancestors. My second great uncle was a Justice of the Peace, Alderman, and successful businessman, so I’m always looking for articles regarding his life and have found quite a few (over thirty thus far).

While doing so, I stumbled across another fascinating area in the lives of men and women from 1800-1850 in regards to lawsuits for the “breach of promise of marriage.” My search has uncovered over 6,000 links to articles in newspapers across England regarding such cases.

I thought I would share with you what I noted but must do so in generic terms. Unfortunately, I cannot quote any of the articles due to copyright restrictions.  I imagine, however, the situations were common.  What I love most about reading these articles is the language used that is so “Jane Austen” in prose. In addition, the evidence of love letters are printed in the newspapers sometimes just referencing the content but other times printing the entire letter. Juicy indeed!

As far as jury settlements, the poor received much less, while the wealthy were assessed large sums of money.  The jury deliberations were usually under an hour. The highest I have discovered out of a sampling of ten articles is £4,000 and the smallest £60.  Surprisingly, not only women filed cases, but also men sued women for breach of marriage. Marriage was big business, and both parties had much to lose if one broke the engagement. Losses did not involve mere matters of the heart but the promise of fortunes gained and lost.

Here are few generalizations of what I have read:

  • The ages of the parties varied. Girls as young as eighteen accepted proposals from men over the age of fifty.
  • First cousins married, sometimes knowing each other from infancy and later forming attachments. This scenario reminded me of Mr. Knightly and Emma since he was sixteen years of age when she was born.
  • Men courted for the purpose of seduction. Tsk. Tsk. And yes, once they got what they wanted, they abandoned the young lady breaking their promise of marriage. The court, apparently, did not look kindly upon such instances. Unfortunately, the inevitable pregnancy happened, too, and the lady was left without support.
  • Men or women could be of humble means or possess considerable property being independently wealthy. It appeared the men pursued women for money (think Willoughby), and when the engagement fell through, they sued for damages.
  • Those in service together with the same employer (think Downton Abbey) fell in love but broke engagements.
  • The few reasons I noted for the “breach of promise of marriage” were as follows:  a) the family objected to the match (seemed to be common); b) inability to provide for both immediate family (parents) and wives at the same time; c) immoral gain of seduction without love; and d) change of heart with no other particular reason given. Solicitors painted pictures of ruined ladies who were downcast, depressed, and in ill-health both physically and mentally due to abandonment.
These articles are a goldmine of fascinating reading. The language used is priceless, and the situations typical of those in want of a wife or husband in the early 19th century. It’s a soap opera of epic proportions that I will probably enjoy reading for months to come. No doubt, they will inspire a few stories.

Vicki

Articles, Cinderella Movie Disney, Fairytale, Historical Romance, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Patrick Doyle

Cinderella Once a Fairytale Book of Romance – Enjoy the Movie!

 

Oh to be ten-years-old again — innocent, impressionable, and mesmerized by the idea of meeting my Prince Charming.

Cinderella. How many adaptations can this story have? Apparently, not enough. One of my favorites is “Everafter” with Drew Barrymore, but this Disney version is pretty much a starry-eyed spectacle of beauty that bedazzles the childhood in everyone.

The perfect audience are females young at heart, girls five to twelve, and young teenage ladies. Although this morning on the radio I heard a middle-aged male critic gush over the movie too. Will little boys love it?  Probably not, except perhaps for the mice and cat.

The Cinderella tale is slightly modified and extended, but it does the story absolutely no harm whatsoever. For the first time in a long time I give Disney kudos for putting together a movie with a message that drills down into your soul. It’s the words of Ella’s mother before she dies encouraging her daughter to, “have courage and be kind.” The theme resounds throughout the entire movie and is played out with such precision that the message stays with you.  In an age where kids are bullying one another or being the victims of bullies, it brings a beautiful message of the meaning of courage and kindness and the good that it can bring into your life.

Your wonderful Rose from Downton Abbey, Lilly James, portrays an endearing and kind Cinderella.  Daisy the cook from Downton Abbey, Sophia McShera, plays the stepsister Drizella, accompanied by Holliday Grainger as the other mean sister. Gorgeously attired and mean to the core stepmother is played by Cate Blanchett.

Some of the cutest scenes are the fairy godmother transforming the pumpkin, lizards, mice, and the duck into the carriage, horses, footmen, and driver. Their undoing at the stroke of midnight is an hysterical scene with fantastic special effects. Cinderella is turned into a gorgeous beauty in a blue dress, who twirls around dancing in a fantastic choreographed waltz with the prince. If I were ten, my eyes would probably be bulging out of my head. At sixty-five, I had a huge smile on my face watching the transformation, the ball, and the end of the spell.

All in all, it’s an entertaining movie that is visually stunning. The anchor that holds it all together is the theme of “have courage and be kind” that is said time and time again until you believe it to be truth, witness that good prevails, and realize fairy godmothers do exist.

Oh, and Prince Charming isn’t bad looking either.
Love the soundtrack!
Companions in Victorian Era, Historical Romance, Historical Romantic Suspense, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Nora Covington, Whitefield Hall

"Whitefield Hall: Novella" by Nora Covington

Synopsis
As a young lady, Mary Gleadhell chose the occupation of a hired companion, rather than seeking love and marriage. When she accepts a new position as company for the mother of the 4th Baron of Warrington, Mary believes she has procured an excellent situation. However, when she arrives at Whitefield Hall and meets her ladyship, she discovers a cold and aloof woman who does not want her companionship.

 

To make matters worse, her ladyship warns Mary to be careful because her son is a snake who seduces women. In fact, she blames him for the hasty departure of two previous companions. The baron, on the other hand, warns Mary not to believe everything she hears, calling his mother a poisonous spider.

Unsure who to trust, Mary settles into her new employment with caution. However, as the weeks pass in a strife-filled home occupied by bickering adults, she wonders if she will be the next companion to mysteriously flee from Whitefield Hall. (Approx. 34,000 words)

Amazon | Nook | Smashwords| Other Venues to Follow

Nora Covington Website

Historical Romance, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Jane Austen, Sadie Montgomery

"Willoughby" by Sadie Montgomery

Synopsis:
Willoughby is the story, taken from the pages of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, of the ill-fated lovers, Marianne and Willoughby.

Foolish and impetuous, Willoughby becomes involved in a reckless affair, the consequences of which he won’t fully know until it’s too late. Only when he meets and falls in love with Marianne Dashwood does he understand and regret the consequences of his rash behavior.

Cast aside, her romantic illusions broken, Marianne must teach her heart to love more wisely. Despite their separate paths, Willoughby’s and Marianne’s stories are intertwined, and fate brings them together, with unexpected consequences, at critical moments in their lives.

Faithful to the events in the original, Sadie Montgomery integrates new material into Austen’s text and spins a tale of missteps and their consequences, partial truths and revelations, transgressions and redemption. Taking the plot well beyond the final pages of Sense and Sensibility, we follow Marianne and Willoughby into their separate marriages, through joys and sorrows, through battles at home and abroad, to discover that passion does not always fade and that reason alone cannot fulfill us.

 

Aidan Turner, Articles, Caitriona Balfe, Diana Gabaldon, Historical Romance, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Masterpiece Theater, Outlander, Poldark, Recdcoats, Sam Heughan, Scotland

Historical Romance Books Coming to Life

Okay, so I’ve been watching on Facebook and hearing everyone else talk about the “highly anticipated” Outlander television series on Starz. On the other side of the camp, all the Poldark lovers are going crazy over that series being redone by Masterpiece Theater.

Because, I knew very little about Outlander, written by Diana Gabaldon, except for what I’ve read in multiple blog posts and reader comments, I finally downloaded the first book. From what I’ve gathered in searching the net and reading reviews, there is a lot of polarization regarding the story. The disagreeable readers say this — they liked the beginning and the premise, but as the story continued were appalled by scenes that turned them off (mainly, the supposed marital rape of Claire, Jamie beating Claire for disobedience, and Jamie’s rape by Captain Randall).  I will stay clear of that hot debate.

What makes a story extremely popular is uniqueness. Outlander is apparently one of those novels (a long series), as it takes the reader back in time from the 1940’s into 1700’s Scotland. It contains all of the right elements – mystery, danger, surprise, handsome Scottish hunk, bodice ripping, passionate lovemaking, and a difficult decision for the heroine to make.  To keep abreast of the story, I added Starz for $10 a month to my Comcast account.  Though I have read the first book, I will rely on the television series for the remainder.  As an author myself, it’s impossible for me to sit down and read the entire tale without sacrificing my own time that I need writing.

After watching the first two episodes, I am very impressed with the quality of the production.  Starz has brought the story to life through costumes, location, and cast.  They have put a huge amount of money into marketing this series and it shows.  The frenzy of fans are highly emotional, as well.  Just spend a few hours in the Facebook Fan Group with 29,000 plus ladies talking about what is under the kilt.

Now, let’s go to the heartthrob. Pictures of Sam Heughan, who plays Jamie, have been clogging my timeline on Facebook for months. Jamie is quite the hunk–young, virile, strong, and well-endowed, no doubt, as women think about what’s under that kilt. With his thick Scottish brogue, you just want to kiss him to shut him up, if you don’t mind the sweat and blood on his face to get there.

Claire is played by an equally talented and very beautiful Caitriona Balfe.  The others in the production are well casted and doing a fantastic job in their respective roles.  Tobias Menzies, who plays two roles in the show (Frank and Captain Randall), will make you cringe as the evil Redcoat after the Scots.

Since the Scots have been garnishing a huge amount of attraction from Outlander, the English have been feverishly working on their own series. 
Poldark on BBC Masterpiece Theater is slated for 2015 release, based on the books of Winston Graham.  It first aired on television in the 1970’s and became a hugely successful series garnishing it’s own swooning group of women over the main character, the dashing Ross Poldark, who will be played by Aidan Turner this time around.  
Set on the rocky coast of Cornwall, a former Redcoat who fought in the war of independence in 1776, returns home to resume his life and love only to find things have changed.
 
Needless to say that those who love to read historical romance, enjoy watching the stories come alive.  Of course, adaptations on television or the big screen do not always follow the books.  Already, there have been some comments regarding Outlander straying, and it will be interesting to see if Poldark is kept like the 1970’s series or morphed into something entirely new.  
Frankly, it doesn’t bother me if an adaptation isn’t religiously tied word for word to the original book.  I think that the author of Outlander is extremely blessed to see her work come alive on screen as are the readers of the series.  It’s frankly an experience that every historical author probably dreams about–I know that I do.

P.S.  If you are one of the unfortunate individuals who cannot get Starz; or if your country is not able to get the series, you can follow my weekly reviews on each episode at the following websites:

Historical Romance, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Novella, Period Images, Romantic Suspense

"Thorncroft Manor (A Novella) by Nova Covington

Just Released!

Caroline Woodard was convinced that she would die a spinster. Her headstrong personality was not her best quality, or an attractive female characteristic to eligible Englishmen.
Upon her cousin’s invitation to be her maid of honor, she travels to Pendeen, a small village on the Cornwall coast of England. Soon after her arrival, Caroline is introduced to Bramwell Croft, who will be the best man. Even though he is a wealthy owner of a tin mine, Caroline finds him to be a brooding and disagreeable man. Instantly, their personalities clash like the tempestuous sea that pounds the rocky coastline.
When she is forced to spend more time at Thorncroft than she would like, she finds herself strangely intrigued and attracted to the gloomy lord of the manor. However, as time goes by, Caroline cannot help but wonder if she will be his next victim of seduction or perhaps murder.
“Romance With a Kiss of Suspense” – Novella (Approx. 38,000 words) – Thorncroft Manor is the first in a set of six individual novellas placed in stately English homes, with mysterious characters and suspenseful romance, during the Victorian era. 
About the AuthorWebsite | Facebook | Twitter
Purchase Links:   Amazon | Smashwords | Nook, Apple, Kobo, and others (pending release)

 

 

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Bewitching Book Tours, Book Promo Blog, Catherine Hemmerling, Entangled Publishing, Historical Romance, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post

Book Promo: "Romancing His English Rose" by Catherine Hemmerling

Entangled Publishing

Synopsis:

Rose Warren and Simon Trumbull may have been betrothed since birth, but that doesn’t mean they have to like each other. Rose is sure the notorious playboy Simon will never willingly settle down, and Simon, well… he agrees. Never one to be forced into anything, he’d rather drink and gamble with his mates than spend time with the bookish, bespectacled Rose.

When the two are thrown together to investigate a potential poisoning mystery, neither expects the sparks that fly. Simon discovers that Rose is, in face, a brilliant sleuth and – even better – hides a delectable body beneath her flowing skirts. Suddenly, falling into bed may be the best idea either has heard, but can Simon convince Rose his romancing is forever?

About the Author:

Catherine Hemmerling has been a technical writer in the software industry for nearly twenty years and has published many user manuals and technical documentation in that time. She has always had a love of writing fiction but has never pursued publication in that genre until now.

Hopefully, it is the beginning of a long new journey with Lady Lancaster and the Garden Society girls. Certainly, historical romance (especially the scandalous kind) is more fun than writing technical documents!

This author happily resides in Tehachapi, California (near Bakersfield – home of her Alma-mater!) with her family.

Catherine writes for Entangled Publishing’s Scandalous historical line and is thrilled to be part of their family of writers!

Author Links:   Website | Twitter Facebook

Buy Link:  Amazon

11th Century England, Anna Markland, Book Promo Blog, Conquering Passion, Historical Romance, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, Long Ago Love Blog

Book Promo: "Conquering Passion" by Anna Markland

SYNOPSIS

CONQUERING PASSION covers a span of over ten years and is rich in details of 11th century England. Book One of the Montbryce Legacy introduces the three Montbryce brothers, Rambaud (Ram), Antoine and Hugh, and follows Ram’s journey with Mabelle de Valtesse through the labyrinth of dangers that existed in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest.
Mabelle, a strong heroine, is more than a match for her warrior hero, Ram. The passion quickly flares between them, but both are reluctant to admit their love. Can a man like Ram, who demands obedience in a wife, find love with the wilful refugee brought to his bed in an arranged marriage? Mabelle is an independent woman who has learned to live by her wits during a six-year exile with her psychotic father.
Only through trials and tragedy do they finally realize that they can no longer deny what their hearts have always known—love conquers all.
Lovers of medieval romance and English history during the time of King William the Conqueror will enjoy this intimate story of passion, betrayal, ambition, vengeance, and of course love.

Amazon