The article linked below makes the point, “The Duke and I, was first published in 2000 – twenty years ago, well before woke culture, the #MeToo movement, and our growing understanding of consent and healthy gender dynamics.” We are back again to the conundrum that historical romance needs to stay pure to the times in which women lived, or we need to tweak the past so that it doesn’t offend those in the present.
Recently I read a review for the Earl’s Well that Ends Well, a new release by Catherine Heloise, on another book website. I won’t go into the review itself but would like to focus upon a comment left by a reader. Perhaps it brings up a singular thought or one that is currently running through the historical romance genre as readers deal with the past versus the present. Can readers find enjoyment in love stories that deal with toxic relationships and time periods that were oppressive to women? On the other hand, are more progressive readers going to demand that authors write novels in tune with today’s social expectations?
It’s an interesting argument that I think is going to split the genre going forward. There will be readers who want historical norms with romance, and others who want a modern romance version set in a historical setting. I think there can definitely be a blend of strong heroines in books going forward as discussed in a previous post, “Changing Heroines in Historical Romance.” All you have to do nowadays is read book reviews and focus on the five and one-star comments. The split of opinions on the subject is growing.
Talk to me! Do you mind reading about “toxic” relationships? Of course, characters should have flaws and the healing of couples can bring two together into healthy relationships. Do the oppressive eras that women dealt with rub you the wrong way, or are you able to handle it if the female character has a bit of spunk?
The problem with Bridgerton is not in how it portrays society but in how it portrays the relationship between Daphne and Simon. Beneath the veneer of romance, it’s a mutually manipulative and toxic relationship and one that shouldn’t be emulated. Unfortunately, it’s this sort of relationship that Bridgerton chooses to center, and in doing so, the show fails its modern audience.