Global Settings for Historical Romance

When writing a book, authors are faced with decisions about what era to choose and what location to place the story. Since historical romance genre readers have their likes and dislikes, those decisions can influence sales.

If you do a quick perusal of today’s best-selling historical romance books on Amazon Kindle, the top twenty are set in the following locations: 14 – United Kingdom, 2 – France, 3 – United States.

An interesting article was published in USA Today/LIFE by By: Joyce Lamb | July 6, 2016, focusing on the fact that historical romance set outside of England can be risky business. (See Link Below)

Settings in England continue to flood the marketplace. Perhaps that is why we are drowning in dukes and other titled aristocrat-related stories. Why, however, are readers not as interested in other geographical settings? The British have apparently made such an influence on literature throughout history in their abundance of romantic poets and female authors such as Austen, Bronte, and Gaskell, that we rarely look elsewhere. Romance in England holds our fanciful interests more so than stories set in other regional settings. Perhaps it’s one place the empire continues to rule because it appears the sun never sets on the British Empire of historical romance.

The more I look at the trends of the genre, the more I become convinced readers and authors are stuck in a rut. Of course, if readers don’t support the authors who dare to cross country borders, a dramatic change in the genre may never occur.

Romance stories can be universal and not confined to one country.  It’s “a book or movie dealing with love in a sentimental or idealized way,” says the English Oxford Living Dictionary.  Nevertheless, let’s face it — there’s nothing to idealize in a story about falling in love with a farmer from 19th century Poland.  However, give us an English country estate, lavish lifestyles, a titled duke, and we’re more than ready to transport ourselves into the idealized romance of English life.

To read more about the brave authors who dare to set historicals outside of England, click on the link below.

Happy reading!

Diana Quincy, whose new historical romance, A License to Wed (Rebellious Brides No. 3), is out this week, joins us to explore the topic of setting historicals outside of England. Diana: If there’s one unwritten rule in historical romance, it’s that venturing outside of England is a risky proposition.

Source: Why setting a historical romance outside of England is risky business

The Changing Heroines in Historical Romance

Female power. The new “alpha feminist” has arrived in the historical romance genre, becoming the new archetype of heroines presented to readers. The former heroines of eras past are now given twenty-first-century feminist empowerment by authors who are frustrated with the modern day female woes.

Should such role reversals be found only in contemporary romance or is it all right to change the facts of historical romance in order to rewrite what we dislike about a woman’s place two hundred years ago? The bodice-ripping dukes may soon be replaced by the female dominant who acts quite differently than a woman in want of a husband would have done so during the Regency or Victorian eras.

What are your thoughts about rewriting the historical aspect of historical romance to satisfy our strong female egos of the current century? Are you tired of reading about weak-willed and submissive women? Do you prefer putting period clothing on a twenty-first-century role model and ignoring the norms of the bygone days? Since staunch reviewers often chide authors that their historical romance contains modern-day dialogue, are the modern-day attitudes going to be embraced regardless of accuracy?

The growing change of empowering female characters from the past will have a huge influence on historical romance. Nevertheless, readers will gravitate toward what suits them as they read toward the happily-ever-after ending in search of romance.  It could be the typical dominant male hero that keeps your fancy or perhaps you’ll seek out the strong heroine who could care less what her place should be in the scheme of things.  Historical feminism will definitely be arriving earlier in historical romance books, according to the article below.

What are your thoughts?  Like?  Dislike?

Romance fans have long loved the genre for its unapologetic celebration of female power and sexuality. Now more and more writers are beginning to consider the ways in which their work can offer not just a happy ending, but a powerful statement.

Source: Who Gets A Happily Ever After In 2018?

Strike a Pose for Covers – The Backstrain

Yesterday, I was feeling a bit loopy looking at old historical romance book covers. Have you ever thought about the cover poses in this genre?  If you look at the older books, I can imagine an ensuing backache and neck strain sustained if a shirtless man bent me over backward, while I lifted my naked leg up against his side.  Romantic?  I laugh at the faces of these ladies who often turn their head away and looked pained rather than seduced.  Of course, the windstorm is always blowing and the hair is flying around.  Do they make you go ouch or moan at the thought of the dominant male seducing you as our spine cracks?

Have a bit of a chuckle with me on the first strike a pose for covers blog post.  More to come!

Has the pose diminished in current historical romance covers?  Not really.  Backs and necks are still out of line, however, it’s hard to find the consistent leg up these days.

Why We Still Call Them Bodice Rippers (Racked)

A rather interesting article on historical romance and the 1970’s term of Bodice Rippers, where books were all about sexually aggressive men taking weak women.  The author has a point about the former ideals in the ’70’s and ’80’s with repressed sexuality and the excitement these books produced. Nowadays, putting any type of forced sexual assault in an historical romance book is pretty much taboo among readers.  What are your thoughts?

Derision for the genre might have as much to do with the bodice as the ripping.

“While historical romance remains a major part of the romantic fiction genre today, experts agree that bodice rippers describe a short and specific moment in American publishing history that lasted only between the early 1970s and mid-1980s. “