Historical Romance, My Love - by Lily Dalton
Over the last year, I’ve participated in some booksignings. I’m friendly, and love talking to people but there’s one comment about historicals that I’ve heard a good handful of times, and it always makes me want to put my head down on the table and cry.
“This looks like something my grandma would have loved.”
Ouch. Mind you, I love grandmas. I also hope they enjoy my books. But I think there’s an unfortunate belief by many that historical novels are an old fashioned choice, unchanged over the previous decades as far as style and content, and packed page to page with purple prose. That fear was confirmed last year when I happened to meet a Ph.D. professor of literature who teaches at a national university. She told me one of the classes she taught covered romances as a form of literature. How wonderful, I thought, and asked what historicals were on the syllabus. I expected to hear names like Sherry Thomas or Sarah MacLean or Eloisa James.
Her answer: Kathleen Woodiwiss’ Shanna. What?
Don’t get me wrong. I love the book myself. It’s a classic. But I was disappointed to hear that a book published in 1977 was being held up as a representation of historical romance in the year 2013, as if nothing along the way had changed. Keep in mind I have a bookshelf full of vintage romances that I love and often reread. But just as the world has transformed in three and a half decades, so has historical romance. Yet the evolution of the genre has kept me engaged.
Still, one can’t deny that at its core, so much about the historical genre remains the same. The original plot devices continue to draw me in. Why do I love them so much? Aside from the simple joy of being transported across time, I love, love, LOVE, reading stories about exceptional women facing and overcoming challenges, and finding love with an uncommonly heroic, sexy man along the way. Though it’s easy to look back at history through a very rose-colored, romantic lens, reality wasn’t that kind. People married for survival. To continue bloodlines. To bolster fortunes. To continue dynasties. Marriage, under those circumstances, didn’t lead to many happily-ever-afters. Truly passionate and enduring love matches had to have been very rare.
That’s why it’s magic for me to immerse in that world, and imagine the circumstances of how such an unlikely and unexpected love might begin and unfold.
What about you? Do you love historical romances? If so, what differences do you see between historicals published now and those published 2-3 decades ago? Did you read historicals at one time and have since given them up? If so, spill the details, and tell us why.
Lily will be giving away 1 copy of Never Desire a Duke. Please enter with you email address. This giveaway will end on April 25th at noon. Good Luck!!!