History and Research

HistoricalRomanceRocks

To find out more follow #histrom or visit http://historicalromancenetwork.com/

If you have found your way here, you probably already love Historical Romance. However, the genre does have it’s naysayers. *gasp*

There’s always someone saying something along the line of, “The historical is dead. Dead, I tell you, dead!”

Certainly, the genre has cycled through several periods. [Classics! Sweet! Epic! Gothic! Fun! Dark! Suspenseful! Sexy!] A-hem. However, to slightly misquote Mr. Clemens, the reports of the demise of the historical have been greatly exaggerated.

In fact, you can now buy new-and-wonderful books in any period from Ancient Nomadic people, to Roman, to Viking, to European Medieval, to Georgian-Regency-Victorian England, to American Western, to American Colonial, to American Southern-set, to the Gilded Age and even to the early 20th century. And no matter what time period you choose, you will find a heart-rending love story both tied-to and yet transcending the concerns of that time.

How beautiful it is to immerse yourself in a world beyond your own–a world the author has taken pains to help you visit, heaping care and attention to sensory detail that will let you experience another time while also giving you a story that will prove the heart and soul to be perennial.

Sounds great, right?

What are some objections, then? Well, here are two I have heard:

“But they didn’t bathe back then.”

Le sigh.

First of all, not EVERYONE in history believed water was the source of every disease. And, even if full-tub-immersion was uncommon through most of history, can we not agree that our ancestors found each other attractive enough to get us here? Perhaps our modern noses would have had trouble in prior times, but if the character’s noses would not have been offended–and they would have been accustomed to the scents of their day unless they were somewhere unusual–why should our senses be ‘imaginarily’ offended enough to confine us to fictional stories set in the modern, overly floral scented world? It’s quite possible they would find our synthetic scents overwhelming.

Besides, take it from someone who has stayed for weeks on a farm where the water had to be hand-pumped: sponge baths are remarkably effective. And, do we worry if the protagonists of modern romances are showering daily when we read? No! We get lost in the story. As we should.

“I don’t want a history lesson.”

Historical Romance Authors aren’t professors. I take that back. Many Historical Romance Authors actually are professors, but, when writing, they are storytellers first. Authors use time periods to enhance the story, not to teach a lesson or to detract from the reading experience. I promise you will quickly understand what’s going on in a historical, even if the world or expressions used are unfamiliar. Why? Context. And beta readers. Sure there are words and references that certain devotees of a time-period will know without referencing the context, but I pinky swear you will enjoy a dance between two potential, nervous young lovers even if you’ve never heard of Almacks and have no idea how the cravat thing the author said was tied around the hero’s neck would have actually looked.

So, there are my arguments for historical romance. Or, actually, my arguments against the arguments against historical romance.

If you love Historical Romance, check out the #histrom tag on twitter to discover new books, new time periods and new books from authors-new-to-you, or go visit the web and/or Facebook page of The Historical Romance Network.   I have pinned some of my favorite historical romances on this Pinterest board (by NO means exhaustive…I’m working on it).

And, if you want to post or tweet the meme above, please feel free. Share the love!