Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Joanne Rock | Hunger for Historicals

March 3, 2008

It’s a good time for historicals. Or at least, it should be. I’ve seen more historical shows and movies in the last few years than at any time in the last few decades. The Tudors. Rome. Cate Blanchett’s turns as Elizabeth. Not one, but two versions of Beowulf. It’s a historical writer’s dream. But what about for a fan of historical stories? Are we seeing the trend carried out in our books? Certainly I see the trend in more mainstream-y fiction. The fabulous success of Philippa Gregory’s books tells me interest is there for readers. But I’m not sure the new popularity has fully touched the ranks of romance given the percentage of new historical romances available.

My first clue was that some of historical romance’s brightest stars have gone on to write contemporary books. Lisa Kleypas in recent years. Before that, readers witnessed a rash of historical author defections—Elizabeth Lowell, Iris Johansen, Julie Garwood, Pamela Morsi. Other authors, like Amanda Quick, maintained a larger presence on the contemporary side while still writing historical books. I miss their historical offerings, don’t you?

Likewise, when Pirates of the Caribbean exploded in popularity, I thought for sure we’d see some renewed interest in pirate books. A diehard fan of Miranda Jarrett’s Sparhawk series, I couldn’t wait for this to happen. But how many pirate books have we seen in the last decade? Not nearly enough. Remember Susan WiggsCharm School? I could read many, many more books like this.

Of course, it’s hardly all bad news for historical romances. Authors like Madeline Hunter have tapped into the wealth of readers hungry for historical books. And a few years ago, Harlequin Historicals debated discontinuing the long-running series and then decided against the move after readers and booksellers proclaimed their appreciation for the line. Since then, I’ve seen Harlequin Historicals become more open to a wider variety of time periods, and I think that’s a good sign.

What about you? Are there enough historicals in stores to suit your reading appetite? Or do you wish there were more? If so, what time periods do you enjoy and would you like to see an expansion into others?

Finally, I’d love to hear what you think of the historical movies and series in our media. Do you adore The Tudors as much as me? Enter my One Day Only blog contest, I’m giving away signed copies of A Knight Most Wicked to two lucky winners.

Joanne Rock

No Comments

Comments are closed.