Romance has been part of storytelling since the Ugggh clan sat around the campfire in the Stone Age, and today the romance genre flourishes in many delightful forms. But I think that historicals have something special that really says romance!
The dashing costumes are delightful even for those of us who would rather be shot than wear a corset. The past is a great escape from everyday life. We can return to times and places when Men were Men, Women were Women, and both probably needed a good bath. *grin* When we read historical romances, we aren’t thinking about the dark side of history. My English ancestors were probably field laborers, but I read and write about lords and ladies, because it’s fun.
Of course, a certain amount of realism is required to anchor the story and give it emotional resonance. Men who were raised with great wealth, power, and privilege run the risk of being arrogant jerks, which is why I so often torture my heroes. It makes them better and more compassionate, so anything I inflict on them is for their own good. Really.
Historical romance also allows for over-the-top plot elements like marriages of convenience, amnesia, noble highwaymen and pirates, and characters returning from presumed death. I love all of those (well, not so much the highwaymen and pirates), and over the years I’ve conjured apparent death for an embarrassing number of characters, especially the heroes.
I also adore amnesia—what is a man when memory, habit, and the expectations of friends are stripped away? What is the inner truth that has a chance to emerge? My July release, Loving a Lost Lord, is my third amnesia book, and the hero starts the book apparently dead. But he was certainly happy to meet Mariah, the adaptable blond beauty who drags his mostly drowned body ashore. By the time he and Mariah work things out, Adam has come to terms with his half Hindu heritage and his ducal station, and is a much happier man. I’m sure that someday he’ll thank me for all I put him through.
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