How to Read Historical Romance: A Book Geek’s Guide.
Julia Quinn, writes about dashing heroes, duels at dawn and ton ballrooms. She also writes about how people in history misunderstood and mistreated those with disabilities. She gives us an honest look at what it truly means to be a Cinderella story. It wasn’t that easy to fall in love with a person outside of your class and station. Can you really imagine what the palace was like when charming informed his parents that he wanted to marry an orphaned maid? What’s great about the writing of Ms. Quinn is that she never preaches to us. There is no soapbox and megaphone. Quinn writes romance, but she is realistic about it. No, most woman are not going to fall into the arms of an autocratic male. He’ll have to win her just like Darcy won Lizzie Bennet. Her men are not physically forceful with her ladies, but we are always aware that those men exist. We know about the lords that took advantage of and then abandoned the maids. We know all this, but we also know love. Quinn writes romance like it’s poetry. It’s beautifully woven, filled with angst, hope and beautiful words. Her dialogue is witty, her females are smart and her males are respectful of that intelligence. The audience gets swept away by scenes of stolen kisses, intimate revelations and characters that stand by each other no matter what.
Eloisa James, writes characters that have been clichéd and gives them dimension. There is the beast holed up in his castle, but that castle is also a hospital and that beast is a doctor more concerned with saving lives than socializing. James has written the rogue prince who hunts a bride for her fortune, but the prince has a crumbling castle and many people relying on him for support he cannot give. She has written the dandy, who loves clothes and is as stylish as they come, but is deeply masculine and will stop at nothing to get the girl. Eloisa James has such an interesting style. Reading her books are almost like reading a well-written Victorian gossip column or as if a talented storyteller is also the biggest gossip in town. It’s intimate and yet it is vast. James also has comedy in her writing. There are things so absurd they ring true and it makes you chuckle and laugh to yourself. Her characters make rash choices or decides that they’re going to get so and so to marry them and it’s like “Really, how did you get to that solution?!” I love that about her writing. I also love that she is not afraid to write about “fallen women.” Her heroines are not all snowy white and virginal. These ladies have experience. They are seductresses and vixens. Like I said, James adds dimension.
Lisa Kleypas is the Queen of tortured self-made heroes. In a world saturated with foreign Princes and wealthy Dukes, Lisa Kleypas often writes about men who started with nothing. Anyone who has read about the ambitious, but broken Derek Craven, could never forget him. Characters like Derek are the opposite of what you expect from historical romance. More than an anti-hero, with his scarred face, disreputable past and lower class speech, Derek Craven does not quite fit into the genre. Which is why he is perfect for it. Kleypas also does not always write beautiful heroines. In a genre where heroines are always perfect and classy, it is refreshing to read about the bookish Sarah, Sophia who is not a virgin, the unladylike Lucy and Evie with the stutter. Lisa’s books are about the people the genre has forgotten, the gypsys, the bastard children of noblemen, the gamblers, the prostitutes, the cold lord and female authors. Lets not forget, the self made man who is looked down upon, but is too rich to be ignored.
Here is a list of my favorite Historical Romance novels: Click Read More to see the entire list.