Romance and Me: Do you like the Historical Romance Sub-genre?

Filed in Romance and Me , The Latin Lover Posted on January 25, 2012 @ 3:00 pm 16 comments

Hey Everyone!

When creating this bi-weekly feature we brainstormed that it would be a good opportunity to highlight and discuss the various romance subgenres as there are so many. Well the time has finally come to start our venture into Romance Sub-genres 101.

As Jackie needs her blackboard for her Elements of Lit 201 class, why not make this a more relaxed event and take a comfortable seat around the coffee table, you can choose from the sofa, armchairs, the plush carpet or even bean bags and let us begin!

Our first sub-genre to explore will be historical romance. As it is such a vast genre and we can discuss so many related topics it will be the subject of our discussions for a few weeks.

So to warm up the session,  as I knew that our little Book Lovers team was quite heterogeneous on the subject I asked them about their feelings towards historical romance novels and the genre in particular. Here is what they said:

Caro: (whom we affectionately also call the HR Lover ;-p – Stella) I LOVE Historical Romance novels. I thought it would just be a phase and I’d outgrow it but it seems I can’t live without HR. They make me feel all gooey inside. It was love at first read for me! I had all these prejudices against HR (I said to myself more than once ‘I’ll NEVER read those kinds of books’) and one day after reading the 1000th review saying how amazing The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie was, I caved in and ordered it. I fell in love with the book instantly and I wondered if it was just the book or if in the end I could actually be enjoying the genre. So I ordered another HR and I never stopped. And what’s their appeal? I love being transported back to a time where balls and gowns ruled the world 😉 No seriously, It’s just too hard to explain. I have a soft spot for those books. BUT I’m picky when it comes to HR, any story won’t do.

Susi: I don’t like HR most of the time. Caro is actually highly frustrated about that. Every time she shows me a new HR cover I go all meh. I do enjoy them but only when the heroine is independent aka behaves totally unlike it is expected from her in the time she lives in. I rather not read about women who don’t know what sex is and believe that some rich rake guy will save them. Meh. Give me a HR with emancipated woman and I’m game.

Anna: I absolutely love HR and so far I haven’t encountered a title in that genre that really disappointed me. Well, since I have only read Kleypas and Quinn that’s only logical. I love the setting, I love the feel of them and I love to read about the past.

It was definitely love at first read! For months before I finally decided to give the genre a chance, two of my friends were non-stop talking about dukes and how in love they were with them. So I thought I should at least give this genre a go before dismissing it without knowing what I’m missing. And choosing The Duke and I by Julia Quinn was just the right choice to make me fall in love with the genre.

Amanda: Ymmv, I haven’t read a historical romance novel in a long while. But the reason I get caught up in anything historical is the potential for sword fights, corsets, and full shirts, ooh and the pretty dresses *sigh*.

I agree with Susi in that I prefer an emancipated woman over a pretty little wallflower. The men who expect them to be like that also get on my goat. I like a man who is possessive to a degree and stubborn. But not ones who expect women to sit in their place and be seen and not heard.

It’s why I stray more into fantasy I guess…you get the women of today in the clothes of yesteryear….and swords!

Lea: Regarding Historical Romance I’ve been in a bit of a quandary because I haven’t been reading a lot of historical romance in recent years, not because I don’t like it, but because I read so much historical novels in the 90’s burnout on the genre ensued. I’ve occasionally picked up a highly recommended historical in recent times and enjoyed.

Alisha: It was because of a reading challenge that I’d actually read my first historical romance. I love Jane Austen (and one of my favoritest books of all time is Pride and Prejudice), and I think I’d long been afraid that a modern take on the wonderful dynamics of that era would not be enjoyable. Boy, I was wrong! Sure, historical romance as we know it today is not staid and proper on all sides–the passion and daring is much more upfront–but it’s exciting and satisfying in its own way. The first historical romance I’d read? Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean. Full of fiesty fun, and even though the situations therein were a bit unlikely, I had fun imagining them.

Stella: I LOVE historical romance. I’ve loved this genre long before I came to like and appreciate the other romance sub-genres (even long before I discovered what other sub-genres existed), HR is and always has been my favourite, my guilty pleasure, that kind of books which make me feel warm and sigh with a smile when the story ends. They make me feel good and I love the romance of old days when honour, duty, restraint had meanings and were more than just pretty words. I loved Jane Austen and the British classics since the moment I discovered them, but somehow didn’t consider Pride and Prejudice a historical romance, more a classical literature piece. Then I stumbled upon Jude Devereaux’s Velvet series and with wide eyes discovered that the kind of books where history, action, romance were all mixed together existed and how good they were! Since then I’ve discovered many fantastic authors and HR series and HR still remains one of my true loves 😀

So now that we shared with you our position on HR please do tell us,

Do you read historical romance novels?

Do you like/love them? Was it love at first read or did it take time for you to warm up to the genre?

Which novel/author made you discover the genre?

If you don’t read/enjoy historical romances, can you tell us why you prefer to avoid this genre?

 Do come back in 2 weeks when we’ll continue to discuss what historical romance is exactly.

About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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Join the Discussion
  • Sullivan McPig January 25, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    I got a soft spot for historical romances and especially Regency and Victorian age romances.
    I was introduced to romance novels with Historical Romance books so i think that explains my soft spot. Kathleen Woodiwiss. Jude Devereaux and Victoria Holt were among the first books I read. (The Shivering Sands by V. Holt and Twin of Ice by J. Devereaux are still being reread from time to time)
    i love it that at the moment more and more authors do cross-overs of historical and paranormal btw

    • Susi January 25, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      I seriously wouldn’t have guessed that. LOL You surprised me. 😉

      • Sullivan McPig January 26, 2012 at 6:37 pm

        Blame my grandmother. She’s the one who kept lending me her historical romances. We often discussed the books we read together. I have very fond memories of that, so an extra explanation for my soft spot 😉

  • miki January 25, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    i’m quite knew to it and for stella’s Challenge i will try to discover more of them to make my mind. Now it’s only by book tour i followed ( ashley march) that i have an idea and i think i like them or at least when the plot is realistic

  • Carrie at In the Hammock Blog January 25, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    I LOVE historical romances!!! There is no genre that I like better. They are addicting!!! it’s such an escape.

  • Sheree January 25, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    To me, romances are like adult fairy tales and what’s more of a fairy tale than “once upon a time in Regency/Victorian/Edwardian/Medieval England…”? Sure, the heroines are mostly too young (as befitting the time) and rarely does anyone get STDs, but I do tend to grab the historicals in my TBR pile more often than the contemps or paranormals.

  • chandragay January 25, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    There are (2) fiction romance sub-genres that I am fanatical and go “ga ga” over. Historical Romance and Paranormal Romance. But send me to historical Europe. Highlanders are really the bomb. They also rock my world when they are Highlander vampires.

  • Linda January 25, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    I love HR; it’s my fav subgenre (tog with fantasy romance). I guess it’s bcos I like reading books where I can experience sthg different from reality. Otherwise I’d just watch the news on tv :p (I admit it’s the escapism angle). Oh yes, & I like the language & the way of speech.

  • June M. January 26, 2012 at 2:40 am

    I do read and enjoy historical romances. There are certain authors who I really enjoy. I do read other types of romances too, paranormals, contemporaries, etc. I tend to jump around anymore, so that I don’t burn out on one sub-genre.

  • Tamsyn January 26, 2012 at 4:19 am

    I was weaned on Barbara Cartland’s books with her Dukes and Duchesses and balls and aristocracy. But now, I enjoy all romances, regardless of genres. Each has its own allure. I only ask for one thing, a HEA!

  • aurian January 26, 2012 at 7:11 am

    Hi ladies, great post, and I also loved reading all the comments. Like Sullivan, I grew up with the books by Jude Deveraux, Bertrice Small, Linda Lael Miller, and of course Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer. I still own those books, and have also acquired them in English in recent years. (Yes, I know, I am a bookaddict!).
    I still read Jude Deveraux and Bertrice Small, and have added many great names to the list. If you want your historicals with strong ladies and a mix of paranormal, try Amanda Quick. If you want a bit older heroines, try Stephanie Laurens. (Although lately, they are all the same mold, and I keep longing for more originality plotwise and characterwise).
    I keep adding new authors to my collection, but I don’t really have the time to read them. I keep thinking: when I get fired, I can’t buy books anymore, and then I will have plenty to read for years to come …

  • Leagh C January 26, 2012 at 10:01 am

    I also love historical romance but especially love regency historicals. They are my favorite. While reading it I just *sigh* get all warm and fuzzy inside. The gentlemen are so caring and they worship the women they love. I do need to make a couple recommendations for those that do like historical romance.

    Jennifer Haymore: Confessions of An Improper Bride and the following books in the series

    Shana Galen: The Making of a Duchess and the following books in the series.

    Keiran Kramer’s Bachelor series.

    All of them are very good and recommended reads in my eyes 🙂

    Great post!!!

  • Rebs @ Book Rants January 26, 2012 at 10:22 am

    I love historical romance it’s what first really made me a book worm, when I was probably too young I stole my mom’s HR books and devoured them! And Julia Quinn is my all time favorite HR author, good choice!

  • Marlene January 26, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I started on the historicals first. I came in from the historical fiction side because I got caught up in all of Victoria Holt’s various books under all her different names.;-) I know just enough of the history to be fascinated but how the romance weaves in. And then there’s Outlander. (sigh)

  • Diane Sallans January 26, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    YES & YES – Love HR. Started many years ago with Barbara Cartland & Georgette Heyer, got a bit tired with those formula books where the hero & heroine fought all the time until he last chapter, but then got into it again. I think editors finally stopped insisting on the old formula.

  • LSUReader January 26, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I enjoy historical romance. Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series was my first real intro to the genre and that happened just a few years ago. You BLI gals sure picked some great books to spotlight in this column. I would add two that were among my favorite reads of 2011: Julie Anne Long’s What I Did for a Duke and Courtney Milan’s Unveiled.

    I read other romance genres, mysteries and suspense books. Strong characters are what make a book special to me. I know sometimes folks give historical romance short shrift because the heroines may seem less independent. (I’m smiling at you, Susi girl!) I think much of that depends upon the modern view we readers ascribe to them. Jessica Trent, of Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels, is intelligent and driven, protective and capable. I think she and Gin Blanco, of Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassin series, would get along beautifully, because they are so similar!

    Thanks for a good column.

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