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Monday, September 26, 2011

Historical Romances: Likes and Pet Peeves

I had a great post for you from the suggestion of one of our readers who said the Liturgical Year would make more sense if people understood the Liturgical Day. Unfortunately, it’s on a flash drive at home and I’m not there. However, I thought we could have some fun today talking about likes and dislikes, as well as things that just create wall-bangers for some of us. I’ve mentioned a few of mine on the HHRW General Loop a few times. One of my main dislikes is obviously someone trying to cast 20th century mores in an 11th century world; writers who don’t understand the historical ramifications of Last Rites using them as a plot tool and creating the ultimate sinner; people who say, “You won’t use a word that works because someone told them it is too new…” Sorry, I don’t speak Old French and I doubt most would understand Old English or Latin. These are only a few, but I didn’t want to take them all and leave none for you.

I have likes too! I love an Historical Romance that takes me through the gamut of emotions and doesn’t read like a history lesson. I love historical situations that drive the plot, so that I’m not reading a book that could be written in any era and still turn out the same way. I don’t have a problem with the historicals of the late 70’s and 80’s that many call bodice busters… Except for one, and I won’t name the title but the book took the hero and heroine around the world by ship and put them in some of the most ridiculous scenarios that the nearly 500 page (or was it 600?) took me forever to read.
So have fun and share with us today, whether reader or writer, let us know what you like or dislike.

Mary McCall

9 comments:

Cheryl Ann Smith said...

Hi Mary,

I like romances with a bit of adventure/danger. I don't like when the romance is forced too quickly. There's no sexual tension build up before he's groping her behind a bush and she's all over him like they haven't just met five minutes ago.

mmccall0911 said...

I totally agree. I love when authors consider Desmond's 12 steps and weave them through a story without forcing the H/h through the process without considering the "feelings" they encounter.

derekd said...

A couple of things. First is when the heroine falls in love with the guy even though he has been a total jerk. Or, the couple decides they are in love without much leading up to it in the story. Both create a bit of a whiplash effect for me.

The second is when authors seem to feel the need to ground their story in history by tossing in the political climate, or historical figures of the time. It's fine when it really fits the plot, but sometimes it just feels forced, like it is a requirement to claim authenticity.

BTW Mary, I read Highland Captive last night, and really enjoyed it. Looking forward to the sequel.

Christina said...

I'm with Cheryl Ann, I love adventure and danger in my books. I like a suspensful or a mysterious atmosphere. I think Victoria Alexander does the very nicely. And I agree with Derek, I don't like it when the heroine falls for the hero who has no redeeming qualities. Even if he's a beast there has to be something gentle there where the heroine is concerned.

Denise Pattison said...

I hate it when the H/h thinks that the other one is a great person, caring, thoughtful, etc. when I've seen no evidence of it in the book--anywhere. I think, "Huh? what did I miss?"

Another issue with me, as an RN, is when the writer says they have experience in the medical field and proceed to make medical missteps in the book.

I hate, hate, hate that we, as writers, can't fully write about the Civil War without being called politically incorrect. Sheesh! It's a compelling time in the history of the USA but if we even put one historically accurate word in from that time we get slammed. We can't and shouldn't change history. We need to learn from it, make sure it's never, ever repeated.

Fraoch said...

This will get me in trouble but I hate the over used and often ridiculous use of the "handfast marriage-with a year and a day to get out"... it is a romance and they are not going to get out of it. That is a given!!! In Scotland all you had to do was declare yourself married together and you were which was legal and child legit. So why the whole year a day because in the eyes of the community you were married period. Church called these irregular marriage and were legal until 1939. I like dont' like historicals that could be placed anywhere with just say a medieval or regency feel but no feel for the setting. To stupid to live women who go after heroes who treat them like shite and the same with a guy who can see the good (beyond her boobs) good in the misunderstood bitch.

What I like are romances that steeped in history, not info dumps but ones where the characters are squarely involved in the history of that location and period . I also love a lot of sexual tension, and a few (3 or less) intimate scenes. I like to see unique twists on old themes. Like you been reading romances back to the 60's and the bodice rippers had less sex and way more story. I like it when the heroine is atypical for the period, or kind of a misfit and yet they end up with the Rogue because he too under all that good looks is kind of geek too. And I love trilogies and series romances where you can revist it in a limited way h/h from pasts books to know what they are up to. I could go on but I would say to authors DON'T WRITE THE MARKET, WRITE WHAT YOU WANT TO READ.

Debra Maher said...

Interesting post, Mary!

Slightly off topic since it concerns traditional publishing, not writing, but I agree with Denise about about the Civil War. At numerous conference pitches to agents and editors, as soon as I've said the words "my hero is a Civil War veteran" I'm told "the Civil War will never sell. Do you have anything else?"

I believe one of the most encouraging things about the rise of Indie publishing is that we might at last be able publish our work, regardless of perceived popularity of the time period.

marybelle said...

I love the research done for a book.

My pet peeve is the author feeling they need to use it ALL.

Firetulip said...

I mostly write paranormal so I may not be the best to comment here since it seems all are talking about historical. But as luck will have it my wip is historical fantasy (pirates)and I don't write about England, USA, or anywhere in English speaking world for that matter. I haven't come across many hisorical that take place in other parts of the world so I'm not sure how my story will be received. My pet peeve if you will, is that everyone wants something different, but is the world really ready for something different. When they are presented with somethig different, they can't recognize it and they want same old. Oh, your book has to fall in one of these cathegories, or you don't have HEA or this or that.