Historical Fiction – Do Historical Romance Readers Care?

Romance Writer’s of America gives guidelines as to what constitutes the genre of “Romance” and the many sub-genres that go along with it.  It’s basically two points, and I quote:  A central love story and an emotionally-satisfying and optimistic ending.  You get the drift.  Boy meets girl.  They fall in love.  Have a few obstacles along the way, and live happily ever after. 

What about historical fiction novels with romantic elements?  Are they worth the read too? The definition of historical fiction, which is a sub-genre of literature, is set in the past and “characterized chiefly by an imaginative reconstruction of historical events and personages.” (i.e., dictionary.com)

If you’re willing to take the “central love story” but not kill the author for the ending, they can be a satisfying read. Not all historical fiction books have happy or optimistic endings. Stories of kings and queens and the people they loved were largely influenced by their inherited duties and roles. Two of Isabella’s daughters, for instance, were married off for political alliances to men in other countries.  One of those daughters was Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII. 

One particular book recently released by C. W. Gortner, The Queen’s Vow, has caught my eye.  It’s about Isabella of Castile as a young woman.  I read an earlier work of his entitled The Last Queen about Joanna of Castile, who was one of Isabella’s daughters who married Philip the Handsome (yes that was his name) the Duke of Burgundy.

A few years ago, I got caught up in Joanna’s story of undying love for her adulterous husband.  Definitely not a happy ending, so don’t put it on your historical romance shelf if you think you’ll throw it against the wall when you read the last page. If you’re curious about her, just Google her name and read her sad story of going mad because of her love for Philip.  And if that piques your interest, there is a wonderful foreign movie, Juana la Loca (Joanna the Mad).  It’s dubbed in English, but well worth the watch.  It’s a difficult movie to find, but I’ve seen a few copies on eBay for sale. There are also clips on YouTube if you want to check them out.

If you’re interested in book tour sites for the genre, check out Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.  The Historical Novel Society regularly posts reviews, although they don’t review all books they receive (raises hand because one of mine was rejected). They tend to focus on traditionally published novels. Regardless, love can be found in historical fiction as well and be an enjoyable read that satisfies with a history lesson.

‘Sunflower Sisters’ Stuns As A Work Of Historical Fiction (Press This! NY Patch)

Here’s how “Sunflower Sisters” author Martha Hall Kelly wove a fictional tale into a historical backdrop. To masterfully craft a story that takes place in the middle of a tumultuous time in history is its own work of art. New York Times bestselling author Martha Hall Kelly has done precisely that with her newest novel, “Sunflower Sisters,” which hits shelves on March 30.

Source: ‘Sunflower Sisters’ Stuns As A Work Of Historical Fiction | New York City, NY Patch

Spring Historical Fiction Books You’re Going To Love (Press This! Buzz Feed)

Recommendations for both Historical Fiction and a couple Historical Romance books.  Check them out!

Source: Spring Historical Fiction Books You’re Going To Love

  • The Vines by Shelley Nolden
  • The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton
  • Of Women and Salt by Gabriela Garcia
  • Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge
  • The Duke Undone by Joanna Lowell
  • Finding Napoleon by Margaret Rodenberg
  • To Love and to Loathe by Martha Waters
  • When Stars Rain Down by Angela Jackson-Brown
  • Take What You Can Carry by Gian Sardar
  • Tears of Amber by Sofia Segovia
  • The Most Beautiful Girl in Cuba by Chanel Cleeton
  • A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver
  • Mary Jane by Jessica Anya Blau
  • Incredible Doom by Matthew Bogart and Jesse Holden
  • Don’t Breathe a word by Jordyn Taylor
  • The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
  • The Savage Instinct by M.M. DeLuca

In ‘The Rose Code,’ Kate Quinn Highlights the Women Codebreakers of World War II (Press This! The San Diego Union-Tribune)

San Diego author’s new book explores the dynamics during World War II at Bletchley Park in England, where codebreakers must solve complex military codes, survive the pressures of secrecy and outwit a Soviet spy who tries to tear apart friendships

Source: In ‘The Rose Code,’ Kate Quinn highlights the women codebreakers of World War II – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Why We Are Living in ‘Gothic Times’ – BBC Culture

The world seems to have grown only more uncertain in the years since, and it’s certainly tough to rival the age of Covid for gothic motifs made manifest. Claustrophobia? Try successive lockdowns spent working, learning, and socialising from home. Isolation? Ditto. Fear of a past that can’t be exorcised? Sounds a lot like “long Covid”.

Source: Why we are living in ‘Gothic times’ – BBC Culture

17th Century Poland is the Setting for the Heart of A Hussar

The Hussar in the title refers to the Winged Hussars, the elite cavalry unit that was a dominant force on the battlefields of Europe for over a hundred years.  Hussars were shock troops who attacked quickly and aggressively in order to instill fear and overwhelm the enemy before it had the chance to respond effectively. 

The Heart of a Hussar by Griffin Brady is a historical romance novel set in early 17-century Poland, during the time of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Source: 17th Century Poland is the setting for The Heart of A Hussar

HarperCollins Focus Launches New Fiction Imprint Harper Muse (Press This!)

HarperCollins Focus announced today the launch of its new book imprint, Harper Muse. Expanding the publishing company’s footprint into general market adult fiction, Harper Muse will be under the direction of vice president and publisher, Amanda Bostic. Based in HarperCollins Focus’ Nashville location, the imprint will focus on women’s fiction, historical fiction and southern fiction categories with stories that resonate with Millennial and Generation X readers.

Source: HarperCollins Focus launches new Fiction imprint Harper Muse

Walter Scott Historical Fiction Prize Longlist Announced (Press This! The Irish News)

Contenders for the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction have been announced, coinciding with celebrations of the 250th anniversary of the author’s birth.  This year’s longlist includes four books from Australia, two of which are not yet published in the UK.

Source: Walter Scott historical fiction prize longlist announced – The Irish News