A History – The Evolution of the historical romance novel.

I’m a historical romance author, which made it a natural fit for me to host the A History blog. This blog will be about all things historical (that have to do with romance novels of course). So you can expect anything from historical facts to the history of historical romance novels, to the history of publishing.

In light of Michael’s blog on the history of romance earlier this week, I thought I would talk a bit about the evolution of the romance novel. When I was a girl, my sister would sneak romance novels into our home because we were not allowed to read them. (Though I suppose that was speculation on our part because we never really asked if we could read them. 🙂 ) Anyhow, at the time, the only books we could get a hold of were old seventies and eighties hand me down novels. I have since read voraciously from the seventies novels though until the novels of today. What I have here is a general overview.

Seventies-eighties novels-

In the seventies and into the eighties, romances were grittier. There were a lot of epic romances that would span countries and even at times contain a number of lovers for the hero/heroine. Women were treated harshly, and men were almost unbelievably alpha. You often found beatings, rapes, and cruelty not just between background characters, but the hero and heroine themselves. Emotions ran high, though many of the cruelties weren’t dealt with emotionally. The nice thing was that adventures were plentiful, and as the decades went by, the harsher aspects started to be dealt with emotionally. This led to a reduction in the harsher aspects of these older romances.

Nineties- two thousands-

The dawn of the drawing room romance came about with the nineties. Adventure waned during these decades, becoming scarcer and scarcer. In fact, for a short period of time I couldn’t seem to find a romance to read so I read older ones. Finally humor began to take the place of the adventure. I was very excited to see the birth of the crush romance. At this point you could find wit and humor which was wonderful, however, as the decades went on, variety waned. Westerns and medieval novels became harder and harder to find.

The future of romance twenty ten and beyond-

No one can really predict where the future of historical romance is headed, so I think I will tell you where I would like to see it go. I would love to see more variety again. A return of the medieval and western romance novel as well as a widening variety of other ages would be great for me as a reader and an author. I love variety. Some days I want to read western, others Tudor, and still others regency. I think more readers are like this than the market really reflects. I would also like to see more adventure and wit in romance.

I hope to inject a bit of this future into romance with my own writing. Currently I have two historical romance novels coming out. Bound By Love is my homage to the epic historical romances of the seventies to eighties with a twist. Crushing Desire is a nineties to two thousands crush story with a twist. I tried to give each a fair balance of romance, adventure, and humor all rolled into one.

Now, there are novels that crossed over and blurred lines in romance. If you would like to name some of these fantastic books, or tell what you liked about these various periods of romance I would love to hear it. I would also love to hear from others who, like me, love to jump from age to age in their romance. Leave me a comment and tell me about it.

April Dawn


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