I am pleased to be hosting Emily Bryan and her new novel, Vexing the Viscount.
Thanks for having me here today, Cheryl!
As readers, we all have our favorites and for me, it’s always been historical romance. Cheryl asked me to share what makes historicals so appealing.
The first romance I ever read was a historical—Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Wolf and the Dove. Needless to say, I was hooked.
Now, I won’t denigrate any other subgenre. There are some fabulous stories being written in contemporary settings and in alternative realities, but historicals are the ultimate fictive dream. They hold a special place in my heart for a number of reasons.
1. A good historical takes me away. For sheer escapism, you can’t beat a historical romance. Anytime we read, we are trying on someone else’s life—different fashions, different diversions, different world view. With Vexing the Viscount, my readers get to gavotte in Daisy’s Venetian platform shoes without developing a single blister.
The world of the historical romance is a world gone by. I may visit London or Rome or Constantinople, but I cannot visit them as they were in the past. Reading a non-fiction history book will not transport me there. The sights, sounds, scents, the essence of those places can only be found in the pages of well-crafted fiction.
2. A good historical gives a history lesson without being pedantic. The first time I read MM Kaye’s The Far Pavilions, I felt I’d actually walked British India and understood a little of the clash of cultures and religions that still plague that part of the world.
The historical romance readership is so sophisticated; we authors cheat on the history at our peril. I once read an interview with a romance author (whose name I will not share) who said she loved writing historicals because anytime she didn’t know the details, she’d just make something up. Needless to say, she’s no longer writing historicals. Now, if you visit any historical romance writer’s website, you’re likely to find pages dedicated to the backstory, the history behind their books. (Check out my Courtesan’s Club at http://www.emilybryan.com/ for the straight skinny on Georgian fashions, courtesans and Roman Britain.)
3. A good historical uses the exaggerated manners of the day to heighten the sensual tension. In other words, “Repressed sex is the best sex!” The longing in a glance, the enormous significance of a single touch, the powder keg of wanting ignited by a stolen kiss . . . by the time the hero and heroine get around to ‘doing the deed,’ they’ve already steamed up the pages with plenty of sexual tension.
4. A good historical has a dashing historical hero. He doesn’t fit into only one mold. He may be a foppish lord (Anybody remember The Scarlet Pimpernel?), a hard-working Master of the Horse (Hoyt’s The Leopard Prince), a disgraced military man (Cindy Holby’s Fallen or my own Pleasuring the Pirate) or a debauched rake (Take your pick. The rake has been done to death!). We love him in our fiction, but we might not date him if he called us up.
We tolerate behavior in a fictional rake that would have us curling our lip if he were trying to buy us an adult beverage at the local watering hole. I am hearing from some readers that they are tired of “man whores”—rakes who’ve been with so many women they’ve lost count. (That’s one of the reasons I made Lucian, my hero in Vexing the Viscount, a virgin at the beginning of the story. Don’t worry. He’s a quick study!)
The uber-testosteroned machismo of the historical hero, all that swashbuckling and swordplay, would have us rolling our eyes and running for cover if he were a man of the 21st century. The lord may be filthy rich, but his courtly manners might have us wondering about his sexual orientation if he were suddenly dropped into the next cubical. We may admire the self-made commoner hero, but the man does have a whiff of the stable swirling about him.
But we love the historical hero, whatever type he may be, because he always ends up slavishly devoted to the heroine.
And isn’t that the best fictive dream of all?
Ok, now it’s your turn. Why do YOU love to read historical romance?
Emily Bryan’s Vexing the Viscount is a February 24th release from Leisure Books. Buy Link
You can check out the book trailer here
Thanks to Emily Bryan. Everyone who comments today will be entered to win a copy of Vexing the Viscount. Check back tomorrow to see if you are a winner.