Nearly three years ago Lynn asked, “Is the 20th Century “Historical” Enough Yet?” I’ve written here about my love of Post-World War I and World War II era mysteries and have indicated I would like to read more romances set in those eras. But until recently I would have said I’m not ready for a romance set in the late 1960s or early 1970s. In fact, just last month in a post I wrote here about whether contemporaries could become historicals, I commented, “I’m not sure if I’m ready for a romance — written today — set much before 1990. I know too much about the time period and the limitations many women faced. On the other hand, I won’t reject it outright.” […]
Lately I’ve been thinking about the boundary between contemporary and historical romances as I try to place new submissions for the Special Title Lists appropriately. Although not a romance, my reading of the Flavia de Luce mysteries also has me thinking of this boundary.
The Flavia de Luce mysteries, set in post-World War II England, are considered historical mysteries. But what if they were romances? According to Wikipedia and numerous other Web sites, contemporary romances are set after World War II, while historical romances are set before or during World War II; by that criterion if Flavia grows older and falls in love her book might be considered a contemporary romance. I say “might,” because Wikipedia also notes that contemporary romances are generally “set in the time when they were written, and usually reflect the mores of their time.”
When I first began reading romance, India was a popular setting for books. A lot of the books had to do with English characters of the British Raj falling in love, such as Mary Putney’s excellent Veils of Silk. Others were sweeping historical sagas detailing the occupation of India like The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye. The descriptions of the lush, hot land beguiled me as a reader. I became an armchair traveler, visiting exotic temples, cool palaces filled with tinkling fountains and of course, devouring information on the Kama Sutra.
When the Regency domination of historicals began, exotic books were dropped in favor of glittering ballrooms. India became a casualty of the Napoleonic Wars. And perhaps evolving attitudes toward colonialism have made the British Raj look a little less romantic as well. […]
I have never read a book by Tana French and the first time I saw her name was in the Eagerly Awaited August Books where both Dabney and Lynn indicate that they are looking forward to her new release Broken Harbor. Then while surfing the Web, I came across her name again. She wrote an article for Publishers Weekly outlining her writing tips.
A few of them didn’t resonate, but this one did:
There’s no such thing as ‘men’ or ‘women’. There’s only the individual character you’re writing. One guy emailed me asking me how to write women, and I couldn’t answer, because I had no idea which woman he meant: me? Eleanor of Aquitaine? Lady Gaga? If you’re thinking of ‘men’ or ‘women’ as a monolithic group defined primarily by their sex, then you’re not thinking of them as individuals; so your character isn’t going to come out as an individual, but as a collection of stereotypes. Sure, […]
Last week we featured a sneak peek at 2012 debut authors. This time, I’m taking an early look at Chick Lit and Women’s Fiction for 2012, a category that at times has been a bit of a problem in the Annual Reader Poll at AAR. Some years we pollsters wonder if we’ll have enough votes for any single title to declare a winner. This wasn’t the case in the 2012 AAR Reader’s Poll for books published in 2011, when Jill Mansell’s To the Moon and Back was the winner in the category. A number of 2011 books captured readers’ attention and received quite a few votes in the category.
But in other years we’ve had more problems. First, a lot of AAR readers avoid both genres and leave the category blank on their ballot. Now this isn’t a problem for the readers; I tend to have a number of blank categories on my ballot each year as […]
I love movie trailers. Back in February I saw a trailer for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and was hooked. It stuck in my mind as a “must see” movie, one I finally got to see this past weekend. But I’m not just a fan of movie trailers, I’m also addicted to book trailers.
Whether they’re created by readers or professional firms, I can be endlessly entertained by a good book trailer. I know some readers disagree. Over three years ago Jane posted here about her dislike of book trailers. Book trailers work differently for me than movie trailers. I rarely see a book trailer until after I’ve actually read a book. Every few months I find myself checking out YouTube for new – or previously undiscovered – book trailers by some of my favorite authors. I thought it might be fun to share with you some of my new favorite trailers.
I love this trailer for C.A. […]
I love vivid settings in romance and am particularly fond of foreign settings. When they’re done well, I learn more about a country, feel as if I’m there, but still enjoy the story. Long before I ever visited Greece I fell in love with the country – or at least one of the Greek Islands – by reading Mary Stewart’s The Moon-Spinners, set on the island of Crete. I haven’t visited Crete myself, but feel as if I actually know what parts of it look like thanks to Ms. Stewart’s words. What I carried with me, for years, were the windmills of Crete.
After I read The Moon-Spinners for the first time, I knew that someday I wanted to visit Greece, and at least one Greek island. And I also knew that I wanted to read more books set in Greece – both the islands and mainland.
The Special Settings section […]
Introduction first: In case you were unaware of the 1000 Awesome Things blog, Neil Pasricha was at a down point in his life a couple of years ago, and decided to cheer himself up by blogging about the good, often unnoticed, things in life. When gas prices go down just as you need some gas. When you turn a pillow onto its fresh side. The fact that we exist. When a cashier opens a new cash line. You know – awesome things.
1000 posts and 3 bestsellers later, the blog is over. In (belated) honour of the 1000th post, I decided to write about the awesome things in romance. It’s been a good exercise, because too often I focus on the annoying or tedious in romance novels. But despite the bad stuff, there are many reasons I stick with romance novels, and they’re all awesome (in my opinion, anyway). So […]
Growing up I read a lot of historical novels. Many were set in the U.S., most in rural areas like the Appalachian, Ozark, or Smoky Mountain regions, the backwoods of Kentucky or the bayous of Louisiana. They primarily took place between the Civil War and World War II. They featured young, plucky heroines who wanted more from life than what was available to them at home. Some, like Ballad of Calamity Creek and Christy , focused on young women who came to the mountains to offer people education and discovered wisdom and love in the rural areas where they worked. Others, like Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm or Heidi , involved young women leaving rural communities to better their opportunities. And still others, like the Little House on the Prairie saga simply showed what life on a farm or homestead was like. […]
What is it about over-priced, calorie-laden, exotic cupcakes that has everyone in such a twitter? I don’t get it. I particularly don’t get it when a friend was telling me that she bought cupcakes for her daughter’s class at school and thought she had a bargain because they didn’t cost over $100. Fifteen cupcakes for under $100? Is that really a bargain these days?
Then I started getting review books that featured cupcake bakers who find love through exotic ingredients and piles of frosting.
First I read Cupcake Rush by Donna Kauffman, and while I understood the minimalist approach of baking small goodies rather than a huge cake, I didn’t really buy that an upscale New York baker would chuck it all to become a cupcake specialist in a downscale Southern seaside town. But I didn’t think much about the cupcake angle.
Then the avalanche of cupcake books landed on me: