Today’s genre is historical.  I have to admit up front that I’m not likely to have recommended readings for this one.  I’ve tried reading historical fiction and I just couldn’t do it.  Perhaps I was selecting the wrong author or wrong title (or both), but I just couldn’t.

That said, I am going to be as thorough as possible.  Onwards with the journey!

I do apologize in advance.  This is mostly pulled from Wikipedia.  It’s the last week of the semester and life is crazy.  It’s also likely to remain crazy for a good long while.

Historical: adj. (esp. of a novel or movie) set in the past

Sub-genres

  • Historical romance
  • Historical whodunit
  • Holocaust novel
  • Plantation tradition
  • Regency
  • Regency romance

Historical

  • Real or fictional characters
  • Attempt, often through considerable research, to bring to life a story of the past, be it real or of one’s own devising

Historical romance

  • Set before WWII
  • Heroines often have more education than would have been normal for the time
  • Often infiltrated by contemporary attitudes
  • Sub-genres
    • Viking
      • Set during the Dark or Middle Ages
      • Alpha male tamed by the heroine
      • Most heroes are “tall, blonde, and strikingly handsome”
      • The setting allows for limited travel because the Vikings did like to travel, trade, and conquer
    • Medieval
      • Set between 938 and 1485
      • Heroine uses her own wits and willpower to find a husband who will both protect her and allow her her need for independence
      • Hero is always a knight who must first accept the eccentricities of the heroine and then fall in love with her
      • Hero dominant, heroine subordinate, but it’s by her own choice
    • Tudor
      • 1485-1558
    • Elizabethan
      • 1558-1603
    • Georgian
      • 1714-1810
    • Regency
      • 1810-1820
    • Victorian
      • 1832-1901
    • Pirate
      • Set at sea
      • If the protagonist is a male pirate, the heroine is captured early on and usually forced in some way to fall in love with the MC or at least submit/succumb to him
      • If the protag is female, the central conflict of the story is often more internal between maintaining an identity and agency while still living this man’s life of sorts
    • Colonial US
      • 1630-1798
    • Civil War
      • Set in the South
      • Focuses on the Civil War and Reconstruction eras
    • Western
      • Set at the frontier
      • Heroes seek adventure
      • Heroines forced to the frontier by external circumstances that they can’t control
      • Characters are forced to face and overcome the unknown
      • Heroes are often portrayed as loners, slightly uncivilized, etc.
    • Native American
      • No reference to specific tribe, location, or even time period
      • Love of nature is emphasized
      • Heroine captured by the tribe
      • Native Americans shown as sympathetic, civilized, and mainly just misunderstood
      • “Exotic” figures
      • Struggle against racism and also a conflict between the way of life they’ve been in and what is pushing in all around
    • Americana
      • 1880-1920
      • Set in the Midwest or a small town setting

Plantation

  • Set in the South
  • Strong sense of nostalgia for the Antebellum era

Regency

  • Either
    • Written during the Regency period
    • Set in the Regency period
  • The setting is Regency England, but it can be extended to the European continent and/or to the various British colonies of the time
  • Acute sense of social standing between the characters
  • Emphasis on manners and class distinctions and issues
  • Modern social thought as it emerges in the upper classes

Regency romance

  • Set during Regency England
  • Intelligent, fast-paced dialogue between protagonists
  • Little to no explicit sex or talk of sex
  • Mystery or farce elements may be incorporated
  • Secondary romances between other characters
  • References to the “Ton” or upper classes
  • Mistaken identity, either on purpose or on accident
  • Fake engagements
  • Convenient marriages/marriages for reasons other than love
  • Common activities such as balls or assemblies or carriage rides are depicted

So, have you read any historicals lately?  What would you recommend?  Or would you rather not touch anything historical with a ten-foot pole?

Linkage:

Historical Novel Society
Great database of published historical novels
Historical Fiction Network
Regency Romance Writers
Good Ton
Historical Romance Writers