Here are five things I believe every reader wants to find between the pages of a historical romance:
1) A sense of time
It’s important that the reader feels grounded in history as soon as they begin to read – or at least by the end of the first page…ideally, the first paragraph. How do authors do this? For me, it’s all about the language used in dialogue or the objects present in the scene. Using old English or adding an object rarely, or better still, never used today will go a long way to ‘showing’ the reader, the story is set in yesteryear.
2) A sense of place
Setting is vital in historical romance – it is the author’s job to create as rich a setting as they possibly can. Buildings, horses, carriages, balls, lighting and even a cobbled street can bring the setting alive. The more the reader pictures in their mind, the quicker they will read. After all, it will be like watching a movie!
Another vital ingredient in historical romance – there is a reason why we call historical movies and TV shows, “costume dramas.” Clothes are vitally important to bring color and romance to a historical novel. The dresses, bustle and hoops, cravats, boots and jewellery are a simple way to transport a reader back in time.
4) Old-fashioned Romance
Historical romance gives the author and reader a chance to indulge in that old-fashioned gallantry that, if I’m honest, I still love to experience in today’s world. In my historical romances, I take full advantage of my male cast opening doors, pulling out chairs, kissing gloved hands and generally treating the females as genteelly as possible…without being sickly sweet, of course!
5) And finally…social conventions and restrictions
For me, this is what historical romance is all about – showing those conventions and restrictions that are no longer in society. I often use one or two as the premise for my novels and watch how my hero and heroine fight against them, or overcome them, in order to achieve their goals. I love writing about strong women who wish to expand their lives and change things for women…with the hero’s full approval and support. It’s often that support and encouragement that makes me fall head over heels in love with my hero J
My latest historical is THE MISTRESS OF PENNINGTON'S and out NOW!! Here's the blurb and buy links:
1910 – A compelling tale of female empowerment in Bath's leading department store. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.
Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath's premier department store through her enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington, believes his daughter lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.
Determined to break from her father's iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the store, Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker Joseph Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington's into a new decade, embracing woman's equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.
Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington's plans for the store? Or will Edward prove himself an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?
Barnes & Noble: