Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thoughts on Historical Romances

I just finished reading Lisa Klypas’s first published novel, When Strangers Marry and one of Candace Camp’s early books, Rain Lily. Both were published in the early 1990’s and both are set in the United States. When Strangers Marry is set soon after the Louisiana Purchase and Rain Lily is set soon after the Civil War. What struck me was how few historical romance novels are placed in similar settings today. The setting for both Klypas’s and Camp’s later historical romance novels moved across the ocean. Check the books for sale in the romance section in any bookstore and you will find that the setting for most historical romance novels have made that same move. England in the 1800’s seems to be the favorite setting. Authors write what people buy so it must be that historical novels set in America do not sell nearly as well as historical novels set in England. Can you not have romance in pre 1900 America? I admit I am as guilty as other readers. I love historical novels set elsewhere and if I find one set in America I will often put it down and go to one set somewhere else. The exceptions to this are authors like Jody Thomas who writes western romances. While historical in nature they are a category of their own and on book shelves they are still outnumbered.

I purchased both books when the used bookstore I often visited (See my post Death of a Bookstore) went out of business and all books went for $1.00.

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