Monday, April 28, 2008

The first romance novel I held in my hands . . .

. . . was Kathleen Woodiwiss's The Wolf and The Dove. My mother had read it and raved about the story. Then she passed it on to me. I loved the way Ms. Woodiwiss swept me away to a time gone by with her fat doorstop of a book. Now the days of the epic historical are gone. What have historical romances morphed into?

For one thing, they are tighter. Shorter word counts have cut out the pages of description of dresses and scenery. That's not necessarily a bad thing. The historical romance reader is pretty sophisticated and will spot shoddy period details in a skinny minute, but she doesn't need to have gobs of minutia. A few pithy, memorable images and appeals to the senses will do.

The new historicals are incorporating elements of other sub-genres as well. Jennifer Ashley's historicals have paranormal elements. Kathryne Kennedy's and Joy Nash's stories sparkle with magic. Jade Lee's Tigress novels are deeply sensual and deeply spiritual at the same time. My DISTRACTING THE DUCHESS has been known to make readers giggle. Visit to read an excerpt.

Readers seem to want something more than a straight historical.

When you pick up a historical romance, what are you looking for?

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