Here are five things I believe every reader wants to find between the pages of a historical romance:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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. 🙂
Rachel writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense for Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and Victorian romance for eKensington/Lyrical Press. Her latest historical romance is Her One True Love – here is the blurb and buy links…
She Can’t Forget Him…
Jane Charlotte Danes has loved the squire of her idyllic country town for as long as she can remember. He is good, kind, and alluring beyond words… and he chose to marry another. Tired of dwelling on her futile longings, Jane plans a move to Bath, where she dreams of a new beginning. But the man who has so imprisoned her heart is only a few steps behind…
He Can’t Let Her Go…
Until now, Matthew Cleaves has endeavored to meet the responsibilities of his position with dignity and good spirits–including his dutiful marriage. But when his wife leaves him for another man, Matthew is at last free to pursue his one true love. Only one vital question remains: will the captivating, stubborn, beautiful Jane allow him the challenge, and the pleasure, of winning her back?
About the Author
Rachel lives with her husband and two teenage daughters in a small town near Bath in the UK. After having several novels published by small US presses, she secured agent representation in 2011. Since 2013, she has had six books published by Harlequin Superromance (Templeton Cove Stories) and recently signed a contract for two more. She also has four Victorian romances with eKensington/Lyrical Press.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!