For the past three days I’ve been trying to figure out where historical romance’s allure comes from. More and more, I’m drawn to them at the bookstore, even when I try to walk past them, when I find the covers a little too cliche, when it seems like the storyline might be recycled. But why? What is it about them that draws me so?
It’s not like with paranormals, where they take you beyond the real world into a very possible alternate world of dark, sexy creatures. Or like fantasies where you’re in an imaginary world all together, full of magical creatures that make your soul sing. It’s something else… something at once familiar, yet strange.
The same trials we face are made so much more drastic due to social and cultural differences set in place way back when. I mean, falling in love is hard enough, but courtships in the 1800s? What about arranged marriages? Marrying for money? Things get all sorts of complicated when they’re thrown into the pot alongside falling in love.
I don’t know if it’s the polite restraint, the limited touching, or the propriety that make historical novels so deliciously sexy. But, I believe there’s something about the wait- the suspended desire- that make the stories so much more intense. Because when the hero and heroine do get together, it’s usually pretty explosive. I mean, imagine what it’s like to be touched by a warm palm, when all you’re used to is a gloved hand. That first contact of flesh to flesh would be electric. 🙂
Why is this all coming up, you may ask? Because I’ve devoured two historicals in the past few days. The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly, which was fascinating for both the romance and the strong characters. It made me laugh and cry and scream, which is always the sign of a great book.
I also finished Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas, which I kept hearing great things about. I have a soft spot for stories about estranged lovers who find their way back to each other. This one did not disappoint. The hero was delectable throughout the entire story, and although at times he was infuriating enough to make me want to throw my shoe at him, when he showed that glimmer of vulnerability, it made skin tingle. Great stuff.
Now, I’m on a completely different mold. I’ve got Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Night to tackle. 🙂