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Danelle



Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 7
Location: New England

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:08 am    Post subject: Settings Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

With Regency England the most popular setting for historical romances (as it has been for years), what are readers' thoughts about other settings? From comments I've seen elsewhere on this board, it seems as though many are eager for something (at least occasionally <g>) different.

Personally, I love the pre- and early years of the American Revolution and think they make a fabulous setting, both in (Georgian) England and in America. Indeed, it's my favorite time period, and I've seen comments on this board wondering why there aren't more books set in the Revolutionary War period. (The reason is because editors think this setting doesn't sell, and so, they discourage writers from using it.)

But as readers -- what are your thoughts? Is this period an attractive one to read about, war or no war? Do you, as readers, want to see more books set in this period, or does it leave you thinking, "Meh..." ?

Just testing the waters!

-- Danelle Smile
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LordRose



Joined: 25 Mar 2012
Posts: 87

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My favorite time period is the mid-1700s. While I like those set in England, what I'd really like to see more of is romances set in France during the 1700s. I mean, it's the Enlightenment! Versailles! What more do you need? And 18th century fashions are gorgeous, both for men and women. I adore all the colors and lace. Men's fashions after that are downright dreary in comparison.
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NoirFemme



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1480
Location: America

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't mind the Regency setting, I just dislike how it's evolved into window dressing for same 'ol same 'ol characters and plots, and how most authors who write them sound exactly alike. Sometimes, I don't even trust non-Regency settings because nine times out of ten, they've been pushed into the "Regency" mold (find it difficult to believe that the stuff seen in Regency romances exists unchanged in a romance set thirty years after or thirty years before 1811).

I do love 18th century America--some of my favorite books are set in that period: Passion's Ransom by Betina Krahn, The Raider by Jude Devereaux, Glory in the Flower by Jacqueline Marten, Miranda Jarrett's Fairbourne series, etc. But what I'm absolutely dying for are romances set in Victorian/Turn of the century America: Boston, Newport, San Francisco!

However, as long as the books don't sound like Regency romances transplanted into a different setting, and it's emotional and meaty, I don't care what date is on page one! Give a walloping good story.
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Eggletina



Joined: 06 Jul 2010
Posts: 429

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoy the Colonial America setting, and would like to see more books outisde of 19thC England and Europe with heroes and heroines who aren't aristocracy. I think that is part of the appeal of the American setting.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1693

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Almost anything is better than Regency Rolling Eyes Especially if it's outside the British Isles.
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Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1157

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really enjoy the Georgian era too, and would also like to see more more books with characters not of the aristocracy. In fact, besides liking her writing, I think that's part of why I'm enjoying Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series so much.

I still do enjoy British settings, even well-done Regencies, but I also like Colonial American ones too--just with not too many battle scenes for any era in any setting.

Did anyone ever read The Kent Chronicles series, starting with The Bastard, written by John Jakes in the '70s? I enjoyed them a long time ago but I don't know if they still have held up well or not.
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Elaine S



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 667
Location: Rural England

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like books set in India. Two of my keepers are Parson Harding's Daughter by Caroline Harvey (eg Joanna Trollope) and Zemindar by Valerie Fitzgerald (an apparent one hit wonder unless anyone knows to the contrary). I also enjoyed The Far Pavillions. Emma Drummond's military based romantic historicals also take in Afghanistan (19th c) and South Africa as well as India. The Regency remains my favourite but I am always happy to branch out!
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Eggletina



Joined: 06 Jul 2010
Posts: 429

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eliza wrote:
Did anyone ever read The Kent Chronicles series, starting with The Bastard, written by John Jakes in the '70s? I enjoyed them a long time ago but I don't know if they still have held up well or not.


I remember gobbling up that series after watching the mini-series with Andrew Stevens and Don Johnson back when I was a teenager. I think I'd probably be more critical of them today, but I loved them back then. That's probably one of those series I don't want to revisit so I can preserve my fond memories of them.

One of my favorite reads from last year was an older, out-of-print historical by Charles McCarry called Bride of the Wilderness (I believe an ebook came out for it at the end of last year). It begins in England in 1666 but takes the main characters into Indian conflicts along the Connecticut River and up into Canada in the early 18th Century. It also happens to be a great love story. I think anyone who likes Sara Donati's In the Wilderness series would enjoy this one.

Quote:
NoirFemme said: But what I'm absolutely dying for are romances set in Victorian/Turn of the century America: Boston, Newport, San Francisco!


I wish there were more books set in the Gilded Age as well. This is true for straight historicals as well as HR. One of my favorite books is Booth Tarkington's The Magnificent Ambersons. I also remember enjoying Taylor Caldwell's Captains and the Kings.

Does anyone remember reading any of Celeste DeBlasis' books? I remember gobbling up The Proud Breed which covers nearly a century of 19thC California. I wish her books would be reissued as ebooks. I'd like to re-read some of hers and try the ones I never got the chance to read.

One final comment: Unfortunately, in historical fiction circles American History, outside of the Civil War, is often treated as the red-headed step-child. I enjoy English History as much as the next person, but people often refer to themselves as Anglophiles as though it's the penultimate in culture and learning and the rest of the world is insignificant by comparison in a way that makes me bristle and puts me on snob-alert. Perhaps that is my hang-up, though.
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Danelle



Joined: 23 Nov 2007
Posts: 7
Location: New England

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm ... as to the Victorian era, I wonder if it's not more popular because of the facial hair? Seriously! I know that whiskers -- lots of them -- and top hats are what I think of when I think of that era... Hmm??
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NoirFemme



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1480
Location: America

PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Eggletina wrote:
One final comment: Unfortunately, in historical fiction circles American History, outside of the Civil War, is often treated as the red-headed step-child. I enjoy English History as much as the next person, but people often refer to themselves as Anglophiles as though it's the penultimate in culture and learning and the rest of the world is insignificant by comparison in a way that makes me bristle and puts me on snob-alert. Perhaps that is my hang-up, though.


It's not just you! I too enjoy British history, but much of what is transplanted to America is merely a tiny facet of the culture and people, so the profession of Anglophilism can be of a superficial quality. But I do find it amusing that many Americans can wax over period dramas and British-set romances, yet are slightly horrified at the notion of upstairs/downstairs stuff set in America!

Danelle wrote:
Hmm ... as to the Victorian era, I wonder if it's not more popular because of the facial hair? Seriously! I know that whiskers -- lots of them -- and top hats are what I think of when I think of that era... Hmm??


I think it's because of the perception of the time periods via pop culture: Regency=the froth and fun of Heyer and Austen; Victorian=gloom and poverty of Dickens/repression of (myth) covered piano legs.
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southplains



Joined: 24 Apr 2007
Posts: 20

PostPosted: Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I LOVE stories set in the American Revolutionary era. They used to be a lot easier to find than they are now, and I wish they'd come back. I dearly love the British romances, but there are a heck of a lot of passionate AMERICAN people and circumstances that are being left completely unexplored.
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Islandgirl2



Joined: 14 Nov 2010
Posts: 282

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoy regency but I think too much of anything is bad or gets stale.

I do wish I'd see more westerns again or Amercian frontier settings. (I dont' think it has to be about farming and the shootouts either lol)

I think good romance internal conflicts could come of that age much like LaVyrle Spencer has done.

One of the reasons why I think that certain books tend to be liked so well is because of changing the settings when so many are doing one kind only.

How many liked Connie Brockway's As You Desire because it was placed in Egypt and was a little different then the "ton" parties during the season etc. lol

Not only the settings but I'd also really love to read more of the different classes. Seems that we either have the really wealthy or the very poor that become wealthy...A good middle class story is fine as well. But that's another topic. Smile
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limagal



Joined: 17 Jul 2010
Posts: 94
Location: lima, peru

PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2012 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I mainly love the Medievals, but would like to see more set outside of England.

Also, more of Revolutionary American- I second the mentions of The Raider - one of my all-time favorites, and the Bastard series- great!

In short, let's take them out of England/Scotland!!! Are most written in that place because they are by Americans who mainy visit there when they go abroad because they do not speak any other languages and are afraid to venture further? Is it that there has been so much already written about the Regency period that most authors do not have to do any research? Putting a book in another country might take work to find out what the customs were. I would love books set in France and especially in Spain- any period.
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