Road Trip!

I’ve just returned from a trip to the Midwest–Minnesota, to be exact–and am grumpy, fairly wrinkled, and just a bit stinky. Not to mention weary. To the bone.

In other words, if I were looking for Prince Charming–or in Regency terms, the Duke of Charming–I would probably yell at him because he hadn’t brought me my coffee just the way I like.

Yet so many Regency heroes and heroines take off on a vast journey and manage to fall in love. Without an airplane! Or a Northwest snack box (only $3!). How do they do it? I love road romances, even though I would make an awful heroine in one; in fact, on the plane I was sneaking pages of Georgette Heyer‘s Sylvester, which takes the hero and heroine to France and back again (I’m assuming they come back, I haven’t finished it yet).

Some of my favorite Regencies are, in fact, road romances (click here for the link to AAR’s Special Title Listings of Cabin and Road Romances). Here is a partial listing of some of the ones I’ve loved.

Tallie’s Knight (2001) by Anne Gracie
Sprig Muslin (1956) by Georgette Heyer
Sylvester: or The Wicked Uncle (1957) by Georgette Heyer
Miss Billings Treads the Boards (1993) by Carla Kelly
Miss Chartley’s Guided Tour (1989) by Carla Kelly
Miss Whittier Makes a List (1994) by Carla Kelly
Summer Campaign (1989) by Carla Kelly
The Wedding Journey (2002) by Carla Kelly
With This Ring (1997) by Carla Kelly

Carla Kelly seems to love taking her characters on the road–and really, how better to make two people who in a normal situation would never come in contact with each other fall in love? Throw in an adventure, usually involving a child or a lost or stolen inheritance, and all bets are off. But the romance is on!

Could you see yourself spending eight hours in a jostling carriage traveling over country roads with your loved one and a precocious child? Or your loved one and an irascible old lady and her pug? How about if you were abducted by said loved one in pursuit of some lost or stolen treasure?

Do you like road romances? Which are your favorites?


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9 Responses to Road Trip!

  1. Cara King says:

    I admit I’m not a big fan of road romances — or road movies, for that matter. (Though I am a big fan of Carla Kelly!)

    So, why don’t I like them? Not sure. Perhaps because I’m not a very visual reader, so I don’t want to keep reading descriptions of new places. Or perhaps because almost all inns in Regencies sort of seem to be the same inn? 🙂

    Perhaps carriage trips help the writer by creating forced intimacy — the travelers can’t get away from each other, even if they want to, and so are forced to deal with each other…


  2. Kalen Hughes says:

    Don’t have strong feelings one way or the other about road romances, but I will add that Heyer’s DEVIL’S CUB (which is basically a kidnapping road romance) is a favorite . . . and SPRIGGED MUSLIN is pretty high up there too (Uncle Gary!!!).

    Julia Ross’ GAMES OF PLEASURE is one that I’ve read over and over (in fact, I just restarted it last night, LOL!). NIGHT OF SIN, also by JR, is also something of a road story, come to think of it.

    I think I might like “stranded in unfamiliar territory” stories more than ones where the characters keep moving. It’s the stranded part where Gary and Hester manage to fall in love.

  3. I love reading and writing about forced intimacy — or forced just about anything, as long as the characters are being forced to do what they most want to do anyway. I put ’em in my books whenever I can. And I love movies on European railroad trains too. Candice Hern had a nice road trip in Once a Dreamer.

  4. Elena Greene says:

    Ha! I’m currently on the most unromantic road trip. My home is in a flooded area. We’re on a hill so our house is dry, but no power until Tuesday(!) and a conserve-and-boil-water restriction in effect. And we had houseguests coming (with 3 kids in addition to my 2)!

    Luckily we were able to get out and now we’ve taken what was supposed to be a visit on the road, driving north a few hours, two couples and five kids.

    Fun but NOT romantic.

    Elena, posting from a Fairfield Inn where there’s air conditioning, hot showers and coffee 🙂

  5. Cara King says:

    Aiigh, Elena! What great holiday weekend for you! Hope the Fairfield Inn is nice — well, okay, I suppose at this point if it has PLENTIFUL RUNNING WATER you’ll be happy. 🙂

    And electricity, so you can read. Books are nice. Books in motel can be very pleasant.

    Is there a pool for the kids? (Or, um, are they all watered out?) (Actually, it’s really hot here, which is why I’m thinking “pool” — but for all I know it ain’t there, wherever the Fairfield Inn is!)


  6. I just realized that I have just plotted two road stories! I just wrote synopses for my next Mills & Boon and my next Warner.
    I loved Sprigged Muslin – can’t think of any other road stories at the moment…

  7. Actaully I love road romances, while traveling on the road who knows what adventure ones bound for, I love the tales where ladies are kidnapped by a handsome highway man along the way as I seen in old movies once, forgot the names but I like it in books as well, and when people elope to marry or sneak off traveling on some adventure, travel is romantic.

  8. Todd says:

    In “Perdita” by Joan Smith the heroine is governess to a spoiled-brat-idiot-but-very-beautiful young thing, who decides she wants to run off and tread the boards, with the heroine following after willy nilly. Much of the book has them traveling with an acting company. The hero, thinking them actresses, naturally assumes them to be Ladies of Easy Virtue, and hilarity ensues. Not, perhaps, the most realistic Regency, but fun.


  9. I like the idea of putting people in a hostile environment and making them cope with various degrees of difficulty. I particularly like “on the run” stories, and the only one I can think of that I read recently is BLACK ICE by Ann Stuart which isn’t a Regency.


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