History In All The Right Places

It wasn’t so long ago that the buzz around publishing was that Historicals were “dead.” I never believed it, because I always thought there were plenty of readers like me who loved Historicals. It turns out, if I remember the statistics correctly, that sales of Historical Romance went down in the same proportion that all book sales went down.

Lately it occurred to me that not only are Historicals not dead, they have sprung to life in lots of different ways!

1. Reinventing and expanding on Jane Austen’s work.

Just think of how many books have expanded on Jane Austen’s work, particularly Pride & Prejudice! Our guest yesterday, Abigail Reynolds with her latest Mr. Darcy’s Obsession, is a prime example! But there are a bunch more. See here.

2. Using Jane Austen as a character herself.

Stephanie Barron’s Jane Austen Mysteries come to mind. As well as Becoming Jane Austen. But number one in my mind is our own Janet’s so very clever Jane and the Damned.

3. Using real historical events in books about fictional people.

Amanda and I do this a lot! Amanda’s The Winter Queen takes place in the court of Queen Elizabeth I and the Frost Fair of 1564. Her Laurel McKee books take place in during the tumultuous time of the 1800 Union Acts in Ireland. And, of course, my Three Soldiers Series uses the real historical events of the Napoleonic War.

4. Then there are the Historicals that are fictionalized stories of real historical figures or events.

Philippa Gregory, of course, is perhaps the queen of this sort of book and her upcoming book, The Red Queen, set during The War of the Roses is just the latest example. Carolly Erickson is another author of this sort of book. Next Sunday, I’m excited to say our guest will be Kathryn Johnson whose historical The Gentleman Poet, is based on a piece of history that tells a story of love and danger, including, perhaps, the events behind Shakespeare’s The Tempest. (It is a spectacular book, so don’t forget to stop by. You might even win a signed copy!)

What are some of the books of each of these types that you’ve read and enjoyed? What do you like about each of these different kinds of books? Have you heard any buzz about The Gentleman Poet?

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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