Back in the before-before-before times, I had a reading system. I read one historical romance and one Star Trek tie-in novel at a time. Well, that was the plan. I have been known to juggle historicals, especially when they were in different eras (ie one Tudor, one Edwardian, etc) and my Trek involvement centered on The Next Generation, as I was active in that fandom then. That was also the time when my book shopping happened much more in person, with an array of options. Waldenbooks was my favorite, with Borders, Chapters, and some other :gestures vaguely: and then the Aladdin’s cave of used bookstores (I miss those with a pain in my heart) and the thrill of combing through the ever changing shelves (crawling around on the floor to check out the stuff under the bottom shelf was the best part.)
On a good day, I could spend hours combing through the historical romance section alone. I’d have my list of books from authors I loved, plus looking for covers by my favorite artist, Elaine Duillo, and keeping an eye out for the historical eras I loved the most. Tudor was at the top of the list, and by Tudor, I mean historical romances about original characters, set in the Tudor era, not fictionalized biographies. The seventeenth century is right up there, too, with the English Civil War, the Lord Protectorate, and the glorious, bawdy, turbulent Restoration era, with women on the stage and gorgeous aesthetics (plus the origin of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) and then we go into the whole Georgian era, but nipping out before the Regency, and then back in for the turn of the 20th century, on either side of the pond.
I loved the variety, the pirates, the revolutionaries, one particularly memorable Basque shepherd, Vikings, Highlanders, knights, highwaymen, and ticket of leave men, – and any of the above could be the heroines, too. I loved the variety, the scope, and the fact that I could easily read one book, get a definitive HEA, and move right along. Not that there weren’t series as well, because there certainly was, and of those, my favorite was the generational saga, where Heroine One might be the mother of Heroine Two, grandmother of Heroine Three, and so on.
I loved seeing heroes and heroines I already loved at different stages of their lives together, as parents, as grandparents, and my particular favorite tropes for the younger generations were when the young ones either think that their parents or grandparents couldn’t possibly understand what it meant to be young and in love with a mad, burning passion, or on the other side of the coin, when the kids grew up seeing the grand passion between their parents, and wondering if there could ever be something like that for them…and then there was. :happy sigh:
:hugs physical book:
Back the, I could always count on Romantic Times magazine to clue me in on the newest upcoming historicals, and give me insights into books in other subgenres that might tickle my interests. Time was, traditional Regencies were their own category (really, they were) and romance writers of a certain age may well remember the big kerfluffle if there were a place under the umbrella for mainstream fiction with strong romantic elements (including but not limited to love stories that do not have a HEA.)
Times have changed. There is no physical romance fiction magazine anymore as far as I know, at least not one available in Barnes and Noble, which is now the only chain bookstore I can get to with any regularity. I also can’t remember the last paperback I bought in a bookstore. Best I can say is it was in the before times. My Trek involvement now is confined to the video essays by a few favorite YouTubers. Contemporary YA has taken the place in my reading habits that Trek tie ins used to have, and I am finding that there are the settings I love out there, but it may take some digging to find them.
It’s not an entirely bad change. I love that I can carry around thousands of books at once, in my Kindle, and the Kindle app on my tablet. I love that I can have a robo-voice turn any e-book into an audiobook. I love that there are new authors on the scene, and that the advent of indie publishing means that everybody has a chance to get the kind of story they love out there for readers who are combing the interwebs for it, if not bottom shelves of used bookstores. Heck, I’m even moving in that direction myself with A Heart Most Errant.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this, only that this is what came out of my fingers as I started this entry. Last night, I read a book my library app filed under YA thriller. The story was mm, not for me, though I loved the idea and the visuals, and the stuff that worked for me is probably simmering in idea soup somewhere on the back burner. What I remembered most was that, after the that’s the ending? ending, my first thought was “yep, need a historical romance novel now,”
Which I do. I have one historical I missed the first time around, back in the before-before-before times, plus a new release that I can’t wait to get to., I’m also keeping my eyes peeled for YAs with creepy old houses in remote locations. Getting some definite gothic vibes from those selections. Mmmm, gothics.