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Historical Romance Novels; a little history and some info

Historical Romance Novels; a little history and some Info originally posted back in March, 2013.  But still interesting information. (comments are 2 from the original posting.)

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The modern day romance novel can be attributed to Georgette Heyer who wrote Austen-like novels in the 1930’s.  The Grand Sophie being one of her most famous. From that time until the  early 1970’s there were novels with romantic elements like Forever Amber and  Gone With The Wind to name just a few.  All of these were published in hardcover editions, paperback books being somewhat confined to pulp fiction offerings.

In 1972 all that was about to change when Avon published Kathleen Woodiwiss’ The Flame and The Flower in paperback. It sold over 2 million copies and Woodiwiss followed up in 1974 with The Wolf and The Dove.   Also in 1974 Rosemary Rodgers came on the scene with Sweet Savage Love.  These early  paperback original novels usually had Alpha Males and helpless females with sex often of a violent (rape) nature.  Since the covers often pictured scantily clad women with dominating men leaning over them they were often referred to as “bodice rippers”. This term is not appreciated by current Historical Romance fans and writers.

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Through the 1980’s and 1990’s the genre continued to evolve featuring heroines of a more independent nature and although the heros were still Alpha types they often redeemed themselves and the sex became consensual.  Humor was often added as well as suspense and mystery.  Considered a required feature is a happy-ever-after for the protagonists. The New York Times reports that romance novels,  are the fastest growing segment in ebooks, out-pacing general fiction, mystery and science fiction.

Romance Categories:

Ancient: Egypt; Greece; Rome; etc. – the ancient world.
Dark Ages: from the fall of Rome (410 AD) to 1065.
Medieval: from 1066, up to and including the 17th century.
Georgian: from 1702 to 1811 (the age of reason and freedom).
Regency: from 1811 to 1830 (includes the regency and the kingship).
Western: the wild, wild West! Contemporary or historical.
Colonial: early settlements, exploration, and Southern romances (including Americana).
Victorian: from 1830 to 1901 (including William IV’s reign).
Civil War: America – from 1861 to 1865 (the civil war era).
Vintage: from 1901 to 1945 (Edward VII, World War I, World War II, etc.)
 Celtic: historicals / paranormals / fantasies that take place primarily in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Brittany, etc.
Time Travel: modern-day heroes and heroines thrown back in time to meet their true loves.
Fantasy: dragons, fairies, wizards, and witches – oh my!
Paranormal: vampires, ghosts, werewolves, shape-shifters, goth, etc. Contemporary or historical.
Anthology: must contain at least one genre from above.

(this blog post was referenced from Wikipedia and Historical Romance Club.com)

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