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Topic: Historical Romance vs Fiction

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Subject: Historical Romance vs Fiction
Date Posted: 5/17/2011 1:39 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2006
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Seems to me I am seeing a lot of people posting historical romances on this page.  I thought this was for historical fiction which is certainly a bit different than the other books.  Couldn't they start a historical romance link for these people?  What are your thoughts.

Date Posted: 5/17/2011 2:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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My thought:

There's romance and there's historical fiction, and historical romance can be a sub-genre of either of them or both; there's no clear line and plenty of overlap. 

Date Posted: 5/17/2011 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I agree with Sharla,  But I think that Elizabeth Chadwick says it best.

Jerelyn:  I consider you an Historical Fiction writer.   Do you see your work more historical fiction, than historical romance?

Elizabeth:  I consider that I have never written historical romance. I have written the romantic historical which is a different thing entirely i.e. A historical novel might have a romance in it, but that romance is only one strand in the fabric of the story. I enjoy including a romance in the historical fiction I write, but I like the work to be meatier than just the story of the hero and heroine. So it’s historical fiction with a romance involved. And probably when you look at most historical novels they will have a romantic element somewhere.

Date Posted: 5/17/2011 3:54 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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I agree with Sharla and Jerelyn. One person's idea of historical romance (i.e. an older Chadwick) might not be another person's idea of historical romance (wall paper dressing for the purpose of sex). I am more comfortable chatting with the ladies here, and sometimes one can say something the wrong way, be misunderstood and have a hissy fit started. Lol, one time I was on a HR group at Goodreads and one poster was asking for something different in romance and I suggested some from a list I'd done on Amazon focused on something with a little more than your straight historical romance (meaning books with more history and less wall paper). I was immediately snarked by a few other posters and promptly left the group and never went back.

Date Posted: 5/17/2011 9:31 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,709
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I like historical fiction over historical romance, but at the end of the day, I would much rather be inclusive than exclude people just because they like a good love story.  The balance between history and romance can shift either way very easily.  We haven't even started to factor in mysteries!  

Bottom line for me: if there is history involved, I'm happy.  If it leans too much toward romance, I find something else to read.  All in all I enjoy this group so much!  *group hug*

Date Posted: 5/17/2011 10:17 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Me too!  (((HUGS back))))

It really is one of those fine line things.  I hope that we aren't driving people away by including the sub genres.  I would say by far I am a historical fiction junky, The romances and mysteries are just a guilty pleasure.  In all honesty they have made me  delve deeper into periods I would have missed otherwise.



Last Edited on: 5/17/11 10:18 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/18/2011 12:00 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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"Bottom line for me: if there is history involved, I'm happy." Exactly. The more history the better, but I like the subgenres, too, although I will abandon one if the history quotient is too low for my taste.
Date Posted: 5/18/2011 6:12 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
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I've heard readers in the romance forums complain about Roberta Gellis as her books have too much historical detail. Then there's *some* HF readers that stick their noses up at books like that because they assume from the covers that they are romances. Argh!

Date Posted: 5/18/2011 6:23 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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+1 for Vicky's interpretation, eager participant in the group hug!

Diana Gabaldon's books walk the line perfectly--probably too much 'extra history' for a reader who just wants HR, but perfect for us because while the Clare-Jamie lovefest is a strong strain in her books, there is plenty of other period, amazingly accurate detail for us HF-ers

Date Posted: 5/18/2011 10:52 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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I agree on Gabaldon -- she walks the line about as closely as can be done.  The romance is a strong strain, but historically real events and people drive the storyline just as much as the romance.  Very difficult balance to maintain.  EC does it, too, as does Gellis in the first few of her Roselynde series. 

Date Posted: 5/18/2011 10:55 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,299
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Yes, Vicky summed it up perfectly for me too! There is no way that I would read a book that was primarily romance - historical or otherwise, but if you are reading HF, usually there is some kind of a romance in there somewhere, even if it's just a sniggling little hint! And yes, this is a great group that I would hate to see break apart because of some small differences in our tastes.

Date Posted: 5/18/2011 11:47 AM ET
Member Since: 9/21/2009
Posts: 1,170
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As one of 'those people" as Pamela puts it(proudly for more than 25 years)-I come here to learn and discuss what I consider straight HF-which is a relatively newer genre for me(within 2 years).  And, for me, the Chadwick description fits perfectly. 

I go to the sub-genre under "love and romance" here on PBS, to discuss more historical romance-there is a thread there to do that. 

However I will say, that I'm all for a more "inclusive" feel rather than an exclusive one. 

 

Jan

Date Posted: 5/18/2011 3:32 PM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
Posts: 5,201
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I like to read a lot of genres, including romance, historical and historical romance.  So if the discussions "leak over" it dosan't bother me at all.  In fact after I'm through here I plan to pop over to the Love & Romance meesage board.  I don't like being limited by restrictive labels.

Date Posted: 5/18/2011 5:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2006
Posts: 1,930
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Hmm . . . when I started reading this thread the first author I thought of was Gabaldon who IMHO is heavy on the romance and light on the history. Guess we have different interpretations :-)

You ladies (mostly Jeanne!) turned me on to historical mysteries. 

 



Last Edited on: 5/18/11 5:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/18/2011 7:53 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
Posts: 10,299
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Sheila - I hope that you are enjoying them! I feel like a little gremlin. When you think about it though many of the HF books we all enjoy are historical mysteries: Araiana Franklin; C. J. Sansom; Sharon Kay Penman (Justin de Quincy); Ellis Peters etc.

As a matter of fact, I am presently collecting Susanna Gregory's Thomas Chaloner series to start reading. I've got four of them, so far, but I'm waiting....waiting - for a couple of others yet!

Don't we even have another sub genre in historical fantasy?



Last Edited on: 5/18/11 7:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/19/2011 12:38 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
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Vicky sez:

<<All in all I enjoy this group so much!  *group hug*>>

Here here!  There seem to be a lot of "kindred spirits" here (as Anne Shirley would say -- is she HF?), so I don't really care what genres everyone strays to, as long as you come back and tell what's good and what really stinks.   devil

Date Posted: 5/20/2011 9:05 AM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
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^^^Well, there you have it. That's us.

Date Posted: 5/24/2011 12:45 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2006
Posts: 860
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Thanks for all the thoughtful feedback on this topic.  I agree with those of you who favor a more  inclusive thread.  I confess that some of my favorite authors could easliy fall under the genre of historical romance.  Rosalind Laker and Sara Donati are two of them. 

Pam

Date Posted: 5/24/2011 3:10 PM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,709
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I thought of this thread while reading Mary Renault, whom I consider to be hardcore Historical Fiction all the way.  And yet...Romance!  The main character of The Mask of Apollo is gay. laugh

Date Posted: 5/24/2011 3:34 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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Interesting Vicky. I might be getting to that soon.