Disappointed in Lastest Historicals

Stolen Kisses

As I stated in my last post, I’ve found the last few historicals I’ve read lacking.   Some of my favorite authors have recently published:  Joanna Bourne, Elizabeth Hoyt,  Candace Camp, and Anne Mallory.  None of these books are bad; they just didn’t resonate with me.  And yes, I’m very well aware that a lacking Joanna Bourne book is sooo much better than most.  Actually, regarding hers, I should never have reread The Forbidden Rose so close to release of The Black HawkThe Forbidden Rose is brilliant, and one of my all-time favorites.  I’ll reread The Black Hawk later.  As for the other authors, they may not be Joanna’s class, but they are accomplished.

But there’s been some real clunkers:

However, some of these “clunkers” have gotten positive reviews.  What am I missing?!

I got so bored this past month that Diana Rowland’s My Life as A White Trash Zombie was a better choice.  (The resurgence of zombie popularity boggles the mind.)  I’ve read Diana Rowland’s Kara Gillian books, but believe me when I say that a book with a zombie heroine isn’t my first choice in reading material no matter how much I like the author.  But I was desperate.

So it was with great interest and pleasure that I read Melanie’s interview with Carla Kelly. I love Carla Kelly.  Her books are consistently good.  (Read my review on Beau Crusoe.) It was while reading this interview where I figured out why I’ve been disgruntled these past few weeks with the historicals I’ve read.  Ms. Kelly’s was explaining the difference between a traditional regency and a historical set in regency time:

Bluntly, the only difference I can see is that “trads” are shorter and rely on wit and good writing, and “historicals” rely on sexier doings. I prefer the trads, and apparently, many readers do, too.

And that, dear reader, is the truth.  Good writing. Less “sexier doings”.   I’m tired of reading those because they’ve become b-o-r-i-n-g and not very romantic. Carla Kelly writes romantic love scenes, but they are not explicit.  Actually they are more personal and tender than most of the scenes that go on in detail for pages upon pages.

Another thing I’m tired of is heroines with 21st century sensibilities set in past centuries.  If I wanted a romance set in modern times, with a modern heroine, I’d pick up a contemporary romance.  A clever author can show how a strong woman succeeded with the constraints she had; a lazy author takes the 21st woman and dumps her in a historical storyline.  And it seems like that’s the norm, and it repetitious.  And repetition is b-o-r-i-n-g.  Carla Kelly’s heroines are admirable women who behave like one would expect.  This isn’t a negative.  It’s real, and much more interesting to see how they will respond to societal limitations.

I could go on about how when all the men are rakes, none of them are very interesting.  But I’ll save that for another time.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving.  Safe travels!



  1. Hello Chick!

    I agree with your post (but for the first time I disagree in the books you mentioned (LK’s Duke and SG’s Spy) as I found them at least 4 star worthy. Now, that I got that out of the way 🙂
    I’m recommending (and waiting to receive your snail mail so I can send IT to you) a book by the name LADY LIGHTFINGERS by Janet Woods (http://www.amazon.com/Lady-Lightfingers-Janet-Woods/dp/072788056X) who has just impressed me so much that I’m tracking down everything she wrote, and it’s a lot! Here’s my review of it:

    Have you read any of these I reviewed for Romance Reader At heart website?



    • Well, maybe I’ll have to retry SG’s Spy, but I didn’t care for Lavina Kent’s book. I know that other people liked it – I read the reviews. It’s funny because usually I love her books and you don’t care for them. Talk about a reversal!

  2. As labels go, i wouldn’t consider myself an historical romance reader, but I have enjoyed several. As it stands, I’d much prefer those to the traditional regencies. 🙂 That’s just the way it is! I loved Christina Dodd’s historicals. they were fast paced and fun. Perhaps you are right about them not being ‘true’. But, maybe that’s why I like them! 😀

    Overall, I much prefer early American, Civil War historicals anyway.

    It’s great when you can pinpoint the reason for your discontent. It means you’ll have better luck choosing next time. 😀
    Have a great week.

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