The Historical with Romantic Elements

Guest post
by Frances Burke

I love ‘Historicals’, but in recent times this category has become divided into sub-genres, with the emphasis almost totally upon the emotional conflict. The old Historical Novel wasn’t intended to be a Romance, as such, but a novel set in a historical time frame with Romance as one, sometimes major element.

Today the term covers everything from erotica to sweet Regency, with some historical data thrown in. (Apologies to those writers who do their research, although still allowing the love story to overwhelm other aspects.)

I am proposing another, more specific category: “The Historical With Romantic Elements”. It would cover many genres – adventure, thriller, fantasy, paranormal, you name it. It would follow no pattern but the one in the writer’s mind, allowing her to bend rules and take flights of fancy, use any time frame and as many major characters as were consistent with the length of the novel and common sense. And the romantic element might be relatively small, or even relegated to a sub-plot.

A Historical With Romantic Elements (herein to be known as HWRE) would be distinct from Historical Romance and Historical Saga in that it tended to concentrate heavily on research, with the setting detailed and imprinted with colour and texture. Background would be all-important, with bonus points for an unusual setting. Georgian and Tudor times, for instance, are so well documented and used that research almost falls into the lap. With many other periods, it takes hard work to understand the intricacies of politics, wars and social upheavals and to weave these into a story without overloading the reader with detail. Continue reading “The Historical with Romantic Elements”