Sunday, September 13, 2015

Weekend Wildcard - Historicals with a Difference

Pink Heart Society editor, Ali Williams, is talking about the historical romances that make her stop and think...

Within romance, there are a million and one different subgenres, but there's one that gets pigeonholed more than most:  the historical novel.

Those not in the know (ie. non-romance readers) seem to think that they're all set at Jane Austen-style demure dances, or that they're all about swooning virgins and bodice-ripping pirates.

And, of course, there are any number of these types of historical romances, and most of them are well-written and an absolute delight to read.  But I do wish that there's more to the historical romance than meets the eye.

So here are just a few of category historical romances with a difference:

Her Enemy Highlander - Nicole Locke
(Stewart Scotland)

Impulsive Mairead Buchanan’s only goal is to track down the man responsible for her brother’s death. Until a shameful encounter with Caird of enemy clan Colquhoun proves a distraction she can’t ignore…

Nothing could have prepared Mairead for the path she’s thrown onto when the secrets of a jewelled dagger are revealed and she finds herself kidnapped by this sexy Highlander! With Mairead’s recklessness a perfect foil to Caird’s cool command, can these two enemies set their clans’ differences aside and surrender to the desire that rages between them?

The Bootlegger's Daughter - Lauri Robinson
(The Roaring Twenties)

Of All the Speakeasies in All the World…

Mysterious city slicker Ty Bradshaw might have won her father’s trust, but everyone knows Norma Rose is the true boss of Nightingale’s resort. And it’ll take more than that charming smile to shake her feeling that Ty is not all he seems…

He Walks Into Hers!

Ty is a federal agent on a personal mission of revenge. But he hasn’t figured on falling for a bootlegger’s daughter. Suddenly, flirting with headstrong Norma Rose seems far more exhilarating than chasing gangsters!

Running Wolf - Jenna Kernan
(Native American Tribes)

Rival tribes...

Running Wolf is a valiant Sioux warrior. During his first raid as war chief he captures a surprising Crow enemy – a woman! This spirited fighter is unlike any he’s ever met. Her beauty and audacity are entrancing, but they threaten his iron resolve…

…...rival passions.

Snow Raven must focus on freeing herself – not on the man who keeps her captive. But as she falls deeper under Running Wolf’s spell she realises he is her warrior… and she’ll risk everything for him!

Warrior of Ice - Michelle Willingham
(Irish Warrior Kings)

Locked in a Deadly Game!

Physically and emotionally scarred, Lady Taryn knows no man would want her for a wife. Nonetheless, she’s determined to free her father from his merciless overlord and enlists powerful warrior Killian MacDubh to help.

He has his own motives for confronting the High King… Born a bastard, Killian longs to carve out a place for himself. Unaware of her true beauty, Taryn is an alluring distraction to his plan, but as traitors are revealed and loyalties tested, their forbidden love becomes the only thing worth fighting for!

Whispers at Court - Blythe Gifford
(Medieval Court)

They Make an Unlikely Alliance...

Lady Cecily scorns the French hostages held at court. Treated as honoured guests, the men play at love games – and Cecily fears that her mistress, the Princess, might be disgraced.

War-weary chevalier Marc de Marcel wants only to return home. Uncertain whether his ransom will ever be paid, he makes an unlikely alliance with enticing fire and ice Cecily. He’ll help her keep the Princess safe from ruin if she’ll help him escape. A pact which could lead them into a scandal all their own...

A Dance with Danger - Jeannie Lin
(Tang Dynasty China)

A Promise Sworn on the Edge of a Sword...

After a failed assassination attempt on a corrupt general, Bao Yang is a wanted man. Taking refuge with an ally, Yang accidentally compromises the man’s daughter when they’re discovered alone. To save her honour he must marry the beautiful Jin-mei immediately!

In Yang’s arms, Jin-mei feels alive for the first time.

She’s determined not to lose him, even if it means joining his perilous mission... But when she realises just how destructive Yang’s path might be can she convince him that their life together could be so much sweeter than revenge?

Morrow Creek Runaway - Lisa Plumley
(Turn of the Century Westerns)

When the past comes to call...

A year ago Rosamond Dancy never dreamed she’d find herself in Morrow Creek. But after being removed from her job as a Boston housemaid, sold into marriage and widowed in quick succession, she’s determined to take back the reins of her life.

Until the past she’s determined to forget shows up on her doorstep – in the form of Miles Callaway – and everything changes in an instant. Could Miles be the one to convince this runaway to hang up her shoes and stay by his side... for ever?

Taming His Viking Woman - Michelle Styles
(Viking Shield Maidens)

The sea king's warrior bride...

Legendary shield maiden Sayrid Avildottar will marry no man unless he first defeats her in combat. And in powerful sea king Hrolf Eymundsson she has finally met her match. 

Hrolf might have won her lands – and her body – but can Sayrid welcome a stranger to her bed? The world of fighting is all she knows! But with a husband intent on seducing his new bride perhaps, just this once, Sayrid will discover that surrender can bring the greatest pleasure of all...

Betrayed, Betrothed and Bedded - Juliet Landon
(Tudor Court)

The game of love is a dangerous one in the court of Henry VIII...

Betrayed by an ambitious father, forcibly betrothed to the handsome yet enigmatic Sir Jon Raemon, and soon to be bedded by the covetous King Henry, Virginia D’Arvall is the female pawn in a masculine game of desire, power and lust.

Ginny is determined to keep her honour, but in these dangerous courtly games she will need to have her wits about her like never before. Will she realise that in Sir Jon she might just have all the love and protection she needs to survive?

Forbidden Jewel of India - Louisa Allen
(Turn of the Century India)

Anusha Laurens is in danger. The daughter of an Indian princess and an English peer, she’s the perfect pawn in the opulent courts of Rajasthan. Even so, she will not return to the father who rejected her. Arrogant angrezi Major Nicholas Herriard is charged with bringing the alluring Princess safely to her new life in Calcutta.

Nick’s mission is to protect, to serve – but under the searing Indian sun an initial attraction unfurls into a forbidden temptation. This beautiful, impossible Princess tests the very limits of his honour – especially when Nick is left with only one option to keep Anusha safe: marriage.

But the fastflowing waters of the Ganges determine a different fate, and duty may separate them for ever…

What books defy the historical stereotypes?  Join the debate in the comments!!

Ali Williams grew up in Croydon and spent her teenage years in a convent girls’ school. She then fled to university where she discovered champagne cocktails, a capella singing and erotica.

These days she blogs about perceptions of romance, chick lit and women in society and spends the rest of her time promoting #StrongRomanceHeroines on Twitter, and cracking on with her first novel, Breakfast in Tunford.

Editor for the Pink Heart Society, guest blogger for Mills & Boon and Harper Impulse, and occasional columnist for For Books' Sake, she defies you to slam romance novels within her hearing!

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