Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Put Up Your Dukes!

I've read Pride and Prejudice. Hell, I've even seen the movie. I love Jane Eyre, but prefer Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights to Emily Bronte's book. Still, until about a year and a half ago, I scorned historical romances.

Those books have had their revenge, because I seem to be hooked.

I blame Anna Campbell and Eloisa James. When I bought CLAIMING THE COURTESAN and AN AFFAIR BEFORE CHRISTMAS it was because I'd come across the authors at Barnes & Noble's website, and I was curious. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was pretty sure the books would be filled with foppish men and fussily dressed women, dastardly dukes and blushing duchesses and priggish period language. You would have thought those book covers might have given me a clue, but no -- I was the prig with my preconceived ideas. The books, on the other hand, left me breathless and eager for more.

Anna, with her favorite historicals listed on her website, and Eloisa, who writes a monthly column for Barnes & Noble which always includes book recommendations, led me into temptation. How can I explain this? I thought I was immune. I read mysteries first, and, being a slow learner, it took me awhile to realize my favorite mysteries included a romance. Think Mary Stewart, Evelyn Anthony, Dorothy Eden, Victoria Holt. Romantic suspense, contemporary romance - that was one thing. Historicals? Too girly.

Even when I admitted my addiction to romance and began subscribing to Harlequin and Silhouette, I hid the covers when I read them on the train and in the break room at work. They were a secret pleasure. When I hit fifty, I stopped worrying what other people thought about my book choices, and gave myself up to the pleasure of reading whatever I damn well felt like. But I was still a little embarrassed about reading historicals. For some reason, I felt as if I was falling too far over onto the feminine side -- as if any minute I'd break out in corsets and petticoats.

Then Melanie Murray and the regulars at Barnes & Noble's Romantic Reads board keep urging me to read more historical authors, and I found it increasingly hard to refuse their suggestions. When I met affirmed historical addict Michelle Buonfiglio, that clinched it. My name is Becke and I have an addiction to historical romance . . .

Once I fell, I fell hard. I've discovered so many great authors, I can't begin to list them all -- Loretta Chase, Lorraine Heath, Joanna Bourne, Madeline Hunter, Eva Ibbotson, Lisa Kleypas, Connie Brockway, Christina Dodd, Anne Gracie, Donna MacMeans, Christine Wells, Victoria Dahl, Julia Quinn, Vanessa Kelly, Nicola Cornick, Mary Balogh, Tessa Dare, Carolyn Jewel, Lisa Valdez, Robyn DeHart, Jennifer Ashley, Jennifer Haymore, Teresa Medeiros, Jacquie D'Alessandro, Karen Hawkins, Kathryn Kennedy, Meredith Duran, Judith Ivory, Maya Rodale, Stephanie Laurens, Anne Stuart, Christine Merrill, Sophie Jordan, Sabrina Jeffries, Delilah Marvelle, Elizabeth Hoyt, Laura Lee Guhrke, Liz Carlyle, Suzanne Enoch, Julie Anne Long, Johanna Lindsey, Claudia Dain -- oh, I give up. Let's just say my to-be-read pile is now overflowing with historicals.

Damn those dukes, anyway. I'm all about the contemporary era -- I live in jeans and sandals, for Pete's sake! I would have hated to live in Regency England, or any time in the past. Except . . . there is something about a reformed rake.

Which reminds me -- I have a hundred pages to go in the story I'm reading. Regency England is calling and I must heed the call! But, all you authors of historical romances? If you're saying, "I told you so," you're right. I was wrong, and I'm here to admit it. Those books are wonderful, and I'm so glad I've discovered them, even if the TBR pile is a little scary these days. Now I have to go finish reading my book!


Lindsay said...

Reading regency is a bit of an addiction. Writing it is even worse.

Becke Davis said...

Lindsay - I don't have a Kindle, are your books out in paperback or for Nook?

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