<i>Deception Island</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Deception Island: Exclusive Excerpt Brynn Kelly "Daring beauty who's nothing he expects and everything he desires." <i>Baker's Dozen</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Baker's Dozen: Exclusive Excerpt Allison Fuller "It’s been a long time since she’s felt youthful..." <i>Interference</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Interference: Exclusive Excerpt Sophia Henry "It took every ounce of willpower I had not to..." <i>Stare Him Down</i>: Exclusive Excerpt Stare Him Down: Exclusive Excerpt Riley Murphy "She grabbed at his shoulders as he moved to kneel in front of her."
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Showing posts tagged: History click to see more stuff tagged with History
Apr 23 2016 1:00pm

Sex, Love, and Second Chances for the Eternal in Shakespeare

Much Ado About Highlanders by May McGoldrickToday we're thrilled to welcome May McGoldrick to Heroes and Heartbreakers. While a “death day” doesn't typically offer much to celebrate, today we're here to celebrate the life and work of Shakespeare. Four hundred years to the day after his death, Shakespeare's works are still relevant and timeless. May McGoldrick—whose latest release Much Ado About a Highlander comes out on May 3 and offers a twist on a classic Shakespearean story—is here to talk about what has made him so enduring—and we think it might have something to do with love *wink wink.* Thanks, May!

When Shakespeare’s friends and partners got together to assemble his plays for the first time, his great rival Ben Jonson wrote, “He was not of an age, but for all time.” High praise, to be sure, but maybe this was the original book quote, put on that First Folio simply to sell a few more copies.

No, no, let’s put that cynicism behind us. Four hundred years have passed since William Shakespeare penned his last play, and his language, imagery, plots, and (most important) characters are as alive today as they were when the plays were originally staged. Shakespeare’s plays have definitely survived the test of time. But why is that?

[What keeps us coming back time and time again?...]

Mar 30 2016 8:03am

We’re All Mad Here...

Source: emmawswan.tumblr.com

Recently an article made the rounds reminding us that it may have been a good thing we were born in this century, rather than the Victorian era. Victorian doctors once thought that women were driven to insanity from... reading. And not just any reading, but the reading of novels. 

What do you think of this “fun fact”? Would you have been deemed insane by Victorian society?

Oct 20 2015 10:00am

Dating, 19th Century Style: Tips from the Past That Still Apply!

Mr Collins proposes to Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice

Today we're thrilled to give you a “double feature” of sorts as we welcome both Tasha Alexander and Ashley Weaver to Heroes and Heartbreakers! Tasha and Ashley write historical mysteries—both with elements of romance in them! We love Tasha's Lady Emily series, which just added The Adventuress to its list, and are very excited to see the release of Ashley's Death Wears a Mask. However, today, Tasha and Ashley are going to toss aside the mystique for one day and share some tips they've learned about dating from history, after all you can't write romantic historicals without picking up a thing or two—and noticing that a few of these historical tips may still apply today. Thanks, Tasha and Ashley!

It’s such a delight to be here with the wonderfully talented Ashley Weaver, whose fabulously witty novels are some of my favorites! As writers of historicals, we both face the challenges that come with trying to put ourselves in another time period. Often contemporary opinions of the social mores of the past include a lot of laughter and eye-rolling. What were these people thinking? And while I agree with a certain amount of that—after all, there was a time in the 1890s when the most radical women’s rights group in the UK split when half of its members thought seeking the vote for ladies was going a step too far—I cannot say that all of their customs, bizarre though many of them are, wouldn’t be useful today, particularly when it comes to dating.

[Let's try to learn from the past...]

Jun 18 2015 3:54pm

Romance News Roundup: Waterloo, V.K. Sykes Deal, and More!

Welcome to H&H's daily news roundup! Grab a mug of tea and a scone and let's gossip about what's hot in the romance world right now.

When You Make It Home by Claire Ashby—Deal Alert #1: Claire Ashby's When You Make It Home is currently $.99 in e-book at e-tailers including Barnes & NobleiBookstore, and Amazon.* For more romances featuring pregnant heroines, see our two-part pregnancy in romance article.

—Today is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, often referenced in historical romance novels. Lynne Connolly has written about dashing fictional Waterloo veterans, while a few years back, Victoria Janssen put the spotlight on her favorite heroes and heroines of the Napoleonic Wars.

—Live in NYC? Don't forget that RWA-NYC is hosting a romance festival at the Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights this Saturday afternoon from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

—Deal Alert #2: V.K. Sykes's Meet Me at the Beach is $1.99 in e-book right now at e-tailers such as iBookstoreBarnes & Noble, and Amazon.* Read our First Look at Meet Me at the Beach here.

—Deal Alert #3: Lynne Graham's A Convenient Arrangement is $.99 in e-book at the moment at Amazon.* You could say we're fans of the marriage of convenience trope...

—Thoughts on this wedding dress made out of toilet paper??? All I can say is kudos on the winning design—it's certainly impressive work.

*We don't know how long deals will last, so grab 'em while you can!

May 29 2015 4:30pm

Friday Beefcake: The Age of Aquarius

Grey Damon and David Duchovny in AquariusLast night, we got to see David Duchovny on TV again with the start of the show Aquarius. While it's about the gruesome investigation into cult leader, Charles Manson, we can't help but be entranced by the men of the show.

You might recognize the two other leading men—Gethin Anthony as Charlie Manson, and Grey Damon as undercover cop Shafe—from TV shows like Game of Thrones and Friday Night Lights (respectively).

Did you watch the show? What were your thoughts?

[So-bad-they're-good beefcake...]

May 16 2015 2:00pm

Love, History, and Family in Deeanne Gist’s Tiffany Girl

Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

Deeanne Gist delivers a novel that is rich in both love and history in her latest book Tiffany Girl. Flossie Jayne’s story is one that highlights the difficulties that women once faced in regards to independence. When our story begins she is working as an assistant to her mother, a very successful dress maker who names the elite of New York among her clients. Flossie doesn’t really enjoy sewing and does it only so that money can be earned for her to attend the School of Applied Design. It is Flossie’s dream to be a painter and she is certain that the studying she is doing at the school will lead to her success.  Then her mother drops a bombshell.

Your father has decided to withdraw you from the School of Applied Design.

Flossie’s argument is immediate and vehement. She and her mother do all the work, why on Earth should she not have the joy of spending some of the money? Her mother’s response is simple and infuriating to Flossie.

You and I don’t have any money. It’s all his.

Flossie wants to go on strike until her father agrees to allow them to take part in the financial decision making but her mother refuses to go along. Just when Flossie is resigned to leaving art school Louis Tiffany comes to the facility looking for glass workers. While this is not Flossie’s area of expertise she and Mr. Tiffany get along so well that he offers her a position. Her parents are livid – young ladies of her class do not do menial labor for money. Flossie, determined to have the money needed for art school, leaves home and heads to Klausemeyer’s boarding house and begins her life as a New Woman.

[Flossie has to shake off the hate and follow her destiny...]

May 14 2015 2:00pm

And Then I Came to Paris: The True Love Story of Heloise and Abelard

The Dragon of Handale by Cassandra Clark

Today we're thrilled to welcome author Cassandra Clark to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Cassandra writes mysteries set in the Medieval era, and her latest book, The Dragon of Handale, features a nun who has left her order and is unsure of her future with the church. The heroine of her story hearkens back to a real-life nun, Heloise, and her famous—and ill-fated—love affair with Peter Abellard. Cassandra is here today to talk about that very love affair and give us a little history lesson with our love story. Thanks, Cassandra!

When you’re next in the City of Romance, either alone or with your beloved, you might make your way to the famous Père Lachaise cemetery to lay flowers on the tomb of Heloise and Abelard.

Theirs is the first medieval love story at a time when there were no words for “falling in love.” Even in the writerly world of 12th-century Paris, discourse on love is unknown. Of course people fall in love, often bawdily, as told later by Boccaccio and Chaucer, but it is usually scandalously against the rules.

That’s how it is for Heloise of Argenteuil and Peter Abelard.

Their story starts with Abelard, first son of a Breton aristocrat. With no wish to become a knight, Abelard’s interests are firmly intellectual. He is a youth of brilliant intelligence and spends several years travelling in search of the best teachers of philosophy.  “And then,” as he says in 1100, “I came to Paris.”

[The perfect place for a true love story.]

Mar 3 2015 1:05pm

Keeping “It” Clean: Hygiene, Hot Sex, and the Historical Romance Novel

Claimed by the Rogue by Hope TarrToday we are thrilled to welcome author Hope Tarr to Heroes and Heartbreakers, whose Claimed by the Rogue is out today in paperback! Claimed by the Rogue, like most historicals, required some research to lend an element of real-life to fantasy. Hope is joining us today to talk about some of the very real-life hygiene habits of historical periods, and why they maybe were left out of their romantic counterparts. Thanks, Hope!

Recently, I returned to writing historical romance after a five year hiatus spent exclusively on contemporaries. In many ways, Claimed By The Rogue represents a homecoming of sorts. Historical romances were what began my love affair with the genre all those many moons ago when, as a curious sixth grader, I found a battered copy of The Lion Triumphant, a Tudor era romance by the incomparable Phillippa Carr, better known as Victoria Holt, at the back of my school library. I was hooked. Even before I set out to write my own book, the ensuing decades saw my love affair with historical romance deepening. The high-stakes scenarios, the sweeping settings, the relative freedom from political correctness—it’s all really rather glorious, and yet…

[And yet, indeed...]

Aug 10 2014 3:00pm

Can Family Feuds Work in Romance Novels?

Rogue in Red Velvet by Lynne ConnollyToday we welcome author Lynne Connolly to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Lynne's Rogue in Red Velvet is the first book in the new Georgian-set series the Emperors of London. Rogue in Red Velvet has a country widow ending up in a brothel, of all places, and the man whose heart she broke is the only one who can save her reputation. Lynne's research into history reveals some intriguing scandals, including a few family feuds, which she discusses today. Thanks, Lynne!

Recently there haven’t been as many family feud stories in the romance novel. I read a lot of category romance—devour them, in fact, and while the marriage of convenience and the reignited romance have proved continually popular, the family feud has somewhat faded.

But when the muse strikes, it strikes and there wasn’t much I could do about it. That, and the resurgence of the more angsty historical romance, gave me a chance to write about something that’s fascinated me for most of my life. Along with writing about passion, tempestuous relationships and people falling in love, that is.

[Family Matters...]

Jul 7 2014 2:00pm

We Are Family: Sisters in History from the Brontes, the Jeromes, and More!

Mercy by Deneane ClarkToday we're joined by author Deneane Clark, whose Mercy has just been released. Mercy is the most recent release in Deneane's historical romance series about sisters, the youngest of whom just happens to be named Mercy. Mercy wants to find love, as her sisters have, and knows just who she wants—because she's wanted him since she was thirteen years old. In basing her series on sisters, Deneane is calling upon real-life sisters from history who found success in love and marriage, and she's here to talk about those sisters today. Thanks, Deneane!

There is something oddly fascinating about sisters. All familial relationships are special and have their distinct characteristics, but the ones between sisters stand out. Your sister can be both your closest friend and your greatest rival—often at the same time.

The six sisters in my Virtue Series grow up motherless yet somehow manage to burst onto the social scene of Regency London and make a clean sweep of the very best men England has to offer. All the men are titled, good-looking, dauntingly intelligent and provokingly charming. Such is the stuff of romantic fiction, right? That would never happen in real life, would it?

[Never say never...]

Apr 18 2014 3:00pm

Bloodied Relations: Lucrezia, Scarlett, Cersei and More Ruthless Ladies!

Today is Lucrezia Borgia's birthday, born in Italy way back in 1480. Happy Birthday, Lucrezia!

Lucrezia has become notorious in history as a woman who will do anything for her family, including poisoning, sexual favors, and incest. The men of her family were worse in their actions, but it's Lucrezia who is the most notorious.*

Perhaps, if she were a man, Lucrezia would have been modestly infamous for being so ruthless and Machiavellian, but it seems to be even more outrageous that she did those things and was a female. Of course, if she were male, she wouldn't have had to resort to sneakier methods of getting her way such as using sex or a poison ring to guarantee the outcome she wanted; she would just have straight-out murdered the person in question, or perhaps gone ahead and led an army against them. But being a woman, she didn't have those methods at her disposal, so she used what she did have—her femininity and the misguided thought that women were the weaker sex, and wouldn't dare to act as she did.

[Hence the poison ring thing...]

Apr 3 2014 12:00pm

Extra Virgin: Historical Virginity Tests

The Red Lily Crown by Elizabeth LoupasToday we're pleased to welcome author Elizabeth Loupas, whose The Red Lily Crown is out this week! Elizabeth's book is set in 1574 Florence, when the Grand Duke de Medici was dying. So of course there are intrigues, and secrets, and romances, and all sorts of delicious things. Elizabeth is here to talk about the various tests for virginity women have had to endure, just to prove their purity. Thanks, Elizabeth!

Throughout most of history, men have been a little irrational on the subject of virgins. What with patrilineal succession and all, they seemed to think that marrying a virgin would assure them that their children would be their own. The trouble was—how to be sure a girl really was a virgin? Naturally they couldn’t just take her word for it.

Enter virginity tests.

There were four basic types. One was the blood-on-the-sheets-on-the-wedding-night sort of test, which was much beloved of European royalty. For as long as the test existed, of course, girls figured out ways to get around it (chicken’s blood, anyone?), and we’ve all read many scenes in novels in which shy or slightly-too-experienced brides have faked this supposedly infallible test. Sometimes even with the encouragement of their new husbands!

[Sure, how could that not be foolproof?...]

Jan 7 2014 10:30am

19th-Century Jersey Shore: The Royals

Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard by Vanessa KellyToday we're joined by author Vanessa Kelly, whose Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard is out this week. The book launches the Renegade Royals series,  which tells the exploits of the royal princes' illegitimate sons. Vanessa is here to talk about the real-life shenanigans of the British Royals, from Harry back to George. Thanks, Vanessa!

Outrageous parties, gambling and drinking, scandalous affairs, and lots of bad publicity—sounds like one of Prince Harry’s wild weekends in Las Vegas, doesn’t it?  The poor lad has largely redeemed himself since those nude pictures hit the tabloids a few years ago, but he’s had to walk the straight and narrow to get there.

Not that Harry is the only Windsor to engage in famously bad behavior.  After all, it wasn’t all that long ago that Prince Charles and his brothers were kicking over the traces and giving the poor Queen more than a few gray hairs.  Remember all those salacious phone calls between Charles and Camilla when Charles was still married to Diana? For those of us who do remember, we’ll never look at tampons the same way again.

Queen Elizabeth’s children and grandchildren (with a few exceptions) displayed a knack for creating scandal in their younger years, although most have finally settled down (age will do that to you).  In fact, compared to some of their royal ancestors they seem quite staid—particularly when put side by side with the notorious sons and daughters of King George III. The historical lifestyle of that particular set of royals reads like a Regency version of The Jersey Shore, but with better clothing, parties, and accents (and no tans).

[First up, the Prince Regent...]

Jan 2 2014 5:30pm

Loving Lymond: Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles

The Game of Kings by Dorothy DunnettNews about the upcoming TV series based on Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series inspired some thought about potentially filming a series based on Dorothy Dunnett’s six-book Lymond Chronicles. Dunnett’s series is also set in Scotland, though it takes place a couple of hundred years before Gabaldon’s series. If I had all the money in the world, I'd hire Tom Stoppard to adapt these novels and Tom Hiddleston in his Prince Hal mode—smug, arrogant, conflicted and charismatic—to play Lymond, but alas, I haven't the cash, so the best I can do is get other people to read this incredible series.

What are the Lymond Chronicles? Think of them as the Scottish love-child of Alexandre Dumas and Dorothy L. Sayers, with an added layer of psychological complexity and political maneuvering that is reminiscent of Game of Thrones. Most of all, this compelling historical romance (in which no one, thankfully, has historically accurate pox scars and missing teeth) is the story of Francis Crawford of Lymond, and his long journey to find love, save his country, and live up to his great potential.

[Historical romance fans, this one's for you...]

Dec 3 2013 3:30pm

Did the Victorians Ruin Everything?: The Importance of Accuracy in British Historicals

Today we're joined by author Kate Pearce, whose most recent release “My Heart's Desire” is an erotic historical story in the Gift of Desire anthology. Kate's next release, The Sinners Club, begins the start of a new series. Kate writes erotic romance set in many time periods, and while she writes hot, she also takes pains to write accurately. She's here to talk about historical accuracy in British historical romances. Thanks, Kate!

Historical accuracy is important to me. I grew up just outside London, and spent my childhood being taken around some of the most amazing historical sites in the world. I have a keen appreciation of my country’s history, which I try to get across in my books. Some details are easy for every writer to access on the Internet, but others, particularly those of ‘class and status’ are harder to pin down.

I can’t explain how the moment someone from the U.K. opens their mouth I will instantly catalogue their accent to the nth degree—where they came from, what social class they belong to, and where they fit in relation to me in society. It’s so automatic I don’t even think about it. So when I read historical romances set in the U.K., I do the same thing and I notice when things aren’t quite right.

[And really, can't we all relate?...]

Nov 30 2013 2:30pm

First Look: Lena Dowling’s His Convict Wife (December 1, 2013)

His Convict Wife by Lena DowlingLena Dowling
His Convict Wife
Escape / December 1, 2013 / $.99 digital

For Irish convict Colleen Malone, being framed, transported to Australia and forced into prostitution seemed like the worst that life could throw at her. Then she fell pregnant to a client and was sent back to prison by her cruel owner. Now, her only hope of a decent life for her and her baby is to find someone to marry.

Widower and former London businessman Samuel Biggs arrived in Australia hoping to put his grief behind him. When James Hunter offers him a job on his Parramatta farm, he accepts eagerly. He’ll put his back into his new work, and bury any thoughts of new love and marriage in the rich earth of his new home. 

However, all plans are compromised when Samuel is manipulated into visiting a workhouse to choose a new housekeeper, and Colleen seizes her chance — literally grabbing Samuel and begging for her life. The only way Samuel can oblige is by marrying her, but on one thing he stands firm — there is no way he will fall in love...

A meaty angsty marriage of convenience historical is right up my alley but never have I written a First Look that cuts so close to the bone, because of my family of origin. Nor do I usually read historical romances that have so many strikes against an ultimate HEA from the git-go. My great-grandmother, Rebecca Alexander, was born in what is now Northern Ireland. She immigrated to the United States and became a nursery maid for the Von Stade household in New York City, the Von Stades being a “socially prominent New Jersey family which included generations of yachtsmen, bankers, polo players and other Establishmentarians” and in our generation, opera singer Frederica Von Stade (New York Observer, 2010). My mother said that try as she might to get her grandmother to speak of her past, she was never successful. People came to the New World to get a new life, better than the one they left behind.

[How do His Convict Wife's characters fare?...]

Nov 21 2013 7:11pm

Don’t Mess With This New Bonnie & Clyde Trailer

Guess who got a special sneak peek at the upcoming A&E networks miniseries Bonnie & Clyde? We did, and we are sharing it with you!

Bonnie & Clyde, starring Emile Hirsch and Holliday Grainger (seen previously as one half of the scandalous Cesare/Lucrezia pairing in The Borgias), follows the short, tragic lives of the infamous couple Bonnie and Clyde, notorious bank robbers and criminals. It premieres December 8, 2013. Will you be watching?

Nov 2 2013 11:30am

Dancing on the Edge: Love in Black and White

Dancing on the Edge posterIn the BBC/Starz period drama, Dancing on the Edge, screenwriter and director Stephen Poliakoff chronicles the rapid ascent of a black jazz band in early 1930s British society, and the thorny issues of race and class. Romance and passion play a prominent part in this exploration, of course, and as each episode progresses, we watch how it breaks down barriers—and keeps them intact.

The Outsiders

Louis Lester, leader of the Louis Lester Band, is immediately marked as “different” by circle of aristocrats and jazz fans who boost the Louis Lester Band—he is the only British citizen in his band (thereby exempt from needing to file with the immigration offices each week). Yet, his blackness separates him from his countrymen and women. Sarah, a society photographer who is friend/companion to the aristocratic Pamela Luscombe, is also an outsider—though this is less apparent on first meeting. She is the daughter of a Russian Jewish immigrant who escaped the pogroms and is determined not to rock the boat in his new country.

[Will they find a sense of belonging in each other?...]

Aug 19 2013 2:58pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 10 Recap: With Both a Bang and a Whimper

Elizabeth and Cecily in The White Queen episode 10****SPOILERS FOR THE WHITE QUEEN EPISODE 10****

Are you freaking kidding me, The White Queen? You are, right? You are joking, and jesting, and making with the japes. That is the only explanation I have for the final 45 seconds of this, your very last episode. Or your very last episode of Season 1, at any rate; I suppose it’s possible we’ll see The White Queen 2: This Time it’s Personal at some date in the future, perhaps depending on how well the series performs on its new US cable home. But regardless: man, did you anti-climax the hell out of this thing. Honestly, I have no words.

But, back to the beginning!

(Need to catch up? Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2episode 3episode 4episode 5episode 6episode 7, episode 8, and episode 9. The series is currently airing in the UK on BBC and on Starz in the United States, so beware of SPOILERS; episode 2 just aired on Starz on Saturday.)

We kick off this time around seeing our good Queen Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) returned to her beloved Rivers manor, where all of this wackiness began so very long ago. For us, it has been a mere ten weeks since she waylaid a King by the roadside and magicked her way into his fickle heart, but for her it is twenty years, ten kids, five uprisings and a bunch of dead relatives ago that she last made this place her home. Ferguson gives us a Lizzie smiling and at peace, away from the tumult of political chicanery and just happy to be living in comfort with most of her remaining children.

[How will the season end?...]

Aug 12 2013 4:30pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 9 Recap: Who Framed Richard III?

Queen Anne in The White Queen episode 9****SPOILERS FOR THE WHITE QUEEN EPISODE 9****

Seriously, who would ever want to be a king? Or a queen? Or the mother, sibling, child or spouse of either? Horrible jobs, the lot of them, taking the worst parts of working with family and mixing them together with cutthroat Wall Street–style office politics and the constant threat of imminent imprisonment or beheading.

I honestly cannot think of anything worse.

You know, I think Lord Robert Stanley (Rupert Graves) has the right idea here. Oh, not in that anything he does is right at all—he’s a bad, bad, sneaky and duplicitous scoundrel who makes dead serial traitor Lord Warwick look like Pollyanna—but in that he is perfectly happy being the power behind the throne, raking in the titles and the riches and the accolades without aspiring to have his face on the money. Either of his two faces.

(Need to catch up? The White Queen originally aired in the UK and is now airing in the U.S. on Starz. Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2episode 3episode 4episode 5episode 6episode 7, and episode 8.)

You may perhaps recall that Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) married Lord Stanley three episodes back, and since then they have been colluding together to bring about an end to the reign of York and usher in another Lancastrian era, with Maggie B’s son Henry Tudor (Michael Marcus) on the throne. Still exiled in Brittany, Henry awaits only his mother’s machinations to set sail across the Channel and defeat the king-in-residence’s army, whether that army be loyal to Richard III (Anuerin Barnard) or the nephew he callously disinherited last time around, Edward V.

[May the forces be with you...]