There was a time in my romance reading life when I was over anything set in Regency England. My burnout on the era got so bad, I was lucky if I read one or two Regency-set historicals a year. Luckily for me, since I hadn’t been reading romance seriously for that many years, I had long backlists and many out of print titles to keep me warm at night. Toss in my love of category romance, and it was surprisingly easy to avoid Regency England.
However, I got so good at avoiding it, that I found myself stuck in my ways. I never made the effort to try and dip my toes back in the Regency waters. I merely kept avoiding. Then in 2008, Harlequin launched their digital short story line, Harlequin Historical Undone. I have mad, crazy love for Harlequin Historical, and this new short story line was going to offer readers short historical stories a wee bit spicy than the full length novels. I was sold. So I dipped my toes in the water, reading pretty much anything and everything that tickled my fancy. Yes, even Regency England.
Even though I still believed myself burnt out on the era, I figured I was only reading a short story. Even if I wasn’t crazy about it, even if I thought it was terrible, it was still only a short story. I wasn’t going to be investing a ton of my reading time on them. Something funny happened though—I got hooked. Not only that, I discovered that the Regency era wasn’t so bad after all. Oh happy day, my burn out was over!
Writing short stories is a very tricky business, which is why I suspect many readers aren’t wild about them. There’s just not enough there to entice them. The snack-sized read leaves them unsatisfied, and they find themselves longing for a full meal. However, for me, I find when a short story is done right, when the author has skill for the format, it can be a very tasty morsel of a read. I get a slice, a view of a developing relationship, against interesting historical back drops, and the added sexy sizzle that borders on erotic romance territory. These stories have been a fantastic way for me to discover new-to-me writers, and not only do they entertain me, I can finish one on my lunch break at work!
So thank you Harlequin Historical Undone, for helping me branch out, try new authors, and making me rediscover the Regency. There is light at the end of the burn out tunnel after all.
To Court, Capture and Conquer by Amanda McCabe
The Perfect Concubine by Michelle Styles
The Captain’s Wicked Wager by Marguerite Kaye
The Wanton Governess by Barbara Monajem
Seducing a Stranger by Christine Merrill
Wendy Crutcher, Fighting For Truth, Justice and the Right to Read What You Want