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Showing posts tagged: History click to see more stuff tagged with History
May 23 2017 12:00pm

Bonnie and Clyde: History’s Most Infamous Couple

Becoming Bonnie by Jennie L. Walsh

Today we're thrilled to welcome author Jenni L. Walsh (Becoming Bonnie) to Heroes and Heartbreakers. May 23 is the fateful day when Bonnie and Clyde's crime spree came to an end, but this criminal couple's story has endured for almost 100 years. Jenni is here today to talk about some of the mystique surround this couple and why so many years later, their dark story still fascinates. Thanks, Jenni!

Today marks the anniversary of the day the law brought down notorious American outlaws Bonnie and Clyde eighty-three years ago. At only twenty-three and twenty-five years old, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were fugitives, eluding police for twenty-two months and leaving a path of death and destruction in their wake.

On May 23, 1934, the duo sat side by side in their Ford V8, traveling down a dirt road. Upon noticing an acquaintance’s broken-down truck, they slowed to help. Bonnie and Clyde didn’t know the law lay in wait. Gunfire erupted. Two minutes later, the roar of gunfire ceased and Bonnie and Clyde’s Ford had been riddled with 167 bullets. Researchers say the duo were shot more than fifty times each. Bonnie was the first known woman to be gunned down by the law in American history.

[Read more...]

Apr 24 2017 1:00pm

Historical Romance Heroines with Unconventional Occupations—She Can Bring Home the Bacon!

Blame it on the Duke by Lenora Bell

Today we're thrilled to welcome Lenora Bell (Blame It on the Duke) to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Lenora's latest release features a linguist heroine who is very talented at translations. However, there are tons of heroines in historical romance who have also have unique careers—especially for their time. Lenora is here today to talk about those different careers! Thanks, Lenora!

Psst: This post may contain some light spoilers! 

Think historical romance heroines languish around on velvet sofas waiting for a duke to put a ring on it? Think again! Today’s historical heroines are just as fierce, fearless, intelligent, and freethinking as their contemporary counterparts. And while professions for women were limited throughout history, many of these heroines were inspired by actual trailblazing women from the past! Here are ten of my favorite stereotype-busting historical heroines with unconventional occupations from books I love and highly recommend.

1. Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas

I fell in love with eccentric Lady Pandora Ravenel and her diary, half of which is filled with ideas and sketches for board games, and half with Facts and Observations on Impending Matrimonial Doom stemming from a compromising encounter with a wickedly handsome stranger. Kleypas has said that her inspiration for Pandora was real life historical game designer Elizabeth Magie who never received credit or financial success for designing the precursor to Monopoly.

[Read more...]

Apr 13 2017 3:00pm

5 Fascinating Things I Learned from Jane Austen’s England

Jane Austen's England by Roy and Lesley Adkins

Husband and wife team Roy and Lesley Adkins’ Jane Austen’s England is a delightful, fascinating work of non-fiction that will capture the attention of even the most reluctant history readers. And I would know, as the non-fiction section of my library is remarkable only in its brevity.

Unwilling to bury their readers in a dry, lengthy catalog of events, names, and details, the Adkins’ instead build a narrative of daily life during Austen’s lifetime via the inclusion of primary sources: the diaries and letters of several figures from all walks of life.

Structured in twelve chapters the book proceeds from marriage through death and traverses several subjects in between.

Though absolutely brimming with fascinating facts (and potential novel ideas for you writers out there) I’ve picked out the five that really captured my attention:

1. Marriages in puris naturalibus

Oh this is a good one. At first I was horrified, and then I laughed and laughed and laughed… In the late Georgian era it was a practice (though how common a one I cannot say) for a widow whose husband who had left her with debts and, who intended to remarry, to go to her new wedding en chemise—because if she “brought no clothes or property to the union, the husband-to-be was thought not liable for any debts she might have.” It’s all a bit drafty if you ask me.

However, what makes this odder is that in some corners it was wrongly believed that a “smock wedding” also had the means of enabling a bride to retain her own property when entering the marriage—so it couldn’t be seized if her new husband had debts. But only if she went to her wedding in puris naturalibus. Stark. Naked. ($20 says a man invented that erroneous add-on to the already questionable smock marriage…)

[Read more...]

Jan 12 2017 10:30am

Lonely Hearts: Past and Present

Wanted, A Gentleman by KJ Charles

We're thrilled to welcome KJ Charles (Wanted, A Gentleman) who knows a thing our two about love advertisements, especially after doing some research. But can you guess when the first “Lonely Heart” ad was placed? KJ fills us in. Thanks, KJ!

Advertising for love might seem to the young a modern phenomenon, the invention of Match.com, Tinder and Grindr. If you’re 40-plus, you might well have tried dating through the small ads in newspapers and magazines. Pop quiz: when do you think the first recorded Lonely Hearts advert dates from?

I’m guessing you’re thinking early 1900s, maybe post-war thanks to the social impact of the mass slaughter of young men. Nope. Try again.

Maybe early 1800s then? The Napoleonic Wars had had a proportionately devastating effect on the male population to the First World War, and the Industrial Revolution had caused massive social upheaval in getting people moving around and swelling the cities. Sounds convincing? Still too late.

The first recorded Lonely Hearts advert in the world was published in a London pamphlet of July 1695, and asked for “some Good Young Gentlewoman that has a fortune of £3000, or thereabouts” to marry a gentleman in his thirties “that says he has a Very Good Estate”. (Let’s take a moment to side-eye that “says he has”. I hope his bride didn’t just take his word for it.)

[Where do lonely hearts go?]

Oct 25 2016 1:30pm

Cover Tuesday: Exclusive Reveals from Jenni L. Walsh and Kit Brisby!

Team H&H has two great covers for you today from authors Jenni L. Walsh and Kit Brisby! In Jenni L. Walsh's Becoming Bonnie, the Roaring Twenties, juke joints, and The Great Depression inform Bonnelyn Parker's life.  She had a lot to look forward to, a life full of promise—then she met Clyde Barrow. And in Kit Brisby's Rogue Magic, America's anti-magic stance makes the romance brewing between Levi and Byron difficult, but maybe times are changing...

Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh

Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh

The summer of 1927 might be the height of the Roaring Twenties, but Bonnelyn Parker is more likely to belt out a church hymn than sling drinks at an illicit juice joint. She’s a sharp girl with plans to overcome her family's poverty, provide for herself, and maybe someday marry her boyfriend, Roy Thornton. But when Roy springs a proposal on her and financial woes jeopardize her ambitions, Bonnelyn finds salvation in an unlikely place: Dallas's newest speakeasy, Doc’s.

Living the life of a moll at night, Bonnie remains a wholesome girl by day, engaged to Roy, attending school and working toward a steady future. When Roy discovers her secret life, and embraces it—perhaps too much, especially when it comes to booze and gambling—Bonnie tries to make the pieces fit. Maybe she can have it all: the American Dream, the husband, and the intoxicating allure of jazz music. What she doesn't know is that her life—like her country—is headed for a crash.

She’s about to meet Clyde Barrow.

Few details are known about Bonnie's life prior to meeting her infamous partner. In Becoming Bonnie, Jenni L. Walsh shows a young woman promised the American dream and given the Great Depression, and offers a compelling account of why she fell so hard for a convicted felon—and turned to crime herself.

Learn more about or pre-order a copy of Becoming Bonnie by Jenni L. Walsh, available May 9, 2017:

Buy at Amazon

Buy at B&N

Buy at IndieBound




[Read more...]

Jun 20 2016 4:30pm

Final Thoughts: Submerge Yourself in the History of Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

We've been through it all and now we're ready to head home after a lovely break at Belgravia. We've had Naz Keynejad and author Gwyn Cready on Heroes and Heartbreakers giving their play-by-play of Julian Fellowes' sojourn into serialized fiction, and today Naz is here to give you her final thoughts on the Belgravia!

Before I give you a review of Julian Fellowes’ serialized novel, Belgravia, I should clarify some things: first, I’m a sucker for historical romances. Second, the long eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is where I “live” when it comes to literature, and as such, I am very familiar with the history of both periods. And third, my favorite aspect of a novel has always been character development versus plot. Okay, now that we have that out of the way, here’s what I think of Belgravia:

I would give a 3 out of 5 overall rating because while it does have interesting historical tidbits (in fact, they are meticulously researched and presented), the character development was too weak and just wasn’t there for me. At no point did I feel emotionally invested in any of these people. Maybe because the plot itself was pretty predictable and at times, awkward and clichéd. Let me explain.

[Here's the thing...]

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...]