Jan 14 2013 6:00pm

Get Outta Here: Exotic Locales in Historical Romance from Joyce, Small, and More!

Splendor by Brenda JoyceWhen the weather outside is cold and bleak, what better way to warm up then falling into a romance located in an exotic location? What do heather-covered fields, wispy cloud-covered mountains, and sun-dappled lakes have in common? They are location descriptions frequently used in romances.

A majority of historical romances are set in Scotland, Ireland, and England. When I read a book, the main objective is escape and enjoyment. I enjoy the setting no matter where our lovers choose to romance each other, but I have found I do enjoy the more off-the-cuff locations. Exotic locales such as India, China, and Russia all serve to appease my  need.

Splendor by Brenda Joyce, one of my all-time favorite historical romances, begins in England but we are swiftly transported to Russia during the Napoleonic wars—the hero is a Russian Prince and soldier. Joyce does a fabulous job describing the opulence of the Russian court and the various cities set against the brutality of the war and its devastating consequences.

Adora, by Bertrice Small, takes place during the glittering Byzantine Empire and beguiles us with the beauty of Constantinople before the Turks invaded. Adora is a cradle-to-grave story of a Byzantine princess in true bodice ripper style that made those 1980s romances to infamous. Small does a terrific job of combining history with decadent scenery as we watch our heroine survive the harrowing reality of politics in that age.

Night in Eden by Candice ProctorThe wild frontier of Australia has a lot to offer in Candice Proctor’s Night in Eden. Set in the 1800s, Proctor’s dark and emotionally romance is a beautiful contrast to the descriptive harshness of the uncivilized land. The heroine was  sent there as a convicted felon, while the hero fights his guilt for bringing his now dead wife to this desolate plain.

Seductive island romance blooms in Catherine Coulter’s The Hellion Bride, the second in her Sherbrooke series. Set in Jamaica, our hero travels to his family’s sugar plantation to investigate supernatural goings-on, only to discover nothing is as it seems, and a heroine whose sun-kissed skin has our hero dreaming of more than kisses under a sultry moon. Coulter does a good job of balancing the history of sugar cane cultivation amidst an exotic location with a flavorful,  and adventurous romance.

The Concubine by Jade LeeJade Lee has quite a few romances tset in China. In The Concubine, the heroine is one of thousands of virgins who flock to the Forbidden City for a chance to become the Emperor's new Empress. Off to a rocky start from the get go, our heroine triumphs, using wit and ingenuity to advance her standing. Lush descriptions and interesting history takes us on a seductive journey through medieval China and a love affair that shines.

Do you enjoy the new and exotic or the old and comfortable? What locations make you want to curl up and explore the great unknown?


Tori Benson, Smexybooks and at Twitter.

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1. Angel301
I'd have to go with Scotland! Not so exotic but no more less romantic and alluring, at least for me. Ireland is a close second and then India, Egypt or Russia are good with me. I have always found that books with an interesting background lend something unforgettable to the romance. Laura Kinsale's 'The Shadow and the Star' comes to mind. I think it was set in Hawaii. But I could be wrong...
2. Lila Gillard
here, here! i love historicals, and am eager to see more great books set in different places. I loved "The Shadow and the Star" mentioned above, and would enjoy seeing more set in the hot and sultry tropics :)
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