Jan 31 2014 8:11am

What’s the Most Interesting Fact You’ve Learned from Romance?

If you read in the historical genre, you might know that the Prince Regent was corpulent, vain, and was an avid art fan. If you read romantic suspense, you might be familiar with the various types of guns a hero or heroine might own. Paranormal readers might know a lot of lore regarding mythical creatures, including origin myth, powers, and weaknesses.

Reading romance can actually teach a lot, too—so what's the most interesting (or obscure) fact you've ever learned from romance?

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1. Mo
I'd have to say that the most interesting thing I learned recently from romance novels (other than anything about MC culture) was how the U.S. influenced the Napoleonic wars. This is often taught here in the States as a European war and a European issue (and it was), but the Louisiana Purchase was huge in that it gave Napoleon the money he needed to fight longer. It was really cool to understand the interconnectedness that I had missed before.
2. scarlettleigh
I can't think of a specific example, but I have had several incidences where I knew something because I do read a lot and my friends don't. Another example is vocabulary. I knew the meaning of several less common words and my friends had never heard of the word before.

Of course the shoe is on the other foot, when it comes to television. I hardly ever turn it on, and know little about previous shows, or actors.

To each its own!
Lindsay Emory
3. lindsayemory
I have learned SO MUCH about the English navy/ sailing from Elizabeth Essex's books. I was watching a historical movie with my husband and I started spouting off 19th century sailing facts and terminology and he looked at me the way a man does when he's both fascinated and scared of you (oh...just me?)
Megan Frampton
4. MFrampton
I think one of the first things I learned, or really understood, was the origins of the War of the Roses, based on Anya Seton's Katharine. I got a smattering of Regency history from Barbara Cartland, but not much, since she put in so little in the first place. Oh, but she was the first one where I saw mention of Charles Frederick Worth, perhaps the first couturier in the modern sense. And all the words--I definitely learned a TON of words, like @scarlettleigh did, from romance.
Hazel Hazel
5. Hazel Hazel
I've learned how similar women's lives in ninetweenth century Europe were to today's women in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and many parts of Asia. Actually gives me hope for them that in a few lifetimes they'll have the freedom and protection of the law that we expect and it also makes me wonder how it will keep changing for us too.
Glass Slipper
6. GlassSlipper
Pamela Clare's Mackinnon Rangers series has some cool stuff.

1.) In order to escape Indian trackers in the snow, Iain carries Annie on his back and wears his snow shoes backwards from a cliff edge. I don't know if that would work in real life, but it was an interesting idea.

2.) The Rangers carry poisoned rum flasks, so that if the Indians manage to capture them and go through their packs, they'll drink the poison and die.

3.) Iain and Annie travel over the lake in their canoe at night, at a time when the Indians are sleeping.
Carmen Pinzon
7. bungluna
I learned about the cult to the sacred bulls of Apix in Egypt from a Barbara Cartland novel, of all things, and impressed my aunts so much that they stopped teasing me about reading romances.
8. Saaski
Alot of books are based in real cities.
I can picture many plases and sometimes tell you a bit about their culture even though I've never actually heard a "proper" discription of the place, let alone been there, or have even seen a picture.

I know the basics of a number of crafts, even though I've never seen them made...
For example, in glass work after you have finished making your piece, you have to put it back into the oven to set. Or the glass will be even more fragile then it is.
The thing which you put your ingredience into at the beggining of doing any glass blowing (or metal work) is called a crusible.
And the first lesson any apprentice glass blower learns is how to control thier breathing so that they don't end up swallowing moltin glass. (Though anyone could probably guess hat lasl if they were inclind to think about it :) )
Sandra Riddle
9. texasriddler
I've learned many things...but this is a funny one.

In the movie The Avengers, there is a part where Loki calls the Black Widow a quim. No one else in the theater caught it, while I audibly gasped. I explained what it meant to the group I was with, then proudly added that I knew this from reading romance novels.
Kiersten Hallie Krum
10. Kiersten
@texasriddler - I did *exactly* the same thing - although not the explanation as then I wouldn't look all knowing...

Couldnt believe Whedon got it past the censors.
11. carmenlire
Like another poster said, I've learned a lot in general terms. But specifically, Nora Roberts is great at really giving the reader the whole picture, whether its restoring an Inn, working in a boat-building business, or working in television. I love her stories not only because of the romance, but because I'm immersed in whatever the hero/heroine do for a living.
Alexandra W
12. parasolprotectorate
In Linda Howard's Duncan's Bride, I love the scenes where our hero and heroine throw facts at each other, both as an icebreaker and to relieve tension.
Claire Louise Thompson
13. Nefersitra
@Kierston - I agree, "quim" is a rare word, and perfectly in character for Loki to use. I'm sure I remember watching Buffy and sometimes Spike and Giles used to get away with some British swears that would never have been allowed in a UK show aimmed at the same audience ("We lucky few, we band of buggred" for example). Personally though, I learnt all the machinations at the Court of Henry VIII from Jean Plaidy
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