CONTEST TODAY!!! One randomly chosen commenter scores choice of Susan's new "The French Mistress" hisorical novel or one of her Miranda Jarrett historical romances!
From Susan: First I must offer the warmest of Monday morning buongiornos to the Bellas! It’s a rare honor to share your divine company again so soon. Many thanks, too, for helping Loretta Chase and me launch our new blog last week, and if any of you missed the festivities, then I hope you’ll visit us now at TwoNerdyHistoryGirls.com.
Bellissima Michelle has asked me to talk a bit about what makes one book a historical romance, and the next a historical novel. Since I’ve written both (historical romances as Miranda Jarrett, and historical novels as Susan Holloway Scott), this should be easy, but it’s not. There are a few obvious things: historical novels tend to be much longer, with no clinches or naked guys on the covers. But the Bellas are Very Clever, and surely have observed this for themselves.
It’s what’s inside those covers that makes this even more confusing. A historical novel can have a hero and heroine who fall in love, marry, and remain happily together. A historical romance can have a heroine who’s a courtesan and a hero who’s less than heroic, and they don’t even have to end the book married. Both can have characters who are based on real people, or characters entirely invented. Both can include excruciating details about the past, or gloss over anything with an ick-factor.
So what’s the real difference? IMHO, it’s how the history’s used. If the historical facts take a back seat to the characters, then it’s probably a historical romance. If the history dictates the plot and how the characters behave, then it’s probably historical fiction. In my book “The French Mistress,” my heroine Louise de Keroualle is a beautiful French virgin in love with a handsome, charming, older hero who loves her above all others: true romantic elements. But that hero is the English king, Charles II, married to his queen, which isn’t romance territory at all, and the complicated political intrigues that keep Louise in danger until the non-traditional HEA are pure historical fiction. Read an excerpt here.
But perhaps the well-read Bellas can answer this question better than I. What book would you recommend as the ultimate historical romance? And which would you name as a perfect example of a historical novel?