By the age of twelve, I had already read all of the children’s and teen books in our local library. Luckily, a wonderful friend introduced me to my first historical romance, Jennifer Blake’s The Storm and the Splendor. I was hooked from the first page and quickly gobbled up all of her books. My favorite was Royal Seduction. I read it over and over again, and even took it in the shower with me. But unlike today, there weren’t that many historical romance series back in the 1980s, so I was ecstatic when Jennifer Blake wrote a sequel to Royal Seduction just a year after I had first read it. Royal Passion featured the son of the main characters from Royal Seduction, and the daughter of a secondary character. Oh my goodness! The joy of reading a wonderful new love story and getting a glimpse of how my favorite characters from the first book were faring was addictive. Though there are some great standalone romance books out there, I love to read a series because allows me to spend more time with the characters and world that I love.
So, why am I sharing this story with you? Because today, in conjunction with the time change, the authors of the Historical Romance Network are Falling Back in Time with Historical Romance and you are invited! To join the fun, post a picture of you reading a favorite historical romance on any social media site and use the hash tag #FallBackinTime. Creativity and fun creating the images is encouraged. To make it even more exciting, several prizes are being offered, including a $50 Amazon gift card from Entangled Publishing to one randomly selected reader who posts a photo today using the hash tag #FallBackinTime.
In case you’re still not sure about doing this, here are some sample pictures from Embracing Romance’s authors. If we can do it, you can, too.
I posted a picture of me above with The Storm and the Splendor, and because I’m not coordinated enough to juggle my Kindle, iPad, and phone, I had to enlist a volunteer to pose for the picture with Royal Seduction and Royal Passion.
I was a tender thirteen when a friend of mine introduced me to a Barbara Cartland romance novel. I was hooked! As much as I loved those sweet tales, I truly fell in love with the genre as a senior in high school when I came across The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. In fact, I became so enamored with the book, at seventeen, I decided if I ever had a daughter, I’d name her Brianna after the heroine, Heather Brianna. And I did. (Yes, my daughter knows.) After decades of reading historical romances, in 2011 I started writing them. I’ve been blessed beyond my wildest dreams with that venture. I owe my love of the genre to that first great American historical romance, The Flame and the Flower.
Georgette Heyer is my favorite romance author of all time. I’ve read all of her books numerous times and can’t possibly pick a favorite. My copies are falling to pieces, so now I keep them in Ziploc bags. I’m holding a bunch of them in my photo. But for my selfie, I thought I’d pick a living author instead. Someone who’s writing now…whose books I wait for eagerly, even if it’s a long wait…and the answer was obvious: Joanna Bourne. Her writing style is unique and brilliant, her stories a fabulous blend of adventure and romance. I love all her books, and once again, it was impossible to choose a favorite. In the end, I picked The Spymaster’s Lady, because I thought it had the most photogenic cover. Joanna has a new book, Rogue Spy, coming out in a few days, and I can hardly wait!
Jo Goodman introduced me to historical romances. At the time, I was big into Steven King, Anne Rice, Christine Feehan, and Pat Conroy. I was also reading thrillers and mysteries. I don’t remember why I picked up Jo’s book, A Season to be Sinful, but oh my God, I freaking loved it. As soon as I finished reading it, I went back to the bookstore and bought every single one of her books. From there, I discovered a whole slew of Regency authors I adored (and still do), and for a good two or three years, that’s all I read—including classics like The Wolf and the Dove and The Flame and the Flower. There is one thing at the top of my bucket list that will never happen, but I keep it up there anyway—you know, just in case. I want to dance a waltz with a handsome duke in a candle lit ballroom (not that I know how to waltz, much less expect to ever meet a real life handsome duke, but it could happen, right?). Although I write contemporary romances now, my first two published books are Regencies, and I still love reading historical romances. Always will.
Victoria Holt was my first historical love. The Bride of Pendorric was the first book I read of hers and I totally fell in love. It had everything. I already loved history (I’m not sure how old I was…somewhere between 10 and 12) with the gorgeous fashions, royal intrigue, castles, amazing settings, and larger than life characters. Victoria Holt’s stories fed that love. Set in the past with lords and ladies, spooky manor houses, wind-swept moors and absolute sigh-worthy romance, I couldn’t get enough. There was also danger and mystery and just enough “bumps in the night” to intrigue me without totally scaring me to death. I was hooked. Completely. I now have every book written by Victoria Holt and have re-read them more times than I can count. I’m working on collecting the books she wrote under her other 7 names, particularly Phillipa Carr and Jean Plaidy (which focus on the royal families and are seriously excellent books). Her real name is Eleanor Burford Hibbert and if you haven’t read any of her work, I’d very highly recommend it!
My mother is an avid reader. My favorite was her collection of tattered Kathleen Woodiwiss paperbacks. They were all good, but I fell in love with A Rose in Winter. I’ve reread it dozens of times and yet somehow, I’m still surprised by the plot twist I know is coming. I read historical romance because I love the fanciful aspect of falling back in time while experiencing the same emotional elements that are still relevant today. From Vikings to Regency, Dark Ages to Westerns – love is love.
I have two all time favorite books, The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss and Dream of Me by Josie Litton. Today, I’m sharing some book love for The Wolf and the Dove because it was my first-ever “big girl” romance. Oh, I’d read sweet Barbara Cartland’s and lots of Harlequin romances, but The Wolf and the Dove was big time. Historical romance got its hooks in me and I’ve been a fan ever since. And you know what’s funny? The hero from The Wolf and the Dove is “Wulfgar” and the hero in Dream of Me is “Wolf.” Must be something about those top of the food chain men that gets me.
Victoria Holt wrote spine-tingling romantic suspense, taking readers on a journey into the fabulous worlds she created. A favorite of mine was The Mistress of Mellyn, a Gothic mystery set in the mysterious Cornish moors. I was glued to the pages reading about the new governess Martha Leigh, who must cope with a spoilt child as well as her cool, arrogant father. As Martha’s desire for Connor grows and her passion for him overpowers her reason, evil lurks in the shadows. What more can a reader ask for? A suspenseful story, romance, an alpha male and a magnificent sprawling mansion, left an indelible impression on me and inspired me to write.
My two favorite romances (since I could not choose between them) are Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase and Venetia by Georgette Heyer. Both of these books feature a hero who is a seemingly unredeemable reprobate and the one smart and tenacious woman who can see the real man beneath the mask. These two beautifully written books evoke every emotion that I desire in a romance, and are my quintessential comfort reads.
One of my all-time favorite books is Mary Balogh’s Slightly Dangerous. This was the final book in Balogh’s Slightly Series featuring the Bedwyn familly. Each book in the series told the story of one of the siblings, culminating with the oldest brother, Wulfric Bedwyn, the Duke of Bewcastle. All of Balogh’s romances feature well-formed and multi-layer characters, and Slightly Dangerous does not disappoint. It is the story of a woman, Christine Derrick, a widow who has lost confidence in herself, but maintains a loving and cheery nature, and is a magnet for both men and women, but is ultimately very lonely. Wulfric Bedwyn is a highly intelligent, very powerful, and wealthy man with an enviable sense of duty and discipline. Their unlikely love story is romantic and sexy with adult dialogue, and even a bit of a family villain. This book remains in my top ten all-time.
Now it’s your turn. Go forth and share your favorite historical romances.
For more information about the event, visit the Historical Romance Network Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/512905705479257/