Wish List for Historical Romances

Avon Historical Romance Covers Julie Anne Long Anna Campbell Maya Rodale

Avon historical romance: including one of my Best Reads of 2014.

Avon, a major romance publisher, runs a Romance University blog, with lots of interesting articles about writing, publishing and all the things you’d expect from a blog about books.

However, I randomly came across a post titled: Avon Romance Editor Lucia Macro’s Wish List for Historical Romances and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

Now, I do receive many, many Avon historical romances for review. And I’ve really liked a lot of them. However, in romance reader circles, Avon’s historical romance line has a reputation for being… flimsy and very much about tossing historical accuracy out the window.

I don’t find this to be the case all the time (I am very fond of some Avon historical romances, and some of my favourite authors write for this publisher), but sometimes, yep, it is.

To summarise the points made in the post (but PLEASE read the original post, because obviously this is my brief interpretation!):

  1. *Don’t* write serious books.
  2. *Do* make your heroes obsessive cavemen.
  3. *Do* stick to old tropes and don’t try to do anything new.
  4. *Don’t* let your characters follow social rules of the era.

Annnd… is this not a list of all the things we’re constantly complaining about in historical romance?! Are there not endless articles such as this one and this one and this one where readers, writers, reviewers and bloggers are lamenting the fact historical romance is doing these exact things? And that it is ruining the genre?

I suppose I came away from this piece disappointed, but unsurprised. Because publishers are constantly being criticised for churning out wallpaper romances and turning readers off the genre entirely. So it shouldn’t really be a surprise that’s precisely the type of book they’re asking for.

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6 thoughts on “Wish List for Historical Romances

  1. I agree. As a reader and writer of darker Regency and historical romances, I love that we have so much choice these days. Light and fluffy has a place, but there are also so many other stories that are based on what happened in history, and not just in the ballrooms.

    1. I definitely enjoy some fluffy romances. However, it drives me mad that editors are deliberately ignoring readers and *telling us* what we want – even if it’s the opposite of what we say we want!
      I read so many historical romances, but I don’t always want to read the same book.

  2. I’ve tried to write pink and fluffy, and I can’t. That doesn’t make it bad, but it does make it not-me. I love a rich, thick, meaty historical romance with heaping helpings of both. Love stories that blaze a path through a time and place that has a bearing on the fates of the lovers,that’s paradise for me. Judith James hits the right balance for me; I’ve never read a book of hers that didn’t satisfy on both levels. Anna Campbell’s Untouched was magnificent. Tapestry by Karen Ranney is one of the true greats, and if Laurie McBain ever decides she’d like to write again, I will leave a light on and set a place at the table for her.

    I do think there’s room at the romance table for everyone, meaty and fluffy alike, as well as everything in between.

  3. Pingback: Am I out of touch with romance readers? Or is it the publishers’ fault? | Sonya's Stuff

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