Over-Reading a Genre?

Historical Romance Cover Art

I have a few things to admit.

The term “carriage accident” makes me grumpy. I never, ever want to see the words “governess” and “agency” put together again. The term “gloved hand” makes me sigh – surely there’s another way to describe two people in the nineteenth century touching each other?

In other words: I’ve read too much historical romance.

But I can’t stop!

In the last few years I’ve drifted into a pattern of picking the “pretty dress” covers out of my sea of review books, and giving them priority over so many other genres. I have no idea why, especially as I thought my One True Love involved a contemporary setting and whole lot of suspense.

I’m becoming tired of the tropes, and I’m becoming tired of what I see as authors learning how to write historical romance from each other, which results in the same words, terms, and situations popping up in book after book after book after book…

I’ve seen a scene from Lisa Kleypas’ hugely popular The Devil in Winter (the one where Evie panics when Sebastian raises his hand, because she thinks he’s going to hit her) replicated in at least half a dozen other historical romances.

I’m tired of all these orphaned heroes and heroines, whose parents died in carriage accidents (SUCH a convenient way to give the young, sexy heroes titles before their time!).

I’m just… tired…

A few years ago I would have argued that it’s the setting and the time period that’s the problem, but I’ve come around to the school of thought that there’s comfort in books set in the Regency (and Victorian) eras. I actually DO want to read that setting. After all, nobody who reads contemporary fiction ever complains that the present day is becoming a boring setting!

But, for me, so many books are starting to run into each other.

I don’t know how to “fix” this. Maybe new authors could spend a little less time trying to copy their favourite authors, and spend a little more time coming up with ideas of their own?

Am I the only one becoming tired of the same old, same old feeling so many books seem to be giving off at the moment?

7 thoughts on “Over-Reading a Genre?

  1. Yes, I agree. No, I don’t know a solution. I have enjoyed the more recent “Darker” HR’s by Hoyt and Byrne because they gave me a break from TSTL debutantes but I confess I do enjoy a well written silly Deb every now and then. I tend to give an automatic 5-stars to an original plot just because it is such a relief.

    1. Yes – I absolutely still love the odd debutante stuff! Sometimes when I’m looking for review books I go for those first – or I BUY those first.

      On the other hand, I really love darker, original books. Even though people consider Lisa Kleypas to be on the fluffier end of the scale, she has so many original storylines.

      I read historical romance far more often than other genres, but I do wish so many books weren’t the same!

      (I accidentally published this post before it was edited, so you probably saw the weird version with lots of mistakes!)

  2. The majority of historical romances I read tend to be Harlequin/Mills and Boon historicals. Written by mostly British authors and edited in the UK, these books feel really historical with few anachronisms in sight. I tend to read different things as well – mysteries, women’s fiction and contemporary categories – which helps.

    1. So many people write off the category romances, however I think the Mills and Boon/Harlequin historical romances are some of the best you’ll find anywhere. I receive a lot for free from the publisher, but when I’m stuck and can’t find anything to read, the first thing I do is go to the Mills and Boon historical page and look at what they have to offer.

      I actually just finished a review book from them, and I loved it so much. People need to stop mocking these books, because they’re 1000 times better than historical romances from most other publishing houses.

  3. Pingback: The Week: 3rd – 9th July – Sonya's Stuff

  4. Pingback: The Week: 3rd – 9th July – Sonya's Stuff

  5. I’ve had many of your same thoughts, Sonya.

    I mix up my reads. I use different genre and time periods to lighten up the same old thing. When I return to the genre, I am once more captivated anew. As Dot says, it’s refreshing to have a new twist in a plot, and for that she rewards the spirit of the read. I also find if my Regency reads have something more than the ordinary boy-meets-girl and with a singular plot, such as a bit of thriller, more suspense, more action, even paranormal or time travel will add dimension to the read.

    Thank you for such a lively post and no doubt out of the ordinary!

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