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The Books

Historical romance is a broad category of mass-market fiction focusing on romantic relationships in historical periods.


Viking: featuring Vikings during the Middle Ages. Heroes in Viking romances are typical alpha males who are tamed by their heroines. Most heroes are described as "tall, blonde, and strikingly handsome." In a 1997 poll of over 200 readers of Viking romances, Johanna Lindsey's Fires of Winter was considered the best of the subgenre.

Medieval: typically set between 938 and 1485. Women in the medieval time periods were often considered as no more than property who were forced to live at the mercy of their father, guardian, or the king. Always a lady, the heroine must use her wits and will and find a husband who will accept her need to be independent, yet still protect her from the dangers of the times. The hero is almost always a knight who first learns to respect her and her uncommon ideas and then falls in love.

Tudor: set in England between 1485 and 1558.

Elizabethan: set in England between 1558 and 1603, during the time of Elizabeth I.

Regency: set between 1811 and 1820 in England.

Victorian: set between 1832 and 1901 England, including the reign of Queen Victoria. Those set during this period but in a fictional country may be Ruritanian novels.

Pirate: pirate novels feature a male or female who is sailing, or thought to be sailing, as a pirate or privateer on the high seas. The heroine is usually captured by the hero in an early part of the novel, and then is forced to succumb to his wishes; eventually she falls in love with her captor. On the rarer occasions where the heroine is the pirate, the book often focuses on her struggle to maintain her freedom of choice while living the life of a man. Much of the action in the book takes place at sea.

Colonial United States: these novels are all set in the United States between 1630 and 1798.

Civil War: these novels place their characters within the events of the American Civil War and the Reconstruction era. They may be set in the Confederacy or the Union.

Western: set in the frontier of the United States, Canada, or Australia. Western romance focuses on the experiences of the female. Heroes in these novels seek adventure and are forced to conquer the unknown. They are often loners, slightly uncivilized, and "earthy."

Native American: these novels could also fall into the Western subgenre, but always feature a Native American protagonist whose "heritage is integral to the story."

Americana: set between 1880 and 1920 in the United States, usually in a small town or in the Midwest.

LGBTQ+: romance between people of the same sex.

Time Travel: focuses on romantic love and includes an element of time travel.  Jude Deveraux's A Knight in Shining Armor is one of the best known time-travel romance novels. Time-travel romances feature at least one character transported to a time period which is unfamiliar to them. A recurring theme is the conflict of falling in love and subsequently the character must decide to stay in the alternate time or return to the time he or she came from.

Sources: Wikipedia.org, Wikipedia.org and UnderTheCoversBlog.com