Archive for the ‘Scottish historical romance’ Category

I’ve been wondering why certain romance novels really thrill me and why I read them again and again. I could admit to be a pathetic romantic but I’m not alone. Is it the hero? The heroine? The setting? The story itself that drags me in?  I’ve listed a few favs so maybe you can tell me.

Here is a bit of summary of some of what I think are the greats and I’d be happy to hear your thoughts too. Most of these are old and well known.

I can’t recall when I started loving Scottish historical romances. It was either before Crosstitch by Diana Gabaldon (Outlander in the USA) or around that time. I’ve been reading speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy and a bit of horror) from an early age. I think I had a major dive into reading the genre when I was 19 and it hasn’t let up since.

My faves:

The Secret by Julie Garwood. Oh boy. The actual set up for this novel is a bit far-fetched being a friendship between an English girl and a Scottish one in a time when travel was difficult and expensive. However, I was swept away with Judith’s story, particularly her reactions to Iain Maitland. He was particularly interesting in the sense that he was aloof but also passionate. The cast of secondary characters were lots of fun.

That leads me to a second favourite, Ransom by Julie Garwood. This novel stars the gorgeous and pig-headed Brodick, who is brought to his knees by Gillian, a brave English girl that saves Iain Maitland’s son. It is part of the series. Gilian is a girl out of her time, I suspect, braving the unbravable, but I love her and I love Brodick’s stubborn humour. I’ve read both these books a number of times and I have kept my copies.

I read a number of other Garwood books, but these are the standouts for me. I’m not sure why.

Moving on from Scottish historicals and moving to Johanna Lindsey’s, Warrior’s Woman. OMG! This is a book that was before its time. Erotic SF. I liked the SF in the story, though there is some borrowings from Star Trek (but hey who cares). Challen is an awesome hero and Tedra, what a match. I read a lot of Johanna Lindsey on the strength of this book, including the two sequels in the series, but for me nothing beats, Warrior’s Woman. You could say this book inspired me to try my hand at writing.

Cross Stitch by Diana Gabaldon, blew me away. I read quite a lot of the series. The first book is my favourite and the latter books just too long and bloated and there was only so many ways to almost kill the hero before it became tired. James Fraser is a stand out hero for me. I have been thinking why this is. He’s Scottish, funny, brave, sexy, tall, clever and sensitive. Claire in the first book was great as a semi-modern view in the historical period. There are parts of Cross Stitch I can’t read without laughing, always in the same spot. When I reread I skip the torture scenes. I was so influenced by this book that I went to Scotland and Culloden etc. I saw horizontal rain and I wished I had found Lallybrook. I also dabbled in learning Gaelic. (I know I’m a sad case).

Until recently the only Australian romance writer I had read was Anne De Lisle, who had three books out by Bantam and then she sort of slipped out of view. I did she that she had an agent trying to sell a paranormal series and kept my eye out but to no avail. Her first book was Clementina, a Scottish historical. This story had a lot of energy. Her next book, Isabeau was also Scottish and then Tabitha was Regency. I believe Tabitha was my first foray in Regency romance and I was a bit astonished that the hero, Dominic, behaved in a very un-Darcy-like manner.

Later Regency romances that I’ve read by Anna Campbell and Anne Gracie. Anna Campbell introduced me to Regency Noir in Claiming the Courtesan. Obviously I got over my ‘he doesn’t behave like Darcy syndrome’ because I loved this and bought Captive of Sin, which I haven’t read yet. I picked up the Perfect Rake, by Anne Gracie and became very antisocial until I finished it. This has humour and laughter and romance so I’m thinking it’s in the ‘to be read again’ pile.

Escape Publishing’s first Scottish historical was The Chieiftan’s Curse by Frances Housden (NZ author I think). It’s done so well it’s going into print. I loved it and it was what started me wondering about what made a block buster romance novel.

I don’t think I’m extensively well read in the genre as I’ve been concentrating a lot in the speculative fiction spectrum, but now I’ve dived back into the romance reading. I’m not normally a fan of contemporary romances but I’ve been indulging, ostensibly to research the market so I can write romance. I had been writing some paranormal romance and I’ve read a bit of urban fantasy too. Love it!

However, a goal is for me to write at least one Scottish historical and at least one Regency romance. You see the first time I ever tried to write in 2000 was a Scottish historical piece, which after 700 words I said was crap. Later on, when I’d been writing for a bit, I started a Regency romance and wrote the first kiss scene. I’ve matured a lot as a writer since then so maybe I’ll just go for what turns me on.

Please if you think I’ve missed a few classics then leave a comment. I certainly read the two books that Anne Gracie recommended in her talk at the Romance Readers Conference in March. Fierce Eden by Jennifer Blake (so rich in detail it was amazing and very sensual)  and Mackenzie’s Mountain by Linda Howard (Shiver! I loved that),

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