posted on February 12, 2021 by Amalie Howard

CORSETS, DUKES, & SCANDALS, OH MY!

If you’ve never tried historical romance or are already a lover of the genre, I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card!

Historical romance is all the rage now, thanks to the runaway popularity of the Netflix adaptation of Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series. And what’s not to love? For me, apart from the extremely swoon-worthy Duke of Hastings, I was head-over-heels for the costumes and seeing the settings come to life, especially ones I’ve written about like the fireworks at Vauxhall or Gunter’s. Seeing that on screen was magical. I’ve always loved historical romance, devouring Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, and Jude Devereux when I probably should have been studying, and those books nurtured a seed that has flourished over the years.

Writing historical romance as an author started out as a fun project for me and my really good friend and critique partner, Angie Morgan. We were both young adult fiction writers, but adored our historical romances. We started a Google doc after joking around about dashing dukes, virile viscounts, and manly marquesses, and we started penning a story. We had no outline, just an idea, and we didn’t divide the work, we just wrote. After the story started to take shape (a Robin Hood retelling), we realized that we might actually have a novel. We finished the book, and My Rogue, My Ruin was born. Our agents ended up selling that series to Entangled Publishing, which turned into a four-book regency series, The Lords of Essex, and a three book spin-off Scottish highlander series, Tartans & Titans.

Then came The Beast of Beswick, which was a solo project. That one was so fun to write and I’m completely in love with the mash-up pitch for the series: Fairytales meets Shakespeare. The first book was pitched as Beauty and the Beast meets The Taming of the Shrew, and the second, The Rakehell of Roth, is Sleeping Beauty meets As You Like It. In Sleeping Beauty, you have Aurora who is pricked by a needle and sent into a magical slumber. In a metaphorical sense, my heroine marries her prince but is banished to the country for several years. With the help of her three best friends (aka her fairies), she decides to go get her man. The Shakespearean elements come into play with the girl-in-disguise, hidden identity element, as well as the double romances of the major characters. As you can guess, I had such a fabulous time writing this story!

In this book, not only did I get to dream up an irreverent and secret regency “Dear Abby” periodical, but I also was able to celebrate powerful women with agency who went after what they wanted as well as write about a delicious second-chance, frenemies-to-lovers relationship between my plucky heroine and her skittish marquess. Abandoned by her knight in slightly tarnished armor, my heroine is stuck in misery-ever-after, and after three years of loneliness, she has had enough. But while my flawed hero is intrigued by his wife, he holds himself apart for her sake…and his. Let’s just say that getting these two to their HEA was a wild, smexy ride, full of ups, downs, secrets, and shenanigans, but it was so worth it!

One of my favorite things about historical romance is being able to write resilient, independent heroines within the constraints of the time period, especially ones that connect with modern audiences. It’s a balance. Men were expected to honor duty, but that didn’t mean they didn’t have dreams of their own. Women were treated like property, but that didn’t mean they had to like it. The truth is women have been breaking barriers since the dawn of time. Like my heroines, they’re not going to stop because a man tells them to or because society dictates certain rules have to be followed. Clever women bend the rules to get what they want.

Confession…I didn’t love history in high school (I was really bad at it), but I ended up minoring in Western European History in college. In my stories, I try to be authentic to the era, whether it’s regency or Victorian, and I do quite a bit of research to make sure I’m accurate. However, as a romance lover myself, while I love all the little historical details that bring breadth and nuance to the story, I’m also all about romantic tension, gratifying intimacy, and the final clinch of that HEA. My job as a writer is to take you on a journey that brings you to an emotionally satisfying outcome. If I can make you laugh or strum your heartstrings a little along the way, that’s just a bonus.

Happy reading! xoxo

Amalie Howard

Amalie Howard

AMALIE HOWARD is the author of the Publishers Weekly bestseller, The Beast of Beswick, touted as "a smart, sexy, deliciously feminist romance." She is the co-author of the #1 bestsellers in regency romance and Scottish historical romance, My Rogue, My Ruin and What A Scot Wants, and has also penned several young adult novels, critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Kid's INDIE NEXT selection. Of Indo-West Indian descent, her articles on multicultural fiction have appeared in The Portland Book Review and on Diversity in YA. She currently lives in Colorado with her husband and three children.

https://amaliehoward.com/

17 thoughts on “CORSETS, DUKES, & SCANDALS, OH MY!”

  1. Avatar Rachel (Raonaid) Flesher (Luckwell) says:

    I have been reading Regency romance since high school. My first absolute favorite author then and now is Johanna Lindsay, especially her Malory series. Now that series would be awesome as a mini series – but they have to keep true to the books.

    I LOVED the Bridgerton books but I was not enamored with the adaption. It was okay to me. I give it kudos for giving the genre attention to new readers.

    Other regency authors I grew up on is Deborah Martin (aka Sabrina Jeffries), Suzanne Enoch, Teresa Medeiros. They actually helped me get through my dark high school years. Books, especially my romance books, were my get away from bullies from school.

    1. Avatar Amalie says:

      Books were also my escape at school as well! <3

  2. Avatar Wanda Stone says:

    I’ve been reading historical romance since high school. I wasn’t interested in the history part of the book until later in college. I now love to learn a little history when I read a historical romance.

    1. Avatar Amalie says:

      This is the same for me as well. Younger me loved the story and the romance, older me loves the little historical tidbits.

  3. Avatar Karen Hackett says:

    I cannot get enough of Medieval/Regency romances! I started reading Regency romances 5 or 6 years ago, and my list of authors have grown since. I love sassy heroines who refuse to back down because the society demands it. The heroine in The Beast of Beswick is a fine example. I cannot wait to start reading The Rakehell of Roth. I just know it will be a smashing success just like first book.

    1. Avatar Amalie says:

      Thank you so much, Karen! This means a lot! <3

  4. Avatar bn100 says:

    interesting books in genre

  5. Avatar Gamistress66 says:

    Historical romance was my “gateway drug” to romance. Much time has been spent buried in their pages over the years

    1. Avatar Amalie says:

      Same for me too!!

  6. Avatar GB says:

    I love the romantic tension, intimacy, and final clinch in these stories. And the humor and heart makes the journey more satisfying for me. But historical romances swept me away in an unexpected manner when I first discovered them. It was so far removed from contemporary settings that I felt like it was a different world completely. The manner of dress, rules of society, etc could have been on another planet in my view, and I am still fascinated every time I begin reading a historical romance.

    1. Avatar Amalie says:

      100% agree with all of this! *fist bump* =)

  7. Avatar JanD says:

    I enjoy historical romance specially if it is set in the medieval era. I’m not overly concerned with authenticity as long as the story is done well.

    1. Avatar Amalie says:

      I need to read more medieval romances!

  8. Avatar Ashley Fasolo says:

    I believe I started with the more medieval romances cause Dashing Knights are a fave. though Something Wicked was one of my first tradtional ones, I tend to lean toward Nora Roberts, Angela Knight and Karen Marie Moning when I started the more paranormal genre.

    1. Avatar Amalie says:

      Oh, I love Nora!! I love paranormal too. I just read Penelope Bloom’s vampire romcom, and it was really fun. (Kiss, Kiss, Fang, Fang).

  9. Avatar Holly Meister says:

    I never liked this genre until I “met” the Bridgertons; now I can’t get enough!!!

  10. Avatar Cherie J says:

    I have been reading regency romances since junior high. Historical romance can give you a good idea of some of the challenges that were faced by woman in that time period. Add to that, you can learn some interesting historical facts. I did enjoy history in school. So learning this way was icing on the cake and much more pleasant than traditional learning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Latest from our Blog

Help Wanted!

This is my first blog post at Writerspace, and I’m so delighted to be here!  I’m probably new to most of you, even though I’ve been writing for a long time—first for Harlequin SuperRomance, then Heartwarming, followed by Love Inspired and Love Inspired Suspense, the publisher’s inspirational lines. For now I’m focusing on self-publishing, which… Read More

Read More