A is often the case in Historical Romance much of the books in the best seller charts for it belong to one of three niches, Regency, Highlander, and Cowboy. Other books do manage to make it onto the list, but it is tough going for books outside these niches, this tends to show that they have a lot of push within their own niches or from outside the genre.
Jean Plaidy’s, The Queen’s Secret, is a novelisation of the life of Katherine of Valois, one of the early Queens of England. This book sticks far more closely to the true history of the era and characters than many other books in the Historical Romance Genre, which is clearly its strength in a crowded field. This novel has all the hallmarks of a fantasy novel, political intrigue, forbidden love, but without any of the fantasy, since it is all real. This will likely be a big pull for some readers.
In contrast, Butterfly Island, by Corina Bomann and translated by Alison Layland, is an adventure featuring a modern day woman, escaping a life with a cheating husband and a high pressure job. At the request of her dying Great-Aunt, she investigates what happened decades ago on the family tea plantation in what is now Sri Lanka. A romance in the present and a mystery in the past, this is an interesting book for the Historical Romance reader to pick, especially as it does not romanticise the past as much as many in the genre do.
In Cowboy and Western Romances this week, it is the turn of Mail Order Brides, and in one case a Bridegroom, to take charge. Of the four books at the top of the chart this week in this genre, three featured Mail Order Spouses as the means through which the lead characters met, and the fourth had a Marriage of Convenience of a different type, a man going off to war and wanting to leave the young woman with the rights to keep control of the ranch. In addition to this niche being very popular this week, murders and dark secrets are also clouding the skies over the plains, while men suffering from PTSD are in favour as heroes. For example, A Bride to Soothe the Wounded Rancher, by Lorelei Brogan, and, A Mail Order Bride to Heal his Heart, by Etta Foster, both feature Mail Order Brides and Heroes described as scarred in mind and body. This week the readers of Cowboy and Western Romances have been incredibly focused in what they have been buying.
In Highland Romances, the choices are a bit broader. Surprisingly, though, Outlander is not the only Highland tale this week with time travel tied deep into it, On Highland Time by Lexi Post, features a young woman from a far distant time sent back to make certain a Highland Chieftain dies as he is supposed to. As should be expected in a Romance novel, not everything goes to plan on that front. Elsewhere, Arranged Marriages flourish, though murders and misunderstandings get in the way of immediate happy ever afters.
Two of Kathryn Le Veque’s, de Wolfe Pack series, are on the list this week. One features kidnap, rescues, and a woman warrior split between her family and doing what is right. The other has an Arranged Marriage between a woman who hates the man and a man who loves the woman. These books do have Highland Romance influences on them, though they are not part of the traditional sub-genre.
And finally, we come to the niche that rules over all the rest of them, Regency Romances. This week there are some Key Words which seem to be proving popular above other options, these are;
- Duke (Barons, Marquess’, Earls and Lords get one or two mentions to the half dozen Dukes on show),
- Duchesses and Ladies (A pretty even split between the two)
- Rogue (If a man is not described by his title in the title, then the odds are he is a Rogue instead)
- Governess (Many of the women in this weeks crop of books are Governesses, this may imply that readers are looking for women with higher levels of independence and education than the norm. Also, some of the books without Governess in the title feature them, like, A Rogue to Remember, by Chasity Bowlin)
- Wicked (A surprising number of books have the word in the title, some use it to describe the hero, others the heroine)
Interestingly, a lot of the books this week feature the heroine in a dark pink or red gown on the cover. Of those not wearing this week’s signature colour most were wearing whites and blues, or were not on the cover at all.
A trend this week is that of the heroes being spies, these stories feature intrigue, murder and the heroes hiding their true identities, sometimes even from their heroines. Grace Calloway’s, M is for Marquess, is one such example, as is Scarlet Scott’s, Dangerous Duke, and Rebecca Connolly’s, By Hook or by Rook, as well.
Many of the books this week have very independent women, several of which take the lead in deciding their own fate, even going so far as to “Rescue” their heroes, sometimes from legitimate threats, others from the gossip of society. One of these is Sally Britton’s, Rescuing Lord Inglewood.
So, what to take from all of this? In Regency Romance there is more than enough information to send anyone’s head spinning, but this is what we have picked out from it. Well educated women are popular, even better when they are able to be independent and stand on their own two feet. Men are best titled, and if they cannot manage that they had best be scandalous, or a rogue, or a spy. Mail Order Brides are extremely popular in Cowboy and Western Romances this week, while heroes with dark and tragic pasts are also selling well. In practically every sub-genre and niche, Arranged Marriages are doing well. So too are marriages between wealthy nobles and women of much lower standing. And every woman wants a dark pink or red dress.
Have we given you any ideas for a novel? Or have we just given you decision paralysis with all the options? Let us know and see you next time!