In Historical Romance the niches and trends are sticking around from last week, but there are also some new surprises in the charts.
Romance mixed with Mystery and Suspense is the surprise break out star in the trends and niches of the week. A significant proportion of the novels on the chart have a (sometimes very dark) mystery woven through. Some of these mysteries prove a bit too much for the readers in the reviews however, and some of the suspense elements, in particular, have been putting some readers off, so beware that. Mysteries in people’s ancestry are particularly popular, especially someone in the story has nobility in their family tree. Lords, Ladies, and Grand Duchesses are popular with this. Also popular, is the incorporating of real people into the plot, for example, in The Golden Hour, by Beatriz Williams, a newly widowed journalist infiltrates the friendship circle of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who may be better known as Wallis Simpson and the abdicated-King Edward VIII.
Using real historical people for your work can be a tricky thing to manage. For one thing there are actual itineraries of their lives and people know these, so you have to either tread carefully, or throw your hands up and say that you are not paying attention to that. But also, writing about people with real living relatives, is a tricky tightrope to walk. The British Royal Family is not likely to care too much, worse has definitely been said about them, but less high profile people should be approached carefully.
Highland Romances are still holding onto a strong position in the charts, the majority of their covers and titles make it clear what the story is going to be about. Practically every novel has a kilted man with a sword on the cover, it is therefore unsurprising that Alpha Males and Warriors, along with Virgin Heroines, are a must have for the niche. They often play with elements of Marriage of Convenience, too.
Cowboy and Western Romances are also holding onto their place, with Mail Order Brides leading the pack by a large margin. There are also Menage stories and Outlaws a plenty in the books for sale in this niche. A lot of the books are also themed around the idea of escaping a past, whether that was a past as an outlaw, or of a cruel family, or both, this is a plot point often returned to by the writers of this niche. Marriages of Convenience are obviously a popular trend in this area, since what else is a Mail Order Bride story but a very specific subset of this niche, but, in More Than Words Can Say, by Karen Witemeyer, the Marriage of Convenience is combined with a Mystery.
And now, finally to the Regency Romances. While this is still the largest niche in the chart, it is not as all conquering as in previous weeks. Other niches have stolen some of its thunder. But some things have stayed pretty much the same;
- Dukes and Duchesses are still winning in title mentions, there is an Earl or two, and even a Baron, but Lords are not having much luck,
- Rakes are pulling ahead a little versus Rogues,
- Outside of titles, women have the options of Governess, Bride, or Waif,
- Wicked, Sinful, Devil, are all popular words to use, too.
There are a lot of niches popular this week, Marriages of Convenience, of course, and Alpha Males, but also popular are stories with Patchwork Families. This ties in well with the popularity of Governesses in the books, since it is often the children that the Governess is called upon to teach that she ends up becoming a mother figure to. Heiresses are also proving popular in this niche, both those pursued by so-called “Fortune Hunters” and those who choose their own husbands. Gambling debts being paid off via marriage are also proving popular, there are multiple examples of this.
So, lots for the Regency Romance Writer to choose from, but even here a mystery is often an important sub-plot. An interesting mystery for writers to solve in their own books is how to incorporate one cleanly, without making the reader skip it to get to the good stuff.
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