In Historical Romance this week there is a bit of a change in the usual running order. Two trends have picked up steam and have made a surprising impact on the chart this week.
The first is the most straightforward, Medieval Romance. Built on a similar track to Regency Romance these books are usually set in an approximation of the time period, though with many adaptations made to make it more accessible to readers. For example, people tend to be much more hygienic and literate. This isn’t to say that no one in the time period washed or read any books, but the setting is adapted to make readers more comfortable and to fit their expectations.
Secondly, there is a distinct rise in the number of books where time travel is a plot point. These books are nearly always built on the same formula, a woman from a more recent era (contemporary or at least from the 20th Century) goes back in time to meet and fall in love with a warrior from a different era. These books also tend to fall into stereotyping the past culture the person goes back to, which can be a sticking point for readers who know about the era. But they are still massively popular, one only needs to look as far as Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon, to see that.
Finally, we return to the usual books in this genre. Regency Romances, Cowboy Romances, and Highlander Romances.
Highlander Romances have been mentioned in the above section on time travel romance. For whatever reason, this appears to be a popular era to be catapulted back in time to. However, there are other more traditional romances as well. Generally, the hero is a clan chieftain, or someone of similarly nobility, he is usually a fierce warrior, who nonetheless can be kind and sweet to those he loves. In a lot of ways the Highlander is built on the same lines as the hero of a Shape Shifter romance, which is perhaps not surprising given how often these two niches intersect.
Next are the Cowboy romances. These are similar in a lot of ways to the Highlander romances, the hero is a rough man who loves and fights his way through life. This week has seen an increase in the number of stories where women are not only the main characters, but are also the main motivators of the plot. They leave home to become cooks on far away ranches, or fight off bandits with nothing but their trusty shotgun, and the love interest who manages to find their way to their door.
Finally, the Regency Romance niche is feeling very comfortable, and is taking up much of the space on the chart this week. Dukes in particular seem to be very popular this week, however a lot of the book titles are more focused on the heroine. This is an interesting twist, that does draw the reader’s attention, since most of the books focus more on the male half of the couple in their titles. There are also a lot of titles which do not expressly mention either hero or heroine, and instead are more vague. Dresses are mostly split between reds and deep pinks, and demure gowns of white and pale colours. Unfortunately, some of the cover designers could do with a reminder of what was actually in fashion at the time of their books’ settings. This tends to draw attention to the book in a less than favourable way, so keep an eye out for that.
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