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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Saturday Discussion: Sub-genre-ly Speakings

Historical romances are my first and greatest genre love, the genre I prefer to write, and they make up the bulk of the books I read for pleasure even after all the time I've been reading romance. Still, romance is a wide umbrella, and there are a lot of great books out there that are slightly off my regular route.

When I first started reading romance, as a tween and young teen, my choices were limited to what I could find in the local library or a weekly flea market. Without romance-reading friends, access to romance related magazines, in those dark days before the internet, it was catch as catch can, which gave me the opportunity to discover subgenres of romance I might not have found otherwise.

Traditional Regencies, once popular enough to command a section of their own in used bookstores, introduced me to authors like Mary Balogh and Barbara Hazard, and made me wish every era had those slender volumes rich in period detail. I found gothics, full of dangerous, brooding  heroes and the brave, clever heroines who were more than up to the task. I steered clear of time travels at first, not convinced I'd find enough historical story there, but curiosity and the use of some favorite but underused settings soon won out. Now that the subgenre is in a resting phase, I find myself craving more tales of love across the ages.

Category first caught my interest when Harlequin launched their first version of a historical line back in the late 80s, and I was more than happy to subscribe to that line by mail. When futuristic romance first came to the fore, I was intrigued - were these going to be like future historicals? For some of them, yes. Steampunk adds a speculative element to the good old Victorian age, and it seems like new subgenera are emerging every day. Only a few years ago, nobody had heard of New Adult, and now it's hot, hot, hot. What new sorts of stories are yet to come? I can't wait to find out.

What subgenrea do you like to read? Have you ever tried a sort of romance you thought wasn't your thing but ended up loving it? Leave a comment and let's talk.


  1. Like you, my favorite genre is historical romance. I have read quite a few genres before but have since stuck with historicals when reading for pleasure. I read an occasional contemporary romance now and then but my first love will always be historical romance.

    When I first started reading romance in my tweens, I used to go to a local used bookstore where I got introduced to the Harlequin Historicals. That started my love for historicals.

    My fave subgenres have to be erotic historicals, YA romance (post apocalyptic, classic/fairy tale retellings, steampunk, historical YA), a few paranormal romances. For historicals I usually limit myself to Regency and Victorian.

    I was really surprised with erotic historical romances. I came across it quite by accident when I read Sin's Mistress by Jess Michaels without knowing what erotic was. I loved it! I am a little picky about the erotic romances that I read, though. I prefer those with a good romance and good character building.

  2. Anna Carrasco BowlingJune 22, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    I could browse the Harlequin Historicals section of a used bookstore for hours (and have.)

    Erotic historicals with good romance and depth of character can be very special. Still holding out hope that Charlotte Featherstone will one day complete her Addicted trilogy.



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