M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Appealing Historical Settings

What historical period appeals to you most? 

The Regency, or perhaps more accurately the Enlightenment, has been my favorite time period since I was old enough to be aware of such things, though I like novels in any well-developed historical period. I empathize with the mind-set, but more, I ended up liking English/Scots politics in spite of their rigid class system. 

Don't know where I read it, but the French of the time were doomed in my affections because of their taxation policies. The British taxed the aristocracy by the number of the windows the owned [hard to avoid] while the French didn't tax their aristocracy at all. 

The fact was enough to turn me into a froggie-phobe, 
in spite of a thin Marlon Brando playing Napoleon in Deserie [sp?].
Then, the French indulged in a rather bloody revolution ...
[ah, the twists and turns of politics, which I'll now ignore.]

This high-falooting introduction is my justification for why I often choose "mindless" Regency romances as an escape. Of course, I'm very picky about the authors I read ... they have to be historically accurate no matter what fantasy they're weaving, sorry, writing. 

None did/does this better than Georgette Heyer.  During the 70s, I managed to collect all her titles in paperback, though I have since culled some of her lesser works. [I never cared much for her mysteries either.]

Over the Christmas book-buying-binge, my son discovered Jennifer Kloester's Georgette Heyer's Regency World, a combination history and trip down memory lane. Kloester's book is a social history of Regency Britain, told through the situations and actions of the characters in Heyer's novels. A light, fun read.

How good a writer was Heyer? Well, I don't think I've read more than a couple of her books in the last decade, yet I was able to recall and add details in Kloester's discussion of the Regency social milieu. How good is Kloester's book? With the excellent its many illustrations, I think it's a great little reference work to quickly check details if you write in the Regency period.

All this has me thinking about somehow combining the Regency mores with the Fae in some way -- sort of a juxtaposition of folk beliefs and scientific reasoning. I put that interesting thought in my idea book -- though it's not as intriguing as having Jesus Christ and Bridgett, the Irish goddess, encountering each other as the only two "humans" who ever turned water into alcohol, [wine and beer respectively].

While I'm confessing, I must admit I just finished Stephanie Laurens' The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae, the concluding Cynster novel about the adventures off Martin Cynster's three daughters. After a relatively weak second book in the series, Capture came on strong with all the elements that keep Laurens on the best seller lists. [Yeah, I think I read all the Cynster books although I know I've traded some because they were too trite, slight, weak, ???] 

I like the way Laurens' uses strong women to "tame" strong men while they solve a mystery together. Under all the emotional goop, Laurens presents interesting female/male partnerships in an era where they weren't the norm. It's the strength of the mystery that determines whether I keep a book or not.

Of course, if you like sex scenes that's an added draw in Lauren's books -- though I find them a little over the top when she bogs down describing the "glory" of love-based sex. Of course, if you don't like sex scenes, you can skip them.
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