What do you really want in a historical?
Recently, there’s been yet another discussion about accuracy and “wallpaper historicals” on a forum, so I thought I’d tell you my story.
I wrote a book called NOBLESSE OBLIGE (well that was the title it ended up with!) about a shy man and the lady he fell in love with, a lady’s companion. The duke in the story isn’t a go-getting alpha, but a nice man, the kind you marry after dating the other kind for a few years. The heroine wasn’t 'kick-butt,' but knew where she stood in life and what she had to do to make a living. I liked her, because her practicality went much further than mere defiance. Her mistress was a wealthy slut, and as soon as the hero hove in view, the woman went after him, using my heroine as her go-between.
The story was set in Yorkshire, beginning in Scarborough, continuing to York and going on to a stately home remarkably like Castle Howard, but set a few miles further North, near Harrogate.
I sent this book off to a
Well I tried, I really did. But in the end I couldn’t do it all. The hero turned before my eyes into the cardboard love-em-and-leave-em alpha, the heroine, while not the daughter of a duke (I just couldn’t do that!) turned into the kind of woman who wouldn’t have lasted five minutes as a lady’s companion. The subplot with the mistress turned into the usual stuff about jealousy and misunderstanding.
I couldn’t stand it.
However, the publisher helped me with one thing. The editor told me to ‘up the sexual tension’ and although I know that is one of the knee-jerk requests they often make, I looked carefully at it, and they were definitely right in this case. So I teased a little more.
Well, I couldn’t do the revisions they wanted, so I sent the book elsewhere.
So if you wonder why there are so many books which have the alpha duke meeting the feisty titian-haired heroine, and a plot that stumbles over big misunderstandings, to a background of riding in Hyde Park, going to balls at Almack’s and London mansions (huh?
By the way, I’m very glad Champagne Books decided to take the book as it is,
Lynne Connolly/Lynne Martin