I want diverse historical romance, please

As y’all may know, I’m a reader of romance novels. But I’m a reader with persnickety tastes, and for the longest time I’ve been relying on Smart Bitches Trashy Books to point me in the direction of the romance I’ll actually enjoy reading.

One of the big reasons I keep coming back to them is their excellent podcast. I’ve been way behind on listening to it lately; in fact, I just only finally got caught up through the end of 2018 for the episodes.

Something in episode 331 caught my ear, though, and so I wanted to write about it here. Specifically, this bit from SB Sarah:

I also want to note that I recorded this episode before I read the most recent Romance Writers Report, which is a publication of the Romance Writers of America. In this month’s issue, the December issue, is an article by Elizabeth Kingston titled “Reclaiming Historical Romance.” It is about the white supremacist version of history contained in historical romance, and it makes many of the points that I attempt to make much clearer. If you have the opportunity to read this article, please do; it is exceptional.

Sarah Wendell, episode 331 of Smart Podcast, Trashy Books

I’m not a member of RWA, so I didn’t have access to the publication Sarah mentions. But that did not keep me from googling the author’s name as well as the title of her presentation.

That led me to Kingston’s posts here and here. I found both of these posts excellent reading, and support Kingston’s points both as a writer and as a reader.

As a reader of romance, particularly one who does like historicals, I want to affirm my interest in reading historicals outside the scope of just the Regency and the Victorian era. I know that I’m just one person, but one person can certainly say “yes, I want to read this”. And for me, that’ll mean broadening the scope of what genre fiction I read.

In the specific case of romance, that means I’m going to enjoy reading more Alyssa Cole as well as my first Beverly Jenkins historicals. When I’m done with those, this link mentioned by Kingston as a resource for more titles to diversify your historical romance reading seems like a damn fine place to look for more.

Heroes and heroines and non-binary protagonists of all colors and countries deserve love and happy endings, and I look forward to reading more of them. Anybody out there want to hit me up with a recommendation, drop me a comment on this post!

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Author of the Free Court of Seattle series as Angela Korra'ti, and of the Rebels of Adalonia series as Angela Highland. Geek, fangirl, musician, and raving admirer of Newfoundland and Quebecois traditional music. Also a.k.a. Anna the Piper!

2 thoughts on “I want diverse historical romance, please

  1. Hi Angela,

    Totally agree here. There are so many interesting time periods in history. Why does every romance need to be about rich people in regency England? A book you might like is The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. It’s a sweet romance full of adventure that takes place in the 18th century and features an interracial gay couple.

    I’m writing a historical novel of my own and I think about diversity a lot while writing it. It’s set in the 20’s and is about an Italian mobster falling in love with his Irish bodyguard. I get that they would both be considered white today but those groups still faced discrimination back then (because they were catholic). The American city of the early 20th century was such an interesting place because of the mix of ethnicities. Social class (besides the rich) is another avenue for diversity that should be explored more in historical romance.

    Please. Less regency. Less billionaires.

    Thanks for sharing Angela.




    1. Thanks for coming by and commenting! I’ve heard of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, but thanks for the direct recommendation. 🙂 And your book sounds quite intriguing as well. Is it your first or do you have work already out there?


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