Monday, August 20, 2012

Why I Love Writing Historical Romances by Holly Bush (With Give-Away)

Many of my readers have asked me why many of my romances are historical and I’ve thought a lot about that question. I’ve written two contemporary women’s fiction novels, in addition to the historicals, and have found that writing a romance or a love affair set prior to the twentieth century is easier than a modern day romance and I prefer to write them. While there are probably many explanations, the one that sticks out the most is society’s views about sex, then and now. There is something romantic, innocent or maybe naive about ‘knowing’ less.

While I have no interest in going back to a society that accepted women as second class citizens, it is easier to focus on a relationship in a historical setting than it is in a contemporary novel. Our nineteenth century sisters lived under a rigid moral code that created all kinds of tension and drama which is exactly what many of us are looking for in romance novels. Right or wrong, today’s unmarried women can and do have sex before marriage with little fear of an unintended pregnancy or of being censured like Hester Prynne of Scarlet Letter fame. Writers often have to find something other than sexual tension or the relationship that got the H/H there, to fuel a contemporary book’s conflicts because, let’s be honest here, they’re already having sex!

When I’m writing a historical novel, I’m fairly certain that if the heroine and hero are having sex, they’re married. Sex can be part of the story but it doesn’t have to define the story because there is still the obligation and expectations of marriage. Train Station Bride’s heroine, Julia Crawford, marries a virtual stranger and while the sex is part of that story, their romance, their growing attraction, their commitment to their hasty marriage and the barriers they must overcome are what makes readers (hopefully) want to turn the next page.
I grew up in a home where I was surrounded by books. There was not a room that did not hold a bookcase, stack or shelves of books. My father didn't care what we read, although he did, as long as we read something, even a comic book. His stack of books beside his reading chair that sat next to a sunny window was a strange mix of westerns, political intrigue, current affairs, science fiction and the odd biography. Books made me curious, comforted me, excited me, scared me and gave me glimpses into lives and worlds beyond my reach. What a gift - the written word - what a gift!

Where to find Holly: Website | Blog | Twitter

1887 Debutante, Julia Crawford endures a lifetime of subtle ridicule as the plump, silly daughter of a premiere Boston family. Julia strikes out on her own to gain independence, traveling to the Midwest to marry an aging shopkeeper and care for his mother. Julia finds her new home rough and uncivilized after the sophistication of a big city, while closely held secrets threaten to ruin Julia’s one chance at love.

Jake Shelling was sixteen and grew up quick when his parents died from influenza on the North Dakota prairie. Left with a half-cleared farm and two young sisters, he spent little time on his own needs . . till now. At thirty-five, he figured it was high time to have some sons and a mail order bride would suit him just fine. No expectations of love, just a helpmate from sturdy stock, ready for farm life.

Will fate and chance play a trick on Julia and Jake?
Just before this post was set to go live the author graciously offered up an e-copy of her book to one lucky winner. The contest will run until August 26. Leave a comment to be entered.


  1. I can agree with Holly's assertion that contemporary romances present challenges in terms of creating an intriguing, romantic plot when marriage isn't necessarily on the table. I enjoyed reading about her reasons for writing historical romances, one of my favorite genres!

  2. I love history and learning about the different timeframes, and all the different society rules. The book Train Station Bride sounds really interesting.

  3. I haven't read a romance with a mail order bride yet, but I enjoyed the movie Sweet Land (2005) so I'm willing to give this plot a try! (extemter at hotmail dot com)

  4. This sounds quite good....thanks for the review.

    Also...thanks for the giveaway.

    silversolara AT gmail DOT com

    Silver's Reviews

  5. A room without a bookshelf is unfurnished. We have bookshelves everywhere in our house too.

    Historical romance novels are better. I don't read all that many modern novels (prefering nonfiction most of the time) but the last few I read all seemed to rely on the woman having been sexually abused to explain why she was waiting and to create some sexual tension. And that's not my idea of a good novel.