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  1. #181

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Well, I think that's all sort of missing my point, but okay; you are the only one who needs to be happy with the historical accuracy of your sexy books, not me. I, after all, become enraged when a character in a historical novel uses the word "gender," so it's not like I don't have certain expectations. But even the most well-researched historical novel is likely to deviate from the times. I looked up Sherry Thomas and I have read a couple of hers. Her dialogue is definitely not historically accurate. That's a good thing, IMO, but....depends on how accurate you want things to be. I've also read some Miranda Neville and in her case, I think it depends on the book. She's committed some real gaffes, too. Dialogue errors tend to really jump out at me.
    You were missing my points, so it evens out nicely. And I am certainly not the only one concerned about historical accuracy in romance reading (or other forms of accuracy, do not get me started on sports romances).

    The obvious conclusion that I think we can both agree upon is that different readers will have different expectations of the books they read, are willing to accept different levels of (in)accuracy if they find other aspects of the book enjoyable, and will be bothered by different types of mistakes if those pop up. The threshold for what is believable, or what sort of things that are less believable are nonetheless acceptable, is bound to differ. I don't know how you determine whether dialogue is anachronistic or not for authors writing in different periods, but I'm not going to argue with your conclusions.

    I can't stand it when "gender" is used incorrectly or anachronistically, either - and it's worse when people think an ultrasound will reveal their baby's gender. Um, no, sorry, you'll have to wait for that.
    Last edited by Zemgirl; 06-22-2013 at 09:45 AM.

  2. #182

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    50 Shades of Grey does not have sexy sex scenes. They appear to have been written by someone who has never actually had sex. Plus, Christian is emotionally and physically abusive to Ana, which is also not sexy.

    Abigail Barnette (pen name of Jenny Trout) writes some really hot sex that isn't for the faint of heart. I particularly liked Ravenous, but who doesn't think pirate vampires are sexy?

    She has also written an anti-50 Shades called The Boss. It's a couple in a BDSM relationship that's healthy. There's even an actual plot! She releases a chapter a week on her website. The Boss Warning: Some scenes are not for the pearl-clutchers among us.

  3. #183

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincessLeppard View Post
    50 Shades of Grey does not have sexy sex scenes. They appear to have been written by someone who has never actually had sex. Plus, Christian is emotionally and physically abusive to Ana, which is also not sexy.

    Abigail Barnette (pen name of Jenny Trout) writes some really hot sex that isn't for the faint of heart. I particularly liked Ravenous, but who doesn't think pirate vampires are sexy?

    She has also written an anti-50 Shades called The Boss. It's a couple in a BDSM relationship that's healthy. There's even an actual plot! She releases a chapter a week on her website. The Boss Warning: Some scenes are not for the pearl-clutchers among us.
    I read her 50 Shades recaps up through about the middle of book 2; they were hilarious, but eventually I was too bored and annoyed by the excerpts to continue. I don't want to judge other readers, but for the life of me I cannot understand how anyone can like any part of that trilogy.

    Speaking of sexy, edgy and healthy: try Cara McKenna and Anne Calhoun.

  4. #184
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    Thanks, PL. I had no idea 50 Shades were THAT bad. Not a pearl clutcher but do require that there be fine literature surrounding the finely written sex scene.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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  5. #185
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    If you're looking for fine literature, you aren't reading sex. I don't care about fine literature so I'm good. And, again, since any historian will tell you that recorded history is usually the reflection of the writer rather than what, um, acutally happened, I give fiction a break. I typically don't like historical fiction all that much, particularly if it really plays up the history. I'm more interested in the character and plot and am quite able to suspend my belief regarding "historical accuracy" if those are good. If they aren't, then the history doesn't matter anyway because I quit reading after the first couple of chapters.
    Those who never succeed themselves are always the first to tell you how.

  6. #186
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    If you're looking for fine literature, you aren't reading sex.
    Sure you are. It's neither explicit nor prurient and it's often a metaphor, but there's lots of sex in literature.

    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    I typically don't like historical fiction all that much, particularly if it really plays up the history. I'm more interested in the character and plot and am quite able to suspend my belief regarding "historical accuracy" if those are good. If they aren't, then the history doesn't matter anyway because I quit reading after the first couple of chapters.
    I tend to prefer my time periods to be accurate in terms of events, but there are a lot of inaccuracies that I find preferable in smut (sorry, Zemgirl, but I like the word). I like it that people bathe often and are described as smelling good. I like it that when the hero grabs the heroine's ankle and slides his hand up her calf, he feels silky skin and not furry leg. I generally like it that the characters have advanced ideas about hygiene and health care and wash their hands and clean wounds and sweep away the old rushes (rushes were about the most disgusting things ever). Who wants to think about the implications of all those low-cut bodices and tiny sleeves in pre-razor days? No one has fleas or lice (except sometimes the very poor), the issue of waste disposal is always ignored, and most main characters are educated, well-read and have access to libraries. Social injustice is generally treated as an excuse to allow the main characters to demonstrate forward thinking and liberalism. I am generally grateful that the characters are forward thinking and liberal; historical romance is misogynist enough as it is. And so on.

    I read one a while back in which Our Victorian Heroine fainted and was placed on a fainting couch. The doctor came to see her privately and took her pulse before pronouncing her fit. I got a good snicker out of that one, but really--I'd rather it go that way than be historically accurate, as there are some freaky aspects of Victorian life that are just too strange.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  7. #187
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    True. Nobody would read historical romances if they were really accurate. Life back in the old days didn't fit our notion of "romance." Especially bodice ripper pirate romances. Months wearing the same clothes without bathing unless you got caught in the rain on a tiny wooden ship with a head. Really gets the pulse going.

    If I want history, I read history written by historians and not fictional authors. I guess everybody has their own "oh, no, they didn't" things. Mine are books written about Native American cultures/eras. And two of the biggest offenders are archaeologists: The Gears (Kathleen and Michael). Although, I should cut them some slack as they did cite my dissertation in one of their books, but they really take creative license and make up a lot of crap. If I didn't know it was crap, it would be OK. Apparently, their books sell so a lot of people don't know the crap. So, if I'm reading a historical mystery or romance, it's better if I don't know much about the era so I don't stop at the crap and inform the book that something is wrong. Although, I've yet to have a book correct itself.
    Those who never succeed themselves are always the first to tell you how.

  8. #188
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    True. Nobody would read historical romances if they were really accurate. Life back in the old days didn't fit our notion of "romance." Especially bodice ripper pirate romances. Months wearing the same clothes without bathing unless you got caught in the rain on a tiny wooden ship with a head. Really gets the pulse going.
    Yes, it always kills me that the women on pirate ships are allowed to wash with fresh water, especially if they are given whole tubs of the stuff. Ha!

    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    If I want history, I read history written by historians and not fictional authors. I guess everybody has their own "oh, no, they didn't" things. Mine are books written about Native American cultures/eras. And two of the biggest offenders are archaeologists: The Gears (Kathleen and Michael). Although, I should cut them some slack as they did cite my dissertation in one of their books, but they really take creative license and make up a lot of crap. If I didn't know it was crap, it would be OK. Apparently, their books sell so a lot of people don't know the crap. So, if I'm reading a historical mystery or romance, it's better if I don't know much about the era so I don't stop at the crap and inform the book that something is wrong. Although, I've yet to have a book correct itself.
    Every time I read an historical in which it rains in London, Swift's "A Description of a City Shower" always runs through my head no matter how much I try to stop it .

    Maybe the postmodernists are right and we are all writing our own books.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  9. #189

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincessLeppard View Post
    She has also written an anti-50 Shades called The Boss. It's a couple in a BDSM relationship that's healthy. There's even an actual plot! She releases a chapter a week on her website. The Boss Warning: Some scenes are not for the pearl-clutchers among us.
    Erotica is not my normal genre, but I started reading The Boss today, and I really liked it. I'd love to send the link to everyone I know who likes 50 Shades of Grey, with a message that the hero in this is actually a decent, non-abusive guy. Of course I know most of those people IRL, and they'd be floored that I actually read something like this.

  10. #190

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    True. Nobody would read historical romances if they were really accurate. Life back in the old days didn't fit our notion of "romance." Especially bodice ripper pirate romances. Months wearing the same clothes without bathing unless you got caught in the rain on a tiny wooden ship with a head. Really gets the pulse going.
    I would separate glossing over or simply not including certain details from writing blatantly inaccurate things (like the book I read in which the summer of 1816 was unusually hot). I don't mind historical romance heroines with smooth legs because some people do have very little body hair naturally, and I don't need an author to discuss frequency of bathing - though I suspect members of some social classes were cleaner than we might think (see some relevant posts here; not referring to pirates aboard ship, though ). But some mistakes are just distracting, and I draw the line at members of the nobility and gentry marrying maids, smiths, courtesans etc. without anyone batting an eyelash.

    There's nothing wrong with an author making the choice to write such stories or with readers enjoying them. It just rarely works for me.

    Bodice ripper romances are pretty much a thing of the past, and pirate romances today are generally different in scope and style from old skool ones anyway.

    If I want history, I read history written by historians and not fictional authors.
    I've learned a lot from some of my fiction reading and I think a good author can integrate research into the story in an interesting and accurate way: Dorothy Dunnett comes to mind, and while I can't think of any romance novelists who have done that thorough a job on the historical details, there are certainly some who manage to create a vivid representation of the period in which they write. If I want to learn more, I can always expand on that with non-fiction reading.

  11. #191
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    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    If you're looking for fine literature, you aren't reading sex.
    Well, I guess I am not reading sex. But to be honest, if it's well-written which is absolutely possible, I think it's great. I would guess it's one of the most challenging things to write.

    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    And, again, since any historian will tell you that recorded history is usually the reflection of the writer rather than what, um, acutally happened, I give fiction a break.
    Of course! Couldn't agree more. I am very aware of that but still find some history/historical fiction enjoyable, albeit not always accurate.
    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    I typically don't like historical fiction all that much, particularly if it really plays up the history. I'm more interested in the character and plot and am quite able to suspend my belief regarding "historical accuracy" if those are good. If they aren't, then the history doesn't matter anyway because I quit reading after the first couple of chapters.
    Yes, but sometimes the errors are glaring and numerous enough to irk me. Like the one in White Teeth--how can I trust her to accurately portray any ethnicity/culture other than her own? And you know, quite a few characters ended up as refined caricatures, so to speak.

    OTOH, in good fiction and occasionally in well-written historical novel, it's the journey that matters more to me than the story. But if the writing doesn't compensate for the historical inaccuracies, I get and and
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  12. #192
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    Finished "The Good Nurse" earlier today. Charlie Cullen was a registered nurse in NJ & PA and was suspected in the deaths of over 300 people. Chilling. The hospitals covered it up or ignored it and then gave references after sacking him. His final employer actually HID evidence from the police. I spent a lot of the book going "Are you FECKING kidding me?!?!"

    Tonight's elibarary loan was "Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-Making Race Around the World". I ended it hating Nellie Bly, which I never believed possible going in. Guess finding out my childhood hero was a racist who embellished her trip stories and paid little attention to the plight of fellow humans & passengers wasn't a good thing. But, it was a fascinating peek into the way people used to travel, the differences between the two ladies, and what happened to both after the 'race'. Author was repetitive in spots too. Lots of details repeated over and over - felt like he was dumbing the book down for the masses.

  13. #193
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post


    I've learned a lot from some of my fiction reading and I think a good author can integrate research into the story in an interesting and accurate way: Dorothy Dunnett comes to mind, and while I can't think of any romance novelists who have done that thorough a job on the historical details, there are certainly some who manage to create a vivid representation of the period in which they write. If I want to learn more, I can always expand on that with non-fiction reading.
    Off on a tangent here, but I agree with this point. For example - I learned a great deal about World War II from Herman Wouk's Winds of War and War and Remembrance. I never understood the importance of the Battle of Midway until I read his fictionalized account. Not much to do with romance, of course. Just enjoying the discussion.

  14. #194

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    Quote Originally Posted by A.H.Black View Post
    Off on a tangent here, but I agree with this point. For example - I learned a great deal about World War II from Herman Wouk's Winds of War and War and Remembrance. I never understood the importance of the Battle of Midway until I read his fictionalized account. Not much to do with romance, of course. Just enjoying the discussion.
    I read those years ago and remember being quite impressed, too. In addition to the main story, the chapters written by the fictional German general were also interesting.

  15. #195
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    I read those years ago and remember being quite impressed, too. In addition to the main story, the chapters written by the fictional German general were also interesting.
    I worked in a bookstore at the time. I remember a customer asking for the memoirs of "Armin von Roon" (the German general). It took me a while to remember that von Roon was a fictional character and even longer to convince the customer there were no such memoirs. He was very disappointed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    But some mistakes are just distracting
    Well, again, what distracts one depends on the one. The things I listed are things I find distracting. Otherwise, I doubt I would ever have taken note of them. Most people wouldn't.

    I once assisted a professor in researching a long, dry paper on feminism and housekeeping. Cleanliness issues, therefore, tend to jump out at me. People take a ridiculous number of baths in most historicals and their attitudes about cleanliness are usually way off. This kind of thing is usually mentioned in passing, but I notice. I also learned a great deal about housing structures, so I am frequently amused by mentions of windows in homes--how many there are and where they are and how they are made, not to mention descriptions of libraries and books.

    A lot of other things bug me a little as well, if I let them. Names. The letters characters write. Dialogue littered with modern terms (not to mention modern ways of expressing oneself).

    But mostly, I read historical romances to relax, so I ignore all but the most egregious errors, because that's not the point--for me. To each her own.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

  17. #197

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    Quote Originally Posted by A.H.Black View Post
    I worked in a bookstore at the time. I remember a customer asking for the memoirs of "Armin von Roon" (the German general). It took me a while to remember that von Roon was a fictional character and even longer to convince the customer there were no such memoirs. He was very disappointed
    Ha. I thought at first maybe Wouk had used a real book as inspiration for it, but I guess not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    Well, again, what distracts one depends on the one.
    As I was saying earlier, too Like IceAlisa, I believe that sometimes good writing can compensate for this - but often the errors are bad enough or the writing not good enough to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    Well, I guess I am not reading sex. But to be honest, if it's well-written which is absolutely possible, I think it's great. I would guess it's one of the most challenging things to write.

    OTOH, in good fiction and occasionally in well-written historical novel, it's the journey that matters more to me than the story. But if the writing doesn't compensate for the historical inaccuracies, I get and and
    Sex scenes strike me as being very difficult to write well, especially if it's something you write often and the goal is to have such scenes contribute to character/relationship development and not read as repetitive or boringly technical.
    Last edited by Zemgirl; 06-24-2013 at 04:58 PM.

  18. #198

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zemgirl View Post
    Nan - I hope you enjoy Thomas; I think she's fantastic. Some of Meredith Duran's books are very good, too, and if you haven't tried her yet that might be worth a shot as well.
    I love Duran - and unfortunately, she's not all that fast, but from her blog, it looks like she does a lot of research. I recently reached my historical romance threshold, I think, so I don't read as many as I used to, but Duran is still an auto-buy for me. I've also really loved the last few books that Courtney Milan has written, and I also like Julie Ann Long's books.

    Also for a historical series that's not quite a romance, but more of a long continuing "spy game" is Teresa Grant's "Malcolm & Susanne" books, that take place over the course of the Napoleonic Wars.

  19. #199

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    Quote Originally Posted by Impromptu View Post
    Also for a historical series that's not quite a romance, but more of a long continuing "spy game" is Teresa Grant's "Malcolm & Susanne" books, that take place over the course of the Napoleonic Wars.
    I read Daughter of the Game/Secrets of a Lady, back when they were still called Melanie and Charles. I never understood why her current publisher had her change the names when it's still the same characters.

  20. #200
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    Years ago I was reading someone's old copy of Peyton Place, only to find that the last few pages were missing. I went and got it from the local library to finish it, and was completely confused until I realized that a couple of the names had been changed in that edition. Must've been the skandal that broke out after it was first published, with people recognizing their neighbours in the characters. Wonder of that's why the books you mentioned changed - or maybe it was just the publishers thinking different names would go over better in another market?

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