June 10th, 2008
Historical Accuracy

I’m reading a book I picked up in the goodie room at RT called Seduced by a Spy, by Andrea Pickens. I believe this is the second book in her series, but I don’t think you have to read them in order. This one seems pretty stand-alone. I used to love historicals and lately have acquired a taste for them again (I’m not the only one, looking at reading trends within the romance genre).

This book is set in the Regency period and is chock full of spies, action, and espionage. The premise is intriguing. The heroine comes from a school called Mrs. Merlin’s Academy for Select Young Ladies. All the ladies are orphans taken from London’s slums and taught not only how to comport themselves in society, but also how to spy, wield weapons and seduce. Oooh…cool! I’m so there!

Is the premise historically accurate? Probably not. If it is, please correct me, but I think that if there had really been such a school in real life, learning about it would have kept me awake more often in history class. I’m sure many people have dismissed the series because it’s not true to history, but my attitude is this–it’s fiction I’m reading here. It’s not a history book. I’m reading to be entertained and I am very capable of suspending my disbelief as long as the story is good. Give me interesting characters with depth and a well-written, well-executed plot and I’m more than happy. You can give me the hero, Alexandr Orlov, while you’re at it too. I think I’d forgive him anything. Yum. In any case, so far I’m really enjoying the book.

Do you enjoy historical romance? What are some favs if you do? (Lord of Scoundrels, by Loretta Chase is probably my absolute favorite) And how about that historical accuracy thing? Do you need it, or can you suspend your disbelief enough to leave it?

4 comments to “Historical Accuracy”

  1. I am not that well versed in History myself that I catch a lot of the things that other catch. In my case, what can–and sadly, often does–pull me out of the story is poor characterization.

    I may not know what kind of undergarments were in use in the 1800s vs what was worn in the 1600s but I would imagine that neither women nor men would speak to each other, nor behave in public the way people today do–the social mores were much different, and the imbalance of power between the genders much more marked. To keep me reading, that should come through in the writing, more than anything else.

  2. Stephanie Laurens is one of my favorite historical romance authors. As for historical accuracy, not a biggee for me. I read romance fiction for the storyline, and let the author create any world they want to share with me.

  3. I’m a big fan of Andrea Pickens. I can’t wait for the third book to be released. Jenna Petersen has a Lady Spies series. Some favorites include Julia Ross, Julie Garwood and Jacquie D’Alessandro. Historical accuracy is not important if I’m reading fiction.

  4. I love Catherine Coulter, Stephanie Laurens and Jude Deveraux. I agree as far as the historical accuracy goes, I don’t know what fashions were like or even what slang was popular, but i know, for the most part, what societal values were like. I don’t care to see modern mores in historical fiction. I read fiction to be entertained. If i wanted to learn something i’d pick up a text book.