Anyways. Besides this amazing post (and it really is amazing because I have now added all of these to my TBR pile), Erin is hosting a Twitter chat TONIGHT along with myself, Hannah, Cassie, and Ellice AND some other fabulous historical fiction authors Ariel Lawhon (The Wife The Maid The Mistress), Lois Leveen (The Secrets of Mary Bowser, Juliet's Nurse, coming in Sept.), Ariel MacArran (Another Man's Bride), Alex Myers (Revolutionary), and Mary Volmer (Crown of Dust). So don't forget to join us TONIGHT at 9pm EST/6pm West Coast to ask them any and all questions you may have AND a chance to win a book! Use the hashtag #IShall. We've got giveaways people so don't miss it :)
Without further ado, here is Erin to talk about who she would like to travel back in time to meet because we all know I can't host an author without talking about swoony guys in books.
Who Would Erin Lindsay McCabe Travel Back In Time To Meet?...
One of my all-time favorite historical romances is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. It definitely has the level of historical detail I crave (sometimes it has more than I crave!), and offers up complex, nuanced characters. Most importantly, we get Jamie Fraser who is the kind of romantic lead I love—intelligent, sensitive, kind, funny, passionate, and also totally capable of violence and mayhem (in a way that is incredibly macho, which I don’t really dig in real life, but in a book boyfriend? Bring it!). I consider myself a feminist, but dang, I love me a bad good-man (I also love a good bad-man, like Rooster Cogburn in True Grit or Henry Stands in Road To Reckoning, but those kind of men don’t make good romantic leads). I would absolutely time travel to meet Jamie Fraser, although I’m afraid it wouldn’t work out between us. There’s the not-so-small matter of my husband for one (though I imagine Jamie wouldn’t be too bothered by that), but also, I’m pretty sure I couldn’t deal with the reality of an 18th century man who is perfectly comfortable beating his wife. Still, I adore how Jamie accepts Claire for who and what she is. That’s pretty much my number one criteria for a good partner: someone who takes you “as is.”
Which brings me to Another Man’s Bride by Ariel MacArran. I know some people don’t really like Claire in Outlander (gasp!), and so I have an alternative: Isabella. She’s a very different sort of woman than Claire—not know-it-all-y in the slightest and not a time traveler (though she does have visions of the future). That said, Colyne, the romantic lead, reminds me a lot of Jamie Fraser, especially in the way he accepts Isabella for exactly who she is. He’s also Scottish for another thing, and he’s smart, funny, and, shall we say, physically adept. Beyond that, the book has plenty of historical detail centered around the events leading up to the assassination of King James of Scotland. I originally read this book in manuscript form and I loved it from the first page. One thing I appreciate about all MacArran’s books (she also writes sci-fi romance) is that her books go beyond romance—they always include issues of identity, psychology, and culture blended with politics and intrigue.
Another writer who includes plenty of historical detail, politics, and intrigue but mixes them with incredibly juicy, twisted romances is Philippa Gregory. I thoroughly enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl, but what first got me hooked on Gregory was her debut novel Wideacre (the first in the Wideacre trilogy). It’s chock full of R-rated soap-opera worthy drama and deception and treachery (trigger warning!), and its main character, Beatrice, is really something else—a poster child for the do-female-characters-need-to-be-likeable debate. And all I can say is poor John MacAndrews! Aside from being completely clueless about Beatrice and her diabolical plans, John is an incredibly winning character—I couldn’t help but wanting him to fall for someone more deserving.
In the category of romantic historical fiction, I adore Crown of Dust, by Mary Volmer. It’s told in a very lively voice (I’m a sucker for characters with unique voices) and in many ways the story is about secrets, since the protagonist Alex is in disguise (you’ll have to read it to find out why). I have a weakness for any story about secrets, which is one reason I was drawn to this book. But I also loved the sweet love story and the California Gold Rush era setting—the story takes place in a town about 45 minutes from where I live.
Two other romantic historicals I love are A Sudden Country by Karen Fisher and Away by Amy Bloom. They both feature characters who go to great lengths and make huge sacrifices for love. A Sudden Country is very dreamy and lyrically written, and the depiction of life on a wagon train is incredibly beautiful and stark. Be warned though-- it’s what I like to call a moody girl book, one that’s perhaps more about what-ifs and regrets—definitely not a happily-ever-after. Likewise, Away is a poignant, tender story, told by a quirky, funny omniscient narrator who is a real kick. And the ending of this one is beautiful—another example of two characters who love and accept each other as they are."
Thank you so much for sharing all those hot men to wear corsets for! I cannot wait to meet these guys!
And don't forget to join us tonight on Twitter, hashtag #IShall, at 9pm EST/6pm West Coast Cali time :)