February In Review

In honour of Valentine’s Day, we chose to focus on Historical Romance novels for the majority of February’s content. Historical Romances have long been a staple of both the Christian and General market, and we loved having the opportunity to pick our writers’ brains and learn just why they love this genre so much.

Articles

Sara Shoop opened up this month’s discussion by telling us why she fell in love with the Historical Romance genre. I’m sure many of our readers can relate to her hesitance at picking up a romantic novel, and also the part that Janette Oke played in her ventures into the world of historical romance.

Beth Bulow got all of the Straight off the Page writers together and made a list of our favourite Historical Romance authors. There’s a fantastic mixture of writers in this mix–from old favourites like Janette Oke and Francine Rivers, to newcomers like Lori Benton and Kristy Cambron. If you’ve never delved into this genre before, we hope our suggestions can guide you towards an author that will suit your tastes.

Rachel Brand put on her historian hat and geeked out about some novels that have plenty of romance, but just as much history. These books don’t romanticise the past or try to neaten it up for twentieth-century readers, but they also don’t read like a textbook. If you like a healthy dose of history with your romance, then this list might have something that works for you.

Sara compiled a fantastic recommendation list for those of us who don’t know where to turn when we finish up our favourite author’s back-catalogue. Whether you’re looking for someone who writes just like Tracie Peterson, or you need some more Regency novels to add to your to-do list, we hope this list can help!

Christel Jeffs provides some insight into the beginnings of the Historical Romance genre, and where it’s going in Christian publishing. Looking as far back as 1814, Christel explores just what the word “romance” used to mean in terms of fiction, and what it means for Christians. She may challenge some of your preconceptions about the genre, and convince some doubters to pick up their first romance novel to see what it’s truly like.

Danyelle Hunnicutt had the opportunity to chat to Amy Green, the Fiction Publicist from Bethany House, about what is involved in making a book cover, particularly in a genre as popular as Historical Romance. Amy fills us in on what publishers try to convey with their covers, consistency between authors and genres, and what new looks they’ve attempted recently.

To finish off the month, Christel compiled a list of our favourite tropes and pet peeves in the genre. We discuss marriages of convenience, class distinctions, big misunderstandings and love at first sight. Did any of your favourites make our list? Let us know!

Not into historical romance? Don’t worry–Michelle Black brought us something a little different for Martin Luther King Day, with a list of lesser known titles that celebrate African Americans.

 

As enjoyable as it is to write about our favourite books, that didn’t stop us from reviewing some new titles–some of which may have become favourites along the way.

Reviews

Gabriel’s Atonement by Vickie McDonough, reviewed by Christel

Where Trust Lies by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan, reviewed by Sara

Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund, reviewed by Rachel

Brentwood’s Ward by Michelle Griep, reviewed by Beth

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen, reviewed by Sara

A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings, reviewed by Rachel

And for those who are looking for something a little more suspenseful and contemporary, Jodie managed to sneak in a review of Twisted Innocence by Terri Blackstock.

 

February provided the opportunity for us to interview five fantastic authors about their experiences writing Historical Romance.

Interviews

Camy Tang talked to Beth about Prelude for a Lord, written under the pen-name Camille Elliot.

Sara interviewed Karen Witemeyer, who has both a novella and a full-length book releasing this year.

Lori Benton discusses the culture and history she incorporates into her novels with Melissa Willis.

Christel asks Julie Klassen about her inspiration and faith, as well as the struggles with balancing her writing with her family life.

Jody Hedlund shares her passion for history with Rachel, and talks about venturing into new waters with a YA novel and a straight history releasing this year.

 

Upcoming Events

We’ll be taking a rest from all of the articles we wrote last month to focus on some mixed reviews and interviews at the beginning of March. As much as we love history and romance, we’ll be sharing our thoughts on some recent releases in the contemporary and suspense genres, and interviewing a popular YA author!

If you’ve enjoyed Michelle’s recommended reading column for February, we hope you’ll keep a look out for her March suggestions!

And if you’ve enjoyed our themed features, stay tuned for our special focus on Biblical Fiction in the run up to Easter. We’ll be interviewing some popular authors from this genre, as well as show-casing some new titles and old favourites. Not sure if this is the genre for you? Hopefully we can show you just why Biblical novels are so popular, and convince you to check out some upcoming releases.

 

Thank You

…for all of the feedback you’ve provided, and discussions you’ve generated this month! We’re committed to providing content that can help readers find books they’ll love, so if there’s a feature you’ve particularly enjoyed, or something new you think we should try, please leave a comment or email us at info@straightoffthepage.com

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