As 2014 draws to a close, I would like to talk about the types of books I would like to see more of (or in some cases any of) in the coming years.
1. 20th Century Themed Books: Nostalgia is very big lately. There are car commercials targeting Gen X with 80’s era toys and people are having 80’s and 90’s themed parties, so why not write books that take place in those times. We may not like to think about it, but times have changed a lot since then (hell, I caught the beginning of A Cinderella Story last night, a movie that was made just 10 years ago, and I couldn’t get over the old school cell phones that Hillary Duff and Chad Michael Murray were using to text each other). Sure, there are many books that were written in the 80’s and 90’s that we could go and read, but so many of those are undesirable because of the ridiculous rapist heroes that were everywhere in Romancelandia during that time. Not all of them did, I’ve read many Nora Roberts and Debbie Macomber novels written during the 80’s and none of them involved rape, although as I mentioned in my review of Home for the Holidays, Macomber is no stranger to slightly misogynistic heros. Plus, many of those books are out of print and can only be found in used bookstores, on ebay, or at the library.
Any 20th Century decade would be nice, to be honest. I love the Deadly series by Brenda Joyce, which takes place in 1902 and uses the Progressive Era as a back drop. At times, it does have a 19th Century feel to it, there are nice moments in them where the dawn of modern technology is present–like when Rick Bragg is depicted as driving a Daimler instead of a horse drawn carriage, the use of electricity in the upper class households, and the fact that Francesca’s family, Rick, and Calder Hart all have telephones in their homes. There is also the presence of a more modern policing structure in Joyce’s New York City, although there are still instances of the extreme police brutality that characterized the 19th Century (and that seems to be celebrating a resurgence in many cities across the country right now). It also draws a nice picture of what it was like to reign in the police, a challenge faced by Teddy Roosevelt when he held the position of NYPD Commissioner in the years prior to becoming president in 1901.
I would definitely love to see an increase in the number of books that take place in the 1920’s, which I’ve previously posted about on here. Jamie Brennan did a great job of translating the turmoil of that time period when she published The Gin Lovers, and while I enjoyed the books I did have some issues with things that were left unfinished. Unfortunately, this was the only non-paranormal novel that I have been able to find that takes place in the 1920’s, which doesn’t make much sense because if ever there was a time period more suited to romance novels it was the 1920’s!
2. Non-Regency Books: It is time to face it, folks, the Regency is played out. It would be great to see more Victorian Era books, especially since that covers a much wider swath of history than the Regency Era does. There is so much more that could be done with Victorian themes than can be with Regency ones. Also, books that take place during the Renaissance would be nice. Can you imagine Shakespeare as an ancillary character? Jane Austen pops up in quite a few novels (like Lauren Willig’s The Mischief of the Mistletoe), so why can’t Shakespeare?
3. Historicals Outside of England: At this point, I know more about Regency Era customs of the British aristocracy than I care to know. Let’s visit some other places. How about Italy or Spain? What about African or Asian locales? Let’s have some diversity in 2015. In the last few years, Ms. Willig has published books taking place in India and Kenya and next summer the last Pink Carnation novel will be set in Portugal. That’s definitely a start. Way to go, Ms. Willig!
What about you, Dear Readers? What would you like to see more of in 2015? Please, don’t say vampires because I don’t think I can take more of those.