Many people ask me why most of the books I read are historical and not contemporary romances and until recently I never really thought why that is. What I have come to realize is that when it comes to contemporary books and contemporary heroes in specific, I have higher standards than I have for historicals. That isn’t to say that I expect historicals not to be as good as a contemporary–anyone who reads my reviews knows that is not the case. When I read a contemporary, I judge the hero based on my modern ideals. Does he treat people well? Is he likely to shout racist, classist, or misogynistic epithets? Does he think that consent is always implied? Based on what is happening in the world around me, I am afraid that the answers to those questions are going to be contrary to what I want to read.
With historicals, those questions may still be there, but I am not as worried about them. Why? They just didn’t know any better. Yes, Mary Wollstonecraft wrote about women’s rights, but many people didn’t give it or her any credence because she was a woman. Men in this time period didn’t think women or minorities were their equals and no one was telling them that they should be, so I can read an historical and see a man thinking things that aren’t exactly politically correct. For example, when I was reading Earls Just Want to Have Fun, I was irked by some of the things that Dane thought about the poor class, but it wasn’t a total deal breaker. If, however, that book took place today, I would have immediately deleted it off of my Kindle and probably made some remarks on twitter about Donald Trump-esque heroes in romance because we should know better (even if we don’t always do).
This is also why I tend to stick to reading the same contemporary authors. I know that they’re not likely to write about douchey heroes, although I did have an issue with how one of my go-to authors wrote her villain last year because it looked like she was relying on the old skool trope that gay people were evil. It didn’t help that the sequel to that book, which came out back in February, also seemed to be heading in that same direction (hints were being dropped that the heroine’s uncle was gay and a pedophile). Thankfully, it didn’t turn out that way, but it still made me wonder about that author and I am less likely to buy her next book. The fact that there was some anti-gay, homophobic sentiments in two of her books made me wary. (I follow this author on Facebook and have not seen her post anything homophobic to her page, so it is quite possible that this was merely a reaction to everything going on surrounding the Gay Marriage Debate when she was writing.)
So, there it is. The reason I tend towards historical romances.