Love In Days Gone By by Marie Lavender
From Christina: I love historical romance. With rare exceptions, it’s all I read — and all I write. I know why I write historicals, and when Marie accepted my invitation to be a guest here, I posed the question to her: What is it about bygone days that beckons you as a writer? Here’s her response.
Love In Days Gone By
By Marie Lavender
What is it about the time period that draws me in? Let’s start with historical romance. I have always loved reading historical romance. And truthfully, I’ve always loved certain time periods since I was a kid. Being a hopeless romantic, I grew up fascinated with movies like The Princess Bride and Robin Hood. I loved any time period from the Medieval era to Regency to the turn of the century, any time period where men were still “gentlemen” and women were “ladies”.
At this moment, I have numerous historical works in progress. Upon Your Return is my first published historical romance. Truthfully, when I came up with the idea for the book, I wasn’t clear on the exact time period. A scene just came into my head. It wasn’t until I did some research that I placed it in 1860s France. I had a marvelous time researching the décor of the time period, the customs and even the political events. Seeing the story come to life with period details was very enjoyable for me.
The heroine of Upon Your Return, Fara, gets to stay aboard La Voyageur, Captain Grant Hill’s ship, fairly early in the story, and I discovered a lot about clipper ships in the process of writing the book. In the sequel that I have just finished, I go into a lot more detail about those speedy watercrafts. Well, they were fast then, and amazing to a lot of people. Clipper ships, first built in the 1840s, became famous, clocking speeds of 250 to 400 miles a day when the average ship could do 150 miles at the most. Newspapers followed the progress of clipper ships and bets were even placed on certain voyages. The hero of Upon Your Return is the captain of such a ship. He is both gentleman and sailor, a deadly combination for the likes of Mademoiselle Fara Bellamont.
I want to go back to those words “gentlemen” and “ladies”. In these time periods, women and men in society had to tread carefully. They knew just how to act and what behavior was deemed inappropriate. You will see most of Jane Austen’s characters tread so carefully. But, historical romances have changed somewhat to accommodate our current beliefs. We know people had to be proper, but there is one truth you can always count on. They were human as well. In that vein, you can imagine things happened that people didn’t exactly talk about. It was proper not to. For example, there is a moment in the book where Grant says to Fara, “I do not know how to help you without overstepping the boundaries of common courtesy.” Of course, propriety must be considered because of her position in society. But, rarely does Captain Hill let society stop him from getting what he wants or doing the right thing. And Fara Bellamont, as you will soon find out, is not a “typical” lady of society in all things.
The other thing that draws me to this time period is the entertainment, specifically dancing. I’ve never been particularly confident on my feet, but I’ve always loved watching people dance and reading about it in historical romances. The lovely décor, the masked balls, all of it. I took a dance class once with my fiancé and I have to say that that was what I enjoyed most about it. The couples dancing. The waltz was my favorite. And what do you usually see in movies and books? The waltz. I have tried to show this is in Upon Your Return and the sequel as well. It was actually pretty fun writing about balls.
One other kind of entertainment that was popular was going to the opera. I’ve never been to it myself and I don’t listen to it all that often, but I have been to see the play The Phantom of the Opera. It was so magical there when I went. My fiancé and I dressed up, and I felt like a princess. The play was so amazing and realistic. So, I can imagine what Fara must have felt like when she attended the opera. I did my best to show that in the story as well.
So as you can tell, bygone eras have their appeal. I have always loved the natural romance of those times, when men and women would bow and a gentleman would kiss a lady’s hand. Although propriety was still a concern, a romantic’s heart can be charmed by such simple things. I know I can’t get enough of it.
* * * * *
Have you entered Marie’s giveaway today?
Be sure to visit tomorrow — more chances to win, and excerpts from Upon Your Return.
Want more now? Here’s a little snippet: