Let’s start with a disclaimer: most of the historical fiction I’ve read is from the early 1800’s/ late 1700’s and, of that, the majority is set in England with a smattering of Americans thrown in. (Americans make everything more fun, especially in literature.) Now, just to annoy those of you who are serious scholars, I’m counting both fiction based on history and fiction written during this period in history as the same thing, historical fiction.
Now that I’ve successfully alienated half my potential readership, what have I learned from reading historical fiction?
- If you have amnesia or were abandoned at birth, you are probably the long lost heir/heiress to a large fortune and title.
- Your likelihood of being kidnapped, having a twin, or being orphaned increased exponentially if you are an heir or an heiress to a large fortune.
- If you have a twin, you will almost always be identical and trade places with each other when necessary. However, you will kiss differently, which the hero with discover right away. (Also, if you had a bad upbringing and someone sees a person that looks like you wandering around, most likely you were kidnapped when you were a baby and that is your twin.)
- If you catch a handsome gentleman wondering around and assume he is supposed to be a new servant/worker of any kind, he is probably your betrothed. He’ll go along with the ruse until you fall in love with him and are agonizing over the fact that you are engaged but in love with a servant. Then, when you are at your wits’ end and planning on running off with this penniless servant, it will be revealed (though not by him) that he is actually your betrothed.
- If a man is charming, he is probably a villain. If a man is handsome by conventional standards, he is probably a villain. If a man is ungodly masculine and holds an appeal that the word “handsome” is a bland affront to, he’s probably the hero.
- By nature, people with blond hair tend to be more externally charming while people with dark hair tend to be more brooding. The color of the hair must seep directly into the brain and from there into the soul.
- If a man went on a crusade (Going all the way back to the middle ages), he most likely was captured by the other side, enslaved, became half-accustomed to their ways, escaped, and brought a large fortune back with him.
- The proper order of rank in the British Aristocracy:
- From lowest to highest, male: Knight, Baron, Viscount, Earl, Marquis, Duke
- Female: Lady, Baroness, Viscountess, Countess, Marquiss, Duchess
- Beyond that you go to the royals, which are: Royal Duke, Prince, King, Emperor
So, that’s what I’ve learned over the past 10 or so years reading this genre. What have you learned?