Wednesday, January 25th, 2006
The rant continues… (ironic that I usually struggle to post one article a week. But get me on a soapbox and watch the posts come rolling out)
Along with having an inexperienced hero, I also committed the faux pas of having the hero and heroine wait until their wedding night (omigosh! Say it ain’t so!). Call me religious (I am) and call me old-fashioned (I am), but I firmly believe that that’s the only (and best) time for tea and crumpets. That’s one reason I prefer Regency romances–nine times out of ten, the heroine wears white before she wears nothing. Patricia Veryan is one of my favorite authors (she writes Georgian and Regency), and that’s the way her characters finally get together (at least, it is in all the books I own.) I think there was one time the hero and heroine couldn’t wait (he would likely be captured/killed before they could find a minister), but even then they said the wedding vows to each other before they hit the bed.
I understand that historical heroes were rarely inexperienced. The mores of the day expected men to sow their wild oats, to keep a bit of muslin, to visit the soiled doves. Fine, dandy. But the mores of the day also expected the women to stay innocent until called upon to do their wifely duty. It would be highly unlikely that the hero and heroine would be doing it anywhere and everywhere (as seems to be the case in some books). Mainly because if anyone found out:
- If the heroine has a protective father/brothers/guardian, the hero would likely find himself at the altar posthaste with a pistol aimed at his back. Or
- The heroine would likely find herself turned out of her home, or married off to the nearest rich, almost-dead nobleman the parents could find, or pregnant
True, I was the one ranting that most romances are unrealistic (that’s one reason we read them), so I shouldn’t hold other writers to a historically acurate standard. And I’ll admit that some of my other heroes are experienced men, while not all the heroines are pure and maidenly. But once my hero and heroine get together, they don’t hit the sack until they commit before God and man to stay together. From a writer’s standpoint, waiting until marriage is one way to show that this relationship is different from all the previous relationships, that this is The One, the Happily Ever After. From a reader’s standpoint, not waiting isn’t only wrong, it ruins the romance and the story.
Well, the chances of marketing my little story seem slimmer and slimmer–an unrealistic hero who waits for marriage to have tea and crumpets, and then once I get the hero and heroine up into the bedroom and all tender and tense, I shut the bedroom door and let the reader fill in the rest. I’ll talk about my view on explicit tea and crumpets in the next installment of this not-so-little rant.