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Am I being too picky?

February 22, 2011

In writing my review of Michaela MacColl’s Prisoners in the Palace for the Kirkus blog (posted yesterday), I once again realized that while I love a good historical novel, and I love a good romance novel, and I also love a good historical romance, I can’t think of any YA historical romance that I’ve truly enjoyed. Partly this is a matter of perspective—how much romance a book needs in order for me to consider it a romance novel (as opposed to a novel having a romantic subplot) may differ from your preferences—but also because I don’t think many YA historical romances without paranormal elements are published these days. Also, the historical romances that I have tried just did not work for me.

I mean, there are some YA historical novels I’ve loved, and some YA historical romances I…was less than enthused about. And there are times I get annoyed when there *is* a romance in a historical novel, because it feels unnecessary and unconvincing. (Though to be fair, this is not just a problem in historical fiction.)

And I have no idea where I was going with this post. Anyway, go and read the review!

15 Comments leave one →
  1. jpetroroy permalink
    February 22, 2011 1:43 pm

    Have you read Y.S. Lee’s The Agency series? I really enjoyed them.

    • February 22, 2011 1:55 pm

      Yes, I’ve read the first two. Can’t wait for the third!

      I think Lee did a better job worldbuilding, and also with the tension between James and Mary. I still enjoyed Prisoners in the Palace and would recommend it to fans of The Agency books, but it’s not quite as good.

  2. February 22, 2011 2:01 pm

    No, you just know what you like. I also love the cover. That review put Prisoners in the Palace back on my radar. Thanks.

    I recently read a YA historical fiction novel called Vixen by Larkin. I didn’t like it. If anyone tells you its a must read, they are not your friend or you wronged them in some way.

    • February 22, 2011 2:12 pm

      they are not your friend or you wronged them in some way.

      lol. I think Leila’s review of Vixen convinced me that it’s not my kind of book. But thanks for the confirmation.

      • February 24, 2011 12:14 pm

        Man, I was just about to jump in and squawk about how much I hated Vixen, but you did it for me. Holy crow, I do NOT understand how that book got published.

        • February 25, 2011 12:13 am

          Oh, but it made for such a hilarious review!

          So it was worth reading it, right? 😉

  3. February 22, 2011 2:26 pm

    No, you’re not being too picky. I feel the same way. The only one I can think of that I loved is A COMPANY OF SWANS by Eva Ibbotson. *sigh* Such a hard balance to strike, but I really wish more people were writing them.

    • February 22, 2011 4:35 pm

      Ooh. I’ve tried a couple of Ibbotsons, but not that one. I’m adding it to my reading list.

    • February 22, 2011 6:52 pm

      I was about to ask if she’d tried any of Eva Ibbotson’s work!

      Perhaps FAITHFUL by Janet Fox? I’m not a big historical person and thus don’t have much to recommend. I’ve heard good things about THE SEASON by Sarah MacLean.

      • February 22, 2011 7:09 pm

        I’ve tried both. I didn’t finish The Season (got bored), but did finish Faithful (had problems with the narrative structure. And Tom. And I thought it was too predictable. And I was unconvinced by the romance.)

        Thanks for commenting, though!

  4. February 24, 2011 2:12 am

    No! You’re right! I hardly ever have students ask for historical romance books, so I wasn’t able to come up with anything other than Boston Jane, which isn’t that romantic. As you said… hmmmmm.

    • February 25, 2011 12:19 am

      Yeah, I don’t get asked for YA historical romances much, either. But the books I do have in my library get decent circulation, and, as I said on Twitter, I also see teen girls borrowing adult historical romances.

  5. February 25, 2011 1:48 pm

    I liked the Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. You’re right though that there aren’t a ton of books that are historical and romance and YA.

    • February 28, 2011 5:26 am

      I picked that one up last year. Maybe I’ll give it another try.

      Thanks for commenting!

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