I’m always ready to wade through a new-to-me author’s back catalogue. Jade Lee has favourable-ish reviews on Amazon/Good Reads and Wedded in Scandal was $1.99 on Amazon. That is definitely my preferred price for a potentially disposable historical romance novel. Given the size of Lee’s output, if all goes well, I’ll have new reading material for several weeks.
1. What do I expect from the “historical” elements in these novels?
Distance for escapism, proximity for familiarity.
Obviously, these books are not realistic. Historical accuracy is what Jane Austen is for. I read exclusively 19th century English set novels because I feel like I know something of the way of life at the time, I think I know about the clothing, and there is just enough modernity to make it feel familiar. Just far enough in the past to make it feel distant and separate, and not so long past that my brain is screaming “unclean”, as I do with medieval romances, or “so cold” as I do with the Highland settings. Big historical details can draw the eye towards inaccuracies and undermine the author’s work. Little details give authenticity and create space for the author to subvert authentic historical representations, i.e. put a bonnet on modern sexual and social mores. I believe Wedded in Scandal to be set in the 19th century based on –
- the cover art
- the presence of horse-drawn carriages
- the absence of electricity
- the theory that if it was the 18th century, people would be wearing wigs
I did not base my conclusion on any details from the book. There were none to draw on. No useful details, no historical references, and, maybe I missed it, no date at the beginning of Chapter One as is industry standard. There was a cursory class warfare theme, but that’s hardly period specific. Perhaps they are living off the grid, but I’m going with 19th century.