|One of my favorite|
Georgette Heyer books.
Heyer, 1902-1974, wrote historical romances (regency and Napoleonic era), histories (medieval and renaissance settings), and murder mysteries (set more contemporaneously with her own life—many of the plots came from her husband, a barrister). One of her great gifts as an author was the ability to make the time period she was writing about come alive. She brings to her books a level of accuracy and detail about daily life that is often not present in fiction written long after the fact.
|Set during and after the|
Civil War on the battlefield
and in New Orleans
Beverly Jenkins has created a twenty-five year career writing historical romances that feature African American characters. She was recently recognized for her achievements with the 2017 Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. While crafting interesting characters and stories, Jenkins also illuminates aspects of African American life throughout US history—from the Revolution to the Civil War to the Wild West. As Jenkins has described her work: "We're a very, very proud race. And America could not be America without the African American patches in the American history quilt." (Quote from our Books & Authors database.)
|First book in Cole's Loyal|
Books like those of Jenkins and Cole help create a human context for the history in books like Grant by Ron Chernow. While Grant dives deep into the life of the title subject, the lives and fates of thousands of free African Americans and ex-slaves are discussed from an abstract view without being humanized as individuals. Unfortunately, due to the losses of history, many of their stories may never be told in the depth that can be brought to their white contemporaries. These fictional portrayals can help fill in holes in the historical record.
If you want more romance recommendations, may I recommend checking out the latest episode of our Library Matters podcast? Two of our Silver Spring librarians take our hosts on a deep dive into the many subgenres of romance and also give their recommendations if you're looking for romance novels to read on Valentine's Day.