Trailblazing Colorful Historical Romance

Fabio
It seems that about every historical romance book cover featured Fabio.

I think the first romance book I ever read was a historical romance. This was back in the 1980’s when many covers featured a bodice-ripping Fabio with an overwrought damsel-in-distress.  I don’t remember any particular titles, but I do know that most of the books I read were written by Johanna Lindsey and Catherine Coulter.  It may have seemed strange that someone like me could have found those books so entertaining. It’s not like I could identify with the characters. They were from another time and place, and let’s face it, did not look like me AT ALL.

Fast forward to the mid-1990’s on a typical day when I was doing what I love best…book shopping. I saw a book that stopped me dead in my tracks. I had to do a double, maybe even a triple take before I slowly approached it, and touched it to see if it was real. Yes, it was real alright. What was it? A historical romance with African-Americans on the cover – a Black man and a Black woman, like me. Needless to say, I bought it and couldn’t get home fast enough to read it. That book was “Night Song” by the incomparable Beverly Jenkins.

Night Song
The first historical romance to feature African-Americans on the cover and in the story.

“Night Song” was the first historical romance that did not feature a Scottish rogue from the Highlands, a Viking warrior from Norway, or an incorrigible yet lovable rake of an English duke. No, the hero was Chase Jefferson, Sergeant of the Tenth Calvary, also known as the Buffalo Soldiers. He was just as hot and dashing as any other romantic hero, and I still love him to this day, but I digress.  It was also the first historical romance that actually provided facts about the time period in which the story occurred, in this case, post-Civil War. This book, as well as all of Beverly Jenkins’ historicals, is the best of both worlds –  you get a l’il bit of lovin’ and a l’il bit of learnin’.

If you’re not familiar with Ms. Jenkins’ books, I’ll let you in on a little secret – her characters like to appear in each other’s stories. And if you’re really savvy, you’ll notice that the descendants from the historicals are in her contemporary novels as well. Don’t worry, these books are stand-alones, but it’s really fun to recognize the names of some of the more infamous characters –  the July family comes to mind.

AA Historicals
That cannon is kind of random, but it does have some context.

Beverly Jenkins set a trail ablaze in this genre and there are a few writers on her path. Roberta Gayle’s “Moonrise” is a historical romance set in New Orleans and Altonya Washington’s “Passion’s Furies” is set in 1860’s Charleston.

The Preacher's Promise
I love this cover! Book review coming soon.
Each novella cover features flowers.
Each novella cover features flowers.

 

Two authors with more recent releases that I’ll be reviewing in the next few weeks are Kianna Alexander with the multicultural The Roses of Ridgeway trilogy – “Kissing the Captain,” “The Preacher’s Paramour,” and “Loving the Lawman” – and Piper Huguley with her inspirational Home to Milford College series which currently includes “A Lawyer’s Luck” and “The Preacher’s Promise.”

What are some of your favorite historical romance books or authors? I’m always open to suggestions. 🙂

 

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4 thoughts on “Trailblazing Colorful Historical Romance

  1. I actually saw Beverly Jenkins at the Savannah Heritage Festival during the author event. I have not read any of her work yet, but she is definitely on my must-read list because you know I love, LOVE historical fiction. All in good time, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I recommend all of her books, but Indigo is a personal and fan favorite. This particular romance shows the lengths to which people went to be with their loved ones during slavery. The main story centers on two conductors of the Underground Railroad – Hester Wyatt and Galen Vachon. This is definitely a must-read! As a quick aside, for some inexplicable reason, the current ebook version does not display the original cover artIndigo - Beverly Jenkins.

      Like

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