In Trailblazing Colorful Historical Romance, I talked about my first encounter with a Beverly Jenkins’ novel and how it changed the historical romance genre for me. There were a few other historical romance novels that featured African Americans, but none as plentiful as Beverly Jenkins’ collection. Apparently, she was such a trailblazer that publishers were either afraid to touch that genre or they felt that what she produced was sufficient. In reality, neither is truly the case. When you think about it, there are hundreds of historical romances with similar themes, story lines, etc. that don’t feature characters of color and are published on a regular basis. Publishers don’t seem to mind that quantity, but why is it that African American or multicultural themed historicals are relegated to a select few, if not one author?
Not to be discouraged by this “blackout,” no pun intended, there are a couple of up-and-coming authors who are forging along that hot trail that Ms. Jenkins set ablaze. They are not waiting for mainstream publishers to validate their work, as self-publishing has become a viable option for them. One of those authors is Kianna Alexander. I was introduced to her work in early 2013, when she published the first of a 3-part historical novella series titled The Roses of Ridgeway. The series takes place during the 1880’s in the fictional town of Ridgeway, CA, a multicultural settlement founded by abolitionists prior to the Civil War.
The first novella, Kissing the Captain, features a heroine of African and Portuguese descent and a hero of Spanish descent. Both the hero and heroine in the second novella, The Preacher’s Paramour, are African American. In the third novella, Loving the Lawman, the heroine and hero are African American and Caucasian, respectively. The novellas are sweet, family friendly romances that can be read singularly and out-of-order. While each story is unique, the overall theme is that true love always prevails.
Kianna Alexander writes in other genres as well, so I’m not sure if we’ve seen the last of her in the historical romance genre. I hope not.
My next installment in the colorful historical romance posts will feature Piper Huguley and her Home to Milford College series, beginning with the prequel novella, The Lawyer’s Luck, and The Preacher’s Promise. You can read an excerpt of The Preacher’s Promise right here.