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Swoon, Sigh, and Blush: What Romance Was Like Before

by juliosporer

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Have you ever thought about what a world without romance would be like? How was falling in love in the past different from how it is now? One thing's for sure, you'll never know the waves of emotions that rippled through the bodies of people during those days by reading history books. The best source for that kind of information is a historical romance book.

Simply put, a historical romance is a story that happens in a period prior to the second World War. The lives of the characters have to echo details related to the events of that period. The pioneer pieces of this literary category were created by early 20th century writer Georgette Heyer, who based her novels on the Regency period. Here are a few of the romantic customs and dating rituals that serve as the premise for historical romances.

No-courtship marriages

Long ago, courtships were non-existent. Marital unions were by coercion and not by choice. If there wasn’t enough nubile women in the village, men will attack neighboring villages to seize spouses. An old French custom mandated that on the very first night of marriage, the couple has to ingest metheglin, which is a brew based on honey. This custom was the source of the word ‘honeymoon’.

Chivalry at its best during the medieval period

From buying dinner on a date to standing up and offering a chair to a lady, the present-day definition of chivalry is deeply rooted in the courting rituals of the medieval period. In those times, it was normal to have arranged marriages, but young lovers began to go against this, stressing the significance of love in a partnership. Suitors wooed the women with songs and praises; chastity and honor were highly regarded.

Victorian decorum

It was in the Victorian period when most people saw eye to eye that romantic love was more vital than arranged marriages. Courtships came to be even more structured, particularly among the upper classes. Often in historical romance books, you'll find out how uncomely it is for a man to abruptly stroll up to a woman and start a discussion. Introductions must first be made, and even after that, he must wait for some time to pass before he can talk to her.

Historical romance novels make up a broad genre, and therefore can be divided into subgenres according to period. These include Elizabethan, Native American, Tudor, Viking, Civil War, and Western eras. These novels have not declined in popularity due to the fact that the plots and characters have a steady following and fan base.

If you're new to the genre, try checking out the books of historical romance authors like Catherine Gayle, Suzie Grant, and Ava Stone. Learn more about the development of romance novels throughout the ages from


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