Guest Post: Accuracy in Historical Romance: How Important Is It, Really?

This week I have a special guest! Desiree is sharing some of her thoughts on historical romance and especially adaptions like the new Bridgerton series. Read on!

Between the recently released Bridgerton adaptation on Netflix and rereading some of my old favorite books while home for the holidays, historical romance has been on my mind lately — and with it, the eternal question of accuracy’s role in such stories. This was exacerbated when, while looking up reviews for some of those favorites, I noticed a common theme: complaints of historical inaccuracy, a few of which were substantial and fair, but most of which concerned things like what guests might drink at a ball, suitable mourning practices in a given era, etc.

I’m no historian, so maybe I’ll just never just understand how apparently distressing it is to read historical romance and know that something about it is incorrect. Yet I can’t help but feel that if you approach this genre with the accuracy-first mindset, combing each book for inconsistencies so you can excoriate the author in a review, you must not be very fun at parties — and, more crucially, you’re missing the point of such stories. After all, the essence of romance is escapism, and zeroing in on this kind of minutiae is the opposite of that! Even if you ultimately find the book spotless, you’re still making it almost impossible for yourself to enjoy it.

I suppose there’s an argument to be made that historical inaccuracies take the reader out of the story, effectively hindering that escapism — and to an extent, that’s true. As I said, some of the complaints I saw in reviews were fair: a heroine being unrealistically naïve about what to expect from her suitor, for example, or a ridiculous wedding ceremony in which the vicar simply subs one groom for another at the last second, like a restaurant offering Pepsi in lieu of Coke.

But these are much bigger components of a story than, say, the preferred fashions or dancing conventions of upper-middle-class women in the Regency era. They directly impact the plot or characterization, whereas the smaller details I’ve mentioned here should, at worst, throw readers off for a few moments… and only the most historically versed readers at that.

Yes, it’s always impressive when historical romance has clearly been researched extensively and includes highly specific details. But for me, this is much more of a bonus than a necessity. Most of us readers don’t consume historical romance — or indeed, any sort of historical fiction — for the factual rigor. So long as the major elements are consistent and not distracting, we should all be able to get on with the stories.

This has certainly proven true of recent period pieces like The Crown and The Queen’s Gambit; a few inaccuracies have not prevented them from being massively praised, both in mainstream public opinion and critical reviews. To which I say, why can’t we give historical romance that same benefit of the doubt?


Desiree Villena is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors with the world’s best self-publishing resources and professionals. In her spare time, Desiree enjoys reading contemporary fiction and historical romance, writing short stories, and analyzing literature into the ground.

It’s (almost!) my birthday!

Happy birthday (almost!) to me! Yup, that’s right – in a few days, I’ll be hitting the big 3-0.

I’m almost thirty! And to be honest, I couldn’t be happier about it. My twenties have been fun, don’t get me wrong – two degrees, three jobs, and one rather fantastic husband have all been gained during this decade – but there comes a point when you realise being 19 and being 29 are very different places.

Yes, I’m still more likely to wear a Pooh Bear jumper than a cashmere sweater, but I am not the woman I was ten years ago, and that’s a good thing! Ten years ago, I was still dreaming about being a writer. Now, I have over 40 books out and just a few weeks ago, I hit the USA Today Bestsellers List with my wonderful Dragonblade Publishing friends!

My twenties have been a decade to remember. I’ve achieved so much, experienced so much – learned so much! – and I’m ready to take all of that into my thirties and write even more amazing stories for you.

Want to celebrate with me? You can buy one of my books as a little thank you present to me, or you can donate to a charity that’s close to me. Thank you for your amazing support, even if you’re not in the position to do either!

Read now! Always the Widow

Okay, real talk: I think this is my favourite cover of my series so far! It’s so exciting to introduce you to Mrs. Howard – scandalously widowed, scandalously pregnant…

I always had so many readers asking me to do a surprise pregnancy story but I couldn’t find a character to fit it, until now! There are quite a few characters appearing from other Never the Bride stories too, so see if you spot any of them!

Yours for just 0.99, you should grab it now while it remains at this discounted price.

Always the widow and never the bride again – her one chance of happiness lost

Mrs. Elizabeth Howard had believed her marriage to be a love match; She was wrong. So when a stranger offers her something she simply cannot refuse, she consoles herself with the knowledge that no one will ever know.

Until nine months later. Because after her husband dies and leaves her a widow, Elizabeth does have some perks. She’s well-respected, of course, and no one questions whether the child is a Howard or not…

Jacob Beauvale, Lord Westray, thought nothing of his romantic entanglement with Elizabeth Howard last year, but her widowhood and his return to town with a fiancée brings a shock in the shape of a small child with his eyes.
Gossip starts to fly as Jacob ignores his intended to pursue a woman with a child – and Elizabeth knows the facts can never be known.

He’s determined to have the truth. She’s sworn all along that it was her late husband’s child. Knowledge is in the balance and neither will give up their ground.

Will the truth of that night be more dangerous if known – and can Elizabeth and Jacob talk long enough to keep their hands off each other?

This full length novel is a steamy Regency romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhangers, and is part of a series that can be read in any order.

Does this mean Christmas is over?

SO: it’s Boxing Day, St Stephen’s Day, the day when leftovers are the only food in the house and you’re tired of charades. Does this mean Christmas is over? You’ve spent so long planning for it…is it all gone in 24 hours?

Not in the Murdoch household, at least! I love Christmas, and I don’t think it has to end just because the 25th December is over.

After all, there are twelve days of Christmas, and they end on January 5th! That means you can continue to enjoy Christmas music, watch those cheesy Christmas movies on Netflix (you are not the only one!), and even decide to have another Christmas dinner if you can stomach it!

Seriously though, for me, Christmas is about Jesus’ birth, and whether or not you are a Christian, it’s a wonderful time to value kindness, family, and gentleness.

None of that has to stop simply because the ‘day’ is over. Why not treat those as important and the centre of your days every day?

That’s certainly what I’ll be trying to do in 2021. See you there!

Happy Christmas from me to you!

Hello hello my wonderful readers! I wanted to wish you all a happy Christmas!

I’m going to be taking a few weeks off the blog so I can spend some quality time with the family, especially as lockdown has meant it’s been difficult to see them over the last few months.

I hope you can spend the next few weeks with your loved ones, and that you are all safe and well.

On the twelfth day of Christmas…

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

I love this Christmas carol! Is it one you know? There are some fantastic lyrics in there and people have loved singing them for hundreds of years. But what does it actually mean?

First, let’s take a look at the lyrics. It’s a cyclical song where each verse gets longer by adding a different day, so we’re going to skip to the last verse which has all the lyrics in it.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me

Twelve drummers drumming, eleven pipers piping

Ten lords a leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a milking

Seven swans a swimming, six geese a laying, five gold rings

Four calling birds, three French hens

Two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree

Twelve Days of Christmas

It’s also great a bangin’ tune, so check it out on YouTube if you don’t know it!

So what do the lyrics mean? Actually, there is a huge amount of disagreement about whether there are secret meanings to the things that are given. Some people think that it’s tied to the months of the year.

Others think that the fact that the first five are birds is significant. There is a theory that the song was used to teach children about Catholic beliefs in England, when it was illegal to pass on those teachings. However, a few people disagree with that.

So where does that leave us? Not really sure! Sometimes you can’t find a deep meaning to a song, especially one that has been sung and changed for so long over time.

This year, when you sing this song, lose yourself in the tune and wonder what the lyrics will end up being in another hundred years!

You’re going to miss out on this Christmas boxset!

You’re running out of time! The Dragonblade Christmas boxset is only going to be available for a few more months, so if you want to enjoy our spin off stories, you need to grab them now! Thankfully you don’t have to fork out a fortune to enjoy them – our boxset is just 0.99!

Enjoy this stunning holiday collection from some of your favorite Dragonblade Publishing authors in this collection of never-before published seasonal tales!

Amazon – https://bit.ly/DB-ONightDivine-Amazon

Imagine, if you will, that it is Christmas Eve.

The candles are guttered, one by one, and a hush falls over the parlor. The children have gone to bed, and a tall, gloriously decorated Christmas tree looms in the shadows of the hearth’s dying embers. A tattered copy of Charles Dickens’ masterwork, “A Christmas Carol” sits, cold and lonely, upon a table nearby.

A small gust of wind, hurling from the seam of an ill-fitting window, blows the cover open. The first chapter appears… “Marley’s Ghost”…

The clock on the wall chimes midnight.

Now, the magic happens.

From the gaily bedecked halls of Regency England to the cold and crisp air of the Scottish Highlands, and everything in between, enjoy the magic of a holiday collection that has drawn inspiration from Charles Dickens’ most beloved literary works. Where the ghosts of Christmas, the incandescent spirit of a tiny disabled boy, and the joy that is the very heart of the Christmas season come alive.

USA Today and Internationally bestselling authors bring you their version of a Dickens’-inspired holiday in O NIGHT DIVINE.

This collection includes:
Kathryn Le Veque
Caroline Lee
Chasity Bowlin
Collette Cameron
Hildie McQueen
Maggi Andersen
Mary Lancaster
Meara Platt
Violetta Rand
Alexa Aston
Anna Markland
Anna St. Claire
Aubrey Wynne
Charlotte Wren
Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Elizabeth Johns
Elizabeth Keysian
Emily E K Murdoch
Emily Royal
Gabrielle Carr
Lynne Connolly
Maeve Greyson
Whitney Blake

From Dragonblade to you, we wish you a very happy holiday season!

Read now! Always the Matchmaker

I am so thrilled to share that the next book in my popular Never the Bride series is LIVE! This means you can now read the story of what happens to Miss Theodosia Ashbrooke.

Not going to lie, this is so exciting for me. I included Miss Ashbrooke in the very first book in this series and I knew that if the series really hit it off, then I would be able to tell her story.

And here it is! Get ready to strap in and enjoy Miss Ashbrooke’s story!

Always the matchmaker and never the bride – even when she’s found her perfect partner…

Miss Theodosia Ashbrooke does not believe there is anything greater than matching the perfect pair – and she’s become rather expert in it. Never mind that she’s never found the missing half to her own soul and body.

Perhaps that’s not her lot in life, even at the age of eight and twenty.

Her own failure is Albemarle Howard, Earl of Lenskeyn. He’s rude, he’s arrogant, he’s overly confident, and nothing Theodosia can do makes a difference. Albemarle has found his match though: and he is sure it is Theodosia.

He’s determined to have her. She’s not ready to accept defeat just yet. When you’ve always been right it’s impossible to accept that you’re wrong.

Can Theodosia step away from her matchmaker mindset for one minute and see the man in front of her – or will she lose him forever?

This full length novel is a steamy Regency romance with a happily ever after, no cliffhangers, and is part of a series that can be read in any order.

Is your Christmas tree up?

I had so much fun writing this little novella, but of course you are only going to have a few weeks to grab it at just 0.99! We’re really hoping that thousands of you grab it at this bargain price because there are over twenty novellas in here for you to enjoy. So ignore the world, grab a blanket and a drink of your choice, and enjoy!

Enjoy this stunning holiday collection from some of your favorite Dragonblade Publishing authors in this collection of never-before published seasonal tales!

Amazon – https://bit.ly/DB-ONightDivine-Amazon

Imagine, if you will, that it is Christmas Eve.

The candles are guttered, one by one, and a hush falls over the parlor. The children have gone to bed, and a tall, gloriously decorated Christmas tree looms in the shadows of the hearth’s dying embers. A tattered copy of Charles Dickens’ masterwork, “A Christmas Carol” sits, cold and lonely, upon a table nearby.

A small gust of wind, hurling from the seam of an ill-fitting window, blows the cover open. The first chapter appears… “Marley’s Ghost”…

The clock on the wall chimes midnight.

Now, the magic happens.

From the gaily bedecked halls of Regency England to the cold and crisp air of the Scottish Highlands, and everything in between, enjoy the magic of a holiday collection that has drawn inspiration from Charles Dickens’ most beloved literary works. Where the ghosts of Christmas, the incandescent spirit of a tiny disabled boy, and the joy that is the very heart of the Christmas season come alive.

USA Today and Internationally bestselling authors bring you their version of a Dickens’-inspired holiday in O NIGHT DIVINE.

This collection includes:
Kathryn Le Veque
Caroline Lee
Chasity Bowlin
Collette Cameron
Hildie McQueen
Maggi Andersen
Mary Lancaster
Meara Platt
Violetta Rand
Alexa Aston
Anna Markland
Anna St. Claire
Aubrey Wynne
Charlotte Wren
Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Elizabeth Johns
Elizabeth Keysian
Emily E K Murdoch
Emily Royal
Gabrielle Carr
Lynne Connolly
Maeve Greyson
Whitney Blake

From Dragonblade to you, we wish you a very happy holiday season!

Ask me anything!

I absolutely love speaking with my readers, and sometimes I know you have questions about my books, my series, how I write, and more – so this is your time to ask me!

I am going to have this blog comments section open forever, so whenever you have a question, just pop it in the comments and I promise to answer them truthfully!