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.

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.

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.

Grab ‘Always the Rival’ on discount now!

With just days to go until Always the Rival goes on sale, you absolutely have to grab it now otherwise you’ll end up paying full price for it! This wild romp of a Regency romance is eagerly anticipated by some of my readers, I know, and I can’t wait for you to enjoy Priscilla’s story!

Make sure you grab this gorgeous Regency romance and let me know what you think!

– and this time, it’s her own fault…

What had Miss Priscilla Seton been thinking? She had always assumed that Charles would stay the same forever, but bowing to familial wishes he is now engaged – and Priscilla is determined to sabotage the match. She has known him for all her twenty years, and he is hers.

But Charles Audley, Duke of Orrinshire, is facing pressures of his own. His marriage arranged for him, there’s not a single day that goes by without him regretting Priscilla.

Of course, he could never say anything. His family honor is at stake, and he would never betray them – but letting off a little steam?

He’s determined to have his cake and eat it. She’s ready to rival any woman that comes into his life. Seduction isn’t the problem – it’s the pressure of family and commitment that threatens to destroy everything.

Is it possible for Priscilla to rival not just the perfect woman for Charles, but also his family?

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.

Read FREE in kindle unlimited!

Surprise! Another Christmas anthology!

I know, I have been busy! As well as O Night Divine, this year I am a part of another Christmas anthology – this one is called Have Yourself a Merry Little Secret!

Some of my favourite historical romance authors to read are in this set, and so you’ve got to dive in and explore how secrets and scandals can bring people together at Christmas time

From the seductive boudoirs and elite salons of London to the ancient castles of the snowy Scottish Highlands, our fearless heroines enter the Christmas season in pursuit of their heart’s desire.

But, the course of true love never did run smooth… especially when SECRETS abound.

Settle in to enjoy these tales of intrigue, romantic adventure, sizzling passion, and heartwarming holiday romance.

This collection of never-before-published Yuletide historical romances from your favorite authors is available for just three months, so don’t miss out.

Unwrap the pleasure

Wedding Her Christmas Duke – by Collette Cameron
He’s not who he says he is…but then again, neither is she. Their secrets are revealed at a Christmastide house party, resulting in scandal and scorching romance.

The Knot of a Knight – by Linda Rae Sande
Sir Randolph’s daytime occupation collides with his nocturnal avocation of service to the Crown when he discovers Lady X’s hidden stash of bank notes. They might be counterfeit—but are his feelings for her?

The Marquess is Mine – by Tamara Gill
Is a Christmas ball at St. Albans Abbey the perfect setting for Sarah to regain her trust in love–and in Giles? Or is their second chance at happily ever after doomed to end as badly as their first?

A Yuletide Miracle – by Laurel O’Donnell
The one knight who didn’t believe her was the only man who could keep her secret and save the Yule.

The Lady Who Stole Christmas – by Sydney Jane Baily
Amid mistletoe and missing jewels, a wealthy widow and a sexy sleuth play a game of cat and mouse.

Christmas with a Czar – by Emily E.K. Murdoch
This Christmas at St. James’ Court, a gentleman claiming to be a Czar is not all that he seems…

A Scot Most Wanted – by Angelique Armae
When highwaywoman Catrina Lennox’s secret is unmasked during a Christmas Eve snowstorm, she learns just how deliciously scandalous the laird she once walked out on, truly is.

Secretly Marvellous – by Virginia Taylor
Lady Mary doesn’t expect Lord Westerham to ask for her hand in marriage but she has a secret reason to say ‘yes’ and mean ‘no.’

Yuletide Secrets – by S. Cinders
He promised to never love again—until she quite literally fell at his feet. Now he’s ruined for anyone else but her.

One Scandalous Christmas – by J. Burrelli
Robert Vaughn, never expected to lay eyes on Kitty Thorpe again. Her misplaced anger confounds him, but the fire in her eyes tempts him to pure folly, of falling in love with her all over again.

The Rogue’s Secret – by Stacy Reid and Giselle Marks
Bachelor, Lord Rupert Rogers, is searching for the treasure his great uncle suggests he has left him but finds an enemy and a bride he must convince with one kiss at a time they are perfect for each other…

The Secrets He Keeps – by Amy Sandas
She’s the madam of an elite London brothel. He’s a master in the art of seduction. Enticing her to his bed will be a pleasure. Convincing her love is real might prove to be impossible.

Grab this amazing boxset now!

Think bluestockings are a thing of the past?

My latest release in my Never the Bride series, Always the Bluestocking, has Mariah Wynn as my heroine – a bluestocking who is desperate for education and furious that society forbids her from university.

I loved writing this book. Mariah is probably one of my heroines who is most like me, and so I had a great time being angry on her behalf – or was it that she was angry on my behalf?

Because I am angry. Although I was able to go to university for an undergraduate degree and even my masters, there are women and girls all over the world who are denied that right.

Bluestockings are not a thing of the past. There are millions of girls in countries in almost every continent who are not allowed to go to school, whether because they are needed at home, because they need to work, or because education isn’t seen as valuable for girls.

I’d really encourage you to look at Unicef’s website about girls’ education, which you can find here: https://www.unicef.org/education/girls-education

I look forward to the day when every girl can get a good education! In the meantime, I’m going to keep supporting Unicef and writing books that have strong, powerful, and amazing women.

‘Always the Bluestocking’ is waiting for you!

Thanks to such amazing reviews from my wonderful readers (that’s you!) the release date of Always the Bluestocking has been brought forward! That means you can grab it right now and lose yourself

Make sure you grab this gorgeous Regency romance and let me know what you think!

Always the bluestocking and never the bride – not that any woman should have to choose…

Book 6 in the bestselling series Never the Bride is now Available! Read FREE in Kindle Unlimited.

Miss Mariah Wynn was adopted and has spent her life attempting to prove herself worthy. Intelligent and witty, it’s nonetheless not a good idea to let a gentleman know you actually have brains. After all, no one marries the bluestocking, even if she is beautiful and but twenty one.

One man who laughs in the face of bluestockings is Patrick O’Leary, Viscount Donal. He knows the woman’s place, and that is most certainly in the home.

Until, that is, he sees Mariah attending a lecture at his alma mater. A woman – at university. He’s determined she won’t get an education. She’s ready to face down any ignorant man, title or no. A battle of intellect storms while a battle of desire fights under the surface.

Will Mariah and Patrick have enough focus to argue while every bone in their bodies wants to make love?

Do you know the secret language of flowers?

What is your favourite flower?

I have loads of favourites. My grandparents were horticulturalists with their own nursery, with my Mum working for them, and so I was surrounded by flowers and plants growing up. I love them. I love nature!

(I wish I was better at keeping them alive, but…)

But my love of flowers isn’t limited to my childhood. My boyfriend (now husband!) immediately understood my obsession with flowers, and has treated me with flowers throughout our dating life, engagement, and marriage.

In fact, one of my favourite flowers is the purple/blue orchid, the first flowers he ever treated me with.

Flowers have been used in courting for years, and the Victorian era solidified our ideas of the language of flowers, which existed as early as the Regency period.

This secret code was designed to make sure that other people couldn’t immediately tell what you wanted to say to your beloved.

So did you know what a gentleman caller would be saying to you if they sent you…

…a mimosa? This delicate plant meant ‘chastity’, because of the way its petals close up when touched.

…a dark pink rose? This gorgeous blossom means ‘thankfullness’.

…a sprig of heath lavender? I love this scent, and when given as a gift, it means ‘admiration’.

…an orange lily? Run a mile if you receive this one – it secretly means ‘hatred’!

…a sweet pea posy? My absolute favourite flower, this heavily scented flower means ‘blissful pleasure’ or ‘goodbye’!

Did any of these surprise you? What is your favourite flower – let me know in the comments, and I will tell you what it means!

‘Always the Wallflower’ is out!

Can you believe it? Always the Wallflower is now out! This is the fifth book of my Never the Bride series, and I’m so thrilled that so many of you are loving it!

Make sure you grab this gorgeous Regency romance and let me know what you think!

Always the wallflower and never the bride – imprisoned by fear to watch life at the sidelines…

Lady Letitia Cavendish is a Cavendish, but only a cousin of the current Duke so even her name isn’t enough for potential suitors to court her. She’s a wallflower, terrified of putting herself forward, and so life continues on without her.
But at two and twenty, things are getting desperate.

The most confident rake in town, Edward Wynn, is a handsome devil – and being the Viscount of Stulsemere doesn’t hurt. When, despite his best efforts, he’s partnered with the most boring lady at Almack’s, he resigns himself to twenty minutes of silence.

And is astonished. Lady Letitia is nothing like what he expected, and after she storms off and leaves him standing, Edward has to know more.

He’s determined to understand her. She’s torn between remaining invisible and finally making a good match. Personalities collide and compromise seems out of reach as the unexpected happens.

What will society say as the biggest rake courts the wallflower of the season? Can Letitia ever take a step towards a happily ever after?

Medieval romance vs Regency romance

Okay, here we go: it’s time to decide which is the best, medieval romance or Regency romance.

Let me just be upfront right now and say that I have written romances in both the medieval era and the Regency era. I love reading books based in both of those eras, and a few in and around that!

But they are incredibly different…

Medieval romances

Usually set more in the Highlands of Scotland, medieval romances have a lot of clan or tribe rebellions, far more kings and queens, and some incredible clothing descriptions.

I love medieval romances partly because that is what my Masters was in (Medieval Studies), and I think there is so much we don’t know about the medieval era because it’s not really taught in schools that much. I learn so much about the medieval era whenever I read romances set here!

Regency romances

Probably the most popular type of romances on Amazon right now, these are books set around the same time as Jane Austen’s romances. Instead of clans, it’s card games and balls, with plenty of gossip and scandalous rumours!

I love Regency romances because of the hierarchies, the desperate need for so many ladies to marry, and how quickly a reputation could be utterly destroyed. The Regency era is so wonderful to be swept up in and it’s easy to imagine it – though perhaps that’s because I live just down the round from Bath, England!

So, which is the winner?

…don’t hate me – I can’t pick! I love romances set in the medieval era, and the Regency era. They have so much to offer, and if I didn’t read one, I would miss it so much.

What about you? Do you have a favourite – or perhaps a different time period? Let me know in the comments below!