Historical Heroes

I love to read historicals. There is just something so entrancing about going back in time for awhile—something very romantic. I know I got into reading the historical romance because I grew up reading classic literature. My first favorite authors were Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, and L.M. Montgomery. These authors weren’t writing historicals. It was contemporary for them. But for me it was stepping back in time. Even today when I watch Period Drama films, I have the urge to work on a historical manuscript.

Within the subgenre of the historical romance there are so many different time frames and tones within the stories. My favorites are the Regency/Georgian and the Victorian—both in America and over the pond in England. But there are so many others: Medieval, Viking, Roman, Biblical/Ancient, Tudor/Elizabethan, the western, American Civil War, Colonial America/American Revolution…and many more.

The origin of the Historical Romance novel historically begins with Georgette Heyer in the 1920’s with her 18th century-set books and later her regencies. (I just loved Cotillion.) And the modern age of the romance novel came in with Avon in the 1970’s—and the category historical romance was born—with Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Flame and the Flower. And in the 1980’s the Inspirational historical romance began with Silhoutte Inspirations.

So, what makes us love the historical romance so much? Listening to many readers I think the answer is pure escapism. And what better escape than into the pages which transport us to a time long, long ago and into the (figurative) arms of a man who can easily sweep a woman off her feet. Try not to swoon. I dare you.

What about this historical hero we speak of? What is it about him that makes him so enticing?

I believe part of it is that men can be men. Chivalry is still alive (sometimes). He is a man of action. He might be ruthless to his enemies but also tender with his lady. Whether dominant or humorous, he is always in control of his own fate (or so he thinks).

In my Inspirational historical release with White Rose Publishing, Dilemma of the Heart, you meet my hero Frederick Adair, thought dead at the close of the Civil War. He is the type with quiet strength and pride. When he returns home, he finds his sweetheart engaged to another man. How he deals with that situation makes him heroic. I also introduce you to the antagonist of this book who in turn becomes the hero in the sequel, Temptation of the Heart (still a Work in Progress). He is a powerful character whose demons and torments come to the fore in the sequel.

In classic literature, there are some wonderful examples of romantic heroes. Sir Percy Blakeney as The Scarlet Pimpernel and Robin Hood are favorites of mine. Captain Wentworth and Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen. John Thornton from Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. Oh the list could go on. Come on, I know you have favorites—please share. What makes him a good hero?

Here at White Rose we have some outstanding historical titles. Most recently, Nicola Beaumont’s Into the Grae which I just finished reading. What's really great about this story is that it is not only historical but follows the theme of a classic Gothic romance. Take a peak at some of the other historical offerings we have.

Cindy K. Green is a multi-published author with degrees in History and Education. Previously a middle school English & History teacher, she now homeschools her own children and writes in several genres:  Contemporary, Suspense, and Historical romance. But whatever she writes she always throws in a bit of humor and fun. Find out more about Cindy and her books at www.cindykgreen.com and http://cindykgreen.blogspot.com/. To join her newsletter email her at  newsletters@cindykgreen.com, and she will send you out all three parts of her FREE READ serial,  “Valentine’s Challenge.”


  1. As a teenager, I literally absorbed books by Barbara Cartland and others of her same ilk. Loved Emilie Loring, too. The only problem I have now, as a woman who understands things at least a little better than I did then (lol) is that so many of the heroes in those books were chauvinistic to the point of being cruel, at times. I don't appreciate that in a hero - it decreases his heroism in my eyes.

    That said, I love historicals written by modern authors like Vickie McDonough and Mary Conneally. They just don't get any better than that! A hero who's strong yet gentle, kind yet unbending, handsome and yet approachable. (Sigh!)

  2. Hey Delia,
    Great description of a true hero. I agree those chauvinistic heroes rub me the wrong way too.

  3. Cindy--what a gorgeous blog this is. Heroes? Too many, and usually the anti-hero type. Sometimes heroes just run together, so it's a real treat when I read about a different sort. Not easy to do, but some authors can write about one that doesn't fit the cookie-cutter mold. Good post-and congratulations on your release! Celia

  4. Hey Cindy,
    I love being swept into another era hook, line, and sinker. Historicals take me places that my ancestors trod. That's pretty cool.

    oops! thought I sent this earlier!!!

  5. Cindy,
    I know it's not exactly a romance, but one of my favorite heroes is Professor Bhaer from Little Women (or Good Wives if you go back to before the books were combined.) He is so gentle yet so honest with Jo about her writing. Although he is too humble to openly pursue Jo, there is no doubt of his strength of character.

    I'm looking forward to reading Temptation of the Heart.