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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thursday Spotlight: Isabel Roman

Historical v Contemporary

Recently it seems as if contemporaries are more popular than historicals; however, I do love a good historical. I am curious. Do you feel that contemporaries are so popular because they’re more relatable to today’s reader? Or that today’s reader can lose themselves in an historical setting?

Contemporaries are more popular, in my opinion, because of that. Today’s reader can relate not only to the setting but to today’s values. Human rights? Yup. Freedoms? Oh, yeah. Things were much stricter even 100 years ago and people today enjoy a great many more freedoms than their ancestors. Especially women!

And while today’s woman might not necessarily be able to relate to a woman from Colonial America, they can understand her. That’s the point of a good historical, to make the time frame understandable to the modern reader so that she might relate to her enough to feel sympathy.

Without that, without sympathy, even with a contemporary heroine’s story would flop. I never found chic-lit stories very relatable, but they’re hugely popular. Maybe it’s that not that I can relate, but I’ll never be in that position and can enjoy the story anyway. After all, I’ll never be in Colonial America but can still enjoy the story.

Food for thought.


K. A. Laity said...

I adore historicals and the worlds they resurrect. Probably because I study and teach history, but it's really just the stories that grab me. I think you make a good point about being able to relate to the stories. Some of my favourite "historicals" were contemporaries when they came out :-) They've lasted because the stories transcend time. But the vivid glimpse of a lost time has a lot of imaginative appeal, too.

LeslieJane said...

I agree, the important thing is for the story to be understandable to the "modern" women. Yes, I love historicals, but I also love paranormals and futuristics, which also many may not be able to "relate" to. Plus, I can actually learn some history by reading these historicals.