Are there any good English Civil War romances out there?
September 22, 2012 11:35 PM   Subscribe

HistoricalFictionFilter: I'm looking for good-- but not too heavy-- historical romances (or romantic historicals) set during the English Civil War, preferably with a Roundhead/Parliamentarian protagonist.

It seems that most historical romances set during the English Civil War are very pro-royalist, with some dashing Wrong but Wromantic Cavalier hero or heroine fighting against the dastardly roundheads. Having read piles of books about this period, I cannot tell you how sick I am of this stereotype. Are there any entertaining, swashbuckling historical romances (or romantic historicals) out there that are a bit smarter than this, and do not take a cartoony, dunderheaded view of this very complicated period? I'm looking for something lighter and more accessible than Dorothy Dunnett, but less sleazy than Bertrice Small, and less goofy than Eric Flint.

(For the record, I love Rafael Sabatini, but unfortunately the books he wrote set during the English Civil War are terrible.)

Any ideas?
posted by suburbanbeatnik to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This list may help get you started.
posted by TheRaven at 3:53 AM on September 23, 2012

Lindsey Davis's Rebels and Traitors meets your criteria of being pro-Parliament and not simplistic, but not of being light. Here's a Guardian review. Davis on the book. If you read Victorian novels, there's Edna Lyall's pro-Parliament novel In the Golden Days.
posted by paduasoy at 4:15 AM on September 23, 2012

Hmm... Rebels and Traitors. Thanks for reminding me-- I'd forgotten about that!

For the record, my favorite "Roundhead romances" are London in Chains by Gillian Bradshaw (what is it with former Roman historical authors being pro-Parliamentarian? Interesting...), and the more Mills-and-Boon-y (yet entertaining) Lovers and Enemies by Anne Herries. Somewhat unusually for a romance, in the Herries book both sides are given a bit of nuance.

I've noticed the few times when Parliamentarians feature as heroes-- like in Jane Feather's Civil War romances-- the Royalists become TEH EBIL. Seriously, this is just as frustrating. Why does one side have to wear black hats, and the other white?
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 5:53 AM on September 23, 2012

Pamela Belle - Wintercombe
posted by bq at 2:25 PM on September 23, 2012

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