Historic vs. Contemporary Romance

by Hallee Bridgeman

Amazon.com

Anyone who spends any time around me knows how much I love Almanzo Wilder – the eventual husband of Laura Ingalls from the Little House on the Prairie series. To me, he was my perfect first book crush. He adored Laura Ingalls, and you could see his adoration in everything he did for her. Clearly, his love language was acts of service.

He rode his horse through a snow storm to get home to her for Christmas, carrying a pocketful of oranges with him. He picked her up from the place where she was teaching during the week so Laura wouldn’t have to spend the whole weekend with the crazy woman who wanted her to die out there on the prairie. And he built her this amazing house – in between his manual farming labor – complete with a kitchen she described with such love that I could see it perfectly in my mind.

But one thing that often comes to the forefront of my mind when I think about the love story between Laura and Almanzo was, after a long courtship, when he asked her to marry him and after she said yes, she declared, “You may kiss me now.”

Gasp! I could not believe how I just assumed all of those long Sunday rides and choir rehearsals didn’t end in a goodnight kiss! And then they finally kissed!

Cue sigh with love-eyes-emoji.

That wasn’t a fictional book, though. That was real life. That was the real-life courtship of a couple in the late nineteenth century. So, when writing historical romance, it’s something I have to remind myself—that the physical freedom even Christian couples experience today was not acceptable or appropriate behavior in most of history.

I have written many contemporary romances and, due to the way that I write, my couples often kiss out of desire, affection, and/or romance. They kiss passionately or sweetly, depending on the scenario. And, like real life, once that physical barrier has been breached, a couple in love will kiss often.

However, in my World War II series, even at the end when the hero is professing his love to the heroine, he hasn’t touched her other than to offer her his arm to walk. And the book ends with them simply holding both hands. I so wanted to end it with a kiss, but it wouldn’t have worked in that time period in the circumstances of my characters the same way it would have worked in a contemporary romance with similar circumstances.

It’s better to know how a couple should act culturally when entering into writing (or even reading) historic romances. There have been couples breaking social norms throughout history (have you read the book of Judges?) but that doesn’t mean that there wouldn’t be thoughts, feelings, worry, guilt, defiance or any other host of emotions about those who break the norm. Added to that, when you know what should be, you’ll be able to know what your characters have as far as expectations with each other. Almanzo didn’t expect to be able to kiss Laura without her permission – though we’re talking about a twenty something man who had courted this woman for over a year, who loved her and served her unselfishly – so we know he wanted to. There was a social, cultural barrier that kept him from acting on that desire, despite his desire.

In Christian romances, even contemporary ones, our characters struggle with desire and a social norm that accepts sexual behavior as a norm. So, we’re being anti-cultural when our characters don’t fall into bed with the first hint of desire. Yet, even in a Christian setting, it’s more okay now for a tall, dark, handsome hero to sweep the heroine off her feet and plant a steamy kiss on her lips when that desire grows to that point of sweeping – even if she hasn’t uttered the words, “You may kiss me now.”

BOTH instances can be sigh-worthy romantic, if written true-to-time period. I didn’t need a sweep-her-off-her-feet moment for me to fall in love with Laura and her Manly. But I need to give my readers that moment sometimes in my contemporary romances.

[Click to Tweet] “I #love Almanzo Wilder – the eventual husband of Laura Ingalls from the Little House on the Prairie series. To me, he was my perfect first book crush.” Historic vs. Contemporary #Romance @halleeb via @inspiredprompt


An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee Bridgeman finally settled in Fort Knox, Kentucky with her family so she could enjoy the beautiful changing of the seasons. She enjoys the roller-coaster ride thrills that life with a National Guard husband, a daughter in college, and two elementary aged sons delivers.

A prolific writer, when she’s not penning novels, you will find her in the kitchen, which she considers the ‘heart of the home’. Her passion for cooking spurred her to launch a whole food, real food “Parody” cookbook series. In addition to nutritious, Biblically grounded recipes, readers will find that each cookbook also confronts some controversial aspect of secular pop culture.

Hallee loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide her. She prays her work here on earth is a blessing to you and would love to hear from you. Find out more about Hallee and her books at www.halleebridgeman.com.


Jade’s Match by Hallee Bridgeman

Two Olympians are matched in a media campaign that turns into something more than a game.

Rio Games silver medalist and social media darling CORA “JADE” ANDERSON is approached by a popular cell phone company to launch a flirty but fake media campaign with ice hockey star DAVIS ELLIOTT. When things get off to a rocky start, Cora and Davis both wonder what they’ve gotten into and how they’ll get through the months until the Korean games.

It’s not long until things start to warm up between the athletes and soon this fake romance becomes something much more real. Cora knows just how to work social media and engage her fans, and as the world watches and interacts with them, their love grows. When Davis is selected for Team USA, the opposition starts. As a Korean American, he’s already facing odds Cora can never comprehend, but he takes his frustration at the racism to the ice and lets the puck take the beating.

Things come to a head just weeks before the games begin. Can Davis and Cora’s very public relationship survive the aftermath of a very public confrontation, or are they going to have to let their love go when the Olympic flame is extinguished at the closing ceremonies?

Hallee Bridgeman

 

10616692_10204467355224766_6506580771030408786_nToday we welcome best-selling author Hallee Bridgeman to 3 Questions Wednesday.

(1) What is your favorite book? [Bible excluded]

Hallee: These Happy Golden Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

(2) If you could walk into any book, what literary character would you want to be?

Hallee: I think I would love to be Sherlock Holmes – just for a day. I want to know how a mind like his works, and experience it.

(3) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Hallee: My dream trip would be to go to Israel during the Passover.

Hallee Bridgeman is a best-selling Christian author who writes action-packed romantic suspense focusing on realistic characters who face real world problems. Her work has been described as everything from refreshing to heart-stopping exciting and edgy.

An Army brat turned Floridian, Hallee finally settled in central Kentucky with her family so that she could enjoy the beautiful changing of the seasons. She enjoys the roller-coaster ride thrills that life with a National Guard husband, a teenaged daughter, and two elementary aged sons delivers.

A prolific writer, when she’s not penning novels, she blogs about all things cooking and homemaking at Hallee the Homemaker(tm) (http://www.halleethehomemaker.com). Her passion for cooking spurred her to launch a whole food, real food “Parody” cookbook series. In addition to nutritious, Biblically grounded recipes, readers will find that each cookbook also confronts some controversial aspect of secular pop culture.

Hallee is a member of the Published Author Network (PAN) of the Romance Writers of America (RWA) where she serves as a long time board member in the Faith, Hope, & Love chapter. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the American Christian Writers (ACW) as well as being a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC).

Hallee loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit to guide her. She prays her work here on earth is a blessing to you and would love to hear from you. You can reach Hallee at hallee@bridgemanfamily.com

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Temperance’s Trial – A Novella (Christian Historical Suspense): Virtues and Valor series, Part I [Kindle Edition]

The Third Reich Seeks to Extract the Information She Alone Knows

MARIE GILBERT and her elder brother flee from Vichy France after the Gestapo arrest her father for suspicion of aiding Jewish children to escape the oncoming fascist front. Once in London, Marie is recruited into an experimental all female cohort dubbed the Virtues, a collection of seven extraordinary women with highly specialized skills.

Known only by her code name, TEMPERANCE, she is trained to operate a wireless radio and returns to her beloved France. With a new identity, Marie clandestinely communicates vital intelligence directly back to Headquarters but unwillingly attracts the attention and apparent adoration of a handsome but ruthless Nazi officer, Oberleutnant LEOPOLD SCHÄFER.

As the H-hour to execute their daring mission draws ever closer, Marie plays a deadly game of cat-and-mouse with the unrelenting and merciless young Lieutenant Schäfer and the Nazi soldiers under his command.

TEMPERANCE’S TRIAL is part one of seven serialized novellas entitled the Virtues and Valor series.

Seven valorous women — different nationalities, ethnicities, and social backgrounds — come together as a team called the Virtues.

In 1941 Great Britain a special war department assembles an experimental and exclusively female cohort of combat operatives. Four willing spies, a wireless radio operator, an ingenious code breaker, and a fearless pilot are each hand-picked, recruited, and trained to initiate a daring mission in Occupied France. As plans are laid to engineer the largest prison break of Allied POWs in history, the Nazis capture the Virtues’ radio operator. It will take the cohesive teamwork of the rest of the women to save her life before Berlin breaks her and brings the force of the Third Reich to bear.

Some find love, some find vengeance, and some discover the kind of strength that lives in the human heart when all they can do is rely on each other and their shared belief. Courage, faith, and valor intersect but, in the end, one pays the ultimate price.

Introducing the Virtues and Valor series by Hallee Bridgeman. Seven serialized novellas, each inspired by real people and actual events, reveal the incredible story of amazing heroines facing the ultimate test of bravery.