SWEPT AWAY: How Historical Fiction Takes You to Another World

By Jessica Eissfeldt

Note from Mary Balogh: Knowing that I have been too busy finishing writing my newest book to post any blog pieces lately, writer friend Jessica offered to write a guest blog for me. I was delighted! I hope to be back with a blog of my own next week as the book is finished. And thank you, Jessica!

Have you ever wanted to travel back in time? I know I have. And I think that’s why historical romance is so appealing.
Because whether you’re flipping the pages of a paper novel or touching the screen of your e-reader, the experience is the same. That experience of being so immersed in the story that it feels like you’re really there: strolling along in a moonlit rose garden with a duke, or taking tea in a lady’s finely appointed drawing room.
And if you’re the adventurous type (like me), perhaps you find yourself riding on a cable car in San Francisco, or exploring the canals of Venice in a gondola.
Whatever the tale, these new experiences are just waiting to be discovered; beckoning you, enticing you, entreating you to pause, to sit down and to spend time between the pages of a good book.

Image 22Books are companions. Ones who you can visit any time of the day or night, ones who can take you on far-flung journeys through time, no matter where you are.
In fact, I can remember when I traveled in Europe I stayed in different hostels along my route. And usually at each hostel there would be a shelf or two in the common room where I’d find dog-eared paperbacks or sturdy hardcovers.
And more often than not, on those shelves, there would be a liberal sprinkling of historical romances. Ones by authors like Mary Balogh or Nora Roberts, stories that create such a strong sense of connection within the reader to the characters, times and places presented in the books.
That’s the fun and the joy of reading a new novel, isn’t it? And when I read, in those hours curled up on the couch, I feel like I get to live the experiences of the heroine — her joys are mine; her sorrows are mine; and so by the end of the story, I feel like I’ve been a part of something grand, romantic, magical, mystical or maybe even mysterious.
Of course, there are also those tried and true comfort reads, as cozy as a warm blanket on a chilly night. Those stories that, though you know the ending by heart, you still love to read over and over because they wrap around you like a hug, familiar and dear. Like a great friend.
In fact, sometimes I’ve forged such a strong connection to the world inside the book I’ve just finished that it takes a little while for me to come back to myself and my surroundings. Sometimes I wish I could have just one more waltz on that parquet dance floor or one more moment galloping through the woods on horseback.

Image 12So that’s what I do. How? Well, maybe I’ll go visit a place mentioned in the story. Perhaps I’ll buy a piece of clothing that reminds me of the heroine. Or I might even spot an attractive man on the street who, to my eye, looks like the hero of the last story I just finished reading. That way, I can live a little longer inside the world of the novel.
How about you? What’s the latest romance you’ve gotten caught up in? Have you ever visited a place from a novel, or bought a piece of clothing that reminded you of one of your favorite heroines?

About the guest blogger, Jessica Eissfeldt:

Jessica’s readers share that they are inspired by the dreamy and nostalgic feel of her fiction and love the romantic, magical imagery. Her fiction has been published in both the U.S. and Canada. She holds a degree in English literature and journalism and lives in Canada. www.jessicaeissfeldt.com

To one randomly chosen person who makes a comment below before the end of Monday, March 31, Mary Balogh will send a signed copy of her two-in-one edition of A COUNTERFEIT BETROTHAL/THE NOTORIOUS RAKE.