Author Mary Wine ponders the allure of captors (and highlanders) in romance novels.
What is it about those captors that enthrall the historical reader?
I admit my eyebrows rose, just a fraction when I sat down to write on this topic but the truth is … I’ve enjoyed more than a few historical romances with this theme. My first favorite authors were Bertrice Small and Johanna Lindsey, so you might say I cut my teeth on tales of warriors.
I think it’s more of the idea of knowing the hero is so intent on his lady, he’ll do anything to obtain her. Being the focus of a hero’s attention is certainly something most of us would confess to liking the idea of … at least for a few hours anyway. On the flip side, there’s the relationship which flourishes in spite of hatred and overwhelming odds. I think the draw there is the fact that no one likes to be disliked. Life is full of times when things don’t work out and even though we all have to pick ourselves up and keep going … part of our heart always wishes that we might have resolved the conflict without hurt feelings even when you think you’re justified. Whenever I’m writing a story where fate has conspired against a couple, there is no greater reward than watching their trust for one another grow strong enough to resist the pull of the forces around them.
But I also love being able to have a hero show his noble side. Just because he’s got a castle and a small, personal army to do his bidding doesn’t mean he has to behave like a deranged, power drunk jerk. At least, not in my books. Showing him to be caring, when he doesn’t have to be is one of the greatest challenges of writing the tale, my gal doesn’t have to love him … in fact she’s got lots of reason not to but bringing that spark to life is magical to write and to read.
Highlanders are enthralling for me. The history and traditions of these people fascinate me, hey, they managed to resist being conquered by Rome and the Vikings settled among them too. Their music is magical and their love of life inspiring. Many of my historicals are set in Scotland, either on the border such as Bedding The Enemy or in the Highlands like To Conquer a Highlander.
People often ask me what it is about the kilt wearing man that makes me want to write a love story. I’m not sure it’s exactly the kilt but more of a case of what that kilt means to me. I adore researching historical clothing and making it. The kilt is a length of fabric that wasn’t sewn because fabric was so expensive, most people didn’t have the funds to own enough for day wear and night wear. So they secured it around their body in a way that made it possible to use it at night for bedding too. Ingenious. The Romans did this too, that drapy length of fabric you often see over their arm was used at night too.
- Mary Wine