Category: Features

How Perceived Racial Differences Created a Crisis in Black Women’s Healthcare

In 2016, a black baby born in Charlottesville, Virginia, was almost ten times more likely than a white baby to die in their first year of life.1 That same year, researchers from the University of Virginia revealed that nearly 21% of first-year medical students at the school believed that black patients had stronger immune systems… Read more →

Becoming a Scot and Cross-Cultural Marriages in Outlander and the Early Modern British Isles

If you’ve heard about any historical romance, then you’ve probably heard of Outlander. The popular series by Diana Gabaldon follows Claire Beauchamp Randall, an English nurse who falls through time when visiting standing stones in the Scottish highlands in 1946. Transported to 1743, she is picked up by a band of Scots highlanders and falls… Read more →

Unmasked by the Marquess and the Male Impersonator’s Tipping Point

In a moment in which trans, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming people have quickly gained increased visibility, the stakes of telling a tale of a person assigned female at birth and living as a man have never been higher. Tales of “male impersonators” existed long before the “transgender tipping point,” but this historic moment calls for… Read more →

Suffering a Suffragist: An 1880s Romance

When Nursing Clio put out the call for the Romancing Clio series, I searched Goodreads for historical romance novels in my field and was surprised to find eighty-two suffrage-themed romance novels, including one set in Texas, my specialty. Bobbi Smith’s The Lady and the Texan looked like an enjoyable romp about Amanda Taylor, a young… Read more →

Love in the Ton: Georgette Heyer’s Legacy in Regency Romance World-Building

Georgette Heyer is widely considered to be the pioneer of the Regency romance. From 1921 to 1972, Heyer published thirty-seven romances set in the Georgian or Regency eras.1 But Heyer’s fiction never reflected the realities of life in Regency England. Although she was an avid researcher, particularly when a subject interested her, she nevertheless invented… Read more →

Conditions Are Favorable—For Love!

Tara Staley’s 2013 novel Conditions Are Favorable brings romance to the windswept sand bar of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, positing an emotional relationship between Orville Wright and Madeleine Tate at the start of the twentieth century. Tate is a local woman dreaming of something better than rural poverty and hard work. She seems to find… Read more →

Becoming Rodin’s Lover: Camille Claudel and Mental Illness

“Why have there been no great women artists?” feminist art historian Linda Nochlin asked in her 1971 essay of the same title. She explained that, while there have absolutely been women artists of skill, character, and genius, they have struggled against the social and institutional frameworks that encouraged their male counterparts. One of these women,… Read more →

World War II Romance Takes Flight: With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

A confession: I am a fairly new romance reader. I only picked up my first true romance novel about a year ago. However, I grew up hearing a true story that could be straight out of a historical romance. My grandparents met and had a shipboard romance just after World War II as they served… Read more →

“Stories in Plain View”: Cat Sebastian’s Revolutionary Queer Historical Romances

It’s no secret that I love romance novels. At its best, the genre challenges traditional narratives by offering emotional and sexual agency to characters who are so frequently denied both; not only women, but gay, lesbian, nonbinary, and queer characters. In a world that continues to wrestle with equity, bodily autonomy, and consent, romances are… Read more →

Amor Vincit Omnia

On June 23, 2016, I flew to London with my husband after a research trip in Germany. There were storms that night and the flight was delayed several hours; we arrived close to midnight. A friend picked us up and drove us through a torrential downpour into central London. In her car, listening to the… Read more →