To me there is a significant difference between the genres of Historical Fiction, Romantic Historical Fiction, and Historical Romance.
A great example of Historical Fiction is Louis L’Amour’s “Sackets” Series which follows a family from Elizabethan England to the American West. Historical fiction has a definite plot, and is set in a historical background. Many stories end well, however, there may be very little in the way of romance.
In my mind, Romantic Historical Fiction includes a strong plot, romance, and adventure in a historical setting. Diana Gabaldan’s “Outlander” series is a fine example of Romantic Historical Fiction. Each book in the series encompasses a lot of historical background while still featuring a love story and lots of adventure. While this series is more of a saga, continuing from book to book, each stands alone and most end “happily ever after”. Alas, there seems to be no generally accepted genre or sub-genre for this type of fiction.
Historical Romance novels focus on romance with the history and plot as lesser elements of the story. There are many examples of Historical Romance with many subgenres such as Regency, Colonial America, and Westerns among others. This genre seems to pay the least attention to history and plot, and focuses on romance, but they always end “happily ever after”.
So, what is your choice, Historical Fiction such as Louis L’Amour’s novels, A Romantic Historical Fiction that is a love story with a strong plot and adventure, or A Historical Romance, with focus on romance and a light plot?
My personal choice is Romantic Historical Fiction with adventure, romance and humor. When you read “Sarah of the Wilderness”, it will become apparent that I included all of these elements in the story.
I would enjoy hearing your ideas and comments?