Historical Coastal Romance

So many historical romances are coastal: tales of swash-buckling pirates, invading Vikings, desperate immigrants and sea-faring Ancient peoples.

The sea and rivers were the highways of the old world, joining distant places, but also separating them. For many immigrants, the ship’s journey to a new world would never be taken in return. Beloved family and friends left behind would never be seen again; perhaps the occasional letter all that sustained old ties. This was true for my great-grandparents even in the 1950s. They had to have so much courage to begin a new life.

The sea always adds drama. It’s so huge and powerful, and beautifully evocative to externalise whatever crisis the heroine is facing.

Was there ever a gothic romance cover that didn’t have the heroine fleeing to some dramatic clifftop, the waves crashing below?

Okay, maybe there are a few non-clifftop covers! Dang pirates sneak in everywhere.

Phyllis A Whitney wrote marvellous gothic romances, often with a coastal setting.

One of my favourite contemporary romances is actually about forty years old. The Crying Child by Barbara Michaels has an island setting that effectively uses the isolation to intensify the tense emotions. There is that sense of being trapped with evil. Beautifully shivery along the spine.

Do you have a favourite historical coastal romance? Are there pirates? I can’t resist veering wildly off-topic for my own book recommendation. If you haven’t tried The Witches of Karres by James H Schmitz, do so. It’s one of my favourite SF books, a classic, and space captains have to count as sea captains, right? It’s not a romance though, simply a delightful adventure.

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