They’re often seen as a guilty-pleasure read but – shout it loud and proud – the new generation of bodice-rippers are good in so many ways!
1. For happily ever afters
The chubby, but intelligent girl with the glasses gets the hunky earl (yes, really!), the virile viscount realises the overlooked, mousy maiden is actually a hottie… Feisty, smart female characters abound. Yay! Happy endings guaranteed!
2. For casting your own leading man
You get to choose what the hero – and heroine – look like (so that’d be you and the lovely Ross Poldark, then, would it?)
3. For an escape from reality
The country houses and castles, the carriages and horses, the frocks, the jewels, the balls! And, of course, while relationships are never really like this in real life, a girl can always daydream…
4. For learning historical trivia
Did you know that, until as late as the 1800s, women wearing drawers were considered rather racy – which meant they generally wore NOTHING under those frocks? Red hat, no knickers for this demure maiden, then..?
5. For FUN!!
Take your mind off the groceries, laundry, work… After all, most of the heroines have an army of devoted servants to lace them into their dresses, iron their shoelaces, starch their fripperies, fluff their tippets and suchlike!
6. For improving your vocab
Try slipping these corkers into everyday conversation.
Corinthian – a dandy or rake.
Foxed – tipsy, drunk.
Cast up your accounts – vomit.
Nightrail – nightdress.
Town tabby – an aristocratic dowager.
Flying one’s colours – blushing.
7. For red-hot sex
The men are very good at it in historical romance novels. Knicker-elastic-snappingly good. (That’s if our heroine is actually wearing knicks – see above!)
8. For making your pulse race
Wet-shirted Mr Darcy, anyone? OK, this scene isn’t actually on the pages of Pride and Prejudice, but perhaps if Ms Austen was writing today..?