7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


How does one define inspirational historical romance? How is it set apart from novels that are not inspirational? Here at Colonial Quills, we are authors that strive for excellence in our callings as storytellers. Our goal is to inspire, motivate, and engage the culture toward a higher purpose.

For the writer who is penning inspirational historical romance: 

Inspirational historical romance is meant to touch the heart of a reader and to remind them there is hope in our most challenging moments. As the Bible says, there is nothing new under the sun. Inspirational historicals are more than stories with dates and events. They are meant to take the reader back to a time and place where people went through things we go through today. We write it to entertain, yes. But our novels should also enhance what readers know historically.

Our books should be a safe haven from the secular novels that glorify the flesh and push lust rather than self-sacrificing love. Faith is an element, and a part of our characters lives, without preaching a sermon. Inspirational historical fiction allows the reader to 'see' the sermon, rather than 'hear' one.

What readers want:

They want the love between the hero and the heroine to be from the heart as they face adversity. In most secular historical romances lust is often the foundation of the characters’ relationships and the conquest of the hero to conquer the heroine. Readers of inspirational fiction want the absence of explicit sexual content and offensive language. Readers are looking for stories of hope.
Secular romances leave out the spiritual. They are written for readers who may not want a faith element in the books they read. That sums up the difference in a nutshell—the absence of the spiritual. 

 Tell us what you want. 
What issues would you like to see Christian novelists address? 
What is it that keeps you engaged and turning the pages? 
Authors will listen.

This article contributed by Rita Gerlach, author of 'The Rebel's Pledge', 'Surrender the Wind', and 'The Daughters of the Potomac Series'. http://ritagerlach.blogspot.com


  1. I love this post! Those are exactly the reasons I come back to inspiration historical fiction again and and again. Thanks for the crisp, precise "in a nut shell" explanation of this fabulous genre. :)

  2. Hmmm, I found this quite interesting, because I personally read across genres! Which means I read both mainstream {secular} fiction AND inspirational {faith-based} fiction! I cannot lay claim to what your theory is based on: that I am drawn into mainstream historicals because I want an 'absence' of faith, rather the opposite really! I'm drawn into ANY historical novel that digs up a breath of life back in the age its written about, that gives a clear view of what 'someone' back then might have gone through as they lived their life. We can always hope that people walk a life in faith, but the earth is a diverse sphere to live on, and everyone walks their own path.

    I do agree, that some novelists push the envelope too far, as although I am not against romance and intimacy between characters, I do shy away from full-on blood, gore, and grisley scenes that are written in for what I'd say sake of shock value! And, I'm not drawn to vulgarity, either in the form of dropping curse words OR in having a story carried by lust only without a supporting backdrop of a relationship to bring the two together.

    However, I think your limiting the audience of historical novels by bypassing the fact that there are novels out there that do not fall under the extreme(s) that you've given! In fact, there is a middle ground! :)

    I wasn't going to comment, but after letting it slip that I adore Abby on NCIS on my entry for Ring of Secrets, you'll already know the broad reach that I take in. And, you might be surprised, I read a heap of mainstream books that have spiritual elements included in them, but are not under the inspirational umbrella. I think that is what upset me the most,... your shunning a whole genre without giving it a chance...

  3. There probably are many books that lie in the middle of the spectrum but sadly, the common perception of historical romance is the bodice-ripper. The market has room for them all.

    Here at CQ we see straight historical fiction to historical romance with varying degrees of sexual tension before the happy ending. I guess another discussion is 'labeling'. Do the spines of all these books say historical or historical romance on them? And of course another discussion--should Christian fiction be labeled as such?
    It used to be savvy readers could tell by the publishing house but with so many smaller presses and imprints now, it's hard to tell.

    Another thought on this discussion is, who is the author writing for? Who is her/his market?

    I love hearing about books in the secular market that allow that there are people in whom spirituality is an important consideration in their actions.
    The best thing is that there's room for every writer to tell the story they want to tell.
    Great points, ladies!

  4. I apologize if I offended anyone by my post. It was meant to be about defining inspirational historical romances, not historical fiction. Nor did I mean to put down mainstream fiction. I'm sorry if that is how the post came off.
    Debra hit the point that for a lot of people the historical romance is the bodice-ripper. That's what I was alluding to. There are readers that love that particular genre, and there are those that prefer cleaner fiction. Here at CQ that is what we write.
    I read mainstream historical fiction a lot. Currently I'm reading The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott, a Titanic novel. It has been engaging so far, with a strong moral thread.
    So forgive my lack of clarity. I've edited the post from historical fiction to historical romances.

  5. A great post, Rita. As I see it,one of the main differences between secular and inspirational romances is our motivation. We are not only desiring to deliver a great story to our readers, but to glorify God and share His message of forgiveness and redemption.

  6. ~*~Write~*~ on, sister! You nailed it! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House

    I appreciate the research the authors do to place their characters within happenings/events beyond what we would have learned in school. So interesting and yes, live it!!


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