Historical romances have to be one of the most cliche and white bread variety of all fiction genres. Historical romance writers play it safe, the characters are always virtuous to some end. But novels printed in bygone eras weren’t all Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. Georgette Heyer played close to the vest in her imitation of Austen’s novels, but she was from a conservative era as well. For some reason, the media likes to paint the past as this idyllic and overly intelligent time bygone.
Guess what? People don’t change that much and they’re as fun and flawed and ferocious as they’ve ever been.
So here are some literary novels that will knock your socks off and have yet to be banned from the public:
1) Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe (1722) – Prostitution, incest, illegitimate children galore can be found in one of the earliest English novels.
2) Les Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) by Choderlos de Laclos (1782) – Better known to Gen Y as Cruel Intentions and Gen X as Dangerous Liasions, two former lovers plot the downfall of innocent misses.
3) The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1380s) – Though this isn’t a novel, it is a collection of some of the bawdiest tales to grace English ears. Chaucer is considered by many to be the Father of English Literature, all thanks to a sex-starved college student and a dangerous old cougar.