At the start of this year, I vowed to read more historical romance. It was the one sub-genre of romance that I sort of avoided like the plague, and in 2015, I was determined to change that. So I read. I downloaded a lot of free historical romance, snagging what I thought seemed really interesting based on the descriptions, covers, and reviews. And you know what? The majority of the time I was disappointed. For the most part, I tended to dislike the heroes—a bit sexist, rude, and cruel. Then the heroines were basically all carbon copies of each other: either very, very innocent and virginal, or so ill-mannered that there is no way they would have maintained their rank/position/whatever without scandal ruining them.
So, after a number of meh books, historical romance and I went our separate ways. That is, until After Sunrise by Amanda Olivier popped up in the It Begins Here anthology.
As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, I contributed with a 10K story of my own, and therefore won’t be rating the other short stories, but my goodness can I ever sing their praises. This was the historical romance I was looking for. Realism. Beautiful and expressive writing that painted a picture so vivid that I could all but see colonial India as I read. A hero who wasn’t a sexist douchebag. A heroine who actually tried and succeeded to blend with society’s standards while still being feisty and unique.
Amanda Olivier is absolutely one to watch. I went through her story in one sitting—on a train, ironically, which gave the opening chapter some extra oomph—and I was dying when I realized there wasn’t more. I’d have to wait. And wait I will. In fact, I plan to read any and every historical romance Olivier writes in the future, because this is exactly what I was looking for when I set out to read more historical fiction at the start of this year.
Beautiful writing. Great characters—all of them, primary and secondary. A classic and gorgeous love story. I can only hope it won’t end in disaster, and we see our Royce and Evie sailing off into the sunset together, off on an adventure of their own, in the near future.
A+++ 10/10 would recommend
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