Round Robin – Beware – Danger – Violence

This month Rhobin asks – How do you handle or use violence or any type of danger in your stories?

While the Regency is attractive in so very many ways, it was a time of huge inequality, injustice, hunger and, yes, violence. The absence of an established and regulated system of investigation, apprehension and conviction had a massive impact on how people led their lives. Duelling was almost on the way out as a re-dress for ‘insults’, but not quite gone and many families were bereft as today’s are by the rising tide of youth with knives. In addition, the head of the family, almost always a man, held sway. This had the effect you could predict. There were good ones and bad ones. There were some who cared passionately, but gave rise to the origins of the patriarchal society that feminism needed to kick against. There were some, Mr Bennet we’re looking at you, who didn’t care at all.

Justice was hit or miss and to our modern sensibilities brutal and cruel. What civilised society hangs children for stealing food? What civilised society hangs anyone for stealing food? Why are its citizens starving in the first place?

One of the underlying themes of my first novel, Mariah’s Marriage, was domestic violence. The villain, short of ready cash and feeling ‘entitled’, is frustrated in his attempt to win a rich bride and takes his rage out on his sister. She covers up for him in classic fashion, but our clever and courageous heroine works him out. She then faces another battle – How do you make a decent man who would never perpetrate such violence, understand it happens?

In Bella’s Betrothal, the heroine finds herself in enormous danger but she isn’t immediately able to work out who the greater villain is. Is it the man who has invaded her room at the inn? Is it, as he claims, another who wants to trade on her damaged reputation to justify trapping her into unwanted sex? Although written, I hope, with humour and warmth, the threat is real.

 

So how do I ‘use’ danger and violence in my fiction? Well, I hope responsibly, without either the need or the wish to glamourize either. They are a part of the fabric of our human experience and as such they have a place.

 

The Castle Rock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To read what my fellow round robiners think about this hugely important topic go here:

Judith Kopek

Dr. Bob Rich

Victoria Chatham

Connie Vines

A.J. Maguire 

Marci Baun  

Skye Taylor

Fiona McGier

Anne de Gruchy

Rhobin L Courtright 

 

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18 thoughts on “Round Robin – Beware – Danger – Violence

    • Hi Connie, I suppose they have, but in some communities, not enough. There’s still work to do and that’s why I think historicals can be important as well as entertaining. Thanks so much for dropping in, Anne

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  1. This paragraph really speaks to me:
    “What civilised society hangs children for stealing food? What civilised society hangs anyone for stealing food? Why are its citizens starving in the first place?”
    I don’t read romance, Regency or otherwise, but I know from this that anyone who does will become a better person from reading your novels.
    Well done.

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  2. I think I might read Regency more if I’d started with one of your books. Sadly, I read one early in life (19? I can’t quite remember) but the main thrust of the plot was that a woman was supposed to overcome her hatred of the man who forced her as a teenager… Because they were married now. And apparently, that made it all right? Like, he’s really a decent hero even though he did this when he was younger?

    I was so disgusted I didn’t read Regency for years after that.

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    • Hi AJ, I was at the RNA conference last w/e where there was a session called Alpha or A**hole led by Kate Johnson. It covered the scenario you describe of the confused thinking between assertive and aggressive, masterful and forceful etc. Writers of romance tread a very thin line where the bad boy hero is concerned. We need to make sure his faults are forgivable and not, as you describe, unforgivable. anne

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  3. Dueling was on the way out for “western civilization” as it existed then with society accepting it as a norm, but in fact, it still exists today, just in a less civilized form. And in middle eastern society, horrific things are done to women still in the name of family honor.

    My love affair (if you will) with romance began with Regency and like you, I soon learned that while the heroes and heroines in those books lived in an elegant lifestyle, all around them things were very different. Still enjoy a good regency though.

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    • Hullo Skye, Yes, there’s nothing like a good regency, is there? I re-read Fredrica by Georgette Heyer over the last little while. It reminded me of all the reasons I started to write that genre – mostly the arrogant male in needof taking down a peg or two and the dialogue. I love the battle-of-the-sexes dialogue. Anne

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  4. I think there is as much of a divide between the haves and have-nots today as there has ever been only today there are avenues (in most western cultures anyway) to seek aid. In the Regency era, there was only the streets or the workhouse with little hope for escape from either. For as much as I love the Regency era (and Frederica is my favorite Georgette Heyer book) I would only want to live there if I could be rich.

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    • Hi Vicki, There certainly seems to be huge divides. Every time I’m in London, I wonder at the prices. Who can afford to spend hundreds of pounds for what is often a quite simple dress? And we had food banks! Anne

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  5. Thanks, Anne, for another interesting post – I love how this month’s theme had resulted in so many different viewpoints in so many different genres. Regency is one of the few romance settings I have read and enjoyed – it seems to attract witty banter with an underlying message on the roles if the sexes.

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  6. I don’t enjoy Regency for one reason: no birth control. Women had no control what-so-ever, over their own lives, or those of their kids. And no way to support themselves if their husbands were jerks. And no way to avoid having babies, even if they didn’t want or enjoy the sex. Then there’s the whole lack of bathing/toothpaste thing. Yuck.

    But I guess I expect too much realism from a genre that is enjoyed by many. Give me a good contemporary or sci-fi romance any day! Just not one that involves tentacles.

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    • Hi Fiona, Well, yes, but are you ruling out everything written before Marie Stopes set up her clinic? I know lots of people like to read about our own times and I do write contemporary magazine fiction. Anne

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      • Basically, yes. But that’s just me. Some authors will jump through hoops to have their characters practicing modern bathing and cleansing that was totally unknown at that time. To me, that pulls me out of the story as much as my worrying about what his/her breath must smell like first thing in the morning. And only in paranormal or sci-fi is the issue of birth control ever mentioned, because it was an unknown concept back before the Stopes clinic..

        But then, I also don’t enjoy Highland romances, since my late father came from Glasgow, and the accent and the kilt doesn’t say “sexy man” to me. It says, “Hi Dad.” Though I have judged books in that genre, for book contests, and enjoyed them…when I wasn’t laughing about the inaccuracies of the attempt to portray an authentic Scottish Brogue.

        But the beauty of publishing today is that there’s books for everyone to enjoy, no matter their personal tastes. And that’s a good thing.

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