Jeff & Will welcome Zoë & Kelsey from the Tea & Strumpets podcast to talk about historical romance. The conversation ranges from why historicals can provide an escape, their favorite tropes in the genre along with some of their favorite books featuring m/m and f/f pairings. Of course, the hit Netflix regency romance Bridgerton is also discussed.
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Here are the things we talk about in this episode. Please note, these links include affiliate links for which we may make a small commission at no extra cost to you should you make a purchase.
- Zoë and Kelsey from Tea & Strumpets Interview
- Tea & Strumpets: website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube
- 018 – Turners 1 – The Soldier’s Scoundrel on Tea & Strumpets
- The Soldier’s Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian on Amazon
- An Unseen Attraction by KJ Charles on Amazon
- 033 – Band Sinister on Tea & Strumpets
- Band Sinister by KJ Charles on Amazon
- 039 – Writing Queer Stories in the Past with Cat Sebastian on Tea & Strumpets
- It Takes Two to Tumble by Cat Sebastian on Amazon
- Loretta Chase on Amazon
- Bridgerton on Netflix
- Bridgertons series by Julia Quinn on Amazon
- Hamilton’s Battalion by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan and Alyssa Cole on Amazon
- The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite on Amazon
- The Care and Feeding of Waspish Widows by Olivia Waite on Amazon
- 041 – Quietly Triumphant and Delightfully Mad with Olivia Waite on Tea & Strumpets
- The Solider and the Spy by Annabelle Greene on Amazon (pre order until April 20, 2021)
- What Would Danbury Do? website
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast on Patreon.com
- Big Gay Fiction Podcast patrons on BGFP website
- Libro.fm website (use this link to receive your Big Gay Fiction Podcast special offer)
- Frolic Podcast Network website
Interview Transcript – Zoë and Kelsey
This transcript was made possible by our community on Patreon. You can get information on how to join them at patreon.com/biggayfictionpodcast.
Jeff: Zoë and Kelsey, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you on our show.
Zoë: Thank you so much. We are so excited to be here with you today. I’m Zoë.
Kelsey: Oh, and this voice belongs to the Kelsey.
Will: Like Jeff said, we are so glad to have you on the show. As a matter of fact, it showed up in my social media feed a memory of our turn on your show, “Tea & Strumpets,” almost exactly one year to the day. We came on and discussed Cat Sebastian’s “The Soldier’s Scoundrel,” and had an absolute blast. So thank you for agreeing to come on the show.
Zoë: Oh, my gosh.
Kelsey: Oh, thanks for having us.
Jeff: Our Big Gay Fiction Book Club selection for January is K. J. Charles’s “An Unseen Attraction.” And so since we’re reading historical for the month, we really wanted to have a broader discussion on historicals. And I think it’d be a great opportunity for you two to maybe introduce yourselves to our audience a little bit in case they’re not familiar with “Tea & Strumpets.” And also let us know how you came to love historicals as you have to even build your own podcast about it.
Kelsey: Absolutely. So historicals have always been my bread and butter, not gonna lie. Even as a kid I read historical fiction. That was kind of my jam. And then it became fantasy, and fantasy always have a bit more of a love story, something going through them. And then I was introduced to historical romance, and I was like, “Ah, everything I want in a package.” So that’s kind of how I, Kelsey, came to it. And I love that you’re reading K. J. Charles. I haven’t read nearly enough of her but the book we did read was so good.
Jeff: Which one did you read?
Zoë: “Band Sinister,” we read.
Kelsey: Yeah, “Band Sinister.” Oh, it’s so good.
Jeff: I’m gonna be honest too, this is my first K. J. Charles. Given how long K. J. has been writing, it’s, like, ridiculous. It’s taken me this long to get there.
Kelsey: “Band Sinister,” next one on the list. Fabulous.
Jeff: And, Zoë, what about you?
Zoë: So Kelsey and I met because we were working at the same place. And we lived together because our boss owned the apartment. And sorry for the baby noises in the background. If people are hearing those, I just have a baby in the background. And so Kelsey saw my bookcase and she basically was like, “Hmm, I think you might really like these books that I like.” Because I was a fantasy reader before I was a romance reader. And Kelsey…
Kelsey: And we had a lot of the same books.
Zoë: Yes, we did. Basically, she gave me a Regency romance, and the rest is history. And then I had this crazy idea that we should start a podcast. I’m a huge podcast fan and I just really wanted to do one. I thought it would be a really fun, creative outlet. And I looked on the internet, and I saw that there were no romance podcasts in the world at all. And so I was like, “I have found the gold of podcasts.” And we started our podcast. And before we even got it out, I was like, “Oh, wait a minute, there’s a million fabulous ones.” So we became, you know, part of the community and we’ve just had such a blast doing it.
Kelsey: I always like to joke that, like, I gave Zoë historical romances and she gave me podcasts because we would often carpool to work and she would always have a podcast going. So then even when we went our separate ways, I started listening to podcasts and got really in them. So when she approached me, I was like, “Yes, I’m in.”
Jeff: What is it about historicals that you love so much that just draws you into them?
Kelsey: I think, for me, it’s more I like a good world building, as you can say from, like, a fantasy novel. I like also really being able to take myself to another time and place. And sometimes with contemporaries, especially if I don’t immediately identify with the contemporary character, I just find myself not as interested, I would say. I just find it a little bit harder to get into the novel, into the book versus when I step into a Regency romance, it’s, like, right away, there’s dukes and lords, and there’s, like, president and there’s manners, and you have these great descriptions of beautiful dresses and men’s waist coats. And you have to kind of learn a whole different dialogue about it. And it’s just kind of fun.
It’s being able to sink yourself into a fantasy world but it’s real life, it’s real… Real people did live lives, then if you can take yourself back to that time, sometimes we on our podcast often have a historical fact. And it’s because while we’re reading, they’ll be mentioning this or that, and Zoë and I will be like, “Hmm, let’s learn a little bit more about this today.” So we’ll kind of go to on our own little historical rabbit hole just to learn a bit more about it. So I just like that you can look back in time, actually see real people who lived in that era, but you still get the fantasy and the prettiness of a novel.
Zoë: Yeah, I would echo that. And I would say it’s basically like it’s just a really…I think reading, in general, is a form of escapism, obviously. But I think, like, that little bit of whimsy that historical romance gives you but also still grounded in kind of something that you understand and you don’t have to go into historical romance knowing anything or learning anything, right? When you go into a fantasy book, you have to learn their system of magic or the names of all the different races or whatever that is that the fantasy world builder is building for you. Historical romance has a fairly established set of rules, some of which I will say are bad and need to be torn down. And luckily, a lot of the current authors are tearing those down and building, you know, better sets of ideas for the historical romance world.
And so I think, like, as a reader, you kind of go into the entire genre with your kind of rule set and your understanding from the beginning, but it’s still very escapist. Like, it’s still removed enough, I think, from contemporary to not feel like contemporary. I don’t know. When I read contemporary, I find I’m not escaping out of my day to day enough. And I think that’s why I just love historical. Although I will say one of my favorite reads from 2020 was a contemporary, but I’ve only read, like, six contemporaries. So most of my contemporaries are paranormal romance. So, like, when I read a contemporary I want a paranormal romance because that to me is just like, “Well, it takes place in present day, but there’s still some escapism fantasy-ness in it.”
Will: Each of us as readers has our own favorites, especially when it comes to tropes. And 2021 is going to be my year of historical and kind of diving into what gay historicals are all about, and specifically some of the tropes that surround that. So I’m curious about the two of you as readers, what are some of your favorite historical tropes?
Zoë: So we were talking to an author about this at some point, I can’t remember who it was, and we just…
Kelsey: Cat Sebastian.
Zoë: Was it? Okay. But we were, like, are historical or are there different…actually asked her, I think, are gay tropes different than, like, just a straight romance tropes? I can’t remember exactly how we phrased it at the time, hopefully a little bit more, I don’t know, put together than that. But, yeah, in historical romance, I think our conversation led us to the whole idea that, like, tropes are tropes, and you can kind of see those tropes in every genre. But I think for historical romance, you know, definitely the biggest one that fits in that genre kind of more naturally is marriage of convenience. Or that and then, like, the ruination, right, like some woman was ruined, so they have to get married. It’s a little bit marriage of convenience, same thing. Those aren’t my favorite tropes, so I will say.
Kelsey: I was just reading one the other day. I love an enemies to lovers trope. Oh, I love it.
Zoë: Yeah, that’s my favorite.
Kelsey: It’s my favorite. Like, all this brooding sexual tension and they’re, like, fighting each other. And they’re like, “I hate them.” And they’re like, “Hmm, but they’re so handsome. But I just hate their hands and face.” And I just…I love it because then usually when, like, they finally meet, it’s like this eruption of passion. And it’s like, oh, sweeps you away. I love an enemies to lovers. Although, another good one, which I just remember with the conversation from Cat Sebastian, was she wrote a book which she could just be qualified as there’s only one bed, the novel, which is such a great one for historical because, like, there’s always the scene where, like, that’s what pushes it over. It’s not the whole trope. It’s like one of the tropes you find in it. But it’s just like there’s caught in a rainstorm, and they find a cabin, but there’s only one bed, or they’re traveling and they’re going to an inn, but there’s only one room available with only one bed. And, like, that forcing of close quarters is really just fun because it’s great. And, like, Cat Sebastian, she likes to pick a trope, and then write a novel around the trope.
Zoë: She also said her favorite thing to write for a trope is, like, two people who can’t get over their own, like, thing. So it’s like each of them trying to just overcome their one issue. And so it’s less about the world around them and more about the characters themselves. And I also, like, as I started to read more of her stuff, I saw more of that and I just…I loved that. I think it takes two to…is it “Tumble” or…? The one that came out last year is such a beautiful exercise in that, like, it’s only one bed and, like, they’re just two people who can’t get out of their own way, I think, it’s how she phrased it. I love it.
Will: Well, I think what you’re speaking to is something that I have found really interesting in some of the more recent historicals that I’ve read because there is the one aspect. There is the world building and the history. But something that surprised me when I started getting back into historicals is it’s so incredibly character-driven and so deeply personal for each of these characters. And like you said, having to get over there, like, one thing, or either it’s their one hang up or their preconceived notion about the other, I found myself being incredibly connected to these people who are presumably from a whole different time. You’d think I would have absolutely nothing in common with them, but I’m really empathetic to what these characters are going through.
Kelsey: Yes, and that’s something that I think…I find them just very relatable in that. I think, you said you just really feel some empathy for them. And even when you hate the hero, I was reading Loretta Chase the other day, and I finished it, and, like, the hero, even through the entirety of it was not really nice. And he even talks about himself, he refers to himself as an asshole the whole time. And he refers to himself as, like, getting in his own way and just trying to, like, fight the urge to fight everyone else. And he’s like, “I gotta remember to think first and use my fist later.” And he’s like, “I’m taxing my brain.” But, like, you could feel him really struggling that internal battle of, like, “I want to change who I am because I’m noticing, like, there’s a pattern and I’ve almost lost…” Like, he had, at the beginning of the book, he had almost killed one of his best friends in a duel. And he’s just, like, shaken by it. And so he’s like, “I need to figure out how to change my ways, but how can I do that when everyone only sees me as this person and I’ve only seen myself as this person for so long?” And I think we’ve all been there where we’re like, “How do we change our own internal selves to match who we want to be on the outside?”
Zoë: Well, and I haven’t read enough contemporaries to, like, feel that, you know, to know if the what I’m about to say is true fact. But I think, yeah, I mean, my knowledge of historicals is that often I connect very deeply with the characters, that there is so much depth to them. And whether it’s the hero or the heroine or you have two heroes or you have two heroines, or whatever, like, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes when you find a really good character on the page, I think, like, a great writer brings out pieces of that character that you can see in yourself and you can relate to. So I think romance probably as a genre is strong on that because it really is about the relationship and the characters at the end of the day. So I don’t know. I love it. I’m just gushing.
Jeff: One of the things that I loved as we came on your show to talk about “Soldier’s Scoundrel,” you have kind of a checklist that you go through. After you do your discussion of the plot, you have these four or five things that you use to help, you know, decide how the book was for you. And I really loved how you kind of put each of the books into perspective. Tell everybody a little bit about that list and how you decided to really focus in on those elements.
Kelsey: So for anyone who hasn’t listened to our show, after we kind of go over the plot and our general thoughts, we kind of break it down into, like, our hero or heroine or just main character one, main character two, and then we break it down into steaminess. And we talked about a quote that we really like, or really just thought was funny or something like that. And then our encounter-counter is always our fun one. And, yeah, and then we kind of give it our overall rating out of 10. And so we kind of came up with those because for us, one thing that’s fine about the historicals is because, like Zoë said, there’s some things that are historical in the rules that don’t really mesh well with how we’re viewing the world today.
And so sometimes you reread a book that it’s been a while or it’s just an older book, and maybe, like, the hero, as fun as he was, he just doesn’t gel with you as much as he could be. He’s a little too, like, misogynistic. He’s a little too high-handed. He doesn’t quite have that moment of, like, change you’re looking for, that aha moment that kind of, we think, makes a good hero, especially if they were kind of this, like, arrogant, manly man beforehand. And sometimes same with the heroine. So in the heroine we look at her because one thing Zoë and I both really love is, sorry, Zoë, if I’m speaking for you, we love a good, feisty heroine.
We like a girl who’s just like, “This is what I want and I’m gonna achieve it,” but who also can grow and be kind and recognize her own mistakes. But kind of is passion…like, is proud of who she is as herself. And she finds a partner who not only is happy to have her be that way, but is happy to uplift her that way too. Like, the two of them together, you know, they really form a strong pair and they lift each other up. And so that’s why we like to break it down to our hero and our heroine because sometimes we love one of them, but we’re not so thrilled about the other one. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the book’s bad. It’s just like maybe that person just didn’t work well for us.
Zoë: Yeah, I think as far as how we broke it down, it was the idea of I wanted us…I mean, I’m a very, like, type A personality, and I have to have, like, everything written down. I mean, my job is as a project manager, so I’m just very, like, oriented in that way. And so I thought, “Okay, we’ll have this outline. We’ll have these different things that we talk about.” All of these segments. Because generally, I think, like, segments on podcasts, I really like. I will say, I had never listened to a book podcast before we started one. Never, not once. But I did listen to quite a few movie podcasts. And I think that’s kind of how I kind of got the idea of breaking it up like that. And through, you know, discussions, we broke it down to, like she said, the main character one, main character two, our steaminess rating and encounter-counter, and then our feminist recap, too. Kelsey left that one out.
Kelsey: Oh, yeah, that one. Wow. Boom.
Zoë: But you were saying it, absolutely, which is that a lot of these books are a little bit, you know, kind of, they’re a little older. And so sometimes, and even sometimes the ones that are newer, also don’t do well on this, and it’s like, “Do I think that this book is a supporter? Do I think this book is neutral? Or do I think this book is not a supporter?” Because sometimes it’s just, like, I wouldn’t give this book to someone to say, like, “You’re gonna feel empowered after this book.” But it’s still not gonna be like, “Oh, this might have some negative connotations if I gave it to a young person to read,” right? I don’t want the person to walk away from the book thinking that, you know, A, B, or C is okay. And sometimes I see that in writing.
In even more contemporary writing, that makes me sad because, like, the heroine or the hero tears themselves down a lot. And by the end of the book, if they haven’t had the arc to then be better and rise above that, you know, you want to see the butterfly emerge from the cocoon, right? Like, you don’t want them to still be in the cocoon at the end of it. And so that’s what I really am looking for in a good book. And so that’s why we really do dissect it in that way. And then I know, like, ratings are controversial for a lot of podcasts. Some people like to rate and some people only like to review books that they like because they only want to promote things that they love. And I think that that is also fabulous. I didn’t think about that, to be honest, when we first started. But we’ve kind of taken the road that, you know, if we really hate it, we won’t do it. But if we still want to talk about it, if there’s still some merit, but we didn’t love it, then maybe it is something to bring to light.
For example, we’ve done two Hanukkah novellas. And those are, and I’m gonna say this with like, 95% confidence, the only two Hanukkah Regency romance novellas that exist. And, I mean, I have searched far and wide. And are either of them fabulous? Sadly, no. But do I want more of them? Absolutely. So I want to discuss that. And I want to talk about what’s good about them, what I think isn’t great about them, but I want to bring it to light. We’ve given ourselves a platform, people are listening to us. So I want to use that to help the genre grow even if it’s just by, like, one little tiny step.
Jeff: Absolutely. It’s really important to broaden that diversity of what’s out there and talk about different religions, different holidays, different everything else because it all existed back then.
Zoë: Yes, different colors of people, different sexual orientations, different pairings. All of those things were absolutely happening, although some people seem to think that they weren’t. Life has always been diverse. So, yeah, I definitely want to help promote kind of growth in the genre and steer away from kind of what historicals naturally are, especially when you’re talking about the aristocracy, which is very white, hetero. But luckily, we have authors who are coming in and saying, “Okay, how can we make this better?” And they are.
Will: Of course, we would be remiss discussing Regency romance in January 2021 without talking about “Bridgerton” which…
Kelsey: Oh, yeah. I’m ready to talk about it.
Jeff: …I mean, I think, opened up so many people to Regency romance all of a sudden that is not of the Jane Austen ilk, and just really blew it out there. Now you guys have covered “Bridgerton” on your show.
Zoë: We’ve covered the books, now we have not yet covered the show, but we are going to be covering the show.
Jeff: And that’s an important distinction. What did you guys think of it? How does it compare to the books?
Zoë: Well, I will say first off that I’ve only watched half the series so far. I have an 11-week-old baby, so forgive me.
Will: You’re allowed.
Kelsey: That’s okay. I won’t spoil anything too much for you, Zoë, granted I think you know how it ends. I hope so.
Zoë: I sure do. I do. I do.
Kelsey: Anyway, I have watched the whole thing. And I really enjoyed it. It does stay pretty close to the book. There have been some things that were obviously changed more, as I was talking with a friend of mine, more just because of the way writing works versus the way film works. There’s so much that can be said in a book and it’s just very hard to convey those same things on film, especially if you don’t have someone narrating it for you. And unless someone wants to narrate the entire film for you, it’s just not gonna work.
Zoë: I will say I think it’s been spectacular how well they’ve taken the whole Regency romance genre and thrown it into what I’ve seen is four episodes.
Kelsey: Oh, yeah.
Zoë: In four episodes they have given those who don’t know anything about Regency romance, the rules, very clearly, very quickly, and just made it be so easy. Like, this is the world you live in. These are the rules. And they’ve taken so many things from other series and other Regency romances that are not in the “Bridgerton” books to establish the world that just have me, like, so surprised. I’m like, “Chris Van Dusen, did you go and read a ton more Regency romances after reading ‘Bridgerton’ and starting to develop it?” I just don’t know. Like, there’s this scene with an older man inspecting a young prospective woman’s teeth. That is not in “Bridgerton.” That’s in, like, a bunch of other books. It’s in one we read recently. And I was like, “Oh, my God, that was in…” I can’t remember which one. She was at the dinner table and he asked her to look at his teeth. Do you remember?
Kelsey: Yeah, I do.
Zoë: She said, “Smile, girl, so I can…” And she just was like, “I’m not a horse.” And so, to me, it was so fascinating how well they got the genre.
Kelsey: They did. And that’s what I mean by, like, especially the first few episodes, like, they’re establishing so much. You’re meeting the siblings, you’re meeting the family, you’re meeting the side characters, but you’re also discovering the rules of Regency. And, like Zoë said, they did a really fabulous job with that. And I did like, if you have read the books, you’re gonna see there are little moments where it’s, like, dialogue directly taken from a book or scenes directly taken from a book, which is quite fun.
Zoë: Oh, so fun.
Kelsey: Yeah. So there’s moments where if you read the books, you’re like, “Oh, I know what’s happening here. It’s quite fun.” But at the same time, too, they did take some liberties as far as, like, where the characters are in it. And so I came away with it, utterly fascinated by what’s happening next season and the season after that, because they gave you so much information and they gave you these side characters. And if you’ve read all the books, you’re like, “Oh, I know this person, though, but they’re not…they’re in that book.”
Zoë: Have you guys watched the whole thing?
Zoë: Okay, so I’m going to say I saw something online that I haven’t quite seen yet, but my husband picked up on it because I believe, so spoilers for “Bridgerton” now, guys, so if you don’t want to listen, skip a couple minutes ahead, but I believe that one of the main characters, for sure, is not going to end up with who he ends up in the books with. And I believe it’s Benedict, if I’m not mistaken. Am I wrong?
Kelsey: They were asking me about this because it seems that Benedict is taking, like, a different path.
Zoë: Yeah. My husband turned to me immediately and said, “Is Benedict gay?” And I said, “Not in this book, but I hope he is in the show.” Like, I was super into his storyline.
Kelsey: Me, too. I was saying I loved what they had done with it, but, like, in the books, no, he marries someone else and he has this lovely Cinderella story, but I love what they’ve done so far. And I’m very happy for him to live a different lifestyle.
Zoë: Absolutely. I mean, the way that the actors portrayed it and the writing portrayed it, it was really, like, exciting for me to watch, and all the lines and the hints he was dropping and stuff. It makes me excited because, again, that’s, like, taking a piece of the genre as it is today and putting it into the show. When Julia Quinn wrote his book 17 years ago, Cat Sebastian hadn’t published the first Avon gay historical romance, so it wasn’t mainstream yet. Anyhow, I’m really hopeful that that’s where they go with it. Again, I’ve only seen episode four, but it feels like that’s the direction it’s heading. It was really exciting, and seeing him, like, he has a character, is an artist in his book. So they’re still taking a lot of him and infusing it in, but, like, making it come to life. So, yeah, I’m excited about that.
Kelsey: Yes, I’m very excited about all of it. And, like I said, as a reader of the books, like, I wasn’t disappointed because, like, I didn’t expect it to be exactly the same, nor did I want it to be exactly the same. I wanted to see how it would relate in the world that we live in today, as well as encouraging people who’d never delved into Regency before how it could catch their interest. And, I mean, visually, the costumes, the scenery…
Zoë: The actors.
Kelsey: …the actors. Oh, yeah, they’re beautiful.
Zoë: Well, yeah, I will say, like, I guess when I first saw the costumes come out, I was like, “That’s like a little bit more flamboyant than Regency. Regency is very muted on the colors.” And I’m so glad that they didn’t stick with that. They said, “This is Regency fantasy. Like, this isn’t complete Regency. This is not a period piece. This is a Sean DeLand period piece.” And I really love all the sets and the actors and the way their portrayal of every character is fabulous, and the costumes are great.
Jeff: I hope it opens the door. And I’ve seen some articles on it, where they think that maybe the popularity of “Bridgerton” opened the door to more of this kind of show. I know “Entertainment Weekly” did a roundup of what they wanted to see with Cat Sebastian actually on that list that they wanted to see her stuff, you know, dramatized on TV. And I’m like, “Yeah, bring that right now. I’ll watch all those episodes.”
Will: Well, what’s really nice is that remember, like, a decade ago now after “50 Shades,” there were, like, 8 million different online articles. “If you loved ’50 Shades,’ here’s what to read next.” Now we’re seeing, “If you loved to ‘Bridgerton,’ here’s what you should be reading next.” Do you think the series is a good gateway to the Julia Quinn series and other authors in this genre?
Zoë: A million percent.
Kelsey: Oh, yeah.
Zoë: I think Julia Quinn is the perfect gateway into historical.
Kelsey: She was really, like, my gateway. “Bridgerton” was… Like, I read one other author, like, a small four-book series and then I read “Bridgerton.” So, like, Julia Quinn, I’ve read every single work she has produced. And after watching “Bridgerton,” I went back and I read some other old Julia Quinn books.
Zoë: Yeah, basically, I mean, she’s a fabulous writer. And she’s extremely funny. I would say that’s maybe what the show is also missing, her humor. And it’s missing a little bit of it, but it does have some of it. But, my God, the books are laugh out loud riotous, like, absolutely hilarious. And I think they read so easily that, yes, once you read that, if you love “Bridgerton” and you go to read the books, there’s no way you’re not gonna love the books because it’s just so rewarding as a reader to read them. And then you’re gonna want more and then you’re a romance reader because that’s how it works.
Jeff: Yeah, I think this show is gonna bring more people into Regency and hopefully just more people into romance, period.
Zoë: Have you seen that the books are totally sold out everywhere, like no one can get “The Duke and I”? Like, it’s that’s wild. Avon, like, issued a statement saying they’re reprinting as fast as they can.
Jeff: That’s amazing. Because you said, how long, 17 years?
Zoë: The book was written 21 years ago.
Jeff: Twenty-one years ago.
Zoë: Yeah. I would say the third one was written, you know, I was guessing, 17 years or so, which is Benedict’s book. Yeah. I would say, like, you want them, just buy the rest of the series and then get the first one when you can. But also the first one’s not even the best in the series. Not by…
Kelsey: It’s not. It’s not.
Zoë: Not by a long shot.
Kelsey: It’s a good intro, but, like, oh, my God, like…
Zoë: The love stories of all of the other characters of book two, three, four, five, and six are, like, way better than the love story of Simon and Daphne.
Jeff: So we were excited that we got to be on your show for your first reading of MM Regency romance. What have you read more recently that our audience might love and what’s been on your show that we should be pointing people to as well?
Kelsey: Well, I recently read “Hamilton’s Battalion,” which is not Regency. It is historical but it takes place in America during the Revolutionary War. And it is three short stories in the book. And it’s by Rose Lerner, Courtney Milan, and Alyssa Cole. And so the first one is Rose Lerner. She writes about a Jewish couple. It takes place mainly during the Battle of Yorkshire. The second one is a male-male by Courtney Milan and it is also an interracial romance as well. And it takes place after. It is a British soldier who’s gone MIA, and his life had been spared by a black militiamen in the Battle of Yorkshire, and then he’s helping that man get back to his family in Rhode Island afterwards. So they travel from Virginia to Rhode Island together, and there’s some really nice sexual tension in there. It’s beautiful.
And then the last one is by Alyssa Cole is actually a female-female romance short story. And it is with both heroines are black and they are…one is a shopkeeper in town and the other one is secretary to Elizabeth Hamilton. And she’s been helping Elizabeth Hamilton get the stories of her husband, Alexander Hamilton. And she’s seen all these love stories and she’s kind of like, “Eh, what’s love like? It’s never going to work out for me because, like, I don’t want to marry anyone. And if I fall in love with a woman, she’s just going to drop me for a man anyway.” And so it’s about her and the shopkeeper and their love together. And so that was a really good little trilogy that I read there. And so your audience might enjoy that. As we mentioned, K. J. Charles’s “Band Sinister,” fabulous.
Zoë: And we did read Olivia Waite’s female-female. And we did “The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics” in our podcast.
Kelsey: I haven’t read her a second one. But, Zoë, you said you read it, right?
Zoë: I did. I loved it. I mean, it’s about beekeeping and, like, gardens and these… It’s just…it’s fabulous. And, actually, that was what I was going to recommend to listeners is our interview with Olivia Waite. It was a fascinating interview. And she talked a lot about how she chooses the professions in her books and how she researches them. Her next one in that series is about a piano tuner, I believe. So, like, it’s just a really fascinating look into kind of day-to-day life in that time period. She tends to do no aristocracy. Cat also tends to do very few aristocracy kind of figures. But, yeah, I will say one of my favorite reads last year, if you haven’t read it, I know I’m saying Cat Sebastian again, but “It Takes Two to Tumble” was just…I ate it up in a second. I loved that book.
I haven’t read a book since September because I had a baby and, like, wow, brain power. But, yeah, getting back into the reading thing. But I really loved Olivia Waite’s book. And we’ve got one on our 2021 books we’re excited about list that’s a male-male, comes out on April 20th, 2021. It’s by Annabelle Greene. I haven’t read her yet. I don’t know if you guys have. But this is number two in her “Society of Beast” series, and it’s called “The Soldier and the Spy.” So this is a male-male that sounded pretty interesting to me. And so, if interested, to check it out and see what she’s all about.
Jeff: Cool. Soldiers and spies, sounds good to me just from the title.
Zoë: Yeah, I can’t complain.
Jeff: Well, tell everybody where they could find “Tea & Strumpets,” what day you guys come out and everything. So if your show is not already on their playlist, they can go in and get it on there.
Kelsey: We drop episodes on Thursdays. We normally do, like, every Thursday, but Zoë had a baby so we’re gonna be slightly less. But we’re gonna be doing at least a few…we’ll have a few episodes a month. But, you know, life gets away from us, so maybe you’ll miss us for a week or two. But we have a lot of backlog for you. So if you miss us, you can check out one of our older episodes. And you can find us on Instagram, @tnstrumpets. We are on Twitter at the same. Facebook/teaandstrumpets. And you can also get episodes on YouTube if you search our name of our show. And our website is romancepod.com.
Zoë: Yeah, so hopefully, that’s enough places for you to find us.
Jeff: I will put all of that in the show notes so you can be easily found.
Kelsey: Yes, and for any of your listeners, like I said, if you haven’t listened to our show, yet, we also constantly ask our listeners to give us book recommendations. And you don’t even have to give necessarily historical romance recommendations because in the middle of our show, we affectionately call the parlor, we give…we have some good recommendations from listeners. We share them with everybody else. So if you just have a book that you love and want to have a share on the show, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff: Fantastic. Awesome. Well, Zoë and Kelsey, thank you so much for giving us all this wonderful insight into historicals. It’s been wonderful talking to you.
Kelsey: Thank you so much. It’s been wonderful talking to you, too.