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The Timelessness of Historical Romance
“The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.”
– Nicholas Sparks
When we set off to read a romance novel, we expect to encounter an emotionally charged story, relatable characters, and universal themes. True, genuine love surpasses time and place, overcomes seemingly impossible barriers, and manifests itself in the most unexpected ways. True love is founded upon kindness, compassion, empathy, sacrifice, and friendship. It is full of surprises and revelations—and its eternal power touches our minds and hearts with an astonishing force.
These are common elements which enrich the genre and equip romantic stories with a poignant, unique, and timeless quality. They focus on the trials of tribulations of the human heart, and exist independently from time and place. Indeed—romance novels are special in that they showcase humanity’s continuous quest for hope, personal growth, pursuit of dreams, and the ability to conquer internal and external obstacles in spite of all oppositions.
Historical romance embodies the notion of timelessness even more so. It shows us that, no matter the location or century, the basic elements of romance endure. The hero and heroine still seek the same end goals, are still driven by the same forces, and are still swept by the same emotions.
The most satisfying historical romances, however, further incorporate the cultural fabric of the era and seamlessly weave it into the relationship’s very fabric. These historical elements add depth to the characterizations and story by demonstrating the unique complications of a particular time and setting.
Finding Gabriel emerged from my love of French history and unconventional romances. I have always been drawn to the darker facets of love, and these elements served as my central inspiration. Severely scarred inside and out, Colonel Gabriel de Laurent’s twisted past has hardened his heart and led him to the brink of utter desperation—and Ariah’s gentle nature and compassion embodies the ideal counterpoint to his darkness. However, like Gabriel, she also suffers from a tragic and ill-fated past. Gabriel and Ariah are two flawed characters who are made perfect only through their love and shared darkness.
In addition to the romance and sensual heat, Finding Gabriel offers a vivid perspective into the war-torn streets of Paris. My book truly is a historical romance; the history of the era, as well as the central figures (Napoleon makes a memorable cameo) play a significant role in both the story and characterizations. I utilized the conflicts of the time period as a way to echo Gabriel and Ariah’s personal battles across a universal scope. Furthermore, issues of orphans, inheritance, illegitimate children, and the absence of women’s suffrage and feminine independence are all authentic to the period and play a noteworthy role in Finding Gabriel.
So, what exactly makes historical romance timeless? Simple. People are people no matter what era they live in. Sure, they may dress differently, hold slightly different values, or speak in a different manner… but basic, human emotion never really changes.
And that is the magic of romance novels.
About Finding Gabriel
Colonel Gabriel de Laurent departed for the war intending to die.
After a decade of bloodstained battlegrounds while fighting in Napoleon’s army, Gabriel returns to the streets of Paris a shattered and haunted soul. Plagued by inner demons, he swallows the barrel of his flintlock pistol and pulls the trigger.
But fate has a different plan.
Ariah Larochelle is a survivor. Orphaned at twelve and victim to a devastating crime, she has learned to keep her back to walls and to trust no one. But when she finds a gravely injured soldier washed up on the River Seine, she’s moved by compassion. In spite of her reservations, she rescues him from the icy water and brings him into her home.
Now scarred inside and out, Gabriel discovers a kindred spirit in Ariah – and feelings he imagined lost forever reawaken as he observes her strength in the face of adversity. But when Ariah’s own lethal secrets unfold, their new love is threatened by ancient ghosts. Can Gabriel and Ariah find hope in the wreckage of their pasts—or will the cycle of history repeat again?
Perfect for fans of Gaelen Foley’s Lord of Ice and Judith James’s Broken Wing, Finding Gabriel features all the dark romance, searing passion, and historical intrigue of The Phantom of the Opera and Les Misérables.
Ariah’s eyes blinked open. Their heads were mere centimeters apart, mouths sharing the same breaths of air. She took in the irregular features of Gabriel’s face – half achingly handsome, half a testament to years of torment. Tears threatening to surface, she pressed her lips against the uneven skin, not daring to leave a piece of him unloved. A salty tang flavored her tongue – and she realized that he was weeping.
Clasping both of her hands in one of his own, he stepped backward, leading her away from the railing. She followed without thought, her soul carrying her feet. Those powerful, haunted eyes never left her face as he edged toward the center of the roof. What a breathtaking and surreal figure he made, silhouetted against Paris’s eternal night sky. A light breeze ruffled the material of his greatcoat. Carried by the wind’s breath, the greatcoat billowed around his body like a pair of colossal wings. Beneath this light, he resembled a fallen angel. Her legs grew heavy, each one weighed down with desire and anticipation.
His hand slipped free, and Ariah’s knees nearly gave way at the loss of his touch. Then he stripped away his greatcoat, eyes still locked on her own, and suavely smoothed the material across the flooring. Gabriel lowered to his knees and held out his hand, beckoning Ariah forward with the raw magnetism of his eyes.
Pulse thrumming, she moved forward until she stood on the edge of the greatcoat. Moonlight flashed against his raven hair, brightening the locks to a rich amber. His shoulders were strong and wide, and Ariah was struck with the desire to feel his muscles constrict beneath her fingers. Indeed, he resembled a crouching panther – dark, smooth, and infinitely powerful. Admiring his silhouette, she wordlessly stared down at him. She attempted a smile, but her dancing nerves prohibited the simple movement. “Touch me. Touch me, Gabriel…”
About the Author
Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of eleven years. She enjoys writing dark, poignant romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and explore the redeeming power of love. Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul. Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness. Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words. Don’t be a stranger! Rachel loves to connect and interact with her readers!