I'm not quite sure where I am going with this particular post, so apologies if I end up taking a stroll to nowhere!
Last week I finished reading Bound By Your Touch (Meredith Duran) [historical romance]. This was my first Meredith Duran book and I loved it. But...it got me to thinking about whether historical books written today reflect contemporary standards or the standards of the time period they are set in. To put it bluntly, the hero and heroine of Bound By Your Touch have sex. Before they are married. More than once. And it seems like that is the case in the vast majority of historical romances, apart from those with the marriage of convenience trope, in which the marriage happens first and the romance after. (And I am sure there are other exceptions, I just can't think of any ATM :)
The thing is, throughout history, sex before marriage was not considered acceptable. (I should add a caveat: it may or may not be acceptable in today's society depending on who is reading the book.) I'm sure it happened - women have been having children out of wedlock since....since before the Virgin Mary. But...it's never been as accepted as it is today. And yet, the vast majority of heroes and heroines in historical romances engage in it. And why is that exactly? Thoughts?