Romantic Scotland, England, Ireland, France. Germany?

Where would you set a romantic adventure?

My writing has taken me to medieval England, Normandy and Scotland, to Jacobite Scotland and Victorian Cornwall. All very dramatic settings full of fascinating history.

But whilst I'm still working on my medieval Scottish WIP, my mind has wandered to other countries to write about. For example, I over the years, I've visited many historical sites, castles, cathedrals and towns in Germany. (An intriguing place to visit is Speyer Cathedral, with its long history and crypt!) 

Speyer Cathedral - (c) Wikipedia
With lush, wild landscapes, independent towns and cities, meandering rivers and dark forests, you'd think it an ideal setting for romantic shenanigans. Knight against knight; tribal clashes; prince against prince.

Of course, most readers will automatically associate Germany with WWI and II. And it must be remembered. But that's not the only history Germany has to offer, nor should it remain the only part of German history people should know about. Let's go back in time.

Knights, rulers in their own lands overlooking strategic river positions or trade routes, set their own laws, pretty similar to the Highland clans pre-Clearances. So why are there so few romances set in what is now called Germany but which over the centuries used to consist of tribes, nomads, then free towns, feudal lordships and principalities (if there are any in the English language)? With so many Saxon romances about, why doesn't anyone trace them back to their places of origin, the North Sea shores of central Europe? (I'd be happy to be proved wrong there.) 

Our history goes way back. If you research the Teutonic Knights or delve into the intrigues of the Holy Roman Empire, you'll find so much stuff that just cries out to be written. I have visited many sites linked to the Holy Roman Empire – cathedrals, crypts, exhibitions. It's a fascinating web of political intrigue, and there are some noteworthy periods that would be ideal for a budding romantic adventure.

Bad Mergentheim, longtime
 seat of the Teutonic Knights
The overlapping borders with (and, at regular intervals, enmity to) France adds to the appeal, I think. Intrigue over intrigue spanning centuries. Speaking of which, discover the Carolingians! And make sure to meet the Salians and Merovingians... :-)

The Highland Clearances or the Irish Potato Famine were cruel eras, full of savagery and survival of the fittest, yet they spawned thousands of romances on the back of the hardship endured. Many were about the protagonists emigrating overseas, where they settled happily ever after. But we know it wasn't a peaceful settlement, yet it is still popular with readers.

So where do we draw the line? I'm talking about pre-1900 setting here. The World Wars have their separate place, and their bitter-sweet romances as well.

Would you read a romantic adventure set on the Rhine, the Neckar or the Moselle? In the Middle Ages or perhaps during the Romance period? 

Two warring families holding court in their strategically placed castles. One fair maiden... 

Schloss Heidelberg (c) M. Smolka


  1. I would read it, Cathie. I know Germany has plenty of history before the twentieth century. I studied music. ~Miriam

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Miriam. That's good to know. :-) Your music studies sound very interesting. Do you have any favourite composers?

    2. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, ... I like them all. Not so crazy about the modern ones.


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