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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
because he's married but has an affair? Well... lots of them actually, if prostitutes count. But only one real affair, affair. They're unhappily married in the middle ages when divorce didn't even exist. So, how do you think readers will react?

ETA: Mind you, that's what I'm going to do whether my readers hate it or not, but I want to have it not seem really horrible if I can.
 

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Nope, not if it's not listed as a romance. If the book shows how unhappy he is and makes them feel his dissatisfaction they won't hate him. Trust me on this. Gastien was no angel, and wasn't even unhappy. But people understand his issues and weaknesses and pull for him, even though they hate some of the things he does. You'll be fine.
 
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How sympathetic a character is his wife and how likable is the person he has an affair with?

I had a similar concern in one of my books, one of the female betas hated that the male MC who got married while having amnesia fell back in love with his old love from his past life despite having kids with his wife, who was sympathetic. Another female beta who totally loved the story didn't mind or even seem to have an opinion on it, and I don't remember if the other betas really commented on it (not as strongly as the first person definitely). I do kind of think male readers might be more likely to be forgiving, but yes some people will hate it.

As an aside, I don't remember if the one who hated it was also the one thought the old love was freaking scary. 8)
 

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Yeah, so long as it's not a romance, you should be fine. People will still remark on it, probably, but I think especially in historicals it's fine.

Then again cheating as a plot point has never bothered me, even in romances.
 

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JRTomlin said:
because he's married but has an affair? Well... lots of them actually, if prostitutes count. But only one real affair, affair. They're unhappily married in the middle ages when divorce didn't even exist. So, how do you think readers will react?

ETA: Mind you, that's what I'm going to do whether my readers hate it or not, but I want to have it not seem really horrible if I can.
Since that's my favorite era, I know that sort of thing was very common, what with arranged marriages and all. It still bothers me, but it depends on how it's handled whether or not I will still care about him. John of Gaunt and Katherine Swynnford; Henry II and Rosamund Clifford (much as I love Eleanor), etc.

As long as your MC has a lot of other redeeming qualities, I don't see a problem.
 

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What genre is the project? If it's romance, cheating is considered unforgivable. I saw a survey that said that readers thought the hero raping the heroine was more acceptable than cheating on her. But if it's historical fiction or high fantasy, I can't imagine people will care.
 

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JRTomlin said:
because he's married but has an affair? Well... lots of them actually, if prostitutes count. But only one real affair, affair. They're unhappily married in the middle ages when divorce didn't even exist. So, how do you think readers will react?
You're asking us if your readers will hate your main character because he has an affair with a prostitute in the middle ages? I would think if he used a condom they'd forgive him. Or maybe told his wife, you know, just afterwards? Yes, that's how i'd do it. Condom and immediate confession. But only if the king wasn't in town...
 

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smreine said:
What genre is the project? If it's romance, cheating is considered unforgivable. I saw a survey that said that readers thought the hero raping the heroine was more acceptable than cheating on her. But if it's historical fiction or high fantasy, I can't imagine people will care.
This made me laugh out loud inappropriately.

philstern said:
You're asking us if your readers will hate your main character because he has an affair with a prostitute in the middle ages? I would think if he used a condom they'd forgive him. Or maybe told his wife, you know, just afterwards? Yes, that's how i'd do it. Condom and immediate confession. But only if the king wasn't in town...
So revealing .... ;D ;D
 

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I think you'll be fine, being in the historical fiction category.  Most people who read a lot of historical fiction are aware that it was relatively common for married men to have affairs, especially in the upper classes where marriages were usually arranged and not "love matches."
 

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Jena H said:
I think you'll be fine, being in the historical fiction category. Most people who read a lot of historical fiction are aware that it was relatively common for married men to have affairs, especially in the upper classes where marriages were usually arranged and not "love matches."
We're all missing the point here. If the mistress is younger and more attractive than the wife, people will understand. Then, the wife has the option of participating in the extramarital sex (Though if the wife is taking part, does that make it extramarital? Yes, now it's extra-marital in the sense that the guy has his wife and another woman) or just ignoring matters. Then, the wife can go off and have a bi-curious interlude with the cow milking girl, or a nearby princess, or something.

Now, if the guy had sex with his wife, the mistress, the cow milking girl, and the princess, it would be a Middle Aged orgy. Now, you might think that referred to people in their 40's all having sex, but from a historical perspective...
 

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Upper class wives also had affairs, at least in Europe in the 19th century. Neither husband or wife went into details but they both assumed it could be happening. It was considered poor manners to invite the person you were sleeping with to a dinner party, though.  Of course, if they were usually included and all of a sudden were not, that kind of let people know you were sleeping with them!
 

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JRTomlin said:
because he's married but has an affair? Well... lots of them actually, if prostitutes count. But only one real affair, affair. They're unhappily married in the middle ages when divorce didn't even exist. So, how do you think readers will react?

ETA: Mind you, that's what I'm going to do whether my readers hate it or not, but I want to have it not seem really horrible if I can.
If memory serves, Edward III of England was sixteen when he married fourteen year old Philippa of Hainault. Their first child, Edward of Woodstock (later better known as the Black Prince), was born two years later. It seems to have been a happy marriage that lasted until Philippa died some forty years later. I've always wondered how readers would receive their romance.

In my experience readers expect historical accuracy, but not in sexual matters.

You're on your own. ;D
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Caddy said:
Nope, not if it's not listed as a romance. If the book shows how unhappy he is and makes them feel his dissatisfaction they won't hate him. Trust me on this. Gastien was no angel, and wasn't even unhappy. But people understand his issues and weaknesses and pull for him, even though they hate some of the things he does. You'll be fine.
It is NOT a romance. *gasp of horror* (The horror part is a joke, people. But I don't write romance :) )

He doesn't have the affair until the third novel so hopefully by then I've tricked my readers into liking him. :D
 

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;D Knew I'd get a rise out of you saying "IF it's not a romance!" I was giggling as I typed it, in fact. Not that either of us have anything against romances, but you definitely do NOT write romance. So far, I haven't either, but I do have strong love stories in some of the books.
 

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If its historical, set in those times, wouldn't that be what many did then? But then I am one of those reading romance with cheating if its done right. Romance is not rigid to all readers, we aren't all the same folks.  ;)

But seriously, I expect there to have been a lot of stuff like that going on in HF.  I try to imagine living in a time of arranged marriages. Its hard to so with modern sensibilities.

Readers of historical fiction expect some actual historical facts mixed in with their fiction.  ;D
 

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Write the character true to the character, and trust that the readers will understand. Do you think Twain sat there and wondered whether Tom Sawyer should try to fool the good father about knowing his psalms? Or did Tolstoy worry that Karenina would lose the audience by cheating on her husband?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Atunah said:
If its historical, set in those times, wouldn't that be what many did then? But then I am one of those reading romance with cheating if its done right. Romance is not rigid to all readers, we aren't all the same folks. ;)

But seriously, I expect there to have been a lot of stuff like that going on in HF. I try to imagine living in a time of arranged marriages. Its hard to so with modern sensibilities.

Readers of historical fiction expect some actual historical facts mixed in with their fiction. ;D
Hopefully, you're right.

vrabinec said:
Write the character true to the character, and trust that the readers will understand. Do you think Twain sat there and wondered whether Tom Sawyer should try to fool the good father about knowing his psalms? Or did Tolstoy worry that Karenina would lose the audience by cheating on her husband?
I don't know. They may have. ;)
 
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