The Core Themes for Writing Historical mystery romance

historical mystery romance

When writing historical mystery romances, a few core themes always seem to crop up. Whether it’s the lost love of a long-dead relative or uncovering a family secret, these themes provide the perfect fodder for a heart-stopping mystery romance.

To help you get started, we’ve rounded up some of the most popular historical mystery romance themes, with a few ideas on how to work them into your own story.

The Unsolved Mystery

Mystery is one of the best and most popular themes in historical romance. This can take many forms, but the basic premise is that a secret from the past needs to be solved.

This mystery can be something as simple as what happened to a long-lost relative, or it could be something more nefarious, like uncovering a murder. Either way, the mystery provides the perfect hook for a historical mystery romance.

To make this theme work for your story, try to tie the mystery into the plot in a meaningful way. For example, if your heroine tries to solve the mystery of her missing sister, the sister’s disappearance could drive the action forward.

“The Forgotten Love”

Another popular theme in historical mystery romance is forgotten, love. This is a bit different from the mystery in that the forgotten love is usually someone from the past whom the heroine has been unable to forget.

This theme often crops up in stories set during wartime, as the heroine is forced to choose the man she loves or go with the man she’s betrothed to. It can also be used in stories where the heroine tries to move on from a past relationship.

Focus on the emotional impact of the forgotten love. How does the heroine feel about this person? Why can’t she forget them? How does this affect her present-day relationship?

The Family Secret

The family secret is another popular theme in historical mystery romance. This is usually a long-hidden secret that the heroine discovers, often by accident. The unknown can be as simple as a hidden will or an illegitimate child.

It’s often used to add a bit of intrigue to the story as the heroine tries to figure out the clues to uncover the secret. It can also create tension between the heroine and her family as they try to keep the secret hidden.

Try to make the secret an important part of the plot. What effect does it have on the heroine’s life? How does it change her relationship with her family? And most importantly, what does she do with the knowledge once she uncovers it?

The Mysterious Stranger

The mysterious stranger is a classic theme in historical mystery romance. This person comes into the heroine’s life, often by chance, and helps her solve the mystery at hand.

This stranger can be anyone from a dashing private investigator to a grieving widower. They might be helping the heroine for their reasons or have a hidden agenda. Either way, they provide the perfect foil for the heroine.

To make this theme work for your story, create a believable mystery for the heroine to solve. The stranger should play an important role in helping her to uncover the clues, but they shouldn’t be the only ones. There should also be a genuine connection between the two characters so that the reader believes in their relationship.


There are many core themes for writing historical mystery romances. Most importantly, the mystery must be engaging, and the affair must be true to the historical era. Many times, the secret is solved through the use of detective work and careful questioning of suspects. Romance often features star-crossed lovers who must overcome obstacles to be together. These themes often combine with other genres, such as suspense, to create a truly gripping story.

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