I admit, I love historical novels. Just the other day, a friend on Facebook commented that she would love to live in a simpler time. Maybe in the mountains during the seventeen or eighteen hundreds. Really? I wanted to ask her if she had ever tried doing a week of laundry outside using a cauldron over an open fire and hanging everything on branches and fence lines. That would be during nice weather. Winter would be a nightmare.
I'm working on a historical set in Colorado Territory in the the late 1800's. Everything has to be thought out. No telephones, no electricity and no decent medical care. You woke up at dawn and went to bed shortly after nightfall. In a mountain valley, that's can be pretty early.
PBS has done some terrific challenges for families wanting to try living in another era. A few thrived and a lot would have been dead in six months from starvation. One family lived on a cattle ranch with hired hands. A historian had come in and set up a working ranch of the 1850's complete with a vegetable garden. The family and young ranch hands refused to eat squash, peas or okra because they had never tried it before. When concern was raised that there was no food, the historian told them there was plenty and she was thoroughly disgusted with them for not even making the effort.
Even later studies had their problems. The BBC had a modern family living in WWII London. That didn't seem such a stretch until faced with rationing and food shortages. Mom had a melt down when they had to entertain guests with a cake without icing.
So, while I love reading about the past, I wouldn't necessarily like living back then. Authors don't tend to mention outhouses, lack of hygiene, spoiled food, terrible health care and the hard work involved in just maintaining a clean home.Not romantic, you see.