Putting this out there for comment, reflection, reaction, etc.: Times change. And while I would argue that basic human morality remains the same, ethics and the practical outworking of morality shift with culture and milieu. I think most people who read historical fiction understand this, and if they're like me they're irritated when an author makes someone in the Middle Ages, say, talk and act and think just like someone out of 1998. But what if the "historical" period you're writing about isn't that long ago? What if it's a milieu very similar to ours but with very big differences as well? What if it's a time we haven't quite finished reacting against; a time like, say, 1981-'82? When I wrote the novella I currently have in revision it was 1983 and the milieu I described, along with its permissions and expectations, were the way things were. I didn't have to worry about reader disconnection. But now I'm dusting it off and I've made a conscious choice to keep the story in its time period and not permit any of the characters to reflect on the action from a later date I'm doing pretty well with that so far, I think. It's been fun remembering and researching when certain slang terms began to be used and what clothes were worn and what was available as to equipment and so forth. But in a short while I'm going to be reworking the scene where my hero and heroine confess their love for one another and have their first sexual encounter. Some revision is needed, yes, to tighten up the plot and to deepen the drama. But I want to leave the basic action the same, otherwise there's no crisis. But! But! That scene, and in fact the whole love story subplot, involves a boss (single, but still a boss) carrying on a romance with his female employee. Yes, she's single, too. Yes, she's been hot for him since the book began (though up to the moment of the encounter she has herself convinced she's cooled off and they're Just Friends). Yes, they're both mature, consenting adults. And being people of the early '80s they're both acting on assumptions that back then would have been thought of as forgivable at worst and even would have fulfilled contemporary expectations. (I mean, for decades of the 20th century wasn't getting a job with a powerful guy the first step towards landing him as a husband? In popular assumption, at least?) But last night it occurred to me that a reader in 2014 might look at that scene, even at the whole plotline, and think, "What a terrible person! He's using his power as her employer to get an advantage over her and she won't be able to say No without risking her livelihood!" Which is the last reaction I want. I want the reader to say, "At last these two are together!" Until, that is, I throw more obstacles in the way of their permanent relationship that won't be removed till the book's end. What do you think? What's the best way to write recent historical fiction and stay true to the time without losing the reader? Especially when an essential part of your plot involves something that might (or does) violate today's ethics?