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Romance vs. Women's Fiction

Hello, and welcome back! I hope you've all had a wonderful Mother's Day, with lots of good gifts from your kids--perhaps even a new book or two? While I didn't receive any books from my boys, I do have a small stack here to share with you this week, so no more delays.

There's been a lot of talk lately about "chick lit." How many of you have read any of it? Basically, this new category of books falls under the "women's fiction" umbrella, like love stories, like romances. Yet all are different. A love story, as we discussed in the past, isn't necessarily a romance, because the romance must have the happy ending. Romance readers expect it and feel cheated otherwise. Likewise, women's fiction may have a love story or a romance in it, but the focus is not the romance or love story. Such is the case with Joanna Trollope's Next of Kin
Next of Kin
(Berkley). Robin Meredith has just lost his wife and now has to deal with his angry daughter and other family issues. Though I'm not a big women's fiction fan, this one is enjoyable, as long as you know going in not to expect the romance's happy ending. What I liked most about this one is the setting, rural England. As we talked about last week, some authors do setting well, and Ms. Trollope is one of them.

Getting back into the romance end of things, we have My Lord Jack
My Lord Jack
by Hope Tarr (Jove Highland Fling). I have to admit having trouble with this one from the beginning. The plot is quite unique, but I found it hard to fall in love with a man whose occupation is executioner. Jack Campbell finds himself responsible for Claudia Valemont when she is accused of theft, and her sentence is to be his indentured servant for six months. Interesting idea, yes? I have to say, I've enjoyed Ms. Tarr's previous story more. I would have preferred to know a bit more about Claudia's secrets earlier, because I didn't feel very sympathetic toward her either. Of Cupid's five arrows, I'm only borrowing two and a half for this one.

Finally, we have Joan Wolf's first contemporary single title, Silverbridge
Silverbridge
(Warner). Actress Tracy Collins is on location in the English countryside to film part of her latest movie. The lord of the manor, Harry Oliver, is not very pleased to have to rent out his estate, but with an ill kid sister and the cost of repairs to maintain the place, he has no choice. Then strange things start happening to Tracy, odd things, showing her scenes from the past, and someone is out to get Harry, someone who wants Silverbridge. It took me a while to get into this one, good if you like a slow start, not so otherwise. I had to wonder, though, if not for the push from the paranormal elements here, would Tracy and Harry wind up together? I'm giving up only three arrows for this one.

Until next week, happy reading!

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