Hello, and welcome back! I hope your weather is turning as nice as ours is, at last! I´m in the midst of packing for Scotland, but I´m going to hurry and finish reading my small stack of books here so that I can pre-post the next two weeks´ articles so you´ll have something to read while I´m in Scotland, soaking up the atmosphere and photographing historical sites like a madwoman, and even sampling a bit of the native drink. Ah, the lengths some people go to for research....
I´ve been troubled for the last week or so by a review I read in a national magazine. It was for the book I´m reviewing here today, and was even their page-turner of the week. Yet the reviewer made several snide comments in the review, including one about "Bodice-ripping lines...," and "...the obligatory shower a deux...," and another about the speed of the author´s production. If I were the author of the book, this review would go into the "bad review" file.
I have to wonder, why do so many people make these comments about romances? More disturbing than the ignoramuses who have never read a romance yet still deride them are the romance readers who make these sort of sweeping generalities about the books. There are romances to suit every taste, be it sweet or super-spicy. There are inspirational romances for those so inclined. Why do people feel the need to belittle romances?
Sure, our books may not save the world. But they do serve many purposes. Like sweeping the reader away for a few hours to a place guaranteed to provide a happy ending. We sure don´t have that sort of guarantee in real life, but wouldn´t it be nice to know that everyone would have their happy ending just like the heroes and heroines in romance novels? What about the woman who´s been abused and is starting over and needs a reminder that not all relationships need to be that way? Romances certainly can provide that little reminder.
No, not all romances are realistic. But many are. And hey, we´re reading fiction here, folks. Isn´t the point of that to take us somewhere else, away from the things we all have to deal with in our own lives and world? As for the romances that do deal with more realistic aspects of life, some of these books mean a great deal to some readers, helping them to move on from some traumatic event. I´ve read notes from authors who were so touched by reader letters they received after a particular book was published, letting the author know how much the book helped them, or that they´d been affected by this same issue. How is this a bad thing?
Okay, enough ranting. Nora Roberts´s latest hardcover is out now: Three Fates (Putnam). The Sullivan family is on a quest to find the two silver statues that are mates to the one their great-great grandfather stole just before the "Lusitania" sank. Which has now been stolen from them. Malachi, Gideon and Rebecca travel from Ireland to New York City, to Prague in their search, encountering Tia Marsh, Cleo Tolliver and Jack Burdett, who can either help or hurt their hunt. Ms. Roberts has set previous books in Ireland, and the pictures she draws for us with her words are very impressive, making the reader feel as if they´re there, watching the coast with the Sullivans. I admit to sitting down with this one one Sunday morning and refusing to stop reading until I´d reached the end, so many of you will want to start this when you have a large block of reading time. With the vivid characters and settings and nail-biting suspense, as well as quite a few laugh-out-loud moments, this one´s earned four and a half of Cupid´s five arrows.
Look on Amazon.com for Three Fates. Until next week, happy reading!