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BellaOnline's Romance Novels Editor

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When Is a Romance Not a Romance?

Guest Author - Elizabeth Darrach

Hello! Welcome back. So many books, so little time: I´m thinking of having that printed on a t-shirt soon!

When do you consider a book not to be a romance? How much of the story should be focused on the romance as opposed to other elements of the plot? For RWA and most romance publishers, the romance should occupy at least 51 percent of the story to qualify. There can be other elements and subplots, but the main focus should be on the hero and heroine. Unfortunately, two of the books I´ve read this week don´t qualify as romances, but both are being marketed that way.


The first is Sheila Rabe´s Prince of a Guy
Prince of a Guy
(Berkley). Kate Stonewall is a radio psychologist whose latest bestseller tells readers how to find their own prince charming. Her new neighbor and work nemesis, Jeff Hardin thinks she´s full of crap. Of course they´ll end up together. The trouble is, for most of the book, they´re not together, and not even close to it. He starts out dating someone else, and Kate spends much of the book falling in love with a con man. On the romance scale, this one earns only one of Cupid´s five arrows.


The second book I read this week was Susanna Kearsley´s Season of Storms
Season of Storms
(Jove). Actress Celia Sands has just gotten the role of a lifetime in Italy. Celia shares the name of a famous actress from many decades ago, and the man whose idea it was to do the play is the grandson of the man who loved the original Celia. Fate? While I liked the suspense in this story, there´s precious little romance--after a couple brief conversations, Celia is suddenly enamoured of a man who appears to be seeing someone else. But the main focus of this story isn´t the romance; it´s the mystery of what happened to the original Celia. Good gothic story, but not a romance. This one only gets one arrow, too.


Finally, we have the new Jove anthology Out of This World Anthology
Out of This World Anthology
which features novellas from J. D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts), Maggie Shayne, Susan Krinard, and Laurell K. Hamilton. The new Eve Dallas story from Robb is great--lots of humor in this one and the love between Eve and Roarke is very evident. I loved it. This outing, Susan Krinard has a telepathic man in the future falling for the one woman he shouldn´t in the midst of what could become a universal war. Interesting concept and very sexy hero. Remember the nasty Puabi in Maggie Shayne´s last book? Well, this time out, she´s dying and having a change of heart. I love when an author can take a completely awful character like Puabi was and redeem them. Neat twist at the end, too. Finally, we have Laurell K. Hamilton´s novella, with her popular Anita Blake character. I hadn´t read any of her books before this and I´m sorry to say this hasn´t induced me to run out and get them all. The story is called a prequel to her next full-length book, and all I can say is, you must have had to read the series from the beginning, because reading this didn´t make me think any more fondly of vampires than I did. A big ick for me, thanks. Otherwise, I´m giving the anthology four arrows.


Until next time, happy reading!

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Content copyright © 2014 by Elizabeth Darrach. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Elizabeth Darrach. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Val Kovalin for details.

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