Hi Readers! Thanks for joining my friends and I for this weeks Book Club Thursday. Our feature this week is REMEMBER WHEN where we each share our thoughts of reading things awhile back in the past.
Remember When Heroes Were Neanderthals and Heroines Forgot They Had A Spine?
A long time ago when I was the mom to three active little girls, I took a sabbatical from reading novels. Always a voracious reader like my mom and gramma, I found myself too tired to read anything but the newspaper and magazines. Well, occasionally I would squeeze in a Stephen King book or the novelization of a favorite new movie. Fast forward to 1995 and A & E aired their version of Pride & Prejudice. Nobody does Mr. Darcy like Colin Firth and I found myself digging out my copy and rereading one of my favorite classics!
So I began hitting all the big box stores for new books where I discovered so many new authors like Nora Roberts, Linda Howard, Jayne Ann Krentz, Sandra Brown, Tami Hoag, etc. All were new stars on the NYT Best-Seller list. I fell in love with many of the writers and found out that they had started out honing their craft by writing shorter stories called category romance and they had backlists. I didn't even know that there were used bookstores, which by-the-way is where I met my fellow bloggers and BFFs, Ann and Cyndi. Anyone that knows us well knows that we all have basements full of backlists of hundreds of authors.
Now as you know, you have to start somewhere and boy the writing was quite different then those best sellers. Back in the late 70's and 80's, publishers had guidelines for the romances which the authors had to follow while finding their voices.
I remember most of them fondly. Most are sweet and definitely many are dated, but I love seeing how my favorites writing changed through the years. Many I still read today. Times have changed and what was once accepted back then wouldn't fly today. So for times sake, I am going to divide this piece into three sections.
1. I want you, you want me even if you don't know it yet.
The hero is a nice guy, a bit pushy because he has decided it's time for him to settle down. SAXON'S LADY by Stephanie James aka Jayne Ann Krentz, penned this story which was a gift to readers for subscribing to Harlequin/Silhouette books for home delivery. The hero spent one night with the heroine and decided they should get married, but the heroine talks him into giving her a year to think about it. It was cute and dated fluff, and went for big bucks before it was reissued. Released in 1987.
2. I want you, you should want me even if I can be an arrogant albeit a good looking ass.
THORNE'S WAY by Joan Hohl. Yes, he was older, wealthy and her boss and she was grieving the loss of her fiance, but the mighty hero Jonas Thorne found himself wanting his lovely but quiet assistant. He told her once that he wanted to smack her just by the way she said his name. This is in my Keeper case. I know he could be a jerk, but I felt he did love her and I want my heroines to be happy, so he was her jerk. The author herself felt that Valerie was a bit of a doormat, so she wrote a sequel called THORNE'S WIFE to give her one. Released in 1982.
3. I am a neanderthal a$$*%#&. I am a cruel, insensitive jerk and even I don't know where you put your spine, but you sure are pretty!
Now there are some books that you find are astonished that a favorite author wrote. This one is more like the dated European/Australian formula Mills and Boon Harlequins from the 70's that my gramma used to buy and gave to me! I have read some books where the hero is cruel at first, but somehow the author finds a way to redeem the character in a believable way. No such luck for me with ALL THAT GLITTERS by Linda Howard. The "hero" is so heavy handed with his ridiculously crappy mistreatment of the woman he fought against desiring.
(Whore and gold digger peppered his assessment of her more than once).
Now I read this only once and tried to bleach it from my mind, but refreshed said mind with some reviews from Goodreads. Many reviewers said it bordered on rape and wouldn't fly today. There's no way in Hades that I would do a reread to confirm that. I do remember that the "heroine" was a doormat and why she would want a man like that is between her and her shrink. And if I don't like one of the main characters after most of the book, I'm done. First released in 1982.
It was a nice stroll down memory lane with mostly good memories and some...not so much. I love and treasure some of the earlier books, as corny or fluffy and dated they may be. If writing books were so easy, I would have been on the best selling lists for the past 20+ years and living in my Victorian mansion on the hill raking in the bucks. I can dream can't I? LOL And I never want to diss an author if I can help it. We all have to begin somewhere and hopefully grow and improve.
One note: I am amused when people read these old stories and diss these oldies we loved. Some of these books are almost 40 years old. Don't be lazy, research! Goodreads puts old and new covers and dates right there and all you have to do is scroll over them if you have any doubts. Sheesh! You didn't notice that the heroine called the hero from her princess phone with a rotary dial? LOL.
Most of these books are found in used book stores and only a few might be possibly available as an e-book.
Thanks for joining us this week and please let us know your thoughts. We love hearing from you.
Clearing Off The Book Shelves-February 9th