Sunday, February 05, 2006

Teeth grinding

A week or so ago, I bought Bronwyn Jameson's book, The Rugged Loner. The Harlequin and Silhouette books aren't published here until several months after the US, and so I'd been eagerly awaiting Bron's book - I don't read many books of that line, but Bron is not only a good writer, she's a wonderfully warm and supportive member of the Romance Writers of Australia and great company at conferences. (Plus she has a really great name ;-) )

So, I went into K-Mart to buy her book. They publish some of the Harl/Sil lines here in Australia as duos, so you get two stories in the same book. And my heart sank. Bron's book was packaged with an author whose stories I really don't like. I bought it anyway, of course, but I confess I did feel cranky with Harlequin.

The other author? Diana Palmer. I know that many people love her, she's a Big Name Author who's sold a gazillion books, and she's probably a wonderful person. But I've tried to read two of her books in the past and have been grinding my teeth by page 2. Those books just didn't mesh with my taste in reading. Obviously, she does appeal to millions of readers, which is fine, and just goes to illustrate that there's no right or wrong, and personal taste is subjective.

Anyway, after I read Bron's fantastic story, (woo-hoo Bron! Can't wait till the next one comes out!), I decided to try Diana's, thinking maybe I just didn't read her best ones previously. Maybe this one I'd enjoy....

I gave up on page 5. I wanted to throttle the heroine for being spineless and TSTL, and knee the hero. Not a great start for relating to characters and believing in the possibility of a HEA. I looked at the copyright page, assuming it was an early 1980s novel re-released. Nope, it was first published in 2005.

So, what's my point in relating this? The romance genre is wide, and the readership is not some homogenous lump of all exactly-the-same women. Diana writes, very successfully, books that appeal to some of those women. No writer - not even La Nora, or Jennifer Crusie - appeals to everyone. Some love them, some hate them, some are merely indifferent. That's more than okay - that's the way it should be. Diversity is wonderful! Without that diversity, our genre and our industry would be tiny.

So, with all due respect to Diana Palmer, I'm not going to try and finish her book. I don't wish her ill, or even really begrudge her the $$ I spent, but my reading time is too limited to read books I'm not enjoying.

What I do wish, however, is that Harlequin in Australian gave some more consideration to the whole publishing of two books in one volume thing. I don't know if others found the pairing of Bron's and Diana's books strange, but I wouldn't be surprised if they did - it would seem to me that Bron's gutsy, independent heroines and Diana's more traditional ones would appeal to different readers. Maybe that's Harlequin's ploy - get both readerships to buy the book. That's fine for Bron and Diana - but do you think I can send Harlequin the bill for getting my teeth fixed???


THIS! Christine said...

You're not alone Bron. You're the second person from Oz that I've heard complain about the DP story, and oddly enough for the same reasons. She was sure this book was first pubbed in the early 80s. The stilted formality of the dialogue between the two protagonists. The air of Snow White purity surrounding the heroine. It drove her completely nuts.

From her description it reminded me of Julie Garwood (whom I used to adore), now I can't stand her heroines. Theyre so perfect, so pure, so sweet, they're inevitably genius' who graduated college at the age of 5 with majors in everything (okay that last was a bit of an exaggeration, can ya tell?)

I don't have to like the heroine to enjoy a book (JD Robb's Eve Dallas for example.) But one thing I can't stand is sweet perfection in heroines. Shudder!


Bron said...

Yes, X, this heroine came across as pure, sweet - and silly and gormless. A very typical 70s or early 80s heroine. Maybe she improved after the first few pages, but I gave up. The writing style also read to me as stilted and flat - definitely not my preferred style.

Oh, well - at least there are plenty of other good books to read - and Bron Janeson's next one comes out in a week ;-)

Lyn Cash said...

You're not alone - lol. Echoing the other two here. And I've read your latest post as well as this one - your characters are unique, which is refreshing.

I'm not a fan of doubling up with two unlike books combined into one print format and don't know anyone in my circle who is, so maybe this is just a H' marketing ploy that will die a quick death. Hope so.'s good to read your blog again.

Angie the Hippo said...

Hmm... also not a fan of "double books", and I've seen them do that over here, (Sweden), too. I rarely buy Hq books here though, because I don't like the translated ones. They are shortened!
First you lose some meaning in translation, then you also lose part of the book by it simply being cut out!