Perfect Heroes, Perfect Escapes

I read a lot of novels that are nothing like what I write. Lately I’ve been on a Grace Burrows binge. She writes Regency romances, and for those of you not in the know about romance genres, Regency novels take place in England in the years George III was incapacitated and his son served as regent, so between 1811 and 1820.  (These dates include much of the Napoleonic Wars between 1803 and 1815.) Naturally, the genre spreads into the years before and after these dates.

So anyway, Grace Burrows:  One of the things Grace does is build big families and then gives each member of the family his or her own book. Grace is not the only author doing this, of course, but she does it very well. I’m a sucker for this kind of series. I need to know what Matthew’s brother will do about that nasty little secret hinted at in Matthew’s book.

Critics of the genre complain that romance books are predictable. Well, duh. So are sci fi, western, fantasy, thriller, police procedurals. Don’t we know the hero will prevail? The cop will catch the bad guy in the nick of time? What’s the name of that Tom Clancy hero? Jack Ryan? He will save the day, count on it. Well, romances end with a Happy Ever After, and that’s fine with me.

I used to read Dostoevsky, Dickens, Tolstoy, Hemingway, Fitzgerald. These days, with global warming, Covid 19, political craziness, I want that Happy Ever After. I want escapism. And I can find it in the pages of a Grace Burrows novel.

If you read a lot of any author’s books, you see little quirks, some annoying and some not. For instance, Grace seems to use the word fundament at least once in every novel. Don’t know what a fundament is? I didn’t either. It’s somebody’s rear end.

More interesting though is the hero’s character. Every single man is unbelievably wonderful: Kind. Sensitive. Protective. Complicated. Nurturing. Lonely. Emotionally generous. Unselfish. Also, with all these fine characteristics, he’s rather alpha, a take-charge kind of guy. And quite tall, usually well-muscled.  And a fine horseman.

Well, who could complain about that guy? It’s fiction, after all.


About glcraig

Gretchen Craig’s lush, sweeping tales deliver edgy, compelling characters who test the boundaries of integrity, strength, and love. Told with sensitivity, the novels realistically portray the raw suffering of people in times of great upheaval. Gretchen was born and raised in Florida. She’s lived in climates and terrain as diverse as the white beaches of the Gulf Coast, the rocky shores of Maine, and the dusty plains of Texas. Her awareness of place imbues every page with the smell of the bayous of Louisiana, the taste of gumbo in New Orleans, or the grit of a desert storm. Rich in compelling characters and historical detail, Always and Forever is a sweeping saga of Josie and Cleo, mistress and slave. Amid Cajuns and Creoles, the bonds between these two remarkable women are tested by prejudice, tragedy, and passion for one extraordinary man. Gretchen’s first novel won the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence for Mainstream with Romantic Elements and was chosen as an Editor’s Pick in the Historical Novel Society reviews. Ever My Love, winner of the Booksellers Best Award from the Greater Detroit Romance Writers of America, continues the story of Cleo and Josie’s families, of their struggle for principle, justice, and love in a world where the underpinnings of the plantation culture are crumbling. Crimson Sky, inspired by the pueblos, mountains, and deserts of New Mexico, evokes the lives of people facing neighboring marauders and drought. Now the march of Spanish Conquistadors up the Rio Grande threatens their homeland, their culture, and their entire belief system.
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