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.