Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Romance ... and Baby Makes Three

So, I'm at the recycling center emptying my recyclable paper and there on top of all the newspapers and junk mail are a bunch of new-looking paperbacks -- with this guy on top. Latigo, a renegade Apache, could only bring the widowed Rose Colby more grief . . .

Never mind that I'd just given a box of books to the library -- the painful result of trying to de-accession some of my book collection. Never mind that genre romance is NOT something I read. I couldn't stop myself from scooping up several of these abandoned novels.

Whar surprised me though was not so much Latigo, the half-breed hunk in APACHE FIRE who yearns for acceptance, family, and love, but these other two books-- from Harlequin's Born in the USA series. (The subtitle of the series is 'Love, marriage, and the pursuit of family!' (Notice the pacifier on the back cover.)

What's going on here?

BITTERSWEET SACRIFICE: A young widow, pregnant with a stranger's child. She's agreed to act a a surrogate mother for an unknown man who really, really wants a child. She does this in order to pay for the operation her adorable little son needs. But then he realizes she can't give up the baby.

Would you believe that near the end of this pregnancy she meets and falls in love with Zade (hunky, wealthy) who is incredibly turned on by her gravid charms. (I mean, REALLY turned on.) Plus he really likes her little boy. And son-of-a-gun, would you believe that he turns out to be the father of the child she's carrying?

LATE BLOOMER is about an forty-year old spinster in a small Alabama town who encounters (hunky) Ben McKenzie (also wealthy) who is on the run with his daughter, trying to get her away from an abusive stepfather. Not only do sparks fly and matters get pretty steamy between the (very attractive) spinster who buys a whole new wardrobe of sexy lingerie, but the hunky, wealthy Ben is the salvation of the dying little town, bringing a recycled paper plant to revive the economy.

I'm kind of fascinated by this phenomenon.

And I wonder which fantasy appeals to which women . . . and why.

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15 comments:

Martin H. said...

Vicki

I'm probably the least qualified person on the planet to offer a suggestion as to "..which fantasy appeals to which women . . . and why."

All I know is that the market for this genre is massive, and is likely to remain so all the time Latigo and his friends continue to work out regularly!

Carol @ TheWritersPorch said...

Vicki....I'm confused, did you read them? Dang! They sound pretty good to me!I don't read "romance" per say but a good romance in any book makes it better to me.I think the loss of romance between the covers in real life beds has led to a boom in romance between book covers being read! I know...poetry is two doors down! HA! :)

Tammy said...

You are too funny! I needed a good laugh, and son-of-a-gun, I found it right here. I've never been a big romance genre reader--although I did go through a Harlequin romance phase as a teenager. (Back when they were much tamer). I even named my bicycle Billambang and painted it on the chain guard--much to the confusion of my family. (It was a name of a 'ranch' in Australia--where of course the owner was hunky, very wealthy and melted chocolate under that harsh exterior....
Again thanks for the laugh.
Tammy--from frigid-snowy-windy Missouri....

Vicki Lane said...

I skimmed the two I described. Since I teach a class on writing popular fiction, I thought perhaps this would be a good chance to study this genre. And what I found in this limited sample was that the writing was okay but just so predictable.

They seem to be kind of a wish-fulfillment -- hunky, wealthy guys who fall madly in love with ordinary (though beautiful) women and turn out to be incredible fathers. Well, what's not to love?

The books seem to be incredibly formulaic -- if you but one of this Harlequin series you are assured wholesome characters, some steamy sex, and a happy ending. Nothing wrong with that -- but I guess I prefer a little less certainty. And something that is really moving.

That said, there's nothing wrong with comfort reads.

Miss_Yves said...

As I had a glance to the first cover,I was very surprised :
Apache Fire , by ...
Vicki lane?
Elizabeth Goodweather?
No! Elizabeth Lane ! (Lol)

Merisi said...

I imagine a woman who works hard, has little time and money for other things to take her mind off a hard-scrabble life occasionally, and not the drive and energy to read anything more substantial.

There could be a role for public libraries, to offer a sort of "Easy, but good Reading 101".

Vicki Lane said...

Oh,Tammy, I love the thought of you and your bike Billambang! (By the way, according to the inside front cover of one of these books, there's still an Australian Harlequin series.)

I think I'm seeing potential here -- shy Missouri shepherdess meets an Australian sheep baron (Bruce Buff of Billambang)who is looking for a particular Shetland strain to add to his flocks. He travels to her farm and fireworks ensue when their hands touch as he is helping her to deliver the twin ewes that he desperately needs.

That's NOT me, Miss Yves! If I ever write romance, I think I will be Victoria Northcutt.

Merisi - I think that you are exactly right. The Cinderella story is what these are. In the two books I spoke of, the women are much "lowlier" in terms of financial and social position than the men.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

I'm not a big romance novel reader, but I have read a number of Danielle Steel's books a while back. Too predictable for me, but I can see why it appeals to people. A little romance is always good.
Sam

Vicki Lane said...

I'm not turning up my nose at romance -- there's some in my books after all. And I've enjoyed Judith Krantz and Rosamund Pilcher, both of whom I think are romance writers. But neither of them is especially predictable in terms of plot.

Victoria said...

Formulaic and predictable - that's exactly why I don't read romance. I read two of Danielle Steel's books when I was recovering from an operation and, while I thought they were well written, the plot in each one was exactly the same!

I'd never thought of Rosamund Pilcher as a romance writer, but I tend to think these three novels when I think of her: September, The Shell Seekers and Winter Solstice. Yes, they have some romance in them, but for some reason I didn't think of that as the main theme. I thought all three were more about family dynamics, but what makes her one of my favorite authors is how brillantly she brings her characters and locales to life. Same reason you're one of my favorite authors!

Vicki Lane said...

I adore Pilcher's books for the lush descriptions. I think of her as being at the very upper end of romance fiction -- but women's fiction or just flat literary fiction would apply too.

tipper said...

I'm not a romance reader or should I say not a romance reader of books like you described. I think it's cause they are so unreal-and because I don't want anyone to save me-I want to save myself.

Vicki Lane said...

That's a good point, Tipper!

marĂ­a cecilia said...

Vicki, what a guy!! mijito rico!!!

Vicki Lane said...

I had to look this one up -- I guessed that mijito might be from mi hijo and found that this was the case -- and more. In fact, mijito seems to be used very much the way that some folks in my area use Son! Son! Did you see that good-looking guy!