Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The market for tosh

A few days ago Mr Bookworm returned from a mountain walk with a bag of books lent by another walking enthusiast.

They are -

1 Friends, Lovers, Chocolate : Alexander McCall Smith
2 Mary, Mary : James Patterson
3 A Widow for One Year : John Irving
4 With One Lousy Free Packet of Seed : Lynne Truss
5 Devil Takes a Bride : Gaelen Foley

Judging by the clothes of the man on the cover of No 5 it appears to be a Regency romance, though the woman's dress doesn't look right to me. See what you think.

I admit to being prejudiced against Regency romances by authors other than the inventor of the genre, Georgette Heyer, whose books I collected years ago and still re-read occasionally.

The other day, after I had tried to discourage her from committing herself to romance-writing, Liz Fenwick commented, "I will be sticking with romantic fiction as I love it. It's a joy to write."

Well, if someone is set on something, it's a probably a waste of time to try to dissuade them. But if Liz were to read Devil Takes a Bride I think she would understand why I think an aspiring fiction writer should consider crime rather than romance.

However as, like the author of Devil Takes a Bride, Liz is an American perhaps she would not be as appalled by it as I was. Gaelen Foley's website suggests that she takes her research very seriously, but she seems to have absolutely no sense of period.

Almost the whole of Chapter Seven is an explicit seduction scene of the kind that would stretch the reader's credulity if the story took place in the early 20th century. Even in my youth, the Fifties, intelligent girls - and this heroine is supposed to be exceptionally intelligent - did not abandon all common sense and participate in their seduction by their employer's nephew as eagerly as we are expected to believe that Lizzie Carlisle does.

Clearly there is a market in the US for this kind of tosh, and possibly in the UK. But it isn't hard to imagine what Georgette Heyer would have thought of it.

I'll start another of the borrowed books tonight and report back.


At 19 January, 2007, Blogger jillmorrison said...

Anne, Try reading the John Irving - A Widow For One Year which Mr. Bookworm's walking friend has lent you. Excellent! Quirky and funny but please don't compare it with those wonderful old writers that you mentioned in an earlier blog. Then get hold of a copy of another book by John Irving - A Prayer for Owen Meany...I would also recommend a book currently in the best seller list by Rosie Thomas called Iris and Ruby. All for now but will suggest more later... Jill


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