Last week, my pal Kati came up with the idea of "switching" blogs, so today she posted something from me, and I'm posting something from her. I adore Kati; she's smart, funny, gives great recs, and is an all-around cool person to know. I just wish she read much slower. Then again, she wishes I watched more t.v., so I guess we're even *g*
Kati: I’ve known Stacy a little over two years. We met at Michelle Buonfiglio’s Romance: Buy the Book blog because of our mutual love of romance novels. We share a lot of the same tastes, and generally have the same reactions to most books. We, for the most part, have strong feelings about authors like Lisa Kleypas and Suzanne Brockmann (although Stace loves her a little more than me), we loves us some blue collar heroes, we love the alpha hero, and we despise weak and stupid heroines.
Every once in a while as a romance reader, I read a book by an author I love that is a clunker. This happened to me recently with Laura Lee Guhrke’s "The Wicked Ways of a Duke". Guhrke is a sure thing for me. Prior to this book, I’ve never read a book by her that I didn’t love and isn’t on my keeper shelf. Sure, she uses some conventions that make romance readers crazy, and yes, there was some hoopla over "The Marriage Bed". But me? I love her. She writes consistently likeable heroines and compelling heroes.
"The Wicked Ways of a Duke" didn’t work for me because it employs the one romance convention guaranteed to make me throw a book at the wall…romance by deceit. I have a very hard time with any hero acting as one thing, but really being something else. In the case of this book, he pretended to fall in love with the heroine because he was a fortune hunter. Unforgivable? No, many books feature this premise. But for me, it went on too long, and since we as readers were in on it from the start, it created a kind of knot of tension in my stomach as I read. I felt more and more sorry for the heroine as she fell in love with this man who really bore little resemblance to who he really was. Did she get her vengeance? Umm, sort of. But in the end, she lied to him as well, and to me, two wrongs don’t make a right.
Anyway, there was much gnashing of teeth at my house as I persevered, sure that somehow Laura Lee Guhrke would pull the story out. She’d either have the hero grovel enough to satisfy me. Or, she’d somehow tie up the issue in a way that would make the resolution believable. Alas, no, the book ended and I stomped off to my computer, shot an email to a friend of mine who reads a lot of romance complaining bitterly about the book, and I tossed the book directly into the give away bag.
Has the experience turned me off of Laura Lee Guhrke? No. I still love "Guilty Pleasures" with a passion. It’s a total comfort re-read for me (I love ugly duckling stories, and this one is a masterpiece). Will I buy her again? Yes. Once. After that, she becomes an author I look for at the Used Bookstore. But if that happens, I’ll be sad about it and regret it. She’s written some wonderful romances that I adore. But hey, $8.00 only goes so far these days, and I am unwilling to spend money on authors who consistently disappoint me.
What about you? What books were you disappointed in?
When a beloved author "steps off the path" what do you do?
Do you never buy their books again?
Do you give them one more chance?