Mary Kate has a very interesting post up today on the reaction so far to The Windflower and those who have read it on it’s round the world tour. So far there are some strong negative reactions to it and she is asking why this is because it’s her all time favourite book.
So. That gets me to wondering -- why does the book work for me on almost every level? I'm thinking back to 2000, when I first read the book.
So why does this book not work for other readers?
For the record, while not “officially” a member of the tour because I have my own copy and have already have read it and will be doing a filler piece while it’s in transit to it’s next stop. I just need the go ahead to post my say.
I’m with Mary Kate. I read this one much later than she did. She first read it in 2000 and I think I read it about 2005. And I loved it! Mary Kate makes a statement that I totally agree with:
Maybe it's because I did start reading romance in the early 80s, but forced seduction has never really bothered me.
That was true for me to for quite a while until slowly over time, it did begin to bother me quite a bit and I gave up romance for quite some time. When I came back to it, there had been significant changes – for the better(!) in the heroes.
I think it does make a difference in how long one has been reading romance as to whether this one will work or not. As a fellow long time reader, I remember the days of Steve from Rosemary Roger - now THERE was a jerk hero!! The heroes of yesteryear romance novels were downright cruel to the heroines. They thought nothing of either forcefully seducing or downright raping the heroine. This was an early theme of many a romance book I read. Kathleen Woodiwiss, Catherine Coulter, Brenda Joyce's earlier novels, Jude Devereaux to name just a few, had what we would now consider as horrific heroes.
So compared to some of them,
Now readers converted to romance after the Great Change; the Softening or Mellowing of this 'old school' hero probably don’t realize how desensitized us older romance readers had become to this type of hero. They may read one or two older type romances and not be as negatively impacted by them as us old coots are. Whitney My Love by Judith McNaught regularly appears on top book lists – and I hated it because of the hero(??).
Books of today are much ‘tighter’ than many of the books I grew up in my first round of romance reading days with. While I’m not going to get into that great of detail as to actually count pages, the romance books of yesteryear were, on the whole, much more detailed. So even though it was 2005 when I first read The Windflower, I was used to the weightier prose and it didn’t take me out the story at all. On the whole, they seemed to be much more sweeping than books of today. It wasn’t unusual for them to take place in more than one continent. I think many of today’s readers might get bored with what might be considered excess story and scenes.
So once The Windflower tour winds up, I think an interesting question might be asked of all participants. Does the length of time you’ve been reading romance affect your thoughts on this book.