Sunday, November 27, 2011
Author: Nora Roberts
Publisher: Silhouette Books
Released: 1985 (Night Shield), 2000 (Night Moves), 2010 (Two-in-One Volume)
I'd read other Night Tales stories before, but I'm not sure I realized that they were written so early in Nora's career, since I wasn't in the habit of paying attention to publication dates at that point. But knowing that, and after reading this article in the Guardian, I've contemplated things more than I have before (which was quite a lot in and of itself) and here's what I came up with:
Nora definitely "rewrote the rules of romantic fiction," and there's a good reason the only romance writer I read regularly is Nora. She took romance beyond the simplistic formulaic storylines and characters, she writes real and complex characters and plots that are actually plots and not just the romance happening. I think what Robin McKinley says is totally true: "I don’t think romance is ever a plot. It’s something happening while the plot is thundering ahead elsewhere." Most of what makes up the romance genre today has nothing other than the attraction and complications happening in the entire book. And after reading one of those, I can't stomach another one. It's all fluff, and I need substance.
Now I've said before that I see a difference in Nora's early books and her later ones, and I do see a difference, but one thing that remains constant is her way of creating a full story, a story which does not detract from and actually adds to the romance. Yes, the focus is the romantic plotline, but that's not the only thing that's going on. In her later books, that translates into a shift to romantic suspense rather than pure romance, but that's what I love about her books. I love reading about couples meeting and falling in love, and overcoming obstacles until they finally end up together - but it's so great to experience a whole ride along with that.
Two final thoughts: Not all romance novels other than Nora's are as flat as I'm making them sound. But Nora is the only one I've found who consistently delivers the kind of stories that hook me time after time, that I could read and reread and rereread...
And I don't know why this post sounds so formal. Really I'm gushing about how much I love Nora, but I don't think that came across too well. So I'm telling you: I love Nora!!!