Sports Romances and Heroines in Pursuit

list We don’t know what it is about the combination of Heroes in Pursuit, Heroines in Pursuit, Sports Romances, and Suspense & Mystery, but we seem to have hit all your buttons. Never since we have taken up the Special Titles Listings have we received so many nominations, in the case of Heroes in Pursuit and Suspense & Mystery more than 150 titles each. The good news is that these lists will be expanded considerably; the bad news is that we will just need a bit more time to do so. As a result, we are presenting the updated pages in two steps: Today the shorter Heroines in Pursuit and Sports Romances, and the week after next the other two lists.

Heroines in Pursuit is our newest list and was really only in embryo stage when we asked for your nominations. We are happy to announce that it has been expanded from a mere 8 titles to 50, which means it can be considered a teenager now. While most of the nominations fit the category easily, there were several titles that were tricky to decide about. When we were in doubt, we both read a number of online reviews and asked our colleagues at AAR. We also considered whether we should expand the definition, this being such a new list, but then decided against it. What we have done is rephrase the definition in the hope of making it clearer what we want to include in this particular list.

To provide some examples, here are three titles that were nominated but that we decided not to include in the end, and the reasons why. In The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt, Anna goes to great lengths to initiate a sexual affair with Edward. But she goes to their rendezvous masked, and intends never to see him again. Later she refuses his proposal of marriage for his sake, completely neglecting her own desires. This novel does not meet the criteria in that Anna is not out for a relationship, and she does not hold onto their love, but is prepared for the ultimate self-sacrifice. In His at Night by Sherry Thomas, Elissande does everything in her power to entrap Freddie into marriage. But the man she does end up with in a compromising situation, forcing them to marry immediately, is Freddie’s brother. And in Show No Mercy by Cindy Gerard, while Jenna does pursue Gabe, it is just to acquire information, not to get him to fall in love with her.

On the plus side, there are some marvellous additions to the Heroines in Pursuit list. I was surprised to discover that two Georgette Heyer novels made the list (Venetia and The Grand Sophy). We also now have two American Historicals: Brody by Emma Lang, and Garters by Pamela Morsi. The most surprising title for me however was the classic A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute, which made in on both the Heroes in Pursuit and Heroines in Pursuit lists.

We are happy to add 29 new titles to the Sports Romances list. The list was last updated in 2009 so it’s not surprising that most of the romances we’ve added to the list have been published since that date. You submitted titles from a variety of sports, with ice hockey taking the lead with seven new titles by such authors as Rachel Gibson, Deidre Martin, and Molly O’Keefe.

A few new sports made the list this time. Ruthie Knox’s Ride With Me – featuring cyclists – was added this time. We have our first professional surfer with Jill Sorenson’s Crash Into Me. And how we managed to miss speeadboat racer Cameron Quinn, the hero of Nora Roberts‘ Sea Swept to this point is amazing.

We hope you find something new to read in one of these lists. And check back in a couple weeks for the updates to the Heroes in Pursuit and Suspense & Mystery lists.

– LinnieGayl Kimmel, Cindy Smith and Rike Horstmann

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6 Responses to “Sports Romances and Heroines in Pursuit”

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  2. Yulie says:

    I’m glad that you were able to get so many suggestions for these lists (and that Crash Into Me and Ride With Me were added to the sports list). Just fro ma quick browse, one addition I don’t get is Serena from The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan in the Heroines in Pursuit list; Serena definitely doesn’t fit the definition provided. I’d have this novella on some other lists and think it’s fantastic, just not a good fit here.

    • Rike says:

      Thanks for pointing out that you don’t agree with one of the nominations. Once I get around to reading The Governess Affair myself, I will reconsider the title. But the problem is that the person who checks the nominations and assembles the list cannot possibly have read or read all the titles nominated. What we do is read several reviews very carefully and, in cases of doubt, ask other AAR reviewers. If we find strong hints that the book fits the category (and has received positive reviews), we include it, partly also because we think that the reader who nominated it did so for reasons that seemed compelling to her. So in spite of some very careful research, some novels may find their way on the lists that don’t quite fit perfectly.

      In very rare a book gets removed the next time around the list is revised, though. ;-)

  3. chris booklover says:

    I wish that there was a regular forum in which we could discuss these Special Title Listings. In particular, a number of entries in the Heroines in Pursuit list seem questionable to me. These include Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels, Linnea Sinclair’s Games of Command, Sherry Thomas’s Private Arrangements, Emma Wildes’s Lessons from a Scarlet Lady and Courtney Milan’s Unclaimed. In each of these cases, while it is true that the heroine on occasion takes the initiative in promoting the relationship, it isn’t really accurate to say that she pursues the hero for most or even a majority of the novel. The emotional dynamics of these relationships are very different from those portrayed in, for example, Beverley Kendall’s Sinful Surrender, Julianne MacLean’s Love According to Lily or Elizabeth Hoyt’s The Leopard Prince.

    • Rike says:

      Thanks for pointing out your doubts about some of the nominations. I can’t give you detailed information as to why these books were included for all of them, not having read some of them myself (see also what I said to Yulie above), but in some cases I can, and perhaps this is helpful.

      In the definition of the list, it says that the heroine “either pursues [the hero] for greater parts of the novel, or she shows her love in a major, decisive step towards true commitment”. That covers Jane Eyre, for example, in the way she returns to Rochester at the end. Private Arrangements was included because Gigi pursues the hero using quite drastic methods in all the flashback scenes that describe the road towards their eventual marriage. Games of Command is a dodgy candidate, I agree, but we included it because it is fabulous (okay, not really relevant), and because Tasha is the one who takes every step in furthering the relationship once she is aware of Branden’s feelings.

  4. chris booklover says:

    This thread isn’t the place for a detailed discussion, so I’ll limit myself to two comments. First, the main issue with using a very broad definition in Special Title Listings is that very many novels might qualify as examples. This tends to defeat the purpose of these listings. For example, someone who reads Private Arrangements on the basis of this recommendation would be extremely surprised to learn that for most of the novel Gigi is pursuing a divorce, and that fairly late in the story she rejects Cam’s offer of reconciliation.

    Secondly, Heroines in Pursuit is by no means the only listing with problematic nominations. I do pay some attention to this category, simply because it is often claimed that these stories occur frequently. In fact they are quite rare.