Announcing the Latest Special Title List Updates!

Time to add to those TBR piles! Today we’re happy to announce the completed updates for five Special Title Lists: Arranged Marriages, Cabin and Road Romances, Reunited, Shotgun Weddings, and Tortured Heroes.

As regular readers may know from what we’ve described previously to determine if a title should be added to a particular list. Any additions to the list have to be: (1) the best of the best, (2) stand the test of time, and (3) actually fit the list for which they were submitted.

Arranged Marriages: For many readers, the fascination of the arranged marriage lies in the fact that two people wed because an authority figure – a father, the king, dear old grandma – decides that this is the partner he or she must or should be married to. This is not the case any longer in Western society and far removed from our own experience, yet it was what most of our ancestors went through two hundred years back and earlier. We added 13 new titles to the list. Not surprisingly, most of these titles are in the historical category, with Kristen Callihan’s paranormal Firelight being the exception. In one of the titles proposed, a marriage was arranged between the heroine and another man, which did not take place in the end. We didn’t include this title – Arranged Marriages, as defined by this category, are between the hero and heroine, with the main dilemma of the book being how people get on in this situation, and how such a marriage may develop. By this definition, Mary Balogh’s Dark Angel was moved from Arranged Marriages to Shotgun Weddings.

Cabin and Road Romances:
Titles in these two categories are relatively straightforward. If the couple is isolated for at least part of the romance, it’s a Cabin Romance. If they take a trip for at least part of the story, it’s a Road Romance. We added 11 new titles to the Cabin Romance section of the list and 41 to the Road Romances portion of the list. Tessa Dare’s 2012 romance featuring a road trip to Scotland, A Week to be Wicked, received the most nominations for either category. We’ve also added road romances in such diverse locations as Egypt (Connie Brockway’s 2011 The Other Guy’s Bride) and the Tang Dynasty of China (Jeannie Lin’s Butterfly Swords).

Reunited: This section of the ballot proved to be a bit problematic. To qualify for this category, the romance has to have “heroes and heroines who loved each other before, were separated, and are now reunited.” If the couple simply met once 20 years earlier, they’re not reunited. If they hated each other 10 years ago, meet again and fall in love, they’re not reunited. Despite some definitional problems, we added 35 new titles to this category, including such recent favorites as At Your Pleasure by Meredith Duran and The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne. Twenty-four (24) of the titles have been published since the last time this category was opened leaving 11 slots for books from previous years.

Shotgun Weddings:
As the drama and anguish of a Shotgun Wedding provides a splendid backdrop for conflicting and tortured emotions, we are glad to add 19 titles to this list. To our surprise, however, there are only 3 Western Historicals among them, the rest being Regencies and European Historicals. Of course, while the Colt in hand is a very vivid image, blackmail by relatives or the pangs of a protagonist’s own conscience can be equally effective in forcing a marriage. Shotgun Weddings seem to be a trope which Sherry Thomas particularly likes: His at Night was the romance that received most votes here, followed by Beguiling the Beauty and Tempting the Bride.

Tortured Heroes: After tallying the submissions for tortured heroes it can be safely said these men reside in every type of romance out there. Three new sub-categories were added to the Tortured Heroes list: Paranormal, Young Adult and Erotica. The YA and Erotica had only one title and three titles added respectively while the Paranormal category grew into a list of 10. Meanwhile, 20 titles were added to European Historicals as well as to Contemporary romances. In total 79 titles were added to the Tortured Heroes List including Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier which was published in 1938, while other titles such as Lothaire by Kresley Cole and A Gentleman Undone by Cecelia Grant were published just this year.

Thanks to all of the readers who submitted titles for these lists. Check back here on this Monday, November 12 when we’ll open five more lists for submissions.

– Cindy Smith, LinnieGayl Kimmel, and Rike Horstmann

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8 Responses to “Announcing the Latest Special Title List Updates!”

  1. VictoriaS says:

    I don’t vote, because I can never seem to wrap my head around how a book should be categorized. But each time I see the revised listing I think…”oh, yeah, that’s what they meant…” So I am grateful to all those who do vote, and grateful to you at AAR for, keeping and updating the lists. Thanks!

  2. Linniegayl says:

    Thanks Victoria s. l’ll have to admit that we’ve been confused by a few of the lists as well. We’re trying to sharpen the definitions as we go along.

  3. Mark says:

    Actually, Firelight is a Victorian-set historical paranormal romance.
    When a story is both historical and paranormal, should it be listed as a historical paranormal, a paranormal historical, historical/paranormal, or what?

    • Linniegayl says:

      Thanks mark. My instinct would be either in both or just in one with an explanation. What do you think?

  4. Sue Stewart says:

    Um. I guess I have to ask: How has a book published recently been proved to “stand the test of time”? :)

    • Linniegayl says:

      :) . Good question. It really applies to older books so must look at rewording that text in the future. Oops

    • CindyS says:

      The lists are fluid – something that is considered wonderful today may actually fade over time and it could be removed from the list in the coming years. These books have not ‘stood the test of time’ but have received good grades and enough readers loved them that they make the list.

      Titles we had trouble with were the ones published in the 1980s. In a contemporary would the issues brought up in the relationship still be relevant today. If the answer is yes and readers still love the book then the story will have stood the test of time.

      Titles recently published make the list but in 10 years maybe they will fall off.

      Thanks,
      CindyS

      • pwnn says:

        >>Titles we had trouble with were the ones published in the 1980s. In a contemporary would the issues brought up in the relationship still be relevant today.<<

        I don't understand why this matters, any more than I understand the concerns with books becoming "dated". What should matter is if the story, the characters and the writing is still engaging- and that is often largely a matter of taste.

        It's not as if there aren't many contemporaries that have issues I don't consider currently all that relevant or important or there aren't historicals that aren't completely wallpaper that deal with issues that aren't relevant anymore.

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