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The Test of Time
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Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1476

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to own a million Barbara Cartwright books because there was so little romance back then. If you are famished, you'll settle for sugared water, won't you?

Bbmedos wrote about her books, "I do believe I've completely blocked the experience out of my brian." How does Brian feel about this? Is he your husband? Does he hold all your blocked memories? How much does he charge for this service? Please tell us more; people want to know!

Some romances have endured, like "Gone with the Wind," IMO, because they spoke so mightily to their generation and became so famous, taking on a life of their own. I don't believe that anyone, other than possibly historians, will be reading this 100 years from now.

Most romances--the VAST majority--will not be read even five years from now, and that's the way of the world. Five years from now, most television programs, movies, songs, etc. will be gone too. If you had asked me 10-15 years ago, who would still be read, I would have Lavylre Spencer, and I would have been wrong, a fact that disappoints me. I do think that Carla Kelly and Lorraine Chase will be read, and maybe Jennifer Crusie.
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JulieR



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 191

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Victoria Holt-Era RS Authors Reply with quote

bbmedos wrote:

Still wish I could remember who the other romantic suspense authors I read about the same time as I read her were though. Guess she made the biggest lasting impression.


I know that when I was reading a lot of Victoria Holt, I also read a lot of Dorothy Eden and Phyllis Whitney. Do either of those names ring a bell with you?
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 274
Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lynda X wrote:
I used to own a million Barbara Cartwright books because there was so little romance back then. If you are famished, you'll settle for sugared water, won't you?

Bbmedos wrote about her books, "I do believe I've completely blocked the experience out of my brian." How does Brian feel about this? Is he your husband? Does he hold all your blocked memories? How much does he charge for this service? Please tell us more; people want to know!


ROTFL! Okay, I plead temporary mental block on that one because even rereading I didn't see the misspelling right away. Cute.

Ahem, anyway, that was supposed to be "blocked the experience out of my brain". Embarassed (Where is the ROTFL emoticon when a body needs it?)
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Last edited by bbmedos on Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:36 pm; edited 1 time in total
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 274
Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 6:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Victoria Holt-Era RS Authors Reply with quote

JulieR wrote:
bbmedos wrote:

Still wish I could remember who the other romantic suspense authors I read about the same time as I read her were though. Guess she made the biggest lasting impression.


I know that when I was reading a lot of Victoria Holt, I also read a lot of Dorothy Eden and Phyllis Whitney. Do either of those names ring a bell with you?


Hmm, Eden doesn't but Whitney seems to nag at a memory or two. I'll have to look her up and see if it triggers anything major.
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NoirFemme



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1481
Location: America

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Victoria Holt-Era RS Authors Reply with quote

JulieR wrote:
bbmedos wrote:

Still wish I could remember who the other romantic suspense authors I read about the same time as I read her were though. Guess she made the biggest lasting impression.


I know that when I was reading a lot of Victoria Holt, I also read a lot of Dorothy Eden and Phyllis Whitney. Do either of those names ring a bell with you?


YES! I stopped reading Eden when her books got way too depressing (no HEAs), and Whitney when I realized she wrote the same two or three plots over and over and over. But no one can touch Victoria Holt. I still re-read her novels when I'm in a reading slump. The mediocre imitators have tarnished her legacy, but she wrote the original "I hate you no I love you" romances--except the h/h exchanged witty, pithy dialogue that was as effective as barbed wire.

Can I raise anyone a Nancy Buckingham or Alexandra Manners?
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JulieR



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 191

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NoirFemme wrote:
Can I raise anyone a Nancy Buckingham or Alexandra Manners?


I don't recognize either of those, but thinking about Holt, Whitney and Eden reminded me of another book from that era that made quite an impression on me. Couldn't for the life of me think of the name or author, or even much of the plot, but I did a little searching through my collection and found it:

The Weeping Tower by Christine Randell, a Paperback Library Gothic, published in 1967.

Those were the days, when you could judge a book by its cover, which features a girl in a flowing white gown looking fearfully over her shoulder as a spooky tree looks like it's about to fall on her. Behind her is the suggestion of a spooky tower with a figure of a man in a black cape at the base.

From the front cover:

Quote:
Barbara Marsden begins a nightmare of fear in an isolated Scottish mansion when she innocently agrees to impersonate a missing heiress.


From the back cover:

Quote:
Will murder end her masquerade at Blackmoor Towers?

To comfort the last hours of Lady Mcfarlane, mistress of Blackmoor Towers, Barbara Marsden is asked to impersonate the dying woman's granddaughter, Lisa, missing for ten years.

Miraculously, Lady Mcfarlane recovers. But the shock of learning the truth about "Lisa" might kill her, so Barbara is asked to continue the masquerade.

Rick Fraser, the Macfarlane heir, believes she is Lisa, and will now inherit his fortune. His anger is aroused. Suddenly Barbara learns she has embarked on a dangerous adventure.


And of course, Barbara is subject to all kinds of scary attempts to frighten her away, and suspicion falls on Rick. Three guesses how this turns out, and the first two don't count!
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KayWebbHarrison



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1248
Location: SE VA. USA

PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2008 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone mentioned Jane Aiken Hodge? She wrote contemporary Gothics, Regency romantic suspense, European romantic suspense,and American historical romantic suspense.

Some sites, like Fiction DataBase, will only give information for "Phyllis A. Whitney." Didn't she die not long ago? I read tons of her work in my teen years; I also read Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. Andre Norton also produced some Gothics: The White Jade Fox, The Opal-Eyed Fan.

Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters also wrote lots of "gothicy" books in addition to the Amelia Peabody series.

Kay
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Elaine S



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 667
Location: Rural England

PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Still wish I could remember who the other romantic suspense authors I read about the same time as I read her were though. Guess she made the biggest lasting impression

Has anyone mentioned Jane Aiken Hodge? She wrote contemporary Gothics, Regency romantic suspense, European romantic suspense,and American historical romantic suspense.

Some sites, like Fiction DataBase, will only give information for "Phyllis A. Whitney." Didn't she die not long ago? I read tons of her work in my teen years; I also read Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt. Andre Norton also produced some Gothics: The White Jade Fox, The Opal-Eyed Fan.

Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters also wrote lots of "gothicy" books in addition to the Amelia Peabody series.


Elsie Lee springs to mind as more or less contemporaneous. I still have a copy of her "Barrow Sinister" along with most of her other gothics and historicals.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RichMissTallant wrote:
I firmly believe Georgette Heyer has already stood the 'test of time'. I used to think it was just me and my grandmother, but then I randomly started meeting other Heyer fans my age who had also been reading her since a young age. In fact, I've gotten a couple of friends into her books pretty easily. When I was living in Brighton, I recommended Regency Buck to a few girlfriends since it takes place partially in Brighton, and they all loved it!


I agree with that! My intellectual guy friend who is finally reading Venetia (and loving it) would also chime in there. It was his experience which inspired my original post. Razz

What raised my hackles a bit is his opinion that Heyer is too good to be marketed as a Romance writer. (Well, his exact turn of phrase was, "It's a shame.") There are lots of potential readers who feel alienated by the Romance genre, who will never discover and respect Heyer (as we all agree she deserves) unless her books are "repackaged" differently.

Since I also feel a bit "alienated" by other genres, I understand where he's coming from. However, it seems to me that:

1) Since Heyer is "proof" that Romance writers can produce something of--ahem--"lasting value," distancing her books from the genre would only perpetuate the belief that Romance writers can't.

2) Romance readers are ones who discovered her, loved her and kept her in print for years before everyone else finally caught up with us; so the whole idea of repackaging Heyer so that she doesn't seem like the kind of writer "we people" would read is extremely insulting.

Lynda X wrote:
Some romances have endured, like "Gone with the Wind," IMO, because they spoke so mightily to their generation and became so famous, taking on a life of their own. I don't believe that anyone, other than possibly historians, will be reading this 100 years from now.

Most romances--the VAST majority--will not be read even five years from now, and that's the way of the world. Five years from now, most television programs, movies, songs, etc. will be gone too.


I get that a lot of "pop literature" (or is the term "mass market genre fiction" Razz ) will not endure that way. In fact, a lot of "serious" Contemporary Fiction or any other books will not endure that way. Was Louisa May Alcott the only one writing novels for young people during her lifetime? Of course not, but you don't see many of her contemporaries still in print.

I was just wondering if there was anyone writing today who stands a good chance of beating the odds all writers face, and enduring into the future?

LyndaX wrote:
If you had asked me 10-15 years ago, who would still be read, I would have Lavylre Spencer, and I would have been wrong, a fact that disappoints me. I do think that Carla Kelly and Lorraine Chase will be read, and maybe Jennifer Crusie.


That helps answer my question. Wink Laughing
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 274
Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
What raised my hackles a bit is his opinion that Heyer is too good to be marketed as a Romance writer. (Well, his exact turn of phrase was, "It's a shame.") There are lots of potential readers who feel alienated by the Romance genre, who will never discover and respect Heyer (as we all agree she deserves) unless her books are "repackaged" differently.


I find his "observation" a bit humorous considering Heyer was first published at the same time as the other women I was talking about earlier. Alienating readers by packaging books for the "romance genre" wasn't an issue in the 1920s and it certainly wasn't for any of those writers. Why? Because I suspect they were all put into hardback from the start. Paperback existed back then but it was for the true pulp, trash fiction, i.e. comic books and serial press, not novels. And probably none of them were originally marketed as romances either. Not sure what they were marketed as but I suspect even Emilie Loring, the lightest of the bunch, was probably sold as some type of light mystery if not straight fiction. Any romance present and noticed was a bonus.

My point is that all these books have been repackaged every single time they've been reprinted. Sometimes in a good way and sometimes horribly. Even back when I was actively collecting them in the severties & eighties, every few years the paperback covers would change. Same thing with Agatha Christie paperbacks. Some of those would make you go blind they were so cluttered. Sometimes I think we put way too much emphasis on covers and not nearly enough on content ourselves. Sigh.

Anyway, switching tracks, am I the only person alive who honestly wonders if Jennifer Crusie's books really will be all that rereadable ten years from now? I mean I loved reading a few of them the first time but when I go back to reread them again, not so much.

Rereading is not the same as studying or valuing, folks. I can value something and still not want to continue rereading it over and over again. So which are we truly talking about here? One, the other, a combination of both?
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 9:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bbmedos wrote:
My point is that all these books have been repackaged every single time they've been reprinted. Sometimes in a good way and sometimes horribly. Even back when I was actively collecting them in the severties & eighties, every few years the paperback covers would change. Same thing with Agatha Christie paperbacks. Some of those would make you go blind they were so cluttered. Sometimes I think we put way too much emphasis on covers and not nearly enough on content ourselves. Sigh.


That's a good point. When I defend Romance to detractors I know personally, it's usually because they've never actually tried one and have literally been judging by the covers.

Yet I have to wonder which ones have content good enough to endure, assuming that we get the right covers (or whatever) on them at the right time.

Of course, covers aren't everything. I really like the new designs for Christine Feehan's Ghost Walkers series, but the writing has let me down. If I had an unlimited book budget, I suppose I'd buy them all so that I could show them off on a bookshelf at eye level; but the stories just aren't my thing.

(Yet why do I get the feeling that Feehan will achieve "cool" cult status in a few years, while Kresley Cole, who is the real Joss Whedon of Romance, won't?)

bbmedos wrote:
Rereading is not the same as studying or valuing, folks. I can value something and still not want to continue rereading it over and over again. So which are we truly talking about here? One, the other, a combination of both?


I'm not sure what you mean. I agree that we can value books that we wouldn't care to reread . . . but I don't know what you're getting at.
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
Posts: 274
Location: Western Kentucky, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
bbmedos wrote:
Rereading is not the same as studying or valuing, folks. I can value something and still not want to continue rereading it over and over again. So which are we truly talking about here? One, the other, a combination of both?


I'm not sure what you mean. I agree that we can value books that we wouldn't care to reread . . . but I don't know what you're getting at.


The best illustration I can give you for what I'm talking about comes from movies not books but I don't see why it's not applicable. It's a Wonderful Life didn't originally garner very much critical appreciation or as far as I know very much box office. However, over the years, people have watched it and rewatched it until it's entered our collective conciousness.

That to me is a test of time that counts - by the people who love to rewatch that movie over and over again. What else do we mean when we say "it holds up" ???
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, okay. Smile I think I can answer your question now . . .

I don't mean individuals rereading their favourite books, but books being "reread" by different people each generation or so. Are there Romances by authors who are still writing today, which will eventually share the fate of It's a Wonderful Life--or my own favourite example, Singin' in the Rain? Not much critical appreciation when they came out (and maybe ever since), but eternal relevance nonetheless?
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bbmedos



Joined: 26 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
Ah, okay. Smile I think I can answer your question now . . .

I don't mean individuals rereading their favourite books, but books being "reread" by different people each generation or so. Are there Romances by authors who are still writing today, which will eventually share the fate of It's a Wonderful Life--or my own favourite example, Singin' in the Rain? Not much critical appreciation when they came out (and maybe ever since), but eternal relevance nonetheless?


While I see what you mean, I'm not sure we can separate the two as readers. Without becoming academics speculators, at any rate. Very Happy And, no, that's not a cop-out. That's truly an honest respons. As far as I can see, all we can really do is tell which books resonate that way with us right now.

Jump back to 1940-whenever It's a Wonderful Life came out and ask youself if anyone could answer your question then about it right then and there. If anyone had've answered, wouldn't they have given the wrong answer? Because no one would've predicted all the things that came later, including television and videos, etc. And etc, and etc. Infinitum.

With books nowadays, we're not simply talking about their individual shelflife but the Internet and electronic niche marketing and all those other things. I mean just recently I've seen books that were originally print published decades ago show up on eBookwise that I thought were long gone and buried - by that I mean Harlequin Presents and other such category romances.

So, what criteria are you using to determine how that next generation finds the books? See what I mean? We can't assume that only certain "types" of books are going to remain in "print" any more. Everything is available. All the time.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2008 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bbmedos wrote:
Jump back to 1940-whenever It's a Wonderful Life came out and ask youself if anyone could answer your question then about it right then and there. If anyone had've answered, wouldn't they have given the wrong answer?


Yes, you're right. Smile I was hoping for a few brave guesses, though! Wink

Quote:
With books nowadays, we're not simply talking about their individual shelflife but the Internet and electronic niche marketing and all those other things. I mean just recently I've seen books that were originally print published decades ago show up on eBookwise that I thought were long gone and buried - by that I mean Harlequin Presents and other such category romances.


Well, that's another thing I didn't think of! I remember being in high school and discovering Marie Corelli's books available on Project Gutenberg to anyone who still cared to read them. Even if only three people a year read each book, what would be poor figures for a publishing house wouldn't matter to an online organisation relying greatly on volunteers.

Quote:
So, what criteria are you using to determine how that next generation finds the books? See what I mean?


Yes, now I do see what you mean! Smile

I was thinking of books that would transcend pop appeal so that each generation discovers them anew, the way we do with Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters--but you're right that there's no way to predict that outside of guessing and crossing one's fingers.

(Good grief! It might just be Stephanie Laurens who'll have the last laugh, aye? Laughing )
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