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"Chloe Harris" really is the pseudonym for two writers, Noelle and Barbra, who've joined forces to write intriguing and sexy stories. A quintessential eccentric southerner, Noelle seems to find a story in almost everything. Ever ambitious to change her stars, she has a degree in Communications. Barbra lives together with her cat ('Princess Mimi'), who isn't very happy that she is spending so much time on writing. But this folly of the living can opener with opposable thumbs is mostly tolerated.

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Not Your Cup of Tea

by Barbra

Secrets of Sin got a negative review! *lol*
Oh, don’t worry. I haven’t lost all my marbles. I just think it’s funny.
If I had found one sound reason in the review why Secrets of Sin isn’t good, I’d have been inclined to take this review seriously. But the reviewer just went through each and every one of Noelle’s “5 Reasons Not To Buy Secrets of Sin”. When reading said review I was immediately reminded of them (abridged):
1. If You Want a Perfect Hero
2. If You Think Strong Women Can’t Have Weak Moments
3. If You Like Things Black and White
4. If You Don’t Believe Love Can Redeem
5. If You Only Like Plain Vanilla

The reviewer hated Reinier (1) from the start because she was introduced to him in a brothel. She didn’t like Emiline falling for Reinier so easily (2). Apparently, for the reviewer divorces were so common and so easy back in the 18th century that if you wanted to be rid of your husband, you didn’t jump at the offer to actually get his signature on the divorce papers--and that after just three days. What’s more, the reviewer didn’t like Emiline because she fell in love with Reinier AGAIN (3). If you want to divorce the man who broke your heart once, you don’t fall in love with him again--as simple as that! Also, for an erotic *gasp* romance there were far too many sexy scenes (5). Obviously, the reviewer also skipped the spicy scenes entirely or else she would have noticed that it was then that Reinier and Emiline bared their souls--and that it was in those most intimate moments that emotions resurfaced they’d thought they’d long buried for good (4).

In my opinion it’s a pity the reviewer was biased and completely opposed to reading erotic romances. Why review Secrets of Sin at all then?

I’d never ever review a romance novel where all the H/H ever do is hold hands, simply because it wouldn’t be fair. To me, love in a romance novel isn’t complete without physical interaction. I don’t believe it’s in real life either. So I’d never be happy with a HEA that’s sealed with a chaste kiss on the cheek.
(Note: Jane Austen is the exception. She wrote amazingly sensual stories that also showed the materialistic and egotistic side of women of her time which they needed to survive!)

When I read a novel, I’m looking for amazing word painting, gripping dialog, a plot based on emotional conflict and an exterior conflict that keeps me on the edge of my seat, but above all I want to feel the love. Describing mechanically what they’re up to isn’t it. The hot scenes must add to the emotional turmoil the H/H have to endure. Let me see what H/H really mean to each other in those most intimate of all moments and I’m completely and utterly happy.

I guess what it boils down to is this: I don’t like to plod through hundreds of pages of sexual teasing without getting a reward. “When will they finally get together?” as story-worthy problem isn’t good enough for me. In an erotic romance (“erotic”, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, means “showing or involving sexual desire and pleasure”!!!) the hero and heroine get together fast. The tension, therefore, comes from the romantic side (and not the sexual teasing), keeping the reader guessing “How will they ever manage to put aside what’s really between them and stay together happily ever after?” That’s what I’m looking for!

Description, dialog, internal conflict, external conflict, spicy scenes that add to the internal conflict and couldn’t stand alone--those are essential ingredients for me.
One point each. You’ve got me interested with three points, hooked with four points, and you’ll get a place in my imaginary hall of fame if you reach five points. Yes, I’m a harsh critic--but I’ve mentioned that once or twice before I believe. I’m also a loyal fan.

What are you looking for in a romance novel? Do you have a set of requirements or rules?

1 comment:

Noelle (Chloe Harris) said...

Honestly - Shivers.

It can be from a sex scene or really good dialog but a great romance always gives me a little shiver at some point.