Friday, September 28, 2007

Nice surprises

Well after some of yesterday's less than gracious (and less than informed) comments on romance novels of the BBC programme, it was good to find some more pleasant news this morning.

First there was a rather belated review for The Sicilian's Red-Hot Revenge. Sadly, this didn't get up on the reviewer's web site Writers Unlimited because of personal problems for the site owners. But although it's late I'd like to post it here for a couple of reasons - one because it's a damn good review -and never mind what book it's about the review shows wonderfully how carefully and critically a reader approaches a romance book and so is obviously not just the poor creature without two neurons to rub together in her brain as dismissed by those critics yesterday.

Secondly, in the opening paragraph, this reviewer describes one of the reasons why people read romance - or any other 'escapist' books. I'll come back to that later in this post.

And thirdly, this review is wonderfully written to give the reader the atmosphere and the emotion contained in the plot without giving away a 'spoiler' of the main point of conflict. And that takes some doing - so thank you Kim. It's a great review.

Have you ever felt the need to escape it all? I know I have. Kate Walker explores this need with her characters in The Sicilian’s Red-Hot Revenge. Emotional and physical escape mesh together, forming a blistering hot situation which is aching to achieve the ultimate goal, true love. But once reality rears its fierce head, heartbreak and disappointment can be the only result to the ill-timed escape of Ms. Walker’s heroine. The ups and downs of life unfold violently throughout her story.

Life seems to have thrown one curve ball after another at Emily Lawton. Nothing has turned out like she envisioned. Just when she was going to regain control of her life, tragedy strikes and she had to relinquish her happiness again. Needing to escape on the one day she believed would change her life but did not, Emily ran to the beach. Surely there she could find some inner peace and strength to carry on. During a moment of crazy abandon fate steps in and changes everything once again. Emily’s blissful day turns her into a damsel in distress, screaming for help. Along comes her knight in shining armor, Vito Corsentino.

Vito was enchanted the moment he spotted the beautiful woman on the beach. His artist eye appreciates her form but there is something else about her that calls to him on a more personal level. When she needs his help, he races to her side. Once Emily is safe, the attraction he, they, feel takes complete control. Both discover a sizzling happiness together. When reality intrudes, the “truth” comes out and shatters their relationship before it barely began. Vito feels betrayed and harshly sends her away. He never wants to see Emily again. However, he cannot get her out of his mind and his body definitely remembers hers. He will find her again, only this time he will be the one in control. She will be the one left wanting him.

The Sicilian’s Red-Hot Revenge is Kate Walker’s fiftieth release and her skill as a story teller continues to impress her fans. You are bound to find something that calls to you within its pages. Emily and Vito are perfect for each other but Ms.Walker gives them many hurdles and mistakes to overcome. As they struggle to find happiness, her tale will keep you enthralled. You may recognize Vito’s name from his brother, Guido’s book, Sicilian Husband, Blackmailed Bride, another excellent read. Do not miss out on adding Ms. Walker’s books to your collection.

Kim Swiderski
Writers Unlimited Reviewer

Another nice bit of news was to find that over on as I was browsing through the ebook boutique I spotted a familiar title and cover. My next Presents/M&B Modern title The Greek Tycoon's Unwilling Wife which is a November release, was already there at #5 in the bsetsellers chart. Officially, it's not actually even on ebook release until Monday. So that brightened my day - a lot.

Finally, again on the eharlequin message boards, a reader was talking about the sad time she'd had recently - losing people she knew, one in awful circumstances. So she'd curled up with a great Presents book (my friend Anne McAllister's The Boss's Wife For A Week to be precise) and had become absorbed in the fictional world that story created.
Now I'll suppose that if Mary Evans Professor of Women's Studies at the University Of Kent who said that romances were books that are "a classic literature for - you know - rather miserable, rather disappointed, rather jaundiced people..." had meant this sort of unhappiness then she might have had a small point - but in completely the opposite was she actually used it. What she said was that romance reinforced the misery, the disappointment - what the real reader - this reader said was she was thankful for the good books that Presents issues. "They always take me away for a while, which seems then to make reality a little better to deal with. "
And all I can add to that is that if one of my books makes one person feel better in that way during a tough time in their life then I'm happy - and proud.

Finally, while checking out the other major critic of romance on the BBC programme - Celia Brayfield - on Amazon I found that she was a book coming out in 2008 called Arts Reviews: And How To Write Them. The synopsis for this book includes the line:
"This book explains how to seize your readers' attention and how to be witty always, fascinating most of the time and bitchy when you need to be."
Yes - well, she should be good at teaching that part of things.

For me, I'll stick with the readers and writers who are 'radiators' I remember as defined in an article by Maureen Lipman where she classified people as either radiators (warm, giving, welcoming) or drains (cold miserable 'draining') . And I'll leave the 'drains' well alone.


Ray-Anne said...

'if one of my books makes one person feel better in that way during a tough time in their life then I'm happy - and proud'

You have just stated one of the best reasons in this sad short life, why any writer should use their talent and time to create a wonderful story - and work, and work, and work to make it the best they can.

Upward and onward.
'Radiators' - love that.

Rachel said...

Oh Kate,
I DO like the radiators and drains thing too-I'll file that for future reference!
I listened to the radio 4 thing yesterday and was found myself quite taken aback by that Mary Evans woman. As a reader, who by the way is blissfully happy, accomplished and not at all a saddo thank you, I was pretty much insulted by what she said.
You quote her referring to ME as: 'rather miserable, rather disappointed, rather jaundiced..."
Rather a case of Pots and kettles methinks!
Happily reading on and being proud to as well,

Donna Alward said...

I too love the radiators and drains part. I believe that completely.

I had a similar e-mail recently from a reviewer and I was so pleased with the note that I actually forgot to go look at the review! You hit the nail on the head with why we write!

Dena said...

Great post Kate,it's so true about the rediators. I read because I enjoy to escape to new and old places and meet some great chacters along the way.I live in America and missed the programme and am glad for it. I would love to hear some other comments from other romance writers. I think Eloisa James a shakesperean professor would have a lot to say about it.

Kate Hardy said...

Loved the Maureen Lipman quote. (I used to like her column in Good Housekeeping.)

Here's to the radiators of the world. :o)

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

That's a great review, Kate and Kim!!!

Wild wave. Jeff and I are just back from a visit to the Pictured Rocks along Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I'll have photos up on my blog soon.

Hugs, JJ/Blue


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