Friday, October 07, 2011

Winners - but you can't win em all!

I have some winners from the recent stages of the Big Blog Tour to announce.
Romance Book Paradise's winner was Kiru Taye
Lucy Monroe's Winner was Sunu
Kyle Griffin's winner is Sonali
The Minxes of Romance winner in Tash NZ

And talking of winners - I have had a couple of reviews in for The Return of The Stranger -  four to be exact  - and they illustrate perfectly just how  really a review is one person's opinion.  Some people love what you write -  some don't like it  . . . .  So in the interests of fairness, here are all of the reviews, you  can take your choice which one(s) you agree with when you read the book!

OK - so
Over on Everyday is the Same  blog, Rebecca has set herself the challenge of reading 365 books in 365 days.  She's currently halfway so go and cheer her on! Congratulations on getting this far Rebecca.
To encourage her in her challenge I sent her a copy of The Return of The Stranger recently - and she has reviewed  it (she's also reviewed The Good Greek Wife? and A Proud Wife) and here's what she has to say:

Wow, this one intense book. In her 'Dear Reader' letter, Kate Walker mentions how she wanted her 'Heathcliff' and 'Cathy' to learn about love and have their happy ending that they could never have had in 'Wuthering Heights', she has certainly acheived that. The journey that Heath and Kat go on together is spectacular, making that HEA even more special!
This book does not have a lot of dialogue (just so you know!), it's more brooding, backward reflecting, and dark - as it should be, after all this is a rework of a VERY deep and intense book. I think Kate Walker has done a fantastic job of keeping this book flowing even with all the reflection/flashbacks. The passion and chemistry between the hero and heroine it litteraly sizzling, always bubbling away under the surface and when it explodes, boy does it explode!

The whole book is gripping and passionate from start to finish. A great read.

What can I say but Thank you Rachel!  A review from a reader rather than a 'professional' is always appreciated.

Next up - The Good The Bad and The Unread . . . this  is a long review by Lynne Connelly and as I said to her I think this is more of a review of  a modernised version of Wuthering Heights (what she calls a re-envisioning of WH)- not a Modern Romance/Presents romance written on the themes of WH which is what The Return of The Stranger is.   It's a long review - so here's just a snippet -

Kate Walker is a writer of immense experience in writing the 50,000-word romance, particularly for the Mills and Boon Modern line (reprinted in the US as Harlequin Presents). She is also academically linked with the novels of the Brontes. But she is never anything but a professional, and in her retake on the classic, she’s trimmed the characters, rejigged the story and characters, and turned Emily Bronte’s astonishing debut into a satisfactory romance.
She has also trimmed the wildness and the insanity of the original. But how do you tame that and have something left?

Hmmm - I  have to say that  for me personally, reducing the original Wuthering Heights to the 'wildness and insanity'  cited here and saying that without it you don't 'have something left'  is to do just that -reduce it.  WH is much more than a story of the wild elemental love of Heathcliff and Cathy, it's a story of society, or power, possession, of the different generations, of  heredity - and mmost of all it's told by a series of narrators who aren't trustwothy . . . and that's before we look at the second generation. But I wasn't asked to reproduce Wuthering Heights  but create a romance using the book as inspiration -  so as far as I'm concerned that's all that it should be judged on.

Romantic Times has a review that damns with faint praise:

The novel starts slowly, with more telling than showing, and although Walker incorporates emotionally charged flashbacks, they’re distracting and repetitive. But for readers who enjoy a brooding hero and a somber tone, this novel might appeal.

As I said you can't win them all. Interesting isn't it that  some people love that 'brooding hero and sombre tone', some people find I haven't been brooding and sombre enough  . . . . (I'd dispute that point about repetitive flashbacks though.)

Finally -  to end on a high - another of those valuable reviews - from a reader - over on the Mills & Boon site - this one really makes me happy as it comes from a reader who , like me, has Wuthering Heights as one of her favourite classic novels.
Wow. I was really sceptic at first about reading a rewrite of one of my favourite classics but Kate did a brilliant job.

Firstly in the original I didnot like Katherine coz I thought she was too selfish and mean too Heathcliffe. I adored Heath and I always wanted a happy ending for him.

So thanks Kate, you gave my hero the ending he deserved. Also by changing Katherine's characther the story evolved like a true MB should.

Let's not make too much of a comparison but enjoy this book in the spirit of the two eternal star crossed lovers. It is a keeper and I have given it place next to the original Book not that I am saying it is on the same level but a gentle glimpse of what should have been.....but didnot.

Thank you Sadhana!

So there you are. It's  always easy  to quote some random reviews that claim this  - or any other book - is absolutely wonderful - but these are four different reviews I found today so I thought I'd share them with you.  Which one describes the book best? Well, that's really up to you - and in many ways it doesn't matter because it's what you think of the book and whether you enjoy it that counts!

But talking about Wuthering Heights reminds me of a special extra contest  - as a result of my visit to Haworth to talk about The Return of the Stranger  - that's coming up over the weekend.
Watch out for that!

1 comment:

RLA said...

Hi Kate,

I have only just found this post (I have been away!) thank you so much for linking to my blog, and for your encouragement. I'm glad you like my review.

And you are so right, reading is so subjective, what I like someone else may hate. But then that's part of life!

Thanks again.



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