Saturday, March 23, 2013

Regency: Two Hundred Years Later

Writers love reviews. We absolutely adore fans and readers who write great reviews and we appreciate fans who write poor reviews, if they explain what it was they didn’t like, get or appreciate. Just so you know, I hate hit and run reviews. It’s like a kick in the groin. A thief in the night. A head fake. Like did you really read my book?

I read all of my reviews. The thrill of it hasn’t grown old yet. Maybe someday.

I also tend to read reviews of books by other writers and that is really what this blog is about. I have a cadre of historical writers I consider stellar and read everything they put out. I’m especially interested in their bad reviews. I’m always astounded by this. Writer X got a “1” for that book? You’ve got to be kidding me!

Firstly, this caliber of writing is always top notch. Most of these women are best sellers, multi-published and vastly more experienced then I will ever be - probably. So, I think, by default, they should get a 3. Yes, there may be beefs with plot or characterization and I’m okay with that but the writing itself is usually outstanding. Good word choices and grammar are consistent. The edits good. The typos limited.

I very much disagree with a writer receiving a one because the reviewer didn’t like the topic of the book. Why I find this unfair is because blurbs and plot summaries will reveal this ahead of time. Even knowing the publisher is a big clue as to what you might be about to read. There are one or two topics that I absolutely can’t stand reading and if it is revealed, I won’t read the book, even if it is a favorite author. No, torture will not reveal this information.

So, why was I compelled to write a blog about reviews? I read a recent one where the reviewer starts off by proclaiming that she is a Jane Austen and Regency fan and this book is not what she expected from the genre. Again, not my book, but an author I enjoy immensely.

There are writers who can mimic Jane Austen with some degree of accuracy. This author has never claimed to do so – only that she writes titillating Regency tales. I guess I’m miffed for this writer to be slammed because she wasn’t Jane Austen-ish enough. Most modern day Regency writers aren’t trying to mimic Miss Austen. They are trying to find their own voice and write the story that is living in their heart and brain.

That’s the story that should be judged - the story that lives in us because we love the history and romance and dreams that only Regency can give us.

Miss Austen’s stories are painted with the broad stroke of her actual existence. Ours are painted with the whispy strand of what we see as a possibility.

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