I am a sad girl today...
I recently found out that one of my all time favorite historical romance writers, Connie Brockway, is retiring indefinitely from that genre. I cannot express how sad it makes me. She writes those kind of books that go down like a seven course meal and leave you feeling satisfied but ready for the next offering. She has that wonderful mix of passion, intelligence, humor, and historical accuracy that is one of a kind. I remember reading my first book by her, All Through The Night, and thinking wow! Jack Seward was one of the first deeply flawed characters outside of Anne Stuart novels that I became acquainted with and soon fell in love with. And as she expressed in a recent article at All About Romance, her heroine Anne also had those wonderful imperfections that made her an interesting and unforgettable character. She is a cat burgular of all things! How cool is that? I will always remember the scene where she holds him down on a chair at swordpoint and practically molests him. Yeah I know it sounds bad. But you have to read it. It was hot and intense and jaw-widening. When I got my mouth closed, I thought, 'This is writing.' And the end, written so expertly that all the uncertainty of life is there but also the exquisite fulfillment of a happy ending. And you dearly need it for the world-weary Jack and the heartsore Anne who was placed on a pedestal by her husband and left there to wither on the vine. I became an addict shortly thereafter for anything written by Connie. A Dangerous Man, the story of an impoverished Earl, Hart Moreland, who turns to gunfighting in the American West to fill his empty coffers, deepened my respect and love of this author. More complexity, sensuality, and intensity, with a younger, less jaded, but very human heroine in Mercy Coltrane. I could go on describing all of her books, but the crux is that when you read one of her historical romances, you know you are in for a feast of words. If only I could change the publishing industry. Make them listen to the real fans of romance not the lackadaisical fringe readers and demand that they open their minds. It's okay to have historicals that are not set in Britain and are in an unusual time period. It's okay to have women characters who aren't merely the Regency version of Sex and The City and Paris Hilton, only with their virginity intact. It's just fine to have flawed, tormented heroines and heroes who aren't on the pedestal wearing their spotless muslin gowns sitting around drinking tea. And it's definitely, absolutely okay to have characters who do the unexpected. And I guarantee that in the hands of a skilled, amazing writer like Connie Brockway, they will be excellent. Sigh! Well at least silver lining in this dreary rain cloud is that the lackluster contemporary romance market will be brightened by this dispossessed but still shining star. And at least I always have my old standards by Connie:
The aforementioned All Through The Night, A Dangerous Man, along with other equally tasty offerings like My Dearest Enemy, As You Desire, Bridal Favors, The Wedding Season, My Pleasure, My Seduction, My Surrender (which I'm looking forward too), and The McLairen's Isle Trilogy too. There are others too.
Here's a fond farewell to you Connie. Hope to see you back someday in the land of historical romance. We'll miss you dearly.