Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Reading Ecstasy Anticipation

Warning: Fangirl unleashed.

Thomas and Duran and Chase, oh my!

Readers who brush up against the historical romance sphere even a little cannot help but beware of the white-hot expectations assigned to these authors. All have developed a reputation for peerless prose - a reputation Apprentice Writer, for one, considers well deserved. And at this moment, they all have new releases out - and all are raking in the praise.

Loretta Chase has been a star in the writing game the longest, and not a single romance reader has AW met who cannot spout off their favorite Chase title on the slightest provocation. (AW's is 'Mr. Impossible', in case any Gentle Readers of this space could possibly have missed this scoop.) She has become so iconic that aspiring writers without number have been known to pitch their manuscript with the instantly understood shortcut: "This is my attempt to write like Loretta Chase." Can never happen, of course, but the turns of phrase, the buildup of relationships, the funny, and the emotional satisfaction are all so deft and delicious that hope springs eternal. And, in a characteristic especially dear to the slow-writing AW's heart, Ms. Chase seems the exception in current multiple-manuscripts-per-year norm, taking her time to polish each story to her personal satisfaction and even retiring from active group-blogging last year. Whatever gets another Chase story into the bookstores - AW is all for it.

(Should the Gentle Reader be interested, AW's review of the most recent title, 'Your Scandalous Ways', is here, and 'Mr. Impossible' here.)

Sherry Thomas exploded onto the scene two years ago with her spectacular debut, 'Private Arrangements'. AW loved, loved, loved the humor and sweetness of a secondary romance between an older couple and suffered, suffered, suffered(in a good way!) right along with the protagonist couple in the primary romance. It was one of the most well-rounded emotional workouts she'd had in a while! The second title, 'Delicious' did a superb job of showing how food is so much more than mere nutrition, and that the way that people prepare it and eat it can have layer upon layer of emotional meaning infused.
(AW looked for her earlier reviews to link here and was embarrassed to find she had not posted any formal comments. Apparently she was too busy dashing around cyberspace gushing incoherent praise after 'Private Arrangements', and looking for something delectable to much after 'Delicious'.)

Meredith Duran is the 'youngest' of the trio, literary-wise, with her second title appearing now. AW thought her personal writer envy would be difficult to keep in check, given that the author's debut title was published as a prize for popularity of excerpt in an online contest, and given that the author appears to jot down saleable manuscripts for relaxation in between earning her doctoral degree. But Ms. Duran has such a sincere and likable persona that AW's affronted intentions were punctured.

'Duke of Shadows' was a marvelous and intense story set in one of AW's favorite settings: South Asia. The author will 'catch up' with Ms. Thomas in mere weeks when her third title will be released. Given these two authors' career trajectory, and given that Ms. Thomas has set her latest in South Asia as well, AW was utterly delighted yet not 100% surprised to learn that they have combined efforts and now blog together at 'Plotters and Manipulators United' (which AW still thinks should win a prize for blog name). Since Ms. Chase is no slouch in the South Asian-setting department herself ('The Sandalwood Princess'), AW awaits the day that Ms. Chase will do a guest blog on the Plotters and Manipulators site.

(Here AW's impressions of 'Duke of Shadows').

AW's answer to the 'What Will Be in Your Beach Bag?' question:

"Don't Tempt Me" Loretta Chase

"Not Quite a Husband" Sherry Thomas

"Bound by Your Touch" Meredith Duran


Julia Smith said...

I know I've mentioned my lack of Loretta Chase exposure before, but I mean to remedy that fact. And there can never be too much fangirl gushing, in my opinion.

Thomma Lyn said...

Yay for fangirl gushing! :) I'm reading a historical romance right now and enjoying it thoroughly. I'll have to give Loretta Chase, Sherry Thomas, and Meredith Duran a try.

M. said...

Julia - I think I'm going to have to commit to those nightwalker (?) stories by the Russian-sounding author you keep recommending to get you to commit to a Chase! I would actually have picked the first in the series up by now, except for the fact that I'm not really a vampire person... Are there other creatures involved that will make it worth drawing me in?

TL - I encourage you to see if they fit your reader sensibilities. What title are you reading?