I opened a couple of bins in the basement yesterday afternoon, thinking it would be easy to sort through the contents and consign some books to donation. I’d spent the morning cleaning out my closets, yielding a very large pile to donate or use as packing material and/or rags. Books are so much harder to let go of than clothes are for me. I managed only to pull out a half dozen old category romances. None of them are what I would consider Old School Harlequins, but they were all dated in one way or another.
Craving Beauty by Nalini Singh – a 2005 Silhouette Desire with a heroine from a made-up Middle Eastern country. This one felt oddly dated, even though it’s not that old. Perhaps because it fits into the SD formula so well, with the wealthy and over-everything hero and the exotic heroine.
Love Lessons by Gina Wilkins – a 2006 Silhouette Special Edition. This was sort of interesting, with a scientist heroine who is slightly older and much better educated than the somewhat immature hero. The pacing was extremely slow to match the relationship growth but the ending was somewhat abrupt.
The Negotiator by Kay David – a 2001 Harlequin SuperRomance. SPOILER!!! The set up for this book probably worked at the time, but opening with a hostage situation in which an armed intruder is in a school is not an intro that works as a hook for romance in the wake of too many school shootings IMO.
Mayan Moon by Eleni Carr – a 1982 Silhouette Special Edition. The sexual politics of this book were extremely dated and quite infuriating to me as a reader: I wanted to give the “hero” a giant head-slap and think he did not grovel nearly enough. He never really even asked for forgiveness! But the setting was very different — in Mexico City and Merida — and I loved that the author worked in the residual effects of colonialism on culture, social structure, and racism in Mexico.
A handful of other categories failed the 50 page test. If it takes me two days to work through just a few books, I’ll never finish…