Jane at Dear Author wrote about the science of the glom earlier this week. Within the post, she mentioned glomming category authors like Susan Napier. Napier is one of the Harlequin Presents authors I used to love, and I gathered most of her backlist. Another older HP author whose backlist I hunted down is Robyn Donald. Donald’s use of New Zealand settings in her older books was excellent, almost as a third character in each book, but her most recent books, set in fake Mediterranean principalities with royals as main characters, have lacked something for me.
In the last week or so I’ve skimmed chunks of many of the older HPs on my shelves, including those of Napier and Donald. I have to say that if I were a new romance reader, the older HPs would not prompt a glom or even make me willing to try more category romance. While the heroines seem to have slightly more interesting careers (fewer secretaries and mistresses), the heroes are awful: overbearing hypocrites who jump to conclusions based on the flimsiest bits of information and verbally or mentally abuse the heroines.
Not all of them are like that, of course, but enough of them that I wonder how I can still love some of the categories by Donald and Napier yet be so offended by others. And I wonder if I would feel the same way if I had read all of these category novels (hundreds of them, literally) rather than just acquiring them and then hoarding them for a rainy reading day.
It’s a mystery, I guess.