Saturday, June 09, 2007

I'm Too Old For This

As an adult, I really have no interest in romance novels. I've never had an explanation for this. After all, the desire for a soulmate, a permanent, life-long relationship, seems worthy of consideration. But I'm more interested in family interactions, say, the really sick relationships between parent and child.

As a teenager, though, I read historical romances, particularly novels by Georgette Heyer. I remember reading them during exam weeks when I was in college.

I lost interest as an adult, and after Heyer died in 1974 I didn't see her mentioned much anymore. Then a few years ago I noticed YAs talking about her books at Readerville and Leila did a post about her recently at bookshelves of doom. So I've had a couple of old Heyer paperbacks that I inherited from a relative and decided the 48 Hour Book Challenge would be a good time to dip into one again.

Today I knocked off Sylvester or The Wicked Uncle. It took me all day to read it, not because it was difficult or boring or tedious but because the quality of the writing is sophisticated. I think Heyer is a good writer in terms of putting sentences and paragraphs together, creating characters and her historical world, and, bless her heart, plotting. She writes with a sly and subtle wit. I was rarely tempted to skim.

If you've read many of her books (and back in the day, I read a lot of her books) she dealt with a lot of the same kinds of characters--rakes with hearts of gold, modest girls who steal the hearts of high society types with their cleverness and spunk, tough-minded and powerful dowagers, powerful lords who got around (if you know what I mean) in their youth but understand their place in society. Many of her heroines are quite young while the heroes are a bit older and men of the world.

I think these books are attractive for young women for the same reason Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice were and are attractive to young women--the great guy doesn't always go to the powerful and beautiful. And the great guy is also something of a bad boy.

But I'm not a young woman. As good as Heyer is, I got to around the 230 page point (out of 410) and I thought, You know how this is going to end. You're just filling time, Gail.

And I think that may be why I don't care for romance novels anymore. I know how they're going to end.


Boy gets girl. Girl gets boy. Boy gets boy. Girl gets girl. No matter what combination you're talking about, the ending is always going to be the same. I guess I just don't care how they get there.

By the way, Sylvester, Duke of Salford, is a wicked uncle because he's arrogant and standoffish. He doesn't hold a candle to Alec Campion, Duke Tremontaine, in The Privilege of the Sword. Now that was a wicked uncle.

48 Hour Book Challenge
Charlie Bone and the Hidden King, 441 pages
Sylvester or The Wicked Uncle, 410 pages


Blogger Michele said...

I had a real GH thing in my 20s - must have bought and read every single one of her books. Never touched them since, mind !

Good luck with the 48 HBC !

5:51 AM  
Blogger Camille said...

I read GH in high school too. I had a reading friend who had tons of them and she let me borrow some and I was hooked. Once I started college, I never read another one. Hmmm... I wonder where my books ended up?

10:31 AM  

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