Tuesday, February 17, 2009

seriously romantic: all about the written word

so i never meant to post solely about television. i just happen to watch a lot of it, and unlike high school, where my friend, alex and i would call each other to dissect the latest gh events every afternoon, my friends and i talk about more adult topics nowadays, like how much we hate work, or politics, or babies. this has proved to be a great channel for my thoughts on tv.

but i also read a lot. and one of the reasons i read a lot is that i read a lot of trashy romance novels. the thing is, i don't think of them as trashy. there's a lot of stuff being published, and some of it is real crap, but some of it is really well written and entertaining. and well, i've decided to track some of them here, in my new feature: seriously romantic.

this week i'm going to cover julia quinn's bridgerton book series: the duke and i; the viscount who loved me; an offer from a gentleman; romancing mr. bridgerton; to sir philip, with love; when he was wicked; it's in his kiss; and on the way to the wedding. the series covers the romantic pairings of the bridgerton siblings--anthony, benedict, colin, daphne, eloise, francesca, gregory, and hyacinth.

quinn's style tends to light, warm-hearted fare, with humor and tragedy/suspense delicately balanced in order to create emotional resonance. the books vary in mood and atmosphere, taking into account the characteristics of whichever sibling's story it happens to be. i didn't read the series in order, but it doesn't really matter what order you read the books in, since the stories standalone for each sibling. i started reading the books with romancing mr. bridgerton, and then read the original three, and the rest as they were published.

though i think most people would list the duke and i or the viscount who loved me as their favorites, i actually prefer when he was wicked. it's the darkest in tone of all the novels, but was the book that evoked the most emotion in me, and the passion, the desperation that the two character's felt for each other as you read seeps from every word, every page. i've read it at least ten times and do not get tired of francesca and michael's story.

i actually think that writing when he was wicked may have taken quinn to a darker place than she intended, since the remaining two novels in the series are so fluffy light and almost silly that they are undoubtedly the weakest links in the entire series. [and yes, i am aware that on the way to the wedding won a rita award, i just think quinn has published more deserving books.]

i don't know, maybe i think romance books shouldn't really go over 4 in a series. i think that as great as it is to have this little universe to visit, ultimately staying with the same characters for so long inhibits the authors and they get stuck in a rut, albeit unintentionally. [speaking of ruts makes me think of next week's subject, stephanie laurens and the bar cynster novels.]

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