Tag Archives: series vs single title

When did category romance get this good?

I first started reading romance novels when I was 12 and I somehow got on Harlequin’s mailing list. One day I got a package of Harlequin Presents novels (and a crappy necklace), and I was hooked. For years, I spent my babysitting money on their book club.

As I matured, my romance reading tastes changed. And when I was 23 and met my husband, I completely lost the taste for romance novels.

A seven-year hiatus followed, filled with non-fiction, capital-L Literature, and reports on human rights abuses. Then, a couple Christmases ago, my friend in California picked up a Harlequin Presents as a joke and sent it to me. It featured an Italian billionaire (the hero, of course), and it arrived just days before Hubby and I went to Rome.

The novel was silly, full of holes and the kinds of characters I would hate to know in real life. But it was so diverting that, at one point while we were in Rome, my husband told me that if I’d just put down the bloody book, I might find myself ruthlessly bedded by the British graduate instructor.

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Three degrees of separation

Blythe Gifford, author of The Harlot’s Daughter and In the Master’s Bed, talks on Romance: B(u)y the Book about her surprise at discovering that she’d written a series.

It made me realize how many series I read that are groups of three. I wonder if that’s because of a particular way our brains work (I remember learning in a communications class at college that conversations work best when you have three people because one person is always somewhat left out and has more motivation to drive the conversation forward) or if it’s because publishers like to package things in threes. Just long enough for readers to get to know characters’ world really well, but not long enough to get bored of that world.

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