Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Peer Pressure

Eloisa James guestblogs March 28th to celebrate the release of "The Taming of the Duke." It's the third book in the Essex Sisters series. Romance: B(u)y the Book will also feature an encore review of Eloisa's "Kiss Me, Annabel," the previous book in the series.

Loretta Chase, a great fave of Eloisa's as well as mine -- let's face it, I'm rabid for her -- said in a recent AuthorView that American romance readers are wild about dukes, peerage, etc., simply cause "we don't have them."

Why do you like historicals with aristocratic characters, peers, etc.?
What do you think of this cover?

Encore! PI by day, romance novelist by night, award-winning author Colleen Collins is offering an online course for writers interested in developing characters and plots involving PIs. Looks good!


amy kennedy said...

I know I shouldn't be the first one to comment, because someone will come up with a far more excellent one--but, hey--you know me...I need to see this cover in person, I need to see his face better, cause he looks a little too pretty--however, I kind of like the reversal of the whole thing--the woman taking his shirt off from behind.

It makes my mind wander...but he looks young.

amy kennedy said...

Oh, hey look. It's me again.

Reading is an escape--a lovely time away. And when I really want to get away, I'm gonna read me an Historical. I adore manners and Manors and not having to work for a living. I love the clothes and the horses and the balls.

Stacy~ said...

The cover does nothing for me, except everytime I look at it, I imagine it's like the Blair witch with her captive - don't ask me why. It's like he's under a spell and she's undressing him for some witchy-type ritual. Gives me chills, and not in a good way...

As for historicals, I like the idea of all those rules to be broken. There must be such restraint, and the sexual tension is usually more prominent in a historical because of a lady's reputation - it's so darn easy to be ruined! Stay outside a little too long with a wicked rake (and not of the garden variety either) and the poor girl is in trouuuubleeee. And the clothes the women wear look just gorgeous. A total pain and time waster - I'm a "wash and go" kinda person - but the gowns and jewels and hairstyles - lovely. The men looked pretty spiffy as well.

Okay now I'm feeling guilty about my feelings towards the cover. I think in order to make peace, I might just have to read the back cover and if it sounds appealing, get the book.

amy kennedy said...

Stacy, The Taming of the Duke is the third in the Essex sisters series--I haven't read the first (shame on me) but I read Kiss Me, Annabel--and it was heaven. I can hardly wait to read TofTD because I'm hoping I've guessed his love interrest--so I would read the book no matter what the cover.

Another book of hers that's not actually in the series, but introduces you to a couple characters is, Your Wicked Ways--that one is so good, because the hero is a composer and so is his estranged wife--I do go on. I truly just want you to like Eloisa James Stacy.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

The balls, Amy?

Well. Up close the guy's byooteefull. but far away those hands do look a little disembodied, so don't go by that. I guess I just like the cover cause it's got a painterly quality ya don't see often on covers. And while he's a little young for Rafe, I agree, there aren't many models out there these days who don't make me feel as though I could be their elder aunt.

So sue me, too, Stace: I love the virging/rake thing. Again, suspending disbelief pre all the STDs, etc. I love a duke character and one of my faves, apart from Rafe, of course, is Wulfrick Bedwyn (sp?) from Mary Balogh's Slightly Dangerous. He's coiled tight like a spring, so hemmed in by Society. But such a noble, intrinsically good man. He just doesn't know he has a heart. It's one of the best riffs on P and P I've ever read.

Amanda said...

When I first saw this cover, I must admit I was a bit disappointed because it doesn't follow the pattern set by the other two books in the series. But over time it's grown on me---yes, this guy looks NOTHING like our Rafe of the alcoholism and paunch, but he's good eye candy. And really I've gotten to the point where the book's cover could feature Alfred E. Newman of Mad Magazine and I'd still buy it...

As for the question of why we like to read about the nobility? I'm with the escapists on this one. Give me a houseful of servants, a closetful of newly made gowns and slippers, and a well stocked library and I'd be a happy gal! Of course should I be visited by a snaxy nobleman who wanted to sweep me off my well shod feet, I'd be all right with that too;)

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

LOL, Amanda. Escapism. I know I've written this before, but I was a chubby, shy kid, and I fantasized that if I time-traveled to an era when men appreciated chubby I would, of course, be a very hot commodity. Then my stupid brain would seize on the fact that I'd probably also let loose some 20th century knowledge, be tried as a witch and burned at the stake. I wasn't too good at fantasies back then.

Which is why I say again that if someone had given me a romance novel when I was 15, this Catholic girl's life would have been vastly different. :)

Hi, Manda: I'm always fascinated by the dancing slippers. And especially the men's hessians. You guys, did you ever read "Mr. Darcy takes a Wife?" There's a funny scene where Lizzy helps Darcy take off his boots... The next one's due out soon. I happend to love MDTAW.

Monica Burns said...

First, the cover. It’s really hard to judge here because it’s the cover isn’t in my hands. My first impression was great chest, but then I immediately thought, wow, they’re going with computer-generated models now?? I’m sure it looks good in person.

But it doesn’t matter, it’s by Eloisa!!! Who gives a rip what the cover looks like! I love her work. One of my favorites of hers was Potent Pleasures!! GREAT story. I only wish I had time to read more of all the wonderful authors I love. *sigh* There’s one thing I learned a long time ago (actually high school when I was forced to read Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities – terrible cover but a FANTASTIC book) NEVER judge a book by its cover. Some of the best gems I’ve discovered have been under the worst covers I’ve ever seen.

I read the blurbs and go by the reputation of the author. In this case, Eloisa James is da woah-man! *grin*

As for why I think we love reading about dukes and other peers of the realm, I think it’s a two-pronged answer. One, most women have grown up wishing Prince Charming would come and sweep her off her feet and carry her off into the sunset, where one would live as royalty. Never having to work, deal with kids, nasty bosses, road rage or whatever you want to name. It’s about being pampered.

Two, someone mentioned because we (Americans) don’t have royalty. I agree. Look at our fascination with Princess Diana, Princess Grace of Monaco. We love that image of gentile behavior, the sense of honor that is attributed to the peerage, the idea that an “ordinary” woman can win the heart of a prince, a duke, an earl. I think a lot of what we see in titles is a romanticized view of the past. Looking back at the past is sort of like looking at the greener grass on the other side of the fence. We see only the good, only the sexy, only the pristine. But give me my fantasy. I love it. And who’s to say it wasn’t better then than it is now. Besides, there’s something about a guy in snug breeches and a shiny pair of Hessians that make me melt. And the dresses, who couldn’t feel any more feminine than in a long dress with a few ruffles here and there. *smile* It’s all subjective.

Lord, why do I always ramble on like this. *sigh*

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

I love when you ramble on, Monica.

I think the reason I asked about the cover is that, as Stace blogged, it is so different from the others. We see a lot of torso-specific covers now, and I'm intrigued. I hope nobody thinks I'm trashing the cover; not my intention. Don't even mean to when I rate Cover Cheese on RBtheBook. Never the artists or authors' faults either.

Man, when the editor and art folks get it right? It's the best, ain't it. Hey. We should blog about our fave covers. Next week I think.

Monica Burns said...

Fav covers!! I'm there! LOL

And I didn't take it that you were trashing anything. You wanted to know what people think.

And thanks for letting me ramble. *wink*.

I'm so glad I found your blog! It's such fun!! LOL

amy kennedy said...

Doe skin breeches. That's all I'm saying.

Amanda said...

Yeah, Michelle, my dream of living in the glorious past pretty much sinks every time I remember that without modern medicine I'd have died in my infancy...it's fun to dream but I'll stay in the here and now, thanks!

Definitely love those breeches and Hessians...Did anybody see Regency House Party on PBS? There was a bit where one of the gents had to pad his calves and so as to better fill out his breeches...

Lucy Monroe said...

I was chatting with a reporter from the Chicago Tribune about this very thing last week. And yep, I think the whole royal thing is part escapism. I also think it is easier to make a romantic ideal out of that which is out of the ordinary. I write a lot of tycoons, but the truth is...for Americans, tycoons *aren't* so far from reality. We have lots of them and they make it into the news and they feel too familiar sometimes to make a true heroic lead from. But give me nobility...give me royalty and I can make a hero out of him because he is different enough my readers aren't sitting there going, "no dukes I've seen in the news look like this guy" or "act like this guy" etc.

Does that make sense? It's why we write Army Rangers and Navy Seals when we do military heroes, instead of infantrymen. Our heroes are larger than life and it's easier to make that leap when it is a slice of life we're not as familiar with.

That's not to say we can't do a wicked hero who is a plumber, but it's a different kind of book. Or a bigger challenge to the writer to get her alpha male to fit the mold of his profession.

Which is another point about why we love the historical and the nobility for our heroes...it's easier to write an alpha hero who is truly *all that and more* from the historical era and the upper echelons of society than to make that same character work in a contemporary. That's the fantasy, escapism element...and I'm all for it. LOL

But you know what I really love about historicals? The history...the fact that the setting itself is another character in the book...the richness of the world the author creates for the reader. I love getting lost, not just in someone else's story...but in someone else's time.

Stacy~ said...

Amy believe me, I want to read an Eloisa book (she wrote a wonderful post at Squawkradio yesterday so I already like her) I just haven't been able to add her to my tbr pile. But maybe when I go through my historical phase, I'll hitch a ride on that bandwagon - nothing like gettin' more books. Thanx guys - this place is awesome :)

Anonymous said...

If I had to buy this book based on the cover alone I'd pass it by. The title is lost in the pic at the bottom and the guy is just sitting passively with his hands folded while being undressed by a woman. Huh? I am not acquainted with the author so that wouldn't be a draw either but after reading some of the posts I will try to find one of her books, just not this one. This cover does not say there's any fire inside so...

I love historicals too since they are a good way to get lost in fantasy. The peerage/aristocracy is not something I've ever experienced nor will be likely to so that adds another element to the fantasy. I do love a rake reformed by a woman. I have to say that even though blondes are not my first choice, Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent from Devil in Winter is my all time favorite so far. Something about him just grabbed me. LK did a wonderful job on this one. With a rake in a historical, you don't have to worry about all those nasty STDs or other baggage that went with the times. Just sit back, or curl up and enjoy.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

AnneG! Hey, I'm so glad you stopped in! I think you'd like Eloisa James' novels. She's guestblogging Tues, as you prob know, and she may talk more about this book.

We've got a lot of Sebastian fans here, me included. I think he surprised even himself when he was reformed because he expected so little of himself. And, how much was he dying to get his wife back into bed. Were you hoping Cam (?) would find a girl? He was the young guy from the club.

This cover actually gives me an "older woman/younger man" vibe for some reason. But the book is really good and sets up the next one well.