• Reading

    Honor

    Megan’s post yesterday has me thinking about more serious subjects — and one that comes to mind is honor. I think one reason why historical romances of all types (and fantasy fiction too) have such an emotional impact on readers is the characters’ attachment to honor. This honor is not just a code of behavior, but the idea that if you do dishonorable things, it changes you, it stains you. Honorable characters may have been dishonorable in the past, but when the critical moment comes, they do what needs to be done.

    Aren’t the most honorable heroes often the most romantic ones? Think of the heroes in Barbara Metzger’s “A Debt to Delia” and Gail Eastwood’s “The Lady From Spain,” or any of Carla Kelly’s or Patricia Veryan’s heroes. Think of Georgette Heyer’s “Cotillion” — Freddy has his own immutable sense of honor. Think of Maximus in the movie “Gladiator,” or of so many characters in “The Lord of the Rings.”

    What do you think? Who are your favorite honorable heroes? Does their honor make them more attractive?

    And does the fact that romance and fantasy novels value honor mean that they are “mere escapism,” or are they actually celebrating something very real that our cynical times tend to wrongfully ignore?

    All thoughts welcome!

    Cara
    Cara King, www.caraking.com
    MY LADY GAMESTER, Signet Regency 11/05

  • Reading

    Solace-Searching

    It’s been a tough week for anyone who a) lives in the world, b) pays attention to the news and c) has compassion.

    If you don’t live in the affected areas, there’s not much more you can do now. Presumably you’ve given what you can, and are watching as the devastation begins to get cleaned up.

    I am not advocating pulling an ostrich and sticking your head in the sand, but it seems as if now would be a good time to try to lose yourself in a good book. For me, I’ve read so much news, visited so many websites, felt so much sympathy and anger I need a respite. And since I’m not really a ‘Calgon, take me away’ kind of person, I head to the TBR stacks.

    Obviously, romance is probably the best kind of book to read for escape. But what kind? Excluding the books published by my co-Bloggers–just because this is not a self-aggrandizing post–my short list includes Lynn Kerstan’s 2-in-1 reissue of Celia’s Grand Passion and Lucy In Disguise, Bernard Cornwell’s A Crowning Mercy and old category romances by Anne Stuart. I can’t handle romantic suspense, vampires, or the intensity proferred by some of my favorite Regency-set historical writers such as Julia Ross and Liz Carlyle right now.

    If you’re a romance reader, chances are you’ve got a stack of books togo through. What books and authors are your comfort reads? What’s next on your pile?

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