Heathitis: a condition in which readers are unable to settle for mediocrity, once presented with perfection.
People presented with the extraordinary can never settle for the ordinary. Readers of Lorraine Heath and Julia Quinn can probably relate to this.
If I had a penny for every time I've heard that Lorraine Heath's recent books, compared to her older Westerns, SUCK, I'd be a very rich woman. Unfortunately, having started reading Heath only a couple of years ago, I have no concept of what I've missed. I don't find her novels set in Victorian England all that bad. A MATTER OF TEMPTATION was a stinker, in my opinion, but I'm fine with the rest of them. In fact the Victorian novels were the ones that put Heath on my auto-buy list. Can she get any better? I never thought it was possible, but lately, more and more, I'm being told differently. Fans of Heath today are saddened by what they claim is the loss of a great talent. Lorraine Heath may be alive and well, but her talent, as demonstrated by her Victorian England set novels, is long gone, or at least, terribly misplaced. So I'm told...you see, I loved PROMISE ME FOREVER; loved AS AN EARL DESIRES; even loved AN INVITATION TO SEDUCTION, my very first Heath book. Fans of Heath's earlier works tell me I'm nuts, that I would think differently if I had read the early books. Are they right? Perhaps...you see I might be experiencing the same with Julia Quinn.
I love Julia Quinn's books...love love love them...or at least, I loved them up until she published WHEN HE WAS WICKED. The book was so so, but it was mostly because the heroine, part of the Bridgerton clan, was never fully introduced in previous Bridgerton books and I never really cared much for her. When IT'S IN HIS KISS came out, I knew something was terribly wrong. The book lacked the luster of THE DUKE AND I and THE VISCOUNT WHO LOVED ME. I kept on hearing that IT'S IN HIS KISS was amazing, a masterpiece...the best book EVAH and I thought "Did I buy a different edition of the book?" I thought the book lacked a love story and was honestly irritated with Gareth, the hero, someone I believed too immature and hormone driven for a Bridgerton. And Hyacinth, the heroine with so much potential for a truly hilarious and amazing story? Bleh! She stunk and was not depicted as the strong minded, humorous hoyden we were made to believe she was OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN in past Bridgerton novels. What happened? Well, I soon realized the gushing and awing for IT'S IN HIS KISS came mostly from readers who had not read Quinn's earlier Bridgerton books, so they had nothing to really compare the story to. Perhaps, if they had read THE VISCOUNT, their gushes would be more like laments and their awes would be more out of pain.
For readers who have not been presented with the extraordinary, it's quite easy to settle. Maybe this is why Heath fans cannot stomach her recent works and I can. Maybe this is why I cannot stomach Quinn's recent works and others can. I don't know...I guess I won't know until I read an older Heath novel. At this point, I can't see what all the fuss is about...I am curious though. The beauty of Heath's westerns is legendary and I can only hope to experience it soon and hope, if it's all it's cracked up to be, that it resurfaces once again. Until then, I can only speculate as to why Heath fans are so upset that Rawley Cooper will not get a novel anytime soon.