Sunday, April 16, 2006

Heathitis, You Say? Is it Fatal?

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 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? see I might be experiencing the same with Julia Quinn.

I love Julia Quinn's 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.


sybil said...

Because he needs one damn it!

Trust me ;). I even like Austin's book which many people are eh on. But omg their good.

I have Always to Remember and Parting Gifts tbr. They are both suppose to be grand but Always sounds way sad to me. But heath can make a reader cry like a lil bitch, or at least that what it seems like. I started with Invitation as well and liked it. I got the Texas books cuz people wouldn't shut up about them.

But but off reading them as I didn't touch westerns with a stick. heee I got over that... I blame Elizabeth Lowell. After reading the Texas books Invitation didn't make it a few chapters in for a reread and got traded. I had such hope to see Rawley but now... sniff.

Kristie (J) said...

Always to Remember is sad - but in a good way, and of course there is a happy, uplifting ending. The one that get me every time is Sweet Lullabye. This is a very HTF book and if anyone ever sees one, they should snatch it right up. Jake is the defintion of wounded hero.
I'm really waiting to hear your verdict when you read her earlier books.
And YES!!!! Rawley need his story told - but if she were ever to move him to England I would never forgive her and as things are now, it will never get written as long as Heath stays where she is.

Mailyn said...

meh, I can't stand westerns, unless it's a DAMN good action movie. I can't see for the life of me how anyone would find that time period romantic at all. lol

romancelover said...

I don't normally like westerns either, but I have a feeling I'll like Heath's.

Gosh, I don't even know who Rawley is and I want Heath to write his

I'm gonna have to ebay the book you all mention. I believe I own Texas Glory already, but want to complete the Texas series before reading it.

I wonder where Heath went wrong...why do her books deteriorate in England?

romancelover said...

Wait...what Lowell books are you referring to, Sybil??? I was looking at her books the other day and didn't know what to buy.

Kristie (J) said...

If I may step in for Sybil, those Lowell's would be:
Only His
Only Mine
Only You
I think - unless she means her Harelequin westerns.
And when I first started back reading romance I didn't think I would like Westerns either. But it didn't take me long to fall in love with them. I think one of the first Westerns I read was Renegade by Patricia Potter. It was about a Welshman who emmigrated and was coerced into helping the heroine. I loved it and that began a real love of a good western!!! As for the attraction - nothing like a strong, silent hero type who will do anything for the heroine. I think they, in many cases, are much more manly men then some English aristocrat. Much more rugged :). They fight for real - not at Gentleman's Jims boxing salon
See me passionately defending the Western? :)

sybil said...

le sigh... I started to answer this... got way long took to my blog then got called away. And have two of the posts done :).

Til then yes to kristie but she is missing the last one Only Love. And then Autumn Lover and Winter Fire tie in but aren't apart of the Only series.

Reckless Love is great as well as the Harl. Books that follow - Fire and Rain, Granite Man, Outlaw and Warrior. But only RL is a historical and it was first pub as HH. I have more but that should get you started ;).

Holly said...

OMG! I'm so glad I finally met someone else who doesn't swear by When He Was Wicked. I've heard over and over again how that's the best Bridgerton book yet, and I completley disagree. Not only did we not get to know Francessca at all, but the book was WAY too dark to be included in the Bridgerton Series.

I don't remember if I liked It's In His Kiss, but that's probably my answer right there.

Have you read Hannah Howell yet? (LOL) You really, really should!

Lori said...

I must be one of the few people who think many of the Bridgerton series don't match up to her even earlier works. I loved her earlier work like How to Marry a Marquis and To Catch an Heiress, and I thought Dancing at Midnight was a fantastic book. Great humor in those books as well as good stories. I absolutely yawned my way through To Sir Phillip, With Love - what a bore!

Nicole said...

When He Was Wicked is considered one of her best? Uh uh uh uh. Noooooo. It simply does not compare to her earlier ones.

romancelover said...

I know. WHEN HE WAS WICKED wasn't terrible but we didn't care for Francesca because she just disappeared after the 2nd book (I think it was the 2nd) and it was just said that she got married. What the fa? A family that close and it gets only a slight mention? I think Julia probably forgot about her and then remembered her existence towards the end...who knows?

Wendy said...

Heath lost me when she wrote those books about the English guys living in Texas. Haven't tried one of her English set novels.

The Texas trilogy is great IMHO. And just to be contrary - my favorite is actually book 3, which as Sybil says "most" people were "meh" on.

Another author worth mentioning here is Laura Lee Guhrke. I know a couple of readers who feel her books have gone downhill since the move to Avon. I can't offer an opinion since I have all of her Avon books still in the TBR. But her older books Breathless and To Dream Again are gems!