OK. This is so going to sound like I've tripped 'cross that line between "They call it romance fiction 'cause it's a 'made up' story, Michelle" and "But I feel like I know and love all the characters in my favorite connected-romance-novel families."
It's just that, well, gosh, nobody really wants to imagine kids they've watched grow up having lusty sex as adults; I mean, squick, ya' know? And that's kind of what some of us have to get past when an author writes generational romance series.
Now, don't get me wrong. It takes me about a nanosec to swallow down the ick reflex. But it occurred to me yesterday while reading a saucy lil' scene in Liz Carlyle's delish new historical, "Wicked All Day ," that I'd met her hero, icy-cool Stuart, Lord Mercer, somewhere before: on the pages of one of my all-time faves, Carlyle's "A Woman Scorned ."
"A Woman Scorned" was flavored somewhat intensely even for its Y2K day, in that the action behind the love story was a bit dark and definitely suspenseful. Yet the hero, former-gentle-theologian (sigh) -turned-hardened-Royal-Dragoon (double sigh) Cole Amherst (a triple-sigh worthy name of the first order) and his heroine, the admirable-in-her-self-possession-and-take-no-rubbish-from-no-man Lady Jonet Rowland travel a path to HEA that is as combative and conflicted as it is sensually powerful and ultimately uplifting.
At the heart of Jonet's and Cole's love story is their obsession with protecting from imminent danger the widowed Jonet's young sons, Stuart and Robert; neither Jonet nor Cole knows who is the real enemy, each suspects the other may fill that role. And while you simply must read the novel to score all the lovely deets, it's clear all ended as well it should, and the youngsters grew up - and how.
Now, Stuart is marquess, one of the wealthiest and most powerful English peers, and he takes his position veddy seriously. His brother Robert is a swell guy, loved by all, Stuart's best pal and more than happy to let Stuart scoop him out of the kinds of scrapes he's been stumbling into since they were kids.
Yet when Stuart catches Robert in a compromising position with lovely and infuriatingly minxish family friend Zoe Armstrong, Stuart makes sure Robert does the right thing.
And that is exactly the wrong thing for everyone involved, as Stuart realizes little Zoe's all grown up and her constant tormenting - the kind that used to drive him mad - now is making him insanely taken with the young woman who seems to throw herself away on all the wrong men, when the right wrong man wants her but never can let her know.
What are some of your favorite generational romance series? How do you feel historical romances have changed in the last decade? What are some of your fave Liz Carlyle reads?