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?


by Moderator dhaupt on ‎09-23-2009 12:30 PM

You know Michelle before you mentioned the ick factor I never gave it a thought, thanks a lot.

Now my take on generational romances or any novels for that matter are a little different, I try to take the authors perspective instead and just assume they've grown up and it's okay for them to have sex okay. Now stay out of my psyche. ;-)


My favorite generational stories are Diane Gabaldon's The Outlander series, Johanna Linday's The Mallory family books, Lynn Kurland's time traveling romances starring the De Paigets and all her related family dramas, Hannah Howell's tales of the Murray family, and lastly Susan Wigg's re-issued Tudor Rose trilogy.


by Lisa_Kroener on ‎09-23-2009 01:02 PM

Hm, I don't really have problems with children-gone-adults-having-sex (I've thought about it before, believe me!). The problem I have, though, is that the former heroes and heroines now are so old. I mean, not old as in Johannes Heesters old, but just older than they were when they were the main characters in a book. It's weird, but I always like to think that my characters never grow old.


Hmm, fave Liz Carlyle reads... The German version of The Devil You Know was one of the first romances I've ever read and I really, really liked it. It is a rather darks book (and whoever has read it knows that!) in that the hero's typical hidden secret is not that typical at all and really rather shocked me. It's an unusual book and in that it's reeeeeeeeeeeeal good.


Amazon just sent me an email that Wicked All Day is on its way to me. I'm really curious about this book since in the last ones I always found Zoë rather annoying and somehow I didn't like her so very much. So I can't wait to find out if this will change once I read her book...



by Moderator becke_davis on ‎09-23-2009 03:14 PM

I have no problem with the ick-factor, probably because I've heard way too much information about the younger generation in my own family. Nora Roberts' CHESPEAKE BLUE came to mind right away -- that's the fourth book in what started out as a trilogy, but I guess so many people wanted to know how Seth turned out, she finally wrote his story.


I love to read generational stories, so now I'm going to have to pick up copies of BOTH of Liz Carlyle's books!

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎09-23-2009 04:28 PM

dhaupt: oops!  Guess ya cain't unring the bell, huh?  Still, I was enjoying hanging around your psyche...  I was wondering about the Tudor Rose trilogy.. Is it romance or women's fiction?  Clearly you like the generationals; I dig em, too.  I just started reading Miranda Jarett's from the 90's and I'm so hooked on her American New England families.

Oh, Lisa, I love that book, and the flavor of Devil You Know, and some of the following, is what I'm talking about. After those, historicals got a little less meaty, a little softer.  Maybe the emphasis began to shift from backstory to present conflict/resolution?  I love that historicals are shifting again toward more intense emotional connections and more 'damaged' characters.  Anywayz, I'm a huge Carlyle fan and especially love her earliest, though she's not afraid to take on tough issues and deal w/em head on.  Yet she's so skilled they don't drag down the novels, and she still works a believable HEA w/ healing.  In terms of zoe, I don't believe Carlyle will let you down.  Please let me know what you think if you decide to read it.

On the 'growing older,' that's something we don't see as much in romance any longer, either, least not in the slowing down sense.  In the Jarretts I'm reading, the hero of one is, like, almost 70 in another, but the interesting thing is she doesn't make the familial relationships perfect, which adds to the idea that there's a day after HEA that begins the 'ever after.'  It's kind of cool.  I also remember a Marsha Canham novel -- oh, have I mentioned I love Marsha Canham? :smileyhappy: -- that's part of a series of medievals in which we find a heroine from another novel has died in battle.  It works, and I guess was okey dokey as part of the 'saga' movement that remained popular in, I think, the 80s.  But, I tend to look at some novels as "period pieces' now -- and am an unabashed nut for 'old school,' so maybe not everyone feels the same.


I think it might be cool -- and have heard women say they'd love it -- if we saw more affection and passion between the h/hns as they age in generational romances.  I hope we see that trend, cause I think when it's done well, it's very entertaining, like Susan Elizabeth Phillips' secondaries, etc.


by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎09-23-2009 04:30 PM

Oh, yeah, becke, I remember waiting for that one to come out. But I do remember being a little creeped out cause I still was thinking of him as a kid.  Perhaps cause lil Seth played such a pivotal role in the three other books in the series.  And, yeah, from what I understand you get some Gen Icks at home... :smileyhappy: Of course, then he ended up an artist and, well, my feelings about artist heroes/heroines is a blog for another day...

by Moderator dhaupt on ‎09-23-2009 04:35 PM

To answer your question Michelle, the Tudor Rose Trilogy is romance definitely the HEA going on there, well so far anyway.

by Author Jessa_Slade on ‎09-23-2009 05:58 PM

I'm fine with the kids growing up and getting wild.  That totally fits with a 'happily ever after' for me :smileyhappy:  But I have to admit, one of the best parts of paranormals is that my favorite characters never get old.  Kind of like Peanuts.

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎09-23-2009 05:59 PM

Michelle - I've read another series recently, where a later book in the series followed the story of a child from the earlier books. Maybe I'm thinking of Shana Abe's Dragon series.

by 1lovealways on ‎09-24-2009 12:17 AM

Hi Michelle!  I've never thought about the ick factor.  I just take each book on it's own merits separately from the book they originally appeared in. My favorite generational romance is the Mackenzie Saga by Linda Howard.  I don't like the characters to grow old, but if the author is going to write a generational, then that is one of the things they face.  In the Mackenzie Saga, even though Mary and Wolf have grown older, I found I could handle them in those roles.  If I want to recall the beginning of their romance, I just read Mackenzie's Mountain and my mind switches gears and places them there at the beginning.  As for their sons, no problem at all loving any of those Alphas.  Yum!  My other favorite generational is Diana Gabaldon's Outlander Series.  These are just the greatest books and were passed around at my job and enjoyed by all the readers!


Historical Romance is still one of my favorite genre's to read.  Kathleen Woodiswiss was my all time favorite author and to me it's hard to find anyone who writes it like she did.  I do, however, love Marsha Canham, Johanna Lindsey, Linda Lael Miller, Karen Marie Moning and Madeline Baker just to name a few.   The most change I feel that has occurred in Historical Romance is the new writers who bring fresh ideas and give it a fresh face.  One thing for sure that's changed is how they've stretched the love scenes more and more.  They are definitely more erotic, but without the erotic words!


I've been reading a lot of paranoramal lately and just finished Book #6 in the BDB, Phury's story.  Great book and with an ending that tore at my heartstrings.  Yes ... I'm now addicted like everyone else!  :smileyhappy:   These books would make great movies!






by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎09-24-2009 01:16 PM

Oh, no, debbie, another series to start...

Jessa, that's hilarious.  Someone told me about a para she loved that began with the immortal hero's mortal wife aging near death and her wanting to find his next love for him.  Isn't that a wild prospect?  I like it better Peanuts style.

Ooo, you love some good authors, 1lovealways and, oh look! There's Marsha Canham!  DId I ever mention that I really like her books?  We'll have to have some Woodiwiss days round here.  When she passed, we had some really cool commemoration at Lifetime, with authors talking about how she inspired them.  Lots of talk about older generations sharing the Woodiwiss with younger.  My mother-in-law, who definitely doesn't read romance, even remembers reading Wolf/Dove when it came out. Whe said all her friends were reading it, everyone knew Woodiwiss books were something special.

And you go on the BDB! We're all living vicariously through your experiencing them for the first time.  I remember not being able to breathe when my copy of Z's story came in the mail.  It would be awesome to see the books in movies; wonder if they'd translate.  You know, those books are really envelope pushers.  How do you feel about the sensuality? It can get pretty raw...

by 1lovealways on ‎09-24-2009 04:38 PM

Hey Michelle, Ah, you do send me back with The Wolf & The Dove!  I loved that book!  Yes, some Woddiwiss days would definitely be nice.  I agree with the authors, I think she was the spark that ignited the flame and helped birth our 21st century explosion in women's romance novels!  Yea!


As for the BDB they are extremely sensual!  From the first book to the last one all had this in common.  I've never read of so many sexy vampires!  It must be a vampire thing, because they all were this way.  I did find that I could handle it as long as she didn't use very descriptive words.  Besides that, the plots were extremely well thought out and I loved that too.  There was one word in particular that she used all the time, but I could handle that as I've seen that in Historicals before.  As it was I was already fanning myself  and my eyes were popping.  They probably would have popped out if she had went any further(smile).  Whew!


 They definitely did push the envelope.  I was like, ooook I can't believe she's really saying this or that!  But she was and she did!  If she went any further she might as well have torn that envelope up and thrown it in the trash!  They were not only on fire, but burning!  Yes, yes, yes!  And now I find out there's another book!  Number 7, Rehvenge's storey coming out in paperback in November!  My birth month. Well, it definitely won't be just another birthday will it (laugh)!  And I'll have this book to cozy up to the fire with.  I probably won't need the fire (laugh)!  Rehvenge was pretty hot leading up to his own book, but I'm still a V girl.  I did get confused about the Princess.  Was she a snake or a scorpion!  Yuk!  I got it, but I think my mind was rebeling against what I thought she was.  I could actually visualize her!  I hate snakes!!!


Of course, in the meantime, I've ordered the BDB Guide and some more paranormals based on recommendations from the boards.  I gotta do something to quell the withdrawal pangs!  Then I find out that John's story maybe coming out in 2010!   I want Tohr's story too.  He's intriguing.  I figured she killed Wellsie off (I hated that) a la Danielle Steel, to give him his own book and let him find healing in the form of a new love.  I hope she's human because he seems to have a problem accepting human women, as he did with Mary in Lover Eternal.  She definitely has to be human, so that Tohr realizes that love can come in any species.  I read somewhere that someone wanted him and Payne to be together.  I'm like, please nooooo!  I'd match her up with Qhuinn.  Just my take on it all ... for now!!! :smileyhappy:


by Moderator Melanie_Murray on ‎09-24-2009 04:43 PM

Shana Abe's Drakon books were the first that popped into my mind after reading this column, so yes, Becke, I'm with you. The first book features (Smoke Thief) a 12-year-old street urchin named Zane, who becomes the hero in the second book while the heroine of the second book is the daughter of the hero & heroine from the first book. Then all the subsequent books feature the children of ST's hero/heroine.


And I think of Linda Lael Miller too, whose generational stories truly span generations.


Michelle - you are Marsha Canham's press agent! I've never read her but after all your glowing comments about her I'm adding her to the TBR pile.

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎09-24-2009 04:45 PM

I might as well just move into my Barnes & Noble. Pretty soon I'll have as many books as they do.

by Moderator Melanie_Murray on ‎09-24-2009 05:00 PM

1lovealways: When we inaugurated our book club over at Romantic Reads, we started with The Flame & The Flower. It was really interesting to read that book in context of the times we're in. First - it was so evident how much of the romance "formula" really derives from that book, and second the nature of the relationship between the hero/heroine sparked much debate over how romantic it actually was in light of how they first get together. What was acceptable back when F&F was published really seemed to rub some modern-day readers the wrong way. I still loved it, though, even if it did seem like a bit of a relic.

by 1lovealways on ‎09-24-2009 11:13 PM

Hi Melanie!  Yes, it is interesting to read the older romance novels in context with the times of today.  It's like being in a time warp!  I haven't read that book in years, but I do remember it being a favorite.  Yes, that "formula" set the standard for our modern day romances.  As for that love scene, I've heard about the debate about it before.  Barely out of high school myself at the time, I could hardly believe what I was reading or that it was in print.  I do remember it being one of those novels that I couldn't put down.  I don't  remember how they got together.   I'll have to dig it out and find that scene (yes, I still have it)!   Maybe now that I'm older and wiser, I can interpret it better.  Back then, I was too busy trying to keep my younger sisters from getting their hands on it! :smileyhappy:

by 1lovealways on ‎09-24-2009 11:26 PM

Oooh Becke I love that idea!  Maybe they'd give some free books!  If only it were possible!

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎09-25-2009 12:41 AM

Wanted to let you all know that Liz Carlyle wrote a note from the SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS to say hi and thank you all for your nice words and support.  She doesn't have regular Inet access, so she only could send a couple lines on her phone. I suspect she's rather busy "researching" kilts and things...

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎09-25-2009 12:54 AM

1lovealways, not everyone could read love can come in any species, and not get the wrong idea.  Luckily, we;re romance fans. 


thanks for the Abe info, melanie and becke.  And Melanie, I always get nervous when someone reads my fave author, cause they really could not have the same love, ya know?  But you're a historical fan. Hers are really meaty, backstory-y romances, especially a series she wrote around Culloden.  She's got a great series riff on the Robin Hood legend, plus a couple ship-board romances, one w/ a female corsair. 


melanie, it's wild that Flame/Flower was the kick-off at Rom Reads!  It's such a fab 'period piece.'  I've spoken w/a bunch of women who read it when they were adolescents, in high school, and they all have said they totally understood that it wasn't some kind of manual for how to be treated poorly by men.  They 'got' the over-the-top nature of some of the drama. But they also felt the strenght of the heroine and the arc of the love story and hero's journey to 'redemption,' as we're fond of calling it, was extremely compelling.  None of them felt they were being fed patriarchal garbage and, especially, they never felt they were unsophisticated for enjoying the novels. Indeed, none of the women I'm thinking of are unsophisticated.  And everyone points out that Woodiwiss carefully separated the opening scenes from any other sensuality in the book, which took place much, much later.

by Moderator becke_davis on ‎09-25-2009 02:59 PM

Tell Liz I'm jealous.

by 1lovealways on ‎09-25-2009 10:12 PM

Michelle, That comment regarding the species is very broad, huh?  But, of course we romance fans know I meant  vampire and human. :smileyhappy:  Speaking of Marsha Canham, have you read The Pride of Lions and the sequel The Blood of Roses? 

The hero, Alexander Cameron is to die for, plus there's a good secondary romance.  Great books!!!

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio on ‎09-28-2009 10:02 AM

exactly, on the 'species' comment, 1la.   And, yeah, he's great.  Are there 3 books in that series?  That secondary romance is another great one, and, I think, has some twists that couldn' t be taken today, right?  And isn't it great how the British officers always are the bad guys when the story's about Scottish guys?  My son's studying the French Indian war, and I got his eyes to glaze over last night describing Elizabeth Hoyt's and Pamela Clare's romances set during that war, and how Pamela's have the Scot bros forced to fight for the Brits or die. sigh.

by 1lovealways on ‎10-01-2009 11:52 PM

Michelle,  I think there are only two books in that series.  Hey, if you find another let me know!   I'm there!   I hated when it ended!  I can't remember the twists in that secondary romance, except that her maid and the hero's best friend fell in love.  I wanted her to continue their story, but unfortunately she killed them off.  My throat was clogged with tears and oh, no's!


I had never thought about the British being the bad guys all the time, but you are so right.  That seems to happen on a regular basis, although sometimes you find yourself wondering what kind of hero the guy would make?   


Oh, my goodness when a kid's eyes glaze over, they're really into the story!  That is a compliment to you for being so inspiring and inventive!  I can remember listening to my 9th grade World History teacher speak about different topics regarding world events and having my eyes do the same thing.  Keep up the good work!  To be honest, I was enraptured!    I could actually visualize what she was talking about.  She was the absolute best teacher that I ever had!  I hated to leave her class!   I think being influenced by the way she taught had something to do with why I like to read and why I love it so much!   Simply wonderful memories!!! 

by Blogger Michelle_Buonfiglio ‎10-02-2009 08:51 AM - edited ‎10-02-2009 08:51 AM

Hey, 1la, I checked, and there are 3 books to the series. I remember reading them in the fall, because at one point I was dressed as a witch, sitting on the stairs leading to our front door waiting for trick-or-treaters as I was in the middle of one!  What a funny thing to remember.  Anyway, the order listed at marshacanham.com is: "Pride of Lions," "Blood of Roses," and "Midnight Honor."  Those were the good old days, when you could kill off a beloved couple in a dramatic battle scene. sigh.   I'm one of those pathetic, "I have every book you ever wrote, Ms Canham, fangirls." And the heroine through all those books was one of those old school ones that every guy who met wanted.  I love those.  Um, but it's not like I have that fantasy, or anything.  Nope. Not me...  One of my fave canhams is her last from around, which in some ways is a mashup of a few of her themes. But the hero's a virgin Knight Templar. The heroine is an abused wife who's escaping the husband she thinks she murdered.  And I think Richard the Lionhearted shows up.  Awesome stuff. 


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