I will read just about anything, but there are lines I will not cross. If you had asked me what those lines were a week ago, I would have waffled a bit.
A few days ago, I visited a used book store near my house and found some old romances in the clearance section. One of the books was written by an author I used to love — I’ve read twenty or more of her books, and some of them are my all time favorites. A couple of them pushed the envelope, but I didn’t actually dislike them. I really hated this book.
The author is dead, but even so, in deference to the many books of hers that I read and loved, I’m not mentioning any names here. This subject has been on my mind recently, because others have talked about it, too. Many romance readers my age (not young) started with Kathleen Woodiwiss’ books, as I did.
Those books aren’t considered very PC today, but I dearly loved them back in the day. Attitudes have changed and the books written today have different sensibilities. I didn’t used to have very strong feelings about this — I just figured we had evolved, and the books with us.
The book that inspired this blog was written about fifteen years ago — not really old, but certainly not new. The writing wasn’t bad — this was an experienced author — but the hero was not today’s Alpha. No, he was a violent, jealous prick. Excuse my language, but I found that I do have lines that I will not cross, and the hero of this book crossed them.
When a hero manhandles the heroine by choking her to the point she passes out, has a ring of bruises around her throat and can barely speak for days, do not expect me to forgive this creep, no matter what his provocation was. I don’t want to see the heroine coming over all understanding and forgiving — I have two words for her: Balls. Off.
I was so upset when I finished this book (and yes, I did push through to the end), I very nearly threw it against the wall. I usually pass on books I’ve read (except the favorites), but I am reluctant to do so with this one.
Do I really want to inflict this hero on an unsuspecting friend, thereby becoming a sort of enabler? Or do I break a lifetime of treasuring books and actually throw it out? (I am stumbling over the words, they so go against everything I believe — but still . . .)
What about you? What lines won’t you cross when it comes to romance, erotica, romantic suspense or paranormal? Or any book, for that matter? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this tricky topic.