I just read a Regency-set historical romance – part of a bestselling series by a bestselling author. It has 80+ customer reviews on Amazon with a 4.5 star average rating. Which makes me wonder if I am crazy, because I thought it was an embarrassment to the genre.
This is not a self-published book, so the anachronisms, Americanisms, and errors ought to have been corrected in the copy edit stage. It’s “lightning,” not “lightening,” and normally one perceives it prior to hearing thunder, not afterward. This error occurred multiple times, so it was not a typo; I honestly can’t imagine what you would call it other than a “I’m-writing-to-deadline-and-don’t-have-time-to-correct-anything” boo-boo. Regency-era children rarely exclaimed “Wow!” – and if they did, an adult would likely not respond, “Wow is right!” And everyone in this book, including the children, addresses everyone by first name regardless of their station, relationship, or length of acquaintance. Nobody takes offense, corrects the children (“Please don’t call the vicar ‘Joe,’ dear”), or apologizes. There are holes in the plot, but since the heroine’s emotions repeatedly “purl” in her belly, perhaps the author intended to knit the holes together at some point.
Am I peeved? Yes. This is the kind of book that gives my beloved genre a bad name. Reading all the uncritical raves on Amazon fills me with anxiety, because I can easily imagine someone buying this book based on the reviews … and what if that person is not a romance reader? What if that person has decided to try their first romance novel ever, having been told by their friends that they should stop sneering at a genre they know nothing about, and this is the one they pick up? Ai yi yi.
I wrote this blog post years ago and never posted it because I was afraid someone would recognize the author or book. Now that sufficient time has elapsed, I am going to post it. Because I know I am not the only reader who cares about this stuff.
Self-published books — which this one was not — frequently suffer from editorial neglect, and I hope any of you who notice errors in my work will report them to me, since I alone am responsible for corrections. But this author had a publishing team at her back, and they let her down. Wow, did they ever let her down! Wow is right!