Until recently, I pretty much stuck with the same authors, my bookshelves looking like an homage to Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb and Karen Rose. I was loathe to try anyone new, and honestly I’m not sure why. I didn’t start out only wanting to read one author (boy would my reading have been limited–7 books until Casual Vacancy came out), but somehow, I got it into my head that I couldn’t possibly like any other authors. I eventually found myself in one long book rut and if it wasn’t for the Smart Bitches and for Lady Jane’s Salon I would have missed out on a lot of really good books.
The first new-to-me author I tried was Loretta Chase. I have to admit that until I read Lord of Scoundrels I only read one historical romance author–Candace Camp, whose books I still glom, but not to the extent that I did back then–and even that had been an accident (I hadn’t realized it was an historical romance when I picked it up at Target). Having read Ms. Camp’s contemporaries in different anthologies, I figured that she only wrote contemporary romances. I am still a little shy when it comes to trying a new historical romance author because they can be screwed up so easily. I have added a few to my reading must-haves, most notably Tessa Dare, Courtney Milan, and Lauren Willig (although I didn’t like The Ashford Affair).
Despite having only a few historical romance authors that I read, I find myself reading mainly historical romances when only a few years ago, I wouldn’t have even looked passed some of those God awful covers–and really, who thought that knee britches and a mullet went well together?! I think part of the reason I am able to read historical romances more than contemporary ones is that I am willing to accept certain behaviors in an historical that I would never accept in a contemporary–for example, in an historical, I have no problem with the hero expecting the heroine to meekly do what he asks, but I would be severely pissed if I found that in a contemporary. I can also accept a bit of racism and sexism in an historical, but in a contemporary I would be the first person to lead a boycott because those things are in no way acceptable in the 21st century. That isn’t to say that I’ll accept ANY behavior in an historical–rape is a line crosser for me as it should never have been acceptable and it definitely does not equal love (more like Stockholm Syndrome).
I have recently (as in the last few months) tried two new-to-me contemporary authors–Julie James and Bella Andre–to two extremely different outcomes; I devoured the James novels and wanted to light the Bella Andre book on fire and leave it on her lawn (yeah, I thought it was that bad). I’ve also started a new historical romance author (currently reading Almost Like Heaven by Julia Quinn) and so far I really like it. The last historical romance that I tried, I immediately hated it–it just goes to show that I am a bit hit or miss when trying new authors.
I do still run to my older favorites, especially when all of the new authors crap out on me or when I just need to return to characters that have become like friends to me, but I am glad to have come out of my reading shell.