Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This Week in Trashy Reads #9

Trashy Read #9: Dreaming of You, by Lisa Kleypas

There are a variety of reasons why I consider my general reading life to be completely separate from my romance reading life. And maybe the biggest reason of all lies in my attitude towards the character/reader relationship in different genres. In the case of most fiction, I honestly believe that you don't have to like a book's characters to like the book. If that were the case, there's no way Fitzgerald would be my favorite writer; his characters are deplorable people. But they are built so well and written about so carefully that I can still admire their stories.

However, I feel completely different about romances. If I'm reading a romance, I have to like the characters. Otherwise, I'll give up the book. When it comes to my fun trashy reading, I don't want two terrible people to end up together happily ever after. Yuck. So likability is a major factor for me in reading romance. I have to enjoy the two leads in order to like the book at all.

Luckily, this trashy read had two wonderful main characters. Lisa Kleypas (who, you might remember, I did not love when I read her contemporary romance a few months ago) is considered a bit of a major player in the world of historical romances, and Dreaming of You seems to be her most well-loved novel. Recently, I have discovered that historical romances are my favorite fluffy reads, the kind of feel-good stupidness I need after a bad day. They are so far removed from my own experiences that I can't help but be caught up in the stories (assuming, of course, they are at least somewhat well-written). Sure, the historical accuracy is basically non-existent (and man, was there some major inaccuracy in this book), but I'm willing to overlook that for the sake of a some great characters getting together in the end. So knowing the reputation this book had, I grabbed it when I needed some cheering up last week.

Dreaming of You did not disappoint. Derek Craven had all you could want from a historical romance hero - moody personality, tragic past, a whole mess of issues, and a super-hot body (plus green eyes, my favorite!). Meanwhile, heroine Sara Fielding managed to be sweet, plucky, and smart without being annoying, a rare feat indeed. In fact, she reminded me just a little bit of a certain librarying friend of mine, particularly in the book's first few chapters. When Sara, a writer, and Derek, the owner of an exclusive gambling club, first meet, we know they're meant for each other. Even if takes them a little while to realize it themselves. The plot is kind of meaningless (everybody seems to have a grudge against Derek; Sara has to get rid of a boring fiance and his horrible mother to find happiness), but it doesn't really matter since the book has most of its fun in all the little moments. The likability factor of the characters definitely played a major role in my enjoyment of this book. The fact that Derek and Sara were such strong presences made the sweet little ending that much more adorable.

So overall, a happy read made for a happy Beth.

Next in Trashy Reads: OMG, peeps! I have some super-exciting news. Remember my last trashy read, Loretta Chase's Lord Perfect? Remember when I said that I hoped she'd someday write a book exclusively about the two kids, Peregrine and Olivia, falling in love in the future? Well yesterday, that book was released! It's called Last Night's Scandal, and as soon as I get my hands on it, you know I'll drop everything to read it. Hurrah!


  1. Genre question: are trashy reads exclusively romance novels? or does my recent fantasy obsession fit into the category?

  2. I've actually been pondering this question a lot lately, especially since I've discoverd the joy one can get from reading "genre" fiction (i.e., mystery, fantasy, romance, suspense, etc.). I think "trashy" is something you kind of have to define yourself. For me, it's the romances I choose to read, which aren't particularly artful and don't have much of anything to say.

    For me, fantasy sits right on the edge between "trashy" or "serious," depending on what kind of fantasy you're reading. I've just discovered my love of fantasy (particularly urban fantasy, such as that of Neil Gaiman), but I think it tends to be a little more well-written and has more to say about the world or society or language than something like romance.

    But that's just me.

  3. Also, this question comes just as I've been thinking of writing a longer blog post about genre fiction. I used to be a snob about it, but now I'm finding why it's so appealing to readers. Care to tell me how you feel about genre vs. literary fiction, or what kind of guilt you may or may not feel about the kinds of books you read?