Monday, December 06, 2010

AAR Top 100 Romances . . . and ME

I am so delighted.  So very floating around the Ceiling.

All About Romance has just published their list of 100 favorite Romances.

I'm on the list.

See it here. Or try here.

These are books readers loved.  These are the memorable books.  The keepers.  Books from 1813 or 1991 or 2010.  Historical, Paranormal, Contemporary, and Romantic Suspense.  Most of the authors are Best Sellers, but there are midlist authors on the list too.

Interestingly, I'm counting eight 'first books' out of the hundred.  (I'm going to include my own Spymaster's Lady in there too, even if it's cheating.)
I could be wrong, Lord knows, but I think these are all first books:

The Duke of Shadows , by Meredith Duran
Passion by Lisa Valdez
Private Arrangements   by Sherry Thomas
Whitney My Love  by Judith McNaught
Jane Eyre  by Charlotte Bronte
The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt
The Spymaster's Lady  by Joanna Bourne
Outlander  by Diana Gabaldon

(ETA to add a book.  Thanks to Scorpio M who pointed out the Hoyt, which I had missed.)
(ETA yet again.  To remove a book.  Jane Austen's first published work was Sense and Sensibility, not P&P.  Bad jo!  Bad, bad jo!) 

This is just a hilluvalotta first books.
I have decided to call this the "First Book Effect".

I've read 85 of 100 -- which is to say I don't read much Romantic suspense or Paranormal but I've read all the others.  I can testify that the ones I've read are powerful romantic works. If you want to recommend Romance to a friend, put forward any of these books.

If you haven't read them yourself, you might go ahead and do so.


  1. Congratulations, Jo! Enjoy the floaty feeling. I usually have to drink at least two Manhattans to attain that. ;)

  2. Well done, Jo! I couldn't begin to choose which of your 3 novels is my favorite.

    I've read only 31 on the list, but that's not so bad considering that I only began reading romance novels again about 3 years ago and seldom stray from the regency period. When I find an author I like, I usually gobble up everything they've written before I move on. One of those authors is Jo Beverley. How is it she is not on the list?

    It probably doesn't make sense to go down that road. I'm sure a number of deserving authors are not represented.

  3. Congratulations!!

    May you go on to write many more "Great Books!"

  4. Wow, congratulations! Well deserved of course.

    I've read 63 of the books on the list. A big percentage of the ones I'm missing are set in the medieval period. That's probably not likely to change. I was a medieval studies major in undergrad, and consequently I can't seem to enjoy any romances set in the period.

    Also, I seem to have missed out on quite a few from 2009. I'll have to check those out.

  5. Congrats! Elizabeth Hoyt's, The Raven Prince was a first, too.

  6. Thank you all so very much. Skittles and Linda, thank you so much. I am just aux anges.

    @ Scorpio -- Yes! I will go add it to the list.
    I am certain there is something to this 'first book is a favorite' thingum.

    @ Kat -- I fully understand not being able to read in a historical period you know something about. My gut feeling is that Historicals set in the medieval period depart more from reality than those set in, for instance, my own era. I do not know why this should be so. Perhaps it is harder to research?

    There's this too . . . It's always tough to put ourselves in the mindset of another culture, but somehow the Medieval mind seems more alien to me than that of the Enlightenment.

    In re that, I remember the offsprig was reading 'The Scarlet Letter'. She never did understand what the big deal about having a baby out of wedlock was.

    Her comment . . . "You mean, that's IT? That's what the whole thing is ABOUT?"

    I liked Gellis.

    @ Annie -- I do not know why Jo Beverley is not on this year's list. She is one of my very favorite writers, of course. Devil's Heiress and An Arranged Marriage would both be on my own list.

  7. Brianna Beattie6:08 PM

    Congratulations! You are there with my all-time favourite book 'Jane Eyre'

    ('Northanger Abbey' was Austen's first book)

  8. @Jo: Your point regarding the difficulties of researching the Middle Ages is well taken. To a certain extent, writing a historical fiction about The Crusades or the Norman Invasion isn't too difficult. There are quite a few excellent sources about those events specifically, in addition to general sources that would help to create a range of male characters. I think the true difficulty of the medieval period is the lack of information about the type of women that might fit into the role of a romantic protagonist. The vast majority of medieval texts concern men. A smaller proportion focus on nuns, female saints, etc. A tiny percentage concern queens. As for other to nothing. This is especially true of younger women. Generally speaking, women just didn't attract any sort of historical mention until they were older and had some sort of authority as either abbesses or perhaps the mother of a young king. The limitations authors deal with are definitely considerable and I certainly don’t fault anyone for taking dramatic license. As we can see from the list, it definitely makes for an outstanding story.

  9. Yay, Jo! This is wonderful and very well-deserved.

  10. Congratulations !! And very well-deserved indeed! I would be hard-pressed to name which of your books I like the best. The imagery in your books creates this big comfortable feather bed of a scene from the start and I have no trouble losing myself in your stories from start to finish.

    I need to check out the list to see how many I have read.

    Again - Congratulations!

  11. @ Brianna --

    I am VERY fond of Jane Eyre. I read it long before I read Austen. It made a deep impression on me -- though I was so young I'm afraid the whole 'falling in love' part of the plot rather missed me.

    I'm going to go with publication dates, rather than date of composition. I mean . . . who knows when folks started writing a particular manuscript.

    When I was thinking about this though I realized I was just plain WRONG about Austen's first published work.
    *huge embarrassment*

    @ Kat --
    It is impossible to overstate the sheer difficulty of researching Medieval background. I have such respect for folks who manage to build good strong background and write a great story.

    I was delighted with Madeleine Hunter's Medievals for exactly this. Solid genre Romance and a physical and social setting that did not strain my plausibility muscles.

    Hi Tara -- Thank you so much. I am delighted. So puffed up with myself and pleased and generally popping buttons off my britches.

    @ Louisa Cornell -- You are so very kind. I have to admit, I love it when folks say they like all the books equally. *g* Is this like a mother who doesn't want to play favorites?

  12. LOL, Yes, I think it is very much like a mother who doesn't want to play favorites. Fortunately, all of your "children" are certainly deserving of praise. Not a nodcock in the bunch.

    Checked the list. I've read 68 out of the 100 books. I've read all of the historicals and most of the paranormals. At the risk of being stoned for blasphemy I will admit I have not read Diana Gabaldon's books.

  13. Hi Louisa Cornell --

    You might possibly see if your library has Gabaldon's 'Lord John and the Private Matter'. It's one of a set of smaller, self-contained works she's written. A historical mystery, I'd call it.

  14. Congrats on making the list. You deserve it! I posted a 5-star review for The Spymaster's Lady on Goodreads (just finished yesterday). Wow, what an incredible story!

  15. Hi pensees --

    Well thank you so very much.

    I don't comment at Goodreads. I always feel reader discussion sites should be private for readers. I'd hate anybody to think I was leaning over their shoulder, watching.

    But in your case I will go look at the review, and (sight unseen,) I thank you very much for taking the trouble.

  16. Anonymous11:15 AM

    Congrats! You're my favorite historical romance author, along with Elizabeth Hoyt. Never a miss on your books! Happy Holidays!

  17. I'm a bg fan of Elizabeth Hoyt also and delighted to be in her company in this case.

    There is nothing more gratifying than a reader site that give you recognition. So wonderful.

  18. You're on another list, too! SBTB editor Sarah listed you in her Kirkus Best of 2010!

  19. Isn't that wonderful!

    And, y'know, her list is so innovative. So very non-trad. I am so proud she put me on it.