We have all seen the trend that is happening in Romance novels these days.  The Series.  I can’t even remember the last time that I read a book that wasn’t a part of a series.  Paranormals, fantasy, Regencies – it doesn’t matter the genre, all the books seem to be a part of a series.  For me, that isn’t really a problem.  I like that.  I like that I don’t have to say goodbye to characters that I love and have come to care about after I finish a book.  I like that a younger sibling or a best friend that we like in one book finds their own HEA in the next book.  So this trend hasn’t bothered me all that much.  That is until very recently.

While I have no problem with the trend that all books are a part of a series, I have started to see something that I don’t like.  Usually, I enjoy a good epilogue.  It used to be that the epilogue was a small chapter at the end of the book where we get a chance to peek at the future.   This used to be a place that transcended the “series” chronology and jumped forward a few years and let us know that despite what may be happening is the great story arc of the series, this is what is happening with the couple currently.  A good example of this would be Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward.  At the end of this book, we get an epilogue that takes place 18 months after the book ended and the epilogue is a scene with the main couple, Z and Bella, and it steps out of the chronology of the series and gives a glimpse of the future.  I love these scenes.  They reassure us that all is well with the couple in the future, they reaffirm the HEA, and they satisfy any curiosity of children that may have been born or events that might have played out off page.

But with the rise in the Series, now epilogues are being used differently.  A good example of this is a book I recently read, Recklessly Yours by Allison Chase.  In this book, the epilogue focuses not on the couple that is the main characters of the book, but on the next couple.  And this is something that I have seen a lot lately.  About a Dragon by G.A. Aiken does the same thing – and I am starting to feel cheated and a little manipulated.  Not only do I miss out on the information about the characters that I look forward to, but I am also being forced into caring about all new characters when I am still vulnerable from the “high” of the couple that I just read.

And this isn’t the only example of how determined the authors are to shove other books down our throats.  Shamelessly, authors use beloved characters from one series to market books in another.  Off the top of my head, I can think of two examples of this.  One is the Black Dagger Brotherhood series which is shamelessly using the Brothers to push Ward’s other series, the Fallen Angels.  Another is Diana Gabaldon’s very well loved character Jamie Fraser being used in her Lord John series as a main character.  Though I haven’t read Scottish Prisoner yet (and I think this is because it is a matter of principle at this point), I know that I feel that using Jamie in that series is somehow just wrong.

So the moral of the story is that I have no problem with a series, I do have a problem when a quest to market a Series interrupts my books.  If the authors really wanted to make sure that I read the next book in the series, they would be better off making sure that the book that I read has everything I want – including a true epilogue.

Am I way off base with this?  What do you think?

– Louise AAR

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