When we prepare to open one of our Special Title Listings, we look at the original definition and we look at the books that were nominated in the past and made their way onto the list, and matters seem straightforward enough. Then we write a little bit for the blog, trying to illustrate further what is so especially fascinating about that particular trope, and what variations there may be within it. Then you, our readers, nominate books. With most, the procedure is simple enough: They obviously fit the category, they have received glowing reviews here at AAR or at other respected sites, and on the list they go. But then there are the borderline books: They don’t quite fit the definition, but yet they are very close to it. Do we change the definition to encompass a larger range of books, to permit a wider variety […]
If you spend much time around romance, particularly historical romance, you know that mistresses show up fairly often. Many, especially in older books, take the form of the woman that was kept by the hero before he met his special virgin snowflake and who inevitably compares unfavorably to the heroine. I still remember (and cringe) over my days of reading Barbara Cartland in high school. Her mistresses weren’t always evil, but they did have a tendency to appear fake and tawdry next to her innocent little dewdrop heroines.