the ask@AAR: What do we think about Anne Stuart?

We’ve reviewed Anne Stuart 36 times. She began writing in 1977–I believe her first published book was Barrett’s Hill. We didn’t review her until 1996 when we gave Prince of Swords a C-. Laurie Gold wrote:

….made me even less happy with Prince of Swords, which suffers from a hero so unrepentant and just plain bad that the only decent thing about him was his love for the heroine, admitted on the very last page of the book. This ne’er-do-well is the Earl of Glenshiel, Alistair MacAlpin, a cat burglar who steals from the rich and gives to the poor – only the poor is himself, which he isn’t … anymore. Oh, I suppose the author thought to make him a bit more palatable in that he only steals from those who can afford it. And, once, he actually did a kind thing for one of his victims. But in general, he has no remorse, for himself, for others, and especially not for the heroine of this tome, impoverished noblewoman Jessamine Maitland, who gets him all hot and bothered with her intriguing eyes and innocence. Frankly, he expects to die and doesn’t care a whit about anybody or anything along the way.

We like the next book we reviewed, A Rose at Midnight, much better. That book, a DIK, we praised for its masterful writing and blazing hot chemistry.

Over the past 26 years, we’ve given Ms. Stuart nine DIKs, 29 Bs, 4 Cs, and two Ds. I can attest that every time one of her books is a Steal or Deal, we sell it like hotcakes.

I personally count several of Ms. Stuart’s books as personal favorites. Reckless is one of my favorite historical romances–it would be in my top ten– and I routinely re-read the Ice series because it’s just so compelling. That said, it’s been over ten years since she wrote anything I’ve loved–I gave the last book I reviewed of hers a B.

Stuart is one of those authors that makes many readers and reviewers angry. Search Anne Stuart reviews on the web and you’ll see her heroes defined as rapists, asses, and dishonorable. Her heroines can be TSTL, overly naive, and unbelievably enviably sexually responsive. And yet readers love her–her latest, a self-pubbed historical romance, is a 4.5 star read at Amazon.

What do you think about Ms. Stuart? Do you love her works? Have you changed how you see them? And if you don’t like her stories, why not?

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