Below you’ll find the results of our re-poll for your top 100 romances. AAR pollster Shelley Dodge first conducted this poll in 1998, and it was very successful. So important were these results that they were referenced in the book About the Author (of the pages devoted to romance novels, only two organizations were referenced – one was RWA and the other was AAR.) In fact, they reprinted the top 25 titles of our list in the book itself.
The results from this re-poll are markedly different from the initial poll in 1998, for a variety of reasons. For one thing, those voting this year were asked to rank the titles submitted. For another, as if often the case when polling, newer titles that are fresher in readers’ minds often end up doing quite well in comparison with titles by authors who have perhaps fallen out of favor with readers.
More than 1,300 titles were submitted this year, which is actually a lesser number of titles submitted back in 1998, when Shelley received closer to 1,800. However, the total number of “votes” received this time around was markedly higher – 60% more “votes” were received this year.
As Shelley and I spend more time looking at the results, we’ll have additional analysis for you, but here are some items of interest:
In 1998, Jude Deveraux’s A Knight in Shining Armor took top honors. In 2000, Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels was on top while KISA fell to 16th place.
Linda Howard and Suzanne Brockmann are the only authors with series titles in the top 100. Both also had single titles in the top 100 as well, of course. Howard landed seven titles in the top 100. Brockmann, who didn’t make the list at all in 1998, had five titles in this year’s list.
Catherine Coulter and Elizabeth Lowell, both represented in the earlier list, did not make the cut this time around. Conversely, Stephanie Laurens and Jennifer Crusie, both represented in this year’s list, were not on 1998’s list. Georgette Heyer and Patricia Gaffney, also not on our earlier list, made strong showings this time around – Heyer had four titles on the list and Gaffney had three.
Julie Garwood had eight titles on this year’s list, making her the author most represented. Tied with Linda Howard for second place was Judith McNaught – both had seven titles. Mary Jo Putney had six titles on this year’s list; she had four titles in 1998. Susan Elizabeth Phillips appears six times this year; she appeared five times in 1998. Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb also appears six times while Jayne Ann Krentz not appear at all, although Amanda Quick does appear three times. Mary Balogh appears four times, as does Diana Gabaldon.
Of the authors most represented, such as Garwood, Howard, and McNaught, only Howard has new/newer titles on the list. The latest titles for Garwood and McNaught were published in 1993. For Howard, her newest release is reflected on the list, as are titles from later in the 1990’s than was the case for Garwood and McNaught.
It’s possible that Nora Roberts aka J.D. Robb, who had ten titles on 1998’s list, appeared less often this time around because she, in effect, cancelled herself out by virtue of her lengthy backlist. Two of her most recent releases did make the cut. As for Krentz/Quick, who had seven titles in the 1998 poll, something else might have entered the picture. Her longevity may have worked against her, as well as the high “comfort factor” of her writing. When was the last book she wrote that knocked one out of the park?
Jude Deveraux, who had seven titles in our earlier poll, only had two titles in this year’s poll. Frankly, I don’t know what to make about the “fall of KISA,” but know it has also been quite some time since she’s had a book truly resonate with readers.
How much bias AAR’s readership carries over from the content at the site is up for debate. Deborah Simmons made it onto the list this year, and though a personal favorite for many of our reviewers, her allure apparently continues to elude the publishing industry. Authors well represented on our Desert Isle Keeper page, which has grown tremendously since our first poll, did remarkably well in this year’s poll, including Mary Balogh, Suzanne Brockmann, Patricia Gaffney, and Georgette Heyer, whom we also featured earlier this year in an issue of ATBF. Julia Quinn, an early AAR supporter who wrote a guest column for us a couple of years ago, had three titles make the list, two of which were awarded DIK status.
Comparing the authors shown on this year’s list against authors who have most often received DIK Status, some surprises do appear. Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind, who has received DIK status seven times, did not make the top 100. Lorraine Heath, who has received DIK Status five times, did not make the top 100 either. Other multi-DIK’d authors who failed to show here include Susan Andersen, Justine Davis/Dare, Christina Dodd, Anne Stuart, Kathleen Eagle, as well as Catherine Coulter and Elizabeth Lowell, as previously mentioned.
Roughly two-thirds of the titles on this year’s list received DIK status. 60% of the titles listed are historicals, Regencies, or classics. That’s fairly similar to our 1998 poll. FYI, we’ve classified Georgette Heyer’s titles as “classics.”
Top 100 Romances from 2000 Poll
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase – Historical
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Time Travel
Mackenzie’s Mountain by Linda Howard – Series/Contemporary
Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale – Historical
Devil’s Bride by Stephanie Laurens – Historical
Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas – Historical
It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – Contemporary
Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – Contemporary
Shattered Rainbows by Mary Jo Putney – Historical
The Shadow & the Star by Laura Kinsale – Historical
The Bride by Julie Garwood – Historical
Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – Contemporary
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – Classic
One Perfect Rose by Mary Jo Putney – Histiorical
The Rake by Mary Jo Putney – Historical
A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux – Time Travel
The Proposition by Judith Ivory – Historical
Thunder and Roses by Mary Jo Putney – History
Dream Man by Linda Howard – Romantic Suspense
The Secret by Julie Garwood – Historical
Kiss An Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – Contemporary
Paradise by Judith McNaught – Contemporary
A Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught – Historical
Almost Heaven by Judith McNaught – Historical
The Duke and I by Julia Quinn – Historical
Lady be Good by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – Contemporary
To Love and to Cherish by Patricia Gaffney – Historical
Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon – Time Travel
How to Marry a Marquis by Julia Quinn – Historical
Prince Joe by Suzanne Brockmann – Series/Contemporary
After the Night by Linda Howard – Contemporary
Naked In Death by J. D. Robb – Futuristic Romantic Suspense
Ravished by Amanda Quick – Historical
Saving Grace by Julie Garwood – Historical
Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught – Historical
My Lady Notorious by Jo Beverley – Historical
As You Desire by Connie Brockway – Historical
To Have and to Hold by Patricia Gaffney – Historical
Castles by Julie Garwood – Historical
A Precious Jewel by Mary Balogh – Regency
My Darling Caroline by Adele Ashworth – Historical
Born In Ice by Nora Roberts – Contemporary
Voyager by Diana Gabaldon – Time Travel
Knight of a Trillion Stars by Dara Joy – Futuristic
Once and Always by Judith McNaught – Historical
Lord Carew’s Bride by Mary Balogh – Regency
Dream A Little Dream by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – Contemporary
Mackenzie’s Pleasure by Linda Howard – Series/Contemporary
Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught – Historical
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – Classic
Splendid by Julia Quinn – Historical
Sweet Liar by Jude Deveraux – Contemporary
The Windflower by Laura London – Historical
Beast by Judith Ivory – Historical
Sea Swept by Nora Roberts – Contemporary
The Prize by Julie Garwood – Historical
The Gift by Julie Garwood – Historical
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie – Romantic Suspense
Where Dreams Begin by Lisa Kleypas – Historical
The Famous Heroine by Mary Balogh – Regency
Bewitching by Jill Barnett – Paranormal/Historical
Perfect by Judith McNaught – Contemporary
These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer – Classic
Heartthrob by Suzanne Brockmann – Contemporary
Get Lucky by Suzanne Brockmann – Series/Contemporary
Truly, Madly Yours by Rachel Gibson – Contemporary
My Dearest Enemy by Connie Brockway – Historical
Devil’s Cub by Georgette Heyer – Classic
Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie – Contemporary
The Vicar’s Daughter by Deborah Simmons – Historical
The Wolf & the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss – Historical
Born In Fire by Nora Roberts – Contemporary
Wild at Heart by Patricia Gaffney – Historical
Honor’s Splendor by Julie Garwood – Historical
This is All I Ask by Lynn Kurland – Historical
The Flame & the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss – Historical
Rendezvous by Amanda Quick – Historical
The Last Hellion by Loretta Chase – Historical
Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard – Contemporary
Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon – Time Travel
Mrs. Drew Plays her Hand by Carla Kelly – Regency
Mine to Take by Dara Joy – Paranormal
The Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockmann – Contemporary
Dancing on the Wind by Mary Jo Putney – Historical
Lion’s Lady by Julie Garwood – Historical
Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas – Historical
Son of the Morning by Linda Howard – Time Travel
Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts – Contemporary
The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer – Classic
Mackenzie’s Mission by Linda Howard – Series/Contemporary
Angel Rogue by Mary Jo Putney – Historical
The Secret Pearl by Mary Balogh – Regency
Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts – Contemporary
Sleeping Beauty by Judith Ivory – Historical
Scandal by Amanda Quick – Historical
Venetia by Georgette Heyer – Classic
My Sweet Folly by Laura Kinsale – Historical
Devilish by Jo Beverley – Historical
The Admiral’s Bride by Suzanne Brockmann – Series/Contemporary
Jackson Rule by Dinah McCall – Contemporary
As promised, Shelley has gone back and re-sorted her database so that we can present a “different” look at the results of our Top 100 Romances poll.
Shelley broke the results down by the authors who had the most individual votes. What you’ll find below is a table that includes, by order of individual votes received, authors and the number of titles submitted by readers in the poll. Please remember that since the poll’s results were weighted, a simple count of number of votes received does not tell the story – the rankings of the titles by individual voters is what counted in the final analysis.
# of Votes
# of Titles
Mary Jo Putney
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Jayne Ann Krentz
Shelley has some additional analysis you’ll find interesting:
Loretta Chase and Lord of Scoundrels – though this author received a relatively low number of votes (71) spread among 9 titles, her Lord of Scoundrels was at or near the top of most lists received.
Diana Gabaldon – of her four works of fiction, all four made the list.
Stephanie Laurens and Devil’s Bride – this “sleeper” title was ranked high on many lists received.
Pride and Prejudice accounted for a majority of the votes Jane Austen’s titles received. Even though the total amount of votes she received was comparatively low, this title ranked in the top ten for a good number of readers, and more than a few ranked it number one. It ended in the #13 spot on our list.
The same can be said for Dinah McCall’s Jackson Rule, which ranked in the final position of our Top 100. Although her total number of votes was low by comparison, the number of votes she received for this title allowed her to make the list.
Teresa Medeiros did not make the list, disappointing more than one of AAR’s staff. She received 36 votes spread among 14 titles.