Amazon discontinued the ability to create images using their SiteStripe feature and in their infinite wisdom broke all previously created images on 12/31/23. Many blogs used this feature, including this one. Expect my archives to be a hot mess of broken book cover images until I can slowly comb through 20 years of archives to make corrections.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Heathens Read Too

Dear Secular Publishing Imprints,

I have absolutely nothing against inspirational fiction. At all. But how come inspirational publishers are more than willing to publish interesting (and yes, different) sounding historical romances and you are determined to keep recycling the same time periods and settings ad nauseam. Seriously, I want to know. Are you operating under the assumption that heathen readers don't like "different?" Cuz if you are - you're wrong. And you suck. I'm going to sit in the corner now and pout.

Wendy the Super Librarian

Maid To Match by Deeanne Gist, Historical Inspirational Romance, $14.99, ISBN 9780764204081, Bethany House, June 1, 2010

From the day she arrives at the Biltmore, Tillie Reese is dazzled--by the riches of the Vanderbilts and by Mack Danvers, a mountain man turned footman. When Tillie is enlisted to help tame Mack's rugged behavior by tutoring him in the ways of refined society, the resulting sparks threaten Tillie's efforts to be chosen as Edith Vanderbilt's lady's maid. But the stakes rise even higher when Mack and Tillie become entangled in a cover-up at the town orphanage. They could both lose their jobs...and their hearts.
Yes, you read that correctly. This is a historical romance about a maid who falls in love with a footman. Be still my heart. I don't read a lot of inspirational fiction, but damn (forgive me Father), I'm reading this one. Plus, Rosie read a book by Gist recently and liked it. That's good enough for me.

(Seriously, I can't tell you how excited I was reading this description. I've always longed to see a romantic couple like this one - especially in an English historical. OK, so this one takes place in America - but still. A maid and a footman! Squee!)


Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

This one does look good!! Very cute cover, too!

JamiSings said...

That is different. I mean, isn't it usually a maid and a duke? Or an upper class woman and the bastard son of an upper class man?

Even though I'm a believer, I don't read the inspirational romances either. Don't care for how preachy their blurbs tend to be.

Oh, Wendy, not a book thing, but I was pointed to a new terrifying blog over on the Karen Marie Moning forums - Pale Is The New Tan - I'm telling you, all that orange fake bake and the uber-tanned/wrinkled people makes me want to start living in a basement. Too bad California can't have many basements due to our earthquakes!

KT Grant said...

I'm not big on inspirational romance but this looks like a great book by the synopsis.

Kelly in Hockeytown said...

I am a self-proclaimed Agnostic who has found herself reading more (and more) of the Love Inspired line. (especially the western historicals) I can only say that I don't find them to be overly preachy. I *hate* bible thumping of any kind and certainly wouldn't waste my time reading it.

Sandy Williams said...

This might be a silly question, but is there sex in inspirational romances?

I have no idea if I like inspirational romance because I've never tried one. My knee-jerk reaction when I hear of that subgenre is to cringe because it sounds too preachy and flowery.

Katie Mack said...

This is why I've been reading so much GLBT romance lately. It doesn't have the same-old conflicts and plotlines that have been recycled ad infinitum in straight romances, and I've been craving something new and different.

I'm a little tempted to try a different-sounding inspirational romance, but the whole religion thing scares me a bit. Religious characters are fine, but like others have said, I don't want to be preached to. So I'll be interested to hear what you think of this one.

Cathy in AK said...

Line me up with the readers who don't always need to have full-on sex scenes in a book, but don't want to be preached at either. This one sounds like it might strike a nice balance. And nary a title in the mix? Not to diss historicals that have such characters, but "Yay for the working Joe and Jane!"

AnimeJune said...

I went to Deeane Gist's workshop at RWA about cover art and her books sounded AMAZING - plus, the covers are gorgeous, no?

vanessa jaye said...

Oh, I might have to give this one a try. Thanks for the post!

Nicole "Gidget" Kalstein said...

Being a believer myself, I do like inspirational romances, although I agree with Jami that they can be preachy. Also, sappy. Not all of them are that way, though.

I agree with Cathy that I don't need all kinds of sex in a book, but to answer Sandy's question, I have read inspirationals with sex (usually post-wedding)...

For example, "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers is about a devoutly religious man who God tells to marry a prostitute (so, there's sex when she's in the brothel, and then there's sex after they marry).

My favorite line from that one is "He wanted to make love to her like in Song of Solomon..." yeesh. The Biblical sex reference is a little much for me.

I'd rather have no sex in the inspirational books. They make sex un-sexy.

Janet Webb said...

Borders Book Chat blogged about inspirational romances - think it was written by a Borders staff gal from the south ... fascinating blog Wendy and yes, doesn't Gist have great covers (and is she THAT pretty in RL?)

Wendy said...

InTheHammock: I saw it in a catalog at work and practically started drooling over the premise.

Jami: OMG - the ORANGE! The Orange! How can people honestly think that looks good?

Katie: The synopsis totally hooked me.

Kelly: I've been dipping my toes in the inspirational waters - mostly by reading writers who have written secular fiction that I've enjoyed. Jillian Hart, Cheryl St. John, Victoria Bylin etc.

Sandy: I'm glad others have commented because I haven't read enough inspirational to feel comfortable speaking for the entire sub genre. Of the books I've read? No sex. But I also haven't read any books yet where the characters are married.

Katie: It's a fine line. I've read some inspirational where I felt the author did a good job blending the religious aspects into the story without beating me over the head with them. And then I've read other inspirationals where one character drops everything to tell the hero or heroine a Bible story. Blergh. I think it's like most fiction. Just a matter of finding the authors that "work for you."

Cathy: The whole "title" thing is why I suspect I got so burnt out on the Regency period after a while. Not every hero has to be a Duke. And not every heroine has to sell herself into marriage because her brother gambled away the family fortune.

AnimeJune: She posts over at Romancing The Blog too - which means I really need to try one of her books. Rosie read one of her westerns recently and really liked it.

Vanessa: Hi Vanessa! I'm going to try it too. Hopefully by June I'll be caught up on my back log of reading. Ha!

Lyndee: For me the sex always needs to "fit" the story. If it's there, I want a reason for it to be there. I think it could really work in an inspirational featuring a marriage in trouble plot. But yeah, depends on how it's written. The Song of Solomon reference probably would have pushed me over the edge.

Hilcia said...

I read A Bride in the Bargain by Gist when it released, my first and only "inspirational." Although I had a few minor problems with it, I enjoyed it. I particularly liked the thorough historical research and the character development in the story.

Gail Dayton said...

Oh! It's not out till NEXT June. Darn. (Remind us when it comes out???)

This sounds wonderful. (I have a story in mind about a cook and a butler--thing I have a chance in Hades to get it published?)

Unknown said...

Damn, this does sound good.


Cathy in AK said...

And not every heroine has to sell herself into marriage because her brother gambled away the family fortune.

No kidding! When I read a blurb that includes "... and her brother..." I immediately think the poor girl is gonna have to marry someone, or take a false identity to run a brothel, or sell a kidney even though organ transplants aren't possible at that time.

Wendy said...

Janet: Even in just the past 10 years I've been a librarian inspirational publishing has come a long way. The variety of story lines now (horror, suspense, romance, chick lit - you name it) and OMG, are the covers WAY better than they were in "the old days." I wish the secular imprints would take a cue from what the inspy pubs are doing in terms of art work.

Hilcia: Good to know. I'm a bit of a character ho, so good characterization makes me happy :)

Gail: I will do my best. And I would so be all over a cook and butler romance.

Keishon: I know, doesn't it?

A Library Girl said...

As someone who found herself rooting for an Emma and Hans pairing while reading Kaoru Mori's Emma, even though I knew it couldn't possibly happen, this book sounds interesting. Most of the inspirational romances I've seen have either sounded like something my grandparents might like or have all featured Amish characters - not too exciting. However, my exposure to inspirational romances tends to be limited to Walmart, so it's not like I can say I know too much about them. The one you mention sounds interesting - it's going on my ILL list.

SarahT said...

Great post, Wendy! I'm not religious and that is something which has deterred me from giving inspirational romances a go. After reading your post, I checked out Gist's website. The premise of her stories sound so good! I'm sorely tempted to give one a go...

Rosie said...

This looks great, and while I'm hardly a cover watcher/lover this one looks very lovely as well. Thanks for the heads up SL.

Tara Marie said...

This one's going in my shopping cart at amazon, it sounds great :)

I have avoided inspirationals because I'm afraid of the "preachy" expectations. My sister is a huge fan of Francine Rivers, but I know she (my sister) expects a certain amount of preaching. FR has a series set in biblical times that my sister LOVES.

Lynn Spencer said...

LOL! I saw you tweeting Friday and that got me to blogging about inspys, too. The Gist book you mention sounds really good. I read her debut and liked it, but haven't read her most recent ones.

@Kelly in Hockeytown - I'm loving the Love Inspired Historical line, too. The variety of settings makes me happy. I'm Christian but really don't care for preachy books, and I've thankfully only hit 1 or 2 in this line.

JamiSings said...

Wendy - I know. And at least two of them are famous fashion designers. You'd think they'd know better!

But then again, maybe it'll inspire a new plot in a contemporary romance. A man and woman brought together over their disasterous fake bakes. They don't want to be attracted to each other - yet can't help it. Especially since they both have to replace all their orange stained clothing, towels, and bedding, and keep ending up at the same stores!

And we'll make them the overly worked assistants of some untalented teenage superstars! Not as good as a maid and a footman, sure, but they can both share their mututal hatred for their pop-tarts' tone deafness and drug abuse.

Victoria Janssen said...

Ooh, thanks for the rec! Please review?

Wendy said...

Library Girl: I know. That was always my reaction to - "Something my grandmother would read." Not anymore though! I loved my grandma, but I can't picture her reading some of the recent offerings of inspirational suspense.

SarahT: I've never read her either, just "know" her through our mutual affiliation with RtB. I've been dying for more blue collar characters in historicals. Now it appears I've just been turning over the wrong stones.

Rosie: You're welcome :)

TM: I think that keeps a lot of readers away - the fear of being preached at. Like most things in fiction, I think it all boils down to author execution. Some got it, and some don't.

Lynn: I saw your post over at AAR! It's always nice to read the perspective of someone who has read a sub genre for some time. I've just dipped my big toe into the inspy waters and am nowhere near an authority.

Jami: It's a trend that has baffled me ever since the Orange People started invading award show red carpets. It's admirable people want to limit their sun exposure - but to go orange?!

Victoria: Hopefully! Maybe by June I'll have unburied myself!

Tracy said...

What a great twist to a historical. We don't see this premise very often now do we? I'll have to put that on my TBB list!