Three-Day Quote Challenge: Day Two

With a nod of thanks for Willaful who nominated Miss Bates for this challenge. Miss B’s having a blast!

The category romance is the humblest and most succinct manifestation of the romance narrative: the encounter, the attraction/detraction, the separation and dark night of the couple soul, and the grovel and HEA. Category romance distills the romance narrative to its essentials: two people working out, in their relationship, a beloved romance trope. Take, for example, the wondrous Molly O’Keefe contemporary category, His Wife For One Night, a contemporary marriage-of-convenience, so difficult to pull off. And yet, O’Keefe convinces, moves, and engages her reader in Jack and Mia’s story. 

Promoted_To_Wife_&_MotherMarriage of convenience is a beloved trope for Miss B.: it satisfies her old-fashioned sensibilities for sex within the sanctity of marriage and makes for courtship-within-marriage an interesting narrative twist. And yet, her favourite category romance is built on a hated trope: the office romance. Yuck. Boards and profit margins and pencil skirts just ain’t her thing. Besides, everything that could possibly go wrong with the trope is inherent in it, like power differentials, usually to the detriment of the heroine. But here she is LOVING today’s opening line romance, Jessica Hart’s execrably titled, Promoted to Wife and Mother:

Perdita drummed her fingers on the sleeves of her jacket and tried not to look as if she were sulking.

Miss Bates shakes her head, murmuring, “Perdita, Perdita … ” What a great peevish character our Perdita is; at forty, a spinster in the making. Like Miss Bates, an elderly mum in the picture. There she is, our Perdita, drumming fingers. What a great opening line on Hart’s part: Perdita’s impatience and annoyance drawing us into the narrative. And the pressure, not to appear to “sulk”: from whence comes that pressure? Our Perdita has to put on a particular face, but her responses to the situation are vexation and chagrin. Her fingers give her away. Ah, how deliciously curious the reader is … for, given Perdita’s quandary, could the hero be far behind? Actually, he’s the cause of her exasperation! Thus begins one of the most touching, engaging romances a rom-lover can ever read.

6 thoughts on “Three-Day Quote Challenge: Day Two

  1. I adore your description of category romance. I used to have fave/hated tropes but I am slowly coming to realise that I love all the tropes if there is wonderful author that delivers them.

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    • Oh, thank you, that means a lot to me, as you’re my category rom idol!!! I mean if not for you, no Lynne Graham for MissB. It’s true, I used to have them as well: I guess I’d still be loathe to pick up a hated trope, but every time I’m proven wrong, I become more tolerant. Yes, for that reason, that, in the hands of a great writer, it’ll be good. Trope-redemption, I call it.

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  2. Kerplunk-bansh!!!!
    That is the sound of my TBR pile listing sideways and collapsing in on itself… not unlike how I imagine the Broughton Suspension Bridge went down…although I can’t ask my books to break step – or weigh less. But TOTALLY worth it nonetheless. Thank you!

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  3. I love the office romance trope – despite, well, everything. I absolutely concede that the trope has a laundry list of pitfalls and yet for some reason it’s also the one trope where I seem to easily banish my inner skeptic and just run with it. I blame this on a long-standing soap opera addiction that started at a very young age. It’s the only reasonable excuse I’ve come up with.

    And I love this book. LOVE!!! JanetNorCal recommended it to me and even sent me her print copy knowing how much I enjoy Jessica Hart’s romances. And indeed, I have enjoyed many of them, but this one may just be my very favorite.

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    • See, I agree: like Vaveros said, I’m just going to stop deriding tropes and conventions because, inevitably, I’ll have to eat my words. Or maybe said authors can make me eat theirs. In which case, I would happily eat Hart’s because I LOVE this book so much too!! I’ve never read a Hart I haven’t enjoyed, but I’m with you, this one may be my favourite too. And the only reason I read it was because you reviewed it with such panache and love!

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