I haz a sad. As far as I can make out, no one is hosting Readers Imbibing Peril this year and this was one of my favorite events. It was X years old last year and after 9 years of hosting by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings, it moved to The Estella Society. There is, however, a comment I just found on Carl’s site saying “Stay tuned!!!” so, I’m tuned. Perhaps I will just start reading spooky things regardless.
In other news, I’ve just read my first Harlequin romance. I needed a book book at the beach and stopped in a used book store and found what looked like a mystery by Carolyn Hart who has written a bunch. The Devereaux Legacy caught my eye. I’ve never read her and it sounded interesting enough — young woman finds out she supposedly died at 2 on a boat in a hurricane with her parents and the grandmother who raised her. She heads to North Carolina to look into this when said grandmother dies while writing a mysterious letter. Gothic romance in many ways hasn’t changed since Ann Radcliffe’s days writing Mysteries of Udolpho. The heroine quakes and quivers with all the evil around. Then she gets up just enough courage to get herself in trouble. I had no idea it was a Harlequin until I read the forward. Apparently mysteries of Ms. Hart’s sort weren’t selling in 1983. So she tacked on a ghost and a romance and bingo, it sold. As these things go, I could imagine far worse.
This cover doesn’t look like a romance, does it? It also doesn’t have anything to do with the story. The heroine in question having dark hair just like her mother. She has a “fated face,” there are obscure pronouncements by cryptic old women, a handsome cousin, the inevitable misunderstanding, the sinister relatives, ancient unsolved mysteries, more recent unsolved mysteries, none of which need ever have been mysteries in the first place. If I’d seen this cover, I would have known exactly what I was getting into:
This is exactly what the book is like except I don’t believe there’s ever a mention of a strange red jacket. See? You can judge a book by its cover, when they put on the right cover.