I have Google Alerts set up to let me know when any of my books are being discussed on the web, on blogs or discussion boards or whatever. This includes all the historical romances I’ve released on Kindle and Nook.
I had forgotten how strongly readers reacted to these books. Love or hate, and very vocal. Lucien’s Fall has stimulated some discussion, at AAR, where the reader seriously did not like the characters (and suspected, perhaps, that I had salted the reviews…which I would not do), and in the reviews at the site itself. (From “This is one of my favorite romances I have read in a LONG TIME. I enjoyed the maturity of the characters, the “plot” twist, and genuine redemption in the end. Well worth the $$.” to “What’s Up with all the 5-star reviews?”)
While I would never directly engage a critic, because every reader has a right to her own opinion, I have reasons for choosing the storylines I do. The criticism that Lucien is a rake always surprises me. Of course he’s a rake. He’s an obnoxious, dyed-in-the-wool rake with no conscience whatsoever. He’s meant to be a real rake, not a false imitation thereof, a man who is only a little bad and might be redeemed by a good meal or the right words. What fun is that?
So yes, Lucien is a terrible, real rake. You and I would recognize him in an instant, just as Madeline does. And yet, we’d be drawn, too, because that’s why a rake is so very effective–he’s charming and beautiful and everything about him promises at least one thing will be very good indeed. Madeline is drawn, and resists. Her mother has schooled her well, and she is desperate to save the family estate, so she is trying hard to do the right thing.
And yet, there is Lucien. So unredeemable, so inevitably tortured, so alive with music that it leaks out of him in color. How could she not fall?
The point is, a rake should be a rake, not a good man in rake’s clothing, or there is no pleasure for me in the story.
How about you? A bad boy in the current day is hard to pull off, but a rake is wildly intriguing. Agree? Or not?